Breeder of the Month

Mike Howie from financial advisor to one of WA's leading breeders.

West Australian commercial breeder, Mike Howie, has been involved in the harness industry for over four decades.

Howie’s Copper Lodge based at Serpentine just over 50 kilometres south of Gloucester Park has been the nursery of some of the State’s best pacers for many years.

Copper Lodge breeds around eight to 10 foals per year most of which go to the APG Sale.

Howie comes from a banking background having worked at the R&I and Westpac as a financial advisor.

Attending a yearling sale while still at school with his grandfather Joe Coverley, Howie was keen to purchase a filly by Renaud, who was a leading sire of that era, out of an Adios Express mare, which he took home for $1000. That filly was to go on to win a few races in the country including the Wagin Cup under the name of Renaud Express.

Renaud Express went on to become the foundation mare at Copper Lodge. She can be found in the pedigree chart of the likes of Group 1 winner The Miki Taker and 22-time winner Caveman.

Howie has a half-brother to Caveman in this year’s APG Sale by first season sire Bettors Wish. “I have two Bettors Wish’s in my draft – they are both lovely stocky types.” One is a half to Caveman (22 wins), the other is the first foal of Some Copper Beach, a Group 3 winner placed in the Golden Slipper

Under the Copper Lodge banner, Howie has 10 yearlings catalogued for the APG Sale set down for March 3 at the Magic Millions Complex.

Although Copper Lodge has stood their own stallions over the years such as Embrace Me, Redskin and Rich N Spoilt in the past, Howie decided in recent years to just concentrate on becoming solely an AI farm and breed to top-line stallions.

This year Howie has two yearlings by Captain Crunch, a half-brother to Delightfulreaction who was Group 1 placed and runner-up in WA Golden Slipper, the other ‘Crunch’ is a nice filly out of a Live Or Die mare.

 Colonial stallions have also been supported by Copper Lodge with a filly by Poster Boy out of Secret Dragon, a 100 percent producer closely related to Secret Operation, a winner of the Group 2 Champagne Classic. “I love Poster Boy he has great pedigree and was a great racehorse. I think he will make it as a sire,” Howie said. The family of Secret Dragon (Sutter Hanover) has some depth that includes standout pacers like Allwoods Chief 1:54.4 $465,497, the Breeders Crown and dual Derby winner Menin Gate (1:54.3 $574,758), dual Group 1 winner Rocknrolla ( 1:57.1 $287,531), Smooth Showgirl (1:52.3 $373,786), Kasey John ( 1:50 $235,239,) and dual Queensland Triad winner at 2 and 3yo For Real Life  (1:54.3 $148,592).

WA Pacing Cup winner Soho Tribeca has a colt out of Orphan Reactor, an Auckland Reactor mare. This is her second foal.

Howie has a Downbytheseaside filly out of the Vicbred Platinum winner Maastricht, a mare he bought in Victoria. The recent winner Shazza Love has boosted this filly’s pedigree page.

“I have bred and sold a couple of nice ‘Seaside’s’ including Waverider that won the Sales Classic last year, and this filly is a nice type from a good family,” Howie said.

An American Ideal colt being the first foal of Major Jade will no doubt attract attention from buyers.

Leading local sire Fly Like An Eagle, who sired 58 individual winners last season, has a filly that is a half to 16-time winner Walsh, and rounding out Howie’s draft is a Stay Hungry filly out of Tinted Pearl.

Howie purchased the mare in foal to leading North American Stay Hungry in an online sale from prominent South Australian breeder Peter Medhurst. “The mare went some four weeks after her due date. I wasn’t sure even though she was big that she was in foal, but her history shows she seems to always go over. It’s quite a funny story,” Howie added.

“I’m a seller hopefully we will move all of them. They are all nice types and West Aussie’s seem to buy on type,” Howie said.

The Western Australian APG sale is scheduled for March 3. Catalogues are out now or online.

WASBA President Jeanine Diederich with Mike Howie.
Waverider sold at 2022 APG Sale by Howie's Copper Lodge for $60,000

Paul Kahlefeldt breeder of Swayzee & Leap To Fame.

By Peter Wharton 

Until recently Wagga (NSW) accountant and harness trainer Paul Kahlefeldt, who has been breeding and training pacers for more than 40 years, was adamant that Leap To Fame is the best horse he’s ever bred.

However, the powerhouse win of Leap To Fame’s older half-brother Swayzee in the $790,000 IRT New Zealand Trotting Cup at Addington has left the popular Riverina breeder in a quandary.

Kahlefeldt said that it is hard to split the two horses.

“Leap To Fame was right back at the top of his game winning at Albion Park last Saturday, while Swayzee was simply awesome beating the Kiwis on their home ground in the NZ Cup,” he said. “Swayzee has won nine starts on end.”

The pair are among the top seeds for the Inter Dominion Championship to be held at Albion Park next month.

Leap To Fame (by Bettor’s Delight) has won 25 of his 35 starts and $1,462,782 in stakes; Swayzee (by Rock N Roll Heaven) has won 18 of his 45 starts and $825,314.

Both, bred by Kahlefeldt’s Redbank Lodge Standardbreds, are out of the Art Major mare Lettucereason, a sister to the Victoria Cup and dual Derby winner For A Reason, now a successful colonial sire.

“I bought Lettucereason for $50,000 at the Australian Pacing Gold sale in Melbourne,” Kahlefeldt said.

“I trained her originally. She won her first start at Wagga and finished third in Bathurst Gold Tiara,” he said. “I then sent her up to Luke McCarthy and she was placed in a couple of Group One’s. She was probably unlucky not to have a Group One next to her name.”

Letttucereason totted up 17 wins and 22 placings from 51 starts for $180,073 and took a mile record of 1:55.9 as a two-year-old.

Her first foal, to the cover of American Ideal, was Maximus Red who has won 30 races and $333,027 in stakes and is still racing successfully in North America.

Next, to Rock N Roll Heaven, she produced the colt Lettuce Nheaven, who twisted a knee as a yearling and never raced.

Swayzee and Leap To Fame were her third and fourth foals respectively, while her fifth foal, Reason For Fame (by Sweet Lou), showed a lot of ability with Grant Dixon is Brisbane but was not persevered with.

“She is going to be bred from this season,” Paul said.

Lettucereason’s latest foal, a filly by American Ideal, has been entered for the Nutrien Equine sale in Melbourne in April.

Lettucereason’s progeny have notched 15 Group wins and a staggering $2,621,123 in stakes between them so far.

Paul Kahlefeldt
Swayzee takes out the NZ Trotting Cup

Leading South Australian breeder recognised with life membership.

by Terry Gange for Harnesslink.com

Well-known South Australian harness racing figure Peter Medhurst has had his share of success in the past 40 years – but it’s his valued and active commitment to his local club that’s now being recognised.

Medhurst, a dairy and sheep farmer by trade, is the fourth generation of his family to live at Glencoe, 28 kilometres north-west of Mount Gambier, which has a population of 600.

He said he had to be convinced to attend the recent Annual General Meeting of the local Mount Gambier Harness Racing Club.

“I really didn’t have any intentions of going, but my wife Lesley and my grandson Jayson were insistent that we should,” he said.

During the night, Club President Simon Phillips presented a life membership, observing that, as well as being a regular recipient of end-of-season awards, Medhurst was a tireless contributor to the club.

“He played a large role in our successful fundraising cattle scheme as well as sourcing stallion service fees for the stallion auction nights,” Phillips said. 

“Peter was a regular at our functions including auction and Calcutta nights. He would always be willing to help at the bar during Mount Gambier Shows – this award couldn’t be more deserving because Peter has made a significant contribution to the club as a committee member for 10 years.” 

Isolation from the major cities (Mount Gambier is almost exactly midway between Melbourne and Adelaide, 450 km from each) did not prevent the Medhurst couple from making their mark in the sport of harness racing.

They became involved in 1989 when they purchased their first horse Lindhurst, and soon after the delightful mare Roses In Paris (Kentucky), who won on debut and recorded a further eight victories in two years, including at Globe Derby and Moonee Valley.

But more importantly, Roses in Paris became the incredibly foundation mare for the couple’s successful breeding program. 

“She left 12 winners from 13 foals to get to the races, and her progeny have gone on and produced 134 winners,” Medhurst said.

“Ever since we got involved in the sport, I’ve just loved the breeding, I was never that interested in the training or driving side,” he said.

Roses in Paris was crowned South Australian broodmare of the year on two occasions, while one of her foals in Surfing Queen (Beach Towel) claimed it once.

Progeny have won races in most states of Australia and even in the United States where Pete’s Elect (Holmes Hanover) went 1.51 for Darren Hancock. Others from the line include Thorninmyside (Troublemaker – 22 wins), King Grin (Grinfromeartoear – 26 wins), Catch A Bouquet (Armbro Aussie – 11 wins), Flaming Hero (Courage Under Fire – Surfing Queen – 22 wins), and Forty Seven Flash (P Forty Seven – Surfing Queen – 26 wins).

The stable success sees two cabinets full of trophies—as well as a special photo made up featuring Roses In Paris, with all of her winners.

“We probably have a wall of photographs longer than a cricket pitch in our house,” Medhurst laughed.

“Over the years it’s involved many, many miles of taking mares here and there. But we’ve met a lot of great people and many outstanding studmasters.

“We sold up the farm about 16 years ago, and we’ve now got 60 acres. This year we have seven mares to foal down, which is a few less than what we use to breed.”

Medhurst says one of his highlights was having five winners on a night at Mount Gambier in January, 2014. All were bred by Peter and Lesley, trained by their son-in-law Barry Finnis and driven by grandson Jayson.
At their home track, there’s also been Mount Gambier Derby wins, numerous Mount Gambier Oaks and two Gold Cups – wins which have given the Medhursts huge satisfaction because of their deep involvement with their local club.

Medhurst said he was humbled by the life membership honor.

“It was a big surprise because I’d retired from the committee the year before. You don’t do it for awards, but they are nice to receive. That’s my second one now as I’m also a life member of the Glencoe Football Club,” Medhurst said.

“I’m still going along okay with an 81st birthday and later this month we have our 60th wedding anniversary coming up – so this is a year to remember,” he said.

Peter Medhurst with Mount Gambier President Simon Phillips.

THE MAN FROM WEST WYALONG, BUT JUNEE IS THE KEY

Ray Moore has lived on a substantial grain growing farm in the West Wyalong region of NSW for the past 30 years.

These days in semi-retirement he leases out most of his land but lives and breathes for the breeding of his Harness Racing broodmares, totalling 14 in number.

One of these mares Loving You, a daughter of Art Major, recently provided Ray with one of his biggest thrills in Harness Racing.

Riverina Paceway in Wagga was the venue for the $100,000 NSW Regional Championship on 19th May.  Blake Jones drove a confident race to get the Ray Moore owned Brooklyn Bridge to the front after racing three wide early and from there controlled the race – sprinting home in 56.4 for an exhilarating victory for his owner Ray and trainer Ellen Bartley.  This was just the tenth career start for Brooklyn Bridge and his seventh victory in a dream start to a horse’s career.

Ray owned a mare called Daisey Chain and had bred a nice horse called Manhattan Island from her.  So, when a full sister to Daisey Chain in Loving You 1:55.7 was offered to Ray for sale by Peter Wharton, Ray parted with $15,000 to buy her.  She was in foal to Sweet Lou when he took possession of her and shortly thereafter, on 18th October 2018, she foaled a colt to be later named Brooklyn Bridge.

With already $103,431 banked from just 11 starts, Ray is looking forward to an exciting ride with the horse named after one of New York city’s major landmarks, Brooklyn Bridge.

Brooklyn Bridge is bred on a similar lines to the richest male of Sweet Lou’s progeny in the world, Spirit of St Louis 1:48.2 $1,152,976, who is also from an Art Major mare and then from an In The Pocket mare .  Brooklyn Bridge’s granddam is by Christian Cullen, a son of In The Pocket.

So where did Ray inherit his love of Harness Racing from.  We need to turn the clock back to the 1960’s when Ray was growing up and attending school in Junee, NSW.

“My mother was one of the Turner Family in Junee – a family heavily involved in Harness Racing then and still today,” stated Ray recently.  “She used to take us to Trot meetings in Junee and I’ve always remembered those days fondly.”

Junee today is well worth a stop to visit the Chocolate Factory and of course is home to the Junee Postman, Bruce Harpley.  Back in the 1960’s and 70’s Junee and Temora, just up the road, were the hub of Harness Racing in Australia with horses of the calibre of Welcome Advice, Paleface Adios , Just Too Good and Adios Victor being owned and trained in these towns.

In fact on 23rd March 1974, just one month after the Inter Dominion Final at Gloucester Park in Perth [won by Hondo Grattan] those four horses after returning from competing in WA, raced in a Free For All at Junee , won by another star of that era in Reichman.

‘Mr Inter Dominion’ himself, Brian Hancock, and his brother Richard, who trained Jofess to win the 2004 Inter Dominion, also called Junee home as well as Our Sir Vancelot in those magnificent days of Harness Racing.

Ray Moore has been a long and loyal servant of Harness Racing, devoting many hours to his West Wyalong Club as well as representing the NSW Riverina Clubs on the NSW HRIG Forum.  Many of his spare hours are now devoted to caring for his mares, weanlings and to investigating suitable stallion matches for his mares – a Labor of Love.

Of course, following the future racing career of Brooklyn Bridge is high on the list of priorities.   To finish the Ray Moore story, we had a few questions for him.

Question – Who is Your Favourite Stallion.

Ray – “There is so much to admire about Art Major and Bettors Delight, but I will choose American Ideal.   I personally haven’t had much luck in breeding to him but just love his pedigree.  His granddam Three Diamonds and the dam of his sire, Leah Almahurst, were both champions on the track in the 1980’s and amazingly are closely related.  The third dam of Western Ideal and the third dam of American Ideal are full sisters, so I believe this strong inbreeding to champion females has been instrumental in the success of American Ideal as a racehorse and sire.”

Question – Do You Have a Favourite Broodmare Sire.

Ray – “That is a hands down easy answer – Artsplace.  I don’t think there is a stallion alive or deceased that compares to him.”     [ Author’s note – In Nth America , Artsplace is the leading Broodmare Sire ever with progeny earnings of $494 million to 31st Dec 2022.  He is $43 million ahead of second placed Albatross and $122 Million ahead of third placed Abercrombie]

Question –   Who Is Your Favourite Racehorse.

Ray –  “Most people will raise their eyebrows at my choice, but it is Barwen Bill.  He was owned by some friends of mine in Wagga – Barry and Wendy Robinson. I used to travel up to Harold Park with them in the mid 1980’s.  He won 10 races at Harold Park, many with Brian Hancock in the gig and many a time we came home with our pockets lined.  Sweet memories of old Bill.”

Question – What is One Thing We Could Do to Improve Harness Racing.

Ray – “In a nutshell – lift our standards or image in dress code and on track catering. “

Victorious driver Blake Jones and his partner Ellen Bartley and Ray Moore after Brooklyn Bridge’s Regional Championship victory (HRNSW Photo)

Previous Breeders of the Month

By Peter Wharton