Hi there,

Welcome to issue #31 of Insider Access.

Released every two weeks, Insider Access showcases insider rumors and commentary in the worldwide harness racing industry.

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He's Watching review + Bettor's Delight updated

New on Stallion Sphere this week is an update to Bettor's Delight who just continues to go from strength to strength in both hemispheres. His numbers are really stunning and are increasing rapidly.

The other stallion we have reviewed is a newcomer to the stallion scene this year is world champion He's Watching. A great two year old who went on to win the Meadowlands Pace in 1:46.4, He's Watching has some interesting double up in his pedigree which we really like.

We hope you enjoy this issue and we have already started on the next issue which will involve an assessment of both Art Major and Sweet Lou.

Click here to read the He's Watching review on Stallion Sphere

Official statistics system is a joke

One of the interesting things in doing the stallion reviews is dealing with the differences each country has in dealing with statistics.

Some of the systems make it incredibly hard to extract the information you are after while others make it as easy as possible.

In our experience the Australian site is the most user friendly site of the four we use when looking for siring information.

It makes our life easy.

The New Zealand site is not far adrift from the Australian site but it does take more time to recover the information you need.

One thing that is really annoying though is the converting of dollars between countries.

In Canada and Australia they treat a dollar won anywhere in the world as a dollar won.

In the USA and New Zealand they convert the dollars into the value in their own currencies which makes an absolute mockery of the statistics.

For instance if you won a race in the USA in January 2015, the conversion rate for those stakes was one USA dollar equalled 88 cents New Zealand.

If you won that same amount of stakes today, the conversion rate for stakes is one USA dollar equals 64 cents New Zealand.

It is a situation that just makes a joke out of the official statistics in both countries.

One other statistic amused us greatly while we were doing the Bettor's Delight review.

That was to find the champion New Zealand mare Adore Me 1:47.7 listed amongst Bettor's Delight credits in North America.

Since she has never set foot out of the Southern Hemisphere, we were amazed to find her listed as a mare that had competed in the USA.

We look forward to the explanation for this glaring fault and we suspect the spin doctors have a hard day in front of them.

Great debut season for Big Bad John

The big surprise package of this season’s two year old siring premiership has undoubtedly been the performance of Big Bad John 1:49 ($1,000,559).

The son of Western Hanover earned a touch over a million on the track by winning nineteen of his twenty seven lifetime starts including the elimination and final of the Little Brown Jug but it has still been a surprise to see him go as good as he has with his first crop to the races.

Standing in Ohio, Big Bad John currently sits second to the champion sire Somebeachsomewhere in this season’s premiership and has made a lot of breeders sit up and take notice with his performance.

He already has four $100,000 earners and has chalked up 40 winners so far in his debut season from his 108 two year olds.

The maternal pedigree of Big Bad John may give some clue to his success as right through his first three dams are a multitude of tough hard wearing big earning colts and fillies.

No out and out champions but plenty of $300,000 - $700,000 winners, some of whom were very smart. Big Bad John himself has two full brothers and a full sister who have all earned over $200,000.

His dam Trulyawork Of Art is a half to eight $100,000 winners including Northern Luck 1:49.1 ($907,974), V P Finance 1:51.4 ($685,834), Bear Dance 1:52.1 ($509,111), Town Champion 1:48.2 ($439,152) and Bet The Town 1:50$359,583).

The strength to the pedigree is obvious and it is no surprise that Big Bad John made $130,000 at the fall sale at Lexington.

Looking at his debut season performance, Big Bad John appears to be great value at his current fee of $5,000.

Things are looking up in Australia

With a constant diet of doom and gloom about the future prospects of the harness racing industry in Australasia, it is really positive to see a lot of the good news coming out of Australia in the last few weeks.

For the first time in a couple of generations we seem to have administrators who are actually delivering for the industry in a meaningful way.

Harness Racing New South Wales have recently lifted mid-week stakemoney by a huge 14% which is a great boost to stakes for the trainers providing a lot of the horses for meetings away from Menangle.

This week we had the announcement that the Harness Racing New South Wales Club will pay for all the registration costs for foals born from this year's breeding season and they have committed to do this for the next three years.

It shows that the administrators are listening and are trying to help people who are struggling to stay in the industry.

Every little bit helps in the battle to save this industry and it gives the participants the feeling they are not in this battle on their own.

Harness Racing Victoria recently announced stake increases of its own which took the stakes paid out in Victoria per season over the $40,000,000 mark for the first time.

The cumulative increase in stakes in Victoria over the last three years is 20% which is a great achievement by John Anderson and his board.

For the first time in living memory, stakes are increasing regularly at a much faster rate than inflation.

If both states can maintain the momentum they have built up in the last few years, then harness racing does look to have a future on the east coast of Australia.

It is always easy to criticize the administrators who run harness racing but when they do get things right, it is just as important to acknowledge their successes.

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