That was a quarter-of-an-hour to remember!

By Duane Ranger

Canterbury breeders, the Pierson Breeding Partnership experienced their most exhilarating 15 minutes of harness racing at two race tracks on October 7  at opposite ends of the country.


At 6.28pm their 4-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding, Xlendi, notched up his first win in three starts in the last race at Invercargill’s Ascot Park after finishing second in his two previous South Island runs in September.

Then 11 minutes later at 6.37pm the Pierson-bred Captaintreacherous 2-year-old colt, Dontstopmenow, won on debut in race three at Alexandra Park.

The Pierson’s own and bred the Brett Gray (Ryal Bush) trained and Brent Barclay driven Xlendi, while master Ardmore horseman, Tony Herlihy (MNZM) drove and trained Dontstopmenow.

“I’m not really one for publicity. I like to go about our breeding quietly and passionately, but it was a rare occurrance and a Friday evening we won’t forget it in a while,” said Pierson who watched both races from his Christchurch home.

He sold Dontstopmenow privately as a weanling during the first Covid lockdown in New Zealand (2020) before he went on to be passed in at last year’s NZB National Yearling Sale in Auckland for $55,000. He is the third of four foals out of the Jill and late Dennis Smolenski-bred Go One Bettor.

Pierson tried to buy a Christian Cullen mare out of One Dream. He decided to buy Bettor’s Delight mare, Go One Bettor instead, which he bought privately off Dennis and Jill Smolenski.

“I knew how good One Dream was and Go One Bettor was only four, so we bought her, despite her going amiss after just three races,” 54-year-old Pierson said.

Photo credit Monica Torrento

The now Australian-based Go One Bettor is a royally bred Bettor’s Delight 10-year-old mare. She is the third of 11 foals out of the Smolenski’s multiple Group One-winning 2003 Dream Away mare – One Dream (18 wins from 23 starts and $899,487).

Pierson a MASH and James Bond film fanatic, said first two foals – the 2017 Captaintreacherous mare, Hot Lips Houlihan and the 2018 Somebeachsomewhere colt, Frank Burns sold for $35,000 and $57,500 respectively at the annual Yearling Sales in Christchurch.

The broodmare’s foals that went through the Sales have now netted the Piersons $122,500 at an average of a tick over $40,000

“After Dontstopmenow the mare left an American Ideal colt named Hawkeye Pierce, which I sold at the 2022 Yearling Sales for a disappointing $30,000 given how well the only other two

American Ideal colts in the Sale sold. Now the mare is in Australia, in foal, and is owned by well-known Queensland horsewoman and TV presenter Brittany Graham.

Graham said she bought the renamed Lets Go One Bettor “sight unseen”.

“She arrived in magnificent order. She had the Captain Crunch colt who is a stand-out and he will go through the sale ring early next year.

“Everyone who comes to the farm is taken back by how stunning he is. The mare is due to have a Sweet Lou foal in the next few weeks,” Graham said.

Pierson no longer has the mother of Xlendi either.

“I went to buy Crystal Sparkes at the Auckland Sale but Merv Butterworth blew me away so I bought the full sister, Tessa Rocks as a qualified 3YO instead.

“I recently gave Tessa Rocks away to Scott Iremonger who works at Leeston. I gave him to her on the condition he looked after the mare very well, and according to those I’ve spoken to said he will do more than that.

“He worked for Mike Berger when Mike trained Christanna and he spoke of his desire to one day get into the family. So when we decided to move Tessa on I remembered that & now I hope he gets some nice foals out of her,” Pierson said.

Tessa Rocks, who never raced, is from the Sandy Yarndley Black Marie, Corbie, and Black Watch line. She has left the Piersons six foals since 2016 with Xlendi the second of the half dozen.

At the last two National Yearling Sales Tessa Rocks has fetched $12,500 for a Captaintreacherous colt in 2020 and a Sweet Lou black filly was passed in at last year’s Sale.

Pierson who was born in Greymouth and educated at Greymouth High School has been at the helm of the New Zealand Sires’ Stakes Board since 2020.