Current News from the stable


A silver lining

06 July 2018

By Michael Guerin


Best bet: Alta Leonie (R7, No.6): Back in lesser grade after $40,000 race, should lead and win.

This time: Forever Pearl (R5, No.6): Hasn’t had a lot of luck but in the ideal race tonight.

Suited: Puma Road (R2, No.9): Down in grade and Zac Butcher has on tonight. 10m handicap not a big problem.

By Michael Guerin


Derek Balle sees a silver lining to the winter clouds and that could pay dividends for punters at Alexandra Park tonight.

Balle has five of his 22-strong team entered for tonight’s meeting which, while hardly the strongest meeting of the year, boasts the same high stakes as a similar summer programme would only without the stronger opposition.

Pukekohe trainer Balle says that provides some of his stable with the perfect opportunity.

“We have some horses racing for great stakes tonight who probably would struggle in the same grade in summer because it is so much stronger,” says Balle.

“Makes you wonder if some of these horses are simply better off skipping the good summer racing and being set for this time of the year.”

That isn’t the case with Balle’s best rep tonight in Bettor Step Aside (race one) who was good enough to qualify for the Jewels and looks set to edge his way toward open class next season.

But the easier fields definitely aid the chances of others like Quick As Fire (race three) Annaliese Lincoln (race five) and last-start winner Suzie Pee Jay (race nine).

“They are all racing well and find themselves in the right sort of races tonight, with Quick As Fire probably the best chance of them three because of the field he meets.”

But Bettor Step Aside is the star of Balle’s show tonight, with able back-up in new stablemate Royal Bengal.

"Bettor Step Aside has kept improving and he won well last start but this will probably be his last run before a spell,” says Balle.

“He can definitely win but the one thing I would say is I don’t think he will lead, even though he is drawn inside one of the ones to beat in Zadaka.

“I’d actually like to see Royal Bengal lead. He has been pulling hard lately and I will change his bit and then we will try and stay in front with him.

“So Bettor Step Aside might have to come from off the pace, which can be tricky in a small field.”

If Bettor Step Aside gets the right run he will probably win but the danger would be if he ends up having to work the last lap and drags the improved Zadaka into the race as the latter has finally starting hitting the line with some purpose again.

An interesting newcomer to tonight’s meeting is De Vito in race six.

A former promising trotter in the South Island he is the latest recruit to the Michelle Wallis-Bernie Hackett stable, who seem to be winning a trotting race almost weekly at Alexandra Park at the moment, and while he hasn’t raced for nearly 16 months he won well at the workouts two weeks ago.



Suzie Pee Jay surprises punters and trainer

Fri, 22 Jun 2018

By Garrick Knight


It might be hard to believe, but brilliant Alexandra Park winner Suzie Pee Jay was a doubtful starter for most of the week leading up to Friday night’s race.

Trainer Derek Balle had been unhappy with her blood after her previous start and says he only made the decision to start on Thursday.

“I was very disappointed with her last week; she got the best run she’s ever had in her life and dropped out.

“It turns out she was tied up and her bloods were out - she had a high GGT level.

“She’d had two hard runs before that, but raced well, so she was obvious feeling those a little bit last week."

He threw her in to the nominations for this week, mainly because it was very suitable race - a field of horses who have mainly raced on the grass and at Cambridge all season but competing for $15,000 – but he had no real expectations.

Punters let her go after last week too, the poor draw and disappointing run seeing her drift out to nearly $20 on the tote.

Balle had a small wager once seeing the “silly” odds on the indicator board before the race and says the mare’s Perth based owners had a decent bet on her.

“His name is Kim Tuckey, and he’s a pleasure to train for. A really nice fella.”

Balle says he only got the mare to train by chance and there was a fair bit of symmetry about the win.

“Graeme Henley bred her and sold her at the weanling sale.

“And of course, Graeme was on hand tonight for the win as he sponsored the race through Alabar.

“Graeme rung me one day and asked if I’d break her in for a guy in Perth.

“I did that, and sent her home to Alabar to spell, and then they sent her back for another prep.

“Then Kim called and asked if I trained racehorses and would I like to carry on with her.”

Tonight’s win was her second, to go with five placings, and took her earnings past $20,000 for the season.

“Kim’s over the moon, and he’s gone back to the well last year and brought a filly by A Rocknroll Dance from the same sale.

“It’s from the same family as Suzie Pee Jay, the Zenola Star family that Geoff Small had a lot of success with.”

Balle also praised driver Kyle Marshall, who has managed 21 wins this season despite not being attached to a bigger stable.

“He’s got good, soft hands and doesn’t knock them around.

“As well as that, he does what he’s told, not that I give a lot of instructions.

“I’m happy to support him because he deserves more drives.”



Machine like performance

30 December 2016

By Duane Ranger


Joanednobettor upset them in Wednesday's Te Awamatu (Grass) Cup, but it was a highly regarded 3-year-old taking on the older four to 12-year-old trotters who stole the limelight at the Waipa Racecourse.

Unlike Joanednobettor, who was the $8.50 sixth favourite, the Derek Balle trained and driven War Machine was favoured to win the $7,600 Crowe Howarth Ltd Handicap for the R48 and faster trotters.

It was the 3-year-old Pegasus Spur colt's third victory in seven starts.

“He’s a big, tall horse who is still going through a few growing pains, but I couldn’t be happier with him. He also did a good job winning two races last season and this was his first start in 2016-2017.

“He’s furnishing into a nice trotter. He’s got the most potential of any trotter in our barn. He certainly makes the job worth getting up for,” Pukekohe-based Balle said.

War Machine and Balle started from the unruly mark (4) on the front line and began brilliantly finding themselves trailing and then third with a lap remaining.

They looked ominous on the home turn when War Machine was in the one-one. Then in the straight he cruised to victory - only getting a couple of taps on the rump in the final stages.

War Machine trotted the 2450m handicap in 3:27.5 (mile rate 2:16.3) with final 800m and 400m sectionals of 64.5 and 32.6.

"The time wasn't anything flash but I just liked the way he hit the line. He did it fairly easily really.

"He has such good standing start manners and that helped him a lot today. That will definitely take him a long way in this trotting game," Balle said.

He said he would most likely keep War Machine on the grass for his next few starts before a possible nudge at some of the 3-year-old trotting group races at Addington at Easter.

“He’s got a bit of bottom to him and I want to look after him so I’ll race him at Rotorua next and then look after his legs on the grass after that as well.

“If he keeps improving I would consider taking him to Christchurch at Easter for the Sires Stakes Champs and then maybe back to Auckland for the Group One Northern Trotting Derby in late April,” Balle said.

“I’ll probably put David (Butcher) on him later on, but who knows this could be the start of my driving comeback,” he light heartedly added.

Balle, who is also a director on the Auckland Trotting Club Board said he was rapt for Southlander Kenny Baynes who owned War Machine. He also had Cool Cobber with Balle. He won nine races and more than $100,000.

He said Baynes travelled north to attend a Weanling Sale in 2014 and paid about $4,000 for War Machine.

“He bought him and then took him back home, fed him and then sent him back to me as a 2-year-old. I’m delighted to be training for the Baynes family. Kenny said he wanted to have another horse with me because he enjoyed travelling to Auckland to watch his horses race at Alexandra Park,” said Balle.

War Machine was bred by Jenny Langdon (Gold Coast) and Trish Green (Ardmore),

In fact it was a lucrative day for Baynes Racing Ltd. They had two winners in two days on two Islands.

The Robin Swain trained and Matty Williamson driven Royal Bengal also notched up his first win in three starts at Gore on Tuesday.

Meanwhile the John and Josh Dickie trained Joanednobettor proved too smart for her seven opponents in the feature pace of the day - the $8,000 Brown & Pennell Te Awamutu Grass Cup for the R60 and faster horses.

Dickie (Josh) settled the Bettor's Delight mare in fifth (single file) at the bell. Then on the home turn they pounced out of the one-one and out-sprinted them in the lane to win by a length.

Shew paced the 2450m stand from her 10m handicap in 3:24 even (mile rate 2:13.9) and home in 59.8 and 29.1.

It was the 5-year-old's seventh win from 45 starts. She's also placed 13 times and banked $56,820.

Wednesday's Te Awamutu Cup was the first of five Country Cup meetings to be staged over the summer. The others are:

January 15: Rotorua Grass Cup.

January 21: Parawai Cup at Thames.

January 27: Wellington Cup at Kapiti Coast.

January 29: Otaki Cup at Kapiti Coast.



Kenrick hard to beat at Cambridge Raceway

01 December 2016

By Duane Ranger


Franklin trainer Derek Balle will make a hit-and-run attack on Cambridge Raceway on Thursday night (December 1) with the best horse in his 20-strong Pukekohe stable.

Kenrick hasn’t raced since June 17 and is Balle’s only starter at the eight-race meeting.

Balle thinks with a bit of luck in the running from gate six, the entire can win first-up in the feature pace – the $7,000 O’Connor Warren Insurance Brokers Handicap for the R56 and faster pacers.

“If he steps, and I think he will, he can go close. I have put some work into his standing starts and he’s come through it okay. He did a good job last season. He’s a lovely little 4-year-old who I think can get to a C7 or C8 pacer in the old handicapping terms.

“Potentially he’s the best in my barn at present,” Balle said.

David Butcher will do the steering behind the son of Bettor’s Delight and Toast To Cullen. They have won in a fresh state (after 90 days) before.

“David wanted to drive him and that suits me fine. They get on well. They had two races together when he was two and then won three races last season. If he can get a nice sit then i think he can go close,” Said Balle.

Kenrick has won one of his four starts at Cambridge Raceway and placed in one other. He will be having his first start from the 2700m stand.

Kenrick and Butcher have also finished third in two 2050m mobile workouts at Pukekohe on November 12 and 26.

Last Saturday they finished in behind the above average pacers Star Galleria and Hug The Wind (2:04.1 mile rate) and then two weeks earlier Kenrick was third behind Zadaka and Rakarazor (2:02.9 mile rate).

Rakarazor has since notched up her third career win against a nice R65 to R70 field at Alexandra Park last Friday night.

“If he does win on Thursday he will only get six points added to his rating so the win won’t affect him too much. He’s currently an R66 ranked pacer.

“He’s the type of horse who just keeps on improving every start, and no matter what he does on Thursday he will be fitter and better for the run,” Balle said.

“After Thursday he’ll probably race at least once at the Auckland Cup Carnival,” he added.

Kenrick will start from a 10-metre handicap and the toughest for him to beat will be the Rod MacKenzie trained Fizzi Lizzi and the Todd Mitchell trained Stunin Banner.

Fizzi Lizzi (10m) has won two of her last three starts at Cambridge Raceway – the latter, an R68 and faster pace on November 17. That was also a 2700m stand and she won off the front by three quarters of a length with a 2:04 mile rate.

Mitchell’s team can never be discounted on his home track. The Tauwhare horseman has made a brilliant start to 2016-2017 with eight wins and 17 placings from 51 starters. That equates to a very healthy 0.3208 UDR strike-rate.

Stunin Banner (20m), who is rated R98, hasn’t finished further back than fourth in his last seven starts and five of his 15-career wins have come at Cambridge, including once over tonight’s distance.

The 8-year-old son of McArdle and Mainland Banner comes into Thursday’s feature pace with a gutsy three-quarters of a length second (from his 20m handicap) behind Fizzi Lizzi here a fortnight ago.



Balle colts shine at Franklin Yearling Parade

Cullen's Caviar04 August 2016

By Duane Ranger


Pukekohe horseman Derek Balle looks set for a nice juvenile season in 2016-2017 if last Saturday’s annual Franklin Yearling Parade is anything to go by.

Yearling colt Cullen's Caviar (Christian Cullen – Callie O’Malley) was judged the top yearling at the Franklin Trotting Club’s track on Station Road.

Balle cleaned up the two major prizes with stablemate, Bit Of A Tiger (Bettor’s Delight – Tigerswish colt) also judged the ‘Best-of-the-Rest’.

Balle received an NRM voucher while the Cullen’s Caviar’s gelding’s owners received a McMillan Feeds voucher. Bit Of A Tiger’s efforts earned Balle a Dunstan voucher sponsored by North Island Standardbred Breeders Association.

Balle said there wasn’t much between the two yearlings.

“I couldn’t separate them at this early stage. They are both very nice horses and the pick of my yearlings so far,” Balle said.

Cullen’s Caviar is owned by his breeders (D M J Verryt, P J Cowsill, Mrs P Cowsill, Miss K Verryt, Miss T Verryt, Mrs D Farrell) – the Syndicate that owned the colt’s dam – Callie O’Malley, who won five races for Balle.

They also have a Bettor’s Delight weanling out of Callie O’Malley with Balle. The mare was served by Auckland Reactor in September.

“Cullen’s Caviar is very well put together and a bit more mature than most I’ve had. He feels like a 2-year-old but probably not a Young Guns horse. He will more than likely front after Christmas if he keeps developing the way he has,” said Balle.

He said Cullen’s Caviar had paced a mile in 2:20, a half in 65, and a quarter in 31.

“I broke him in, and like a lot of Christian Cullens he took a while to gait up, but once he got the hang of it he took to it well. He’s been in work for 10 weeks and I’ll give him a break now,” said Balle.

He said Bit of A Tiger was a nice little horse, who had eight week’s work since he was passed in at the this year’s Karaka Yearling Sales. His reserve prize of $60,000 wasn’t reached.

“He will have his second prep in about a month. He should also make a 2-year-old, but after Christmas as well,” Balle said.

Meanwhile the Steve Cornwall (Pukekohe) trained Monkey Bones - Immortal Beloved gelding, Tobruk, was judged the best trotter at the parade. He was also named the ‘Best-Turned-Out-Trotter.

The Robert Dunn trained Monkey Princess (Christian Cullen – Sheza Monkey) was judged the best pacing filly and the Ray Green trained Yasmine Bromac (Sir Lincoln – Jasmine Bromac) was the 'Best-Turned-Out'.

The Brent Mangos trained Culpeka (Mach Three – Tuapeka Maddy) was named the best pacing colt and gelding and Balle's Cullen’s Caviar, the 'Best-Turned-Out'.

Two Lincoln Farms service fees to Sir Lincoln were won by the Paulette Scree trained Petite's Majestie / and Joe Powell.

Twenty five yearlings (eight trotters, nine pacing fillies, and eight pacing colts and geldings) took part in the Parade.

Franklin Park Yearling Parade results -

Overall Yearling-of-the-Year - The Derek Balle trained Cullen's Caviar (Christian Cullen – Callie O’Malley colt). Owner received an NRM voucher and trainer received a McMillan Feeds voucher.

Best-of-the-Rest: Dunstan voucher sponsored by North Island Standardbred Breeders Association – The Derek Balle trained Bit Of A Tiger (Bettor’s Delight – Tigerswish colt).


Veterinary Associates Equine & Farm $500.00 product – The Steve Cornwall trained Tobruk (Monkey Bones – Immortal Beloved gelding) 1; HR Fisken & Sons voucher - Sir George Bowen 2; The Stables Cafe voucher - Traveller Girl 3. Takanini Feeds Merit Award - Out Of The Box; Takanini Feeds Best Turned Out - Tobruk.

Pacing Fillies:

Pukekohe/Waiuku Vet Centre $500 Feed Voucher – The Robert Dunn trained Monkey Princess (Christian Cullen – Sheza Monkey) 1; H R Fisken & Sons Voucher - Tiger Swift 2; The Stables Cafe voucher - Bettathanapokeindeye 3; Takanini Feeds Merit Award – Eyes Blazing; Takanini Feeds Best Turned Out – The Ray Green trained Yasmine Bromac (Sir Lincoln – Jasmine Bromac).

Pacing Colts:

Vetpro $500.00 product prize – The Brent Mangos trained Culpeka (Mach Three – Tuapeka Maddy) 1; H R Fisken & Sons voucher – Lincoln Road; The Stables Cafe voucher - Bayardo 3; Takanini Feeds Merit Award – Diamonds N Cash; Takanini Feeds Best Turned Out – The Derek Balle trained Cullen’s Caviar.


Betavet Random Trainers Draw - Ray Green; Muang Thai Voucher Horse/Owner Random Draw – Diamonds N Cash (Breckon Racing Syndicate); The Stables Cafe Voucher = ‘Sam'; Two Lincoln Farms Service Fees to Sir Lincoln Horse/Owner Random Draw - the Paulette Scree trained Petite's Majestie / and Joe Powell.

Every horse that entered received a halter.




21 July 2016


If you’re looking for some value for this Friday night at The Park, the Derek Balle trained team looks a barn to follow with three good chances engaged including the return to the track of open class trotter Cool Cobber who has been off the scene since December. The Alex Park newsdesk caught up with stable foreman Owen Gillies to discuss the team’s chances and here’s what he had to say.


Race 2 (4) Young Stranger – “If he trot’s all the way, he will be a very good chance in this race. He has made costly mistakes in his last few runs but he is working really well at home and if he can replicate his first up run on the track when he did everything right, worked during the run and still came at them late for third, he will be a really good top three prospect in this.”


Race 4 (9) Janet Guthrie – “She has impressed us in her first couple of runs when she hasn’t had the best of luck in the running. She is working up a storm at home and drawn to follow out the likely leader, she should get a good run throughout and be a big chance of taking this up the lane late. She rates as our best chance of the night.”


Race 5 (8) Cool Cobber – “He comes into this fresh without any trials or workouts leading . He has battled dodgy legs over the past 6 months but he is working well at home and is as sound as we can get him at the moment. The main thing we want to see is that his legs hold up but he is definitely there to win given that his issues could come back at any stage and every win we can get from him from this point on will be a real bonus.”


Courtesy of: Alex Park newsdesk



Balle poised for a good night

08 July 2016

By Duane Ranger - Courtesy of HRNZ


Pukekohe horseman Derek Balle only has three runners lining up at Alexandra Park tonight and he rated all three good each-way chances.

Young Stranger (Balle), Janet Guthrie (James Stormont) and Sir George Grey (David Butcher) will line up in races one, three and six respectively.

Balle is just $834 short of surpassing $150,000 in stakes for the season and $668 shy of what he earned last year.

“I’m happy with that considering I’ve only had 11 winners this season and we won 17 last year. However, we have placed 32 times which has helped the bank balance. The $150,000 mark does mean a lot especially when you are out training on days like this in the rain.

“The $400 per starter for trainers at Alexandra Park will be a great help after August 1. I think it’s a great initiative and will help trainers who train a few of their own. Not everyone can win major stakes so this will be a great help in paying the bills,” the Auckland Trotting Club board member said.

Balle rated the lightly tried 3-year-old filly, Janet Guthrie as his best winning chance tonight. Here’s what he had to say about his trio:

Race 1: YOUNG STRANGER (9 – 10m) - “He should be okay where he’s starting from. He didn’t quite back up his first run his good third on the track on June 17 but he had a little bit of muscle soreness and has bounced back well. I’d rate him an each-way chance in this race.”

Race 3: JANET GUTHRIE (2) - “She’s a nice filly who has worked on well since her debut eighth (gate nine) here last week. She’s a sit and sprint type of horse who will have taken a lot out of her first-up run. I think she’s also a definite each-way prospect from the draw.”

Race 6: SIR GEORGE GREY (2) - “He’s also drawn well and has David in the bike again. He seems to be getting better with each run and prefers the shorter 1700m distance. He has placed over that journey behind One Over Da Moon this season. He’s a big horse and it can be hard keeping the weight on him. I thought he went okay for fourth last start and I think he will be thereabouts again from the kind draw.”

With trots at Cambridge Raceway on Sunday the Auckland Trotting Club could only attract 76 nominations for Friday’s eight-race card.

Note the first race is a later than usual 6.36pm start.



War Machine always had them covered

by Garrick Knight

photo courtesy of : Sharlene Mitchell


Derek Balle scoffs at the suggestion his exciting juvenile trotter War Machine “did a thousand things wrong” when winning at Alexandra Park on Friday night.

The big, bold son of Pegasus Spur defied his far older opponents with a strong performance with Balle in the sulky.

He had rolled off the marker line when in the lead at the 600-metre mark and that seemingly prompted commentator Aaron White to come up with the ‘thousand things wrong’ claim.

“No, I didn’t think he did much wrong at all, to be honest,” said Balle.

“In fact, he’s one of the safer two-year-old trotters I’ve had.

“He rolled marginally off the rail down the back and I thought Mango (Brent Mangos, driver of Anzac) was a bit cheeky poking through underneath him.

“He barely got his legs in there. But we had a murphy on and he didn’t see it coming. When I saw it was Anzac I wasn’t too worried. I figured we were still 600 out and he wouldn’t be there at the finish.”

So it proved, with Balle content to sit parked around the final bend, monster Anzac and kick out to defy the ever-honest Gotta Go Twinkle, who recorded her eighth minor placing.

“We just mooched around the bend and I felt we always had them covered.”

Balle is more than a dab hand with trotters - he’s won the Inter Dominion Final, Rowe Cup and Dominion Handicap – so it pays to take notice when he says one is a good horse.

“He would have been right in it in the Jewels if he hadn’t of got checked at the wrong time. As well as that we didn’t have a lot of racing before then as got kicked in the leg and had a bad cold. So there have been a few little niggles that prevented him from getting enough races in to him before the Jewels. He’s a big, over-grown horse but he’s only two and will surely develop further next season.”

He will go out for a spell now, but that won’t be ‘home’ to Southland, where he is owned, and was developed.

“He’s going out now; we will put him aside for a good few months and get to work on him again in the spring. It’s too cold and miserable down south so we will find him a nice, fresh paddock up here that’s not water-logged.”

Balle has a close association with War Machine’s owners, Kenny and Jo Baynes, who have sent him numerous horses to train over the past few seasons.

“Kenny brought him up here at the Weanling Sale for $3000 and took him home. Robin Swain did all the early work with him.

Tony Stratford does most of their horses down there but Kenny said he if he sent it Tony he wouldn’t get it back off him because he would like it too much.”

Balle flew down to Gore last year and stayed with the Baynes for a micro holiday.

While he was down there, he drove then-yearling War Machine at Swain’s.

“He gave me a good feel and felt like a nice horse then. He ended up having one workout down there and trotted a mile in 2.10 at Gore and Robin thought that was enough to send him up to me. Obviously they don’t have any two-year-old trotting races down there at all.”

Balle has trained plenty of trotters but has not had too many Pegasus Spurs through his stable.

“Cool Cobber is probably the best one I’ve had by him. There was a filly out of Martina H but she wasn’t super flash and from I’ve seen and heard they seem to be either very good or no good.”

On Cool Cobber, the rising nine-year-old is close to a race track return for Balle and the Baynes’ after injuring a second suspensory before Christmas.

He is prodigiously-talented and Balle is hoping they can get him back to the form he showed when fourth behind Master Lavros in the 2014 Rowe Cup.

“He’s a couple of weeks away. He’s been going to the beach and swimming and a few other things and he is not too far from racing provided his legs hold up.”

It’s been a mixed season for Balle, who with a month to go has recorded 11 wins, down from 23 three seasons ago.

But he is on track to earn more stakes than he has since 2010 so in that regard, it hasn’t been a bad season.

“It’s been a reasonable season highlighted by a couple of nice horses coming through. Kenrick has probably been the star of the show; he kept improving as the season wore on. Ideal World is another nice type that we have just gelded and turned out.”

For a second successive year, stable owner John McIntosh took Balle shopping at Karaka in February and as a result he has three commercially-bred yearling colts by Bettor’s Delight and Art Major to sink his teeth in to.

But they won’t be seen at Christmas time, even if they are looking close to good enough.

“They all broke in well and are due to come back in shortly for another prep. I have to say I’m not a big fan of the Young Guns concept. We had a go with Kenrick and Mark Purdon brought up Lazarus for the first heat. Then in the next heat he rolled out Chase The Dream with a 1.56 mile rate. So in that regard it is putting too much undue pressure on them at a young age so I will probably be missing the early races.”

Balle is also on the board of the Auckland Trotting Club, as an Appointed Director representing Franklin Park.

“I’m enjoying it; it’s quite exciting with the apartments and developments going ahead there at the moment.”

So will Balle and wife Raelene be buying a trackside apartment?

“Not quite; I need to win a few more races yet!”



Sundon Mare on the BALLE


Courtesy: Breeders Weeyly 3 June 2016
Written by: Duane Ranger


Raelene Balle is more than the rock of her Pukekohe family.

The mother of three and wife to Group One winning trainer Derek is starting to make her own impression in harness racing.

Many times a winning owner, Balle is now starting to make an impact on the breeding scene with her foundation mare, Cool Kahli (1998 17 B m Sundon - Cool Store - Sergio Hanover).

That now 17-year-old bay landed her fifth New Zealand winner when foal number four of six, Mr Good And Evil easily won his maiden trot at Alexandra Park last Friday night.

The Skyvalley 3-year-old gelding was the $10.70 eighth favourite in the nine horse field. It was his first win in three starts.

Two of Balle’s three children had a part to play in the naming of the young squaregaiter.

“The dam Cool Kahli was named after my 17-year-old daughter, while my youngest Hunter (10) named Mr Good and Evil.

“Hunter was obsessed with Lego mini-figures at the time we named the horse and his favourite was Mr Good and Evil. The figurine had a twist around head which had a good face on one side and evil on the other,” Balle said.

 And Friday’s win came a day before Balle’s 39th birthday, which she celebrated at a wedding in Queenstown.

“You never ask a lady how old she is Duane, so just tell the readers I’m 39 again. I didn’t get to the track on Friday night because I was preparing for my flight to Queenstown to celebrate Kenny Baynes and Joelle Calder’s wedding.

“Derek trained Cool Cobber for Kenny as well as War Machine who has drawn eight in the 2-year-old Ruby Trot Final at Cambridge next Saturday.

But Friday’s winner, Mr Good And Evil, was trained and driven by Brent Mangos. A six-strong ownership spearheaded by Auckland horseman Tim Vince and his partner Sheryl Wigg paid $20,000 for the bay at the 2014 Australasian Classic Yearling Sale at Karaka.

“He was the mare’s fourth colt in a row so we didn’t mind selling him. I think he’s got a bright future. It was a lovely drive by ‘Mango’,” Balle said.

The winner’s dam won seven of her 41 starts and just under $40,000 before being retired to the broodmares paddock in March 2005.

“She’s a big mare and did a good job for us and we always thought she might make a nice broodmare one day. Her dam – Cool Store (by Sergio Hanover) won five races,” said Balle.

Cool Kahli’s first foal – a now 9-year-old hack named Captn Commando (by CR Commando) placed four times in 14 starts in New Zealand before being given away to friends as a riding horse. Balle said foal number two – The Duke Abides (by Continentalman) is the best horse she has bred so far.

“He won one race here and then we sold him to Australia in 2012 and he has gone on to win many more including a Group Two.

“After him came King Of Cool (By Monarchy) who we sold at the 2011 Yearling Sales (Karaka) to Jason and Megan Teaz. He won three races here before they sold him to Australia (2014). He’s six now and still racing and has now won eight races.”

Cool Kahli slipped to Skyvalley in 2011 but just over a year later Mr Good And Evil was born.

“We went to Skyvalley because we wanted to introduce a bit of speed into the Sundon breed. I think Mr Good And Evil showed that the other night when he won easily,” Balle said.

The first filly out of the mare is a September 2014 foal named Kimkar Dash who is also out of Skyvalley.

“We took her to the Sales this year and she was passed in which suited us fine, because we want to breed from her and race her. Like I said she’s a bit precious because up until then she was the only girl we got out of the mare,” Balle said.

Then last year along came an unnamed Pegasus Spur filly.

“She’s a weanling and is progressing well. Cool Kahli is not in foal this season. We decided to leave her empty,” her breeder said.

Balle, who is one of four organisers for the annual North Island Harness Racing Awards, said she loved the breeding game and hoped to breed from more mares in the future.

“It’s a great feeling winning any race but to watch a horse win after you have seen him or her being born, then develop into a weanling , a yearling, and then finally a racehorse is an amazing feeling.

“Cool Kahli has done a good job and I don’t think she has bred her last winner yet. There’s still plenty of life. She’s only 17,” said Balle.

“Now for the Jewels,” she added.

The Balles will have two, possibly three starters, in the 2016 Jewels Final at Cambridge Raceway this weekend.

“As well as War Machine (8) in the 2-year-old trot we will have Kenrick (1) starting in the 3-year-old pacing Emerald. Then there’s Ideal World in the same race. He has draw 12 and is the first emergency – but he’s ready to go a big one,” said Balle.

The Balles have placed in a Jewels Final before when Sir George Gray ran third behind King Denny and Monseigneur in the 3-year-old Emerald Trot at Cambridge Raceway two years ago.



Angus Fogg clears maidens


26 April 2016

By Duane Ranger


Angus Fogg is starting to lose his “bull at a gate” tendencies and is slowly developing into a nice racehorse.

That’s the opinion of the 4-year-old gelding’s trainer Derek Balle after the son of Angus Hall and Sun Isa nailed his first win in 12 starts at Cambridge Raceway yesterday (Monday).

Angus Fogg didn’t just win, he bolted in by 6-1/2 lengths.

“He’s starting to put it all together. He’s been a real handful. He gets wound up real easy. I think it’s in his breed. He’s a big horse at 16 hands,” Balle said.

Lincoln Farms (John Street) paid $42,000 for Angus Fogg at the Australasian Classic Yearling Sale at Karaka in 2013. He is a half-brother to Flying Isa (by Pegasus Spur) who won 17 races and almost half a million dollars in stakes.

“We got him off Ray Green as a 3-year-old and we he came to us he was pretty wound up. He attacks everything at 100 miles an hour.

“That’s why I think after a couple of more wins he would go well in Australia. I think the mobile races at Menangle would suit him down to the ground,” Balle said.

David Butcher shot Angus Fogg to the lead after 300m in the $6,000 Anzac Day Remembrance Mobile for the maiden trotters.

Angus Fogg then trotted beautifully for the remainder of the 2200m mobile stopping the clock in 2:49.9. They lead by three lengths on the turn and then turned it into a one-horse race at the finish.

The winning mile rate was 2:04.2 with final 800m and 400m sectionals of 61.4 and 30.6. Angus Fogg was the $1.90 favourite in 10-horse field.

He was bred by Cambridge librarian Kym Kearns.

“If we can just take the hyper out of him I think he can turn into a serious trotter but he has some way to go yet. He’s gone pretty good after he’s broken a few times at Alexandra Park.

“It’s a just a matter of maturity with him and trying to quieten him down a bit. I think the horse that ran second has a brighter future though,” Balle said.

The Pukekohe trainer was referring to his Pegasus Spur colt, War Machine. Balle did the driving behind the 2-year-old.

“I am hoping to him qualify for the Jewels. He’s a really nice young trotter with a bright future. That was just his second start and I’m hoping he can pick up a cheque or two to make the Jewels Final,” Balle said.

It was Balle’s third quinella since April 15.

At Alexandra Park that day he drove and trained Kenrick to beat stablemate Ideal World (James Stormont) in a C1 pace and then on April 22 at the same venue it was the same result.

“I’ve had a good run of late and I’m hoping it continues,” said Balle who works a team of 18 at Franklin Park on Station Road in Pukekohe.






With his eighth victory back on the 26th of March, five-year old grey Monkey Bones gelding Sir George Grey furthered his fine grass track record to five wins from six starts for Mike and Susan Clegg.

This latest grass track success came on the opening day of Hawera’s Easter meeting, settling back in the field, he effortlessly strode to the lead for regular driver David Butcher winning the 2100m standing start event by 11⁄4 lengths in 2:51.4/T2:11.3.

Raced on grass at the Taranaki TC meetings, the squaregaiter was third on 1 April and unplaced on the second day (3 April) when his pacing bred stable- mate Franco Nadal won the main trot, his eighth success but first for Balle stable.

Sir George Grey’s five grass track victo- ries have been at Ruakaka (Northland HRC January 2014), Avondale (Kumeu TC February 2014), Te Kapua Park (Stratford TC February 2015), Pukekura Raceway (Taranaki TC March 2015) and Hawera Racecourse (March 2016). His overall grass record now stands at 8 : 5 - 0 -1 with a best mile rate on grass of T2:07.2 recorded over 1750mM at New Plymouth in March 2015. David Butcher handled him in all but the Kumeu win where Zac Burtcher kept the winning driving streak in the family.

His three all-weather track successes have been at Cambridge (Tuesday June 2013, the day before David Butcher left to represent NZ at 2013 World Drivers Championship in France), Alexandra Park (Franklin TC April 2014) and Cam-bridge again in May 2014, with James Stormont handling him in the latter two victories after David Butcher was side-lined by injury. A winner in each season he has raced, coming at two (1), three (4), four (2), five (1) with the latest two wins first up after nine and six month spells respectively. Sir George Grey’s overall race record currently shows 37 : 8 - 4 -4. $56,333, T2:03.6.

Trained at Pukekohe by Derek Balle, with wife Raelene’s assistance, Sir George Grey is the latest quality trotter produced from Balle’s stable. The most notable of these have been :

- Martina H (14 NZ/4 AUS wins, T1:59.2, $400k+; Rowe Cup, Dominion Hcp - deadheat with Take A Moment, ID heats (2), Holmfield, VIC Trotters Derby heat (4th final), Dullard Cup; seconds VIC Trotters Oaks, National Trot (twice), Rowe Cup, Challenge Stakes, ID Grand Final; thirds Trotting C/S, National Trot, Dullard Cup; fourths Cambridge Flying Mile, ID Grand Final, City of Sails FFA (three times)

- Galleons Sunset (12 NZ/2 AUS wins, T1:58.9, $300k+; Bill Collins Mile, ID Grand Final; second and third Cam-bridge Flying Mile; fifth Rowe Cup

- Other Trotters including - Lleyton H (15 NZ/2 AUS wins, T1:58.4; ID Conso- lation, VIC McNamara Memorial; fourth Dominion Hcp); Bangers And Mash (7 NZ wins, T1:57.2US); Cool Kahli (7 wins); Moment Of Truth (4/27 wins for Balle); Cool Cobber (3/9 wins for Balle, fourth Rowe Cup); Sunease (10w)

- Pacers including - Jag Star, 2/9 wins for Balle, Waikato Flying Mile (1:54.6); Master Charlie (8 wins, fourth Franklin Cup)

Closing in on 200 driving successes, Balle’s training stats currently stand at 392 (180 trotters). Of these, 238 (112 trotters) are on his own account, the balance in partnerships with Peter Blanchard, Ian Small, Steve Clarke and Owen Gillies.

Andover Hall stallion Monkey Bones (deceased), sire of Sir George Grey, has left 22 winners of 71 races for $550,000 in NZ including Idle Bones (8 wins, $68,404, T2:00.7), 7 race winners

Bones ($75,461, T2:02.6), Millicent (5 wins, $37,825, T2:00.6), Jayceekay (4 wins, $31,463, T2:00.9).

Sir George Grey’s dam Georgeina (Sun- don/Bonnie Quine), now owned by the Cleggs, won one race (New Plymouth for Dane Alexander) and is dam of eight foals to date (seven for Cleggs), three to race for two winners :

- John Joseph (2007g Earl), 2 wins, T2:06.6

- Sir George Grey (2010g), as above

Grand dam Bonnie Quine (Chiola Hanover/Sergalina), was a two race winner (Claudelands, Morrinsville TC/ Cambridge) and dam of six foals for three to race with two winners :

- Georgeina (1997f), as above - T K Victor (1999g Simon Roydon), 4 NZ wins, T2:04.6, $31,824, NZSS - 2T, 2yo Trotter of Year; 5 Aus wins, T2:09.4AUS, $27,337, SA Trotters Derby; T1:58.1US; total earnings $77,060 from 12 wins Bonechip ($71,051, T2:00.0) and Doctor

Third dam Sergalina (Sergio Hanover/ Lady Evalina), was the winner of six races (three each at Cambridge and Al- exandra Park) from 133 starts, T2:07.4, $45,960. She was dam of two live foals only with Bonnie Quine the only starter.

Fourth dam Lady Evalina also left Felicia, 5 wins [all at two] from 7 2/3yo starts, T2:06.7, $10,045, NZ Trotting Stakes- 2T, 2yo Trotter of Year). Felicia was dam of four winners including Workaholic (6 wins); grand dam of Three By Two (16 AUS wins, $89,607, T2:00.7, Jim McNeill Trot Final, Gp3 Albion Park).

Sir George Grey comes from the family of Logan Lass (N129) which includes trotters Royal Romance (Dominion Hcp), Royal Mile (Trotting Stakes - 3T), Profile (Dullard Cup) and open class pacers Royal Trump, Junior Royal (Na- tional/Ollivier Hcps); Another Stubbies (NSWSS - 3f), Empire Knight (1:56.1US, $157,320, USA Fireball Series), El Vic- tory (1:55.2US, $190,200), Il Campione (1:53.0US, $160,377, Otaki Cup, North- ern Country Cups C/S).


Peter Craig




Buyers go on shopping spree at Karaka - 91yo McIntosh among new buyers and gets a trio of colts


One name that popped up three times in the pricier lots at Karaka was that of John McIntosh, a sharp-witted 91-year old “just out of nappies” from Pokeno, on the south side of the Bombays.

He spent $211,500 on three colts, all to be trained in Pukekohe by Derek Balle.

“I’m getting older and it’s about the only hobby I’ve got left,” McIntosh told HarnessXpress.

McIntosh revealed that he spent much must of the last month looking through the catalogue after making the decision to buy three nice colts.

“I’ve been spending a month on it, really.”

“Ticking, crossing, marking and what have you.

“And with Derek’s help I decided on which horses to go after; two heads are better than one after all.

“Derek has been a great help; we liaised with one another regularly and I must say that he is quite an authority on breeding for a man of his age.”

McIntosh said he raced horses with Roy Purdon for many years, including “25 or 26 winners at Alexandra Park” and after a trying a few other trainers when Roy retired, finally settled on Balle.

“I like Derek and we have developed quite a friendship.

“I live in Pokeno so him being in Pukekohe is very handy to home.”

Until last month McIntosh had Master Charlie with Balle but he was sold to Perth and his current flag-bearer is the more-thanhandy three-year-old Ideal World.

His favourite, and most expensive, Karaka purchase was Suidelike Major, an Art Major son of former good race mare Suidelike Meisie, who won eight races for Mike Berger.

McIntosh went to $85,000 to secure him, determined not to miss out after missing an earlier lot he wanted so badly.

“I missed on lot 19 and I was runner-up on another for $140,000.

“I should have kept going but my mate said to me ‘What’s happened to you Mac? You’ve lost your grits!’.

“That’s what happens though; you get a lot of spec from the sideline.”

“I do like him (Suidelike Major) a lot, though; he is a lovely horse.

“And the other two I bought are by Bettor’s Delight and I think you’ve got a really good chance with him as the sire.”

McIntosh’s two Bettor’s Delight colt purchases were Bettor Step Aside, a $74,000 full brother to Linda Lovegrace offered by Woodlands Stud, and Quick As Fire, a $52,500 buy offered by Merv and Meg Butterworth that hails from an Australian family.


Courtesy: The Harness Xpress 23/2/16



Dominion an outside chance for Cool Cobber


Derek Balle isn’t too enthusiastic about lining up Cool Cobber in next Friday’s Dominion Handicap, but his hand might be forced if the open class trotter wins at Alexandra Park this evening.

“The owner Kenny Baynes is quite keen to go to the Dominion next week but I am not too fussed, non-committal,” he told HarnessXpress.

“He probably needs another run or two to be a serious threat in the Dominion; it has just snuck up on us a little bit.”

The son of Pegasus Spur is ranked 19th in the order of entry for New Zealand’s foremost trotting feature, this year worth $250,000.

“But I think if he won this week, he would probably sneak in to the field,” said Balle.

With Vincennes, ranked 6, heading for a spell after disappointing at Kaikoura and Monbet, ranked 18, a doubtful runner, Balle might just be right.

Cool Cobber had three workouts before resuming at Auckland a fortnight ago in the race won by Prime Power.

Ordinarily three workouts and two races might be enough to get a horse close to fit but Cool Cobber spent the past year away from the track through injury.

“He did a suspensory last time in and had to have a long break,” said Balle.

“But he’s pretty good now; we haven’t had any major issues.

“We have just taken our time with him - it is good to be safe with these kinds of things.”

Dominion aside, Balle is pretty happy with the horse and only being off 30 metres tonight, sees him as a major player.

“He should be fitter for that first run and I expect he won’t be too far away from them.”

Balle says Cool Cobber would want to be winning quite impressively to justify a trip to Addington.

“It would have been good to get another race in to him but if he won nicely I would probably go since the owner is so keen.”

Cool Cobber raced in last year’s Dominion, won by the late Jaccka Justy, but spoilt his chances with a gallop after 400 metres.

He is not far off the best trotters, evidenced by his close-up fourth behind Master Lavros in the 2014 Rowe Cup and placing in the Superbowlcheerleader’s Anzac Cup a fortnight earlier.

He is a half-brother to the prodigiously-talented Perth pacer John Of Arc, who has won 14 of 21 for Gary Hall and broke down recently for the third time.

His dam, Cool Maiden, is a daughter of Safely Kept, who has been known to leave the odd good trotter (La Coocaracha, Paris Metro) in spite of his pacing bloodlines.

So it is no surprise that she can leave quality horses by both pacing and trotting sires.

It is a small, but even, field in the C3-OC trot tonight and fellow back-markers Al Bundy and Charlemagne will be the hardest for Cool Cobber to beat.

Regal Petite was backed in last week and ran a nice second so must be respected off a leisurely 10-metre handicap.


- by Garrick Knight.
The Harness Xpress





"Harnessed" publication - January 2015


Kenny Baynes was always destined for a life of harness racing. His father Colin is a Southland legend of the sport, and right from day one Kenneth Charles Baynes was set to follow the family tradition—whether he liked it or not. “Dad named me Charles after one of his top stallions— a U Scott bay called Young Charles. So you could definitely say I’ve had harness racing in my blood since the day I was born,” Baynes said. Baynes’s 93-year-old father has been working and breeding pacers and trotters for more than half a century. He was a prolific trainer, driver, and breeder of quality horses like 1991 New Zealand Cup runner-up Clancy, and 23-win trotter of the late 1980s and early 1990s, Game Paul. When Baynes didn’t renew his licence this season after 25 years training with Robin Swain (154 winners and $1.25 millionplus155 training wins on his own account) up stepped Baynes (Kenny) and his sister-in-law Penny (Baynes). That’s when both Baynes Racing Ltd and Baynes Bloodstock Ltd were born. “We bought all of Dad’s mares, the lot. About 35 race horses in total. Robin still trains our Southland team and we have also got horses with Tony Stratford at Macca Lodge and Derek Balle at Pukekohe. Ken McRae at Waimumu has had a horse in his barn for me for many years. Wattie was the best performer. He won the Wairio Cup.

“But Derek has the last horse that Dad will ever own. That’s two-win trotter Cool Cobber Son. He’s up there because he goes really well that way around. Derek’s wife Raelene also has a half share in him with Dad,” Baynes said. A relation, Cool Cobber, who was also trained by Balle, this year provided Baynes with his career highlight. “I’ll never forget the night he beat Master Lavros in a $20,000 trot on Auckland Cup night. Sure having my first starter in a big race like the Rowe Cup (4th) and then the Dominion (14th) was great that night at Alexandra Park. [the memory] will stay with me for a while. “I’m hoping he will win some big races at Alexandra Park this season,” Baynes said. Both Cool Cobber and Cool Son are related to the top 1970s and early 1980s pacer (trotter) Cool Cat (2nd in Rowe cup), who won 10 races and $30,923. “Dad’s trotting breed goes back 10 winning generations which is bloody amazing. It also descends back and beyond to one of his best performed mares of the 1960s—Flying Maiden, who won the prestigious Audrey Dean Handicap at Addington.” Baynes Racing Ltd produced its first winner at Alexandra Park (with their first starter) when the Colin Baynes-bred Knapdale Girl scored for trainer Balle and driver David Butcher on October 3. It was Butcher’s first win back after being side-lined with a pectoral injury for eight months.

“Cool Son winning at the same meeting was an amazing night,” Baynes said. Knapdale Girl is a full brother to Cool Son. She was bought back by Baynes Racing Ltd from renowned Australian owners, Merv and Meg Butterworth, as a breeding proposition. “She’s a lovely mare and is now being set for a broodmare career,” Baynes said. The Sundon mare raced in Australia for three seasons where she won five of her 32 starts. Now Baynes, who turns 49 on Christmas Eve, lives at Chatton (near Gore). He has been a sheep all his life and latterly a dairy farmer. Harness racing has always been a passion but this season he’s gone in boots ‘n all. “All up I think I have got 22 potential racehorses, 20 broodmares, and 11 weanlings—many with Penny. “I’ve always loved the sport and even though I will always live in Dad’s big shadow, I’d love to breed and own a Group One horse. That’s the dream for now. “Even though we have a lot of horses, I’ll still go to the Sales. It also makes sense to keep sending horses to Auckland, especially the way the stakes are up there. And I hear they will get better,” said Baynes. Engaged to Joelle Calder, who also has a training licence, Baynes was born in Gore and attended Gore High School. He is also vice president of the Gore Harness Racing Club and is president of the workouts committee. He can also be seen doing ‘the business’ on the track come Gore race-day. “I also look after the Gore track and in charge of its maintenance and race-day grooming, so I’m usually the one out in the middle doing the hard yards on race-day,” the multitalented Baynes joked. Asked if he had any promising young horses on the verge of both starting and winning, Baynes instantly referred to Changeover two-year-old filly, Envious. “She qualified at Young Quinn Raceway on November 26 a second under time. Tony (Stratford) quite likes her and thinks she might turn into a nice filly.” He also mentioned a three-year-old Pegasus Spur filly out of Frances Jay Bee. “She’s a nice filly. Jo is training called ‘One Up Kenny’. No I didn’t name her either! She is showing a bit of promise. “We’ve also got some potentially nice colts by Mach Three and Christian Cullen coming through,” Baynes said. He said his new business would breed four trotting mares this season including the late Springbank Richard’s dam‘It’s a Whiz. “We love being guests of the Auckland Trotting Club who look after us so well when we make the journey north. We have developed many new friends including the Balle family. Derek and Steve Clarke are a tremendous training combination with Cool Cobber thriving on regular beach work.” Going into the Group One Trotting events over the summer Cool Cobber had won nine of his 48 starts and placed in 10 others for $98,407 in stakes. He has raced 12 times for Balle two wins and seven placings since Balle got him in January 2014. Baynes Racing Ltd has also taken over the former racing colours of C.H. Baynes as Colin is now in a rest home.



Balle sticking to his plans with Cool Cobber

03 November 2014


Derek Balle won’t let Cool Cobber’s hot form sway him from his plans.

Which means the dark horse of the Dominion Handicap will race once and only once during his southern campaign.

The former Southland trotter recorded a monster performance to win at Alexandra Park last Friday, making up five lengths in the straight to grab a very brave Miss Pegasus, who probably lost the race when working hard to get the lead mid-race.

As good as she was, Cool Cobber was better as he started off a 40m handicap and looked to have no chance at the 400m before coming four wide and storming to a nose victory in a 3:28 amended time for the 2700m standing start.

The win showed he is on track for the Dominion and his fourth to Master Lavros in the Rowe Cup last season proved he isn’t outgunned in the big time.

But Balle also believes both Cool Cobber and stablemate Boizel after better horses with their races spaced, so they will dodge the Trotting Free-For-All at Addington on Cup day.

“I think we should stick to our plan, which has always been to make the Dominion the big aim,” said Balle.

“Things could maybe change for Boizel if the free-for-all really fell away but when you look at the depth in the mile at Ashburton on Monday there are going to be plenty of good horses in both races.

“And I think both this horses would be better served just racing in the Dominion.

“But they are likely to go to the Cup trials first.”

Unfortunately for Balle, Cool Cobber would also be better served if the Dominion was at Alexandra Park.

“He is definitely better right-handed but for $200,000 you don’t get to pick and choose so really he has to go down.”
 As good as Cool Cobber is going, Boizel appears to have lost a length or two since his big fresh-up second to Irish Whisper.

“I think that night have flattened him a bit,” admits Balle.

“I am sure he will bounce back but at the moment Cool Cobber is going better, as we saw tonight,” he said post-race.

With the first two being so good, it was easy to overlook the third placing of Ace Moment.

Not long ago he was battling for his best form but looks to have found it again and when the better trotters head south he looks a good option for punters in this grade.

Beyond The Silence coming through but even with five or six quality southerners coming north after Cup week, there could be some big races with class four type fronts around over the summer.

Courtesy: HRNZ



APTV Talks to winning trainer Derek Balle





















By Duane Ranger (Wednesday October 1, 2014)


Pukekohe trainer Derek Balle has seven horses accepted for his home town meeting at Alexandra Park this Friday night, and rated Bruno Paillard as his best winning prospect of the night.

Here’s what Balle had to say about his team (in order of winning chances):


Race 5: BRUNO PAILLARD (3) – “He found one or two a little bit too sharp for him last start, but he’s better than that. He’s trained on really well and is not as fat as he was. He will continue to race here throughout the spring and summer and against tonight’s opposition I rate him a real winning show – especially from one on the 10m mark. I like him on Friday - 4.5 out of 5.”

Race 4: POSH (9) – “She’s much better than her recent runs suggest. She has drawn ideally behind the likely pace-maker on the second line. She is improving with each run and even though she can be a bit ‘skippity-hoppity’ but I’d rate her a good chance here. 4 out of 5.”

Race 5: KNAPDALE GIRL (9) – “This is another mare the owners have brought back to Auckland (from Australia) to breed with. She went okay (fourth) at the Workouts on the track on Saturday. She will probably need the run first up but you never know with Sundons, they have surprised me before. Regardless she will improve on the run no matter what she does on Friday. 3.5.”Footnote: Knapdale Lady has won two races in New Zealand and five in Australia. She last raced at Ararat on August 12 and finished eighth of 11. She had her first Aussie race on February 11, 2012. This is her first start at Alexandra Park.

Race 6: LIVE LIFE BETTA (11) – “I’m not sure what game this mare will bring to the races on Friday. She might be getting near the end of it and need a break. Mind you they went 1;55 when she finished seventh at Cambridge last week. She drew 12 that night and has won a few more races than most of her opposition. But she’s hard to get a line on. 3.”

Race 9: THATSHOWIE ROLL (5) – “I don’t know much about this fella. He has just come up from the South Island and he felt good when I hoppled him this morning. The 2700m might trip him up first-up at ‘The Park’ but he seems very happy within himself. 3 out of 5.”

Race 10: COOL SON (10) - “He’s a bit of a head-case who still doesn’t know how to trot all the way. I’ve added a murphy blind and a pole this week, so I’m hoping that will keep him down. He prefers the left-handed way around, but in saying that if he steps and does things right he could win that race. That’s a big if though. 3”

Race 1: GLAMAR GIRLS (2) – “She’s up from the South Island and the owner has brought her back to breed from her after a couple of runs. She’s still a bit green and to be fair I don’t know much about her. We will know after Friday how long she is worth carrying on with. I’d rate her a 2.5 out of 5.”



Franklin Trotting Club FRIDAY NIGHT

By Michael Guerin – Courtesy HRNZ ‘Harnessed News’ 14/8/14


Don’t be surprised to see Deb’s Pal snapped up as a $9000 claimer at Alexandra Park on Friday night.

Because not many claimers can boast a sub 3:19 win for 2700m mobile at their previous start.

The seven-year-old stunned clock watchers when he paced a 1:58.4 mile rate winning at The Park last start, in only his third start in the north with new trainer Derek Balle.

Usually in such a low grade a 3:22 time for 2700m mobile is considered fast and sub 3:20s for the distance are usually the domain of open class performers or age group stars.

And while the time was set up by other going hard in front while Deb’s Pal had the perfect sit, Balle says there is a lot to like about the gelding.

“He is a lovely horse with good legs who tries hard,” says Balle. “

And while he had the right run last time you still have to run the times.

“He obviously isn’t finished yet so at $9000 he would be a good buy. “

But the owner has been realistic so we will see what happens.

“Either way, this field looks a little weaker than what he has been racing so he will be hard to beat again.”

Balle has another big chance on Friday with a different last-start Alexandra Park winner in Bruno Paillard.

The big trotter only won a maiden off a 30m handicap last start and rises to class two and faster company this week but Balle is adamant he can win again.

“He is a bit of a big dummy but I am sure he will be at least a couple of lengths better this week.

“He has a good motor on him so has to be a good chance again.”

The Franklin meeting has smaller fields than have been the case at Alexandra Park recently, with some of the two and three-year-olds who were racing at the end of last season having headed to the paddock.

But there are still some good betting races, with impressive last start winners Royal Taz and Pricillas Girl to clash in race five.

And one of the better bets of the night looks to be Tangos Delight in race six, where she drops back from the recent mares speed series where she had no luck.



Derek Balle adds some new weaponry to the arsenal

By Michael Guerin Courtesy HRNZ ‘Harnessed News’ 7/8/14


It is not every day a trainer gets four new horses stroll through the gate.

It’s even rarer when they are all trotters, especially one a genuine open class force.

But that was the bonus Derek Balle has had to start the new season and judging by his first start with one of his newcomers, Balle’s new association should be a profitable one.

The quartet of newcomers are from majority owner Kevin Walker, who has had great success himself as a trainer of trotters before deciding to farm his horses out to other trainers to concentrate on his business interests.

One of those main trainers was Tony Grayling, who is phasing out of training to take up a role at Woodlands Stud, so Walker decided Balle was the man to take over his going trotters.

Among them is of course Boizel, a Rowe Cup placegetter good enough to beat Stent and Master Lavros at Kaikoura last season.

Balle has only had him two weeks but his thrilled to get him.

“Any time you get a horse like him to train it is a thrill,” said Balle.

“He looks great and has settled in well so the Cup meeting will probably be his big first aim.

“I also have Cool Cobber and he will be aiming at some of the stage races so to have the two of them to travel together to carnivals always helps.

“So it is great to get this sort of opportunity from Kevin and some more nice horses to work with.”

The first runner for the new partnerDerek Balle adds some new weaponry to the arsenal By Michael Guerin ship was a winner too with Bruno Paillard easily overcoming a 30m handicap to win in Walker’s turquoise, yellow and purple colours.

“It was probably the right race for him tonight, dropping back to being off a handicap in a maiden race,” said Balle.

“But he is a bit of a big laid back fella so he should only get better.”

Balle has also taken over an Angus Hall three-year-old filly out of Walker’s former high class mare Lanson named De Castellane as well as a five-year-old Dream Vacation out of the same mare named Billecart Salmon.

As surprising as it was for Balle to have four new stables arrivals of the blue lately, it was even more to see another stable newcomer Debs Pal record one of the fastest times ever for 2700mmobile by an intermediate grade pacer at The Park.

The seven-year-old was claimed for just $5000 recently and while he had gone solid races in his two starts since coming north, his 3:18.8 time week was a stunner.

That is a 1:58.4 mile rate and faster than most Derbys or Messengers won at The Park.



Former South Islanders to line up for Derek Balle

By Duane Ranger (Wednesday July 2, 2014)


Watch for a couple of first-up South Island starters from the Derek Balle stable at Alexandra Park on Friday night.

The Pukekohe horseman has four horses nominated for the meeting and here’s how he rated the quartet:

PHILADELPHIA H (Race 2 – Zac Butcher): “She’s a well-bred filly out of Martina H. She will make it as a trotter but is still very green yet. Zac gets on good with my trotters.This one trots ok around home and steps away well but it’s different on race night. I will be holding my breath around that first corner. If she can negotiate that then I’d rate her a 2.5 out of 5.”

COOL SON (Race 2 – Derek Balle): “He’s a very nice horse who has come north to attack the better stakes on offer. He is owned by the same people who have Cool Cobber. He should be better for the run but in saying that he’s a former Southlander who has had 35 starts. He’s a good each way chance. 3.5 out of 5.”

MUM BEAT LYALL (Race 4 – Derek Balle): “She has a few issues but the owners thought she would go well up here in the north. This is her first start for me. She’s not a smooth gaited trotter but she is improving. I think she would rate a 4 out of 5 against this field.”

WAVERLEY CHAPEL (Race 5 - Zac Butcher): “She’s getting stronger all the time and has good gate speed so the draw suits her ideally. She was a nice fourth last time on the track in May. She’s capable. 3.5 out of 5”.



Hopes are high for Cool Cobber

JAMIE SEARLE - 19/06/2014


A start in the Group I Dominion Handicap and a trip to Australia are on the cards for Cool Cobber next season, Pukekohe trainer Derek Balle says.

Cool Cobber is owned in Southland by Kenny Baynes and Jo Calder, of Chatton. The 6-year-old trotter is turned out for a month after winning two of eight starts since leaving Southland in January.

His fourth in the Rowe Cup and third in the Anzac Cup, both Group I races at Alexandra Park during the autumn, proved to Balle that the trotter was up with Australasia's top squaregaiters.

Racing clockwise at Alexandra Park and having beach work included in training have made Cool Cobber more competitive.

''He's still a young horse as far as trotters go,'' Balle said yesterday.

Cool Cobber's half-brother, John Of Arc, who is a pacer, won at Pinjarra, West Australia, on Monday. John Of Arc's 12 starts in West Australia have resulted in 10 wins.

Close relation Cool Son was expected to join Balle's stable yesterday. Owned by Colin Baynes, of Gore, and formerly trained at Knapdale by Robin Swain, Cool Son has had 35 starts as a maiden trotter.

''A change of scenery might help him and he does go all right the Auckland way [clockwise] round,'' Swain said.

The horseman was to have raced Knapdale Lady at Forbury Park tonight. However, she suffered a stonebruise this week and the decision has been made to retire her.



Monkey Bones is making his mark

11:25 AM 09 May 2014 NZST


Monkey Bones - is making his mark on New Zealand harness racing.

In the last few months there have been more grey trotting winners than ever before and that comes down to one thing - The influence of trotting stallion Monkey Bones.

The grey son of champion stallion Andover Hall, who was good enough to win $237,280 during his racing career, enjoyed further success last night at Cambridge when Sir George Grey notched up his fifth career win. The Derek Balle trained trotter now sits seventh on the Harness Jewels leaderboard for the 3YO Ruby.

Other progeny of Monkey Bones that have been doing a good job include Doctor Bones, who recently notched up a double which included a win in the Super Series C1-2 Trot, while the emerging Jayceekay has looked tremendous in her short career to date.

Monkey Bones will be represented in tonight’s Group One Rowe Cup at Alexandra Park by Bonechip, who finished a creditable third in last week’s Greenlane Cup.

Other impressive winners at Cambridge last night included Ardee, who may be heading to Perth despite sitting fifth in the Harness Jewels rankings, while two-year-old filly Giuliana Rancic is definitely one worth keeping an eye on.


By Mitchell Robertson

Courtesy of Harnesslink

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