Day At The Track
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HRNZ's response to the Messara report

OVERVIEW Harness Racing New Zealand (HRNZ) supports the overall direction proposed by the Messara Review and the majority of the recommendations and sub-recommendations. We recognise that many of the recommendations and associated benefits will favourably impact on all three Codes. While the review primarily focused on the Thoroughbred Code, HRNZ stresses that Harness racing as an industry/sport is in a very similar position to Thoroughbred racing, especially with the financial and sustainability pressures currently facing it. There are six key recommendations that need change. These recommendations are not currently acceptable to HRNZ on grounds of equity, fairness and the long term financial sustainability of racing. In summary, these are as follows:  The Racing Industry Transitional Agency (RITA) is not needed: the objectives to implement the recommendations of the report and expedite change are best served through a Transitional New Zealand Racing Board (NZRB).  The proposed governance of Racing NZ favours the Thoroughbred Code. Given this body’s core strategic functions, a more balanced governance structure is required.  Code distribution should be 50% based on domestic Gross Betting Revenue (GBR), 25% on combined domestic and international GBR, and 25% based on Code contribution to the economy.  Funds released from the betting levy should be distributed on a GBR basis.  Race fields legislation needs to proceed urgently in line with the Messara recommended changes.  Outsourcing of wagering needs a full long-term economic, strategic and sustainability analysis of all options.  View the full submission here!   Harness Racing New Zealand (HRNZ)

A G’s White Socks,Harness racing

A Gs White Socks nearing full health again.

Harness racing stewards have today spoken with co-trainer Greg Hope regarding A G’s White Socks following its late scratching in the preliminary of the Methven Cup on Sunday the 14th of October.   Mr Hope reported the horse to have appeared lame in it’s right hind leg when warming up and so was withdrawn.   The gelding was further examined later that day and found to be suffering from some swelling to the sacroiliac joint which was found to be the cause of the lameness. Mr Hope reported that treatment was initiated and he has been pleased with the horses response and its subsequent track work.   He felt the horse was, as of today, very close to full health and with the time available before the Ashburton Flying Stakes on Monday was confident the horse will be fully recovered. AG’s White Socks remains stood down pending a Veterinary clearance.     Nick Ydgren Chief Stipendiary Steward Harness Racing

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This week's NZ Cup & Dominion Rankings

It’s a been a big week for the Rankings. Some stellar performances have either solidified spots in the respective Group 1 features or pushed those outside the field ever-closer to gaining a start. Tiger Tara’s Victoria Cup win last Saturday saw him go as high as he can on the Rankings, supplanting Chicago Bull as the highest non-auto entry in the Cup at number six. Cruz Bromac’s stunning Methven Cup win pushes him into the top ten and all-but assures him a Cup start. Within the Dominion Rankings, wins to Tornado Valley and Lemond locked down their places in the field. They now sit sixth and seventh respectively. Woodstone’s impressive resuming win at Addington last Thursday has elevated him to the cusp of the final field at number 17, from 25. On Monday the Ashburton Flying Stakes and Ashburton Trotters Flying Mile will have a big impact on the final make-up of both fields. In the Trotters Mile horses ranked 14th to 19th are competing, along with several higher ranked trotters. This could be a recipe for change within the Dominion Rankings. The racing is heating as we build to the greatest week in New Zealand harness racing. View the full rankings list here   Courtney Clarke Communications and Marketing Co-Ordinator Harness Racing New Zealand Inc

Chicago Bull,Harness racing

Chicago Bull arrives in NZ Thursday

Gary Hall is hoping a change of trainer can transform Chicago Bull from a Victoria Cup runner-up to a New Zealand Cup winner. The pride of Perth arrives in New Zealand on Thursday and is likely to stay a month with the $800,000 Cup at Addington on November 13 his main aim. Had Chicago Bull won the Victoria Cup at Melton last Saturday he could well have threatened for favouritism in New Zealand’s greatest harness race but he had to settle for a well-beaten second behind Tiger Tara, who is also bound for Addington but will race at Menangle this Saturday first. Hall’s usually unshakable confidence was initially dented by the Victoria Cup defeat. “I first glance I thought he was disappointing,” he admits. “But then when I analyzed it and the lead time was so slow, it was like sitting parked outside Tiger Tara over a mile. “You are not going to win doing that and obviously we didn’t. But at the top of the straight our fella was all done and he still fought on really well for second. “So he can still win the New Zealand Cup.” Not that Hall will have as much input as usual into Chicago Bull’s preparation with his son and regular driver Gary junior taking over the hands-on training for almost all the New Zealand campaign, albeit in an unofficial capacity. “Gary is going over with him this week and staying right through until after the New Zealand Cup, he won’t be coming back to drive here in Perth. “Gary actually did most of the training with Quinny (I’m Themightyquinn) when he raced in the Inter Dominion in Auckland in 2011, which we ended up winning after Smoken Up was disqualified.  “So he thinks he is the man for the job so I will only come over a few days before the Cup,” laughs Hall. Chicago Bull flies into Auckland in the hope the Auckland Trotting Club will hold the programmed open class race at Alexandra Park next Friday as his final lead-up to the Cup.  With Star Galleria already in the south and Northview Hustler and No Doctor Needed nominated for the Flying Stakes at Ashburton on Monday the northern open class stocks will be getting pretty thin by next week.  But Let’s Elope and Jacks Legend, who quinellaed last Friday’s Holmes D G, are likely to accept for next Friday along with a few others and the Auckland Trotting Club have been keen to support pre-NZ Cup open class racing in recent years so the race should get off the ground.  “That would be ideal for us because he needs the standing start practice, he has never been from one in a race,” says Hall.  “He has had a couple of trials over here from a stand but that is a lot diferent from a race.” Chicago Bull versus Jacks Legend is very much a spring treat for Alexandra Park regulars as they were both runner-ups to Lazarus at the highest level last season, Jacks Legend in the New Zealand Cup and Chicago Bull in the Inter Dominion.  The pair staying in the north for their final lead-up races also adds to the intrigue of an already fascinating New Zealand Cup, which in recent years has seen most of the top chances race each other and establish a clear pecking order before they get to Addington.  That won’t be the case this season because while some of the Cup favourites like Ultimate Machete and Dream About Me will head to Ashburton on Monday others like Star Galleria and Methven Cup winner Cruz Bromac will bypass that race, ensuring lots of varying formlines heading into the Cup.   Michael Guerin

Gore trainer George Orr never lost faith in his trotter Nottingham K Two. On Saturday at Gore most punters wouldn't have given the horse any chance in a field where other horses had higher ratings. Orr wasn't deterred though, especially since the Simon Roydon seven year old had run a close second to Amabede at Ascot Park last weekend.  Driver Hamish Hunter settled Nottingham K Two at third early, before taking him to the front with two laps to run. With just under 1600 metres to go backmarker Grace O'Malley took over ,giving Nottingham K Two the perfect trail. Majestic Man was sitting parked. At the top of the straight in the run to the finish Majestic Man hit the front but Hunter and Nottingham K Two came resolutely up the passing lane to nab the favourite by a head. Nottingham K Two (5) on the inside getting the better of Majestic Man (13) - Photo Bruce Stewart "I thought there were two or three that would be too good for him but he got away well and got into a good trail. I thought when Grace O'Malley went round that we'd be tough and if she could get us to the passing lane he'd do the rest. He does follow speed good and you saw last week in that race at Invercargill that he had nine horses in front of him at the half (finished second)," said Orr. "He's a horse that's got a lot of ability but it's taken a long time to get it out of him and get all the ringcraft together. It's a great thrill. I've never had many trotters. They're a different ballgame and you've just got to take your time. Hopefully now we've turned the corner and we'll go forward from here." He says it's been a long process to get the horse to this point and he was very complimentary of veteran horseman Gary McEwan.  "I had Gary McEwan driving him and they did a lot of training together. If I hadn't had Gary it's hard to know where he would have finished up because he could have had ten drivers and eight could have said he was a mongrel. Hamish Hunter who drove the horse yesterday, has also played a big part in shaping his career.  Nottingham K Two was bred by Orr who purchased his dam Strawb's K Two off his breeder Brian Wastney in 2008. He was unaware of how the mare got her name until he got a phone call one day from a lady selling raffles.   "The raffle was for a centential jubilee for the Nelson or Blenheim Trotting Club. We got talking and she said 'what have you got going?' I said I had a trotter that was only a two year old that had a bit of ability. She asked me what he was by and out of and I told her. The next thing she was laughing on the end of the phone.  "She said 'I actually broke the horse in. I was working for Martin Denton. I think it was him but I won't guarantee that. It got it's name because it climbed the wall of the shed, jumped out of the yards and did everything it could do to get away.' (K2 is the second highest mountain in the world).    In the early part of his career Nottingham K Two showed raw ability but too often he broke and couldn't make up the ground needed to feature in the finish.  "He's done that all along. If you go back two years he was losing 100 metres at the start and just mowing other horses down. That gave me encouragement all the time." Orr also gained a certain amount of satisfaction winning this race (Colin Baynes Memorial) as he and his father spent a lot of time at Baynes Otama property. "Dad (Len Orr) went to Colin Baynes or Alan Jones (Kina Craig) with five or six mares a year. I would have loved Dad to be here now. He hated trotters."   Orr doesn't train too may horses and the win yesterday was only his sixth. One horse he trained that he reckon's never reached it's potential was Nottingham VC. He won two races here and was placed ten other times on fifty one starts. "He was a Cup horse but he broke two legs; one before he got started and it had to have five screws in it. The other one went after six or seven starts. He was a seven year old maiden and every time I took him to the races he was in the money if he was sound. I ended up selling him to Australia."  Orr trains on a small track at Don Collett's old Thoroughbred stud just out of Gore which was named Nottingham Park - hence the Nottingham name.  The win was Nottingham K Two's second in thirty eight starts.  "He's the type of horse that won't win a million dollars. But we'll have a bit of fun with him and I think he'll go on."    Bruce Stewart

Welcome to the Harness Half Hourpodcast brought to you by HRNZ marketing. Jess Smith brings the latest harnessracing news and interviews with colorful and interesting industry participants from New Zealand and around the world. This week features Frank Cooney, co-trainer of Holmes DG winner Lets Elope; Graeme Henley of Alabar Stud; Canterbury trainer Brad Mowbray and NZ's joint leading driver right now, Tim Williams. Also regular Bookie Update with Richard Wilson   Jess Smith

When harness racing 4yo Please Shuddup won at Saturdays Gore meeting, it capped off a commendable couple of days for his sire Auckland Reactor.   Well known for his deeds on the racetrack, Auckland Reactor is now making a name for himself as a Group 1 winning sire, headlined by his award winning son Chase Auckland.   Chase Auckland (Auckland Reactor - Delicata) swept all before him last season as a three-year-old winning eight of his nine raceday starts including the Great Northern Derby (Group 1), New Zealand Sire Stakes Final (Group 1), Elsu Alabar Classic (Group 2) and the New Zealand Yearling Sales Final (Listed).    He was named three year old of the year at the prestigious New Zealand harness racing awards and finished the season holding two New Zealand records, the 2700 metre mobile all-comers record of 3:16.8 and also the 1950 metre mobile all-comers record of 2:16.1   Although his season ended with an minor injury, Chase Auckland is now well healed and the striking four year old is back in full work hoping to be ready to race early in the new year or just before.   Chase Auckland - NZ Sire Stakes Final - New Zealand Record     Chase Auckland - The Great Northern Derby New Zealand Record     At Gore, the Murray Brown trained Please Shuddup (Auckland Reactor - Blah Blah Blah) was too good for his opposition, trailing early then jogging to the lead with 150m to go and winning as he liked without the removable deafeners being pulled.    Auckland Reactor picked up another milestone of sorts last Friday night when his daughter As Free As Air (Auckland Reactor - Cloud Cuckooland) won her first trotting race in the hands of driver Maurice Mckendry at Alexandra Park .   That win was Auckland Reactor's first trotting winner as a sire and it also gave Maurice Mckendry a total of six driving wins in the one night a feat he had accomplished only twice before.   As Free As Air     Amazingly the second of Mckendry's six wins on the night also came courtesy of the progeny of Auckland Reactor when Red Reactor (Auckland Reactor - Edernay) zipped home for an impressive win in quick time.   Mckendry who trains Red Reactor says the gelding is still improving and will be a better horse next year, a comment we have also heard being made by several trainers of Auckland Reactor bred pacers in both New Zealand and Australia.   Red Reactor     And then to top the week off Sergei (Auckland Reactor - Jane Of Eden - Strong Life) a gelding, won his third race in a row and fourth from his last six starts in NSW.   Sergei makes it three in a row     In New Zealand Auckland Reactor has had 21 individual winners to date and in Australia he has had even more with 32 winners already on the board.   That is a total of 53 winners with total stake earnings of $1,700,000 between both Countries.   He has had 96 qualifiers or starters in New Zealand and 80 in Australia to date.    He bred 76 mares in New Zealand and 112 in Australia for the past season.   In New Zealand Auckland Reactor finished third on the three-year-old sires list for the past season a great effort for his first crop to the races.   Leading HorsesSiresBroodmare Sires for the 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 1998 1997 1996 1995 1994 1993 1992 1991 1990 1989 1988 1987 1986 1985 1984 1983 1982 1981 1980 1979 1978 1977 1976 1975 1974 1973 1972 1971 1970 1969 1968 1967 1966 1965 1964 1963  Season     Pacers OnlyTrotters OnlyCombined Gaits     All Ages2 year olds only3 year olds only4 year olds only5 years old and older 10/10/2018@11:18:32 Sires $Won ▾ Starters Foals Winners Starts Wins 2nds 3rds Bettor's Delight 2,320,600 93 195 62 806 135 126 94 Mach Three 747,078 64 117 49 489 77 51 58 Auckland Reactor 596,037 39 156 15 231 29 18 14   When you consider the great sires behind Auckland Reactor on this list such as Art Major, Somebeachsomewhere, American Ideal and Christian Cullen, Auckland Reactor has performed exceptionally well and is assured a bright future. In Australia Auckland Reactor has had 80 starters to date with 32 winners including the top filly Soho Burning Love who is probably the most unlucky and underated filly in all of Australia.  Soho Burning Love (Auckland Reactor - Soho Bordeaux - Western Terror) has had 30 starts for $157,170 to date with a record of 1:52.6 over 1720 meters winning by 34 meters but the real story with this filly was the shocking amount of bad draws in all her starts against the best Group horses in Australia. I believe she only drew inside post 8 three times in her three-year-old starts. She has had mostly second row draws. She had 21 starts as a three-year-old for 6 wins 10 seconds 3 thirds a ffith and a 10th. She won a heat of the Bathurst Gold Bracelet (second in the Group 1 Final), second in the heat and final of Group 1 New South Wales Oaks, second in the Group 2 Vicbred Classic and she was third in the Group 1 Victoria Oaks. Soho Burning Love winning in a 1:52.6 mile rate over 1720 meters. Auckland Reactor had 9 two-year-old winners in Australia and $148,527 in earnings for the last season. He had  20 three-year-old winners earning $402,523 for that season. He had 4 additional stake placegetters. Besides Soho Burning Love in Australia, Auckland Reactor has sired the Group 1 winning Gold Reactor, De La Tourbie (third in the Group 1 Westbred Classic), Delightfulreacion (second in the Group 1 Westbred Classic) and You Ninety Two who finished second in the Group 1 Vicbred Classic. Harnesslink Media

Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen's success with ex-Australian pacers continued yesterday at Mt Harding racecourse when Cruz Bromac powered over the top of his rivals to win the Methven Cup by more than two lengths. The Falcon Seelster gelding was having his first start on the grass surface, a fact that did not worry his driver Natalie Rasmussen who commented on the All Stars website that the grass didn’t worry them because he is a good gaited horse. "He did scramble a bit early but that was probably getting used to the surface. "It was good to see him bouncing straight up with some form here. "We think he will probably go to the Kaikoura Cup. We have a huge week coming up and we expect to have 16 horses at Ashburton as well as some at Addington Friday and four at the trials on Wednesday," she said. Although the track was on the dead side the time for Cruze Bromac of 3-51.3 for the 3000m stand lowered the old track record held by Messini by nearly half a second, proving Cruz Bromac has what it takes to be a major force in the up-coming New Zealand Cup in November. The favourite for the race Star Galleria led for most of the way but weakened to only run third,while Forgotten Highway continued his good form and enhanced his Cup chances by running home well into second for driver Samantha Ottley.   Harnesslink Media

Branxholme trainer driver Nathan Williamson has always had a high opinion of Bettor's Delight mare Delightful Deal and yesterday she vindicated his opinion when she beat The Empress in the Jaccka Lodge Ladyship Stakes Final at Gore. This was the four year old's fourth start and she had the draw (1) to work with. When favourite The Empress was taken to the front the perfect scenario fell into place for Williamson.  "Yep it worked out well from the draw. She went out well and we were just tracking the right horse all the way. She had come on a bit after her first up run which you'd have to expect," said Williamson. Delightful Deal qualified last year but the season didn't pan out as well as Williamson had hoped. "It was unfortunate but she got kicked in the back leg. It cost her because we were thinking she was good enough to have a crack at the Southland Oaks series. I'm not saying she was good enough to win it. Marty has been real patient." Owned by Winton plumber Marty Fairbairn, Delightful Deal was down to start her four year old season last month on this track but had to be scratched.  "The morning of the race she was holding her foot off the ground. She had an abcess burst out of her foot. But since then she's been good and it's just a matter of waiting on her." With win number one on the board Williamson is contemplating some bigger goals.  "We might give her another start down here in a fortnight, maybe look at going to Addington and look at the South Of The Waitaki race if she goes well." The win was one of four for Williamson who also won on Wayward Roc, Stay Aboard and Please Shuddup. His brothers Brad and Matty also won races on Mr Handleman (Brad) and Matinee Idol (Matty).  Craig Ferguson also drove two winners; Cool Scooter for Greg Hunter and Bridesdale Robyn for Ross Wilson. It's was Wilson's one hundredth training success. His first was with Mister Majestic at Roxburgh in April 1980.    Bruce Stewart

Tiger Tara tore shreds off his rivals to score a remarkable 12.2-metre win in the Pryde’s EasiFeed Victoria Cup at Tabcorp Park Melton. The New South Wales-trained eight-year-old clawed his way to the lead early for reinsman Todd McCarthy, defying the challenge of fellow Sydneysider Mach Doro, and powering past polemarker Gotta Go Ya Hu, before ripping home with a 54-second last half. That made it virtually impossible for anything to make ground from out the back following a 44.2secs lead time and 59.6 first half. “Being able to lead on him worked out perfectly,” McCarthy said. “We got that breather early and were ready to roll after that. Full credit tonight to (trainer) Kevin Pizzuto; he had him absolutely at the top of his game.” Chicago Bull lost no admirers, boxing on gamely to run second, covering ground in the breeze and holding off third-placed Carlas Pixel – the mare running a bottler to finish third – and Franco Nelson, who did his share of work early, finishing fourth, just ahead of stablemate My Alpha Rock. Chicago Bull remains the favourite for the TAB ID18. Ameretto, who finished last, was scoped post-race and showed signs of mucous, according to trainer-driver Kerryn Manning, which may explain the performance. Tiger Tara will now head to New Zealand for a tilt at the $800,000 New Zealand Trotting Cup, one of the international jewels of the sport, before returning to Victoria for the TAB Inter Dominion from December 1. Ranked No.3 in the Inters earlier this month, there would be every chance Tiger Tara could launch to the top of the charts when rankings are updated this week. “We’ll definitely be back for the Inter Dominion,” an elated Pizzuto said. “He’s such a great horse with a big heart.”   CODY WINNELL MEDIA AND COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER HARNESS RACING VICTORIA 

Tornado Valley may head to New Zealand for a crack at the feature Kiwi trot races next month before returning home for the TAB Inter Dominion Trotting Championship after winning tonight’s Group 1 Aldebaran Park Bill Collins Trotters Sprint at Tabcorp Park Melton. First-up from a spell, Tornado Valley was aided by a 10-out-of-10 Kate Gath drive, going hard enough early for potential pest Conon Bridge to drop on to her steed’s back. “I thought if I keep on running through early it’s a chance of dropping on my back and that made a big difference. As soon as he did, I was able to ease the tempo straight away,” Gath said. Tornado Valley trotted his first split in 29.3 and his second in 31.1, which forced major danger Kyvalley Blur to launch from the back earlier than he would have liked, and the rest was elementary. Tornado Valley got home in 56 seconds. Dance Craze rattled home into second place for Anton Golino and Rodney Petroff, while Kyvalley Blur sustained his long effort to finish in third. Tornado Valley’s mile rate was 1:55.7. “I think he’ll be good with a sit as well,” Kate Gath said when asked about Tornado Valley’s plans in coming months. “I don’t think he has to be driven this way (tonight). At home, he’s really good with a sit. I think he’s versatile.” Tornado Valley – a son of Skyvalley – is now the clear TAB Inter Dominion Trotting Championship favourite. Representing race sponsor Aldebaran Park, Duncan McPherson remarked “to see Skyvalley sire the winner is a great thrill for us”.  Skyvalley stands at Aldebaran Park. Read about Tiger Tara's enormous Pryde's EasiFeed Victoria Cup victory Book your ID18 tickets online now   Cody Winnell Trots Media

Harness racing trainer Jimmy Takter has confirmed that Lazarus has been scratched sick from the $250,000 Dan Rooney Invitational Pace at Yonkers Raceway Saturday afternoon. “He started coughing yesterday and continued today,” Takter said. “I was not going to take any chances of hurting him. Now we can make sure he is OK for the Breeders Crown.” Lazarus was to start from post six and rival McWicked drew inside of him (post 2) for their fifth battle. The score now is tied 2-2. The two horses should battle once again in the Breeders Crown at Pocono Downs. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink

It appears Lazarus can not only walk the walk but talk the talk. The Kiwi pacing hero faces one of the toughest challenges of his North American career when he starts from a daunting wide draw in the US$250,000 Dan Rooney Pace (one mile) at Yonkers, New York tomorrow morning (10am NZ time). On the tight Yonkers track Lazarus needs to get handy or more ideally lead inside the first 600m to give himself the best chance of a revenge victory over arch rival McWicked, who beat him in the second fastest race mile in history in Kentucky last week.  As was the case when he was trained in New Zealand, Lazarus has thrived on hard racing and is showing no signs of lightening off in condition, looking muscled and with a stunning summer sheen on his coat at trainer Jimmy Takter’s New Jersey property this week. “I think the hard racing has really brought him on,” says Takter. “He felt very good in his work on Wednesday and he will be hard to beat this Saturday even though he has a tough draw.” But Lazarus’s work on Takter’s straight sand track track on Wednesday wasn’t the only reason the Hall Of Fame trainer was smiling afterward. He was shaking his head in amazement at a story from Kentucky last Saturday relayed to him by fellow top trainer Ross Croghan. Croghan is the trainer of Lazarus’s former stablemate Heaven Rocks and the pair raced each other for the first time in the United States last Saturday. “Ross told me the most amazing story,” says Takter. “He said when Lazarus walked into the barn last week he stopped dead in his tracks when he saw Heaven Rocks, who apparently he used to travel with Down Under, and started yelling out to him. “It wasn’t a stallion thing because the other horse is a gelding but Lazarus started yelling at Heaven Rocks like he was an old friend and Heaven Rocks starts calling back to him. “It was like too old friends seeing each other and Ross said it was incredible to see and there was no doubt they were happy to see each other. “When I heard that story it made the hairs on my arms stand up. I know this horse is smart but they really are incredible animals.” Coming from a small-time trainer who spends all his time with the one horse that might sounds cooky, hearing it was Takter and Croghan is a magical equine moment. But Takter isn’t finished. “I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised because one of the first things I loved about this horse was he is always talking to the other horses. “When you are out there working him he is making noises at them, again not as a stallion but just cause he likes his job. The top horses always have charisma, he has a lot of it.” It is the same at Takter’s stables where Lazarus has become protective of the juvenile trotting filly he is stabled next too, not in an amorous way but as the big brother. “Any time we do anything with her he comes over to make sure she is all right and he gets really annoyed when we take her away. He misses her,” said Lazarus’s main handler Helen Engblom. It seems regardless of what happens at Yonkers tomorrow Lazarus is making a big impression in North America, on and off the track. Michael Guerin

In the Cup rankings Dream About Me, Forgotten Highway and Alta Orlando have booked their Cup berths, by placing one, two and three in last week’s Canterbury Classic. Let’s Elope, Tiger Thompson, Bettermatch, Classie Brigade and Don Domingo have all been withdrawn from the Cup.  In the Dominion rankings Harriet Of Mot has burst in from outside the field to confirm her Dominion start with a win in the Canterbury Park Trotting Cup. Alderbeck gave her chances of gaining a start a big boost with a strong third she now moves to 14th. This week we have had 15 horses withdrawn from the Dominion. The most notable of those is Monbet, who has lost a race against time to be fit for the trot, however connections are still hopeful of having the star trotter on hand during Cup Week. Another notable withdrawal is Habibi Inta the  4YO Ruby winner from this year’s Harness Jewels.   View the full rankings list here   Courtney Clarke Communications and Marketing Co-Ordinator Harness Racing New Zealand Inc

Tonights harness racing Pick Six is a guaranteed $25,000 at Addington Raceway. Rain is forcast to make the track a wet one, which will not make selecting the winning pick six any easier. A highlight tonight will be the return of last seasons 3yo colts and gelding trotting awards winner Winterfell who is coming in fresh and having his first start against the higher graded horses. Mark Purdon said on the All Stars website that Winterfell is stepping up in grade in the trot. "He trialled really well last week and is ready to go a good race but of course he will only improve. He should still be very competitive," Mark said. As for his other runners during the night Purdon thought A Bettor Act would find it hard fresh up against higher rated horses. "He’s a first up three year old (R57) and running against seasoned horses up to R80 in grade. "Both he and Ohanzee will both need the race I feel.  Natalie Rasmussen will drive A Bettor Act in the race while Mark has opted to drive Ohanzee. The first leg of pick six starts on Race 4 at 6:40pm Leg 1     Race 4 [6:40pm] There look to be several winning chances in the first leg of pick six. A big finisher at her last start Held To Ransom has drawn badly again in tonights race but has the class to overcome the draw. Adam Patron from the in form Greg and Nina Hope stable ran an impressive second at his previous start and he is also a great winning chance. Koromiko Eyre is coming in fresh but has also been ok at recent workouts and he has the sevices of in-form driver Tim Willams in the sulky. Tere The Terminator has also been trialing ok.   Leg 2     Race 5 [7:09pm] There also look to be several winning chances in the second leg of pick six.  McLovin is the top chance and TAB favourite who is improving with every run this preparation. He is needed along with Scarlett Banner who has the form on the board. Ruthless Kayla also has an impressive formline and her run was good against similar horses last week.   Leg 3     Race 6 [7:40pm] A tricky leg of pick six here with some impressive horses coming in fresh. The two All Stars runners A Bettor Act and Ohanzee are both need and spare a thought for Hail Christian who has been good at workouts with Ricky May doing the driving.   Leg 4     Race 7 [8:11pm] Winterfell is the logical top pick in this race and he will be very hard to beat if he turns up with his best manners. He does look to have a class edge on most of the horses in this race. Muscles Galore is going for a hatrick of wins here and has to be respected as a good back up runner if the favorite makes a mistake.   Leg 5     Race 8 [8:40pm] Bettor's Heart with Mark Purdon driving will take all sorts of beating in this race and we are prepared to make her the anchor of the night. She drops back in grade for this race and has plenty of gate speed. Should be too good for most of these.   Leg 6     Race 9 [9:10pm]  The final leg is an even go and there are a few chances. Pro Surfer made a mistake last start but has a motor and he looks the pick of them. Others needed are Shez Good who is racing ok and Just Dance who has been disappointing but can lob up when in the right mood. Son Of A Tiger and Cast No Shadow are winning chances if the budget allows.   Suggested Pick Six   ($36.00 for 20%) Leg 1     3,6,14,16 Leg 2     3,5,8 Leg 3     2,7,10 Leg 4     2,5 Leg 5     9 Leg 6     10,11,12,13,14   Harnesslink Media

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OVERVIEW Harness Racing New Zealand (HRNZ) supports the overall direction proposed by the Messara Review and the majority of the recommendations and sub-recommendations. We recognise that many of the recommendations and associated benefits will favourably impact on all three Codes. While the review primarily focused on the Thoroughbred Code, HRNZ stresses that Harness racing as an industry/sport is in a very similar position to Thoroughbred racing, especially with the financial and sustainability pressures currently facing it. There are six key recommendations that need change. These recommendations are not currently acceptable to HRNZ on grounds of equity, fairness and the long term financial sustainability of racing. In summary, these are as follows:  The Racing Industry Transitional Agency (RITA) is not needed: the objectives to implement the recommendations of the report and expedite change are best served through a Transitional New Zealand Racing Board (NZRB).  The proposed governance of Racing NZ favours the Thoroughbred Code. Given this body’s core strategic functions, a more balanced governance structure is required.  Code distribution should be 50% based on domestic Gross Betting Revenue (GBR), 25% on combined domestic and international GBR, and 25% based on Code contribution to the economy.  Funds released from the betting levy should be distributed on a GBR basis.  Race fields legislation needs to proceed urgently in line with the Messara recommended changes.  Outsourcing of wagering needs a full long-term economic, strategic and sustainability analysis of all options.  View the full submission here!   Harness Racing New Zealand (HRNZ)
Harness racing stewards have today spoken with co-trainer Greg Hope regarding A G’s White Socks following its late scratching in the preliminary of the Methven Cup on Sunday the 14th of October.   Mr Hope reported the horse to have appeared lame in it’s right hind leg when warming up and so was withdrawn.   The gelding was further examined later that day and found to be suffering from some swelling to the sacroiliac joint which was found to be the cause of the lameness. Mr Hope reported that treatment was initiated and he has been pleased with the horses response and its subsequent track work.   He felt the horse was, as of today, very close to full health and with the time available before the Ashburton Flying Stakes on Monday was confident the horse will be fully recovered. AG’s White Socks remains stood down pending a Veterinary clearance.     Nick Ydgren Chief Stipendiary Steward Harness Racing
It’s a been a big week for the Rankings. Some stellar performances have either solidified spots in the respective Group 1 features or pushed those outside the field ever-closer to gaining a start. Tiger Tara’s Victoria Cup win last Saturday saw him go as high as he can on the Rankings, supplanting Chicago Bull as the highest non-auto entry in the Cup at number six. Cruz Bromac’s stunning Methven Cup win pushes him into the top ten and all-but assures him a Cup start. Within the Dominion Rankings, wins to Tornado Valley and Lemond locked down their places in the field. They now sit sixth and seventh respectively. Woodstone’s impressive resuming win at Addington last Thursday has elevated him to the cusp of the final field at number 17, from 25. On Monday the Ashburton Flying Stakes and Ashburton Trotters Flying Mile will have a big impact on the final make-up of both fields. In the Trotters Mile horses ranked 14th to 19th are competing, along with several higher ranked trotters. This could be a recipe for change within the Dominion Rankings. The racing is heating as we build to the greatest week in New Zealand harness racing. View the full rankings list here   Courtney Clarke Communications and Marketing Co-Ordinator Harness Racing New Zealand Inc
Gary Hall is hoping a change of trainer can transform Chicago Bull from a Victoria Cup runner-up to a New Zealand Cup winner. The pride of Perth arrives in New Zealand on Thursday and is likely to stay a month with the $800,000 Cup at Addington on November 13 his main aim. Had Chicago Bull won the Victoria Cup at Melton last Saturday he could well have threatened for favouritism in New Zealand’s greatest harness race but he had to settle for a well-beaten second behind Tiger Tara, who is also bound for Addington but will race at Menangle this Saturday first. Hall’s usually unshakable confidence was initially dented by the Victoria Cup defeat. “I first glance I thought he was disappointing,” he admits. “But then when I analyzed it and the lead time was so slow, it was like sitting parked outside Tiger Tara over a mile. “You are not going to win doing that and obviously we didn’t. But at the top of the straight our fella was all done and he still fought on really well for second. “So he can still win the New Zealand Cup.” Not that Hall will have as much input as usual into Chicago Bull’s preparation with his son and regular driver Gary junior taking over the hands-on training for almost all the New Zealand campaign, albeit in an unofficial capacity. “Gary is going over with him this week and staying right through until after the New Zealand Cup, he won’t be coming back to drive here in Perth. “Gary actually did most of the training with Quinny (I’m Themightyquinn) when he raced in the Inter Dominion in Auckland in 2011, which we ended up winning after Smoken Up was disqualified.  “So he thinks he is the man for the job so I will only come over a few days before the Cup,” laughs Hall. Chicago Bull flies into Auckland in the hope the Auckland Trotting Club will hold the programmed open class race at Alexandra Park next Friday as his final lead-up to the Cup.  With Star Galleria already in the south and Northview Hustler and No Doctor Needed nominated for the Flying Stakes at Ashburton on Monday the northern open class stocks will be getting pretty thin by next week.  But Let’s Elope and Jacks Legend, who quinellaed last Friday’s Holmes D G, are likely to accept for next Friday along with a few others and the Auckland Trotting Club have been keen to support pre-NZ Cup open class racing in recent years so the race should get off the ground.  “That would be ideal for us because he needs the standing start practice, he has never been from one in a race,” says Hall.  “He has had a couple of trials over here from a stand but that is a lot diferent from a race.” Chicago Bull versus Jacks Legend is very much a spring treat for Alexandra Park regulars as they were both runner-ups to Lazarus at the highest level last season, Jacks Legend in the New Zealand Cup and Chicago Bull in the Inter Dominion.  The pair staying in the north for their final lead-up races also adds to the intrigue of an already fascinating New Zealand Cup, which in recent years has seen most of the top chances race each other and establish a clear pecking order before they get to Addington.  That won’t be the case this season because while some of the Cup favourites like Ultimate Machete and Dream About Me will head to Ashburton on Monday others like Star Galleria and Methven Cup winner Cruz Bromac will bypass that race, ensuring lots of varying formlines heading into the Cup.   Michael Guerin
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