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5 January 2018

Is there anything better that enjoying the thrill of harness racing with your friends? 


For Gary and Sue Thorncraft and Ross and Liz Higgins breeding and racing their horses has been a partnership that has spanned some 40 years and their rising star MACKERAL is giving them the time of their life. 


Originally Gary and Ross started out with Kevin Rivett as their trainer and during that time Kevin had the mighty ROWLEYALLA.  The pair have raced many horses together and on average Gary and Ross breed 3 to 4 mares per season.  They keep their mares with Brooklyn Lodge and Golden Gait and feel lucky that they have built strong relationships with these two studs.


Our tale this week centres on LADY JASPERELLA a VILLAGE JASPER mare that has been a strong producer for Gary and Ross.  They purchased the mare as a yearling but unfortunately she only had two race starts herself before being retired to the breeding ranks.


LADY JASPERELLA has had four foals to the races and three have been winners.  The only filly out of the mare to date has been FASCINATOR a winner of just under $60,000.  Originally raced by Garry and Ross she was sold and continued her racing career.  However, Gary and Ross have now purchased the mare back and she is in foal to WESTERN TERROR.


However, it is the Bernie Hewitt trained MACKERAL that is the mare’s star performer.  As a 2YO he ran second in a Bathurst Gold Crown Heat then ran second in the GROUP 1 Gold Crown Final.  In Gary’s words “we were so thrilled you would have thought we won the race”.   However, since returning to the racetrack as a 3YO MACKERAL has stamped himself as a horse that will deliver a lot more to these two mates.


After winning at Bathurst at his first start back as a 3YO he then went on to run 2nd in his heat of the Evolution Series.  When he got to the $20,000 Kevin & Kay Seymour Evolution Series Final at Menangle he unleashed a sensational last quarter to sweep down the outside to take first prize.  On Saturday night he lines up in the time honoured Simpson Sprint at Menangle.   To date MACKERAL is the most exciting horse that Gary and Ross have raced and they look forward to what the future holds for this horse.


Apart from MACKERAL, Gary and Ross have a number of other promising interests. They have shares in two fillies in Victoria, both are a  half-sister to the sensational SHADOW SAX.  LADY JASPERELLA  has a PET ROCK weanling colt and one of their other mares ALWAYS WILL has a COURAGE UNDER FIRE colt at foot and is currently in foal to LINCOLN ROYAL.


For Gary that owned his first horse, LORD OPTIMA, at 16 (although he had to put it in his dad’s name as he was too young) his love of harness racing has continued and it may be that the best is yet to come!

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