Philip and Glenys Kennard have top prospects to improve on their ownership record of six winners of Harness Jewels races.
The Christchurch couple are in the ownership of Follow The Stars (2-year-old colts and geldings), Linda Lovegrace (2-year-old filly), Isaiah (3-year-old colts and geldings) and Princess Fearless (2-year-old trotter) who which contest the Group I series over a mile at Cambridge on Saturday. All are trained by Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen, who have 17 horses in the Harness Jewels featuring the highest stake-earners for the season.
The stable 2-year-old Hug The Wind has been scratched due a foot injury.
Follow The Stars is a $1.35 favourite with the New Zealand TAB despite drawing the second line. He is unbeaten in six starts. The Art Major colt won the Australian Pacing Gold Final at Melton at his last start on May 2 in a 1.54.1 mile rate for the 1720m (mobile). He had won a heat and semi-final. He won the New Zealand Sapling Stakes at Ashburton in February in 1.53.8 for the mile and the Group I Cardigan Bay Stakes at Alexandra Park at his next start.
Isaiah is a $2.10 favourite who has drawn two. He has won two of his last three starts and finished second to Locharburn in the New Zealand Derby in the other.
Linda Lovegrace has won the Group I Caduceus Club Classic at Alexandra Park and a Sires' Stakes heat at Addington in seven starts.
The Kennards share the ownership of Follow The Stars with Neil Pilcher of Christchurch, Gavin Douglas of Ashburton and Phil and Margaret Creighton of East Taieri. The Kennards, Douglas and the Creightons shared in the ownership of Border Control, winner of the 3-year-old section of the Harness Jewels last year and national record time of 1.50.6 from the Purdon stable.
The same owners and Pilcher shared ownership of Harness Jewels 2-year-old winners, Fly Like An Eagle (Ashburton, 2011) and Major Mark (Cambridge, 2010).
The Kennards have also been in the ownership of Harness Jewels winners, Smolda (3-year-old, 2010), Highview Tommy and Fiery Falcon(2 and 3-year-old at Cambridge in 2008).
Border Control missed the cut-off this year.
"Lots of little things went wrong for Border Control this season with a race being canned and not being able to change his shoes when track conditions changed on the night," Philip Kennard said.
Arrangements are being made to stand Highview Tommy at stud in the spring. He amassed $1,021,904 in stakes. The son of Bettor's Delight also numbered the Group I Ballarat Cup, Group I NZ Welcome Stakes, Franklin Cup and Superstars Championship among his 17 wins.
Fiery Falcon, who won 10 races, died of colitis-X as a 7-year-old.
Fly Like An Eagle was sold to Joe Muscara, of New York in November and he has continued racing from the stable of Tony Herlihy.
Smolda has not raced since he finished fourth in the Interdominion Final at Menangle in March. He has been restricted to three starts this season after winning first up at Addington in January.
"Mark found him with swelling round the cannon bone in the paddock before Easter and it was established he had bled inside the tendon sheath."
Smolda is due back in work next week.
- The Southland Times