Day At The Track

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

By Garrick Knight    You’ve got to hand it to Steve Telfer. The Ardmore trainer has been dealt three cruel blows that have devastated his carefully-laid Inter Dominion plans with stable star Triple Eight, but he’s not hanging his head. “I’m not frustrated, that’s just the way it goes sometimes,” he said. “You just have to take the good with the bad.” After getting caught wide early from an awkward draw on night 1 last Friday, Triple Eight flew home from well back for an unlucky sixth placing. On Tuesday, in the second round of heats, he drew even wider, over a shorter distance and ended up being stuck four and five wide the last lap. “Then he got a flat tyre for the last 500 metres as well, which was not beneficial.” In a series where every finishing position matters, and a $500,000 final is on the line next Saturday night, it was a tough pill to swallow for connections. Tonight, in the third and final round of heats, Triple Eight has drawn the inside of the second row, following out Star Galleria, who dropped out to finish last on Tuesday. With gate speed on the front line from Cruz Bromac, Bling It On, Atomic Red and Thefixer, Triple Eight maps to be stuck four back on the markers or worse. “We’re really reliant on what Star Galleria does but I don’t envisage that it’s going to work out too well for us,” said Telfer. “It’s a shame because tonight he gets out to his preferred distance and he’s very well within himself. “He’s come through the runs good and I’m happy in that regard. “It’s just been a tough series that hasn’t gone our way.” Triple Eight is still only three points off the 12th horse though, and Telfer is thinking a top three finish would be enough to sneak him in the back door to the final. “Top two definitely, top three probably, so he’s still a chance. “He’s a better stayer than a sprinter, and these next two 2700-metre races were always going to be his go.” If things don’t go his way, Telfer will cop it on the chin and turn the page. “We took our chances and missed the New Zealand Cup to set him for December. “And if we don’t make this final, we still have the Auckland Cup two weeks later.” Telfer actually has Dance Time closer to qualifying for the final after running fourth at bolters’ odds on Tuesday. “He’s way better over the short trip and that was his best chance to get points the other night. “He’s drawn outside of the back row which won’t help but if he did get a drag in to it, there’s no reason why he couldn’t run in the first six and maybe qualify for the final.” Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

Data analysts have delved into ID19, revealing the likely heroes and heartbreak kids as we near night three of the classic trots series. Based on calculations, not only are dual heat winners A Gs White Sox (currently 34 points) and Ultimate Sniper (34) assured Inter Dominion pacing final qualification but so are Chase Auckland (28), Cruz Bromac (28) and Mach Shard (24), while Thefixer (21) only needs to start to advance. That's half the pacing field finalised. The cut-off mark is likely to be highly contingent on whether the bonus points for finishing first, second or third are cannibalised by the series' leaders or claimed by those on the brink or in the lower reaches. If the series' leaders continue to dominate, 21 points (pacing) and 18 points (trotting) will likely earn qualification, but that could soar to as much as 23 and 19 in the event of a series of upsets. HOW ARE YOU DOING IN TROTSTARS? CLICK HERE FOR RESULTS Of the remaining pacers, projections have Ashley Locaz, My Kiwi Mate, San Carlo, Bling It On and Classie Brigade advancing along with Triple Eight, who rounds out the final 12. TeamVic's Sicario and Dance Time are projected to be next best on 18 points, just missing qualification and therefore reliant on a scratching for a start. The projections were based on bookies' expectations of horses' performances in tomorrow night's final round of heats. To amass at least 23 points and be all but assured qualification, the projected qualifiers would need to finish in the following places or higher: Ashley Locaz 6th, My Kiwi Mate 10th, San Carlo 8th, Bling It On 4th, Classie Brigade 7th and Triple Eight 3rd. In the trotting ranks, where 12 of the 20 entrants will advance to the December 14 Inter Dominion Trotting Championship, analysts predict at least 18 series points will be required to qualify. Already meeting that mark are Majestic Man (25 points), Paramount King (25), Marcoola (24), Temporale (23), Winterfell (23), Massive Metro (22) and Habibi Inta (18 points). Going on likely finishing order in tomorrow night's heats, TeamVic's Big Jack Hammer is projected to advance to finals night with Bonnie Highlander, Destiny Jones, Tough Monarch and Valloria. Monty Python, predicted to run 7th and acquire five points in the final heat, is projected to be unlucky number 13. To amass at least 19 points and be all but assured qualification, the projected qualifiers would need to finish in the following places or higher: Big Jack Hammer 6th, Bonnie Highlander 7th, Destiny Jones 7th, Tough Monarch 5th and Valloria 5th. The below table gifts a full run down of what it takes to reach finals qualification in tomorrow's final night of heats. Pacers Horse Current total Pts Req (23) Pos. to Qual Ultimate Sniper 34 -11   A G's White Socks 34 -11   Cruz Bromac 28 -5   Chase Auckland 28 -5   Mach Shard 24 -1   Thefixer 21 2 12 My Kiwi Mate 19 4 10 San Carlo 17 6 8 Classie Brigade 16 7 7 Solid Gold 16 7 7 Ashley Locaz 15 8 6 Sicario 15 8 6 Bling It On 13 10 4 Dance Time 13 10 4 On The Cards 13 10 4 Triple Eight 12 11 3 Star Galleria 12 11 3 Our Uncle Sam 9 14 2 Conviction 9 14 2 The Devils Own 9 14 2 Another Masterpiece 8 15 1 Check In 8 15 1 Atomic Red 7 16 1 Colt Thirty One 6 17 1 Henry Hubert 4 19 Out Trotters Horse Current total Pts Req (19) Pos. to Qual Majestic Man 25 -6   Paramount King 25 -6   Marcoola 24 -5   Temporale 23 -4   Winterfell 23 -4   Massive Metro 22 -3   Habibi Inta 18 1 10 Bonnie Highlander 14 5 7 Destiny Jones 14 5 7 Big Jack Hammer 13 6 6 Monty Python 12 7 5 Tough Monarch 12 7 5 Valloria 12 7 5 C K Spur 10 9 3 Sertorius 10 9 3 Pres The Belle 8 11 2 Ronald J 7 12 2 Didjabringthebeers 6 13 1 Kenny's Dream 6 13 1

Desperation will be the main objection of those connections who are hoping to make the Inter Dominion Grand Final. What is in their favour is that most of the top scorers have earnt points on the first two night’s making way for several “on the line” runners to sneak in. PACERS - HEAT FIVE This heat looks to be dominated by the All Stars barn who have the top two hopes - unbeaten Ultimate Sniper and Chase Auckland. Ultimate Sniper (11) couldn’t have been more impressive in both victories and looks the winner once again. Chase Auckland (1) is as honest as the day is long and following two second placings, looks the leader and the logical second elect. For trifecta and first four players, Ashley Locaz (7) seems well suited over the 2700 metre trip and San Carlo (10) after having no luck to date is a distinct place possibility. Nothing has gone right for Colt Thirty One (2) who is unlikely to cross Chase Auckland, but should he be able to gain nice cover, could easily figure in the placings. Mach Shard (8) has been racing really well but will have to contend with the dreaded outside front line draw. SELECTIONS : (11) ULTIMATE SNIPER, (1) Chase Auckland, (10) San Carlo, (2) Colt Thirty One. PACERS – HEAT SIX Cruz Bromac (2) after two outstanding placings looks a clear pick, however Thefixer (4) produced a fantastic effort to finish a close up fifth last Tuesday, rattling home from near last to smash the clock behind A G’s White Socks. The surprise packet A G’s White Socks (10) continues to blossom with each run and is certainly one of the major chances.  Once again there are several trifecta and first four hopes including Star Galleria (1) who should receive a soft trip from his favourable gate and Triple Eight (9) who is similar position from inside the second line. My Kiwi Mate (5) looks likely to make the Grand Final and can again be placed off a cold sit to figure in the placings. The same could be said for Bling It On (6) who deserves a change of luck. Classie Brigade (12) is probably a rough chance after drawing poorly. He was given little peace in front when fourth behind Ultimate Sniper. SELECTIONS : (2) CRUZ BROMAC, (4) Thefixer, (10) A G’s White Socks, (6) Bling It On. TROTTERS – HEAT FIVE Habibi Inta (2) battled on gamely for second to Majestic Man on Tuesday after following him throughout and looks well placed here. Paramount King (6) was gigantic on Tuesday when third behind Temporale and has come through the series in fine fettle. Temporale (4) was a narrow victor over Marcoola on Tuesday after leading for most of the way and never runs a bad race. Marcoola (8) has looked unlucky in both runs behind Temporale and Winterfell after being held up on both occasions. Unfortunately the draw has not helped his chances here, but is still in the mix. SELECTIONS : (2) HABIBI INTA, (9) Majestic Man, (5) Massive Metro, (6) Winterfell. TROTTERS – HEAT SIX Majestic Man (9) has got better and better with every run and despite drawing solo on the second line, should receive a sweet passage and is a serious threat. Massive Metro (5) is going great guns with two excellent placings and looks winning chance. Winterfell (6) a big winner on opening night can mix it with the best and is another who won’t be far away at the finish. The barrier draw has not been kind to Big Jack Hammer (4) who has not adapted to the reverse way of going. Should he gain a sit close and handy, he could be a rough place possibility. Destiny Jones (1) has been racing honestly and is a rough place chance. Kennys Dream (3) galloped away on Tuesday. Should he do everything right, he also is a rough place chance. SELECTIONS : (9) MAJESTIC MAN, (5) Massive Metro, (6) Winterfell, (1) Destiny Jones   Len Baker

There were three harness racing divisions of the second leg of the Holiday Trot Series contested on Wednesday afternoon at Saratoga Casino Hotel. Each division went for a purse of $7,500 as the participants had their last chance to accrue points towards next Wednesday’s $20,000 Final. Jimmy Nickerson’s Awol Hanover (Donato Hanover) and Phil Fluet’s Barn Star (Conway Hall) became two-leg winners as they each completed back-to-back jacks on Wednesday. Barn Star could well head into next week’s Final as the one to beat after prevailing in 1:58.2 for the second straight start. Fluet trains and drives the four year old who came into the series with just one win on the season but now owns three following a pocket-sitting victory on Wednesday. The fastest winner in each leg, Barn Star is poised to square off with Awol Hanover in the $20,000 Final after that one cruised to the front-end in leg two and never looked back. Jay Randall piloted the Nickerson-trained trotter who held off a late charge from rival JS Trotting Bob (Fluet) to secure his second victory in as many tries in the series, stopping the timer in 2:00 on Wednesday. The final division of the day saw a mild upset as Aventure (Muscle Mass) came from off the pace to prevail with leading driver Billy Dobson in the sulky. Aventure had been winless in 2019 before a surge in the stretch on Wednesday saw him score a victory in 2:00 and punch his ticket to next week’s Final. The win for Aventure came at odds of 6-1 and served as the third on the card for Dobson. Live racing continues on Thursday afternoon with a first post time set for 12 Noon.      Mike Sardella

CHESTER, PA - Perhaps the end of the 2019  harness racing season a week from this Sunday will be the only thing that can derail the Tim Tetrick Express at Harrah's Philadelphia, as the recent electee into the Hall of Fame added four more winners on Wednesday afternoon at the southeast Pennsylvania oval, including victories in both co-features and a win in one of the two co-featured contests. Both the trotter SVF Cash Deposit and the pacer Bigonpersonality N made successful brushes down the backstretch for Tetrick en route to their triumphs in the $16,000 top-level events. The Bettor's Delight gelding Bigonpersonality N ran his record to 3-for-4 in North America with a 1:53.3 victory, 2½ lengths to the good of Missile Seelster, for trainer Jim King Jr. and the partnership of Richard Poillucci and Jo Ann Looney-King - the Superfecta of Shartin N fame. The Cash Hall gelding SVF Cash Deposit is also a recent addition to the local scene, though he only came from as far as Running Aces in Minnesota. But he looked very good Wednesday while taking a new mark of 1:56.3, 4¾ lengths ahead of favored pacesetter Choco Charlie, for owner Elvin Zimmerman, who had been training the improving diamondgaiter before turning him over to the care of Justin Lebo before this start. The veteran Muscle Mass gelding Rubber Duck won his third straight in the trotting sector of the $14,500 co-featured class, with Tetrick moving him to the lead in front of the stands and then just riding along behind as the favorite won by 4½ lengths over first-over Perfect Stick. The winner of $585,949 posted a sharp clocking of 1:53.4 in the cool conditions for trainer Jennifer Bongiorno and owners Blair and Erna Corbeil. The only headliner Tetrick missed was the $14,500 pace, in which the Tellitlikeitis sophomore gelding Ollie's Ztam overcame a 34-day layoff in rallying from the pocket for driver Yannick Gingras to catch a strong pacesetter in Quality Bud by a neck in 1:51, equaling his lifetime mark. Ron Burke has taken over the training of the promising sophomore for Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC, J&T Silva- Purnel & Libby, and Frank Baldachino. Tetrick has now posted 44 victories during the last nine cards on which he has competed at Philly. From Harrah's Philadelphia

By Jonny Turner    With sprinting trips behind her and her airways clear, the real Destiny Jones can stand up in the third round of Interdominion heats on Friday night. The Canterbury trotter gets conditions to suit after battling back to full health to produce two sound fifth placings in the first two heats of the Alexandra Park series. Destiny Jones was lucky to even be in both of those races after pollen in the spring air was responsible for the mare’s failures in both the trotting features at the New Zealand Cup Carnival. It was not until after her Dominion run that vets handed trainer Dean Hunter the explanation for why her his mare’s form dropped off so badly after her excellent runs for second in the Ashburton Trotters Flying Mile and the South Bay Trotters Cup.  “I wasn’t even sure if we were going to make it up to the Interdominions, the way she was after the Dominion,” Hunter said. “But, we managed to treat her and get a clear hear lungs and get a vet clearance the Wednesday before the first night.” “I was still unsure how she was going to go on the first night, but she hit the line good and came through the run super.” “On the second night we got a bad draw over 1700m and we didn’t have much show bar going back and crunching home and she did that.” Being able to put his horse’s illness behind him with two sound Interdominion runs is not the only reason Hunter can look forward to night three with some confidence. The step up to 2700m and drawing barrier 1 gives the trainer even more reason to smile. “It will be a big help to her stepping up in distance,” Hunter said.  “She has got the draw and hopefully she can capitalise on it.” “She should have enough speed to hold early and then we have got the choice of who we might hand up to.” Destiny Jones does not just go in to the second of Friday night’s trotting heats after thriving during the series.  Her recent illness is practically a distant memory since arriving at the Stonewall Stud stables of Steve Telfer. “She has actually thrived since she has been up here.” “She is really bright and Steve and I am really pleased with her.” If Destiny Jones can bounce back to the form she showed before she suffered allergy problems she would almost certainly run a top five placing again and qualify for the Interdominion trotting final.  She just needs a little bit more luck than she had at Ashburton when carted backwards before running home strongly behind Marcoola.  “I think if she wasn’t held up — she wouldn’t have beaten the winner — but she would have got a lot closer to him.” “And her run at Kaikoura was great too, she did a little bit more work than Habibi Inta and he was able to run past her.” “But, she went a very good race.” Destiny Jones faces no easy task to win on Friday night. She faces the white hot Majestic Man, All Stars trotter Winterfell and fellow staying specialist Massive Metro in her heat. It looks a tough ask for the mare to crack a top three placing, but the TAB’s promotion of paying out on the first four placings on fixed odds place bets in the Interdominion heats boosts punters chances of getting paid exponentially. Destiny Jones has been rated at $5 in the fixed odds place market for Friday night’s race.  Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

Kiwi Bloke, a slow developer who was unplaced at his first 15 starts in New Zealand, has blossomed over the past 12 months and looks set for a strong effort at his debut at Gloucester Park when he contests the Westral Venetian And Honeycomb Blinds Handicap. The comparatively inexperienced six-year-old has developed into a reliable standing-start specialist, with five of his six wins coming in stands. His final seven starts in New Zealand produced two wins (in stands), two seconds and one third and he has had five starts in Western Australia for Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri and reinsman Chris Voak for four wins (three in stands) and one third placing. At his most recent outing, at Pinjarra last Monday week, Kiwi Bloke broke for just one stride soon after the start before dashing to the front after 150m and setting a solid pace to win by three lengths from Burning Shadows, with slick final quarters in 27.5sec. and 27.6sec. Kiwi Bloke is by Courage Under Fire out of the Falcon Seelster mare A Good Kiwi Chick, who raced nine times for four wins, one placings and $15,897. A Good Kiwi Chick’s claim to fame is that she is a half-sister to Kiwi Ingenuity (by Christian Cullen), who amassed $516,821 in stakes from 11 wins and eight placings from 27 starts. She was a brilliant three and four-year-old and at her only Australian start she finished fourth behind Monkey King in the Miracle Mile at Menangle in November 2009. The clash between Kiwi Bloke and Always An Honour should be a highlight of the 11-event program. Always An Honour, a New Zealand-bred four-year-old, is trained by Justin Prentice and will be driven by Gary Hall Jnr. He is also a standing-start specialist, with five starts in stands producing four wins and a third placing. At his most recent outing, Always An Honour dashed over the final 400m sections in 27.9sec. and 28.8sec. to win a 2503m stand at Bunbury on November 16 by more than nine lengths. Adding interest to Friday night’s race will be the return to racing after a ten-month absence of the Ross Olivieri-trained Jimmy Mack, who will start off the 10m mark with Chris Lewis in the sulky. Jimmy Mack warmed up for this assignment when he set the pace and sprinted over the final quarters in 28.7sec. and 27.8sec. in winning a 2116 standing-start trial by eight lengths from Packed Carefully on Sunday morning.   Ken Casellas

As one of the most successful harness racing reinswomen of all time, Lisa Justice seems quite content these days to be turning her interests simply to training. And if a recent lightning visit to Shepparton in Victoria is any indication, more success is just around the corner for the accomplished horsewoman. Justice competed with distinction as a trailblazer for women for nearly three decades from the 1980s. She is now based at Cobbitty 60 kms south-west of Sydney with her partner Michael Doltoff, who is private trainer for the highly successful Sloys Racing empire. The pair showed their expertise with a one-two result in their hit and run visit to Shepparton, with four-year-old horse Fanning (Shadyshark Hanover-Wholelota Rosie (Classic Garry), trained by Justice, posting a runaway victory in the first race, the $7000 Guardline Security Pace. They then followed up with a second by Doltoff's Major Crisis (Art Major-Operative Ways (Presidential Ball) in race two. Justice said while she would dearly love to return to race driving, "I think the bird may have flown". A car accident in January 2013 left her with serious injuries including to her neck, left hand and right shoulder and she's endured a long road to recovery, with three lots of surgery to her hand alone. "I would really like to say I'm not finished. But with all the injuries, I think my driving career is pretty much over," she said. "It's a bit of a shame because I've driven 996 winners and it would be awesome to get to the 1000 mark. But it is what it is." There is very little that Justice didn't achieve as one of Australia's top reinswomen, mixing it with the best in Inter Dominions, Hunter Cups and Miracle Miles, countless country cups and as a regular at metropolitan tracks in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and Brisbane, as well as across the Tasman. "I think I may have been the first woman to win a Group race in New Zealand," Justice said. "I enjoyed the Kiwi style of racing and one of my favorite memories is driving square-gaiter Lenin to a Inter heat win before running third in the final," she said. "Racing in the Inter Dominion Trotting series was just great. I was lucky to be part of a few. Lenin also took me to a Melbourne Mile win and the prestigious Gramel in South Australia. "Rainbow Knight was a brilliant pacer I loved driving. Thinking about his APC Championship win in Brisbane still gives me goose bumps, while Tip Top Prince was another champion horse." While the Doltoff-Justice team came up short of the dream "double" result at Shepparton from their road trip, Major Crisis was far from disgraced, running into a smart one in Iolanta from the Mick Stanley barn. "It was an eight-hour road trip down, but both horses travelled well and did their best," Justice said. "One of the main reasons was to chase the Vicbred bonus with Fanning, so we got that and now I'll be able to pay for some of my surgery," she said. "We've left Fanning with Rodney and he should be competitive for him in Victoria." Rodney Petroff, of Lancefield, was the winning driver of Fanning Doltoff, who is regarded as a fine judge when it comes to breeding, has been selling off some of his strong 35-member team as a fresh bunch of youngsters come through. "We've been educating a heap and there are some nice ones among them," Doltoff said. "While we're busy spending time educating them, it's a good practice to only race a small team," he said. The Doltoff stable is most excited with smart filly Keep Rockin, while Let's Go To Brazil is another with big wraps. Justice cut her teeth as a driver at Adelaide's Globe Derby Park, and in her SA hometown Inter Dominion in 1997, I'll never forget how close she was to snatching victory with Rainbow Knight at huge odds. Brian Hancock sent Our Sir Vancelot to the front in a rush early and dashed away with a big advantage turning for home. Justice had all kinds of bother trying to get in the clear and perhaps had an opening appeared a bit earlier, the record books may have shown a different result. For the past 10 years, she has been working with Ranvet, concentrating on horse nutrition in both harness racing and thoroughbred circles.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

When Kerryn Manning heard the word euthanasia, her heart sank. She had resigned herself to the likelihood Motu Meteor would never race again but was entirely unprepared for the shock veterinary recommendation. Meteor’s legs had shown signs of wear and tear in the preceding months, a strong hint that his days competing at a high level may be numbered. But the little horse loved his job and always gave 110 per cent on the track, an elite equine athlete in the truest sense. His doting trainer simply refused to accept that the end of his racing career should also mean the end of his life. “Meteor was a favourite of everyone at the stables and a really genuine trier at the races,” Kerryn reflected. “So laid back, never a problem to deal with and also quite a handsome man. He just had to have the chance to find his forever home.” Vets determined that on the balance of probabilities, Meteor had strained a ligament from his medial suspensory branch into his foot. The injury could only be definitively diagnosed with an expensive MRI scan and had a poor outcome for a racing. Given his medical history, leading owner Merv Butterworth chose not to proceed with the test, accepting that the curtain had come down on the six-year-old’s 40-start career, which reaped 14 wins and $252,295 in stake earnings. “When Merv told me Meteor was going to be put down, I jumped straight on the phone to the vet,” Kerryn said. “I hoped with appropriate rehab he could be saved as a paddock companion or for light riding duties and he said there was no reason why that couldn’t happen. “Once I explained this to Merv, he was all for giving the horse the opportunity – he is a big owner who runs his harness racing interests as a business, but very kind-hearted and always wanting to do what he can for his horses." Meteor’s racing owners, in fact, took their commitment a step further, agreeing to pay for the gelding’s upkeep during the crucial early months of his recuperation. Once he completed his box confinement and the injury had healed to a stage where Meteor could be turned out into a larger area, Kerryn assumed ownership and responsibility. He is currently resting comfortably in her retirement paddock at Great Western, having come through his rehabilitation with flying colours and now been cleared for rehoming. Kerryn will be supported in the next stage of “Project Meteor” by Harness Racing Victoria HERO Program Manager Tanya McDermott. “I’ve worked with Kerryn to rehome horses from her stable for more than a decade, so when the call came through of course I was going to do all I could to help,” Tanya said, qualifying that while the horse fell outside the HERO Program’s re-education and training framework, she had made a personal promise to assist. “Both Kerryn and Merv are animal lovers who have demonstrated a passion for life after racing over many years – we previously rehomed Meteor’s older brother Motu Crusader via the HERO Program on their behalf. “It’s been a privilege to follow their shared dedication to nursing Meteor back to health - he is trotting comfortably around the paddock, the leg is looking good and we have every reason to believe he will go on to enjoy a long, happy and rewarding life. “He’s a really pretty horse (a son of super sire Bettors Delight) and not big, so he might be suitable for someone who would like a standardbred to show in hand. “His temperament would also make him ideally suited to an equine therapy role or liberty training. Our main priority will be finding him a long-term home where he will have nothing but the very best care. “He loves being around people so someone with the facilities to keep him close by and time to spend with him will be very important.”   HRV HERO

Natalie Rasmussen is happy to admit she was wrong. Because being wrong might just win her next week’s $500,000 IRT Inter Dominion Pacing Final at Alexandra Park. Driving an Inter Dominion winner would be nothing new for Rasmussen, she partnered Blacks A Fake to win four of them even before she joined partner Mark Purdon to set up their super stable. That stable now dominates the market for the pacing final on Saturday week, with five of the six favourites, only series surprise package A G’s White Socks crashing their party. But while the All Stars being favourites to win any big race is hardly a surprise both Rasmussen and Purdon were adamant just six days ago that Cruz Bromac was their best chance of winning the series. Not any more. “Yeah, the order has changed,” says Rasmussen. “Not that Cruz has done anything wrong because he hasn’t but Sniper has really stepped up. “We went into the series with a little question mark over how he would handle the right handed track but he has been perfect. “And you find in a series like this some horses love it, they love the high pressure racing. “He has been that horse in this series. When he won on Tuesday night once he got a head of steam up he just kept going. “I think it has taken us until this stage of his campaign to get him really fit and to be honest I have a suspicion, with him being a rig, he might have been pinching himself a month or so ago when he was doing things wrong. “But at the moment he is exactly where he needs to be.” For most horses the second line barrier draw Ultimate Sniper faces in his 2700m mobile heat tomorrow night would be a market cooler but has has spent much of the series three wide so Rasmussen doesn’t bat an eyelid over giving away a start tomorrow night. “He will probably go sit parked if he can’t get the lead and he will love it there. “So he is now our top chance, as everybody has probably seen.”Ultimate Sniper is the $2.4 favourite to win the final and if he wins tomorrow night what barrier he draws on Sunday will determine whether he starts odds-on for the final. The pacing series’s other unbeaten star A G’s White Socks also faces a second line draw in the later heat tomorrow but his task is enormously more difficult than Ultimate Sniper because Cruz Bromac (2) and Thefixer (4) are ideally drawn to control the race. Thefixer has been luckless in both starts in the series but Rasmussen says that will be an advantage tomorrow night. “He hasn’t had the hard runs some of the other horses have and he will be ready to do some work,” she says. “He has hit the line really well both nights and he has to go close on Friday."The pacing final is probably two-thirds finalised with those sitting between 9th and 15th on the points table scrapping out the last spots in the 12-strong field, with the most market relevant horse on the cusp being Bling It On, who goes into tomorrow night 13th equal and needing to leapfrog a couple of rivals. He should and will probably join My Kiwi Mate and San Carlo as the Australians in the final. The trotting series is more even, with probably seven horses still given realistic winning chances in the $150,000 final on Saturday week.   By Michael Guerin

He's raced against some of the best horses in harness racing history, including Hall of Fame legends Somebeachsomewhere and Foiled Again, and he is still going strong at the age of 14. Anderlecht, a male pacer who got his first win at Woodbine in 2007, entered Wednesday with 18 victories this season, which is tied for third most in North America, only two fewer than leader Rusty's Flying. And the gelding is still capable of producing memorable moments, like in June when he gave driver Bruce Ranger the 9,000th victory of his career. For his own career, Anderlecht has won 82 races (with 32 different drivers) in 367 starts and earned $978,027 (C$1.03 million). He captured the 2010 Des Smith Classic at Rideau Carleton and a year earlier won the Cam Fella Pacing Series championship at Woodbine. His career-best time of 1:48 came at the age of 9, when he beat triple-millionaire All Bets Off in a conditioned race at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Anderlecht will be pointed toward several more starts before mandatory retirement on Jan. 1, first at Scarborough Downs and then possibly at Monticello Raceway. "The old horse just feels good about himself," said Dennis Whittemore, who bought Anderlecht in May 2018 to race for his wife Diane. "He likes what he does, he loves his job, and when you put him on the racetrack, he knows what he's doing. If you put him in a position where he's got a shot at winning, he's going to come out on top most of the time." Whittemore, from Maine, was a fan of Anderlecht before buying him. He watched the horse race at Florida's Pompano Park, where Whittemore spent the winters, and thought the horse could be competitive in Maine. "I watched him race in Pompano and when he was good, he was super good," Whittemore said. "Just knowing I like to go to Maine in the summertime, if you take good old back class home, usually you do pretty good with it. He's just a class horse." First, though, Whittemore needed to help Anderlecht recover from a tendon sheath infection. Whittemore and his brother, Dana, who has trained the horse for most of his time in Maine, nursed the horse to health with eyes toward a healthy 2019. "Slowly but surely, he came around," Whittemore said. "My brother did a very good job with him. He took great care of him. He came back this year as a monster." Anderlecht has won 18 of 37 races this year and $37,878. He has raced at Scarborough and Bangor Raceway as well as the Maine fairs. "He's just a pleasure to have around," Whittemore said. "He plays little games with you, but he does everything to please you." Whittemore is working with a retirement group to find a forever home for Anderlecht following his career on the racetrack. "He raced some good ones over the years," Whittemore said. "There are not a lot of horses that win over 80 races. Everyone that's had him has done well with him. "He's had a pretty storied career." by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

For the first time in the history of the Top Ten Poll the same horse stayed #1 all season long and that horse is none other than Shartin N. This is the final Top Ten Poll for the 2019 season. Shartin N closed out the year with 23 first place votes out of 35 voters. The final Top Ten Poll did not change at all from last week. Thanks to the USTA's Ken Weingartner for conducting the Top Ten Poll. Rank Name (First Place Votes) Age/Gait/Sex Record Earnings Points Pvs 1 Shartin N (23) 6pm 19-15-3-0 $982,177 322 1 2 Bettor’s Wish (8) 3pc 19-13-6-0 $1,643,745 306 2 3 Greenshoe (3) 3tc 13-10-3-0 $1,277,049 253 3 4 Manchego (1) 4tm 17-8-1-0 $585,788 204 4 5 Warrawee Ubeaut 3pf 19-12-2-3 $950,610 173 5 6 Gimpanzee 3tc 14-8-1-2 $1,128,753 135 6 7 Caviart Ally 5pm 19-9-7-3 $672,215 114 7 8 Papi Rob Hanover 2pc 12-6-4-2 $754,774 71 8 9 Real Cool Sam 2tg 10-9-0-0 $497,774 56 9 10 Tall Dark Stranger 2pc 9-8-1-0 $717,514 51 10 ALSO: Atlanta 48; McWicked 41; Six Pack 39; Lather Up 38; Emoticon Hanover 10; When Dovescry 9; Captain Crunch, Forbidden Trade, Senorita Rita 8; Southwind Ozzi 6; Lyons Sentinel 5; Amigo Volo 4; Blue Ivy, Sister Sledge 3; Easy Lover Hanover, Elver Hanover, JK First Lady 2; Always A Prince, Bold Eagle, Shake That House, Winndevie 1. From the Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown/USTA

Craig Demmler says the door to the Inter Dominion final is ajar, My Kiwi Mate just has to pace through it. And the 2700m of the final round of heats for the series at Alexandra Park on Friday night gives him in the perfect chance to do just that. My Kiwi Mate all but earned his spot in the A$500,000 final with his third placing on Tuesday night and he goes into Friday seventh on the points ladder with 19, giving him a huge buffer over the 13th equal pair of On The Cards and Bling It On, who sit on 13 points and at the moment tied for the emergency spot. That would suggest My Kiwi Mate could run seventh or even eighth on Friday night but Victorian horseman Demmler isn’t thinking too far ahead. “Sure, I’d love to make the final but I don’t want to be worrying about it too much cause we can’t control how the others go. “But we are a long way toward the final and he loves the series racing.” Demmler says the step up to 2700m for the final round of heats and the final will suit My Kiwi Mate, he just wishes he had more distance races to aim him at in Victoria. “He loves following a good speed and he gets a better drawn than some of those others who need points. “So getting into the final is the first thing and we will take anything else as a bonus. “We all know how hard it is going to be to beat a horse like Ultimate Sniper because he is flying but I think on our Victorian form we aren’t far behind Cruz Bromac.”Demmler is loving the series at his good friend Barry Purdon’s property, where some of the big guns of the series are also stationed. Depending on results on Friday night it is very possible five of the pacing Grand Final 12 could come from Purdon’s property as well as Marcoola for the trotting final. “I just love being here for the series, it is iconic,” says Demmler. “This is why we train horses, to come away and race the best and spend time with good friends and make new ones.” The series did however start on a sad note for Demmler, with his uncle Rodney passing away last Friday. “Rodney was in the horses early doors but got out of racing to drive trucks and he was a great guy,” remembers Demmler. “He was a very different guy from Dad (Ted, Rodney’s brother). Louder and more of a party guy. “I got the call from Dad before the heats last Friday to tell me he had passed and it really knocked me. "So I’d love to make the final to give the family something to cheer about.”   Michael Guerin

World first, real time 360° in race experience trialed at Alexandra Park, Successfully trialed at Australasia’s biggest harness racing meeting is set to revolutionise the New Zealand and global racing and wagering industry. Representatives from the New Zealand TAB and Australian Harness Racing were on site at Auckland’s Alexandra Park last Friday night when the new broadcast technology was unveiled at harness racing’s IRT sponsored Inter Dominion Championships. The successful trial featured on-site coverage of races involving 360-degree cameras mounted on the helmets of drivers, which will soon allow fans to use smartphones to experience the race in real-time from the perspective of the drivers. Racing officials globally are interested in the technology’s ability to deliver in-race wagering, opening a vital new revenue stream for the TAB and also acting as an attraction to lure fans and the next generation of event seekers, back to racing clubs suffering from declining attendances. “This has huge potential. Punters should get involved while attending the InterDoms. We need their feedback to make the experience the best it can be. Looking forward to the next stage. One of the more exciting things that’s happened to Racing for years,” says Racing Board general manager of customers, Gary Woodham “Once we have proven the system, we can look to monetise it for punters. Very exciting. TAB understands how this could change the game for Racing punters.” Representatives from 5G providers Huawei, have been contributors to the “proof-of-concept” which has been overseen by the inventor of the “BESTSEAT360” product, Aucklander Craig Meek. The innovative smartphone-delivered products allow spectators at track side or at home, to view the race in real-time from the perspective of the driver or jockey. The product allows users to rotate the view a full 360 degrees to see the horses in front, next and behind the chosen driver. Fans can also ‘teleport’ or ‘swap’ to different drivers during the race. “In the past, if you were at a track, you’d follow a race with a set of binoculars,” explained Meek. “Today, our product allows you to use a smartphone, while giving you the incredible experience of driving your horse in the race by simply rotating your view 360 degrees during the race allowing you to move from horse to horse for a better view, putting you right in the action.” A select group of 50 “VIPs” used the product for the first time during the Alexandra Park pilot and were unanimous in agreement; this trial was a glimpse into the future and could be a huge boost for the industry and other sporting codes. “Racing has probably lagged a bit in technology in recent times, but this could be a game-changer,” said Jamie MacKinnon, Board Director of Alexandra Park. “We need to find effective and stimulating ways to convince event seekers to come to race meetings and to better engage with our sport. This is the future of engaging sports viewership and a platform to improve revenues. It’s easy to use and very captivating. We saw positive response to the idea, especially by those not directly involved with harness racing.” “Many of them were blown away by the technology and say they want more.” Importantly, MacKinnon added, the future ability to bet through the BESTSEAT360 product could prove a huge benefit to the future of the racing industry. Harness racing officials both sides of the Tasman are enthusiastic about the products potential with the wagering community. “Having seen the amazing vision generated by the BestSeat360 technology, I sincerely believe that this innovative presentation of vision can be 'game changing' for the Harness Racing Industry. Not only does it provide the ability to revolutionise the way in which people view and experience our racing product, but it also has the potential to open new revenue streams to the Industry.” said Chairman - Harness Racing Australia, Michael Taranto. “The potential uses of the vision are endless.” Based on the success of this trial, BESTSEAT360 has been invited to present to the governing body of the China racing body responsible for horse racing and wagering on Hainan Island, China. Meek said 5G will be the “game-changer” that makes BESTSEAT360 the ultimate in sports engagement. While harness racing was the “first proof-of-concept”, the technology and product had a “natural fit” with other sporting codes and media coverage. The Alexandra Park trial was successful using 4.5G. “If we had 5G, the full-on experience would be mind-blowing,” said Meek. “Being Kiwis, we are overcoming all obstacles as they present. Working with the team at Spark and Huawei they upgraded the Alexandra Park cell site from 4G to 4.5G to provide us with enough band width to provide the VIPs with an exclusive experience from multiple horses. We have also tested the technology in the Spark 5G Lab.” MacKinnon said, “Alexandra Park has been working with Meek’s company since the beginning of the year and saw the IRT Inter-Dominion as the perfect event to pilot the technology.” “We have provided them with access to our facilities,” he explained. “The horse owners, drivers and staff have been amazingly helpful and realise they will be beneficiaries of the new technology and are part of a world first.” Meek said the test project had been invaluable in identifying and overcoming issues and that real-time, in-race wagering “is absolutely possible” and that the product is easily transferrable to the sports and entertainment world. He said BESTSEAT360 will roll out other world firsts with various sports over the next year and would also concentrate on adding an “AI” (Artificial Intelligence) component to assist users and take engagement to the next level. “We’re talking about smart media for smart phones that gives you the event in real-time, close up from the eyes of those in it the middle of it,” he said. “There is an obvious application to all manner of sports from motor-racing to rugby, cricket to baseball, basketball to netball, Tour de France to crazy extreme sports and a host of other sports. Not only does it offer fans gripping new perspectives from the view of the athlete but also the ability to create gamification to drive fan engagement and also maximise the wagering economy.” Meek said, “Licencing opportunities are underway with sports organisations, telcos and broadcasters in New Zealand and internationally with an investment round also planned early next year.”   Media Release

A personal milestone for Michelle Phillips has affirmed the effervescent Victorian horsewoman's decision to pursue harness racing ahead of her other sporting interests. The 22-year-old recently drove her 50th winner, and with her family background was probably always going to end up in harness racing, but she admits competitive basketball captured her love for several years. "I'd played basketball when I was growing up at Warragul in Gippsland and was lucky enough to get a position at Seda College while I was completing Year 11 and 12," she said. "The main emphasis of the college is basketball with the Melbourne United Club and Basketball Victoria working together to further develop the sport." Phillips represented Victoria a few times, mainly as a point guard, and also competed in school carnivals against other States. But as a graduate of the Gippsland Harness Training Centre at Warragul (where she was selected as the inaugural Harness Racing Victoria-Community College Gippsland trots intern), harness racing was never far away. And ironically, her basketball interest was probably what eventually brought her back to the trots. "Then when I finished Year 12, Deb and Gary Quinlan, from Drouin West, offered me a part-time job at their stables, I jumped at it - probably because I had renewed enthusiasm after the two-year break," she said. Phillips grew up around harness racing, with both her father Ken and grandfather Max being Clerks of the Course for many years at local trots meetings. "While I was at the Harness Racing Training Centre I had 12 months of learning everything about the industry and spent time in a number of leading stables here including Alison and Chris Alford, Anton Golino, Andy and Kate Gath, and with Mark Purdon in New Zealand," Phillips said. "A highlight was helping Mark with the preparation and care of Smolda, leading up to him winning the Inter Dominion," she said. Phillips drove her first winner in April last year at Ballarat when successful at her eighth race drive on Our Sir Oliver, trained by Norm McVitty. She then followed the April with with two further victories in May with the same horse at the same track! In her first season she finished with 10 wins and 26 placings. Last season she improved with 23 wins and 62 placings and now looks set for her best-ever with 18 wins and 30 placings to date. She landed her 50th winner at Maryborough last week on Lets Went for Bendigo trainer Laurie Wills. "I was absolutely stoked, and it was great to have the luck continue for a bit at Mildura the next night when I got home on Rocknroll Legend. But it was soured a little bit later in the night cos I got a suspension," Phillips said. Now attached to the successful Chris Svanosio barn, Phillips is busy helping with the stable's shift from their Bendigo base to a Romsey property where Svanosio's partner Elizabeth MacLean is established. "We are all looking forward to it because it's a magnificent complex," she said.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura