The Australasian Breeders Crown Finals day at Tabcorp Park Melton, just outside of Melbourne, on Sunday the 27th August, was once again a pleasing day for the New Zealand Harness Racing Industry.
Firstly, on the Friday night prior to “Super Sunday”, the NZ bred Aldebaran Ay M took out the Group 2 Breeders Crown 4YO Trotting Mares Championship in fine fashion and Conon Bridge finished 3rd in the Group 2 Breeders Crown 4YO Trotting Entires & Geldings Championship.
Then on Breeders Crown Day itself, amongst some cold winds and unpleasant rain and while it was not up to the dizzy heights of last year as far as outright success was concerned, the Kiwis were quickly in the action, when in Race 2, the Group 1 $90,000 ALDEBARAN PARK BREEDERS CROWN SERIES 20 (2YO TROTTING FILLIES) FINAL, the New Zealand bred, owned and trained Our Renezmae was the winner, with NZ bred Amour De Frere was a good 3rd placing. Renezmae is a filly by The Pres out of City Lane, who was bred by Michelle Craig and is owned by DS Harrington, MG Green, NJ Green, JA Cruickshank, LE Hall, NL Smith and PJ Bush, so congratulations to all concerned.
Race 3 brought another success for NZ breeding, when War Spirit took out the Group 1 $65,000 WOODLANDS STUD BREEDERS CROWN SERIES 19 (3YO TROTTING COLTS & GELDINGS) FINAL narrowly. He is by Monarchy out of Sylvias Star and was bred by Tavistock Breeding Ltd and trained by Andy Gath for owners Jenkscraft Pty Ltd.
The next event, Race 4, the Group 1 $190,000 WOODLANDS STUD BREEDERS CROWN SERIES 19 (3YO FILLIES) FINAL, saw the appearance of star NZ filly Partyon, bred by Woodlands Stud Ltd themselves and raced by the Breckon Farms – The Top Ten Syndicate. She was a brave 3rd placing after having to face the breeze for most of the way, in an event won by her Australian arch rival Petacular.
Race 5, the Group 2 $50,000 HYGAIN BREEDERS CROWN CHAMPIONSHIP (4YO ENTIRES & GELDINGS), featured the Breckon Farms bred Code Black who was a fast-finishing 3rd placing and the Breckon Farms reared Moonrock who faded to 6th after sitting parked virtually the entire race.
Race 6, the Group 1 $285,000 ALWAYS B MIKI BREEDERS CROWN SERIES 20 (2YO FILLIES) FINAL, saw a huge performance by the winner Nostra Villa, to down the New Zealand bred, owned and trained Our Angel Of Harlem, a filly by Mach Three out of Paradise City, that was bred and is owned by RB and AM Ward and is trained by Barry Ward. The $1.60 favourite for this race was NZ bred, owned and trained filly Our Bettor Joy who was disappointing in fading to finish in 4th placing.
The Group 1 $190,000 IRT BREEDERS CROWN SERIES 19 (3YO COLTS & GELDINGS) FINAL was Race 7 on the card and featured the NZ bred (Motu Lodge Stud Ltd) Bettor’s Delight / Silksngems gelding, Motu Meteor, owned by Meg and Merv Butterworth and trained by Kerryn Manning, who was caught wide for much of the race and finished a good 3rd placing. The race was won in fine style by top Australian colt Our Little General (Mach Three / Kabbalah Karen B) in a fast 1:54 Mile Rate, with the Kiwi favourite for the race The More The Better breaking and tailing off.
Race 8 was the Group 1 $285,000 WOODLANDS STUD BREEDERS CROWN SERIES 20 (2YO COLTS & GELDINGS) FINAL, that was taken out by the New Zealand colt King Of Swing (Rocknroll Hanover / Twist And Twirl) in fine fashion, downing the fancied Australian duo of Poster Boy and Colt Thirty One. King Of Swing was bred by Breckon Farms Ltd, is owned by Lincoln Farms Ltd, SB Fleming, RG Fleming and N McAlister and is trained by Ray Green. Congratulations must go to all connections.
The Group 1 $65,000 YABBY DAM RACING BREEDERS CROWN SERIES 19 (3YO TROTTING FILLIES) FINAL was Race 9 on the programme and featured the NZ bred (Small Car World Ltd), owned (Small Car World Ltd) and trained (Cran Dalgety) Chevron Express (Muscle Mass / Kathy Galleon) who ran a good 3rd placing to the Australian hotpot and impeccably bred Dance Craze (Muscle Hill / La Coocaracha).
The last on the card was Race 10, the Group 2 $50,000 NEVELE R STUD BREEDERS CROWN CHAMPIONSHIP (4YO MARES), that included the NZ bred (Breckon Bloodstock Ltd) and second favourite Just Rockon Bye, who unfortunately locked wheels, was checked and broke to take no further part in the race, won by the favourite Heavens Trend (Rock N Roll Heaven / Trend Setter).
This completed a good day for the New Zealanders, having won three Finals and adding a further 6 placings on the day – an excellent effort and only one win and one place short of the incredible result last year.
Breckon Farms had 6 horses featuring in Finals and Championships, that were bred on the farm and/or are owned by them and these performed well, with the following results:-
Partyon (3rd – 3YO Fillies Final)
Code Black (3rd – 4YO E&G Championship)
Moonrock (6th – 4YO E&G Championship)
Rock Diamonds (5th – 3YO C&G Final)
King Of Swing (1st – 2YO C&G Final)
Just Rockon Bye (10th – 4YO Mares Championship)
Only one horse (3 last year) donned the Breckon Farms silks on the day and this of course was Partyon (Bettor’s Delight / Beach Parade) prepared by Mark Purdon and driven by Luke McCarthy for a valiant 3rd placing and make for an exciting day for a good number of Breckon Farms Syndicate Members who were oncourse for the big occasion.
The star driver of the day was Chris Alford, affectionately known as “The Puppet”, who took out no less than three Finals, as well as placing in three others. This capped off a brilliant season for Chris that saw him become the first Southern Hemisphere driver to achieve 6,000 wins, as well as winning the Victorian state and metropolitan premierships.
Another notable feat was completed a few days after the Breeders Crown had been and gone and that was after Ameretto followed up her brilliant win in the Mares Graduate FFA Breeders Crown at Bendigo the previous week, with an equally impressive win in the Group 2 Breeders Crown Graduate FFA on the 25th August, for driver Kerryn Manning. This took Kerryn’s lifetime winning drives tally to 3,705 and equalled the total of retired Hall of Fame American jockey Julie Krone and is more than 1,500 wins clear of the next best harness racing driver Rita Drees from Germany.
It was only two days later, on the 29th August that the new World Record was to be set, with Kerryn steering expat Kiwi Mr Mojito to victory in a fast 1:53.9 Mile Rate for 1680m at Terang in Victoria, becoming the most successful woman driver of all-time, notching up win number 3,706. Kerryn is also the first female to win the Victorian metropolitan and state drivers’ premierships, the first to be Australia’s leading driver, and the first driver to win more than 300 races in a season, so congratulations Kerryn !!!