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Barnes the 'best thing' to happen to Mr Meddle

By Duane Ranger

New Zealand-based owner/breeder Warwick Sparks has declared he wants to send another horse to young Queensland trainer Hayden Barnes following Mr Meddle's win in Saturday's Egmont Park C2 or Better Pace at Albion Park. 

Affectionately nicknamed ‘Tux’, Mr Meddle notched up his fourth win of the season (three in Queensland last year) in the $13,000 affair.

“He’s a chestnut and that’s how I think he copped ‘Tux’. He is the family pet and loved by everyone back here. He will come home to New Zealand when he’s finished racing and my daughter will then show him at equestrian events,” Sparks said.

“We love him so much. He will always be part of the family,” the Mid Canterbury farmer said.

Sparks owns and bred the 8-year-old Live Or Die – Another Meddle (by JJ’s Cornell) with his mother Una, who also hails from Ashburton.

“I’m still very much over the moon and cant’ speak highly enough of Hayden. He is the best thing to have happened to the horse. He’s a very good horseman and very good communicator," Sparks said.

“I hear a lot more from him than I do trainers back here. I’m just so pleased Robert put me on to him."

‘Robert’ is Robert Dunn, the multiple Group One winning trainer, who conditioned Mr Meddle to his first six wins in Canterbury and Otago before he was exported to Australia in January 2017.

“Robert did a good job with him but then he reached his mark and I didn’t fancy lining him up against the top horses in races like the Ashburton Cup," Sparks said.

“I originally sent him to Andy Gath in Victoria but that did not work out and then Robert suggested Hayden. That was a great piece of advice because I’d never met Hayden up until then.

“Hayden took over in October 2017."

Barnes situated Mr Meddle in the trail from his two draw, and then at the top of the lane he sent him three-wide. They then surged past the $2.40 favourite Mr Kalypso (Kylie Rasmussen) in the straight.

Mr Meddle won by an increasing 7.5 metres and paced the 2138 mobile in 2:35.5 with a 1:57.1 mile rate. His sectionals were 30.7, 28.9, 27.7 and 29.6.

“We got a good trip and then when they went hard I thought I had the sit and sprint to get past them. He’s a lovely horse. He felt extra tonight,” Barnes said post-race.

Mr Meddle’s stake earnings now sit at $91,817.

Sparks said he managed to get into the breed by simply shearing sheep.

“I was shearing a few sheep for the past president of the NZ Metro, Peter Andrews, and cheekily asked him if I could breed from one of his mares.

“He said ‘yes’ and the mare was Don’t Meddle and she was in foal to J J’s Cornell. The resulting foal, Another Meddle (1988) is Mr Meddle’s dam,” Sparks said.

Meanwhile the feature event on Saturday night – the Group Three $22,000 Jim McNeil Memorial Trot was won by the Doug Lee trained and Adam Sanderson driven, Scorched.

“I had four in the race and it’s a privilege to win it in honour of Jim after what he did for trotting in the State. I also won the race with A Bit Noisy a few years ago. It’s a great thrill.

“Adam drove him beautifully. In my opinion he’s the best driver in Queensland,” Lee said.


Stacey Weidemann and Kelli Dawson added another $400 to the Team Teal tally with wins behind Sir Julian and Mach Alert respectively.

The ‘Team Teal Campaign’ for Women’s Cancer is edging closer to $10,000 in Queensland after wins by Narissa McMullen and Lola Weidemann at Redcliffe Paceway on Thursday; and then McMullen triumphed again behind the Cristina Monte trained Maretti at Albion Park on Friday.

That was McMullen’s 19th win of the series. She has now raised $3,800, and has recorded nine more wins than fellow ambassador, Kylie Rasmussen, who has won 10 races ($2,000).