Day At The Track
Chris Alford,Harness racing

Aussie stable snippets

AS the weather is warming up, so too is master Melbourne reinsman Chris Alford, of Bolinda. Alford landed a "fab four" at Kilmore last Thursday afternoon to rocket into the 80s for the current 2019-20 season. And there were some surprisingly juicy odds on offer, much to the delight of his legion of followers. Alford got the money early on the program with The Sparrow Hawk ($5.70) in the claimer. He then continued on his merry winning way in the next two with Allwoods Sunbeam ($3) and Just Anything ($5.20). He wrapped up the meeting with victory in the final event with Calaquendi ($12.10). Alford on 84 wins, has put a gap between himself and his nearest rivals in the Victorian Drivers Premiership. Greg "candyman" Sugars is again doing all the chasing back on 66. Then follows Kima Frenning 50, James Herbertson 38, Kate Gath 37, Jason Lee 34 and Michael Bellman 25. ______________________________________________________________________________________ VETERAN Sunraysia trainer-driver Fred Posgate was badly smashed up in a spectacular race fall at Mildura 11 days ago but says he can't wait to fully recover and get back at it. Posgate is recuperating at home at Coomealla on the NSW side of the Murray River after suffering a broken left ankle, broken right hand and other injuries when he was thrown from his sulky. "I was in the middle of the sandwich with nowhere to go. After I got tossed out two horses went over the top of me. I remember seeing their legs coming toward me, but that's about all," he said. "I think one of them trod on my hand. I was in hospital for three nights and had two lots of surgery." Posgate said his pacer The Verginian had escaped serious injuries, receiving a few cuts and bruises. "I scratched our other runner Puopolo from the next race. That was disappointing because he'd run second previously and we thought he was a big chance," he said. "I've been pretty lucky over the years because the only other time I've been hurt was at Kadina about 15 or 20 years ago when some horses went over me and smashed my right shoulder. "This time it's taken a bit out of me that's for sure, but I will certainly be back, at least as a trainer." Fred Posgate ______________________________________________________________________________________ ANOTHER of the bright young stars emerging from the strong central Victorian harness racing region of Bendigo, Shannon O'Sullivan, continues to bob up in the winner's circle. O'Sullivan, daughter of Hall of Famer, Jim, has been on fire with eight-year-old gelding Feel The Buzz, prepared by Mario Stella. The pair recently made it two on the trot with a Cranbourne victory late last month, followed by a Kilmore win. O'Sullivan certainly has an outstanding affinity with the horse, having jumped in the seat on five occasions for three wins. Feel The Buzz now has a career record of seven wins and 20 placings from 78 starts. Shannon O'Sullivan ______________________________________________________________________________________ THE cups spotlight moves to Cranbourne and then Gunbower this weekend. A cracker-jack field will line-up tonight in the $60,000 Group Two Decron Cranbourne Gold Cup with leading Victorian stables such as Emma Stewart, Lance Justice and Michael Stanley, while NSW is represented by Sonya Smith. Stewart looks to hold the upper hand with the brilliant Hurricane Harley drawing alley two. The in-form Kima Frenning has been booked for the drive. The Gunbower Family Hotel Pacing Cup, worth $14,500, to be staged tomorrow afternoon, probably has a handful of chances. Last-start winner American Zest looks well placed, while Brackenreid, Franks Very Much, Rupert of Lincoln, Our Jimmie, Hashtag and Kerford Road will all have admirers. Michael Stanley, who goes around with Rackemup Tigerpie in the Cranbourne Cup and American Zest the following day at Gunbower   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Winterfell,Harness racing

National record to Winterfell

By Garrick Knight    Winterfell earned himself favouritism for next Saturday’s $150,000 Inter Dominion Trotting Grand Final with a dominant New Zealand record win on the third and final night of heats at Alexandra Park. In the hands of co-trainer Mark Purdon, the rangy square-gaiter had too much power for a key rivals Majestic Man and Massive Metro after leading over the 2700-metre journey. It’s been a remarkable turnaround in fortunes from the horse that had earned the distrust of punters through the spring. “He’s picked it all up now and we’re starting to work together, which is a big help,” said Purdon post-race. “I said to Nat (Rasmussen) during the week that he’s almost turned the corner. “He enjoyed bowling around in front and felt good. “He likes this way around and has settled down a lot. He seems a really happy horse at the moment.” His Canterbury breeder and owner, Trevor Casey, was on course to celebrate and was at pains to say how it was just a matter of patience. “It’s always a pleasure to win a race, but to win an Inter Dominion heat – two of them – incredible. “He’s only had 23 starts and only really stepped up to open company this year. “They can win at age group level, but they still need the ringcraft to hit the top grade.” That’s something Winterfell clearly didn’t have. “He did get really keen and he used to hit the cart as well. “We’ve got to have a really long cart on him because he’s got such a long stride. “But Mark said Tuesday night was the best he’s ever settled.” Winterfell continues a brilliant production run for his dam, Una Bromac. “It gives me so much satisfaction because is out of a pacing bred mare that trotted called Una Bromac. “She used to whack a knee and nobody wanted her so I bred from her. “The first one she bred, Harley, was 18 hands, but she’s left four open class trotters after that, including Escapee and Needle.” Casey has sold Una Bromac now “because I had that many trotters, was about to breed from Escapee and it was time to move on an older mare.” Massive Metro, who trailed, fought on well enough for second but never looked like threatening the winner down the straight, while Majestic Man ran third after sitting parked. In the night’s earlier heat, Temporale went back-to-back with another front-running win for Tony Herlihy and trainers, Bernie Hackett and Michelle Wallis. It was arguably the stronger of the two heats, but went over three seconds slower than the other one thanks to no mid-race pressure on Temporale. Paramount King finished on nicely for second in a sprint home, narrowly ahead of the Australian, Tough Monarch, and Marcoola, who rushed home out wide after going rough when wide on the final bend. Inter Dominion Final field: Winterfell ($3), Majestic Man ($3.40), Marcoola ($4.80), Temporale ($7), Massive Metro ($8.50), Paramount King ($11), Habibi Inta ($18), Tough Monarch ($26), Big Jack Hammer ($41), Destiny Jones ($81), Bonnie Highlander ($101), Valloria ($101). The emergency is Monty Python ($151). Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

Circus Boy,Harness racing

Circus Boy back from the brink

By Garrick Knight    Jeremy Young was a pretty emotional man when Circus Boy won at Alexandra Park on Friday night. The horse he spent three years waiting on and slowly nursing back to health, rewarded him as both the owner and trainer with victory in a $20,000 race. “This would be one of the most satisfying wins of my career,” he told HRNZ post-race. “To have a horse with a broken bone like he did  make it back to the races and win on a night like this, it’s awesome. “I looked after him, now he’s looked after me.” Young took over training Circus Boy three-and-a-half years ago when sent the horse by Canterbury trainer Tony Barron. He had seven starts for a win before injury took hold. “He had a quarter crack that blew out so I gave him nine months out. “He was back in and coming up good a year later then he came off the track at Pukekohe lame one day. “I thought it must have been a stone under his shoe but we took an x-ray and he’d broken a hind pastern.” Young wasn’t in a position to pay for the conventional surgery option, but also couldn’t bear to see the horse put down. “He’s such a lovely, quiet horse and I like his character, so I rung my vet, Ivan Bridge, and asked him what the options were. “Since I couldn’t afford to screw him, Ivan said let’s bandage him up and put him in a box for four-and-a-half months. “So, that’s what we did. “When the time was up, I brought him back out of the box and he was walking sound, but it’s in the back of your mind about whether the leg was going to last” Just happy to have the horse safe and sound, and too scared to try him as a race horse, Young eventually just started working the horse as a guide to the rest of his team. “I used him in front of my young horses. He’s just such a quiet, placid trotter. “After eight months of slowly bringing him up I decided to try him again even though it was always in the back of my mind that it could fracture again.” Everything went smoothly and, this week, after a couple of runs to blow out the cobwebs, he shot up the passing lane to win at bolters’ odds. Young was noticeably emotional post-race and just so proud of the courage the horse has displayed. “It’s just such a pleasure to train this horse. “He’s part of the furniture; he can stay with me and maybe someone will want to ride him later on. “It would be my most satisfying win outside of the Northern Oaks with Best Western. “Because I saved his life and we’ve been through so much together. “It’s just so pleasing.” Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

Cruz Bromac,Harness racing

All 5 TeamVic runners into Dom final

A huge night for TeamVic with Cruz Bromac, San Carlo, My Kiwi Mate and Sicario all advancing to the Inter Dominion Pacing Championship, the $500,000 Grand Circuit feature at Auckland's Alexander Park on December 14. And to make the celebrations all the greater, Victorian trotter Big Jack Hammer did enough to book himself a berth in the $150,000 final for trainer David Aiken, reinsman Luke McCarthy and owner Dom Martello.  Cruz Bromac - the Victorian part-owned, sometimes trained, Trans-Tasman warrior - was outstanding in holding off All Stars' stablemate Thefixer and looms as the horse most likely to challenge Ultimate Sniper for the coveted crown. Sicario was enormous tonight in running fourth for trainer Brent Lilley and his proud group of owners, while San Carlo again did plenty of work to earn every point for co-trainers Stephen O'Donoghue and Rebecca Bartley, and finally My Kiwi Mate clawed in to the final with a determined final burst for trainer-driver Craig Demmler. Qualification is a huge result for the teams and their connections, who have invested so much to chase success and now they are only one race away, albeit with a mighty throng of Kiwis between them and the crown. HOW ARE YOU DOING IN TROTSTARS? CLICK HERE FOR RESULTS IRT Inter Dominion Pacing Championship heat five Ultimate Sniper put an exclamation mark on the Inter Dominion pacing heats with a third, stirring three-wide salute that leaves no doubt who will start favourite for the final regardless of draw. All Stars co-trainers Natalie Rasmussen and Mark Purdon produced another one-two, with Ultimate Sniper again outpointing Chase Auckland, but it was the former who shone out and reinforced his standing in his reinswoman's eyes. "(Chase Auckland) had a great trip. He probably should have beaten me (and Ultimate Sniper)," Rasmussen said. "He's had good runs in every heat and he's run second, second, second - he probably should have won one. This guy's been three wide every trip, this is the better horse." Victory came in a fairly torrid affair as the Australian raiders declared they'd not go quietly into the night, with San Carlo and Colt Thirty One advancing in the early stages to lead the peg line and Our Uncle Sam and Conviction the running line. Ultimate Sniper emerged three-wide with a lap to go and Rasmussen had plans to advance to the breeze but it wasn't to be. "Probably just didn't pan out the way I thought, I thought Our Uncle Sam would hand up, especially to this horse, but that's racing," Rasmussen said, with Ultimate Sniper instead holding the three-wide line midfield until nearing the final bend for a last burst. "I just think they were going too hard for me down the back, I wasn't getting involved in that. He can just sit out there, and then when I asked him in the straight he really (went). "He's such a good horse. People don't realise how quick he is as well. He's tough and he's quick." And Rasmussen expects him to take no harm from the run for the December 14 final. "I just felt a bit sorry for him tonight doing all that work, but I just know how well he is." Colt Thirty One ran on well to finish third but that won't be enough to revive his Inter Dominion campaign, with connections instead likely to pursue a consolation final win. San Carlo is expected to wave the TeamVic and Australian flags though on the $500,000 Grand Circuit stage, with the mid-race placing likely to be enough to see him advance. Image Interiors Inter Dominion Trotting Championship fifth heat Temporale looks well and truly back to being a Grand Circuit contender after controlling tonight's fifth Inter Dominion trotting heat and then holding all challenges at bay for a second successive victory. While Paramount King's fantastic campaign continued as he ran second, Tough Monarch's third will see the New South Wales raider advance to a final and Marcoola's fast-finishing fourth will have him a tight price for the big one Saturday week, the credit sits comfortably on the shoulders of Temporale, his reinsman Tony Herlihy and training pair Michelle Wallis and Bernie Hackett. "We all know how good he can be when his right. Bern and Michelle have done a great job with him at the beach," Herlihy said. "He's in the zone, I know they were getting a bit close to him at the end, but he's done it nice." Outstanding in front, Temporale cruised to the lead and knocked off comfortable quarters before getting home in 27.9 when the chasing trio made their play, but Herlihy said a front row finals draw wouldn't be neccesary for his charger to be in the finish in the $150,000 final. "As we know he's a great follower of speed too if he draws awkward, he's pretty adaptable." Matamata Vet Services Inter Dominion Pacing Championship sixth heat Cruz Bromac led, controlled a steady pace, held at bay Thefixer's final charge and reaffirmed this is anything but a one-horse series. Having switched from trainer Dean Braun, to Kevin Pizzuto, to All Stars Racing, to Amanda Grieve and back to the All Stars amid several years of elite racing, Cruz Bromac's New Zealand Trotting Cup success and now ID19 front running is being shared far and wide, most of all by Geelong co-owners Danny and Jo Zavitsanos. They would have been beaming again tonight after Mark Purdon took control of the race, handing the lead to Thefixer before a retake to keep the pressure where he wanted it. "(Natalie Rasmussen and Thefixer) worked to get past me, but then we backed off the speed quite a bit," Purdon said. "I really wanted to keep the pace on with this guy." There was little pressure from the running line until Bling It On's three-wide surge to the breeze from the back of the field, which would seem to take a heavy toll on the New South Wales pacer who would fade out of contention in the final straight. Conversely, Cruz Bromac only grew stronger, getting home in a 26.7-second final quarter to salute. "He's got better with each round of heats as far as handling the track and tonight he was just superb," Purdon said. "He's going to go second or third favourite in the final." A wall of runners battled for third and all-important championship points, with Triple Eight getting to the line first ahead of fourth-placed Sicario, A Gs White Socks, Another Masterpiece and My Kiwi Mate, whose seventh placing claimed enough points to qualify. Alabar Majestic Son Inter Dominion Trotting Championship sixth heat Winterfell delivered a grand message that the All Stars' trotter's ready to peak with a commanding victory in the night's final heat, which had co-trainer and driver Mark Purdon optimistic the challenging but talented Majestic Son five-year-old had turned a corner. "He likes this way around, but he's settled down a lot too - he seems a real happy horse at the moment," Purdon told Sky Racing post-race. TeamVic's Big Jack Hammer initially led then handed to Massive Metro who ceded to Winterfell and nothing but a second heat victory to the latter looked on the cards from that point forward. Majestic Man man put some pace into the race from the breeze, but Winterfell was cruising and won comfortably from Massive Metro. "He enjoyed rolling around in front," Purdon said. "He had a little pressure from Majestic Man but he felt good. "He's almost turned the corner. It's as if he's picked it all up and starting to work together, which is a big help." Big Jack Hammer boxed on to sixth, which was enough to extend his campaign into the final.   HRV Trots Media - Michael Howard

Cleangame (7g Ouragon de Celland-Red Bell) took this week’s finale of the Grand National du Trot Paris-Turf series at the Hippodrome Paris-Vincennes. Off at 1.4/1 from post 15 this J-M Bazire trainee was handled by Eric Raffin for Ecurie J-M Rancoule as he recorded his 30th victory in 47 starts now for 1,130,220€ earned. The Gr. II finale carried a purse of 130,000€and was race raced over 2850 meters with the winner handicapped 50 meters. He was clocked in 1.11.5kr over 2900 meters and drew off late after a mighty surge to the front. The 28/1 Eclat de Gloire (5g Tiego d’Etang) was second for trainer/driver Loris Garcia. The 17/1 Calska de Guex (7f Pomerol de Laumac) took third for trainer Bazire and reinsman David Thomain. 74/1 Belle Louis Mabon and 79/1 Baron du Bourg completed the top five and set up the exact order Q+ payoff of 141,910.80€ earned by 12 winning ticketholders. The Q+ pool was 5,749,916€ and over 10,942,000€ was wagered on the GNT finale race alone. The series top point winner Elvis Madrik was eighth in the finale. Watch the replay by clicking here.  Next year’s GNT schedule is shown below. Calendar 2020 Mercredi 4 mars - Amiens Mercredi 25 mars - Marseille-Borély Mercredi 8 avril - Lyon-Parilly Mercredi 22 avril - Toulouse Mercredi 20 mai - Le Croisé-Laroche Mercredi 3 juin - Laval Mercredi 17 juin - Maure-de-Bretagne Mercredi 5 août - Saint-Malo Mecredi 2 septembre - Châtelaillon-La Rochelle Mercredi 23 septembre - Lisieux Mercredi 14 octobre - Angers Mercredi 4 novembre - Nantes Mercredi 18 novembre - Mauquenchy Dimanche 6 décembre - Paris-Vincennes (Finale) The GNT undercard included finales of the LeTrot Regions Open for three, four and five year olds, each Gr. III events. The five year olds raced for an 80,000€ purse and 17/1 Echo de Chanlecy scored in 1.14.6kr over 2850 meters. Tony LeBeller teamed the five year old gelded son Quinoa du Gers to the victory over 5/10 favorite Earl Simon (5m Prodigious) and driver Franck Ouvrie. The three year old division went for 70,000€ and 3.3/1 Gimy du Pommereux (3m Coktail Jet) won in 1.16kr over the 2850 meter distance with Matthieu Abrivard up. Sylvain Roger trains this one for breeder/owner Noel Lolic. 2.3/1 Golden Visais (3m Repeat Love) was second for Franck Ouvrie. The four year old 80,000€ division was also raced over 2850 meters with the 1.14kr score to 8/10 favorite Fifty Black (4m Ni Ho Ped d’Ombree) and teamster Anthony Barrier for trainer Gregory Thorel. It was the winner’s sixth win in 14 career starts. Ahead this Sunday at Vincennes is the second “B” with the Prix du Boubonnais raced over 2850 meters for 110,000€. 18 starters included Bold Eagle with Eric Raffin up for Sebastien Guarato. Guarato will have four at the start also including the veteran mare Billie de Montfort. J-M Bazire will start five and he will drive Belina Josselyn. On Saturday is the Prix Octave Douesnel for four year olds with the superb Guarato trainee Face Time Bourbon at the start, with Bjorn Goop named to drive. by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink

By Jonny Turner    New Zealand Cup winner Cruz Bromac set up an Australia versus New Zealand battle in next week’s Interdominion Pacing Championship with a faultless display to win the last heat of the series on Friday night. The All Stars pacer was rewarded both for his consistent form in the series and for his massively improved manners when holding out his stablemate Thefixer by three-quarters of a length. Cruz Bromac showed no signs of the wayward tendencies he displayed during and before the Interdominion series with his third faultless display of the series to win. The 8yr-old’s love of right-handed racing, where he can stride out more fluently than on a left handed track, has him ready to give his stablemate and series rock star Ultimate Sniper a stern test about in next week’s final. Part-owner Peter O’Shea said there was no doubt who Cruz Bromac will be resenting when the pacer takes to Alexandra Park for that battle. He and his fellow Australian owners could pull off a masterstroke that would win them an incredible New Zealand Cup and Interdominon double while flying the Australian flag with their move to place the horse with New Zealand champion trainers Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen for the spring and summer. The final heat of the Interdominion pacing series bought mixed emotions for O’Shea, who races the horse with wife, Zilla, and Danny and Joanna Zavitsanos. The O’Sheas also race Bling It On, who dropped out to run a shock second last in the second of Friday night’s pacing heats. “I am excited about Cruz, but it has been disappointing with Bling It On.” “I thought he was really going to run a big race tonight and we were going to have a two pronged attack.” “He has had a shocking series, he choked down the first heat and he couldn’t get out in the first heat.” Driver Luke McCarthy put Bling It On’s chequered Interdominion campaign down to the horse being out of his comfort zone. “He just hasn’t been himself here, he is out of the routine he has been in at home.” “He has been collected three times a week at home and obviously his routine has been totally different over here.” McCarthy said Bling It On would not contest next week’s Interdominion Pacing Consolation. The All Stars quinella makers gapped the field, with Triple Eight holding the rest of the field home to take third and qualify for next week’s final. Triple Eight has already made one Australian owner’s dream come true by making the series final. Popular Octogenarian owner, Father Brian Glasheen, a final starter with his first runner an incredible 69 years afters after attending his first Interdominion series in 1950. Sicario was next home behind Triple Eight, ahead of dual heat winner, A G’s White Socks, who was sound in fifth.   The final field for the Interdominion Pacing Final in qualifying order. Ultimate Sniper, Cruz Bromac, A G's White Socks, Chase Auckland, Thefixer, Mach Shard, Ashley Locaz, Sicario, San Carlo, Triple Eight, On The Cards, My Kiwi Mate. Emergencies: Classie Brigade, Solid Gold. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

In 2019 Ohio became the number one State in North America for breeding Standardbreds with 119 registered harness racing stallions standing at 71 breeding farms in 33 Counties. Since the inception of the VLTs in 2012 the Ohio harness racing Industry has blossomed ten-fold. Ohio is the number one State for mares bred to stallions and standardbred foals produced from 2014-2018, and in 2019 the State has the most number of registered Standardbred owners in North America. In 2018, Ohio’s four pari-mutuel racetracks hosted 473 live days of harness racing at extended meets with 6,653 live races, or 57,739 harness racing starts. Now that the floodgates are open, Ohio is on the verge of historical changes that are going to impact the entire North American Breeding Industry with huge investments been made to bring in sensational top end mares and stallions and the news gets better every day with new announcements almost daily for the harness racing Industry in Ohio. The recent investment by Ola Yoder from Nappanee of champion broodmares at the White Birch dispersal sale at Harrisburg and the influx of legitimate world class stallions this year such as Lather Up, the equal fastest pacing horse in history and the outstanding trotting stallion and Sweden Cup winner Volstead, a son of champion Cantab Hall, really argues well for the future of harness racing in the State of Ohio. Volstead is an outstanding and imposing (16.2 hands) individual, Volstead was bred in the USA and became an International Champion. Other recent stallions to stand in Ohio such as Downbytheseaside, What The Hill, Fear The Dragon, Creatine, Uncle Peter, Dancing Yankee and Racing Hill, all add to the historical change that is rapidly engulfing the booming Ohio Harness Racing Industry. Spring Run Farm of Ohio (owned by Eli Miller) is the new home of recent purchases by Ola Yoder out of the White Birch Farm Dispersal sale. Perhaps the biggest news today is Ola Yoder’s purchase of the outstanding 2019 Breeders Crown Champion, the three-year-old trotting filly Winndevie. Winndevie is to be bred to the Hambletonian Elimination winner Enterprise, a son of Chapter Seven standing at Dublin Valley Farm in Ohio. Enterprise served over 100 mares in 2019 even though he was not even announced to stand in Ohio until mid-February. Enterprise a Hambletonian Elimination winner Winndevie is one of North America’s leading three-year-old filly trotters in 2019 (by Credit Winner), whose late-charging success in the $655,000 Breeders Crown in a lifetime best 1:53 at Mohawk, was her crowning achievement in a glittering career. Now retired to the broodmare band at Dublin Valley Farm in Ohio. As a two-year-old she won six of her seven starts including five legs and the $225,000 final of the New York Sires Stakes and banked $227,858, while at three she annexed the Breeders Crown Final and four legs of the New York Sires Stakes. She finished up with a stake tally of $863,257 – an average of $39,238 per start! Her Canadian earnings were $328,575 and her US earnings were $534,682 Winndevie has a background of trotting blood second-to-none. Apart from being by Credit Winner, a millionaire trotter and twice premier trotting sire in USA, Winndevie belongs to one of America’s most successful classic winning families, that founded by Medio, by Cooper Medium. On her distaff side, Winndevie’s first three dams are Stakes winners and she can claim the blood of Muscles Yankee, Conway Hall and Valley Victory, all champion sires and broodmare sires. Winndevie’s dam, Vida De Vie, won 10 races including the time-honored Lady Suffolk, earned $140,206 in stakes and took a mile record of 1:54.4 and was a smart race mare in her own right. This is her first foal. By Muscles Yankee, Vida De Vie was out of Velma K, also a stakes-winning mare with a mark of 1:55.4 at three and a bankroll of $171,857. At the stud she left three winners – all inside 2:00 – in Vida De Vie (Tr 1:54.4), Funknpancakes (Tr 3, 1:56.4) and I’m Yelling Timber (Tr 3, 1:58.4) from only six foals. Tra La La (Tr 3, 1:58.2), the third dam of Winndevie, was a Stakes winner at three and a very successful broodmare. Besides Velma K, she was the dam of a fine trotter in Mystical Ann , a Group winner in Sweden, the Ontario Sires Stake Gold champion Fosse Tr 3, 1:58 ($86,890), Wedding Singer Tr3, 1:56.4 (winner of $95,750) and the Stakes winner Do Ra Me (Tr 3, 1:56.8). In the back removes of Winndevie’s pedigree are trotters of the caliber of Manchego Tr 1:49 ($2 million), the world’s fastest female trotter, When Dovescry (2019 Hambletonian Oaks), Musical Victory, Possess The Magic and Lookout Victory, all Breeders Crown champions at two, Swan For All (sire of 2017 Horse of the Year Hannelore Hanover), Musical Rhythm and many others. Winndevie can boast a strong 3x4 cross to Valley Victory on the bottom side of her pedigree, and multiple strains of the blood of Speedy Crown, Star’s Pride and Super Bowl. 2019 Breeders Crown - Winndevie - 3YO Filly Trot Winndevie’s first consort as mentioned above will be Enterprise Tr 1:52 ($423,121), a Hambletonian heat winner, is by the dual Breeders Crown champion Chapter Seven, the sire of millionaire trotters Atlanta and Gimpanzee, and a member of the same maternal family as the USA and Canadian 2YO Trotting Filly of the Year Poof She’s Gone Tr 1:53.2 ($1.3 million). Harnesslink Media

The best indication of how remarkable Ultimate Sniper has been in this Inter Dominion pacing series is his own stablemate Cruz Bromac. Because after three wonderful runs in the series Cruz Bromac would make a compelling Inter Dominion Final favourite yet Ultimate Sniper is actually odds-on to win the title and nearly $3 tighter than Cruz Bromac in the pre-draw market. The All Stars pair wrapped the final round of the series at Alexandra Park last night by winning their heats, securing the top two spots on the points table and at the head of the market. After two huge but luckless runs on the first two nights Cruz Bromac was dominant last night, re-taking the lead from Thefixer and never looking in danger of defeat. Considering he won the New Zealand Cup less than a month ago you can make a strong case he can win the $500,000 final next Saturday. But while he has been good, very good and excellent in his three heats, Ultimate Sniper has been unbelievable, unbelievable and okay, we are starting to get used to this, but unbelievable again in this three heats.  After two monster wins in his first two heats Ultimate Sniper was expected to loop the field, sit parked and win the first heat last night. It didn’t pan out that way and he was stuck three wide for the last lap and looked to be labouring at the 600m mark, $1.40 punters thinking the bubble may be about to burst. But driver Natalie Rasmussen was foxing, conserving energy and when she asked the four-year-old to get busy in the home straight he was equal measures brave and brutal. He is in that zone some horses find themselves in during an Inter Dominion and is $1.90 to win the final before tomorrow’s barrier draw while Cruz Bromac is $4.80. Champion trainer Mark Purdon drove Cruz Bromac last night and beaming at how the athletic pacer has bounced through the series but is adamant Ultimate Sniper is their best chance in the final. “Cruz is going great but what Snipe has been doing in the heats makes him our best chance, he has been enormous.”If Ultimate Sniper draws well tomorrow and looks any chance to wresting the lead in the final he could get as short as $1.50. But if he draws the second line and Cruz Bromac, who has good gate speed, draws to lead the market gap will close. Australia has ended up with three in the final as has Barry Purdon, whose training performance to get A G’s White Socks, On The Card and Mach Shard into the great race a stunning effort considering where they sat two weeks ago. Barry also has Marcoola through to the $150,000 trotting final where Mark could potentially have he favourite in Winterfell. The latter was outstanding trotting a national record for 2700m winning the later trotting heat last night and looks a happy horse, hitting the ground more squarely and racing more generously last night. The other trotting heat was won in professional style by Temporale, who used his gate speed to lead and control. The trotting final looks more open than the pacers, with up to seven winning chances and two Australians in the mix. The pre-barrier draw field for the $500,000 Inter Dominion pacing final on Saturday is.—- Ultimate Sniper, Cruz Bromac, A G’s White Socks, Chase Auckland, Thefixer, Mach Shard, Ashley Locaz, Sicario, San Carlo, Triple Eight, On The Cards, My Kiwi Mate. Em: Classie Brigade.   Michael Guerin

Harness racing star Ultimate Sniper proved again how good he is by remaining unbeaten through the heats of this years Interdominion Championships at Alexandra Park. In fact how can they beat him in the final? Tonight, he again sat three wide on a hectic pace before powering home to win when most horses in his position would be going backward at the 600m. Driver Natalie Rasmussen was not worried when caught wide in midfield. "The race did not pan out like I thought it would," she said after the race. "But he is such a good horse. People do not realise how quick he is. He is tough and quick. "When the pace went on down the back I was not getting involved in that, but he can just sit out there doing it quite comfortable. "Then when I asked him to go in the straight he really just had another gear" All Stars stables grabbed the quinella when Chase Auckland ran a close second, with Aussie raider Colt Thirty One running a good race for third. The time for the 2700m Mobile was a slick 3-16.1 with a quick last 800m in 54.8 seconds.   Harnesslink Media

Breeding authority Peter Wharton presents all the harness racing news on breeding from Australia, New Zealand and North America every Friday brought to you by Garrard’s Horse & Hound.   WA classic winner from strong NZ family   Sangue Reale, the upset winner of the $125,000 WA 4YO Classic – the first Group 1 of the season – is an Art Major gelding from Christisimo, a Christian Cullen mare from the noted Krina family.   It was his seventh success and pushed his stake earnings over the $140,000 mark. Christisimo, the dam of Sangue Reale, was a capable racemare winning 10 races including four at Gloucester Park, earning $48,618 and taking a mile record of 1:57.2.   Watch the Sangue Reale race click here.   At the stud she has left three winners from three foals of racing age – all inside 1:58 – including the multiple Group winner Miss Sangrial 1:55.7 ($199,714).   The next dam, Bellisimo, left eight individual winners, four of whom earned $100,000 headed up by the Queensland Derby winner Torbelo 1:56.1 ($147,360) and The Gammalite winner The Cavalier 1:56.8 ($248,434).   She is also the grand-dam of the top Western Australian pacers Ohokas Bondy 1:53.6 ($388,148) and Code Red 1:55.1 ($132,639), the Leonard Memorial winner Dancing Diamonds ($343,276), and the exported Mr Ricky 1:52.6 ($173,250).   Bellisimo, who was unraced, was by Smooth Fella from Krina Bella, by Lordship from the Van Dieman mare Bellajily, winner of the 1963 NZ Derby.   Others from this branch of the Krina tribe have been Be Happy Mach, the reigning Australian 2YO Colt of the Year, the dual NZ Sires Stakes champion Imagine That, Happy Hazel (NZ 3YO Filly of the Year), Heza Thrill (1:49.1), Keep It Up (SA Derby) and the NZ 2YO Filly of the Year Krina Bella, the fourth dam of Sangue Reale.     Interdom heat winner from good broodmare   Ultimate Sniper, a Bettor’s Delight four-year-old and a winner of both his Inter Dominion heats, is out of Reality Check, a fine racemare with a stake tally of $139,495, who is proving a champion broodmare.   Reality Check is also the dam of Ultimate Machete 1:51.9 ($823,896), a four-time Group 1 winner now standing at Alabar Stud, and his half-sister Major Reality 1:50.9 ($434,455), a classics winner in WA.   Reality Check is an Armbro Operative mare from Maureen’s Dream, by Lordship from Tuapeka Dream, by Lumber Dream from the Light Brigade mare Mains Lady.   This is the Bonnie Belle family which produced the inaugural Inter Dominion champion Logan Derby.   Ultimate Sniper winning his heat on night one.     Smart filly by Sweet Lou   A star three-year-old filly in Western Australia so far this season is My Sweet Deal, who was bred in New Zealand by Charles Roberts and is raced and trained by David Hunter. She won at her first five appearances this term and has won seven out of 10 lifetime.   A filly by Sweet Lou, My Sweet Deal is out of American Sweetheart, by American Ideal from the Il Vicolo mare Sweet Vicky, a daughter of Soky’s Sweetheart, the dam of former NZ 2YO of the Year Sweet Talking Man 1:57.2 ($244,479), the top Victorian pacer Wartime Sweetheart 1:54.5 ($284,936) and the NZ Group 2 winner Stylish Sweetheart ($157,409), who, in turn, left a top ranking pacer in Gomeo Romeo 1:53.2 ($340,193), winner of the Taylor Mile and Cambridge Futurity.   Stylish Sweetheart is also the grand-dam of the NSW Breeders Challenge and Blacks A Fake winner Let It Ride 1:49.4 ($378,745).       Circus Flyer is star matron   When the Bettor’s Delight four-year-old Flying Finn won the opening race at the Auckland Inter Dominion Championship carnival, he credited his dam Circus Flyer with her third winner this season.   Flying Finn has won four races to date and boasts a record of 1:54.8.   Others to win from Circus Flyer this season have been Raptors Flight (1:52.7), who won her first seven starts in Victoria, and the three-year-old Major Jellis (1:55.7), who is unbeaten in two outings this term.   Circus Flyer is a Falcon Seelster mare from Soleil D’or, by In The Pocket from Corbie, a daughter of the grand producer Black Watch.   Flying Finn winning the opening race at this years ID19     First win for Restrepo   Restrepo, a well performed Art Major horse from a half-sister to a top racemare in Innocent Eyes, and who is now standing at Goodtime Lodge in western Victoria, was recently represented by his first winner in the three-year-old gelding Urbadboy.   Having only his second start, the gelding overcame interference to win decisively. Restrepo has been only lightly used at the stud so far, and he has had very few runners.   Urbadboy is the first foal of his dam, Dulcies Dilemma (1:58.7), a Jet Laag mare from Dazzling Dulcie, by What’s Next from the Classic Garry mare Winger, whose produce includes the Bathurst Gold Chalice winner Northern Frontier 1:56.6 ($136,248).       Melton double for leading breeders   Prominent breeders Bill and Anne Anderson, of Lauriston Bloodstock, had a red-letter night at Melton last Saturday. The couple bred a winning double with the former Group 1 winner Hurricane Harley (Bettor’s Delight-Sugarland), who they also race, and Kasbah Kid (Art Major-Kabbalah Karen B).   The Anderson’s will be offering an Art Major half-brother to Hurricane Harley and a Bettor’s Delight half-sister to Kasbah Kid at the Melbourne APG sale in February.   Hurricane Harley                                                     Stuart McCormick photo     Former Kiwi star at stud in US   The Bettor’s Delight horse Bit Of A Legend 1:49.8h ($2,557,371) has been retired and will stand his first season at Midland Acres, Ohio next year for a fee of $2,500.   A half-mile track specialist, Bit Of A Legend won 53 races in four different countries – New Zealand, Australia, USA and Canada – and took his record of 1:49.8 in the $200,000 Battle of Lake Eerie at Northfield Park, Ohio.   His other major successes in North America were the $609,000 George Morton Levy Memorial, $260,000 Joe Gerrity Memorial, $150,000 Molson Pace and the $150,000 Bobby Quillen Memorial.   As a two and three-year-old he won 13 of his 24 starts including the Australasian Breeders Crown, the NZ Yearling Sale 2YO Open Pace and the Great Northern 3YO Stakes.   By Bettor’s Delight, Bit Of A Legend is out of the Soky’s Atom mare Soky’s Legend, and hails from a strong American family whose members include Nero and Seahawk Hanover, both Dan Patch Award winners for 3YO Colt of the Year.   Bit Of A Legend                                                                                 Georgia Panagi photo     Blue blooded filly   Shesskylah, who is unbeaten in two starts this season – she rated 1:55 over 1650 metres at Bendigo – is a three-year-old filly who can claim some worthwhile blood.   By Alta Christiano, by Christian Cullen from Right This Time, by Fake Left, she is out of the Classic Garry mare Yeronga Songbird, an outstanding racemare of the 1990’s whose successes included the NSW Oaks, Victoria Sires Stakes 2YO Final and Bathurst Gold Tiara.   Yeronga Songbird was 24 when she left Shesskylah, who is her 13 th foal and sixth winner. Alta Christiano, the sire of Shesskylah, had a record of 1:54.2 and was the winner of the WA Derby and NZ Kindergarten Stakes.     Promising sire’s absence a loss   The smart come-from-behind success of Hellofalass at the recent Menangle midweek meeting further demonstrated the loss of Breeders Crown winner All Speed Hanover to breeders.   With only a few representatives racing, he sired another Menangle winner in Make Haste (1:53.9), the SA Sale Graduate Pace winner Shardonant (1:59.8), The Tooth Fairy and last season’s Victorian three-year-old winners Just Speed, Speed Dating, What A Pleasure and Allvictory Hanover.   Hellofalass, a four-year-old mare and one of All Speed Hanover’s only crop, is out of the What’s Next mare Beulah Belle, whose dam Saraburi (by Classic Garry), was a half-sister to nine winners including the prolific WA cups winner Allwood’s Chief and the Victoria Sires Stakes 2YO champion Exhilarator.   Hellofalass was bred by Graham and Janine Taylor, who stood All Speed Hanover at their Stonegate Farm, Nathalia in northern Victoria.     Victorian pacers for America   The recent Melton winners Audi Hare NZ, Raptors Flight NZ and Yankee Roller have been sold and shipped to America. The trio were all members of David Aiken’ Avenel team.   Audi Hare                                                           Stuart McCormick photo            Audi Hare, a seven-year-old Mach Three gelding, won 11 races in Victoria including the Breeders Crown Open Pace and the Gordon Rothacker Memorial Championship and was placed in the 2018 Inter Dominion Consolation.   Raptors Flight, a six-year-old gelding by Bettor’s Delight, won at his first seven appearances on Australian soil, while Yankee Roller (by Rock N Roll Heaven) won 11 races including the Group 2 Vicbred Platinum Homegrown 3YO Classic.       First foals by Jilliby Kung Fu   The first foals of the Four Starzzz Shark horse Jilliby Kung Fu are starting to hit the ground and are really looking the part.   The multiple Group 1 winner has mixed racing with stud duties for the last two years and has 10 foals on the ground and has already served 20 mares this year.   “They are very correct and are natural pacers,” trainer Marg Lee said.   Jilliby Kung Fu won a trial impressively at Ballarat last month and is close to another racetrack campaign.   Jilliby Kung Fu                                                Stuart McCormick photo       by Peter Wharton

Young Sydney raider Rickie Alchin faces one of the toughest tests of his harness racing career on the big stage tonight but is confident his star trotter Tough Monarch can bounce back in Auckland. Eight-year-old Tough Monarch (Monarch USA-Tough Tussle NZ (Wrestle NZ) has drawn the pole position in the fifth qualifying heat of the NZ Inter Dominion Trotting Championship at Alexandra Park. "There's some pretty good form everywhere you look, but that's what you would expect competing in a race at the highest level," Alchin, 32, said. Alchin said Tough Monarch had recovered nicely from his last start fifth at the same track just three days ago. "He's actually come through extremely well from that outing-I'm really happy with him and looking ahead with a fair bit of excitement," Alchin said. Tough Monarch started off his Kiwi campaign in the best possible way last month with a win at Addington in the $100,000 Group One Trotting FFA when handled by NZ ex-pat Anthony Butt. They were also game as ever when second in the $300,000 Canterbury Dominion. But the classy Aussie gelding then performed way below his best in the first round of the Inter Dominion heats on November 29, leading up before dropping out and being beaten 30 metres by Winterfell. "That was a mystery, but we've now moved on. We were okay at our next run which was a fifth earlier this week and we didn't enjoy much luck," Alchin said. "He got a little inconvenienced by a galloping runner and was doing his best work over the concluding stages. I thought he stuck to his guns in trying to make ground from up the back." Alchin said tonight's longer trip of 2700 metres wouldn't faze his stable star at all. "He won a Group Three at Melton a few months ago and that was over much the same journey," he said. "We've come up with a lovely barrier draw with the one alley, so hopefully things work out for us and we make it through to the big final. I feel he's going as good as ever." In early markets, Tough Monarch is on the fourth line of betting at $8.80. The Barry Purdon trained Marcoola (twice runner-up in both of his heats) is around $2.50; with other Kiwis in Temporale (excellent win last start) at $3.10 and Habibi Inta (solid second on Tuesday) having support at $6. Tough Monarch (left) and his Australian buddy Big Jack Hammer stepping out for a workout at the Clevedon property of John and Joshua Dickie Tough Monarch has now had 59 starts for 21 wins and nine placings for $309,000. He is owned by a syndicate comprising Alex and Ryan Kay, Peter Gadsby, Charlie Montebello, Vincent McDonald and the estate of the late Michael Van Rens. The group has owned a number of great horses over the years, headed by superstar Smoken Up (74 wins, 54 placings $3.6M) and The Falcon Strike (41 wins, 17 placings $1.2M). They also raced Tough Tussle, dam of Tough Monarch, who won more than $100,000 and competed successfully from 2005 to 2008 at Harold Park, Globe Derby and Moonee Valley. The Alchin team is now stabled at the barn of John and Joshua Dickie at Clevedon, on the Wairoa River, 35 minutes from Auckland. Tough Monarch's heat is timed for 8.53pm (Auckland, NZ time) which is 6.53pm (Australian Eastern Daylight time).   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

By Jonny Turner    Trainer Paul Nairn is confident the scales have tipped the right way he as his balancing act of trying to peak Habibi Inta for the Interdominion trotting final continues in the third round of heats on Friday night. The master squaregaiting trainer clearly had Habibi Inta where he wanted him ahead of the 6yr-old’s brilliant seven and a half length demolition of his rivals in last month’s Dominion. That version of Habibi Inta has been noticeably absent during the first two heats of the Interdominions, where he has produced a sixth placing that had punters scratching on night one and a solid, but unspectacular second placing on night two. Nairn admitted the task of peaking Habibi Inta for his epic Dominion win and then managing his recovery for his Interdominion tilt has been a tricky balancing act. And the process of letting Habibi Inta recover from his Dominion bid and then travel to Auckland and prepare for the series had an effect when the horse produced his sixth on night one. “It is one of those ones where, sure when you first look at it you think he was a wee bit disappointing,” the trainer said.  “But when you analyse everything, with the run he got, it wasn’t too bad.” “Maybe he was just a shade below his best, but you can understand coming through cup week and a big preparation for that.” “Obviously I can’t have him 100% for every start, so all in all I was happy enough on the first night.” Peaking a horse for both the Interdominion and New Zealand Cup carnival is a tricky task many of New Zealand’s best trainers are facing. The balancing act of how extract the best out of their horses, while giving them down time appears to be a catch 22. “If you keep going and don’t back off and keep the work up to them and they go no good, you say you’ve been too hard on them,” Nairn said. “But, if you back off and freshen them up and they don’t go super, you say you’ve been to soft on them.” “So, all in all I have happy enough with that first night run, to be honest.” Two massive factors have changed since night one and they are set to let Habibi Inta’s fans see a version closer to his best on night three. Firstly, the horse has progressed well through his solid second behind Majestic Man on night two. And Nairn is expecting to see further improvement from the horse as he attempts to peak for the series final. “I was quite happy him on Tuesday night, obviously the winner was a bit too good for us, but my fella got to the line strongly.” “He got a soft run, but I think he has improved a bit from it.” The second and most crucial factor aiding Habibi Inta is his step back in to the same distance range in which he delivered his massive Dominion win. It is something both the trainer and his driver, Blair Orange, think will have big effect on his Interdominion momentum. “Blair - like myself - we both feel that the extra 1000m this Friday and next week will really suit.” Habibi Inta looks the horse that will most appreciate the step from 1700m on night two to 2700m on night three in heat one on Friday night. Massive Metro looks the trotter that will relish the distance increase the most in heat two on Friday. The Michelle Wallis and Bernie Hackett trained squaregaiter has produced credible placings over unsuitably short distances in the first two heats of the Interdominions. Those needing a reminder of Massive Metro’s staying prowess just need to cast their memories back to December of last year. In his most notable staying performance, Massive Metro beat series rivals Marcoola and Temporale at Alexandra Park in the group 1 National Trot. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

R6, 8.24pm, Fifth pacing heat, 2700m mobile: Ultimate Sniper (11) has been so dominant it is pointless finding one to beat him. He has raced three wide for over half the two heats he has won and probably only has to sit parked to win this. Chase Auckland (1) got buzzed up early then trailed and was ok on Tuesday so logical danger, if any. Colt Thirty One (2) has had a nightmare series but still good enough to factor in top three here while San Carlo (10) should love the longer trip. First4 hopes to stablemates On The Cards (4) and Mach Shard (8). Suggested bet: You can take the shorts Ultimate Sniper to win but 11-1/2/4/10 might be a trifecta and First4 play.   R7, 8.53pm, Fifth trotting heat, 2700m mobile: Temporale’s (4) gate speed means he hold the aces because he can probably lead and choose to stay there or trail. Did win a Rowe Cup so has stamina. Marcoola (8) may actually be better suited drawn wide and could launch mid-race. Hard to work out whether he is at his best so his odds too short but could go a blinder. Habibi Inta (2) was better on night two and should be fitter and suited to the longer trip. Don’t be surprised if he goes close. Paramount King (6) has been massive both nights and can win so the early tactics could be interesting while Tough Monarch (1) has a First4 hope sticking to the markers. Suggested bet: Temporale (4) each way taking the short way home.   R8, 9.24pm: Sixth pacing heat, 2700m mobile: Stablemates Thefixer (4) and Cruz Bromac (2) have had no luck in the series and one of them should win. They could even lead and trail but after having had two quiet runs in the heats Thefixer should have plenty of energy in the tank. It is doubtful there will be punishing attacks so if he leads he is on top but with one run at them up the passing lane it could just as easily by Cruz Bromac. A G’s White Socks (10) has been stunning in the series so far and drawn to get midfield outer run but it might be hard to give the other favourites a start. Bling It On (6) never got a gap on Tuesday and will have to go forward at some stage as he sits in the cusp of making the final field. Classie Brigade (12) and My Kiwi Mate (5) can get some but hard to see them winning. Suggested bet: Thefixer to win.   R9, 9.54pm: Sixth trotting heat, 2700m mobile: As good as Winterfell (5) and Majestic Man (9) have been winning heats this is the chance for Massive Metro (5). He was huge night one, never a winning chance night two and might have enough gate speed to be master of his own destiny over a trip he won the National Trot in record time last summer. Winterfell (6) had no luck on Tuesday and could even find the front here, which might be enough to get him home in a no pressure race. Majestic Man (9) seems to love The Park and was dazzling both nights so can win but odds too short giving the other pair a start.  Big Jack Hammer (4) might get to the marker pegs and into the final so a First 4 player. Suggested bet: Winterfell to win, save Massive Metro.   Michael Guerin

Night three of an Inter Dominion is about two things: motivation and reality. Because while of connections of the 44 horses still in the series all basically want the same thing at Alexandra Park tonight — victory — what they need is different. Probably two thirds of the qualifiers for Saturday week’s $500,000 pacing final are set in stone barring huge form reversals in tonight’s final round of heats, with six to eight rivals chasing the last four slots. In the trotting series there looks to be seven winning chances for their $150,000 final and they are all as good as in the group one already. Of course everybody would like another win tonight, such the nature of competitive sport and the Interdoms can be an expensive time off the track so money comes in handy. But there are still differing levels of motivation going into tonight’s four heats. Some have to get good points otherwise their series is over. Others know they are in the final and that is where reality kicks in. Take A G’s White Socks for example. He has been incredible in this series for trainer Barry Purdon and driver Maurice McKendry and both would love him to clean sweep the series. But he is obviously safely in the final and tonight is in a heat where two New Zealand Cup winners in Cruz Bromac and Thefixer are expected to lead and trail. Purdon is adamant barrier two on the second line is perfect for A G’s White Socks because he should be midfield on the outer without having to work. But is McKendry really going to take off and attack potential Thefixer, knowing he almost certainly won’t beat him if he does? And if he does break him doesn’t that just make him vulnerable to Cruz Bromac, let alone give A G’s White Socks a headache a week out from the a final worth almost 17 times more than tonight’s race? Sure, they want to win. But the reality is he may not be able to if the race pans out as many think and it might be silly to try and find out. The same could apply, although not quite as dramatically, to Majestic Man in the last trotting heat. He has been sensational during this series but can’t lead from the second line so why would Brad Williamson send him mid-race to attack Winterfell or Massive Metro, potentially giving him a gutbuster for no profit. In a smaller field he can still win but in a race likely to lack tempo his odds will be too short. On the flip side of that coin are horses like Bling It On, San Carlo and Classie Brigade, who need to move and get forward before the sprint goes on, wanting at least top-six finishes to qualify for their finals. They have motivation to be in the finish, even if they can’t win. Motivation plus reality in the final round of heats of an Inter Dominion over 2700m, equals back those who can win without flattening themselves. Oh, and Ultimate Sniper, who the normal rules don’t seem to apply to just now.   By Michael Guerin

By Garrick Knight    Ray Green is getting used to the idea that he just might have the best three-year-old in the land. Copy That was the run of the race in the Group 1 Sires Stakes Final at Addington on New Zealand Cup Day, running second by a nose after doing a power of work. Race favourite One Change sprint-laned for the narrow victory but the talk out of the race was the run of the second horse. “He’s always had enormous ability,” said Green. “But with it came a little bit of waywardness. “We’ve mastered that to a point now and the improvement has been noticeable.” Green, from Pukekohe, actually owned Copy That himself but sold him to Australian stable clients, Merv and Meg Butterworth, in the winter for a tidy sum. The son of American Ideal has further increased his value since then, but Green isn’t worried. “We got good money at the time and he’s probably worth double that, if not more. “But my name’s Ray Green, not (Lincoln Farms owner) John Street, so we took the money and ran.” Copy That returns to the track at Alexandra Park tonight in the $25,000 Northern 3YO Stakes but after a scratching has been shunted to the inside of the second row. A trial last Saturday was sound and Green is optimistic that both Copy That and stablemate Line Up are ready to run big races. “They’ve both trained down good and I’m pretty happy with them.” One Change is in to go for Canterbury trainers Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen, as are his stablemates, Flying Even Bettor and Smooth Deal. “You don’t get away with a cheap run when them guys come to town, so I’ve got mine pretty ready,” said Green. He is nothing if not a realist in his twilight years, but he’s pretty adamant that with the right runs, both colts are capable of winning Derby-level races this season. “I couldn’t be happier to have these two colts in the barn. “They are right up there with the very top echelon. Both are Australian owned and will eventually end up there, but for now I’m happy to have them here. “I know Copy That went better down south, but there’s actually nothing between them.” The scratching of Above N Beyond has not helped Copy That, who bookies opened a $4.80 second favourite last night, alongside Smooth Deal. One Change opened the $2.80 elect with Line Up on the fourth line at $7.50. The third favourite at $6.50 is Bad To The Bone, who trainer Barry Purdon says will greatly benefit from a handy draw. “He’s never had a draw so I’m looking forward to seeing what he’ll do this week from a decent alley. “He’s a really nice horse and definitely up to the best ones of his age.” Purdon has a monopoly on the $30,000 Northern Breeders Stakes one race later with star mare Belle Of Montana a prohibitive $1.40 favourite ahead of stablemate, Wainui Creek ($4.20). Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

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YONKERS, NY, Friday December 6, 2019- Harness racing favorite Dibaba N (Eric Goodell, $4.30) gave nothing else a shot Friday night (Dec. 6th), winning Yonkers Raceway's brisk $42,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. It was a two-speed, two-wagering-choices number, with Dibaba N--from assigned post position No. 5--working around pole-sitter Itty Bitty (Dan Dube) before a :27.3 opening quarter-mile. There wasn't much to it from there as Dibaba N found a :57.2 intermission. Down the backside and moving toward a 1:25.3 three-quarters, Clear Idea (Joe Bongiorno) gapped out of a three-hole, while Shellie De Vie (Greg Merton) tired after a weak, first-over bid. Dibaba N and Itty Bitty had the stretch to the themselves, with the former opening a couple of lengths in and out of the final turn. Dibaba N prevailed by a length-and-a-half 1:52.4 Third--beaten more than eight lengths--was Kaitlyn N (Jason Bartlett), with Write Me a Song (George Brennan) and Clear Idea settling for the small envelopes. For Dibaba N, a 5-year-old Down Under daughter of Shadow Play owned by Blindswitch Racing, J&T Silva, VIP Internet & Robert Cooper Stables and trained by Jose Godinez, it was her eighth win in 23 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $11, the triple returned $50 and the superfecta paid $170.50. By Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway
Batavia, NY --- With no more Wednesday harness racing this year at Batavia Downs, the top distaff pace joined the weekly featured trot on Friday night (Dec. 6) with one race providing an upset and the other satisfying the chalk bettors. In the $12,500 Open I Handicap trot, Fox Valley Veto (Billy Davis Jr.) settled in fourth off the gate and watched as Chuckabuck (Drew Monti) made a break and Alert Hanover (Jim McNeight Jr.) overtook Empire Earl N (Mike Caprio) for the lead at the quarter pole. After all that action sorted itself out, Davis pulled Veto off the pegs at the three-eighths pole and motored to the top by the half in 1:00.2. As the race progressed onto the second circuit, Wheels A Turning (Shawn McDonough) came calling on the outside and matched strides with Fox Valley Veto up the backside, around the far turn and into the stretch. The battle continued down the lane until Fox Valley Veto slammed the door at the light, winning by one-half length in 1:58.3 at 15-1 . It was the 11th win of the year for Fox Valley Veto ($33.40) and owners Vogel and Wags Nags Stable and Jack Rice. Maria Rice trains the winner. Then in the $12,500 Open I Handicap pace of fillies and mares, Lady London (Ray Fisher Jr,) drifted fourth on the outside for the first eighth of a mile before she made a quick rush for the lead at the quarter in :28.2. From there the race was history. Lady London opened up a 1-½ length lead by the half in :58.3 and extended it to four at the three-quarters in 1:26.4. With no one even close as she sprinted around the last turn, Lady London jogged home wrapped up like a Christmas present to win by 6-½ lengths in 1:56. It was the third win in the last four starts for Lady London ($5.40) and owner VHF Racing. Sabrina Shaw is the trainer. Eight participating horse people had multiple win performances on Friday night. Drivers Billy Davis Jr. and Drew Monti led the way with three wins each on the card while Shawn McDonough and John Cummings Jr. both won two. And trainers Sabrina Shaw, Maria Rice, Jim Tronolone and Dave Russo all sent two stablemembers to the winner's enclosure for photographs. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Saturday (Dec. 7) with pot time at 6 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs
Freehold, NJ --- Harness racing driver Jim Marohn Jr. kicked off his December at Freehold Raceway in a big way on Friday, as he piloted home four winners on the nine-race program.   Marohn got his first victory in the 3rd race, guiding Catalyst to the winner's circle for trainer Jody Dunning. He picked up another victory in race 5, steering Tom Fanning's Unspoken Promise to an easy win. The hat trick was completed with 1/5 Mugshot Jess in race 7, who won for trainer Taylor Gower. Marohn got his fourth driving Canary Hanover in race 8, who had to fly down the stretch to get up over So It Goes Hanover in the last stride. Bucky Angle trained that winner.   Marohn's big afternoon gives him 47 winners on the calendar year at Freehold, from 300 drives. He's got 20 wins from 105 mounts since the resumption of racing on August 30.   Live racing continues at Freehold on Saturday, with a first post time scheduled for 12:30 PM EST.   From Freehold Raceway  
WASHINGTON, PA, Dec. 6, 2019 -- K Ryan Bluechip changed tactics but not results as he captured his third straight harness racing triumph in Friday's $18,000 Open Handicap Pace at The Meadows. While he contested the lead in his earlier wins, K Ryan Bluechip dropped in third from the gate and unleashed his big brush down the backside. He cleared the leader, Bettor Than Spring, and went on to score for Dave Palone in 1:51.2 over a "good" surface. Bettor Than Spring saved place, beaten 2 lengths, with Rock Candy third. Mike Palone trains K Ryan Bluechip, a 7-year-old Art Major-Fool That I Am gelding who now boasts $524,905 in career earnings, for J.R. Ryan, Stephen Ronay, Lone Wolf Stable and Collin Ryan. Trainer Ron Burke enjoyed a four-bagger on the 12-race card while Mike Wilder and Palone each fashioned a triple. With his Friday haul, Wilder finished the four-day race week with a total of 17 wins. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Monday when the program features an $81,095.21 carryover in the final-race Super Hi-5. First post for the 13-race card is 1:05 PM. By Evan Pattak, for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association  
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