Mitchell Harness Racing Stables
Stable News

Wizard Cracks The 1000


Prime Power may have got the most important job done at Alexandra Park last Friday but better things lie ahead. 

That is the opinion of trainer Todd Mitchell after his favourite horse helped him to the 1000-win winning drives milestone last week. 

The milestone could have come in less glamorous circumstances as Mitchell had a near full book at Hawera the day before, where he did his best but never looked like driving a winner. 

Which probably didn’t bother him too much as he got to achieve the mark on his best horse in the opening race on a big night at Alexandra Park. 

“I would have been happy to drive it at Hawera and the club down there would have loved it to but it wasn’t to be,” said Mitchell. 

“But to get it here behind this horse is obviously special. 

“He is the horse I look forward to working the most when I get up in the morning.” 

But that doesn’t mean we saw the best of Prime Power last Friday, even if he did enough to make the boss the 22nd driver to rein 1000 winners in New Zealand. 

He settled a long way off the leader Bonechip but after working up to fourth in the five-horse field he worked his way to the lead relatively effortlessly in the space of 200m with a lap to go. 

From there his $1.50 odds might have suggested her would win easily but Kincaslough stuck with him all the way up the straight and was only a head away at the line in a brave Alexandra Park debut. 

Considering they broke 3:27 for the 2700m standing start on amended time both the quinellamates went good but Mitchell is adamant Prime Power can go better. 

“He wasn’t quite at his peak tonight but he has a lot of big races coming up and he will improve with that,” he says. 

“I am thrilled to get the 1000 on him but now he can be aimed at specific races because he has a lot of great races he can have a crack at.” 

** Read more about Todd Mitchell and his 1000-win milestone in January’s Harnessed.

Leading Reinsman Sprints To Rescue Driver

Mitchell Robertson

Racing stewards praised the heroic efforts of top reinsman Todd Mitchell after he chased and caught a horse whose unconscious driver was being dragged after a sickening crash.

James Stormont was knocked out when his horse American Angel hung out badly on the home turn of the Starfish Pace at Alexandra Park on Friday night, clipped the sulky of a horse alongside, crumpled in a heap, and rolled over the top of him.

Mitchell, right in behind driving Ucanifuwant, narrowly escaped being struck by Stormont’s sulky as it flipped. He fell sideways out of his cart, somehow regained his feet immediately, and started to chase after his horse.

But turning to see Stormont tangled up in the mangled sulky of American Angel, who was running uncontrollably, he went to his aid.

“I could see him folded up over the sulky bar and I thought he was dead. The cart was upside down and he was like a rag doll.”

American Angel swung round in a wide circle high up on the track, with Mitchell in pursuit, and then ambulance staff joined in the chase as they realised what was happening.

Just as Mitchell thought he wasn’t going to catch the horse, as it headed into the infield in a blind panic, it inexplicably turned towards him.

“I was getting tired but luckily I think the horse was just as tired and I caught it just before it ran into a concrete storm drain.”

Stormont’s helmet had been ripped off and Mitchell said he didn’t want to think about what would have happened had Stormont hit the concrete at full speed.

Stormont was unconscious when ambulance staff arrived and could remember nothing of the incident. Grazed, bruised, and very sore, he was taken to hospital with concussion.

CT scans in hospital overnight confirmed Stormont had no head, neck or spinal injuries, a friend, Michelle McGregor, said.

“He has internal bruising and bad memory loss. He can’t remember anything that’s happened in the last six weeks.”

Stormont, who was also kicked in the head by a young colt four months ago, is expected to be discharged today.

Stipendiary steward John Muirhead said Mitchell’s actions almost certainly prevented a disastrous outcome to one of the worst crashes at the Park in years.

In a chain reaction, Jay Abernethy, driving God Forbid, was flung high out of his seat, incredibly landing in the sulky of the horse beside him.

The hot favourite, valuable filly Lincoln’s Megastar, missed being brought down by centimetres but, as driver Maurice McKendry took evasive action, he locked wheels with Gold Elite, whose driver, champion junior Simon Lawson, was tipped out of his cart.

Lawson showed great courage to keep hold of the reins as he was dragged for more than 100 metres down the home straight.

American Angel’s trainer Jeremy Young said his filly looked to have choked down on the turn, but had only “bumps and bruises everywhere”, The horse was stood down for 28 days.


Easy On The Eye Brilliant in the Winter Cup

Mitchell Robertson

The Steven Reid trained Easy On The Eye backed up his super third to Terror To Love in the 5YO Emerald with a brilliant win in last night’s 2013 Auckland Trotting Club Winter Cup ($20,000).

Starting from the 35 metre back mark, Easy On The Eye looped the field and worked his way to the front, before strolling away for a comprehensive 5 ¾ lenghts win in the hands of Todd ‘The Wizard’ Mitchell, who took the reins on the Christian Cullen gelding to replace Peter Ferguson, who will once again take a break from driving while he gets further surgery on his hand.

Murphy Maguire finished into second after getting the trail behind Easy On The Eye for the majority of the last lap, while Secret Desire was just a further ½ length away in third.

Mitchell then went on to replace Ferguson on his own horse Carlos, who notched up his 12th win in what was his 100th start.

The quickest time of the night went to River Polka, who came from the outside of the gate to win in 2-40.5; 0.2 seconds quicker than the previous three-year-old fillies New Record of Precious Rose, while the biggest margin went to Sir Lincoln’s little sister Lincolns Megastar, who streeted her maiden rivals by 9 & ½ lengths.

Prime Power Breaks NZ Record in 3yo Ruby

Harnesslink Admin 01-Jun-2013

They won the New Zealand Cup with Homin Hosed in 1999 and now some 14 years later Todd Mitchell has combined with Prime Power and Bryan and Marilyn Macey to claim their first Harness Jewels title.

The trio achieved that feat in today’s (Saturday June 1)$100,000 Yaldhurst Hotel Ruby for 3yo trotters.

“I’m quite emotional at the moment. I’m so pleased for Bryan and Marilyn. This was their first Jewels win as well,” Mitchell aka ‘The Wizard’ said.

The son of Monarchy led for most of the way, outsprinting his 12 opponents in the home stretch winning easily in a national record time of1:56.53.

“I’ve never had a horse that has shown so much natural ability from day one. I did the early preparation with him and I was a little gutted when Bryan took him back – but I’m more than pleased to have him back in my stable now,” Mitchell said.

Meanwhile Australian raider Blitzthemcalder put in a Herculean performance to finish sixth after galloping and losing approximately 60m at the start.

Winner’s time:1:56.53.

Last 800m: 56.79.

Last 400m: 26.94.

Second: Sheemon (Dexter Dunn).

Third: Paramount Queen (Blair Orange).

Margins: 2-1/4 lengths, ¾ length, half a neck.

Winning dividend: $11.10.

Trainer: Todd Mitchell

Owner: Bryan and Marilyn Macey.

Breeder: Bryan and Marilyn Macey.

Dixon & Mitchell Back in Gr 1 Winner’s Circle

Harnesslink Admin 08-Mar-2013

It’s been a couple of years between drinks but two of the North Island’s top horseman have experienced Group One harness racing glory at Alexandra Park tonight (Friday March 8).

Trainer Gareth Dixon and reinsman Todd Mitchell achieved that feat when Cyclone Prince won the Group One $100,000 Breckon Bloodstock Young Gun Cardigan Bay Stakes for 2-year-old pacing colts and geldings.

It was also a win for some of New Zealand’s best sportsmen. Current New Zealand cricketers Brendon McCullum (captain) and Kyle Mills have a share in the Mach Three colt, as does former All Black Ant Strachan.

“It’s great to be back winning a big race again,” Mitchell aka ‘The Wizard’ told Harnesslink. I think the last Group winner I trained was God Send for Michelle Wallis a couple of years ago,” he added.

Dixon said his last Group One winner came via his former champion mare Lizzie Maguire.

“This is a great feeling, especially to win a race like this for a great bunch of guys, all of whom are my friends. Many people might think this fella is underrated but I’ve always had a high opinion of him.

“He’s a quality animal. I’ll put him out now and then aim him for a Sires Stakes heat here in a few weeks,” Ardmore based Dixon said.

Mitchell used all his wizardry to win the 1700m mobile. He sat back on the fence and then went to sit parked. That was the winning of the race.

“I could have stayed three back on the fence, but I wanted to put him in the race. He was always travelling so well. He was so relaxed. It was because of that he won the race,” Mitchell said.

Cyclone Prince stopped the clock in 2:04.6 with a mile rate of 1:58 even. He came his last 800m and 400m in 58.1 and 28 seconds.

Favourite Isaiah and Sky Major (Barry Purdon) were a head and 2-1/4 lengths back in second and third.

‘The Wizard’ Gets That Magical Feeling Again

Harnesslink: Mitchell Robertson 08-Feb-2013

Todd ‘the wizard’ Mitchell was reunited with that magical winning feeling Yesterday (Thursday February 7) When he reined home his first winner since returning from a nine-month bicarbonate related suspension. The elusive win Mitchell has been looking for, for the past four-meetings, came at the second-day of the Manawatu harness racing meeting aboard the Graham Neill trained Lady Of Eyre.

“I should have won on my first night back driving with Prime Power, but he was walking around at the start in a pacing action, and they let the tapes go before I had a chance to stand him; so he came away in a pace,” said Mitchell.

“He put in a huge performance to finish third, after losing a heap of ground at the start,” he added.

Yesterday’s (Thursday) winner Lady Of Eyre, wasn’t slow away at all, leading from start to finish, just holding off the late bid of Huckleberry Finn, a horse that Mitchell drove on the first day of the two-day Manawatu meeting.

It was an eye opening nine months for Mitchell, and at times; he thought about throwing the game away.

“You don’t realise how much racing takes over your life. I really enjoyed my time at Pencarrow Stud. It’s is a great outfit, and Leon Casey has a good team there.

“I had so much more spare time in the weekends to spend with the kids. For example, going to watch my youngest daughter Taylor play soccer, something I generally can’t do, due to Saturday workouts.”

After previously being indecisive about returning to the sport, it only took the four-time New Zealand Cup winning driver one drive on a nice horse to catch the harness racing bug all over again.

“I was driving Prime Power at the workouts, and I got that rush again, that rush you get when you’re driving a really good one.”

Todd Mitchell’s father Robert will now be able to slip back into retirement after taking over from Todd during his absence.

“He will be pleased about that, as he will now be able to spend a lot more time on the golf course,” laughed Mitchell.

Trainer/driver Gene Robb also played a vital role during Mitchell’s suspension and will now stay on as stable foreman.

“We have a lot of bread and butter horses at the moment but no real stars.”

“I’m looking forward to the return of Silent Night next week; she had a win and ran two placings from three starts, last season as a two-year-old and should do a good job this time in.

“Cullies Delight is another one who has been knocking on the door for a while now and should pick up a win at short notice,” stated Mitchell.

Mitchell will be looking to purchase some new stock at the upcoming Australasian Classic Yearling Sale on February 18.

“I have one confirmed client who is definitely buying, and hopefully I’ll be able to land a few others along the way.”

‘The Wizard’s’ second win back shouldn’t take him anywhere near as long as his first one did, as Prime Power is competing in race two tonight (Friday February 8) at Alexandra Park.

“He has drawn three so hopefully he will stand up alright, and trot away safely. If he does he should be winning, he really is a nice horse,” Mitchell concluded.

Huge Upset in the G3 Northern Breeders Trot

Harnesslink Admin 17-Dec-2011

Manchester Lass

It’s been 13 months but the wait was well worth it. November 2010 was the last time the Michelle Wallis and Todd Mitchell harness racing duo combined to win a Group race. Tonight (Friday December 16) at Alexandra Park Manchester lass upset the applecart in the Group Three $25,000 Northern Breeders Stakes.

Even driver Todd Mitchell had his doubts about the 4-year-old daughter of Earl prior to the 2700m standing start event.

“I thought the 2700m might have tripped her up because she has felt a bit weak of late – but not tonight. She got a lovely trip behind Emma Hamilton all the way.

“I was delighted with the win. I thought she might get some of it after we lobbed the trail. Wow I almost forgot what it was like to win on a Premier night,” Mitchell said.

Trainer Wallis’s last Group win came on New Zealand Cup Day last year when Ima Gold Digger won the Group One $80,000 New Zealand Trotting Free-For-All.

The public never rated Manchester Lass a chance. In fact they let her drift out to more than $64 to win. She trotted the 2700m stand in 3:35.69 (mile rate: 2:08.6) with final 800m sprints of 59.3 and 29 seconds.

The pace-making Emma Hamilton (Mark Purdon) was a neck back in second with 4-1/4 lengths back to Fayanni (Luk Chin) in third.

Manchester Lass is owned and bred by Mrs I.F. Steel, Mrs H. Steel, and R. P. Steel.

She has now won three of her 13 races and $24,490. It was Manchester Lass’s second win on the course and first from seven tried over the distance.

Christchurch Casino Inter Dominos – Transferred to Auckland

… the press release of 2/3/11 here (PDF required)

Trotter Escapes the Floods for Alex. Park Win

Harnesslink News Room 21-Jan-2011 NZT

Of all the harness racing owners that competed at Alexandra Park tonight (Thursday January 20) none deserved their win more than the Australian-based Cold Mountain Stud. Thirteen of the Queensland company’s horses drowned in last week’s floods, but thankfully its 2010 New South Wales Trotter-Of-The-Year My High Expectations was campaigning in New Zealand.

The America-bred 4-year-old son of Ken Warkentin arrived in New Zealand on November 30 – a day after winning at Bulli. He is currently being stabled at Michelle Wallis’s Waiuku barn and is in this country to earn enough dollars to qualify for the Harness Jewels Ruby Final at Ashburton on June 4.

He endorsed his Australian form when easily winning a 2700m standing start workout in 3:42.6 (mile rate: 2;12.6) at Alexandra Park on January 11. Tonight he more than rubber stamped that performance in his first New Zealand race.

Within 150m of the start My High Expectations and driver Todd Mitchell had found the lead from their 10m handicap. They then led throughout to win by half a length in 3:33.6 (mile rate: 2:07.2) with final 800m and 400m sprints of 59.4 and 29.5 seconds.

Mitchell was rapt with the run.

“There’s still a lot of improvement in him yet but he gives me the impression there’s a bit of bottom to him. He flew the start tonight and because of those manners I think he will develop into a very nice trotter.

“He has a nice gait and a really nice feel about him. I think he will develop into a nice Jewels prospect. Yes I want to stay with him,” Cambridge-based Mitchell said.

My High Expectations has never finished further back that third in nine Australian starts having won five times and placed on four occasions for $36,007. His best winning mile rate of two minutes even was recorded in the 3yo Trotters Mile at Menangle on May 11.

Trainer Wallis was delighted that Victorian Derby runner-up won for Clive Palmer and his Cold Mountain Stud owners and staff.

“They have been through hell lately and this is a nice tonic for them. He’s a nice horse with good manners and a lovely nature. He’s now had two standing starts in his career and won both of them.

“Age group trotting in New South Wales is a bit different to what it is here but the way he’s going he should develop into a nice Jewels prospect. He’s still learning and he’s a better racehorse than what he is in work, but even since his workout win he has improved.

“I’m proud to have trained a winner for the owners. They deserve a change of luck,” Wallis said.

Wallis, along with Tony Herlihy, was the most successful trainer at tonight’s Manukau meeting. She also conditioned the winner of the ninth event when 4-year-old Dream Vacation gelding Hot Holiday scored by 1-1/4 lengths in that $7,000 1-win trot.

Todd Mitchell and Ima Gold Digger have big win and a record to their names in the Group One New Zealand Trotting FFA

It might not have been the NZ trotting Cup but it was another Group One race that has given Todd Mitchell another notch in his driving belt, when he drove Ima Gold Digger to an easy 4-1/2 length win of the SEELITE WINDOWS & DOORS NEW ZEALAND TROTTING FFA MOBILE (Gr1) FFA, 2600m.

Todd has been the regular driver of Ima Gold Digger since being transferred to the Michelle Wallis stables at Waiuku, and of 17 starts they have won 6 and been placed another 3 times. However this time the win was of a special significance as not only was it a Group One race but it was done without the aid of a whip. Perhaps he will now become known as the “Gold Wizard”.

“I lost my whip at the 1400m and then got a lovely trip (three-wide) into the race. I wanted to save him for one run and that’s exactly the way it panned out. He’s really come of age this last month,” Cambridge-based Mitchell said.

Even with having the widest second row draw (16), Ima Gold Digger trotted the 2600m mobile in 3:13.3 (mile rate: 1:59.6) with final 800m and 400m surges of 59 and 29.8 seconds, giving him the New Zealand Record for an entire or gelding over 4 years of age, previously held by Romper Stomper set in the same race in 2007. He won by 4-1/2 and 1-1/2 lengths from Idid It Myway (Colin De Filippi) and Stylish Monarch (Ricky May).

Ima Gold Digger has now won 14 of his 63 starts and placed in five others for almost $220,000 in career stakes. It was his seventh win at Addington and 10th over the distance.

As for the NZ Trotting Cup 2011, Todd hopes to back but this time driving in both the big races. “I have driven four cup winners before and look forward to winning more, I’m not done yet!” said Todd.

Electronic Socks – Starts in the NZ Cup at Riccarton Park

A big Show and Cup week of racing was just that for Todd Mitchell who celebrated his short time as a Thoroughbred trainer by having a starter in the prestigious New Zealand Cup. Electronic Socks was to start down the favouritism list but did not disappoint a happy trainer and the Road Runner syndicate members who spent the weekend in Christchurch.

With a track that was too firm for the 6 year old mare by Electronic Zone (USA) from Star Socks (NZ) 1990, things were always going to be against her on this occasion.

“The start capped a big week for the Todd Mitchell Racing Stables and we look forward to it all again next year”, said Todd.

Ima Gold Digger and Todd Mitchell team up to take the Ashburton Flying Mile

Todd Mitchell after winning the Ashburton Flying Mile driving Ima Gold Digger

Todd Mitchell made the trip south to the Ashburton Trotting Club meeting on 25th October 2010 for two drives on horses trained by Michelle Wallis in their build ups to Cup Week in November.

It proved a good move as both Mitchell and Wallis left Ashburton with big smiles and proving their gelding Ima Gold Digger is ready to step out and show his class. As a odds on $19 outsider Ima Gold Digger showed his sheer speed, on what has become known as one of the fastest tracks in New Zealand, by winning The Pres Ashburton Trotters Flying Mile with sectional times of: Mile Rate: 1-56.7 Last 800m: 58.5 Last 400m: 28.7. 

After a controversial start which saw third favourite One Over Kenny declared a late scratching, driver Todd Mitchell quickly placed Ima Gold Digger parked. Before long they were turning off the back straight and Mitchell was letting the five-year-old go. Charging for home, second favourite Dr Hook tried his hardest to cut Ima Gold Digger down, but his run was too late. The son of Sundon took out the $35,000 Group 3 race with a neck to spare. Idid It Myway finished half-a-neck back in third.

Ima Gold Digger, and the team of Mitchell and Wallis, will next line up on Cup Day before competing in the Heller Dominion on Show Day.

Ima Gold Digger (inside No 7) winning at Ashburton T.C. 25-10-10

Long Overdue Update

An update for the stables is long overdue, so here is what has been happening.

Starting with Artistic Rulz notching up a win back in March followed by two 5th’s and a 9th for his next few starts. He has had a month’s work in the pool and will be heading back to the workouts in the next two or three weeks.

The ever promising Vokai had his first start in March running 2nd, following that up with another 2nd then a win at the start of April, which has now seen him sold to Perth.

Another sale from the stable has been that of Family Spirit, after a win at the workouts in April he has now headed off to the States to carry on his racing career.

One of the most rewarding training successes of late was at Cambridge on the 8th April when Vinnie Barbarino stepped onto the race track for the first time since January 2009. An injury forced break saw him spend 9 months in the spelling paddock to recover before coming back into work for a long slow preparation, which was made all worthwhile for owners Lee Seeds and Eian & Ruth Taylor, by blitzing his rivals by 4 1/2 lengths, with out even a workout under his belt.

Jilletto picked up her first win of her career at Alexandra Park in March and has been running consistently since with a nice 2nd in her most recent start.

Heza Holmes has also kept up his consistency with four second and a third from his last five starts……with a win hopefully just around the corner.

Another two that have also picked up their first wins have been trotter Count Malabar, in the hands of junior driver Simon McMullan, and Fireinthehole. both have also notched up placings over the last few months.

Colosa qualified at the start of April then winning a workout two weeks later, then stepping out for race night experience and is now having a break.

The next team member to have made it into the placings lately has been Flyin Along, definitely showing there should be some more wins on the way.

The final one to step into the winners circle was Don Giovani at Cambridge in the hands of Dexter Dunn.

Bettors Delight x Girl of your Dreams 2 year old gelding, The Playmaker, qualified at the end of March, now having a spell and will be back in work in the next few months in preparation for a race night start.

The Elsu x Payson Sally 2 year old colt, Apache Chief, which Todd bought at the sales in 2008 and syndicated, has made it to the workouts. He took his first workout experience in his stride, driven by Peter Ferguson, winning by 1 length, then a week later repeating the performance and again winning by 1 length. He will be heading for a qualifying trial within the next month.

Two more to look out for at the workouts in the next few weeks will be Avalon Sunset and trotter Mighty Scott.

Things have been a little quiet on the galloping front, Mons Calpe having four starts since the end of March but not quiet managing to make it to the winners circle. Now out for a break and will be back in work towards the end of winter.

Electronic Socks is back at the races now the tracks are wetter. Her first start at Matamata was a fantastic effort, ridden by Maija Vance with the 2kg claim. Slow away and trailing the field by 5-6 lengths she stormed home for 4th, 3 lengths off the winner. She will be lining up at Ellerslie on Monday the 7th June.

The Golden Snake gelding Hip Hop Snake made his race debut at Te Aroha, but has since been retired due to injury.

One other galloper to keep an eye out for will be the 5 year old Al Akbar gelding Safal Jack, who will be having his first trial under Todd’s name in the next few weeks.

Consistent & Constant Start to 2010

It’s been a busy couple of months racing and travelling for the team, hence the long wait for an update!

January was a very consistant month for us, with 14 starters finishing in the top 5 ten times. The month ended in a “day trip” with a truck load of horses to Tauranga, only to have been washed out with rain and sent home!

February marked the return to form of our most tightly assessed pacer, Family Spirit. After disappointing in his first two starts for Todd, a change in routine saw him run a gallant 3rd for Phil Butcher at Cambridge. This warranted a trip to Stratford where he claimed the Stratford Cup. Two weeks later he was back in the Manawatu to claim another two wins, the 2nd being the Palmerstonian. Also making a good impression on this trip to Palmy were Flying Along who had a 2nd and a win the second night for Josh Dickie, and Count Malabar, who after galloping when prominent the first day put his best hoof forward for a nice third on the final day.

One to watch who is set to make his debut at Auckland on the 19th March is the nicely bred “Vokai”, who won his qualifying trial at Pukekohe in a very smart 2.35 in the hands of Todd MacFarlane. Also due to qualify shortly is a 2 year old gelding named “The Playmaker”, who has bowled along nicely and ran an honest third at his first workout.

The galloping team is ticking over, with Novice Mistress running a fantastic effort in her swansong at Rotorua, now in the broodmare paddock awaiting her first foal.

Baileys Dream & Todd

Mons Calpe made his debut run, leaving a little to be desired his first two runs. His third run at Rotorua on the 19th February showed he has the ability to make it to the winners circle for sure.

Electronic Socks and an unnamed 3yr old Golden Snake gelding are waiting for a bit more give in the ground before stepping out again and High Priest is now in the spelling paddock after a consistant campaign.

As most know Todd travelled to Sydney to team up with Bailey’s Dream in the Interdom Final, and then again in the Auckland Cup, with a fantastic effort in the Auckland Cup all things going right Todd will hopefully be driving the winner in the Easter next month at Addington.

Christmas New Year in Review

The last few weeks over Christmas and New Years has been a busy time with mixed results.

Don Giovani, Hazel Maud and Electronic Socks have all gone out for a little break, Don Giovani and Hazel Maud racing like they needed a bit of a freshen up and Electronic Socks running the final of the Dunstan Stayers Championship (leading point scorer with a bonus for the trainer!) seemed to maybe find the rock hard ground a little too hard for her liking.

The maidener Fonzie had a great day out at Pirongia on Boxing Day winning his race, sitting in the trail behind on of Graeme Rogerson’s which decided to run to the outside rail on the home bend giving Fonzie a nice run through!

Novice Mistress, who is on a time limit now that she is in foal ran a super 3rd at Rotorua with Andy Webb aboard, she will be lining up again at Te Rapa on the 14th. 

The next winner was the galloping sprinter High Priest at Taupo, blinkers on for the first time, he jumped and jockey Rogan Norvall just kept him going and going. This win gives Todd his 4th galloping win just under a year since his first with Electronic Socks. High Priest will be lining up again on the 16th at Ellerslie.

Another galloper to look out for in the next few weeks will be the recently named Rock of Gibraltor gelding, Mons Calpe, who is heading towards being lined up very soon.

A trip up to Ruakaka with the pacers turned out to be rather disappointing with the team not really suited to the shifty track conditions. So not really much to report for there.

Elsu Sheila had a nice workout run on Saturday running second and could be lining up at the races in the next couple of weeks.

Still alot of young ones in the stable that will be ticking along until they are ready to qualify or go out for a break.

Ones to Watch

One to watch out for at the up and coming race meetings will be Elsu Sheila who qualified at Pukekohe on the 22nd December.

Christmas Eve at Cambridge will hopefully bring the stable a few winners, Don Giovani who wasn’t keen on “playing the game” last start will be lining up along with Heza Holmes who last start at Auckland ran a nice 5th a boys race with Shelley Baikie doing the driving.

Also lining up will be Live or Dana who 2 “starts” ago in an amateur race found winning form! With any luck he may find that again on Thursday. The other stable runners include Hazel Maud in the trot with Don Giovani and Artistic Rulz having his first start back since May.

Electronic Socks who has been in fine form with 2 wins in a row before a very unlucky run last weekend at Te Rapa, sitting three wide for alot of the trip. Doing her no harm she will be still lining up in the Dunstan Stayers Final on New Years day, and at this stage is the leading point scorer in the series.

A busy but very rewarding weekend of racing

It started off with Heza Holmes running second at Cambridge, a great effort for his first start back and will hopefully be in the winners cirlce again before long.

Saturday it was off to Counties with High Priest to run in the Counties Bowl, although he was running against some of the countries top sprinters he put in a brave effort beating a few home and by no means disgracing himself or the connections. Next start he will be back in his own grade and with any luck a win won’t be far away!

Sunday it was Te Rapa with Electronic Socks, she managed to top the weekend off nicely with a win, ridden by Andy Webb it was a tremdous performance. Stepping up from the 1400m last start to 2100m, this race being one of the Dunstan Championship qualifiers, the final being run on New Years Day at Ellerslie, which she is aiming for.

Northern Shorts

Michael Guerin

Todd Mitchell can barely hide his excitement now that Don Giovani is starting to live up to his promise.

The giant trotter made it two wins on end with an effortless victory last Thursday, his new found confidence being thanks in part to the addition of half-hopples to his gear.

While he was impressive at Alexandra Park at his previous start, Don Giovani looked far more professional last Thursday as the former rouge stepped straight to the lead.

After that the main interest was how much he would win by, the answer being four and three-quarter lengths with a 59.3 last 800m.

“He is getting better all the time and felt great. He just jogged it,” said Mitchell.

“He certainly feels like he could be an open class horse.”

Positive News

The owners of Novice Mistress are proud to announce that she is positively in foal to Sakhee’s Secret.

And Don Giovani Does It Again!

He has gone back to back wins now and just seems to be getting better and better. He dominated the field at Cambridge on the 5th by getting away the cleanest and quickest to date taking the lead just before the turn into the straight for the first time…..which was where he stayed.

Electronic Socks and High Priest put in superb efforts at Te Rapa on the 7th, with High Priest having to overcome the car park draw was urged forward by his jockey Rogan Norvall to take the lead, he fought well and ended up 7th. Considering the factors of the barrier draw with the effort to get to the front and the fact that it was his first run since the start of January this year his number one fan and owner Harmony Moki seemed rather satisfied with the run.

Electronic Socks as well was drawn wide, she sat back in the running and was still last with 600m to run, she showed nice dash when turning for home and tried hard to run 7th. As we all know 1400m is still a little short for her so once she is getting over the distance races there is going to be a lot of exciting times for all of the owners.

October in Review

A much more rewarding month for the stables with the first winners of the season now on the score board.

After ten months away from the race track the first winner came with Muscles Kiwi at Alexandra Park on the 9th October, he followed that race up with a nice second to Raydon a week later.

Next was from the galloping team with Novice Mistress at Te Aroha on the 21st, in her final campaign of her career she is making all her owners extremely proud with a fantastic effort for 4th at Matamata in her last outing. She has since been to The Oaks stud and been served by Sakhee’s Secret with her 16 day scan due on the 14th November. She will be racing again at Rotorua on the 19th November and all going well she will head for the Wanganui Cup at end of that month.

Finally the 3rd winner for the month was the much awaited win from Don Giovani, after his mind blowing run for 3rd at Cambridge on the 15th he put it all together rather nicely a week later. A little slow away but managing to catch the tail end of the field with just over a lap to go he ended up pulling away and with a winning margin of 2 ¾ lengths.

Still rather quiet with a lot of young ones making up the numbers in the stables. Although Heza Holmes ventured to the workouts, which also gave Brendan Harrison a drive to keep getting more experience, a nice quiet first run back and will be heading to the races about half way through the month of November. Also later in the month a few others making their way to the workouts will be, Fireinthehole, Elsu Sheila and Artistic Rulz.

On the galloping team again, Electronic Socks trailed at Cambridge over 950m, obviously much too short for her but tightened her up nicely for her run at Te Rapa on the 7th November.

September in Review

Another quiet month with not alot to report.

Don Giovani has resumed his racing and is starting to put it all together, he has been getting away a little slowly race night but at least cleanly and hopefully it won’t be long before he breaks the maiden ranks.

Bow Street Runner and Muscles Kiwi have had a couple of promising workouts and will be racing early to mid October.

Electronic Socks will be stepping out a the trials during the month, unfortunatley she won’t be making it to the New Zealand Cup this year, but there will still be exciting times with her over the summer!

August in Review

A rather quiet start to the season, with only 3 individual runners to the races, the best being McAlister which has seen him sold to the States. Another sale has been that of the stable star Sound of Thunder heading for Australia.

Back in work this month has been Keystone Copper, Satire and Heza Holmes, unfortunately Keystone Copper has suffered a tendon injury which has ended his racing career, the other two will be heading for the workouts in the next 6-8 weeks. Two others to look out for at the workouts in September are Aquadelmo, resuming after a 6 month break and Bow Street Runner who should be an exciting prospect over the summer months.

An anticipated return for Don Giovani will see him stepping out at the start of September, with everyone’s fingers and toes crossed that he will put everything together race night and we will see the class that has prevailed at the workouts.

Another much awaited return to work has been that of the galloping star of the stable Electronic Socks. With the aim of heading to the trials and the end of September, then hopefully heading to the races and the ultimate aim of the New Zealand Cup, with all involved being realistic in the fact the she will have to prove herself to make the field!!!

On the note of the gallopers, there has been an influx of them in the stable. Novice Mistress and High Priest joining the team along with a Rock of Gilbraltar x Dancing Nancies and a few other young ones which are working up behind the cart to get their fitness levels up before deciding on their ventures. Novice Mistress will be aiming for racing at Counties on $30,000 day in September. High Priest just back in work will be heading for a race in about 6 weeks. Shield Dancer has had a little break to recover from a virus and is fighting fit again ready to tackle a race at Palmerston North at the start of September.

We would also like to farewell Venla, who finished up at the end of August to head back to see her family in Finland for a few weeks then off to Sweden where she has a job all lined up. Venla was a great asset to the team, passionate about the horses with a great knowlegde of the industry and will be missed around the stable.

Around the Stables

It’s been a career best season for the ‘Waikato Whiz’ Todd Mitchell on all fronts…more starters than ever before, more stakes won and into the 30’s for the first time since he started out nine years ago.

There’s still plenty in action at present, with Count Malabar, Don Giovani, Doreen’s Dream, Hazel Maud, McAlister, Rum Ball and Best Time all still due to step out in Mitchell’s colours over winter. The latter, a 3-year-old Cammibest filly, is “no star, but should pick one up at short notice”.

Promising trotter Muscles Kiwi is in work again and due to join the list towards the end of the colder months, while last week’s winner McAlister could go for a spell soon and be aimed at the Country Cups when he comes back in.

The series is also being touted for Keystone Copper, who’s currently spelling, and out in the paddock with him are Artistic Rulz, Fireinthehole, Heza Holmes, Satire, The Little General and Vinnie Barbarino.

Magic Attack and Sound of Thunder are under offer to Australia and America respectively, but if for some reason their sales don’t go through they’ll carry on racing in the winter team.

In work and gearing towards resumptions in the spring are Aquadelmo, Bow Street Runner, Desert Jewel and Desert Wind; 2-year-old fillies Incubus (Dream Away-Phantom Fare) and Jillette (Mach Three-Club Sport) will qualify and then go out; Marika’s half brother Vokai (2g Elsu-Rush Machine) is “a nice big horse” that’s spelling but due in any day, and Mighty Scott, a 2-year-old Byrlin Boyz half brother to Calamity Gal, has just started jogging.

Mitchell says Ross Paynter broke in about 10 yearlings on his behalf, and those that have just started their second preparation include Ragini Todi (Falcon Seelster-Zenola’s Gift f), Apache Chief (Elsu-Payson Sally c) Franco Hastings (Falcon Seelster-High Tops Hanover c), Covert Action (Grinfromeartoear-Highfields Angel c), War Emblem (Grinfromeartoear-Andrew’s Song c) and Mareta (Elsu-Rush Machine f).