Gloucester Park - New home of the Inter-Dominions

Inter Dominion 2015 - The Kiwi side of the story

A lot of harness racing traditionalists will have been smiling with the announcement earlier this week that the Inter Dominion to be held in Perth in late 2015 will be staged under the old style format of three heats and a final over a two week period. The series will run over three heats in the first week  and then a gap of a week to the final which is  scheluded for December 11th 2015 for the huge stake of A$1,300,000. It is an optimum time of year for harness racing in Perth with just about all their major races for the better class horses held in the December/January window. The change in timing of the series fits in with the other changes to major races in Australia such as the Miracle Mile which has been moved to February. The historic dates have been discarded as the major Australian players have restructured the timing of the major races as we knew them to better suit their needs in 2015. You can't fault the bodies involved trying to find date structures that work better for the industry but there are some potential pitfalls. One thing they havn't taken into account  in all the changes is the dates structure of harness racing in New Zealand. New Zealands premier race every year is the New Zealand Cup meeting in November which is staged  on the second Tuesday of November every year. There is a whole week of elite level thoroughbred, harness and greyhound racing based around that week and it is the biggest annual carnival in New Zealand by far. There is absolutely no chance of the date being changed so a clash with the Inter Dominion seems inevitable. The $600,000 difference in prize money would seem to be a pretty significant carrot  for Kiwis on the surface but as any Kiwi trainer who has taken horses to Perth knows its not quite as simple as that. Perth in December can be extremely hot and then some and a lot of Kiwis arriving in Perth take time to acclimatise to the local conditions. Some horses just don't cop it and it can affect a horses performance for the rest of that campaign  With the gap between New Zealand Cup week and the first round of heats being so small, the potential for problems is obvious. Last year Fly Like An Eagle had several runs leading into the New Zealand Cup week, two hard runs during Cup week and then tried to line up straight afterwards in the preludes to the Miracle Mile. The runs so close together flattened Fly Like An Eagle and he was very disappointing the rest of the season. And that is without considering the affect of the heat. Gold Ace went frrom Auckland to Perth and the heat didn't affect him one bit and he won the Golden Nugget. A Bit Of A Legend went for the Golden Nugget as well and raced poorly the whole time he was there due in the words of his caretaker trainer Brent Mangos,to the heat. So some Kiwi horses can handle the heat and some can't.  It is going to be hard enough for a lot of the Kiwis with the heat but the close proximity of the series to New Zealand Cup week makes it just about mission impossible. The West Australians are to be conglatulated for returning the Inter Dominion to its original format and for the huge stake money to be offered. It would be a shame if due to the timing issues involved it becomes light on New Zealand repersentation. Harnesslink Media

David Walker - Outed for seven years

Leading jockey out for seven years

The leading New Zealand jockey David Walker was today found guilty on the charges brought by the Racing Integrity Unit (RIU) They claimed that Mr Walker placed bets on another horse to beat the horse he was riding in a head to head contest and then rode to ensure his horse was beaten. The charges were heard by the Judicial Control Authority (JCA), an independent statutory body established under the Racing Act. The JCA panel hearing the case were, Mr M McKechnie (Chairman) and Mr N McCutcheon. The JCA’s in its verdict disqualified Mr Walker for 7 years, and also charged him costs of  $ 3,000 ($1,500 to the JCA and $1,500 to the RIU). RIU General Manager Mike Godber said the RIU was very pleased with the result. “Mr Walker’s actions threatened the very fabric of NZ racing and the strong penalty applied by the JCA  panel sends a signal that the industry holds the integrity of racing at the highest priority.” “The message is clear, serious breaches such as this case will have severe consequences for those  involved.” “The Walker case serves to illustrate the effectiveness of the RIU’s systems of surveillance of racing and  betting and its investigation processes. These processes and the penalty imposed will act as a deterrent to anyone contemplating similar action Racing Inegrity Unit

McArdle Star - Tough to roll on debut at Methven

3 year olds stepping out at Methven

The first harness racing meeting for the new season at Methven comes up for decision on Sunday and as per usual for this time of year it sees the emergence of a lot of spring 3 year olds. Race 1 for the CO 3 year olds and older over 2300 meters from behind the mobile has drawn a smart field with several promising 3 year olds lining up. McArdle Star form the Ken Barron barn has drawn poorly at three on the second line but his trial runs suggest a big debut run from the son of McArdle. Brought out of the 2013 Australasian Classic Sale for $30,000 by long time stable clients Steve Thompson and Grant Dickey, McArdle Star will have the services of in form reinsman Blair Orange and looks a big winning chance. Highview Freddy from the Robert Dunn barn is another 3 year old who looks above average and from the one draw can make his own luck. A full brother to the outstanding Highview Tommy 1:55.2 ($1,021,904) Highview Freddy had four starts at two against Say My Name and company so it is a big drop back in class here. He ran a lovely fourth behind Margarita in his first run back from a spell and looks sure to be a major player with Sam Ottley in the bike. Another runner from the Robert Dunn barn is Altissimo who has drawn nicely at barrier three. She is a 3 year old daughter of Mach Three from a Beach Towel half sister to the champion pacer Elsu 1:53.6 ($2,083,352). Altissimo qualified recently on the track in very impressive fashion and has the services of leading reinsman John Dunn in the bike.  Another 3 year old making his debut for the season is the Gotta Go Cullect gelding Until Further Notice from two on the second line from the Jimmy Curtin barn. Until Further Notice is a recent addition to the stable and he is now owned by long time stable client Ralph Nieper who raced his half brother Slash An Burn 1:54.7 ($277,288) from the Curtin barn. Placed twice as a two year old when racing out of the Murray Swain barn in Southland, Until Further Notice won a trial last week at Ashburton with smart closing sectionals of 56 .8 and 27.4 and looks ready to rumble. Just so all the 3 year olds don't have it all their own way, the Nigel McGrath trained and driven Western Art with four seconds in his last five starts looms as a fly in the ointment for the 3 year olds as he is well overdue to take out a maiden race.  We think with his favourable draw Highview Freddy just gets the nod from us but it  really is an open race and it wouldn't surprise us to see one of the other four mentioned in this article salute the judge. Harnesslink Media

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Bets of the week ringaround, September 18, 2014

Last weeks harness racing selections were a case of so near yet so far. Maurice McKendry, Terry Chmiel, Ricky May, Gerald O'Reilly and Nathan Williamson all nabbed winners while six others were placed, some at good odds. This week we have four meetings around the country and our selections are spread over those meetings and Maurice McKendry is shooting for three in a row at Auckland. Addington - Thursday Night Ricky May - Thinks Idolise is ready to win in race 4 Gerald O'Reilly - Likes King Of Strathfield to upset Stent in race 6 Sam Ottley - Rates Lovemetwotimes a big chance from barrier one in race 7 Terry Chmiel - Gives Betabcool a big tick in race 8    Invercargill - Friday Afternoon Clark Barron - Reckons Run Fatboy Run is overdue a winning turn in race 5 Brendon McLellan - Thinks Vera's Delight is due a change of luck in race 6 Nathan Williamson - Thinks Costa Del Magnifico will make a winning debut in race 8 Shane Walkinshaw - Very keen on first starter Jetsdream to win race 8 as well   Alexandra Park - Friday Night  Tony Herlihy - Likes Red Sky Night even from the second row in race 2 Steven Reid - Really rates Sirius Star to win race 3 Todd Macfarlane - Thinks Concorde can go one better than his debut second, also in race 3 Maurice McKendry - Rates The Royal Charger a big chance with the aid of the mobile in race 4 Josh Dickie - Very very bullish about the chances of Voluntad in race 5 John Curtin (Harnesslink) - Rates Irish Whisper a big chance to win fresh up in race 6 Scott Phelan - Thinks Le Lua Invasion is overdue a win in race 9   Methven - Sunday Afternoon John Dunn - Thinks Highview Freddy can use barrier one to win race 1 Blair Orange - Rates McArdle Star from the on fire Ken Barron barn as also hard to beat in race 1 Matt Williamson - Reckons Davey's Gift is well overdue and should win race 2 Steve Richardson (TAB) - Rates the locally owned and trained Golden Desire a big chance in race 4 Brad Williamson - Thinks his fathers trained horse Kylie Castleton can win race 5   Harnesslink Media  

Harness racing returns to Invercargill on Friday afternoon and the best race of the day is race eight for the 3 year olds and older over 2200 meters. Three first starters who have drawn barriers one, two and three look set to dominate the betting and the finish. Number one is Jetsdream who is a 3 year old by Jeremes Jet who has been burning up the tracks at trials and workouts in Southland. He won his qualifying heat by 7 lengths, last 400 meters in 28.1 and then won a CO heat on September 10th by 2 lengths with smart closing sectionals of 56.4 and 27.6 Trained by Hamish Hunter at Ryal Bush, Jetsdream is to be driven by the talented southern reinsman Shane Walkinshaw. Drawn right beside him in barrier two is Costa Del Magnifico who is a 3 year old son of Mach Three who has also impressed at trials and workouts leading into his debut. He qualified in January as a 2 year old over a mile in 1:59.3 and has had two recent trial runs to get him ready for Friday. In the first of these Costa Del Magnifico ran second to Jetsdream and then came out three days later on September 13th and showed quick improvement winning a C0-C1 heat with quick closing sectionals of 56.7 and 27.8. Trained at Invercargill by Brent Shirley, Costa Del Magnifico is to be driven by leading reinsman Nathan Williamson. Drawn at barrier three is Macs Man, a 3 year old son of promising sire Panspacificflight who has also been going great guns at recent trials. He raced very greenly when he qualified but improved quickly to win a C0 trial shortly after with smart closing sectionals of 56.5 and 28.4 At his next trial Macs Man ran a close third to Jetsdream and Costa Del Magnifico after doing plenty of work. Trained by Kirk Larsen at Branxholme, Macs Man is to be driven by champion reinsman Dexter Dunn. In the end we have gone with Jetsdream due to the fact that he has been running time at the trials but  has yet to be really tested. Costa Del Magnifico for second just in front of Macs Man who has the bonus of the "Dexter " factor. To round out first fours throw in the Allan Beck trained and driven Run to Hide. Harnesslink Media    

The trotting side of harness racing has been a bit light on numbers at the top level in the North Island for the last couple of years but the current season promises to be the best for a few years.  Boizel is back for another year and the rising star Prime Power should be ready to tackle the big bangers this season. And then we come to one of the enigmas of trotting in New Zealand in Irish Whisper who on his best day looks as good as anything going round. Trained by the "Iceman" Tony Herlihy, Irish Whisper has been nursed through his career to this point due to immaturity. " I've had to look after him up to now because he has needed time to strengthen up but he looks a picture this time in and I am really looking forward to the new season with him"said Herlihy "I took him to Australia last year when he wasn't really ready for it but I knew the trip would make him and by the look of him this time in it has." It really is time for Irish Whisper to stand up and I think he will "said Herlihy. Irish Whisper only had six starts in New Zealand last season but managed to win three of them including two narrow wins over the brilliant Stent 1:54.8 ($471,572). The seven year old gelding by Sundon is due to resume on Friday night at Alexandra Park in the C3-OC handicap trot off 40 meters behind and Herlihy is confident of a big run. "I know it's hard off 40 meters but his runs at the workouts have been really good leading into Friday night. If he was to get a nice drag into the race, then I thing he could just about win first up" said Herlihy There has never been any doubt about how good Irish Whisper is with only his immaturity letting him down in the past. This season due to the patience that Tony Herlihy has shown, Irish Whisper may finally fulfill his potential. Harnesslink Media

Sweden’s Ed You benefitted from a masterful drive by Torbjorn Jansson to storm home past compatriot Mosaique Face to became the third winner of the Group 1 UET Trotting Masters Final (500,000 euros) at Denmark’s Charlottenlund racetrack. Three of the top four UET Masters’ Series ranked Swedish horses were in the field for the 2500m race including French-trained Commander Crowe (Juliano Star), in his very last start of stellar career in Europe before embarking on a swansong to the Untied States Indeed it was Fabrice Soulouy’s 11-year-old chestnut who began the fastest holding off Ed You (Love You) in the initial speed duel, the latter settling into the trail. Into the straight for the first time Europe’s highest ranked horse Timoko (Imoko) of France sprinted up from the back to try and outflank Commander Crowe, but was forced to sit parked and then ended up in the one-one when Lutfi Kolgjini moved up with last year’s Swedish TravDerby winner Mosaïque Face(Classic Photo) a lap out. Commander Crowe kept up the tempo as Mosaïque Face applied the pressure and the two accelerated out of the turn of the back straight for the last time, with Prussia (Ken Warkentin) and Solvato (Donato Hanover) also sprinting hard three and four wide turning for home. Timoko found himself in a difficult position as these attacks occurred, unable to move out and and lost ground and momentum. In the home straight, Commander Crowe’s brave bid faded as Mosaique Face got to the front but Jansson found room to get Ed You off the fence, and used the kinder inside run to his advantage to get by Mosaïque Face with a irresistible burst. Canaka B.F. (Jobie Tempest) found room on the inside ahead of Commander Crowe to grab third just ahead of Timoko, who came on strongly with a stayer’s run for fourth. For Ed You, a late bloomer and controversial winner in July of the prestigious Hugo Abergs Memorial after Un Mec d'Héripré's disqualication, this was best result of his career. He is trained by the Swede Robert Bergh. In the supporting N.J. Kosters Memorial Fredrik Solberg’s BBS Sugarlight (Super Light) shot out of the gate to take a lead he never relinquished. From ther Peter Untersteiner took control of the race from the front with Amour Rapide (Love You) and top Swedish driver Johnny Takter in the bike settling into the trail. Untersteiner released the brakes off BBS Sugarlight at the top of the final bend and he responded superbly and cruised to the line with ease, covering the 1600m journey in a 1.12.0 kilometre rate (1.55.8MR). Flemming Jensen’s veteran warhorse O’Grady (SJ’s Photo) who had sat second-over for most of the race, charged home to nose out Amour Rapide for second money. The previous day at Vincennes, there were two national Group ones, the most prestigious races on the French calendar, with a placing from first to seventh enough to earn prestigious black type in France and coveted Classique status. In the Prix de l'Etoile, an intergenerational race over the Vincennes sprint distance of 2150m, which brings the cream of the 3, 4 and 5 year-old crops together in a handicap setting similar to weight for age racing, Brillantissime (Ready Cash) and Black d’Avril (Oceano Nox ) fought for the early lead, with the inside horse handing up to Brillantissime before the turn into the Joinville plain. Favourite Biche des Clos (Rolling d'Heripre ) moved up prominent outside Brillantissime up the hill and these two led the field down the sweeping turn and into the front straight. Biche des Clos poured on the pressure and Brillantissime could not respond, while Black D’Avril pulled out of the trail and once clear showed terrific acceleration to swoop past Biche des Clos and claim the coveted Group one. Former age group star Billie de Montfort (Jasmin de Flore ) nabbed Brillantissime on the line for third place. The Prix d’Normandie, one of the top three monte races in the world, for 5YOs, is raced over 3000m for 240,000 euros and here it was Vittel de Brevol (Jag de Bellouet) who took control of the race down the straight for the first time, while hot favourite Vision Intense (Prodigious) got parked three wide and five back. At the top of the hill David Thomain pressed the go button on Vittel de Brevol and by the crossroads where the flat inside floodlit track joins the “grand piste” had slipped clear by seven lengths. Vittel de Brevol still had a handy lead into the straight and though Vision Intense tried desperately to close the gap, the line came up too quickly. Valse Castelets was a long way back third ahead of Viva Forest. The winner recorded a slick 1.13,9 (1.58.9MR) for the 3000m, just a little outside Prince Gede’s record 1.13.6 (1.58.4MR) which was set in 2009. Courtesy Of Harness Racing New Zealand

A race with conditions outside of the square at Addington is scheduled for Show Day, Friday 14th November. The New Zealand Metropolitan Trotting Club (The Met) is programming a new race on Show Day, exclusively for horses trained south of the Waitaki River for a stake of $20,000.  To be eligible to compete, horses must be registered in the name of a trainer(s) that is based south of the Waitaki River as at Friday 12 September 2014. Brian Rabbitt, Racing Secretary at Addington, commented “that this will be a race with a real difference with a Southern flavour and an opportunity to bring a new array of horses to Addington on one of our biggest meetings of the season. It’s all about utilising the horse population to our best advantage. With attractive stake money up for grabs we’re confident the race will be well supported and wouldn’t it be great to get back to the days when we saw a stack of horses come up from the South.” Richard Bromley and Ged Mooar of Addington were in the Southland area yesterday visiting prominent trainers including Murray Brown, Wayne Adams, Tony Barron, Clark Barron, Nathan Williamson, Hamish Hunter and Kirk Larsen. “The race has been very well received and we’re confident it will be supported,” said Mooar. The race is for four-year-old and older pacers assessed at C1 and C2 and is to be run over 2600 metres behind the mobile with a preferential barrier draw based on win stakes.  For further information please contact either Brian, Richard or Colin at Addington’s Racing Department on (03) 338 9094. Ged Mooar Marketing and Commercial Manager Addington

The Rangiora Harness Racing Club are holding their spring meeting at Addington on Thursday night and while there is a small card of only eight races, some talented horses are involved. The smallest field of the night is the C7-OC handicap trot which has only drawn a field of five starters but all five are quality  racehorses.  The Paul Nairn trained Lotalov is having her first start for the season and has gone well in that state in the past. Throw in the fact she is good from a stand and her Addington record is 4 wins and 4 placings from 11 starts and she is not out of it at all. The Fiery Ginga is third up for the year and trainer Allan Clark is expecting a big run. "I was a bit disappointed the other night at Addington with how he drove so I changed a couple of things and his work since has been super. He gets a start from his main competition so I going to try to take advantage of that" he said. The winner of 27 races to date has a great standing start record (17 wins) and course record (10 wins) so looms as a live chance. The third of the runners off the front is the Bevan Heron trained Uncas who always seems to go good at this time of the year. All of his eight wins have been from a stand and his first up win recently was full of merit. Big show with a run  to suit. The first of the runners off ten meters is the Geoff Dunn trained King Of Starthfield who is in great nick at the moment. All of his three runs this time in have been first class and the small field will suit him down to the ground. He has won 21 races but only 2 of those at Addington so track record is a small concern. The second horse on ten meters and last of the five runners is the champion trotter Stent who was last season's Australasian Trotting Masters Champion. All his course and distance stats are outstanding and he looks hard to hold out even if  he is only 90% ready.   Trained by Colin Defilippi, Stent won fresh up last season and is on course to do the same this year. A small field but one of real class. Stent for us on class alone with the main dangers being King Of Strathfield and Uncas with The Fiery Ginga and Lotalov fighting out fourth place. Harnesslink Media

The trotting side of harness racing has been one part of the industry that seems to have been holding its own in recent years. More and more North American and European sires are now available to Australasian breeders and one that is making a big impact is the son of S J's Photo in Bacardi Lindy. Imported by Ross Simpson, Bacardi Lindy has spent time in both Australia and New Zealand and these days is resident at Morley Park in Victoria. A son of S J's Photo from the brilliant Valley Victory mare Rum Boogie 1:55 ($900,908), Bacardi Lindy made $115,000 when sold at Tattersalls as a yearling and recouped that and more on the track winning $207,546 and taking a mark of 1:52.8 Bacardi Lindy made a slow start with his first crop but his stock have just kept improving and several starting showing up in the age group classics. Claudy's Princess ($198,746) was a star 3 year old last season while The Boss Man ($95,132) was another of his better performers in the 4 year old ranks as  Bacardi Lindy established himself as the the best of the Australian based trotting sires. His profile in New Zealand has been pretty low key to this point but that may be about to change with the emergence of the smart 2 year old Cocktail Waiter. Even though the season is only six weeks old in New Zealand, Cocktail Waiter has already qualified and in great fashion for a trotter this early in the season. He won his qualifying trial at Oamaru over 2000 meters from the mobile in 2:41.4, a mile rate of 2:09.8 with a closing 800 meters of 60.3 Cocktail Waiter is the second foal from the Sundon mare Gina and is owned and trained by Alan Clark of the The Fiery Ginga fame. Allan Clark was suitably impressed by the run. "He is such a lovely horse to do anything with. He is a beautifully gaited individual and has a touch of class that the good horses have and really finds when you ask him. I am pretty confident Cocktail Waiter will be a major player in all the good 2 year old trotting races later in the season", he said. Alan borrowed Gina to breed Cocktail Waiter after the mares first foal Clifden Clowers ($33,653) had been a handy winner and he remembered a full sister to Gina in The Great Pretender had raced in the Jewels as a 2 year old. As smart as Cocktail Waiter looks to be, Alan had high hopes for a filly by Bacardi Lindy until her sudden death. "I thought she was a touch better than Cocktail Waiter to be honest but I found her dead in her paddock one morning which was a real shame. The Bacardi Lindy's have really impressed me to date and I will be sending a couple of mares this season for sure,"he said. The way his stock are starting to fire on both sides of the Tasman, Bacardi Lindy could be in for a very busy stud season. Harnesslink Media

It was a big moment for his numerous owners the Knowlers, the Kennards, Grant Dickey Stu Gillan  and Phil Creighton when Meticulous returned on a winning note to harness racing at Oamaru on Sunday. He was cleverly rated by Tim Williams to come his last 800 meters in 56.8 because Meticulous is a horse who has given his connections a few concerns to date. He crashed out of the Welcome Stakes and the Flying Stakes and his confidence has been a big thing with him. Some of that confidence came from Ashleigh Royal who has always nursed Meticulous through his setbacks and makes no secret of the fact "I just love this horse" Meticulous may have been disappointing and erratic at times but not to Ashleigh's way of thinking. "He gets the full treatment from me. I've just always liked him" she says. Small wonder Ashleigh was quickly on hand for the post race photo. Tim handled the sometimes race shy gelding calmly and he was never really tested, repeating a snappy win at the trials at Rangiora. Race confidence is a big thing in the Meticulous comeback so Sunday was an extra boost Matt Anderson was tested a little too in a different way with the other All Stars runner on the day Backup. He knew the Aussie-owned gelding was going to improve a lot and he did his best to help the horse by posting pedestrian fractions in front. But it was all hustle and bustle from the 800 meters which was covered in 55.8 Leo from the Nathan Williamson barn issued a strong challenge in the straight but Backup is better than many think and he held on easily enough in the end considering his current stage of race seasoning. Courtesy Of All Star Racing    

The dream is fast becoming a reality for team Tiger Tara. The gritty four-year-old rocketed his way into New Zealand Trotting Cup contention with a professional victory in the time-honoured Hannon Memorial at Oamaru yesterday. And for Bob and Jen Sandford along with their co-owners John Gould and and Geoff Dunn – who also does the training – things are starting to fall into place nicely. The intention was never to push Tiger Tara toward a Cup start, but it was instead to let him find his own feet. Something he is doing in style. A bold second to Christen Me in the Maurice Holmes Vase pointed toward a big showing from the Sires’ Stakes Final winner of last season and he didn’t disappoint. “It’s all getting a bit exciting,’’ Bob Sandford said after the race. “To be honest we probably didn’t have too many expectations coming into this prep, we were just happy to see how things panned out. “But it looks now like we might get a shot at the big one.’’ Handled expertly by Gerard O’Reilly, Tiger Tara jumped out of the one out one back position rounding the final bend and his blistering speed got him to the line. And while in reflection that might not seem like anything special – especially considering that none of the big guns of this year’s Cup were in attendance for the race – when you break the performance down, it’s full of merit. He’s run his last 800 metres in better than 55.5 second and clocked his last mile in 1.55 as well. O’Reilly was forced to move a lot sooner than he had hoped which left the pair a sitting duck but when Four Starzzz Flash ranged up to win at the 150 metre mark, Tiger Tara kicked. The win should see him move high up into the Top 15 rankings for the Cup when the next round is released tomorrow afternoon. Dunn wouldn’t commit to where he was headed next but he gave an indication that it would probably be more likely to be the Canterbury Classic next month as opposed to the Avon City Ford Cup next Friday night. “We will have to sit down and have a think about that one.’’ Four Starzzz Flash looked a lot more like his old self with a barnstorming finish to run second. “He’s a funny horse, you need to keep him on the job and up on the nickel,’’ Dexter Dunn said. “He just got held up for long enough that I think it might have cost him going close, but Geoff’s horse was always going to keep fighting.’’ Pure Power, who led the field throughout and set up a 3.14.4 time for the 2600 metre stand – the third fastest running of the Hannon – finished third, but was later relegated to fourth behind Pass Them By after it was deemed the big pacer had shifted across the track and into the line of the Tim Butt trained runner.  Courtesy Matt Markham - Harness Racing New Zealand    

The C0 pace for 3 year olds and older at the Oamaru Harness Racing clubs meeting today (September 14th) drew three horses with a reputation for being above average pacers. Cran Dalgety lined up the talented Christian Cullen gelding Cody Singer who is big on ability but still lacks a touch of ringcraft. Kevin Court lined up Smokin Bird, a daughter of Bettor's Delight who had won her only start at two but is still classed as a maiden as she starts her 3 year old season. The third of the fancied horses was Tas Man Bromac, a son of American Ideal who had also won his only start at two and races out of the barn of Nathan Williamson. The public made Smokin Bird a warm favourite but there was plenty of support for Cody Singer and Tas Man Bromac as well. Smokin Bird got away first and grabbed an early lead with Tas Man Bromac settling fourth on the inner and Cody Singer last after missing away for a few strides. It stayed that way until Dexter Dunn moved Cody Singer around the field to sit parked at the 1600 meters mark and Nathan Williamson came off the inner with Tas Man Bromac and slotted into the one by one. Then Dexter decided he wanted the front with Cody Singer but Matthew Williamson on Smokin Bird didnt want to hand up and they went to war for the next 600 meters. By the time they reached the 800 meters mark, Cody Singer had dropped in on Smokin Bird's back which left Tas Man Bromac parked out. Thats how they stayed until they turned for home where Nathan shot Tas Man Bromac clear for an easy and impressive win. Smokin Bird stuck on gamely for second after being mauled mid race while Cody Singer ended up fifth but only four and half lengths from the winner. Tas Man Bromac paced the 2600 meters from a stand in a very smart 3:19.2 with closing sectionals of 57.8 and 28.5 Tas Man Bromac is the second foal of the imported North American McArdle mare Tasmcmanian who is a half sister to five in 1:55 including Arts Conquest 1:50 ($880,576) and Lifeoftheparty 1:54 ($151,365) Shy Devil, the dam of Tasmcmanian went 1:53.3 and earned $169,185 on the track and is a half sister to the talented Gamma Ray 1:52.1 ($467,504) and XLR Ray Shun King 1:52.1 ($207,210). Tasmcmarian is closely related to two outstanding mares in Naughty But Nice 1:54 ($1,062,197) and Leah Almahurst 1:52.3 ($1,053,201) Tas Man Bromac lived up to his pedigree today with a performance that suggested he had many wins left in front of him. Harnesslink Media    

Harness racing meetings at Oamaru are not really a place where you would normally find a real up and comer racing. They have their quality races such as the Hannon Memorial for the open class horses which was run today (September 14th) but in the main its a racetrack for the nice horses who are just finding Addington a touch too hard. Today's C1-C2 trot at Oamaru drew a big field of 15 with some really nice trotters amongst them who were in good form. The public made the Paul Nairn trained Waterloo Sunset the favourite from the 10 meter mark even though he was having his first run in nearly four months and he had been unsighted at trials and workouts. Driven by in form reinsman Bob Butt, Waterloo Sunset missed away from the standing start and settled five lengths behind the field in the early stages. Monty Python had found the front and was setting a steady pace while Waterloo Sunset was still last with a lap to run. Passing the 800 meters Waterloo Sunset was still two lengths last and at least 15 lengths from the leader and was still amongst the tailenders as the field turned for home. Monty Python was claimed half way up the straight by Ottawa before he in turn was claimed by a withering late burst from Waterloo Sunset which saw him get home by a neck with Bob Butt hardly moving in the bike. Waterloo Sunset trotted the 2600 meters in 3:22.8, with closing sectionals off the front of 58.9 and 30.1  Coming from last and at least 15 lengths off the lead at the 800 meters mark to win was a good indication of how good the run of Waterloo Sunset was. A 5 year old entire by the legendary sire Sundon, Waterloo Sunset is the first of the former outstanding trotting mare Inspire ($147,468) who won the 2006 Rowe Cup (Group One) Inspire is a full sister to the former brilliant age group trotter Enthusiast ($90,585) who won 11 races as a two and three year old and a half sister to the smart Call You Later ($73,174) The grand-dam Enthuse is a half sister to the former outstanding trotter Sundowner Bay ($259,856) who won 18 races. It is a family that master trotting trainer Paul Nairn has had a lot of success with over the years. Going by todays  effort, Waterloo Sunset looks poised to add to that record and appears headed to open class in a hurry. Harnesslink Media    

A brave and what looked like a successful bid to get Armbro Demon to the New Zealand Cup meeting and beyond came to an end midweek when the mare developed suspensory problems. Mark Purdon was philosophical about the injury. "She suddenly developed a problem which I thought might be a suspensory and she also had a smaller problem in the other leg. (Vet) Bill Bishop confirmed that is what it was and it means she has been retired. We found out she had had a suspensory problem before having a long spell and unfortunately it has returned'' Armbro Demon caused something of a sensation winning at the Cup meeting three years ago in only her third win up from a spell for owner-trainer Chris McLeod. She trotted the 3200m in a sensational 4.05.8 winning easily. She has only had two starts in nearly three years since having suffered an injury in 2012 and her career stands at five wins from only 10 starts. Chris, who had put so much time into the Armbro Invasion mare, agreed to lease her out for one more try for a race career and it wasn't a well kept secret around the All Stars stable that her ability  had made a deep impression at Rolleston. Armbro Demon had a few tricks to play on the unwary but she had gradually adapted well to a big stable atmosphere. Word of her ability must have leaked out because there were substantial bets placed on her in the Dominion Handicap especially in all up betting. Courtesy Of All Star Racing

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A lot of harness racing traditionalists will have been smiling with the announcement earlier this week that the Inter Dominion to be held in Perth in late 2015 will be staged under the old style format of three heats and a final over a two week period. The series will run over three heats in the first week  and then a gap of a week to the final which is  scheluded for December 11th 2015 for the huge stake of A$1,300,000. It is an optimum time of year for harness racing in Perth with just about all their major races for the better class horses held in the December/January window. The change in timing of the series fits in with the other changes to major races in Australia such as the Miracle Mile which has been moved to February. The historic dates have been discarded as the major Australian players have restructured the timing of the major races as we knew them to better suit their needs in 2015. You can't fault the bodies involved trying to find date structures that work better for the industry but there are some potential pitfalls. One thing they havn't taken into account  in all the changes is the dates structure of harness racing in New Zealand. New Zealands premier race every year is the New Zealand Cup meeting in November which is staged  on the second Tuesday of November every year. There is a whole week of elite level thoroughbred, harness and greyhound racing based around that week and it is the biggest annual carnival in New Zealand by far. There is absolutely no chance of the date being changed so a clash with the Inter Dominion seems inevitable. The $600,000 difference in prize money would seem to be a pretty significant carrot  for Kiwis on the surface but as any Kiwi trainer who has taken horses to Perth knows its not quite as simple as that. Perth in December can be extremely hot and then some and a lot of Kiwis arriving in Perth take time to acclimatise to the local conditions. Some horses just don't cop it and it can affect a horses performance for the rest of that campaign  With the gap between New Zealand Cup week and the first round of heats being so small, the potential for problems is obvious. Last year Fly Like An Eagle had several runs leading into the New Zealand Cup week, two hard runs during Cup week and then tried to line up straight afterwards in the preludes to the Miracle Mile. The runs so close together flattened Fly Like An Eagle and he was very disappointing the rest of the season. And that is without considering the affect of the heat. Gold Ace went frrom Auckland to Perth and the heat didn't affect him one bit and he won the Golden Nugget. A Bit Of A Legend went for the Golden Nugget as well and raced poorly the whole time he was there due in the words of his caretaker trainer Brent Mangos,to the heat. So some Kiwi horses can handle the heat and some can't.  It is going to be hard enough for a lot of the Kiwis with the heat but the close proximity of the series to New Zealand Cup week makes it just about mission impossible. The West Australians are to be conglatulated for returning the Inter Dominion to its original format and for the huge stake money to be offered. It would be a shame if due to the timing issues involved it becomes light on New Zealand repersentation. Harnesslink Media
The leading New Zealand jockey David Walker was today found guilty on the charges brought by the Racing Integrity Unit (RIU) They claimed that Mr Walker placed bets on another horse to beat the horse he was riding in a head to head contest and then rode to ensure his horse was beaten. The charges were heard by the Judicial Control Authority (JCA), an independent statutory body established under the Racing Act. The JCA panel hearing the case were, Mr M McKechnie (Chairman) and Mr N McCutcheon. The JCA’s in its verdict disqualified Mr Walker for 7 years, and also charged him costs of  $ 3,000 ($1,500 to the JCA and $1,500 to the RIU). RIU General Manager Mike Godber said the RIU was very pleased with the result. “Mr Walker’s actions threatened the very fabric of NZ racing and the strong penalty applied by the JCA  panel sends a signal that the industry holds the integrity of racing at the highest priority.” “The message is clear, serious breaches such as this case will have severe consequences for those  involved.” “The Walker case serves to illustrate the effectiveness of the RIU’s systems of surveillance of racing and  betting and its investigation processes. These processes and the penalty imposed will act as a deterrent to anyone contemplating similar action Racing Inegrity Unit
The first harness racing meeting for the new season at Methven comes up for decision on Sunday and as per usual for this time of year it sees the emergence of a lot of spring 3 year olds. Race 1 for the CO 3 year olds and older over 2300 meters from behind the mobile has drawn a smart field with several promising 3 year olds lining up. McArdle Star form the Ken Barron barn has drawn poorly at three on the second line but his trial runs suggest a big debut run from the son of McArdle. Brought out of the 2013 Australasian Classic Sale for $30,000 by long time stable clients Steve Thompson and Grant Dickey, McArdle Star will have the services of in form reinsman Blair Orange and looks a big winning chance. Highview Freddy from the Robert Dunn barn is another 3 year old who looks above average and from the one draw can make his own luck. A full brother to the outstanding Highview Tommy 1:55.2 ($1,021,904) Highview Freddy had four starts at two against Say My Name and company so it is a big drop back in class here. He ran a lovely fourth behind Margarita in his first run back from a spell and looks sure to be a major player with Sam Ottley in the bike. Another runner from the Robert Dunn barn is Altissimo who has drawn nicely at barrier three. She is a 3 year old daughter of Mach Three from a Beach Towel half sister to the champion pacer Elsu 1:53.6 ($2,083,352). Altissimo qualified recently on the track in very impressive fashion and has the services of leading reinsman John Dunn in the bike.  Another 3 year old making his debut for the season is the Gotta Go Cullect gelding Until Further Notice from two on the second line from the Jimmy Curtin barn. Until Further Notice is a recent addition to the stable and he is now owned by long time stable client Ralph Nieper who raced his half brother Slash An Burn 1:54.7 ($277,288) from the Curtin barn. Placed twice as a two year old when racing out of the Murray Swain barn in Southland, Until Further Notice won a trial last week at Ashburton with smart closing sectionals of 56 .8 and 27.4 and looks ready to rumble. Just so all the 3 year olds don't have it all their own way, the Nigel McGrath trained and driven Western Art with four seconds in his last five starts looms as a fly in the ointment for the 3 year olds as he is well overdue to take out a maiden race.  We think with his favourable draw Highview Freddy just gets the nod from us but it  really is an open race and it wouldn't surprise us to see one of the other four mentioned in this article salute the judge. Harnesslink Media
Last weeks harness racing selections were a case of so near yet so far. Maurice McKendry, Terry Chmiel, Ricky May, Gerald O'Reilly and Nathan Williamson all nabbed winners while six others were placed, some at good odds. This week we have four meetings around the country and our selections are spread over those meetings and Maurice McKendry is shooting for three in a row at Auckland. Addington - Thursday Night Ricky May - Thinks Idolise is ready to win in race 4 Gerald O'Reilly - Likes King Of Strathfield to upset Stent in race 6 Sam Ottley - Rates Lovemetwotimes a big chance from barrier one in race 7 Terry Chmiel - Gives Betabcool a big tick in race 8    Invercargill - Friday Afternoon Clark Barron - Reckons Run Fatboy Run is overdue a winning turn in race 5 Brendon McLellan - Thinks Vera's Delight is due a change of luck in race 6 Nathan Williamson - Thinks Costa Del Magnifico will make a winning debut in race 8 Shane Walkinshaw - Very keen on first starter Jetsdream to win race 8 as well   Alexandra Park - Friday Night  Tony Herlihy - Likes Red Sky Night even from the second row in race 2 Steven Reid - Really rates Sirius Star to win race 3 Todd Macfarlane - Thinks Concorde can go one better than his debut second, also in race 3 Maurice McKendry - Rates The Royal Charger a big chance with the aid of the mobile in race 4 Josh Dickie - Very very bullish about the chances of Voluntad in race 5 John Curtin (Harnesslink) - Rates Irish Whisper a big chance to win fresh up in race 6 Scott Phelan - Thinks Le Lua Invasion is overdue a win in race 9   Methven - Sunday Afternoon John Dunn - Thinks Highview Freddy can use barrier one to win race 1 Blair Orange - Rates McArdle Star from the on fire Ken Barron barn as also hard to beat in race 1 Matt Williamson - Reckons Davey's Gift is well overdue and should win race 2 Steve Richardson (TAB) - Rates the locally owned and trained Golden Desire a big chance in race 4 Brad Williamson - Thinks his fathers trained horse Kylie Castleton can win race 5   Harnesslink Media  
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