Fire Bug paces 1:52.2 at Menangle

J Scott Latest News


The Overport Lodge developed filly (Wahs) Fire Bug was an impressive first-up winner at Menangle (NSW) on Tuesday, April 23, in 1:52.2 (1609m) for her new connections.

Fire Bug (3f Mach Three-Timeless Perfection), bred by Cavalla Bloodstock and a debut winner at her only NZ start at Winton in 1:55.3 (1609m) on March 23, was subsequently sold out of the Mark Jones stable.

Now raced by Scott McDonald from the Peter Hanson stable, (Wahs) Fire Bug was given every chance from the two gate by Luke McCarthy in Tuesday’s Alabar Pace.

She trailed Major Obahma until the home turn, then switched wide she cruised to the front and won with a bit in hand by 7.5 metres in the $9540 C0 pace.

Fire Bug is the third foal and individual winner for her Christian Cullen dam Timeless Perfection (1:56.9, seven wins from only 13 starts), having left earlier winners, Time Traveller (1:48.2, nine wins & $36,888) and First Class Lady (1:57.4, four wins & $31,155).

Her fourth foal, the two-year-old Plutonium Lady (2:00.8, qual), also shows promise for the Mark Jones stable. She ran seventh at her only start to date in Sweet On Me’s Magness Benrow Sires Stakes Fillies Heat at Addington on April 12.

Timeless Perfection is a half-sister to former smart NZ pacer, Malak Uswaad (1:49.4, USA, 21 wins & over $567,074), and Red Moon Rising (1:52.6, six wins $42,820), while an unraced sister Lady Moonlight has left another smart Australian winner in Blue Moon Rising (1:52.8, 13 wins & $135,294), the 2016 Victoria Tatlow 2YO Stakes and NSW Sapling Stakes winner, and another Overport Lodge winner in Getarattleon (1:57.2, four wins & $32,435).

Grand-dam Sirius Flight (1:54.4, US) is a daughter of 1993 NZ Oaks winner Pacific Flight (1:51.2, US, 47 wins & $562,345), a sister to smart 1980s pacer The Unicorn (1:57.8, 29 wins & $488,424).

Pacific Flight, who left a smart USA pacer in Droppinthehammer (1:50.2, nine wins & $323,617), has also starred in NZ as the grand-dam of Chicago Blues (p3, 1:58.1), the dam of NZ-bred WA superstar Chicago Bull (1:51.6, 40 wins from 61 starts & $1.6 million).

Fire Bug furthers a good recent run by ex-Overport Lodge pacers in Australia with Si Si Senior winning three of four NSW starts for the Michael Formosa stable.

He overcame the outside of the second row in his most recent win at 50-to-one in the $15,900 Central West Equine Honouree Stakes Final at Bathurst on March 29, in 1:55.3 (1730m).

TIMARU HRC, Wednesday, April 24

J Scott The Inside Word

TIMARU HRC, Wednesday, April 24

Race 2: EYRE I GO (7, Mark), 2600m std: “Still learning and improving. An outside place chance.”

Race 3: NAIYA FRANCO (5, Sheree Tomlinson) & SMOKE N REACTOR (SCR), mob. 2000m: “Naiya Franco is badly graded in this so looking for luck.”

Michelle and Sheree Tomlinson, each-way hopes despite starting off the unruly at Timaru today. (Photo courtesy of Bruce Stewart).

Race 4: UPTOWN LADY (8, Samantha Ottley), 2600m std: “Gets a nice race and if she begins good will be a winning hope.”

Race 5: GIMMEFIVEMINUTESMORE (8, Mark), 1, 10m, 2600m std: “Nice field and has got to do things right to rate as an upset top four chance.”

Race 6: MICHELLE (17, Sheree Tomlinson), UR2, fr, 2600m std: “Winnable race but hard off the unruly. Has an each-way chance.”

Race 11: QUEENOFDANCE (13, Sheree Tomlinson), mob. 2000m: “Fresh-up and will need the run but with luck can run a place.”

Mark’s outside drive

Race 8: MR FAHREINHEIT (4), fr, 2600m std: “Racing good and looks a strong each-way chance.”

Rock N Joy wins first-up in NSW

J Scott Latest News


Rock N Joy relished the sprint trip, first-up, in New South Wales, at Narrabri on Monday.

The Mark Jones and Aaron Goadsby-trained mare, backed into $2.90 favouritism late, had a good run through from three on the second row for driver Guy Chappie, quickly finding a one -out and one-back trail.

Rock N Joy, a first-up winner after returning to New South Wales on Monday.

Left in the open a lap and a half out, Chappie made a spirited play for the lead, crossing second favourite Aunty Bessy beginning the final lap.

Aunty Bessy was out and challenging again before the home straight, with the two favourites having the finish to themselves.

Rock N Joy kept kicking to hold by 1.4 metres in a 1:57.9 mile rate for the 1760m.

Bred in Australia, Rock N Joy, from a strong-winning NZ filly family, was purchased as a yearling for the Mark Jones stable by Starmark Ltd and Grant Hatton.

The daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven won two of 22 NZ starts (Gore and Westport) but had settled for four placings in NZ since December 30, including a second to Dreamy Damien at Addington on April 12.

She’s the first foal from Joyfuljoy (1:51.6, US), who won the 2009 Harness Jewels 3YO Diamond at Ashburton in a then NZ 3YO fillies record of 1:54.4 for the Mark Purdon and Grant Payne stable.

Joyfuljoy racked up 11 NZ wins including the 2009 NZ Sires Stakes 3YO Fillies Final and ran second to Lauraella in the 2009 Great Northern Oaks.

Joyfuljoy (Mach Three-Joyfulbelle, 1:56.3) furthered the second half of her career in North America with six additional US wins, taking her earnings to $480,442.

Her younger half-sister Bettor Joy, a winner of $308,000 in Australasia for the Cran Dalgety stable, ran second to North American stablemate Shartin N in the big $US402,600 Blue Chip Matchmaker Final at Yonkers last Sunday (NZ time).

Jumpforjoy (1:55.8, seven wins including the 2011 Southland Oaks), a Bettor’s Delight sister to Bettor Joy, has left another smart filly/mare in Somejoy (1:53.2), who won eight of 20 starts for the Clark Barron stable.

Also on the Narrabri progamme, lightly-raced stablemate A Gift From Heaven (3g Rock N Roll Heaven-Shes Ezy) suffered his first defeat in three starts.

A Gift Of Heaven, from three on the second row, led the chase behind front-running $1.10 favourite Uncle Jord, who won easily by 17.4 metres in a 1:59.7 rate for the 2160m.


J Scott The Inside Word


NZ METRO TC, Saturday, April 20

Race 2: MICHELLE (14, Sheree Tomlinson), UR 1, fr, & SIOUX PRINCESS (17, Laura McKay), UR 4, 2600m std: “Michelle has an each-way chance if she trots, while the same applies to Sioux Princess.”

BANKS PENINSULA TC, Monday, April 22

Immortal Change, an upset chance at Motukarara on Monday. Photo: Race Images).

Race 3: ROCKAHULA JOE (15, Samantha Ottley), mob. 2000m: “Has been disappointing so hoping the beach has helped him.”

Race 5: IMMORTAL CHANGE (8, Sheree Tomlinson), mob. 2000m: “Has had no luck and is good enough to be chance.”

Race 7: GIMMEFIVEMINUTESMORE (12, E2), 2170m std: “Second emergency.  Best on grass tracks to date so looking for improvement if he gets a start.”

NARRABRI (NSW), Monday, April 22

Race 2: A GIFT FROM HEAVEN (10, Guy Chappie), mob. 2160m: “Doing everything asked but tougher ask from the draw this time.”

Race 6: ROCK N JOY (9, Guy Chappie), mob. 1760m: “In good touch before going across and looks a good each-way chance.”

INVERCARGILL HRC, Tuesday, April 23


HRNZ applauds government action

J Scott Latest News


By Garrick Knight

Harness Racing New Zealand has welcomed the announcement made on Wednesday by Racing Minister, Winston Peters, that he says will revitalise the domestic racing industry.

According to Peters, the Government will introduce two new pieces of legislation before the year is out designed to overhaul an industry in a “serious state of decline”.

“The Coalition Government supports the overall intent of the Messara Report and is committed to reforms,” said Peters in a statement.

“We know we have the grass, the race animals, and the people to help the industry achieve its potential.

“As a result, Cabinet has agreed to a stepped approach with the introduction of two Bills to amend the Racing Act 2003.”

The first, which is expected to be enacted by the start of July, will put into immediate effect a transitional governance arrangement ostensibly ending the New Zealand Racing Board (NZRB) in its current iteration.

The Bill proposes the NZRB be reconstituted as the Racing Industry Transitional Authority (RITA) to drive the transition of the industry.

“It is essential to have this transitional governance in place,” said Peters.

“RITA will have a legislative mandate that encompasses change management as well as the current business-as-usual functions and powers of the NZRB.

“As a result of RITA’s work, the government anticipates a second racing amendment Bill to proceed later in 2019.

“It will implement the remaining reforms including post-transition governance,” he said.

As well the change in governance, an expected pay off to the bill amendments will be the enforcement of tariffs on overseas bookmakers who take bets from New Zealanders.

Harness Racing New Zealand’s General Manager, Peter Jensen, says Peters commitment to implementing the recommendations of the controversial industry review written by Australian John Messara last year was to be applauded.

“We welcome the announcements from the Minister of Racing today and congratulate him on leading the systemic change that the industry requires through the Messara review and the subsequent implementation of its core recommendations.

“We are delighted that legislation is on the way to enable the industry to rightly generate revenue from offshore bookmakers reflecting the wagering they take on product we provide.

“HRNZ is committed to continuing to work with the Ministerial Advisory Committee and the associated working groups to deliver meaningful and lasting industry change.”

Courtesy of Garrick Knight, NZ Harness News


J Scott The Inside Word

NZ METRO TC, Friday, April 12

Race 3: EYRE I GO (4, Mark), mob. 1980m: “Fresh-up and badly in need of racing so will improve with it but an each-way chance.”

Miss Ruby Sunshine, an outside place chance in the Magness Benrow 2YO Fillies Heat at Addington on Friday.

Race 4: ROCK N JOY (5, Mark), mob. 2600m: “Went good on Sunday and if she races up to that here is a good each-way hope.”

Race 6: PLUTONIUM LADY (3, Mark) & MISS RUBY SUNSHINE (5, Samantha Ottley), mob. 1980m: “Plutonium Lady is a nice filly in the making but still learning so one to follow.”

“Miss Ruby Sunshine is racing good and in a strong field but is an outside place hope.”

Race 8: SMOKE N REACTOR (2, Sheree Tomlinson), mob. 2600m: “Good win last week but is way up in grade and may struggle.”

Race 9: MICHELLE (5, Sheree Tomlinson) & SIOUX PRINCESS (15, Laura McKay), mob. 2600m: “Providing Michelle does things right she is a good each-way hope.”

“Sioux Princess gets in the right race and if she behaves is a winning hope.”

Race 10: IMMORTAL CHANGE (1, Samantha Ottley) & NAIYA FRANCO (7, Mark), mob. 2600m: “Immortal Change gets the draw but needs luck.”

“Naiya Franco doesn’t race as good as she works so looking for improvement.”

WINTON HRC, Saturday, April 13

Race 1: MAJESTIC ROLLON (3, Samantha Ottley), 2400m std: “If she does things right is an outside place hope.”

RANGIORA HRC, Sunday, April 14

Race 5: ROCK N JOY (4, Mark), mob. 2000m: “Gets the draw to be a hope.”


Mark’s outside drives

Race 4: CHILLER BAY (5), mob. 2000m: “Didn’t fire on the slushy track in the Derby, but if he goes as good as he did in the Flying Stakes, could bounce back.”

Race 8: MR FAHRENHEIT (3), fr, 2600m std: “In good touch. Up in grade, but a good each-way again chance off the front.”

Tomlinson continues form at Newcastle

J Scott Latest News


Sheree Tomlinson’s big week continued at Newcastle on Saturday night.

The youngest female centurion in NZ is also making a name for herself across the Tasman.

In late November, she won the Australasian Young Drivers Championship in Queensland.

This weekend she’s winning in New South Wales, continuing her association with a couple of the Mark Jones and Aaron Goadsby runners, on Saturday and Sunday.

The Overport Lodge junior teamed up with stable runner  Lulu Le Mans for a half-head win in 1:56.7 for the 1609m in the NBN Televison Two-Year-Old Pace.

The $1.75 favourite finished best from three back in the running, and is is expected to derive benefit from the race, her first for nearly a month.

This was the second win in five starts for Lulu Le Mans, a daughter of champion sire Bettor’s Delight and the first foal from big-winning McArdle mare, Elusive Chick.

She was Group Two-placed at her previous two starts at Menangle, finishing third against the colts to Mach Dan in the $50,000 Slingsby Holdings Sapling Stakes on March 2, then second to Eye Can Run in the $50,000 Allied Express Pink Bonnet on March 9.

Sheree reunites with capable three-year-old Barrett at Armidale on Sunday.

Barrett, a luckless eighth in the Bathurst Gold Chalice on March 29, was reined by Tomlinson for back-to-back NZ wins at Roxburgh and Addington on January 4 and February 15.

She also drove him when third to Robyns Playboy and Memphis Tennessee in the Caduceus Club Of Southland Super Nugget Final at Invercargill on March 9.

Sheree Tomlinson creates history with 100th win

J Scott Latest News


History was made in cold and wet conditions at Forbury Park on Thursday night when Sheree Tomlinson because the youngest female driver to win 100 races in New Zealand.

The 20-year-old completed the feat when the Shane Matheson-trained Hurricane Banner stomped up a slushy passing lane to win.

Tomlinson saluted as she notched a milestone that she said she never would have dreamed of achieving so early in her career when she started driving.

Sheree Tomlinson, after winning the 2018 Australasian Young Drivers Championship.

“That was great, I definitely did not think I would drive 100 winners only in my third season of driving.”

The accomplishment sits beside her Group 1 victory in the 2017 Dominion with Amaretto Sun and her win in the Australasian Young Drivers Championships last year, in an epic top-three achievements in a short, but stellar career.

Adding more wins to the three she scored in the young drivers’ competition is the next target on Tomlinson’s agenda.

Her employer, Mark Jones, has given Tomlinson the chance to further her career in New South Wales this weekend.

She will drive possible Harness Jewels raider, Lulu Le Mans, from Jones’ Australian stable, at Newcastle on Saturday night.

Tomlinson will also reunite with Barrett at Armidale on Sunday.

“I really want to take the opportunity to go over there and drive; not many New Zealand drivers get the chance to drive in Australia.”

“I have only been working for Mark for a year and he has given me a lot of opportunities.”

As well as Jones, Tomlinson paid tribute to family for supporting her career.

The reinswoman also said she would not have been able to reach the heights she has without the help of trainers all over the South Island.

“Obviously I wouldn’t be able to drive at the big meetings if I didn’t get the wins before then.”

“So, that is down to the trainers all over the country that have supported me.”

Shane Matheson has been one of the trainers that have got behind Tomlinson’s career.

She said it was a thrill to notch her 100th win with Hurricane Banner in his stable’s colours.

“They are one of my main stables and it is great to get a milestone like this for them.

“They support me a lot driving down here. And the horse, too; he has been so honest.”

Tomlinson continued on her winning way with an upset victory at Addington’s premier meeting on Friday night, reining home Smoke N Reactor for Jones.

  • Courtesy of Jonny Turner, NZ Harness News


J Scott The Inside Word

NZ METRO TC, Friday, April 5

Race 2: SMOKE N REACTOR (1, Sheree Tomlinson) & UPTOWN LADY (5, Samantha Ottley), 2600m std:

“Smoke N Reactor put in a good effort last week. A stand start over 2600m is of concern but a place hope.”

“Uptown Lady is racing good and providing she steps good is a winning hope.”

Race 8: MICHELLE (8, Terry Chmiel), UR 1, fr; & SIOUX PRINCESS (10, Sheree Tomlinson), UR 3, fr, 2600m std:

“Michelle is in a tough race so may struggle.”

“Sioux Princess is racing out of her class so is needing luck.”

Lulu Le Mans, looking to advance her record with Sheree Tomlinson to drive at Newcastle on Saturday night.

NEWCASTLE (NSW), Saturday, April 6

Race 8: LULU LE MANS (7, Sheree Tomlinson), mob. 1609m: “Is fresh-up so will need the run but still has a winning chance.”

RANGIORA HRC, Sunday, April 7

Race 10: IMMORTAL CHANGE (9, Laura McKay) & ROCK N JOY (14, Olivia Thornley), mob. 2000m: “Immortal Change is on the improve. Has drawn bad but an upset place hope.”

“Rock N Joy is booked to race in Oz after this and will need luck.”

Race 11: ROCKAHULA JOE (10, Samantha Ottley), mob. 2000m: “He was poor last week and a real let down so needs to improve.”

ARMIDALE (NSW), Sunday, April 7

Race 5: BARRETT (1, Sheree Tomlinson), mob. 1609m: “Good draw and is in a strong field but a winning hope.”