Breckon Farms book-ended the programme with two notable wins on Breeders Crown “Super Saturday”.
First-up in the first race on the night’s programme the Breckon Farms bred Stress Factor (Majestic Son / Fear Factor) took out the Group 1 $70,000 Woodlands Stud Breeders Crown Series 20 (3YO Trotting Colts & Geldings) Final.
Stress Factor continued his dream start to an Australian career that has now seen him unbeaten in three starts, two of which have been Group 1 races, for ex-pat Kiwi trainer Brent Lilley. Stress Factor was quickly out at the start to lead, continuing in front throughout and was never in doubt, easing down at the line to win comfortably in a 2:00.4 Mile Rate for the 2240m journey and running home in a 27.8 second last quarter.
Stress Factor was driven by leading driver Chris Alford who said, “He’s done a super job since he’s been here. Credit to the owners for buying him, he’s done as well, if not better, than expected. He came out nice and he settled really well in front. He was pricking his ears most of the way. He did have a really good kick at the top of the straight because he relaxed so well. Super job, I’m very happy for the connections and Brent.”
Brent Lilley added, “It’s their Grand Final at the end of it. He’s a lovely horse this fella, we probably just got him at the right time. He’s been well managed, Mark Purdon had him and then we left him in the care of Bernie Hackett and Michelle Wallis back home before we got him here. A lot of people to thank.”
Stress Factor is now owned by JT Wilkinson, F Crews, BW Morrison, GR Dowling, RJ Owen and D Morrison, with Ken and Karen Breckon joining the connections oncourse to celebrate the win.
Stress Factor’s three Australian wins have earned him $83,450 in stakes and he now has career statistics of 18 starts, 7 wins, 1 seconds, 2 thirds for $130,977. These two most recent Group 1 wins mean that Stress Factor now comes right into contention for Australian 3-year-old Trotting Colt of the Year honours.
The last race on the Breeders Crown “Super Saturday” programme, the $20,000 Always B Miki Alabar Breeders Crown Graduate Cup, was taken out be the Breckon Farms bred Just Rockon Bye (Christian Cullen / OK Rock).
The 5-year-old mare has raced very consistently since arriving in Australia 2 years ago and showed gate speed to get out first and lead them a merry chase, winning her biggest race to date in a career-best Mile Rate of 1:54.4 for the 1720m distance, dashing home in 55.6 and 27.3. The quinella was completed by Van Mara (Lis Mara / Van Seraa) running second, who was also bred at Breckon Farms by Biddlecombe Equine Ltd and is now owned by AB&T Cormack Racing Pty Ltd.
Just Rockon Bye was driven by Geoff Webster, who said, “It’s been a long time since the Norman-Webster combination’s been together. When Greg asked me to drive the filly, I knew she goes pretty nice so I had to get it right eventually, I didn’t have any luck last week. She got an easy lead time and the first quarter wasn’t special, then she dashed up really nice.”
Trainer Greg Norman added, “Very special to win tonight. My (late) Dad (Reg) used to come to all the Breeders Crown’s and loved it. To win one with her tonight is very, very special. She’s a very nice horse and done the job tonight. She’s had no luck, she’s been racing well and going well. Tonight it all fell into place and is just nice to win a race.”
Just Rockon Bye has had 7 wins this season for $46,429 in earnings and now has career statistics of 46 starts, for 19 wins, 4 seconds and 7 thirds, for $104,714 in stakes.
Sandwiched in-between these two great wins was possibly the epic performance of the night; a win by another filly bred at Breckon Farms.
Our Princess Tiffany (Art Major / Dancing Diamonds), bred by Braeden and Caroline Whitelock, won the Group 1 $290,000 Always B Miki Alabar Breeders Crown Series 21 (2YO Fillies) Final after a very brave effort having to sit parked outside local star Kualoa for most of the race, running the second-to-last quarter down the back the final time in a staggering 27 seconds and still fighting all the way to the line for her win. The overall time of 2:40.4 (Mile Rate 1:55.3) was impressive and faster than the 2YO Colts & Geldings race and exactly the same time as the 3YO Colts & Geldings, so it was certainly a great effort, by a filly described by her co-trainer Mark
Purdon as “the best juvenile filly he and Natalie [Rasmussen] have trained.”
Driver Mark Purdon said after the race, “She was very courageous and full credit to her. She took quite a bit out of herself over-racing, which surprised me a bit. Down the back I just let her roll, so we got down the back pretty good. We were both off the bit at the quarter, but it was just survival of the fittest.”
Our Princess Tiffany made it 9-wins-from-9-starts to remain unbeaten in her career to date, winning three Group 1’s and a Group 2 for Braeden and Caroline Whitelock and Phil
and Margaret Creighton, for impressive stake earnings of $369,400. She thus emulates the feat of Partyon, who was raced by the Breckon Farms – The Top Ten Syndicate and won the Harness Jewels-Breeders Crown double two years ago. Partyon won her first 10 races in a row, something Princess Tiffany has a chance to also achieve after she returns from a well-earned spell.
If ever there was a certainty in racing, it’s that Princess Tiffany will be crowned New Zealand 2YO Filly of the Year at the HRNZ Awards to be held on the 29th September at Alexandra Park.
There was also another victory for a New Zealand trained, owned and bred horse on the night, with Our Show Gait (Majestic Son / Sierra Roydon) winning the Group 1 $70,000 Yabby Dam Racing Breeders Crown Series 20 (3YO Trotting Fillies) Final. She is trained by Regan Todd and was also driven by Mark Purdon and was bred by DJ Bennett and LA Joyce, to be raced by Cheryl Rasmussen.
Unfortunately, it didn’t work out quite so well on the night for I’m Anothermasterpiece, co-owned by the Breckon Racing Syndicate, along with Glenys & Phil Kennard, Jim & Anne Gibbs and Garry & Kerry Woodham and trained and driven by Mark Purdon. In the Group 1 $290,000 Woodlands Stud Breeders Crown Series 21 (2YO Colts & Geldings) Final, he was checked out of the race at the start and while mounting a huge effort after an excellent drive, he just found his early exertions a little too much when they ran a sizzling last 800m in 54.5 seconds and had to settle for a valiant 3rd placing, only 5.4m from the winner.
Two Australian Harness Racing stars were to the fore on the night. Record-breaking reinsman Chris Alford was once again a dominant player, winning four of the eight Group 1’s on offer and trainer Emma Stewart with her three wins on the night equalled the Australian record for the most wins in a season, reaching an incredible 299 when Speak No Evil took out the Group 1 $195,000 Woodlands Stud Breeders Crown Series 20 (3YO Fillies) Final. For good measure, Emma had another win at Warragul the following day (Sunday) and so was to set a new Australian Record of 300 wins, with a win with Tiger Storm. He was very aptly driven by Chris Alford, Australia’s leading driver, who himself also set a national record for driving wins this season and is now currently sitting at 456 wins for the season. Emma has since won another 6 races and so her season total currently stands at a staggering 306 wins.
Well done and CONGRATULATIONS to all successful participants on the night !!!