Day At The Track
Sir Lincoln

First winner for Sir Lincoln (Lincoln Royal)

A decision taken just over 12 months ago returned a major dividend when Our Royal Lady made a harness racing winning debut in the 2017 Trotsguide.Com.Au SA Sapling Stakes (1800m) at Globe Derby Park. Trained by Alan Cronin and driven by Ken Rogers, Our Royal Lady finished brilliantly to score a short half-head win from The Fifth Ace ($10.50) with Bulletproof Boy ($40.10), five metres away third. Cronin, who trains at Monarto, south of Adelaide, regularly has a small team in work but just over 12 months ago had a discussion with longtime stable client Greg Moy. A former Ballarat Harness Racing Club president, Mr Moy now resides at Glenelg in South Australia. “We have had good success with the likes of Try Some Magic, Jakkara Magic and Burning Desire but they were coming to the end of their racing lives,” Cronin said. “Greg asked me if I would like to have a go with a few two-year-olds and I accepted the challenge. “Consequently, we haven’t been to the races for quite a while but tonight has made the break worthwhile. “Greg went to yearling sales last year to pick out a few horses but ironically found Our Royal Lady in a paddock. “He went to look at yearlings which were going to the sales and saw this filly in a paddock, asked about her, and purchased her on the spot.” Cronin said the filly had always shown ability. “She is still a bit immature but should continue to improve with racing and will be even better suited over trips such as 2230m.” Our Royal Lady had trialled well in preparation for the Sapling Stakes and punters were happy to make her a strong favourite. Rogers had her away well from gate one and took the trail behind Paris Scene which began quickly from gate four. Don’t Tell William also got away quickly from gate nine and driver Lisa Ryan took him to the spot outside the lead resulting in 31.4 and 30.8 for the first two quarters which ensured Our Royal Lady remained comfortable third on the fence. Ryan Hryhorec, on the Ray Holberton-trained The Fifth Ace, sprinted sharply coming off the back and dashed to what looked to be a winning break in the home straight. When Don’t Tell William began to tire, Rogers took Our Royal Lady off the fence but gave her about 50 metres to keep balanced before asking her to take out after The Fifth Ace. “I did think I might have left it a bit late,” Rogers said. “The filly sprinted brilliantly once I asked her for an effort and on the line I wasn’t sure she had arrived but I was delighted when her number went up. “With the good tempo she settled beautifully but because she is still learning I was careful not to push her out of her stride when I came off the inside. She has a lot of upside.” Cronin added that he need to thank fellow trainer Lance Holberton. “Lance has been fantastic. Whenever I have had an issue, Lance has been only too ready to help out with information when I’ve given him a call.” The Sapling Stakes has been a feature two-year-old race in South Australia for many years with some champion winners, including Inter Dominion winner Richmond Lass, but sadly had only been able to be run once in the past three years through insufficient nominations. The 2017 version was a wonderful race with an exciting finish and hopefully the Sapling Stakes has regained its prestige of past years and won’t suffer again going forward. Our Royal Lady is the first winner for the son of Mach Three, Sir Lincoln or in Australia called Lincoln Royal. The Auckland Cup winner Sir Lincoln has a small crop of just 19 two-year-olds in Australia so his effort to leave a Sapling Stakes winner and a filly at that is impressive. Our Royal Lady was one of only three fillies in the race. Graham Fischer

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Enghien has Northern Trotting Derby at his mercy

“Enghien felt even stronger the right-handed way around than what he did back home”. That was one sentence the connections of this week’s Northern 3yo Trotting Derby hopefuls didn’t want to hear following the Love You gelding’s ninth win from 13 starts at Alexandra Park last Friday. “He’s never felt so strong. He seems to be getting tougher with each run no matter where he lines up. The Alexandra Park-way-around didn’t faze him at all. “If anything he trotted better than he ever has. If there were any slight queries it only came after the false start. He felt a bit keen and was fired up briefly, but once the race was under way he relaxed nicely,” said driver Ricky May. “He’ll be better for that run too. He’s got so much stamina and this week’s 2700m should suit him even more. It’s hard to see him being beaten this Friday if that first-up run is anything to go by,” the Methven reinsman added. If the Greg and Nina Hope trained gelding does win this Friday’s $80,000 Breckon Farms Northern Trotting Derby, it will be Enghien’s second Group One victory after nailing the New Zealand 3yo Trotting Derby at Addington Raceway on April 7. The stunning Canterbury squaregaiter is also the New Zealand 1950m mobile 3yo record holder as well - making May’s post-race comments even more potent. In February Enghien set the new time of 2:22.2 in the Sires Stakes Prelude at Addington. But on Friday Enghien was having his first look at Alexandra Park in the Group Two $60,000 Lone Star Riccarton Sires stakes 3yo Trotters Championship - and he come within 0.1 of a second of Royal Aspiration's May 2013 New Zealand 2200m mobile record for 3yo trotters. May settled the bay back from his second row draw and then they were three-wide with cover at the bell, and then in the one-one-down the back straight. The $2 favourite then cruised away in the home straight to win by half a length from the fast-finishing second favourite, President Roydon (Mark Purdon). Third favourite Chevron Express (Dexter Dunn) was three-and-a-quarter lengths back in third. Enghien stopped the clock in 2:43.1 (mile rate 1:59.2) and came home in 59.2 and 28.9. May knows what it’s like to win the Northern Trotting Derby behind a hot favourite. His only win in the race came in 2009 behind the Allan and Lee Georgeson trained $1.30 favourite Ima Gold Digger. “It’s a race all drivers and especially trainers of young trotters love to win, and I say I’m proud to have my name on the trophy. “This horse is going better than when Monbet was three. In saying that Monbet didn’t race or win anything big in his 3-year-old season. At the same time of their careers Enghien would be stronger,” may said. “He’s certainly no Monbet yet and has some way to get there but he just feels like a good strong horse who could be like Monbet when he is five,” he added. Monbet never won a Group race when he was three, but he and May were beaten a length by Speeding Spur and Josh Dickie in the 2015 edition of the Northern Trotting Derby. “He’s a future Dominion and Rowe Cup horse all right. Greg and Nina have a great team of trotters to call on. They are a credit to their training regime,” May said. May will drive Enghien’s stablemate and the December 31 National Trot winner, Quite A Moment in Friday’s Group One $150,000 Rowe Cup. Enghien has now had nine wins since making his debut 13 starts ago at Washdyke with a win. He has also placed once and banked $161,779 in stakes. He is owned by the Hopes and Richard Dellaca, and was bred by Heather Middleton and the estate of Carl Middleton; and Millburn Farm Ltd.   Duane Ranger  

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Three for Lees

Wyndham harness racing trainers Gordon and Colin Lee are on a roll at the business end of the season. With the big stakes up for grabs at Diamonds Day next Sunday their horses are at the peak of their form and three wins today were led by a stunning win by Seaswift Joy. She went down to the line relatively easily, putting her well and truly in the frame for next Sunday's Group Two Nevele R/ Macca Lodge Southland Oaks Final.  “That’s why we started her today just to tighten her up for next week because she’s going to have to be at her absolute best against those other good fillies. She went huge at Forbury and was doing the best of anything else at the finish. To run a quarter and a half like that was phenominal,” said Gordon Lee who drove the Bettor's Delight filly to win today.  From an outside draw Lee slotted Seaswift Joy into the outside running line. She got a nice drag into the race until the top of the straight before she cruised down the middle of the track to beat Mongolian Storm by half a length. The time for the 2200 metre mobile was 2-41.3.  Next Sunday's Oaks Final is shaping up to be a mouth watering affair with the inform Delightful Memphis, speedy Bonnie Joan and handy types in Ariadne Lavra all capable of figuring in the finish. The race will be run over 2700 metres from a mobile. That should suit Seaswift Joy. Meanwhile a former Southland Oaks Final winner Royal Counsel returned to winning form at Ascot Park today for the Lee brothers. She'd been away from the race track for some time before heading south from Canterbury for the Lees to once again take up the training of the Gotta Go Cullect mare who is now six. Prior to today's return to winning form she'd had two standing start races in the province.  Art Exhibit after winning at Ascot Park - Photo Bruce Stewart  “She didn’t go away good the other day because she trots out into her hopples. But she’s going to have to learn to pace out in that grade. The first run was pretty hard on her because they went that fantastic time. She hadn’t raced for eighteen months. She recovered and after her run in the Winton Cup I knew she was back to her old self,” said Gordon. The Lees have always had a soft spot for the mare and Gordon says they would like to hang onto her for as long as possible.  “They can’t get her in foal so it looks as though all she’s going to be is a racehorse. I don’t think Malcolm will want her back. She’s my old favourite really so I was happy to have her back. I always thought she’d be good enough to win a Country Cups one day. Not this year though.” In the Southland Standardbred Breeders Mobile Pace from barrier seven Lee took her to the front before handing up to favourite Hopes And Dreams. Royal Counsel took the inside passing lane to beat Hopes And Dreams by a neck. The winning time was 2-02.1 for the 1700 metres. “She hasn’t really got high speed but what she has got (speed) she can sustain over a long distance. That’s her forte really.” Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing    

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All Stars get another two wins at Ascot Park

Major Hippie added to the puzzle for this Sunday's Alabar Southern Supremacy Stakes when he bravely won in the last race today. He was posted three wide early before getting to the front. He was then pressurised a long way from home by Glenburn Joy before having to fight off a late challenge by Dachy to win by a head.  Major Hippie has a week to recover before taking on the likes of Eamon Maguire, Young Conqueror and Whittaker in Sunday's Group Three feature. He is trained by Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen who trained the winner of the two year old race today in Ashley Locaz. He was brave in beating the Paul Court trained Hail Christian by half a length in 2-03.3 for the 1700 metre mobile. The time equals the track and Southland record. Kotare Mach recorded the same time on 2009. Matt Anderson and Ashley Locaz winning at Ascot Park  - Photo Bruce Stewart It's likely that both Ashley Locaz and Hail Christian will return to the track this Sunday for the $38,000 Group Three Diamond Creek Farm Two Year Old Classic.   Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing    

Two of the province's perrenial trotting placegetters scored well deserved harness racing wins at Ascot Park today. Moniburns who had 322232 in her formline prior to today's win had the lucky bird on her rump when she scored a well deserved win to clear maiden ranks. She was destined to run second to King Cassidy but he rolled into a break fifty metres short of the winning post, gifting Moniburns the win. Prior to today's win the five year old Monarchy mare had run eight placings in twelve starts for owner Paul Hillis and trainer Tank Ellis Denn Nee Nose Best who was purchased off trainer Earl Swain recently by Neville Cleaver capped off two placed runs since her purchase by winning her second race in her sixty seven race career today. Cleaver said Swain who trained the mare, was keen to sell after he was heading into hospital for an operation and couldn't continue training short term. A deal was done and the seven year old mare joined the Nathan Williamson stable earlier this month. Denn Nee Nose Best back to the birdcage                                                   - Photo Bruce Stewart She capitalised on a trailing run and came up the passing lane to beat Belmont Invasion by half a length. Denn Nee Nose Best has now won twice, has been placed second five times and third twelve times.  Cleaver is unsure of her future but indicated that she might do a stint on the Riverton Beach under the guidance of Adrian Wohlers. Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing    

Breeding doesn't always count for everything but when Louie won the Regent Car Court Pace it didn't surprise breeding buffs. The Christian Cullen four year old is impeccably bred being out of the eleven win Holmes Hanover mare Chloe Hanover. He had shown promise in a limited harness racing career for Wayne Adams before transferring to Tony Stratford's Gore stable earlier this year. “He’s a well mannered horse that’s good to do anything with. We’re just taking over from the good job that Wayne did. I think they had a few problems with him cross firing. I don’t think you ever correct a cross firer but you can help them and we’ve possibly done that,” said Stratford. He was having his second run for the Stratford stable having finished fifth at Winton earlier this month.   “He seems to be pacing good. Dexter was pleased with the way be paced at Winton and Blair said he was very nice today.” Driver Blair Orange took the gelding to the lead before handing up to Ideal Conquest with a lap to run. With 300 metres to run he pulled Louie off the back of a tiring Ideal Conquest and held on under a strong drive to beat one of the outsiders Matai Valour by half a length. Louie is owned by Alan and Liz Sloan of Invercargill and their two daughters. He was bought at the Sale of the Stars for $52,000. Meanwhile promising two year old trotter War Admiral also in the Stratford barn has been turned out for the season. “They just went a bit quick that day we lined up. They ran the first 800 from a stand in 64 seconds and being a two year old he just was not used to that. He threw a shoe as well.” Another promising maiden pacer from the stable The Night Hawk who was a race rival to Louie, was scratched this morning. “He had a puffy leg so I had to scratch him. He’s a really nice horse and he would have been pretty hard to beat if he was in that race today.”   Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing  

Harness racing fixed odds early movers for Rangiora today as at 11:40am Race 1 - War Spirit $2.30 is best backed over Gin Rummy $7.50 - $6.50.   Race 2 - Bubble Gum $3.30 - $3.00 is best backed in win betting with Patanjai $3.60 leading multi betting.   Race 3 - Franco Saxon $4.50 leads win & multi betting over Bettor Vision $5.00.   Race 4 - Donegal Carrickan $3.60 leads win betting over Shillelagh $3.20.   Race 5 - Whittaker $1.55 is racing away in multi betting.   Race 6 - Sexy Rexy $7.50 - $6.00 leads win & multi betting.   Race 7 - Piccadilly Princess $3.50 - $3.20 is the only runner wanted early in win betting.   Race 8 - Forgotten Highway $1.90 just leads multi betting over A G's White Sock's $2.20.   Race 9 - Missandei $4.50 leads win betting easily.   Race 10 - Debnita Rose $5.50 leads multi betting over Sweet Mary $6.00   Harnesslink Media Courtesy of Stephen Richardson (TAB)

Harness racing fixed odds early movers for Invercargill today as at 11:10am   Race 1 - All multi betting is through the $1.18 favourite Ashley Locaz but best backed in win betting is Hail Christian $8.00.    Race 2 - Moniburns $2.10 - $1.90 is the only runner wanted here.   Race 3 - Champagne Bromac $7.20 leads win betting over Louie $3.80.   Race 4 - Art Exhibit $3.70 leads win and multi betting.   Race 5 - Cast A Shadow $4.20 is easily best backed in win and multi betting.   Race 6 - A quiet market early with Denn Nee Nose Best $5.00 best backed.   Race 7 - Lilac Flash $2.50 - $2.20 is the only runner wanted here.   Race 8 - Hopes And Dreams $3.30 leads win and multi betting over Royal Counsel $4.50.    Race 9 - Navajo Art $2.50 is the only runner wanted in multi betting.   Race 10 - Jen Jaccka $4.20 best backed in win and multi betting.   Race 11 - Mongolian Storm $2.70 - $2.40 is the best backed runner in win betting early on the card.   Race 12 - This race is over before it starts acording to punter's with the $1.23 - $1.21 favourite Major Hippie easily the best backed in multi betting on the card.     Harnesslink Media Courtesy of Stephen Richardson (TAB)      

He’s already grabbed a Group One winner this weekend, but Jonny Cox’s feature race weekend might not be over.  The talented horseman made the most of a pickup drive on classy two-year-old filly Elle Mac on Friday night at Alexandra Park in the Caduceus Club Classic for Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen.  It was Cox’s first Group One pacing victory having won a Dominion Handicap with the ill-fated Jaccka Justy and his first winning drive at Alexandra Park since 2007 when he drove Washakie to victory while based in the North Island.  Today, at Rangiora, Cox has another strong pickup drive for the All Stars stable in Piccadilly Princess in the Rangiora Classic, giving him the perfect opportunity to complete a unique treble for the harness racing weekend.  Having driven a winner at Forbury on Thursday night and then one at Auckland on Friday, Cox will be shooting for three from three meetings when he gets out on the track with Piccadilly Princess.  The classy mare was an eye-catching sixth in last weekend’s Easter Cup behind Heaven’s Rock after missing away from the stand start. The Bettor’s Delight four-year-old reverts to the mobile today but does have the outside barrier draw to contend with.  That will put the mare’s fate in the hands of Cox who will have to look to get into the race at some stage, especially with noted speedsters Franco Nelson  and Field Marshal likely to be handy to the speed from early on in proceedings.  The Rangiora Classic hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for the All Stars in the past with Imagine That’s win back in 2005 the last time they tasted success. Purdon won the race as a driver in 2009 when he drove Fake Chance to victory for Stan Moore.  As well as Piccadilly Princess they have Chase The Dream in this year’s edition with Sam Ottley doing the driving. Classie Brigade, who was also very good in the Easter Cup, will give Nigel McGrath a chance at big race success as Blair Orange looks for his third win in the race having won with Pure Power (2011) and Belkmyster (2015).  Super Selector – By Matt Markham  Race 1: War Spirit, Red Hot Poker, Gin Rummy, Native’s Lasting Love Race 2: Patanjali, Honour The Bet, Bubble Gum, Playingintheshadows Race 3: Ohoka Jimmy, Rock N Roll Delight, Omar Sharif, Sails Race 4: Donegal Carrickfin, Celestial Arden, Shillelagh, Christopher Banner Race 5:  Whittaker, Mongolian Hero, Shineonyourcrazydiamond, Franco Hampton Race 6: Sexy Rexy, Daiquiri, Foreverman, Galleon’s Royale Race 7: Franco Nelson, Piccadilly Princess, Classie Brigade, Chase The Dream Race 8: A G’s White Socks, Forgotten Highway, Sparkling Delight, Torrid Bromac Race 9: Lavros Jack, Belle’s Son, Royal Shine, Destiny Jones Race 10: Sacred Angel, Debnita Rose, Sweet Mary, Classie Margaret Best Bet: Whittaker (Race 5) Value: Sexy Rexy (Race 6)

Those chasing the second quaddie at Invercargill on Sunday will find it hard to go past Major Hippie as an anchor in the last leg. The three year old son of Art Major from team All Stars debuted at Winton a fortnight ago and from five off the gate gave nothing else a chance of claiming the lead. Completing the 2400 metre trip in 2:55.3, Major Hippie ran home from the 800 in 57.6 and was going so well, driver Tim Williams didn't have to activate the removable deafeners.  Matt Anderson will be in charge on Sunday and that's not the only change. The grandson of Hot Shoe Shuffle goes from five on the second line and this week, all his opposition have been winners, some up to three times. However, Major Hippie looks well equipped to overcome such factors in his final hit-out before next week's group two Southern Supremacy Stakes. While labelling the last quaddie leg looks straight forward, getting there doesn't. The third leg is full of quality runners and a spread looks essential. Mongolian Storm returns to the scene of his most recent victory after battling the big-boys in his past two and will be competitive again. G I Joe is back to the mobile after breaking at the stand-start last time in his first race for nine months. After settling well back in the New Zealand record run 2400 at Winton, his bold finish for third was eye-catching. Seaswift Joy is near the top of the best three year old fillies around nationwide and has the ability to cope with this line-up, even after starting from the outside of the front line. Those three look the class acts but there are others to consider. Baileys Knight has drawn one and looked good last time at Winton. Delight My Soul is at the top of her game but often neglected by punters. It Ain't The Money goes from the inside of the second line in just his second go this year. In his first, he drew out in a strong field at Winton, went back and was held up while the leaders sped away. Jimmy Mack will need favours from the outside draw but is a genuine competitor. The second leg is a 2200 metre handicap trot and while the spread in quality from front to back is massive, twice round Ascot Park doesn't give the handicap runners much time to catch up. For all that, Moment Of Sun, Jen Jaccka and Pyramid Magic are needed but places found also for Another Delight and Overcast. Sunday's second quaddie opens with an R47 to R52 mobile 2200 and the ultra-consistent Navajo Art looks a ready-made favourite. He has drawn 10 and that may not help his task but he was placed from the same draw in his previous start on the track. Just Wish and Cullens Avenue have to contend with draws on the outside of the second line but with reasonable trips can be in the finish. Andrew Armour has a runner at Ascot Park again in Happy Styx, who brings Canterbury form south, while if looking for longer odds, Jabali is not the worst.   Mac Henry

Even from the master this was something special. Because while Canterbury trainer Paul Nairn has had more lucrative victories than Habibti Ivy’s fighting effort in the $100,000 Anzac Cup at Alexandra Park tonight, few have been more satisfying. The former high class three-year-old was the forgotten horse of New Zealand trotting just two months ago, after issues kept her away from the track for over 18 months. But not only has she returned unbeaten in five starts, she is now a group one winner after just 14 starts, with the promise of so much more to come. “That was pretty special, to win a group one at her first real attempt at open class,” said the quietly spoken Nairn. “I knew she was good but I thought she might be a little bit below her best tonight so that was brave. And she has had those problems in the past so it is special to see her reach her potential.” Nairn has made a career out of the unusual, his old school and sometimes radical methods consistently turning out open class trotters from remarkably small numbers. Habibti Ivy is the latest and with her gate speed and the beautiful long stride so common in the stock of her champion sire Love You, she is ready to make up for lost time. Love You’s triumph for the night was complete as he also sired Anzac Cup runner-up Lemond and three-year-old Sires’ Stakes winner Enghien. The trotters went a long way to upstaging champion pacer Lazarus, who had little more than a jog in the park to beat stablemates Waikiki Beach and Golden Goddess in the Taylor Mile. He worked to the front quickly and scooted his last 800m in 54.5 seconds to win his penultimate race for the season, the last coming in next Friday's Messenger Pace. And earlier his juvenile filly stablemate Elle Mac suggested she is the most advanced of her crop coming from near last to smash her opponents in the $110,000 Caduceus Club Classic.   Michael Guerin    

Harness racing fixed odds early movers for Addington today as at 2:10pm   Race 1 - Elvis P $11 is best backed in win betting with Spurred By Success  $3.50 leading multi betting.   Race 2 - Locked Out Of Heaven $3.10 easily leads multi beting.   Race 3 - Crusher Collins $2.05 leads win and multi betting.   Race 4 - Mach Shard $3.00 is easily the best backed in win betting over The Devils Own $3.00.   Race 5 - Run Boy Run $8.80 leads in betting over Kayteeoh Denario $3.90.   Race 6 - Partyon $1.85 - $1.70 has taken a $3,000 bet at $1.70 and is easily best backed in win and multi betting.   Race 7 - Mighty Santana $3.70 leads win and multi betting over Real Obsession $4.50.   Race 8- A quiet win market early with the $3.20 favourite Goodtime Gamble leading multi betting over Geena's Success $6.20.   Race 9- Mighty American $2.30 and Allison Stoke $4.50 are the only runners wanted in multi betting.     Harnesslink Media Courtesy of Stephen Richardson (TAB)

Harness racing fixed odds early movers for Alexandra Park today as at 2:00pm Race 1 - BD Khaosan $3.00 leads win and multi betting over Gentleman Sir $3.20.   Race 2 - Star Galleria $2.60 easily leads win and multi betting.   Race 3 - The longshot Foray $51 - $41 leads win betting with The Foot Tapper $3.25 racing away in multi betting.   Race 4 - The Orange Agent $1.85 is the only runner wanted in win and multi betting.   Race 5 - President Roydon $5.50 - $5.00 leads win betting over Habibi Inta $26 - $23 but as expected Enghien $1.75 is the only runner wanted in multi betting.   Race 6 - Elle Mac $3.30 leads multi betting over Lady Chatto $3.00 with A Lister $9.80 - $7.00 leading win betting over Bettor Joy $5.50.   Race 7 - Lazarus $1.05 is the best backed runner on the card in multi betting. Pavarotti at $451 has attracted 8 bets with the largest bet $5.00.   Race 8 - Habibti Ivy $5.50 - $5.20 leads win betting over Sunny Ruby $16 and Prime Power $7.00.   Race 9 - The biggest bet taken at the meeting is $25,000 at $1.90 on Juice Brogden and she is now into $1.75.   Race 10 - Easily the best backed is the debut runner Donegal Davy Boyd $4.20 - $3.90.     Best backed runners in multi betting in order: R7 - Lazarus $1.05  R5 - Enghien $1.75 R4 The Orange Agent $2.00 R9 - Juice Brogden $1.75 R2 - Star Galleria $2.60      Harnesslink Media Courtesy of Stephen Richardson (TAB)

The battle for female, three-year-old, pacing supremacy will return tonight at Addington with New Zealand’s three best fillies locking horns for the first time since they met in the Harness Jewels last season. And the three stars; Partyon, Delightful Memphis and Spanish Armada all meet under different circumstances in the heat of the Nevele R Fillies Series. Partyon comes in off the back of a shock defeat last week while Delightful Memphis is riding the crest of a wave after two impressive recent performances while Spanish Armada has just been doing what she does best and that’s consistently racing with distinction. For Partyon it’s a shot at redemption after she was beaten for the first time in her career at Forbury Park last week. “It wasn’t an ideal race for her first up on,” Mark Purdon said. “Sitting parked in those conditions, when running that sort of time just proved too much.” Natalie Rasmussen takes the drives on the rangy filly tonight and with the requirement a first or second placing to make the Nevele R Fillies Final it’s expected she will look to take luck out of the equation and try and dictate terms from the front. That leaves Delightful Memphis in an interesting position. The Mark Jones trained filly has been stunning in her last two starts down in the deep south including a breath-taking New Zealand record time win off a handicap against the older horses last time. That back up a 1:51 mile win a fortnight before. She’s qualified for the Nevele R Fillies Final, so there’s not quite as much pressure on Jones to get a result but the Burnham horseman will be keen to see whether or not recent racing has improved his charge enough to really push the two top fillies. Matt Anderson has been gifted the plum drive on Spanish Armada for tonight and the youngster will be looking to make the most of his opportunity albeit from an outside of the front line draw. Beaten one in her last six starts, the dour filly won’t have any problems making her own luck tonight although she is in a similar boat to Delightful Memphis in that she has already qualified for the final on May 12.   Super Selector for Addington Race 1: Woodstone, Majestic Moment, Spurred By Success, Ed Wood Race 2: Locked Out Of Heaven, El Gran Senor, Got A Beauty, Black Art Race 3: Crusher Collins, Grand Princess, Jaw D Nancy, One Over Da Skye Race 4: The Devil’s Own, Mach Shard, Cole Porter, Bailey Major Race 5: Power Surge, Errol Finn, Kayteeoh Denario, Titanium Race 6: Partyon, Delightful Memphis, Spanish Armada, Utmost Delight Race 7: Real Obsession, Franco Rebel, Mighty Santana, North Carolina Race 8: Sugar Cane, Beg Hall, Geena’s Success, Chivasion Race 9: Mighty American, Midfrew Tarpediem, Vera’s Delight, Enchantee Best Bet: Partyon (Race6) Value: Sugar Cane (Race 8)   Matt Markham

Gavin Smith said he would have never brought Great Things Happen back to New Zealand if he didn’t think he could win the ANZAC and Rowe Cups. The Love You-Calamity Gal gelding arrived in Auckland this morning (Thursday) and was then was floated to Robert Dunn's stable at Pukekohe. Smith was due to fly up early this afternoon to drive the 5-year-old bay in Friday's Group One $100,000 ANZAC Cup at Alexandra Park. "The original plan was to spell him back here (Kaiapoi) and then get him ready for the Dominion in November, but when I saw that some of the good ones like Monbet, Speeding Spur and Master Lavros weren't lining up I thought these two Group Ones were well within his grasp," Smith said. The North Canterbury trainer, driver said the plan all along was to ease Great Things Happen into the open class trotting ranks with easier assignments in Australia. "He's had seven races over there with Greg Sugars and won four of them. Greg has done a good job. I'm really looking forward to his next two Alexandra Park starts. "He's racing well and it would be a dream to train and drive the winner of an ANZAC Cup or Rowe Cup. I've always loved trotters and the Dominion and Rowe Cup have always been high on my bucket list," said Smith. Great Things Happen goes into Friday's 2200m Free-For-All with an easy 12-metre victory in last Sunday's Group Three $20,000 Warragul Trotters Cup. He was the $1.50 hot favourite and drew seven of nine in that 2,627m stand. He has drawn 10 on Friday. "It's not the draw I wanted. If they can hold up it would be a nice draw, but he's a free-going trotter who likes to bowl along. I don't think Alexandra Park will be a problem because he has raced there before," said Smith. “I wouldn’t be lining him up if I didn’t think he could win on both nights,” he stressed. Great Things Happen has had one race at 'The Park' for a two-length third behind Quite A Moment (Ricky May) and Bordeaux (Dexter Dunn) in the Group One $80,000 National Trot last New Year's Eve. He has also won twice from three starts over the 2200m mobile. Great Things Happen has had 11 wins from his 24 career starts and placed in five others for $107,597 in stakes. He has won his last two Australian races and on February 23 he nailed the Group Three $25,000 Tontine Trotting Championship from 40m behind. His National Trot placing is his best New Zealand performance in a Group race so far. “He’s a very exciting trotter and is probably a couple of months away from footing it with the absolute top-liners. The ANZAC and Rowe Cups were never part of his plan until the guns withdrew. “This time next year I expect him to be right up there with the best trotters in New Zealand and Australia. After next Friday’s Rowe Cup I will take him home to the spelling paddock,” Smith said. The first three runners in the ANZAC Cup will be guaranteed a start in the Group One $150,000 Rowe Cup on Friday week (April 28). Great Things Happen is owned by Ted Edwards and Sara Smith. Edwards also bred him with Gary Edwards. Duane Ranger

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A decision taken just over 12 months ago returned a major dividend when Our Royal Lady made a harness racing winning debut in the 2017 Trotsguide.Com.Au SA Sapling Stakes (1800m) at Globe Derby Park. Trained by Alan Cronin and driven by Ken Rogers, Our Royal Lady finished brilliantly to score a short half-head win from The Fifth Ace ($10.50) with Bulletproof Boy ($40.10), five metres away third. Cronin, who trains at Monarto, south of Adelaide, regularly has a small team in work but just over 12 months ago had a discussion with longtime stable client Greg Moy. A former Ballarat Harness Racing Club president, Mr Moy now resides at Glenelg in South Australia. “We have had good success with the likes of Try Some Magic, Jakkara Magic and Burning Desire but they were coming to the end of their racing lives,” Cronin said. “Greg asked me if I would like to have a go with a few two-year-olds and I accepted the challenge. “Consequently, we haven’t been to the races for quite a while but tonight has made the break worthwhile. “Greg went to yearling sales last year to pick out a few horses but ironically found Our Royal Lady in a paddock. “He went to look at yearlings which were going to the sales and saw this filly in a paddock, asked about her, and purchased her on the spot.” Cronin said the filly had always shown ability. “She is still a bit immature but should continue to improve with racing and will be even better suited over trips such as 2230m.” Our Royal Lady had trialled well in preparation for the Sapling Stakes and punters were happy to make her a strong favourite. Rogers had her away well from gate one and took the trail behind Paris Scene which began quickly from gate four. Don’t Tell William also got away quickly from gate nine and driver Lisa Ryan took him to the spot outside the lead resulting in 31.4 and 30.8 for the first two quarters which ensured Our Royal Lady remained comfortable third on the fence. Ryan Hryhorec, on the Ray Holberton-trained The Fifth Ace, sprinted sharply coming off the back and dashed to what looked to be a winning break in the home straight. When Don’t Tell William began to tire, Rogers took Our Royal Lady off the fence but gave her about 50 metres to keep balanced before asking her to take out after The Fifth Ace. “I did think I might have left it a bit late,” Rogers said. “The filly sprinted brilliantly once I asked her for an effort and on the line I wasn’t sure she had arrived but I was delighted when her number went up. “With the good tempo she settled beautifully but because she is still learning I was careful not to push her out of her stride when I came off the inside. She has a lot of upside.” Cronin added that he need to thank fellow trainer Lance Holberton. “Lance has been fantastic. Whenever I have had an issue, Lance has been only too ready to help out with information when I’ve given him a call.” The Sapling Stakes has been a feature two-year-old race in South Australia for many years with some champion winners, including Inter Dominion winner Richmond Lass, but sadly had only been able to be run once in the past three years through insufficient nominations. The 2017 version was a wonderful race with an exciting finish and hopefully the Sapling Stakes has regained its prestige of past years and won’t suffer again going forward. Our Royal Lady is the first winner for the son of Mach Three, Sir Lincoln or in Australia called Lincoln Royal. The Auckland Cup winner Sir Lincoln has a small crop of just 19 two-year-olds in Australia so his effort to leave a Sapling Stakes winner and a filly at that is impressive. Our Royal Lady was one of only three fillies in the race. Graham Fischer
“Enghien felt even stronger the right-handed way around than what he did back home”. That was one sentence the connections of this week’s Northern 3yo Trotting Derby hopefuls didn’t want to hear following the Love You gelding’s ninth win from 13 starts at Alexandra Park last Friday. “He’s never felt so strong. He seems to be getting tougher with each run no matter where he lines up. The Alexandra Park-way-around didn’t faze him at all. “If anything he trotted better than he ever has. If there were any slight queries it only came after the false start. He felt a bit keen and was fired up briefly, but once the race was under way he relaxed nicely,” said driver Ricky May. “He’ll be better for that run too. He’s got so much stamina and this week’s 2700m should suit him even more. It’s hard to see him being beaten this Friday if that first-up run is anything to go by,” the Methven reinsman added. If the Greg and Nina Hope trained gelding does win this Friday’s $80,000 Breckon Farms Northern Trotting Derby, it will be Enghien’s second Group One victory after nailing the New Zealand 3yo Trotting Derby at Addington Raceway on April 7. The stunning Canterbury squaregaiter is also the New Zealand 1950m mobile 3yo record holder as well - making May’s post-race comments even more potent. In February Enghien set the new time of 2:22.2 in the Sires Stakes Prelude at Addington. But on Friday Enghien was having his first look at Alexandra Park in the Group Two $60,000 Lone Star Riccarton Sires stakes 3yo Trotters Championship - and he come within 0.1 of a second of Royal Aspiration's May 2013 New Zealand 2200m mobile record for 3yo trotters. May settled the bay back from his second row draw and then they were three-wide with cover at the bell, and then in the one-one-down the back straight. The $2 favourite then cruised away in the home straight to win by half a length from the fast-finishing second favourite, President Roydon (Mark Purdon). Third favourite Chevron Express (Dexter Dunn) was three-and-a-quarter lengths back in third. Enghien stopped the clock in 2:43.1 (mile rate 1:59.2) and came home in 59.2 and 28.9. May knows what it’s like to win the Northern Trotting Derby behind a hot favourite. His only win in the race came in 2009 behind the Allan and Lee Georgeson trained $1.30 favourite Ima Gold Digger. “It’s a race all drivers and especially trainers of young trotters love to win, and I say I’m proud to have my name on the trophy. “This horse is going better than when Monbet was three. In saying that Monbet didn’t race or win anything big in his 3-year-old season. At the same time of their careers Enghien would be stronger,” may said. “He’s certainly no Monbet yet and has some way to get there but he just feels like a good strong horse who could be like Monbet when he is five,” he added. Monbet never won a Group race when he was three, but he and May were beaten a length by Speeding Spur and Josh Dickie in the 2015 edition of the Northern Trotting Derby. “He’s a future Dominion and Rowe Cup horse all right. Greg and Nina have a great team of trotters to call on. They are a credit to their training regime,” May said. May will drive Enghien’s stablemate and the December 31 National Trot winner, Quite A Moment in Friday’s Group One $150,000 Rowe Cup. Enghien has now had nine wins since making his debut 13 starts ago at Washdyke with a win. He has also placed once and banked $161,779 in stakes. He is owned by the Hopes and Richard Dellaca, and was bred by Heather Middleton and the estate of Carl Middleton; and Millburn Farm Ltd.   Duane Ranger  
Wyndham harness racing trainers Gordon and Colin Lee are on a roll at the business end of the season. With the big stakes up for grabs at Diamonds Day next Sunday their horses are at the peak of their form and three wins today were led by a stunning win by Seaswift Joy. She went down to the line relatively easily, putting her well and truly in the frame for next Sunday's Group Two Nevele R/ Macca Lodge Southland Oaks Final.  “That’s why we started her today just to tighten her up for next week because she’s going to have to be at her absolute best against those other good fillies. She went huge at Forbury and was doing the best of anything else at the finish. To run a quarter and a half like that was phenominal,” said Gordon Lee who drove the Bettor's Delight filly to win today.  From an outside draw Lee slotted Seaswift Joy into the outside running line. She got a nice drag into the race until the top of the straight before she cruised down the middle of the track to beat Mongolian Storm by half a length. The time for the 2200 metre mobile was 2-41.3.  Next Sunday's Oaks Final is shaping up to be a mouth watering affair with the inform Delightful Memphis, speedy Bonnie Joan and handy types in Ariadne Lavra all capable of figuring in the finish. The race will be run over 2700 metres from a mobile. That should suit Seaswift Joy. Meanwhile a former Southland Oaks Final winner Royal Counsel returned to winning form at Ascot Park today for the Lee brothers. She'd been away from the race track for some time before heading south from Canterbury for the Lees to once again take up the training of the Gotta Go Cullect mare who is now six. Prior to today's return to winning form she'd had two standing start races in the province.  Art Exhibit after winning at Ascot Park - Photo Bruce Stewart  “She didn’t go away good the other day because she trots out into her hopples. But she’s going to have to learn to pace out in that grade. The first run was pretty hard on her because they went that fantastic time. She hadn’t raced for eighteen months. She recovered and after her run in the Winton Cup I knew she was back to her old self,” said Gordon. The Lees have always had a soft spot for the mare and Gordon says they would like to hang onto her for as long as possible.  “They can’t get her in foal so it looks as though all she’s going to be is a racehorse. I don’t think Malcolm will want her back. She’s my old favourite really so I was happy to have her back. I always thought she’d be good enough to win a Country Cups one day. Not this year though.” In the Southland Standardbred Breeders Mobile Pace from barrier seven Lee took her to the front before handing up to favourite Hopes And Dreams. Royal Counsel took the inside passing lane to beat Hopes And Dreams by a neck. The winning time was 2-02.1 for the 1700 metres. “She hasn’t really got high speed but what she has got (speed) she can sustain over a long distance. That’s her forte really.” Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing    
Major Hippie added to the puzzle for this Sunday's Alabar Southern Supremacy Stakes when he bravely won in the last race today. He was posted three wide early before getting to the front. He was then pressurised a long way from home by Glenburn Joy before having to fight off a late challenge by Dachy to win by a head.  Major Hippie has a week to recover before taking on the likes of Eamon Maguire, Young Conqueror and Whittaker in Sunday's Group Three feature. He is trained by Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen who trained the winner of the two year old race today in Ashley Locaz. He was brave in beating the Paul Court trained Hail Christian by half a length in 2-03.3 for the 1700 metre mobile. The time equals the track and Southland record. Kotare Mach recorded the same time on 2009. Matt Anderson and Ashley Locaz winning at Ascot Park  - Photo Bruce Stewart It's likely that both Ashley Locaz and Hail Christian will return to the track this Sunday for the $38,000 Group Three Diamond Creek Farm Two Year Old Classic.   Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing    
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