Day At The Track
Lotamuscle,Harness racing

Nairn can upset on Friday night

Trotting’s magic man believes he can pull off his second 20-1 group one winner this month in tomorrow night’s Anzac Cup. And while coming from anybody else that might sound wishful thinking, when master trainer Paul Nairn says it it is worth punters paying attention to. Nairn is one of the most respected trainer in the industry so it was rare to see him produce a big-odds winner when Lotamuscle blew past red hot favourite Enhance Your Calm in the $100,000 NZ Trotting Derby at Addington on April 5. The pair clash again in the $60,000 Sires’ Stakes at Alexandra Park’s huge premier meeting tomorrow night and while both have second line draws it is tempting for punters that Lotamuscle is rated a $6.50 chance in early markets compared with Enhance Your Calm’s $1.35 quote. But while Nairn thinks Lotamuscle can win with the right sit-sprint trip it is later in the night he believes he has the blowout chance in the $100,000 Anzac Cup. Nairn has both Ronald J and Habibi Inta in the outstanding open class field and says a huge improvement from Ronald J wouldn’t surprise. At his best the big trotter has looked to have serious x-factor but has let punters down with a pair of sixth placings in his last two starts. Nairn says he has had excuses. “I was disappointed by his last start so we had him checked out and he had a few issues,” he explains. “He had a few minor soreness issues we worked on and also had a high white blood cell count, which suggests he had an infection. “That has been fixed too and he has better now. And his work at home has suggested he is even happy right-handed than he is down home.  "So with a good draw and some gate speed I think he can be handy or even lead and I can’t see any reason he can’t win, even allowing for how strong the field is.”  With the TAB bookies opening Ronald J at $21 that gives punters a real chance in one of the best trotting races of the season. Auckland Cup winner Turn It Up is set to start a odds-on favourite in the $100,000 Taylor Mile having opened at $1.60 even though he has drawn outside Miracle Mile winner Spankem. The latter opened $3.10 but was backed into $2.60 last night in the sprint which has already seen Triple Eight scratched. Unbeaten filly Sweet On Me is the $1.16 good thing for the night in the Caduceus Club Classic. Michael Guerin

Motukarara,Harness racing

Club News this week from HRNZ

Alexandra Park News – Friday 26 April Friday 26 April 2019 – American Night Howdy Partner! Saddle up for Alexandra Park’s American Night on Friday 26th April from 5.30pm. Enjoy some harness racing action, all-you-can-eat southern style cuisine and a chance to wet your whistle. Cowboy hats and boots encouraged! Can you stay at the top of the mechanical bull leaderboard and take out the top prize? It’s gunna be a hoot. Ya'll get your group together and join in the fun. What are you waiting for? Secure your table today! Go to www.alexandrapark.co.nz The night is supported by the Caduceus Club along with their loyal group of sponsors who support the running of the Woodlands Stud Caduceus Club Fillies Classic for 2 YO fillies as well as 6 other races on the card including the John Devlin Memorial Trot. Also run on the night we have the Downbytheseaside at Woodlands 2019 Taylor Mile for 4 YO pacers, the final of Haras des Trotteurs Sires Stakes for 3YO Trotters and the HR Fisken & Sons ANZAC Cup for the highest rated trotters. With this being the first night of the Premier racing in the Autumn at Alexandra Park all these horses will be able to compete for Group 1 glory again the following week if they happen to met with bad luck in the run. Friday 3 May 2019 – 2019 Reharvest Rowe Cup Friday May 3rd Harness Racing at its best - 3 Group 1 races as well as the Magness Benrow Sires Stakes 2 YO Fillies Championship will be run during the evening at Alexandra Park. The other feature races through the night will be the Dawson Harford NZ Messenger Championship for 4 YO pacers, Breckon Farms Northern Trotting Derby for 3YO Trotters and the 2019 Reharvest Rowe Cup for the best trotters in the country racing for a stake of $150,000.00. Top of the Park will open on this night for all your dining requirements and should you like more information or would like to make a booking go to www.alexandrapark.co.nz Friday 24 May 2019 – French Night in Top of the Park  For bookings go to www.alexandrapark.co.nz or phone 09 631 1165 Annual Wish 4 Fish Charity Function in Tasman Room, Alexandra Park Raceway, Auckland – All fund raised at this event will go to Wish 4 Fish Charitable Trust. Tickets cost: $135.00pp includes buffet meal & beverage package. The night will include charity auctions, raffles and a punters club $10.00 per share. For more information and to order tickets please phone Bryce on 021616601 or e-mail bryce@wish4fish.co.nz Mid-Winter Christmas – Christmas Party 21 & 28 June & 5 & 12 July 2019: Indulge in the festivity of mid-winter Christmas with Alexandra Park. Embrace the winter chills and find some festive spirit whilst enjoying the best harness racing in New Zealand. Offering FOUR function rooms and packages over four mid-winter Friday nights, there is something to suit all groups and budgets. Dream of mulled wine, all-you-can-eat buffet and a lively social atmosphere. Explore the best Alexandra Park has to offer, but don’t forget to book quickly as these popular nights don’t last long. Go to www.alexandrapark.co.nz to book your tickets or ring 096131165.   Invercargill HRC - Saturday 27 April DIAMONDS DAY A HIGHLIGHT OF HARNESS RACING SEASON One of the premier events on the Southern Harness Racing calendar – Diamonds Day - takes place at Ascot Park Raceway in Invercargill on Saturday 27 April. The event is the culmination of several of the major harness race series in the south with feature events including the finals of the Macca Lodge/Nevele R Stud Southland Oaks and the Alabar Southern Supremacy Stakes, both races run over 2700m for a stake of $50,000. The Regent Car Court Southern Country Cups Handicap Pace also over 2700m for a stake of $25,000 is another feature as is the Group 3 Diamond Creek Farm 2yo Classic raced for a stake of $50,000 over 2200m. High quality fields are expected for a day of superb harness racing. On course patrons also have the opportunity to win in several competitions on course. Included among these is the Level One Restaurant & Bar Lucky Losing Ticket draw after Race 6 where a lucky losing ticket will win a $50 meal voucher from the sponsor plus a pictorial quiz which will feature in the race book. The children are not left out as they will receive a free bag of lollies after Race 6. Eleven high quality harness races are programmed with the first scheduled for 11.40am. Admission to the course is free. Some hospitality options are still available on course. Other dates for the Invercargill Harness Racing Club before the season ends include Saturday 4 May, 25 May and 8 June as well as Queens Birthday Monday 3 June.   Cambridge Raceway - Sunday 28 April Sunday 28th April – Launch of Cambridge Raceway’s newly renovated public bar! Along with ‘pop up’ mini golf, The Public Bar promises the best drink prices on course. Lounge opens at 11am on Sunday and is located on the ground level of the Grandstand. Thursday 16th May – Quiz night at the races New Zealand's best comedy pub quiz hosted by the hilarious Alan McElory is coming to Cambridge Raceway! So leave all your preconceptions of a boring tavern quiz at the door as this is not your average pub quiz. Throw in some live Harness Racing action throughout the evening and this is a night out not to be missed! More info here: https://www.cambridgeraceway.co.nz/page/crack-up-quiz-night-at-the-races/ Thursday 6th June – Lads night at the races hosted by Jim from The Rock! It's our first Lads Night at Cambridge Raceway and we're setting the bar high. Along with an awesome night of horse racing, beers and bants, there will be celebrity dual sulky races - Featuring Jim & a couple of players from the Chiefs. Tickets are only $20 and include a Corona (or non-alcoholic drink) on arrival - Plus if you purchase your ticket before May the 6th you'll also receive a $20 bet to use on the night! More info here: https://www.cambridgeraceway.co.nz/page/lads-night/   Rangiora HRC 26 May – Pink Ribbon High Tea The Rangiora Harness Racing Club will be hosting a Pink Ribbon High Tea at their May 26 meeting, to help raise funds for the Breast Cancer Foundation. We're taking part in the Pink Ribbon Breakfast campaign this year to help support Breast Cancer Foundation NZ's vital work. High Tea at the Rangiora Races -26th May 12:15 to 4:30 PM  Rangiora Racecourse, Westbelt Purchase your tickets before the 10th May and go in the draw to win a return trip to the High Tea at the Races in an Airpark limousine! Tickets $75.00, of which $20.00 goes towards the NZ Breast Cancer Foundation. Phone: 021-738-007 Email: canterburycountryharness@gmail.com Get your friends together and glam yourselves up for a fabulous afternoons entertainment.  Tables of 6 and 10.  A glass of bubbles on arrival.  Prizes for best dressed and much more.................... The money raised will be used to fund research projects and medical grants to help improve survivorship, as well as support patients and their families during treatment and recovery. Donate today to help make zero deaths from breast cancer a reality. https://pinkribbonbreakfast.co.nz/page/rangioraharnessracingclub   Addington Raceway News Hello Everyone, IRT HARNESS JEWELS  - Remember to book your perfect spot! We are delighted to host the IRT Harness Jewels at Addington. Please see below details of all the festivities. Welcome Pre Function Dinner – Thursday 30 May 6.00pm Silks & Satin Lounge, Level 2 Metropolitan Stand Hosted by Greg O’Connor and Michael Guerin, this special evening will celebrate the history of this wonderful event.  Included in the festivities will be the IRT Harness Jewels commentators Tony Lee, Mark McNamara and Aaron White who through their commentaries, will highlight this special race series.  As part of this night HRNZ will present the IRT Harness Jewels colours to the leading set of connections in each category. Evening includes; Three course plated dinner Cash bar facilities available $70 per person $650 for a table of 10 To book or for more information please contact Joanne McMaster on 339 7908 or joanne.mcmaster@addington.co.nz IRT in association with TAB Harness Jewels Golf Day – Friday 31 May This is a Four Ball Best Ball Stableford event to be held at the Templeton Golf Club.  The day will start with a pre-game BBQ from 10.30am with teams teeing off from 11.30am.  There will be a prize giving post game. Individual $50 per player Sponsorship $250+GST per hold including a team of 4 To book or for more information please contact Greg O’Connor at greg.o’connor@tab.co.nz IRT Harness Jewels – Hospitality Packages – Saturday 1 June Ruby Lounge Located on level 3 of the Metropolitan Stand, enjoy panoramic views over the track in a lounge setting with casual seating.   Ideal for groups of friends wanting the best views, in a more relaxed atmosphere where you can mix and mingle with other racing enthusiasts. (No allocated seating) Package Includes: · Course admission, racebooks and access to the Ruby Lounge · Complimentary drink on arrival · Stand-up grazing stations with an array of antipasto and seafood platters, fresh salads, carvery meats, fresh breads, hot vegetables, and a dessert selection · A cash bar offering a selection of premium wines, NZ premium and standard beers, house spirits and non-alcoholic beverages (beverage tabs can be arranged on the day) · Barista coffee and tea available throughout the day · Private TAB facilities and Trackside TV’s · Racing Master of Ceremonies $195 per person Silks & Satin Lounge Soak up the atmosphere and excitement in one of our largest lounges on course. Located on level 2 of the Metropolitan Stand with uninterrupted views of the winning post, this is undoubtedly one of the most sought-after positions for those wanting the complete hospitality experience. Allocated seating is at shared tables of 10 people. Package Includes: · Course admission, racebooks and access to the Silks & Satin Lounge · Three course buffet lunch, including cold meats, seafood and salads, hot dishes, carvery, and mouth-watering desserts · All beverages included – premium wines, NZ premium and standard beers, house spirits and non-alcoholic beverages · Barista coffee and tea available throughout the day · Live entertainment · Private TAB facilities and Trackside TV’s · Racing Master of Ceremonies $295 per person Spectators Punters Lounge This is the perfect place for racing enthusiasts wanting a relaxed and casual place to mix and mingle. Enjoy the comfort of lounge facilities with access to the front of the Lindauer Lawn to watch all the trackside action. Spectators also offers a large screen, bar leaners and casual seating. (No allocated seating) Package Includes: · Course admission, racebooks and access to Spectators Punters Lounge · Continuous spit roast grazing stations including fresh vegetables, seasonal salads, pork, Canterbury lamb and sweet treats · A cash bar offering a selection of premium wines, NZ premium and standard beers, house spirits and non-alcoholic beverages (beverage tabs can be arranged on the day) · Barista coffee and tea available throughout the day · Private TAB facilities and Trackside TV’s · Racing Master of Ceremonies $125 per person      For hospitality bookings or for more information please contact Joanne McMaster on 339 7908 or joanne.mcmaster@addington.co.nz All details and booking forms are also on our website – addington.co.nz. We are looking forward to hosting an outstanding day of our sport on Saturday 1 June.  Have a great week. From the Addington Team   April Club of the Month – Timaru HRC Harness Racing New Zealand is thrilled to announce a new monthly feature, Club of the Month. Similar to the Stable Shout concept where we recognize trainers who are exceeding expectations in terms of owners experiences, the Harness Racing New Zealand owners subcommittee wish to also acknowledge clubs who have gone above and beyond to ensure all owners (winning or otherwise) are looked after and appreciated on race day. This month our winner is the Timaru Harness Racing Club, which was nominated by Nora Bishop. Nora has always been grateful for the Club’s efforts to look after her and her owners when she has raced a horse with them. “The Club has given me meal vouchers for owners to redeem at their wholesome little restaurant (The Grey Way Lounge) and always invite the owners up to the President’s room for drink in one of the most welcoming environments.” “They also do a great job with initiatives like the Mother’s Day lady driver race series, and incorporate great events for mothers and ladies in the industry on the day. So that encourages people to bring their families along on course and celebrate ladies in racing.” “The Timaru club also try really hard to have something for families at the track too which is always appreciated by owners with children. The kid’s lucky draw was always a hit with my kids!” We congratulate the Timaru Harness Racing Club for going the extra mile for owners and encourage other owners to nominate a club they have had a positive experience with by emailing Jess Smith – jess@hrnz.co.nz     HRNZ Marketing

Sekkie Monkey,Harness racing

Sekkie Monkey upsets strong field

Sekkie Monkey upset a strong field of maiden trotters at Ascot Park today. The four year old daughter of Monkey Bones was the sixth favourite in a race that was expected to be dominated by well bred Jaccka Jeorge and Liberty Stride. “That was a good maiden field and I wasn’t sure how we would go. But she went well,” said trainer driver Nathan Williamson. Both Liberty Stride and Jaccka Jeorge broke with Jaccka Jeorge losing all chance. Liberty Stride made ground late for fourth. All the honours went to Sekkie Monkey which led early before handing up to Cuchulainn. “She’s just a bit lazy in front so I was quite happy to hand up. She was pretty strong at the finish. I was pretty happy with her. She’s just getting used to the tighter circuits.” At the top of the straight Williamson pushed Sekkie Monkey up the passing lane and she trotted home nicely to beat Cuchulainn by three quarters of a length.   Sekkie Monkey on the inside gets the winning call - Photo Bruce Stewart. The four year old was initially prepared for racing at Waikouaiti Beach by Amber Hoffman. She was sent to Williamson in December. The Branxholme trainer qualified her at Gore in February. “We had to put a lot of miles into her just to get her trotting solid but she’s pretty solid now. I don’t think she’s made a break off the place.” Sekkie Monkey is out of the Sundon mare Sekkie and is owned by Kevin Strong. “I was on the lookout for a Sundon mare after I lost one. She was advertised by Michael House in foal to Monarchy. That horse was no good so I put her in foal to Monkey Bones and that’s turned up trumps,” Strong said. Sekkie is no longer alive but Strong does have a three year old by Superfast Stuart named Super Sekkie out of the mare. Sekkie is a half-sister to Avatar (7 NZ and 5 AUS wins) and What Ever You Like (7 NZ and 16 AUS wins). “I’ve had a few horses over the years but never a good one by myself. The best one I raced with Neville Cleaver was Hopes And Dreams.” Strong and Cleaver are currently breeding from Sunrise Delight but unfortunately her first two foals have died. Currently they have two fillies out of the mare by Repeat Love and Peak. Nathan Williamson, Sekkie Monkey, Kevin Strong, Invercargill President Barry McCulloch and Trevor Little - Photo Bruce Stewart. Strong’s horses are now managed by former Gore trainer Trevor Little. “I’m retired and I thought I was out of it. Kevin had thirty odd horses. We’ve just worked our way through them. We’ve leased a few and kept a few of the trotters. We’re still breeding from Sunrise Delight (Sundon – Little Miss Watch) and Easy Option (Great Success – Sunrise Girl). ” Little trained Fakes Dream to win for Strong and Cleaver at Invercargill in February 2005.   Bruce Stewart  

Hampton,Harness racing

Hampton lives up to his breeding

Sportswriter gelding Hampton had a bit to live up to. Until today, his Christian Cullen dam Baptism Of Fire had left six winners from eight foals of racing age including Highview Tommy (17 wins and $1,021,904) Highview Chartom, Highview Teejay and Highview Freddy; all five win horses. “Everything out of that mare has won races with the worst winning four. So he (Hampton) should be able to get another couple of wins at least. This horse will be better in twelve months,” said Kirstin Barclay who co-trains the gelding with Paul ‘Tank’ Ellis. Driver Blair Orange settled the Hampton at the back of the main bunch before getting on the back of Mark O’Ronga to move forward with a lap to run. At the 800 metres Orange had Hampton parked outside leader The Interceptor. At the top of the straight Hampton had hit the front and he went down to the finish two and a half lengths clear of the second horse Bettor Rock Again. Hampton was bought by Wayne McEwan principal of McEwan Bloodstock, at the 2017 Christchurch Sale for $20,000. “It’s taken a while for him to get his confidence. He’s got a lot of high speed. We knew he would do a good job once he got going.” Today was only the gelding’s fifth start. Barclay says his confidence was knocked after his first start. “It was driver error first start. He got knocked over at the start and I then let him loose around the field and it just blew him over. It was too much for him and it’s knocked his confidence. It’s taken him a wee while to come back.” Orange was wearing a black arm band in today’s race to acknowledge the passing of Rewa Burns yesterday. Rewa was the wife of long time Secretary of Southland Trotting Clubs Peter Burns. Kirsten Barclay said “She and Peter were such an integral part of Southland Harness racing. They were like the power couple back in the day. They lived in the cottage across from the stable. Sometimes I’d get home from the races really late at night but she’d always come out to say well done.” Rewa raced cup class pacer Haughty Romeo back in the late seventies and early eighties. He won nine races, eight for Maurice Skinner and one for her son Tim. Meanwhile the Barclay/Ellis stable’s star pacer U May Cullect looks set to reappear at Ascot Park on Saturday. The Gotta Go Cullect five year old is unbeaten in only three starts and will line up on Diamonds Day in what will be his last start of the season. “It’s just amazing how he handled the trip (to Addington). He hadn’t been further than Winton and he went up to Canterbury, ate up, raced under the lights for the first time, won, and came back to his paddock and ate up.” Barclay says it doesn’t take too much to keep the quality gelding ticking over and race fit. “Tank spends a lot of time walking him and we space his races. We do a lot of slow long work, endurance work with him, so he’s always fit without sprinting.”   Bruce Stewart  

A simple question could decide the $100,000 Taylor Mile at Alexandra Park on Friday night. Does a Miracle Mile winner respect an Auckland Cup winner enough to trail him, especially in a group one sprint at Alexandra Park? Because that is puzzle facing punters after Spankem drew inside stablemate Turn It Up in one of the last group ones of the northern season. The pair will dominate betting on the Mile, which actually reverts to the true mile distance of 1609m after being run over 1700m since 2007. After winning the Auckland Cup and then the Easter Cup last start, Turn It Up might be the best pacer in the country and in any normal race against even this elite level of opposition he would be expected to lead and win. But stablemate Spankem is drawn inside him at barrier two and considering he won both a prelude and then the Miracle Mile itself by leading he would seem to have every right to park out his stablemate and try for another all-the-way win if he can he reaches the front. It will be a fascinating key plot to the race, with any pre-race indications from trainers the All Stars sure to have a significant impact on the market. For all their exploits this season the pair can’t lay total claim to the four-year-old sprint with all but one of their rivals rated 90 or above, which is pretty much open class these days. While they were the big winners out of the draws in the main pacing race on a stellar premier programme at Alexandra Park, some of the other recent group one winners at the Addington carnival haven’t fared so well. NZ Trot Championships hero Speeding Spur faces the outside of the front line in the $100,000 Anzac Cup, the final lead-up to next week’s Rowe Cup. Trainers John and Josh Dickie are happy with how the veteran has come through his last-start win but with Massive Metro (barrier three) and Lemond (four) drawn inside him and Marcoola and Sundees Son certain to be moving from the second line, the race looks one of the hottest contest of the trotting season Also disadvantaged by the draw at the trifectamates from the NZ Trot Derby, with Lotamuscle, Enhance Your Calm and Tricky Ric all drawing the second line in Friday’s $60,000 Sires’ Stakes Trot. But while some of those stars face interesting nights at the office exceptional juvenile pacing filly Sweet On Me will be a long way into red odds to remain unbeaten after drawing the front line in the $100,000 Caduceus Club Final, making her everybody’s anchor in the first leg of the $40,000 Pick6. While Friday night’s meeting is one of the strongest of the season a couple of the big players will be just as focussed on Melton in Victoria on Saturday night, with northern filly Belle Of Montana opening $1,40 to win the A$150,000 Victoria Oaks. She was brilliant coming from a long way back to win her heat last Saturday and has drawn the ace in this Saturday’s classic, with her natural speeding giving driver Zac Butcher plenty of options on the Barry Purdon-trained filly. Already the winner of a group one Sires’ Stakes Championship at home if Belle Of Montana can add an Australian group one this weekend she will have gone from unknown maiden to one of the most valuable female pacers in Australasia in just nine starts. Michael Guerin

Young harness racing driver Ben Hope won his first Group race yesterday when Muscle Mountain was successful in the Gr3 "Majestic Son" NZ 2yo Trotting Stakes at Addington Raceway. Hope who is sitting third on the National Junior Drivers premiership table drove another calculating race with the unbeaten Muscle Mountain (Muscle Hill - Paramount Faith) when after finding the front shortly after the start he decided to hand up to second favourite Ultimate Stride with a lap to go.  Ultimate Stride was all done at the 400m and Muscle Mountain looked like being a chance of being carted back behind him, but Ben Hope managed to extract the speedy gelding out of a tight spot on the turn and from there he cruised home to win easily without being pushed. Muscle Mountain ran the 1980m mobile in 2-29.1 a mile rate of 2-01.1 with the winner coming home his last 800m in 58.6 with a closing 400m in 27.98 seconds. One Majic Kenny was brave in second for driver John Dunn and the Purdon/Rasmussen trained filly Tailored Elegance rattled home late for third. There were two false starts in the event with multiple offenders breaking stride in the runups to the start.   In the other 2yo (pacing) race on the day there was also sensation when raging hot favorite Smooth Deal galloped out of contention shortly after the start dashing his chance and also the hopes of punters many of whom had included the son of Bettor's Delight in multi bets during the day. Mark Purdon wasn’t sure what happened when Smooth Deal went out of his gear early in his Sires Stakes heat at Addington. “He’s done it before but there was no apparent reason for it this time. He might have touched a knee it is just hard to say” Mark said. Smooth Deal had already qualified for the Sires Stakes final during his Auckland campaign, so Saturday’s failure was not as crucial as it might have been if he had not qualified. All Stars Stables had better luck later in the day taking home wins with Princess Tiffany, Winterfell and Ashley Locaz. Star 3yo old filly Princess Tiffany looked to have come back to racing in great order, winning Heat 7 of the Nevele R Fillies Series with an easy all the way win. Driver Natalie Rasmussen gave nothing else a chance when shooting Princess Tiffanyto the lead from the start and then blazing home her last 800m in 55.2 to win untouched by more than 2 lengths. Winterfell also was back in winning form easily accounting for a tidy field of trotters in the Rating 70 and faster Trot. The son of Majestic Son settled back in the running for driver Mark Purdon and despite trotting a fraction roughly at the last bend he had too much speed for the opposition in the straight going straight past them and posting a quick 3-17.8 for the 2600m stand. Ashley Locaz gave Purdon a race to race double when gaining a deserved win in the R90 and faster pace. He too led for most of the way in his win holding off a good field with a sizzling last 800m in 54.9 seconds.   Harnesslink Media

Harness racing trainers Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen and their All Stars Stables have a very good representation in the Hydroflow "Easter Buny" Pace for Rating 90 and faster pacers at Addington on Saturday. The stable have four of the seven runners in the $17,000 race with Ashley Locaz (Mark Purdon), Elle Mac (Olivia Thornley), Funatthebeach (Tim Williams) and Eamon Maguire (Natalie Rasmussen) all having a start. Of the four, Mark Purdon thought that Eamon Maguire would be the best of the All Stars runners when assessing the stable chances during the week.  "I think Natalie’s drive Eamon Maguire will be the hardest of ours in the open handicap. "These four are all smart horses as we know if one level below the likes of Spankem and Turn It Up and they can all do it in this class on their day. "Eamon Maguire seems well and I think you will see an improved horse on Saturday compared to his last run when the field was tougher." Eamon Maguire an Art Major 5yo has been out of form for his last five starts, but struck form about this time last year running a couple of terrific races at Addington before heading North and running an eyecatching second to A G's Whitesocks in the Gr1 Taylor Mile at Alexandra Park. He then went on to win the Gr1 NZ Messenger Championship on the same track before winning the 4yo Emerald at the Cambridge Harness Jewels in 1-51.9 a few weeks later. Saturday's assignment looks well within his grasp with Natalie Rasmussen taking over the reigns this time from Jonny Cox who has driven him in his first three starts this year. Earlier in the program Mark Purdon looks a moral to take out the third heat of the Garrards Sires Stakes Series for 2yo colts and geldings with classy pacer Smooth Deal. "He is forward for a big race Saturday."  Heat 7 of the Nevele R Fillies Series is Race 3 on the day and features the Purdon/Rasmussen trained Princess Tiffany up against a handy field of 3yo fillies including the speedy Kendra and improving Wainui Creek. "Princess Tiffany is well and ready to go so she should be hard to beat," Mark said. Trotter Winterfell gets into a winnable race with Purdon thinking he would be a top chance to run in the money. "I am hoping Winterfell is at least in the first three," he said.  "He is training up fine but I would like to see him transfer that to raceday and get a confidence boost. I think that will help him a lot. The only Group race on the day is the (Gr3) Majestic Son NZ 2yo Trotting Stakes for $30,000. It is hard to see the unbeaten Greg and Nina Hope trained Muscle Mountain being rolled in this race after being so dominant in his first three races. He is likely to start a short priced favourite with Ultimate Stride from a bad draw and the Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen trained trotting filly Tallored Elegance his main dangers.   Harnesslink Media

This weekend’s Easter Hawera meeting will see an intriguing point’s battle in the final stages of the North Island Country Cup series. This coming Monday will see the running of the final leg of the North Island Country Cup series, the Hawera Cup, which is currently being led on points by Alta Leonie. And based on current nominations there will be a close battle towards the top of the table to take out top honours. Current leader, Alta Leonie, features in the current nominations and is on 70 points. She has had a stellar season to date for trainer Kyle Marshall, with four wins including the Stratford Cup and the Otaki Cup so far. But with the Hawera Cup being a double point’s race in the series it gives a serious chance to horses not far off the pace. The Night Hawk is second on 66 points, Mister Harris is third on 54 points and Comic Book Hero is fourth on 47 points. With double points the winner of the Hawera Cup will gain 34 points, second 24 points, third 18 points, fourth 14 points, fifth 10 points, sixth 6 points, seventh four points and all other runners gain 2 points. In the other competitions, the Canterbury Country Cup series has been completed and was won on points by Airpark Flyer for trainer Trent Yesberg and owners Graeme Harris and Heather Jerard. The son of Dali had a herculean season, coming into it with just one career win to his name, he was able to amass six wins from just 13 starts in 2018/19. This season alone he’s earned over $52,000 in stakes. Those wins included Canterbury Country Cup success in the Westport Cup, and also placings in the Geraldine Cup, Reefton Cup and Amberley Cup. He also won the Riverton Cup and Waikouaiti Cup outside of his home region. In Southland there is still one race to go in their series, the Regent Car Court Handicap on April 29th, and although the race does provide double points, the Southern Country Cup series will go to Sagwitch who has an unassailable lead on the points table. Sagwitch has been a model of consistency for trainer Syd Breen who also co-owns the five-year-old son of Lis Mara with Paul and Nancy Matheson. Sagwitch has had three wins this season to date, all of which remarkably have been Country Cup races. He claimed victories in the Winton Businesses Cup, the Wyndham Cup and the Summer Cup at the Northern Southland meeting and also placed second in the Gore Grass Cup and was also second in the Waikouaiti Cup to Airpark Flyer.   HRNZ Marketing

Racing Minister Winston Peters says the Government will introduce two new pieces of legislation this year to revitalise the domestic racing industry. Cabinet this week considered its response to the ‘Messara Review of the Racing Industry’ as well as advice from the Ministerial Advisory Committee (MAC) on Racing. “The New Zealand racing industry is in a state of serious decline. The Coalition Government supports the overall intent of the Messara Report and is committed to reforms. We know we have the grass, the race animals, and the people to help the industry achieve its potential,” said Mr Peters.    “As a result, Cabinet has agreed to a stepped approach with the introduction of two Bills to amend the Racing Act 2003.” The first Bill, due to be enacted by 1 July 2019, will put into immediate effect a transitional governance arrangement.  This Bill proposes the New Zealand Racing Board (NZRB) be reconstituted as the Racing Industry Transitional Authority (RITA) to drive the transition of the industry. This Bill will also bring some financial relief for the industry by making offshore betting operators contribute to domestic racing and sports codes from the bets they take from New Zealanders. “It is essential to have this transitional governance in place.  RITA will have a legislative mandate that encompasses change management as well as the current business-as-usual functions and powers of the NZRB,” said Mr Peters. “As a result of RITA’s work the government anticipates a second racing amendment Bill to proceed later in 2019.  It will implement the remaining reforms including post-transition governance,” he said. The Cabinet papers are being proactively released as well as the MAC interim report. They can be found here: www.dia.govt.nz/racing-review   RT HON WINSTON PETERS

New Zealand Three-Year-Old Pacer of the Year.   New Zealand Four-Year-Old Pacer of the Year.   New Zealand’s fastest ever pacer over both 1950 and 2200 metres.   A four-time Group One winner.   By an eight-time New Zealand Stallion of the Year from a mare destined to be New Zealand’s Broodmare of the Year.   Ultimate Machete has a stallion’s résumé and a stallion’s pedigree.   Now purchased by Alabar and Nevele R studs to stand at Alabar’s Auckland property, he’s also going to have a stallion’s opportunity.   New Zealand and Australian racing is dominated by horses that thrive on today’s style of racing.   Horses that are able to roll forward into the race and then be unrelenting in last halves run in 54 seconds or better.   Ultimate Machete, with extreme toughness and a high cruising speed, personified this never-say-die rolling style of racing.   These qualities should come as no surprise as he is by Bettor’s Delight out of a mare by Armbro Operative, so bred 3x3 to Cam Fella.   His entrance to the stud scene is surely timely, as many broodmare owners will see that breeding to him is breeding to a horse tailor-made for today’s racing.   With his pedigree, the attributes he brought to his racing and also his stature (standing a shade over 16’) he will be an ideal consort for the many mares that are bred along speed lines.   He is well suited to daughters of Christian Cullen, In The Pocket, Mach Three, Somebeachsomewhere, Courage Under Fire, Changeover, Art Major, Dream Away, Real Desire, American Ideal, Falcon Seelster, Safely Kept, Live Or Die and Badlands Hanover to name but a few.   In an outstanding race career, Ultimate Machete’s flagship victories were: - The NZ Sires Stakes Three-Year-Old Final at Addington on NZ Cup Day - where he announced his arrival as a rising star. His winning performance was nothing short of phenomenal, being caught out wide and just keeping rolling to be far too good in what was a New Zealand record for 1950m at the time. It is regarded as the best ever performance in the history of the race.   - Twelve months later, in the NZ Free-For-All on Show Day at the same venue, he did what many thought impossible by sitting outside Tiger Tara before winning the home straight war to claim victory – and in doing so, reclaiming his New Zealand record for the 1950m distance (2:15.7, a 1:51.9 mile rate).   - He then ventured to Perth where he monstered the Group One double for four-year-olds in the WA Classic and the WA Golden Nugget – wonderful efforts by the big horse around the tight Gloucester Park circuit and a testimony to his gait. He then ran a close up fourth in the Fremantle Cup before injury curtailed a blitz on the Victorian classics.   As a two-year-old, his second by a ½ head in the NZ Jewels, after being wide early then working to the lead, was a precursor to what would be a wonderful three-year-old season.   The other highlights to his three-year-old season were equalling the all-age New Zealand 2200m record (2:36.1) in winning the NZ Yearling Sales Series 3yo Final, winning the Alabar Classic and the NZ Flying Stakes (53.9 last 800m) as well as finishing second in the NZ, Northern and NSW Derbies.   All told, Ultimate Machete won 13 of 32 starts for $850,361 in stakes.   He’d already done enough to be regarded as a star - but a niggling, leg-injury-enforced retirement surely robbed him of being an open class colossus.   He was the early favourite for the 2018 New Zealand Cup but it wasn’t to be.   Co-trainer, Mark Purdon is full of respect for Ultimate Machete,   “He was a very tough horse with a great attitude. He never gave in, always trying right to the wire.He was a horse who could really maintain his high speed.”   Ultimate Machete is impeccably bred, being a full-brother to super-star three-year-old Ultimate Sniper. Their dam (Reality Check) was a very smart race filly winning the NZ Yearling Sales Series Two-Year-Old Fillies’ Final. She is also the dam of the top Western Australia racemare, Major Reality (1:50.9, $434,415).   His grandam is the NZ Broodmare of Excellence winner, Maureens Dream, who is a half-sister to the excellent sire Tuapeka Knight.   This is a prodigious family made famous by renowned breeders, Tuapeka Lodge. Ultimate Machete is one of its proudest sons.   He will stand his debut season at Alabar NZ (in association with Nevele R) at an introductory service fee of $3,000 (plus GST)   Graeme Henley General Manager Alabar (NZ) Ltd

The Greg and Nina Hope trained A G's White Socks got a desreved harness racing win in the Airpark Canterbury Gr3 Rangiora Classic yesterday, when he fired home late down the centre of the track to upset a brave Thefixer right on the line. Driven by Ricky May the underrated pacer had been the bridemaid in Group races on several occasions this season but yesterday his usual fast finishing burst was enough to see him home by a nose in the $27,000 race. The son of Rock N Roll Heaven will now be put out for a spell before preparing for a New Zealand Cup tilt in November. Thefixer was tough in second for Natalie Rasmussen after working around to lead with 1400m to go and then fighting hard and only getting beaten right on the line. He too is headed for a six week break while his third and fourth placed stablemates Chase Auckland and Ashley Locaz who both performed well fresh, are being aimed for the rich 4yo feature races the Taylor Mile and NZ Messenger in Auckland at the end of the month. A G's White Socks winning the Airpark Canterbury Gr3 Rangiora Classic   Harnesslink Media

Chitura is out of 2006 Southland Oaks victor Zitura, second in her only Winton start. Zitura also left Kitura who scored her one and only New Zealand win at Winton in December 2016. Still owned by Law, Kitura is now with Nathan Turvey in Perth and has won five of her 12 starts there. Law said he chose Chitura's sire Changeover because he loved the horse when he was racing. Zitura went back to Changeover but missed. She has since left a colt by Gold Ace and Law is waiting for confirmation she is in foal to Vincent. Although it is the first time Law has been on the Winton course, he is not a total stranger to the area having studied for his degree at Otago University. The richest of the day's three trotting events also went to a Canterbury-trained visitor when One Apollo picked up the $20,000 Aldebaran Park Super Gold Chip Final. Bred by Lex and Heather Williams, One Apollo is by the 2012-13 New Zealand Two Year Old Trotter of the year One Over Da Moon, also bred by the Williams. His dam is Anna Castleton. One Apollo and Blair Orange beating Get Lucky - Photo Bruce Stewart. We bred two of our best mares to him, Anna Castleton and Landora's Pearl,” Lex Williams said of One Over Da Moon's first venture as a sire. “We bought Ana Castleton for a broodmare, she has bred well. One Over Da Moon, is only available by frozen semen, he only had two mares the first year, missed the next and has got 13 yearlings. At the moment he is in Australia with Brent Lilley and will race next Sunday. He'll be retired in July and become a full-time stallion.” In the hands of Blair Orange, One Apollo found the lead early in the Super final and was never headed. He stopped the clock in 3:04.2, equalling Sky Commander's 2015 three-year-old track record. At the time it was also the National record, lowered at Ashburton in 2017 by Honeys Son. Heading back to the birdcage - Photo Bruce Stewart. In his start prior to Winton, One Apollo had run fifth in the New Zealand Derby. “We were happy with the Derby, he had to do a lot of work,” said Williams, “the Yearling Sale final and Jewels are the next big aims.” Sponsors and winning connections - Photo Bruce Stewart. Third in the Gold Chip final was Full Noise, making the trotting events lucrative for the Baynes family. War Admiral had earlier won the Aldebaran Park Handicap and Big Iron the Murray Gray Memorial. Both are trained by Tony Stratford who was also in the sulky of Big Iron to record his first win as a driver since Flying Diamonds in March 2010. War Admiral, raced by Kenny Baynes and his wife Jo, was driven by Samantha Ottley who didn't rush the four-year-old early. Last till about the 1200, the pair then joined the three-line train to reach a midfield position across the top. With work to do turning in, Ottley still didn't panic, but when she pulled the big square-gaiter off the back of runner-up Smokey Mac close to home, the acceleration was electric. “The Jewels is the aim for him, he'll probably go to Diamond Day next,” Stratford said, “Sam will be his driver right through now.” Kenny Baynes looked in for a quinella in the opening event when his two runners, Richard The Third and Big Iron turned for home in front. Richard the Third, half-brother to Springbank Richard had led for much of the trip but broke under pressure and fifth was his lot. However, Big Iron held together to score by a length. The three year old is raced by Baynes Racing Limited comprising Baynes and his sister in law Penny. The company was formed to take over the mares belonging to the estate of Colin Baynes, Kenny's father and Penny's father in law. The same day the company was registered in 2014, Knapdale Girl won at Alexandra Park and was the company's first winner. It was the first outing with Colin's colours registered to Baynes Racing. Later the same night, Knapdale Girl's full brother Cool Son also won. They are out of Cool Yankee, the grand-dam of Big iron.   Mac Henry for Southland Harness Racing

Sagwitch sealed victory in the Southern Country Cups Championship for 2018-19 with a dynamic win the penultimate race of the series. Success in the Winton Businesses Cup at the Central Southland Raceway on Saturday took the Syd Breen-trained son of Lis Mara to 90 points. Closest to him on both the points table and in Saturday's race was Vintage Cheddar but the four-year-old's effort left him 40 points in arrears. The maximum points available in the $25,000 Regent Car Court Handicap, final race of the series on 27 April, is 34. The series winner receives a $6,000 bonus prize. Sagwitch finished second to Royal Bengal last year and Breen said that prompted his decision to target the series this season. The Cromwell Businesses Cup on 6 January is the only series race Sagwitch has missed. Driver Mark Hurrell has been in the sulky in all of the series races except the Waikouaiti Cup. “I've won three on him,” Hurrell said. “His starts from a stand have improved a lot through the season, he made a good beginning today. I drive him for a sit, he goes best with a good pace, they went a good time today, and it helped.” Heading to the birdcage - Photo Bruce Stewart. The win marked a big turn-around in fortune following the five-year-old's lack-lustre sixth of nine at Ascot Park last week. “He went poor at Invercargill, felt flat, it wasn't the smaller track, I've won on him there, as long as it’s a strong pace and he gets the right run, the size of the track doesn't matter. I said to Sid about it, he gave him time off and freshened him for today.” Earlier in the day, Tulsa Jaccka showed special qualities in the Southern Standardbred Breeders Fillies and Mares pace. In the last two early, the Wayne Adams-trained three-year-old went forward 1200 metres out to sit parked three-wide and then had the audacity to explode clear on the turn. “She's always had high speed but showed a bit of toughness today, I didn't think she could do that,” said Adams who is likely to target a Ladyship Final next with the Charlie and Ailsa Smaill bred and owned son of Twilight Franco who in 2012 was also an Adams winner at Winton. Paul Matheson and Syd Breen with the spoils - Photo Bruce Stewart. Tulsa Jaccka was driven by Nathan Williamson who gained another win two races later aboard Tartan Trilogy. He is trained locally by Chelsea Faithful who scored again at the end of the programme with Toby O'Gara to give her three training wins for the season. The first was also with Tartan Trilogy, a couple of months ago at Forbury Park. The nine-year-old, raced by Faithfuls' grandparents Norm and Bev Cox, is raced on lease from his breeder Dr Onn Chin of Mosgiel. He is from Chin's good mare Tartan Lady who was prepared by Faithful's father Ray to win ten races including the group two 1998 Southland Oaks and group one 1999 New Zealand Standardbred Breeders Stakes. Life at stud hadn't been easy for Tartan Lady and in 2008 she had hernia of the diaphragm which could have proved fatal. However Invercargill veterinarian Brendon Bell operated successfully and after a year off, she foaled Tartan Trilogy without a problem. He was trained for his first 34 starts by Goff and Jude Knight, winning at Forbury Park in March 2014 and running his 'last' race in August that year. Nearly 17 months after his retirement, Tartan Trilogy resumed his career at Wyndham in early 2016 from the barn of Trevor Proctor where Faithful was helping out. Later in the year, Faithful gained her licence and took over Tartan Trilogy's training. Toby O'Gara was bred by Ross and Robyn Jones and trained initially by their son in law Nathan Williamson. The Jones have since been joined in the ownership of the five-year-old by Faithful who has trained him since November. His 10 starts for her have yielded the win, a second and three thirds. Paddyproudfoot was having just his third start when winning the Woodlands Stud Colts and Geldings Pace in a smart 2:57.6, but they had been well spread. Runner-up in them both, the four-year old's first tries were in September 2017 and 2018. After the victory, winning driver and co-trainer Kirstin Barclay was quick to acknowledge the patients of connections. “He got a bad virus as a three-old-old and then a hairline fracture of a pastern,” she revealed.   Mac Henry for Southland Harness Racing

There could hardly be a more appropriate horse to launch the Harness Jewels for 2019 than Sweet On Me.  The unbeaten juvenile filly will take the Jewels preparation to the next level when she rolls on to Addington today for her Magness Benrow Sires’ Stakes heat in the Jewels yellow colours, worn every year by the leader of each division.  Sweet On Me will be the first horse to wear them this season and it is fitting it will be at Addington, the new southern home of the great day.  But that isn’t the only reason it is appropriate Sweet On Me is the first wearer of the colours for this year’s Jewels.  Because her dam, champion mare Adore Me, wore them twice to victory at the Jewels themselves, at Ashburton in 2013 and Cambridge in 2014.  Both year’s Adore Me bolted home before going on to pace a then Australasian record 1:47.7 at Menangle.  Sweet On Me is her first foal, by Sweet Lou, and is already enormously advanced on dear old mum as Adore Me didn’t race until she was three. “She is a very, very good filly,” says co-trainer Mark Purdon, trying not to get too carried away after just three starts.  But he and everybody else knows that Sweet On Me looks a standout not just for race six at today’s rare day Addington meeting but for the entire season.  So for all the quality of those she meets today, and the field does include some smart fillies, it will be a major shock if she is beaten.  With the Jewels less than two months away the first outing for the leader’s colours comes in the same week the TAB opened odds on all nine races.  And Australian interest in their invites has been enormous, with the connections of up to 20 horses already expressing their interest.  HRNZ’s Darrin Williams said the first Australian invite was not too far away but the organisation may wait until after the Easter break to see as much exposed form as possible.  Another possible Jewels contender on show today is Wainui Creek, who takes on older horses in race eight trying to bounce back from her last-start failure.   Michael Guerin

It was only a four-horse workout on a quiet Pukekohe morning but it confirmed what astute reinsman Todd Mitchell had been thinking for a while. That Massive Metro, who heads to Alexandra Park tonight, is the best trotter he has driven. And that should be good enough for punters to jump on the National Trot winner tonight. Massive Metro has taken every step asked of him by trainers Michelle Wallis and Bernie Hackett this season, downing Marcoola at group one level and winning brilliantly off a handicap last start. He warmed up for tonight winning at the Pukekohe workouts last Saturday and Mitchell, a four-time New Zealand Cup winner, was beaming after his performance. "We were back in the field and following Temporale when he stopped (atrial fibrillation) and my horse felt flat," explains Mitchell. "But when I pulled the plugs he just flew and bolted in. "Every time I have driven him this season he has got better and I think he is better this campaign too. "He has real speed and can stay as we saw in the National Trot. "I've always thought Prime Power was the best trotter I have driven regularly but I think this fella has a more all round game so now I'd have to say he is." While Massive Metro was sling-shotted by sprint king Lemond two starts ago Mitchell isn't worried about a repeat of that at tonight's all-mile meeting. "He really doesn't kick into gear until you pull the plugs and I couldn't find the cord that night. So it was mostly my fault." With a few question marks hanging over some of the battle-weary open class crop it wouldn't surprise to see Massive Metro win tonight and then go on to capture either the Anzac Cup (April 26) or Rowe Cup (May 3). Or both. Still, Lemond's record over sprint distances has been so good his entire career he deserves plenty of respect, especially if he is able to track the favourite into the race. Tonight's pacing feature should see On The Cards finally get back into the winner's circle after a frustrating string of placings in good fields. He looked home after a beautiful Zachary Butcher drive last Friday only to be grabbed late by Triple Eight, who is a rival again tonight. The difference is tonight Triple Eight faces a second line draw whereas On The Cards comes in incredibly well, being a rating 87 horse but with the best draw of the favourites and if he leads, he should win. One of the more interesting newcomers tonight is New South Wales filly Lulu Le Mans, who contests a handy Sires' Stakes fillies' heat. She is a member of the NSW branch of the Mark Jones stable, which is run in partnership with Aaron Goadsby and while she meets some smart local fillies from barrier two she will be hard to beat as she starts down a path that could lead toward the Jewels. All-mile meetings at the Park can be tricky for punters as the natural inclination is to back only those drawn to lead but the last all-mile night saw horses able to come from all sorts of draws to win, especially down in the grade where the progressive horses are often simply too good for the journeymen.   Michael Guerin   photo by Fokus Harness Racing Photography

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Trotting’s magic man believes he can pull off his second 20-1 group one winner this month in tomorrow night’s Anzac Cup. And while coming from anybody else that might sound wishful thinking, when master trainer Paul Nairn says it it is worth punters paying attention to. Nairn is one of the most respected trainer in the industry so it was rare to see him produce a big-odds winner when Lotamuscle blew past red hot favourite Enhance Your Calm in the $100,000 NZ Trotting Derby at Addington on April 5. The pair clash again in the $60,000 Sires’ Stakes at Alexandra Park’s huge premier meeting tomorrow night and while both have second line draws it is tempting for punters that Lotamuscle is rated a $6.50 chance in early markets compared with Enhance Your Calm’s $1.35 quote. But while Nairn thinks Lotamuscle can win with the right sit-sprint trip it is later in the night he believes he has the blowout chance in the $100,000 Anzac Cup. Nairn has both Ronald J and Habibi Inta in the outstanding open class field and says a huge improvement from Ronald J wouldn’t surprise. At his best the big trotter has looked to have serious x-factor but has let punters down with a pair of sixth placings in his last two starts. Nairn says he has had excuses. “I was disappointed by his last start so we had him checked out and he had a few issues,” he explains. “He had a few minor soreness issues we worked on and also had a high white blood cell count, which suggests he had an infection. “That has been fixed too and he has better now. And his work at home has suggested he is even happy right-handed than he is down home.  "So with a good draw and some gate speed I think he can be handy or even lead and I can’t see any reason he can’t win, even allowing for how strong the field is.”  With the TAB bookies opening Ronald J at $21 that gives punters a real chance in one of the best trotting races of the season. Auckland Cup winner Turn It Up is set to start a odds-on favourite in the $100,000 Taylor Mile having opened at $1.60 even though he has drawn outside Miracle Mile winner Spankem. The latter opened $3.10 but was backed into $2.60 last night in the sprint which has already seen Triple Eight scratched. Unbeaten filly Sweet On Me is the $1.16 good thing for the night in the Caduceus Club Classic. Michael Guerin
Alexandra Park News – Friday 26 April Friday 26 April 2019 – American Night Howdy Partner! Saddle up for Alexandra Park’s American Night on Friday 26th April from 5.30pm. Enjoy some harness racing action, all-you-can-eat southern style cuisine and a chance to wet your whistle. Cowboy hats and boots encouraged! Can you stay at the top of the mechanical bull leaderboard and take out the top prize? It’s gunna be a hoot. Ya'll get your group together and join in the fun. What are you waiting for? Secure your table today! Go to www.alexandrapark.co.nz The night is supported by the Caduceus Club along with their loyal group of sponsors who support the running of the Woodlands Stud Caduceus Club Fillies Classic for 2 YO fillies as well as 6 other races on the card including the John Devlin Memorial Trot. Also run on the night we have the Downbytheseaside at Woodlands 2019 Taylor Mile for 4 YO pacers, the final of Haras des Trotteurs Sires Stakes for 3YO Trotters and the HR Fisken & Sons ANZAC Cup for the highest rated trotters. With this being the first night of the Premier racing in the Autumn at Alexandra Park all these horses will be able to compete for Group 1 glory again the following week if they happen to met with bad luck in the run. Friday 3 May 2019 – 2019 Reharvest Rowe Cup Friday May 3rd Harness Racing at its best - 3 Group 1 races as well as the Magness Benrow Sires Stakes 2 YO Fillies Championship will be run during the evening at Alexandra Park. The other feature races through the night will be the Dawson Harford NZ Messenger Championship for 4 YO pacers, Breckon Farms Northern Trotting Derby for 3YO Trotters and the 2019 Reharvest Rowe Cup for the best trotters in the country racing for a stake of $150,000.00. Top of the Park will open on this night for all your dining requirements and should you like more information or would like to make a booking go to www.alexandrapark.co.nz Friday 24 May 2019 – French Night in Top of the Park  For bookings go to www.alexandrapark.co.nz or phone 09 631 1165 Annual Wish 4 Fish Charity Function in Tasman Room, Alexandra Park Raceway, Auckland – All fund raised at this event will go to Wish 4 Fish Charitable Trust. Tickets cost: $135.00pp includes buffet meal & beverage package. The night will include charity auctions, raffles and a punters club $10.00 per share. For more information and to order tickets please phone Bryce on 021616601 or e-mail bryce@wish4fish.co.nz Mid-Winter Christmas – Christmas Party 21 & 28 June & 5 & 12 July 2019: Indulge in the festivity of mid-winter Christmas with Alexandra Park. Embrace the winter chills and find some festive spirit whilst enjoying the best harness racing in New Zealand. Offering FOUR function rooms and packages over four mid-winter Friday nights, there is something to suit all groups and budgets. Dream of mulled wine, all-you-can-eat buffet and a lively social atmosphere. Explore the best Alexandra Park has to offer, but don’t forget to book quickly as these popular nights don’t last long. Go to www.alexandrapark.co.nz to book your tickets or ring 096131165.   Invercargill HRC - Saturday 27 April DIAMONDS DAY A HIGHLIGHT OF HARNESS RACING SEASON One of the premier events on the Southern Harness Racing calendar – Diamonds Day - takes place at Ascot Park Raceway in Invercargill on Saturday 27 April. The event is the culmination of several of the major harness race series in the south with feature events including the finals of the Macca Lodge/Nevele R Stud Southland Oaks and the Alabar Southern Supremacy Stakes, both races run over 2700m for a stake of $50,000. The Regent Car Court Southern Country Cups Handicap Pace also over 2700m for a stake of $25,000 is another feature as is the Group 3 Diamond Creek Farm 2yo Classic raced for a stake of $50,000 over 2200m. High quality fields are expected for a day of superb harness racing. On course patrons also have the opportunity to win in several competitions on course. Included among these is the Level One Restaurant & Bar Lucky Losing Ticket draw after Race 6 where a lucky losing ticket will win a $50 meal voucher from the sponsor plus a pictorial quiz which will feature in the race book. The children are not left out as they will receive a free bag of lollies after Race 6. Eleven high quality harness races are programmed with the first scheduled for 11.40am. Admission to the course is free. Some hospitality options are still available on course. Other dates for the Invercargill Harness Racing Club before the season ends include Saturday 4 May, 25 May and 8 June as well as Queens Birthday Monday 3 June.   Cambridge Raceway - Sunday 28 April Sunday 28th April – Launch of Cambridge Raceway’s newly renovated public bar! Along with ‘pop up’ mini golf, The Public Bar promises the best drink prices on course. Lounge opens at 11am on Sunday and is located on the ground level of the Grandstand. Thursday 16th May – Quiz night at the races New Zealand's best comedy pub quiz hosted by the hilarious Alan McElory is coming to Cambridge Raceway! So leave all your preconceptions of a boring tavern quiz at the door as this is not your average pub quiz. Throw in some live Harness Racing action throughout the evening and this is a night out not to be missed! More info here: https://www.cambridgeraceway.co.nz/page/crack-up-quiz-night-at-the-races/ Thursday 6th June – Lads night at the races hosted by Jim from The Rock! It's our first Lads Night at Cambridge Raceway and we're setting the bar high. Along with an awesome night of horse racing, beers and bants, there will be celebrity dual sulky races - Featuring Jim & a couple of players from the Chiefs. Tickets are only $20 and include a Corona (or non-alcoholic drink) on arrival - Plus if you purchase your ticket before May the 6th you'll also receive a $20 bet to use on the night! More info here: https://www.cambridgeraceway.co.nz/page/lads-night/   Rangiora HRC 26 May – Pink Ribbon High Tea The Rangiora Harness Racing Club will be hosting a Pink Ribbon High Tea at their May 26 meeting, to help raise funds for the Breast Cancer Foundation. We're taking part in the Pink Ribbon Breakfast campaign this year to help support Breast Cancer Foundation NZ's vital work. High Tea at the Rangiora Races -26th May 12:15 to 4:30 PM  Rangiora Racecourse, Westbelt Purchase your tickets before the 10th May and go in the draw to win a return trip to the High Tea at the Races in an Airpark limousine! Tickets $75.00, of which $20.00 goes towards the NZ Breast Cancer Foundation. Phone: 021-738-007 Email: canterburycountryharness@gmail.com Get your friends together and glam yourselves up for a fabulous afternoons entertainment.  Tables of 6 and 10.  A glass of bubbles on arrival.  Prizes for best dressed and much more.................... The money raised will be used to fund research projects and medical grants to help improve survivorship, as well as support patients and their families during treatment and recovery. Donate today to help make zero deaths from breast cancer a reality. https://pinkribbonbreakfast.co.nz/page/rangioraharnessracingclub   Addington Raceway News Hello Everyone, IRT HARNESS JEWELS  - Remember to book your perfect spot! We are delighted to host the IRT Harness Jewels at Addington. Please see below details of all the festivities. Welcome Pre Function Dinner – Thursday 30 May 6.00pm Silks & Satin Lounge, Level 2 Metropolitan Stand Hosted by Greg O’Connor and Michael Guerin, this special evening will celebrate the history of this wonderful event.  Included in the festivities will be the IRT Harness Jewels commentators Tony Lee, Mark McNamara and Aaron White who through their commentaries, will highlight this special race series.  As part of this night HRNZ will present the IRT Harness Jewels colours to the leading set of connections in each category. Evening includes; Three course plated dinner Cash bar facilities available $70 per person $650 for a table of 10 To book or for more information please contact Joanne McMaster on 339 7908 or joanne.mcmaster@addington.co.nz IRT in association with TAB Harness Jewels Golf Day – Friday 31 May This is a Four Ball Best Ball Stableford event to be held at the Templeton Golf Club.  The day will start with a pre-game BBQ from 10.30am with teams teeing off from 11.30am.  There will be a prize giving post game. Individual $50 per player Sponsorship $250+GST per hold including a team of 4 To book or for more information please contact Greg O’Connor at greg.o’connor@tab.co.nz IRT Harness Jewels – Hospitality Packages – Saturday 1 June Ruby Lounge Located on level 3 of the Metropolitan Stand, enjoy panoramic views over the track in a lounge setting with casual seating.   Ideal for groups of friends wanting the best views, in a more relaxed atmosphere where you can mix and mingle with other racing enthusiasts. (No allocated seating) Package Includes: · Course admission, racebooks and access to the Ruby Lounge · Complimentary drink on arrival · Stand-up grazing stations with an array of antipasto and seafood platters, fresh salads, carvery meats, fresh breads, hot vegetables, and a dessert selection · A cash bar offering a selection of premium wines, NZ premium and standard beers, house spirits and non-alcoholic beverages (beverage tabs can be arranged on the day) · Barista coffee and tea available throughout the day · Private TAB facilities and Trackside TV’s · Racing Master of Ceremonies $195 per person Silks & Satin Lounge Soak up the atmosphere and excitement in one of our largest lounges on course. Located on level 2 of the Metropolitan Stand with uninterrupted views of the winning post, this is undoubtedly one of the most sought-after positions for those wanting the complete hospitality experience. Allocated seating is at shared tables of 10 people. Package Includes: · Course admission, racebooks and access to the Silks & Satin Lounge · Three course buffet lunch, including cold meats, seafood and salads, hot dishes, carvery, and mouth-watering desserts · All beverages included – premium wines, NZ premium and standard beers, house spirits and non-alcoholic beverages · Barista coffee and tea available throughout the day · Live entertainment · Private TAB facilities and Trackside TV’s · Racing Master of Ceremonies $295 per person Spectators Punters Lounge This is the perfect place for racing enthusiasts wanting a relaxed and casual place to mix and mingle. Enjoy the comfort of lounge facilities with access to the front of the Lindauer Lawn to watch all the trackside action. Spectators also offers a large screen, bar leaners and casual seating. (No allocated seating) Package Includes: · Course admission, racebooks and access to Spectators Punters Lounge · Continuous spit roast grazing stations including fresh vegetables, seasonal salads, pork, Canterbury lamb and sweet treats · A cash bar offering a selection of premium wines, NZ premium and standard beers, house spirits and non-alcoholic beverages (beverage tabs can be arranged on the day) · Barista coffee and tea available throughout the day · Private TAB facilities and Trackside TV’s · Racing Master of Ceremonies $125 per person      For hospitality bookings or for more information please contact Joanne McMaster on 339 7908 or joanne.mcmaster@addington.co.nz All details and booking forms are also on our website – addington.co.nz. We are looking forward to hosting an outstanding day of our sport on Saturday 1 June.  Have a great week. From the Addington Team   April Club of the Month – Timaru HRC Harness Racing New Zealand is thrilled to announce a new monthly feature, Club of the Month. Similar to the Stable Shout concept where we recognize trainers who are exceeding expectations in terms of owners experiences, the Harness Racing New Zealand owners subcommittee wish to also acknowledge clubs who have gone above and beyond to ensure all owners (winning or otherwise) are looked after and appreciated on race day. This month our winner is the Timaru Harness Racing Club, which was nominated by Nora Bishop. Nora has always been grateful for the Club’s efforts to look after her and her owners when she has raced a horse with them. “The Club has given me meal vouchers for owners to redeem at their wholesome little restaurant (The Grey Way Lounge) and always invite the owners up to the President’s room for drink in one of the most welcoming environments.” “They also do a great job with initiatives like the Mother’s Day lady driver race series, and incorporate great events for mothers and ladies in the industry on the day. So that encourages people to bring their families along on course and celebrate ladies in racing.” “The Timaru club also try really hard to have something for families at the track too which is always appreciated by owners with children. The kid’s lucky draw was always a hit with my kids!” We congratulate the Timaru Harness Racing Club for going the extra mile for owners and encourage other owners to nominate a club they have had a positive experience with by emailing Jess Smith – jess@hrnz.co.nz     HRNZ Marketing
Sekkie Monkey upset a strong field of maiden trotters at Ascot Park today. The four year old daughter of Monkey Bones was the sixth favourite in a race that was expected to be dominated by well bred Jaccka Jeorge and Liberty Stride. “That was a good maiden field and I wasn’t sure how we would go. But she went well,” said trainer driver Nathan Williamson. Both Liberty Stride and Jaccka Jeorge broke with Jaccka Jeorge losing all chance. Liberty Stride made ground late for fourth. All the honours went to Sekkie Monkey which led early before handing up to Cuchulainn. “She’s just a bit lazy in front so I was quite happy to hand up. She was pretty strong at the finish. I was pretty happy with her. She’s just getting used to the tighter circuits.” At the top of the straight Williamson pushed Sekkie Monkey up the passing lane and she trotted home nicely to beat Cuchulainn by three quarters of a length.   Sekkie Monkey on the inside gets the winning call - Photo Bruce Stewart. The four year old was initially prepared for racing at Waikouaiti Beach by Amber Hoffman. She was sent to Williamson in December. The Branxholme trainer qualified her at Gore in February. “We had to put a lot of miles into her just to get her trotting solid but she’s pretty solid now. I don’t think she’s made a break off the place.” Sekkie Monkey is out of the Sundon mare Sekkie and is owned by Kevin Strong. “I was on the lookout for a Sundon mare after I lost one. She was advertised by Michael House in foal to Monarchy. That horse was no good so I put her in foal to Monkey Bones and that’s turned up trumps,” Strong said. Sekkie is no longer alive but Strong does have a three year old by Superfast Stuart named Super Sekkie out of the mare. Sekkie is a half-sister to Avatar (7 NZ and 5 AUS wins) and What Ever You Like (7 NZ and 16 AUS wins). “I’ve had a few horses over the years but never a good one by myself. The best one I raced with Neville Cleaver was Hopes And Dreams.” Strong and Cleaver are currently breeding from Sunrise Delight but unfortunately her first two foals have died. Currently they have two fillies out of the mare by Repeat Love and Peak. Nathan Williamson, Sekkie Monkey, Kevin Strong, Invercargill President Barry McCulloch and Trevor Little - Photo Bruce Stewart. Strong’s horses are now managed by former Gore trainer Trevor Little. “I’m retired and I thought I was out of it. Kevin had thirty odd horses. We’ve just worked our way through them. We’ve leased a few and kept a few of the trotters. We’re still breeding from Sunrise Delight (Sundon – Little Miss Watch) and Easy Option (Great Success – Sunrise Girl). ” Little trained Fakes Dream to win for Strong and Cleaver at Invercargill in February 2005.   Bruce Stewart  
Sportswriter gelding Hampton had a bit to live up to. Until today, his Christian Cullen dam Baptism Of Fire had left six winners from eight foals of racing age including Highview Tommy (17 wins and $1,021,904) Highview Chartom, Highview Teejay and Highview Freddy; all five win horses. “Everything out of that mare has won races with the worst winning four. So he (Hampton) should be able to get another couple of wins at least. This horse will be better in twelve months,” said Kirstin Barclay who co-trains the gelding with Paul ‘Tank’ Ellis. Driver Blair Orange settled the Hampton at the back of the main bunch before getting on the back of Mark O’Ronga to move forward with a lap to run. At the 800 metres Orange had Hampton parked outside leader The Interceptor. At the top of the straight Hampton had hit the front and he went down to the finish two and a half lengths clear of the second horse Bettor Rock Again. Hampton was bought by Wayne McEwan principal of McEwan Bloodstock, at the 2017 Christchurch Sale for $20,000. “It’s taken a while for him to get his confidence. He’s got a lot of high speed. We knew he would do a good job once he got going.” Today was only the gelding’s fifth start. Barclay says his confidence was knocked after his first start. “It was driver error first start. He got knocked over at the start and I then let him loose around the field and it just blew him over. It was too much for him and it’s knocked his confidence. It’s taken him a wee while to come back.” Orange was wearing a black arm band in today’s race to acknowledge the passing of Rewa Burns yesterday. Rewa was the wife of long time Secretary of Southland Trotting Clubs Peter Burns. Kirsten Barclay said “She and Peter were such an integral part of Southland Harness racing. They were like the power couple back in the day. They lived in the cottage across from the stable. Sometimes I’d get home from the races really late at night but she’d always come out to say well done.” Rewa raced cup class pacer Haughty Romeo back in the late seventies and early eighties. He won nine races, eight for Maurice Skinner and one for her son Tim. Meanwhile the Barclay/Ellis stable’s star pacer U May Cullect looks set to reappear at Ascot Park on Saturday. The Gotta Go Cullect five year old is unbeaten in only three starts and will line up on Diamonds Day in what will be his last start of the season. “It’s just amazing how he handled the trip (to Addington). He hadn’t been further than Winton and he went up to Canterbury, ate up, raced under the lights for the first time, won, and came back to his paddock and ate up.” Barclay says it doesn’t take too much to keep the quality gelding ticking over and race fit. “Tank spends a lot of time walking him and we space his races. We do a lot of slow long work, endurance work with him, so he’s always fit without sprinting.”   Bruce Stewart  
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