Franco Ledger to stand in Southland

Brent McIntyre
Brent McIntyre
Southern harness racing breeders will have free access to the bloodlines of one of the area's most recent pacing stars next breeding season.

Two-time Southland horse of the year Franco Ledger, by Falcon Seelster, will stand his first season at stud at Macca Lodge in northern Southland this spring, with a zero service fee.

The horse's former trainer, Hamish Hunter, and co-owners the What Ever Syndicate, were keen to give the horse an opportunity at stud, so they persuaded Macca Lodge to take the horse, proprietor Brent McIntyre said.

Franco Ledger was a six-time group race winner in New Zealand who also placed once at group 1 level in the 2013 Easter Cup behind Terror To Love.

The horse cracked a group 1 win in the Bohemia Crystal at Menangle in 2015, after he crossed the Tasman to campaign from Victorian trainer Geoff Webster's barn.

He also won once at group 2 level and placed in the 2015 group 1 Hunter Cup behind Arden Rooney.

Franco Ledger was retired after fracturing a pedal bone during last year's Hannon Memorial after returning from Australia to Hunter's stable.

The rookie stallion joins resident sires Panspacificflight and Net Ten EOM, who will again be available in the spring.

Net Ten EOM has 33 live foals in New Zealand. His oldest crop turn 2 next month.

The Indiana-based sire has 2yr-olds on the ground in America, with 34 having hit the tracks from a crop of 65.

That solid start has North American breeders and trainers buzzing about the prospects of the stallion's progeny, McIntyre said.

Panspacificflight, the sire of 130 live foals, will line up for his eighth season at stud this spring.

The horse continually punched ''above his weight'', producing horses such as leading 4yr-old mare Arden's Choice from limited bookings, McIntyre said.

More than 300 mares were served at Macca Lodge last year. McIntyre anticipated a similar number would return for this breeding season, though predicting the number of mares and what stallions breeders would book was always difficult because with each new season came new trends, he said.

From the early indicators, leading stallion Bettor's Delight, who stands at Woodlands Stud in Clevedon, would prove popular again should breeders secure a booking to the stallion. Though with his fee sky-rocketing to $25,000 next season, interest was growing in emerging stallions Sweet Lou, He's Watching and Always B Miki, McIntyre said.

McIntyre and wife Sheree own three pacers lining up at Forbury Park tonight for trainer-driver Nathan Williamson, and all of them will operate from premium barrier draws.

Lausanne Lass starts from barrier 2 and goes into race 4 and has finished no further back than fourth in her last five starts.

Tangled Up In Blue has the coveted barrier 1 saddlecloth and showed enough gate-speed last week to suggest he could hold a handy position in race 7.

Iechyd Da, whose name translates to good wishes from Welsh, also starts from barrier 1 for her second race start, in race 6.

Williamson also lines up with strong winning chances in Svelt in race 1, and Toby O'Gara in race 2.

-By Jonny Turner

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