Robbie Holmes

Robbie Holmes injured

Well known harness racing trainer Robbie Holmes has been sidelined after a young horse lashed out and kicked him yesterday. Robbie waited all day at Christchurch Hospital for surgery to a broken hand but by late afternoon he was sent home due to time constraints with other surgery. He is due to go back in tomorrow morning for another attempt to reset his hand. Robbie was philosophical about the injury when speaking to Harnesslink this evening. " These things are sent to try us at times." " The top of the hand and the thumb got bent backwards so it was really painful when it happened." " I won't be much help round here for a while," Robbie said. Robbie was really looking forward to driving Saturday night, especially his wayward trotter, Willie Shine. "  He went super last Wednesday at the trials where he stepped and ran them along and won easily." " If he steps on Saturday night I think he will be hard to beat," Robbie said. Working with horses always has its risks but it is still something everybody is aware of especially around young horses. Regardless of how careful you are there are times where trainers have little control over accidents such as the one Robbie has just had. Here at Harnesslink we wish Robbie a speedy recovery and hope the surgery tomorrow goes well. Harnesslink Media

Terror To Love - To have his last career start on Saturday night before heading to the stallion barn

"Terror's" last stand

Patrons on track will notice a brand new large Digital Display on course at our next race meeting, this Easter Saturday night, 4 April. The big LED screen measuring approximately nine metres x five metres, will be located immediately adjacent to the Winning Post in front of the Metropolitan Stand and will show live races from the track, pre-race totes and post-race dividends. Replacing the tote board in the inner track area, the Digital Screen will enhance the experience for on course patrons providing a modern structure incorporating leading edge technology. Easter Saturday night also sees champion pacer Terror To Love race for the last time in the Group One $100,000 Breckon Farms / All Stars Racing Stables Easter Cup, a race he won in 2013. The Terror will lead the field out for the Cup with a montage including his three great Christchurch Casino New Zealand Trotting Cup wins showing on the large screen whilst he parades. There’ll be promotions on course including a double happy hour, Terror To Love caps, posters and a 1000 Easter Eggs given away and a life sized cut out figure of the champ hitched to a sulky for those keen to take part and have their photo taken.  The champ will be officially farewelled on the The Breeders New Zealand Oaks Night on Friday 15 May before he enters his new career as a stallion where he’ll stand at Pinelea Farm in Weedons,Canterbury. There’ll be a presentation made by The Met to his connections, on-course promotions and The Terror will parade for his fans. Let’s hope the champ bows out with a victory this Saturday night and adds another Group 1 to his impressive resume. Who can ever forget those three second Tuesdays in November made famous by one of our equine greats.  Ged Mooar Marketing & Commercial Manager Addington

Clark Barron - Needs one more driving win to join the 1000 winners club in New Zealand

Clark Barron sitting on 999 wins

One of the more select clubs in harness racing in New Zealand is the 1000 wins driver club which is about to get another new inductee in Clark Barron. The modest Southlander has been a quiet achiever on the New Zealand scene since he first started driving in the 1980/1981 season. A member of the renown Barron clan from Southland, Clark didn't go from school straight into harness racing, prefering instead to get a trade qualification behind him first. "I had four years doing a builders apprenticeship with Ray Harper before I got into harness racing full time." "During that four years I use to go and help out at the weekends at Maurice and Val Skinners." " They were really good to me and thats where I learnt the basics of the game," Clark told Harnesslink today. At age twenty one, Clark went to work for his father full time and appreciates the help his dad gave him in getting established. " I got plenty of drives for dad so that certainly helped in getting my name out there." " I drove my first winner at just my third start on Free Trouble at Forbury Park and what made it even more special was I beat one of my idols at the time in Peter Jones," Clark said.  Clark was full of praise for the part Michael House had played in his development. " I worked for Michael for two years and learnt so much while I was there." "Michael let me go south as often as I wanted to keep up all my contacts so he was great to work for," Clark said. Clark was quick to name the two best horses he had been associated with in his career to date. "Prince Rashard was the best colt or gelding that I have driven, he was just so tough." "On the mares side Lento would be number one just in front of Raksdeal," Clark said. Clark was quick to acknowledge the support of his wife and daughter throughout his career. " Jackie has been so supportive over the years and our daughter Allie has been as well." "Allie is a bit like me in that she is getting a physio qualification at the moment but it wouldn't surprise me if she ended up working with horses," Clark said. While two other members of the 1000 wins drivers club in Ken Barron and Robert Cameron started their careers in Southland, Clark will be the first to be based there when he actually reaches the milestone in the next week or two. Clark deserves all the accolades that come his way and hopefully that 1000th win won't be far away. Harnesslink Media

Dollar.jpg

When a dollar is not a dollar

Harness racing is a worldwide industry which is getting more and more international as time goes on. Stallions move between hemispheres and bloodlines are getting to look the same no matter where in the world you are. The World Trotting Conference brings together all the administrators from around the world to try to smooth some of problems with horses moving between countries and different systems. One issue which they seem to ignore repeatedly is the one with regards to money won in different countries and how it is counted in the overall scheme of things. In Canada and Australia, a dollar won anywhere in the world is counted as a dollar won when assessing a horse's lifetime earnings. In America and New Zealand, every dollar earned outside of the country is converted back to the local currency equivalent in dollar terms. With so many horses moving back and forth between Canada and America and also between Australia and New Zealand it can either inflate or deflate a horses earnings which to us here at Harnesslink is just absolutely ridiculous. It can also alter siring charts as we saw last year in the two year old ranks in North America. In Canada where they count every dollar won as one dollar, Sportswriter topped the charts for two year olds with a lead of $125,000 over his nearest rival Art Major. In America where they convert money won outside America to American dollars at the exchange rate on the day the money is won, Art Major finished $26,000 dollars in front of Sportswriter. We are of no doubt that Sportswriter was the leading money earning two year sire in North America in 2014 and we recognize him as such in all our articles. When we quote any money won either by a sire or individual in a story, the figures we use are always sourced via Trackit from the Canadian Harness Racing Site as Trackit is the only database with a true money won system in our opinion In our view the American system is an absolute joke and is done primarily to protect the stallion owners based in America from those upstarts across the border whose stallions just happen to earn more money in a season. The same anomaly occurs between Australia and New Zealand. Harness Racing Australia to its credit counts every dollar won anywhere in the world as one dollar earned for all its lifetime records for horses. New Zealand on the other hand converts all money won overseas back to New Zealand dollars on the day the money is won overseas. That results in inflated lifetime earnings for a lot of New Zealand horses who spend big parts of their racing careers in Australia. In some cases it has turned horses into millionaires when in reality they are still a fair way off the magical seven figure mark in actual earnings. We will highlight a couple here just to show the difference it can make. Take our latest millionaire in Stent who according to Harness Racing New Zealand has earned $1,010,053 to date where in actual dollars earned the figure is $984,460. Another horse to have his earnings inflated was Vulcan who was lucky in that when he raced in Australia the New Zealand dollars was worth in the high seventy cents range in relation to the Australian dollar. So why Harness Racing New Zealand records Vulcan as having earned $1,006,002, in actual dollars won, his earnings stand at $898,855. Now these are two absolute champions and should be respected as such but the system has let them down badly in our view. Let us have a look at a horse that raced extensively in both hemispheres in Tupelo Rose. Tupelo Rose's earnings as recorded on the four countries data bases we have mentioned in this article. * Harness Racing New Zealand  -  $1,146,603 * Harness Racing Australia  -  $879,867 * Standardbred Canada  -  $586,785 * United States Trotting Association  -  $578,671  As you can see the current system has left us with four different figures. Which one is the correct one is a hard question to answer but we would lean towards the Australian as probably being closest to the truth in this instance. As the above example shows the current system between these four countries is open to ridicule and rightly so in our opinion. We need some commonality on these important statistics and all four countries on the same page. A dollar earned anywhere in these four countries should be treated as a dollar earned by the governing bodies by each of the four countries. Until that happens you should treat all claims with regards to money won and sires stakes earnings coming out of America and New Zealand with a high degree of skepticism. JC  

If anyone thought that Stent was vulnerable in the $80,000 New Zealand Trotting Championship at last nights harness racing meeting at Addington, (we did) then it took just three minutes and fifteen seconds to well and truly put that idea to bed. Before the race had even got under way there was a major surprise when the well performed Kincaslough refused to score up twice and was late scratched as a result. Everyone thought driver Colin De Filippi from barrier three would head straight to the front with Stent and that was the first surprise as Colin stayed out of the early rush. Todd Mitchell and Prime Power flew the gate to lead from barrier seven with Stent settling into the one by one behind One Over Da Moon in the death. Mark Jones worked Master Lavros forward from the second line and grabbed the lead after 700 metres and set a quick tempo up front. Due to the tempo there were few mid race moves with the exception being Clover Don who worked forward to the death with 1200 metres to go. At the 500 metres mark Mark Jones tried to steal a break on the field and turned for home four lengths in front  but the challengers were emerging from the pack. First King Denny appeared and then Stent went straight past them all to grab a very game Masters Lavros in the shadows of the winning post for an emphatic victory. Sheemon who followed Stent everywhere switched to the inside in the straight and flew late for third just in front of King Denny who made a very promising debut in town hall company. A minor highlight of the race was the run of Alley Way, who flew late for sixth after being last on the final bend. Colin was a touch apprehensive turning for home. " I thought I may have left it too late to move because Master Lavros is a class trotter and is hard to reel in." " Having said that I have a lot of confidence in my fellow and I knew they would know we were there," Colin said. Owner Trevor Casey was one proud man post race " That was a huge performance." " I thought we were too far back on the turn so to get up and win was a great run," Trevor said. Master Lavros went his best race for the season and there is plenty of room for improvement. " I didn't even give him a trial before last week and I've left him really big this time in so there should be plenty of improvement in him." " His condition gave out the last bit but I couldn't be happier with how he is trotting." " We will head to the Rowe Cup now with a bit of confidence, " Mark said. The unlucky horse once again was the northerner Prime Power. Trainer Todd Mitchell was rueful about a shoeing change he had made. " I changed his shoes four starts ago and fitted him with a lighter shoe." " He was fine with them at Auckland but he struggled with them on the Addington surface." " I was jogging tonight on the corner which makes it even more disappointing." " I think back at Auckland he will be fine, but we may change the shoes back anyway," Todd said It was a special night for Trevor Casey at Addington as not only does he own Stent but he also shares in the ownership of the brilliant Welcome Stakes winner last night in Waikiki Beach. The cherry on top for Trevor was last nights win edged Stent over the $1,000,000 mark in lifetime earnings and the way he is going he could set new overall marks for stake earnings for a trotter in Australasia in the next couple of years. Harnesslink Media  

Harness racing looks to have a budding superstar in the form of this years outstanding three year old, Have Faith In Me. This years Muscara Standardbreds New Zealand Derby at Addington in Christchurch was expected to be a two horse battle between Follow The Stars and Have Faith In Me and thats exactly how it turned out. Brilliant Strike led out from barrier one for Ricky May but handed up after 250 metres to Follow The Stars and Mark Purdon. The rest of the field were in single file with Have Faith In Me five back on the inner. With 1700 metres to run Itz Bettor To Win moved out into the running line and Have Faith In Me was straight onto his back in the one by one. With 1200 metres to go Tim Williams hooked the full brother to Adore Me out of the one by one and went up and sat parked on the wheel of Follow The Stars. The two went together all the way to the straight where Have Faith In Me just ran straight past Follow The Stars and strolled to what seemed an effortless victory by 1 3/4 lengths from a gallant Follow The Stars with another 1 3/4 lengths back to Brilliant Strike in third. The son of Bettor's Delight paced the 2600 metres from the mobile in chilly conditions in a very quick 3:09.2, a mile rate of 1:57 with closing sectionals of 55 and 27.4. That broke the New Zealand record held by Classiesistar by one tenth of a second and broke the race record held by Auckland Reactor by two tenths of a second. And believe it or not, when Have Faith In Me came back to the birdcage, the ear plugs were still in. Tim Williams was a happy man speaking to Harnesslink post race. " I came out and sat parked because I wanted to get handy before the speed really went on." " He actually got to the front really easily and won with a bit in hand."  " He knocked off when he got to the front tonight or else he would have won by a bit more, " Tim said. Tim thinks we haven't seen the best of Have Faith In Me yet. " He still a big kid really so there is plenty of upside with him yet," Tim said. Mark Purdon was more than happy with Follow The Stars. " He has gone super but the other horse just has his measure at the moment." " My horse has run time and stuck on great but it hasn't been good enough," Mark said. Ricky May was shaking his head post race with the run of Brilliant Strike. " My horse has gone super but just when I thought I was going to join in on the corner, the other two got away from me." " I couldn't ask anything more of my horse but it just shows you how good you have to be these days, " Ricky said. Trained by Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen, Have Faith In Me continues to go from strength to strength and looks a horse with a huge future. Harnesslink Media

The old adage in harness racing of their being no such thing as a certainty in racing was reinforced yet again tonight at Addington in Christchurch when Speeding Spur overcame the hot favourite Prince Fearless to win the New Zealand Trotting Derby. Prince Fearless from barrier three was all the rage with punters with Speeding Spur was allowed to drift to six to one after he drew barrier six. Habibti Ivy flew the gate from barrier seven and grabbed an early lead before handing up to Prince Fearless after 500 metres. No sooner had he reached the front, Prince Fearless was attacked by Speeding Spur and Josh Dickie and the two star three year olds went to war for the next 300 metres before Speeding Spur finally made the front. Josh kept up a steady tempo in front before upping the speed down the back straight the last time. As they turned for home Mark sprung out of the trail with Prince Fearless but try as he might he couldn't get up to Speeding Spur who went on for a decisive 1 1/4 length victory. Habibti Ivy fought on well on the inner for third in front of an unlucky Monbet who made up a huge amount of ground to run fourth. A minor highlight of the race was the run of Sky Commander who ran on well late for a close up fifth in his first outing at this level. Speeding Spur covered the 2600 metres from the mobile in a new New Zealand record for a three year old of 3:15.7, a mile rate of 2:01.1 with closing sectionals of 57.9 and 28.7 Trainer John Dickie was confident going into tonights race. " We learnt a lot from our defeat to Prince Fearless at Ashburton." " He is much better rolling along as he is such a good stayer. ' The plan tonight was to go forward and we never going to die wondering." "Once he got to the front, I didn't think they would beat him," John said.  Safely through tonight, Speeding Spur will now head home to Clevedon to prepare for a series of races at Alexandra Park. " The two big races are the Sires Stakes and the Northern Derby so there is plenty to look forward to," John said. Tonights win was one of the best performances this writer has ever seen from a three year old trotter and the son of Pegasus Spur looks to have a big future. Harnesslink Media

A common comment in the last twelve months amongst harness racing breeders down under was the disappointment with the performance of Somebeachsomewhere since he arrived on the scene. Now within the space of two months the leading North American sire is starting to really fire down under with first Menin Gate winning the Victorian Derby and now Waikiki Beach is creating an enormous impression in the two year old ranks in New Zealand. Brought out of the APG sale last year, Waikiki Beach lined up tonight at Addington Raceway, Christchurch in the $40,000 Group 2 New Zealand Welcome Stakes and the public sent him out a warm favourite. Motu Premier flew the gate early frrom barrier seven and grabbed an early lead from Waikiki Beach who settled into the trail. After 400 metres Chase The Dream started to work forward to the death but before he got there, Mark Purdon hooked Waikiki Beach out of the trail and took him to the lead. Chase The Dream sat on his wheel but applied little pressure and when Mark pressed the go button on the corner, Waikiki Beach shot clear for an easy victory. Motu Premier went his usual honest race for second while Chase The Dream fought on well for third. The unlucky runner was Arden's Choice who looked sure to run second until she had a gallop at the 150 metres mark. Waikiki Beach paced the 1950 metres in 2:25.7, a mile rate of 2:00.2 with closing sectionals of 57.6 and 27.1. Mark Purdon was pretty confident once he found the front. " I was really impressed with him last week at the trials when I tried him in front." " Once I got there tonight he relaxed really well and I was pretty confident once I wasn't taken on." " He is off to the APG series in Australia and will be very competitive," Mark said. Tim Williams was happy with the run of Motu Premier. " I had to use him early but he got a really good run after that. " The tempo didn't suit him at all as he would prefer the speed on all the way," Tim said. Natalie Rasmussen thought Chase The Dream hadn't helped himself. " He went a bit rough on the last bend which cost him a lot of momentum." " But for that I think he would have run second." " Overall I'm happy with run," Natalie said. Matt Anderson was at a loss to explain why Arden's Choice broke with 150 metres to go. " She broke out of the gate the other night at Alexandra Park and tonight near the finish." " It was really disappointing as she was going to run second," Matt said.  Somebeachsomewhere is really stepping up to the plate now and the knockers are pretty quiet these days. Harnesslink Media  

One of the best fields on the the big night of harness racing at Addington tonight is the New Zealand Trotting Championship which has drawn together probably the best field for an open class trot all season. This is our runner by runner preview for the New Zealand Trotting Championship. 1) Valmagne - Starts: 60    Wins: 8    Secs: 10    Thirds: 8    Life: $78,468 Was in great form earlier in the season but has only had one run back from a break to get ready for this. Blew out on the grass at Oamaru where he started off 50 metres so there is a nagging doubt about whether he is ready for this. Draw is a big plus but lack of race fitness means we struggle to see him as a first four player. 2) Kincaslough - Starts: 29    Wins: 10   Secs: 3    Thirds: 3    Life: $121,336 Her last start at Auckland was her worst run this season and that came after she had jumped a shadow at her previous start at Alexandra Park. Just starting to worry that the big season she has had to date is starting to catch up with her. Does have gate speed so may get to the markers first and secure the trail behind Stent who will lead from barrier three. With that kind of run she becomes a trifecta and first four chance. 3) Stent -  Starts: 57    Wins: 26    Secs: 15    Thirds: 5    Life: $965,155 In the form of his life at the moment and looking to become a millionaire tonight. Will work to the lead and very hard to beat from there. Not unbeatable however as 2600 metres is not his best distance and he comes back to the chasing pack a bit the longer the race distance. Top pick but will be challenged by a couple here. 4) Sheemon - Starts: 52    Wins: 15   Secs: 17    Thirds: 9    Life: $413,828  Took a while to hit form in Australia but very unlucky in the Southern Star final where he was denied a run in the straight. Won't beat Stent out of the gate but will still look to go forward and get a run close to the pace and hope there is plenty of pressure up front which we think there will be. With Dexter in the bike he is a must have for all combination bets. 5) Alley Way - Starts: 39    Wins: 11    Secs: 9    Thirds: 3    Life: $85,161 Is right in the zone at the moment but this is his biggest test to date. Everything points to him being very competitive here and he is not out of this by any means. We don't think he can win the race tonight but with a run to suit he can be a trifecta and first four chance at good odds. 6) King Denny - Starts: 19    Wins: 9    Secs: 3    Thirds: 0    Life: $195,302 His last three wins have all been outstanding after being very slow away from the standing start on every occasion. The mobile start is a huge plus for him and he is right in this race due to that. He does not have the speed of Stent but he is a wonderful stayer and we think he will try to turn it into a staying test. The big danger to the favourite. 7) Prime Power -  Starts: 34    Wins: 14    Secs: 6    Thirds: 6    Life: $214,969  No luck last week at Addington so disregard that run when assessing his chances here. Previous run at Auckland was huge and has been going great guns all season prior to last week. Boring pole goes on this week which will correct last weeks problem and we think he is one of the big players here. Include in all combinations 8) One Over Da Moon - Starts: 30    Wins: 11    Secs: 3    Thirds: 2    Life: $175,505  Only had his first run for seven months last Friday and blew out the last bit as you would expect. Still went a mighty race but it is another big step up this week. Draw and lack of racing means we struggle to see him in four. 9) King Of Strathfield - Starts: 113    Wins: 21   Secs: 19    Thirds: 14    Life: $258,097 Since his move out to the beach with Robert Dunn he has started to turn his form around. He has always raced better away from the real elite trotters and that coupled with the draw means we can't see him in four. Not for us.                                                                          SECOND LINE 10) Vulcan - Starts: 96    Wins: 20    Secs: 12    Thirds: 8    Life: $1,004,369  When he first went out to the beach, he looked like his old self for four or five starts. Now he just looks like he is going through the motions to us. Draw means he could end up three or four back on the inner and we struggle to see how he could be a first four player from there. Not for us. 11) Master Lavros - Starts: 37    Wins: 15  Secs: 4    Thirds: 2    Life: $359,046 The enigma of the field for sure but there is no denying the talent. Broke last week from the stand but trotted the best we have seen him trot this season after his early gallop. At his best he would trouble all of them here and if he trots like he did last week, he is a player here. Include in all combinations. 12) Clover Don - Starts: 86    Wins: 23    Secs: 12    Thirds: 12    Life: $285,870 Forget last week form the stand but the problem he has here is he likes to lead in his races and that ain't happening here. Can over race in the field and that along with the draw makes this too hard in our opinion. Not for us. 13) Jaccka Justy - Starts: 54    Wins: 13   Secs: 3    Thirds: 4    Life: $232,163 Very talented on his day but you never really know which Jaccka Justy is going to turn up. After trialing brilliantly leading into last week, he went very average last Friday night. Just as likely to turn that form around here when you least expect it but from the draw and going by last weeks run we can't see him as a first four player. Not for us. 14) Springbank Sam - Starts: 60    Wins: 17   Secs: 8    Thirds: 7    Life: $282,913  Has been in good form most of the season but at a level away from the real elite trotters. At his peak he would have been a major player here but he just seems to have lost a length this season to us. Has the master Phil Williamson in the bike but the draw and the field mean we struggle to see him as a first four player. SELECTIONS Stent is the obvious choice here and the way he went in Australia shows he is right in the zone at the moment. However we still reckon that King Denny will give him plenty to think about tonight. The dangers to this pair for us are the class horses in the field in Sheemon, Prime Power and Master Lavros.  Throw in Kincaslough and Alley Way to bolster up those first fours. Harnesslink Media  

Another feature race on the big night of harness racing at Addington on Friday night is the New Zealand Trotting Derby and it has thankfully at least drawn a field with double figure runners. Here is our preview of the New Zealand Trotting Derby. 1) Starlight Starbright - Starts: 22    Wins: 2   Secs: 0    Thirds: 5    Life: $14,907 Has shown a lot of ability at times but not consistently and not at this level. Several outside him can really leave the gate and he could end up four or five deep from barrier one which negates any advantage the draw gave him. We can't see him in four. Not for us 2) Springbank Eden - Starts: 15    Wins: 2   Secs: 1    Thirds: 1    Life: $12,621 Another one plagued by inconsistency throughout his career but has been slowly getting better and has something to offer here. Can get off the gate good so we think he will look to lead and then trail the favourite Prince Fearless. Still have doubts he can run in four even from the trail but draw and mobile give him an outside chance of running in the first four. 3) Prince Fearless - Starts: 10    Wins: 3    Secs: 3    Thirds: 0    Life: $89,144 We think the extra distance this week in the Derby is what this horse has been crying out for. He is a dead set stayer and as he showed on Cup day the 2600 metres will hold no fears for him. Privately timed to run his last 2400 metres that day in 2:58.6 and still won without being driven out. Should lead and hard to see how they run him down from there. Top pick for us. 4) Wanna Play - Starts: 16    Wins: 2   Secs: 3    Thirds: 4    Life: $59,795 Has had a few issues since going to Auckland but went a lot more like her old self last week Very good stayer so 2600 metres will suit down to the ground. Really good run last week where she came from last at the 400 metres to run fifth after having absolutely no luck in the running. Trifecta and first four player with run to suit. 5) BD Love - Starts: 6    Wins: 3    Secs: 1    Thirds: 1    Life: $27,504 Talented son of Love You who is a dead set stayer like most of the Love You's so the 2600 metres is right up his alley. Can do work in his races and still keep going so can be put in the race when ever Ken Barron wants. A couple here may have the wood on him ability wise but won't be far away. First four player for us. 6) Speeding Spur - Starts: 12    Wins: 6    Secs: 2    Thirds: 2    Life: $61,946  Has been in great form all season with his only defeat in six starts coming in the Hambletonian at Ashburton to Prince Fearless. Smart win over 2700 metres last time at Alexandra Park so the distance is no worry for him. If he had drawn inside of Prince Fearless he would have had a great chance of rolling the favourite but being out at six makes it tough. Huge chance regardless so include in everything. 7) Habibti Ivy - Starts: 6    Wins: 3    Secs: 0    Thirds: 2    Life: $33,495  Easy win in the Trotting Oaks last week and extra distance here won't worry her at all. Ran on very strongly at the start before that to finish right with Prince Fearless and Monbet and is still on the improve so a live chance here. Appeals as a real out and out stayer so she is a must include for all combination takers. Include in everything. 8) Soney Beatt - Starts: 18    Wins: 2   Secs: 2    Thirds: 2    Life: $14,965 Not the worst in this field and he is one that will appreciate the extra distance. However the draw of barrier eight coupled with the quality of the field makes this mission impossible in our view. Not for us. 9) Fiery Mountain Girl - Scratched                                                                            SECOND LINE 10) Monbet - Starts: 11    Wins: 6    Secs: 1    Thirds: 1    Life: $86,807 This is one horse that needed a draw and one on the second line behind an average beginner is the last thing the Hopes would have been looking for. Outstanding talent who with any luck can still play a big part here. Driver Ricky May will be hoping that Prince Fearless and Speeding Spur go to war a long way out because if that happens then it will bring Monbet right into the contest late in the piece. Include in everything. 11) Sky Commander - Starts: 8    Wins: 2   Secs: 1    Thirds: 5    Life: $10,320 Nice horse in the making who has great manners and a big motor. A recent addition to the huge Merv and Meg Butterworth racing team, this race may have come to early for him in our view. Handled the gate really well at his only start behind it so could get a cosy run through behind Springbank Eden. A few here would look to have the wood on him at this stage but one to take notes on for the future. SELECTIONS From the draw it is hard to go past Prince Fearless. He has gate speed and should lead and from there he is very very hard to beat. Speeding Spur is going great  but is going to have lift even further to win here. Still a clear second pick from the draw. But for his bad draw Monbet would be vying for favouritism here and should he get a run to suit is still a major player. Throw in Wanna Play, BD Love and Habibti Ivy for trifectas and first fours. Harnesslink Media

One of the issues at the moment in harness racing in New Zealand is the size of the fields in some of our classic races. The Muscara Standardbreds New Zealand Derby at Addington on Friday night is a good example having only drawn eight runners which is a shame for the club and the sponsors. This is our runner by runner preview of this years Muscara Standardbreds New Zealand Derby. 1) Brilliant Strike - Starts: 13    Wins: 6    Secs: 2    Thirds: 3    Life: $57,167 Not suited at all last week when they sprinted home in 54.8 and 26.7  Needs the speed to be on all the way to be a chance of getting amongst it here as he lacks the really high speed of some of his competition. Great stayer so Ricky May will be hoping they go 3:09 and not 3:13. Trifecta and first four chance from the draw. 2) Follow The Stars - Starts: 18    Wins: 13   Secs: 4    Thirds: 0    Life: $598,844 Going great guns at the moment and nothing wrong with his last four runs even though he has run second every time. Drawn inside his nemesis Have Faith In Me this time and should lead and from there will be very hard to beat. Has a great all round game so able to adapt to whats happening during the race better than most. One of two winning chances and include in everything. 3) Smithy - Starts: 10    Wins: 3   Secs: 1    Thirds: 0    Life: $23,661 Has always looked a nice horse in the making and last couple of wins haven't surprised us in the least. Would prefer him over something shorter than this distance and this is a huge step up from what he has been facing. Hard to see him as a first four player here. 4) Itz Bettor To Win - Starts: 11    Wins: 6    Secs: 2    Thirds: 0    Life: $85,475 Had been in great form leading into the Great Northern Derby and after getting a nice run in transit, he showed nothing when hooked out, stopping badly. That run was too bad to be true for a horse of his ability and he has been under a cloud since, missing the Flying Stakes last week. Impressed the stable with his work on Monday which is why he is in the field but lack of recent racing sees him as a trifecta and first four player only. 5) Have Faith In Me - Starts: 11    Wins: 6    Secs: 2    Thirds: 0    Life: $365,381 Just continues to improve every time he steps on the track and is managing to stay one step ahead of his stablemate Follow The Stars. Should be even better for last weeks run in the Flying Stakes and like all top horses he just seems to be able to find a way to win at the moment. The only horse here who can beat Follow The Stars if he leads and hard to separate the two in our book. One of two winning chances and include in everything. 6) Art Union - Starts: 24    Wins: 12    Secs: 5    Thirds: 1    Life: $153,883 Had a real dig for the lead last week and missed and that was the end of his chances in the Flying Stakes. Has had a long and arduous season so far and it appears to have sapped his energy a wee bit and to us he is not going as good now as he was back in November. Even with Dexter in the bike, he is only an outside first four chance for us. 7) McArdle Star -  Starts: 4    Wins: 3    Secs: 0    Thirds: 1    Life: $16,955 Very patiently handled three year old who has looked well above average in short career to date. Wouldn't be here if the stable didn't think he was up to it but lack of experience may count against him in this field. Has run 3:13 for the 2600 metres after doing a power of work and did it easy so a definite first four player for us. 8) Hug The Wind - Starts: 14    Wins: 5   Secs: 6    Thirds: 2    Life: $237,457 Got involved in an early burn last week which caught up with him late in the race. That was his first run off the place for three weeks and he would have derived a lot of benefit from it. Just looks half a length down on his two more favoured stablemates but looks to have the wood on all the rest Third pick for us and hard to see him not running in three. SELECTIONS Everything says Follow The Stars will win from the draw and he will be very difficult to beat if as expected he goes straight to the front. However Have Faith In Me continues to step up and is still on the improve and we think he can once again get the better of Follow The Stars. There will nothing in it but these two look a couple of lengths better than the rest. Third looks just as clear cut for us with Hug The Wind a length behind the first two but a length in front of the rest. For first fours throw in Brilliant Strike, Itz Bettor To Win and McArdle Star Harnesslink Media  

Last week was a mixed bag but two very wet tracks at both Ascot Park and Methven didn't help with the conditions hampering a lot of runners. We managed five winners with the best dividend going to Bob Butt at Methven with Ancient Moonlight while others to select winners were John Dunn, Tim Williams, Nathan Williamson and Scott Phelan and we also had five placings as well. This week there are only the four meetings and we cover them all. Manawatu - Thursday night Kyle Marshall - Gives Soul Hanover a great each way chance in race 2 Todd Mitchell - Thinks on his runs to date they can't beat Alta Leroy in race 8    Auckland - Friday night Tony Herlihy - Thought Uandmebabe would be hard to beat from her good draw in race 7 Scott Phelan - Very bullish about the chances of Bettor B Amazed, also in race 7 Maurice McKendry - Gives the two year old Shandale a big chance of winning race 8 Steven Reid - Rates Aquickone on her work this week as the one to beat in race 9   Addington - Friday night Terry Chmiel - Thought Danny Del Vito from barrier one could upset them in race 1 John Dunn - Gives Culinary Delight a big push to return to the winners list, also in race 1 Bob Butt - Looking for the trifecta in race one where Bob thinks Gracious Me will be hard to beat Robbie Holmes - Thought Aile Rouge could get a piece of it at good odds in race 2 Brad Williamson - Very bullish about the chances of the very smart Father Christmas, also in race 2 John Curtin (Harnesslink) Reckons Waikiki Beach will beat Chase The Dream and win race 4 Blair Orange - Thinks Habibti Ivy will match it with the boys in the Derby and win race 5 Gerard O'Reilly - Thought Tiger Tara would be improved this week and a each way chance in race 6 Matthew Williamson - Knows Alley Way is up against it this week but a great place chance in race 7 Tim Williams - Keeps giving out Have Faith In Me and he keeps winning, this week in race 8 Ricky May - Rapt with the run of Dalton Bromac last week and won't have him beaten in race 9   Invercargill - Sunday afternoon Brendon McLellan - Reckons Leigh Major must be due a change of luck and can win race1 Steve Richardson(TAB) - Really likes the chances of Denn Nee Nose Best in race 3 Clark Barron - Gave Real Raider a big chance to clear maidens in race 4 Nathan Williamson - Thought Franco Tyson would be a great each way chance at good odds in race 8   Harnesslink Media

You can sign up now in case you have not received the most recent  Harnesslink newsletter called Insider Access, and here is your chance.  Just fill in the form below and within seconds you will be on track for the latest news in harness racing that you will not see or read about anywhere else, even on our own website. Each issue includes an in-depth Stallion review not available anywhere else. All previous reviews can now be viewed at http://stallionsphere.com. Sign up to "Insider Access" Full Name Email Subscribe This week’s Insider Access newsletter contains the following feature stories: Where are the NZ two-year-olds? - A common complaint heard these days in New Zealand is where are all the two year olds? On trial day there is an abundance of two-year-olds in evidence but come race day a lot of clubs are struggling to get a field of even eight runners. Now a lot of trainers have one look at the nominations and see a couple from the All Star barn and keep their two year olds for another day and you can't really blame them. Stallion Review – MUSCLES YANKEE – Continuing on with our stallion review series today we have produced an in depth review for the excellent racehorse and stallion Muscles Yankee 1:52.2 ($1,424,938). We need more Sam Stathis types in our sport - Recently harness racing in North America received a big positive boost and it did not come in the form of a long shot winning at a racetrack or someone setting a track record. It came from a real estate business transaction in south Florida. Don’t miss out on the next edition of Insider Access. The newsletter currently comes out every other Tuesday morning (North America), Tuesday afternoon (Europe) and Wednesday morning (Australasia).

The Racing Integrity Unit has filed an application with the Judicial Control Authority (JCA), for a breach of Rules 1004(1A) and 1004D of the New Zealand Rules of Harness Racing. They are requesting the disqualification of Ventimiglia (trainers A P and L M Neal) from Race 2 at the Waikato Harness Racing Club’s Meeting held at Cambridge Raceway on 30 January 2015.  This follows confirmation that a post-race sample taken from Ventimiglia had tested positive to a prohibited substance.  As the matter is now the subject of a JCA hearing no further comment will be made.  Mike Godber   

The time honoured harness racing classic for two year olds, the Welcome Stakes is up for grabs on Friday night and we thought an in depth preview was in order. New Zealand Welcome Stakes 1) Arden's Choice - Starts: 3    Wins: 0    Secs: 2    Thirds: 0    Life: $9,550 Lovely filly who followed up two big runs leading into the Young Guns Fillies final at Alexandra Park by throwing her toys out in the big race with an early gallop. Ability not in question and while two or three of the colts may have her measure, she is more than capable of holding her own against most here. Trifecta and first four chance from the draw. 2) Classie Brigade - First Tote Start Beautifully bred son of Bettor's Delight from the former top racemare Trigirl Brigade 1:52.3 (pld) $143,711) who was a $60,000 purchase at last years Australasian Classic sale at Karaka. Has been prominent at trials and workouts in Canterbury but yet to win one yet from four attempts. His last trial was his best effort though with a 4 1/2 length second to Waikiki Beach at Rangiora. A work in progress for us and not in this field at this stage. 3) Sophisticated Lady - Starts: 2    Wins: 0    Secs: 1    Thirds: 0    Life: $4,668 Very good run on debut in Leonard Memorial when a smart second to Northern Velocity. Disappointing in the Caduceus Club Classic last Saturday at Invercargill but in her defence the track was very wet and she didn't look comfortable in it at anytime during the race. Still learning what the racing game is all about and at this stage we would prefer her in a fillies race rather than up against the colts here. 4) Waikiki Beach - Starts: 1    Wins: 1  Secs: 0    Thirds: 0    Life: $16,300  Outstanding debut at Invercargill in the $25,000 Kindergarten Stakes where he zipped the last 400 metres on a slushy track in 26.7  This big impressive looking son of Somebeachsomewhere was super impressive at last Wednesdays workouts at Rangiora and showed real speed off the gate which is a big plus here. The draw makes him the one to beat in our book but it won't be easy with Chase The Dream in here as well. Include in everything. 5) Vanquished - Starts: 1    Wins: 0  Secs: 0    Thirds: 0    Life: $1,150 Another well bred son of Bettors Delight who cost $26,000 at last years Premier sale at Christchurch. Has won a couple of workouts but not against the horses he faces here. His first up fourth in a field of five from barrier one was just ok and too many here  have the wood on him for us to see him as a major player. Not for us. 6) Ice Crusher - First Tote Start This smart looking son of Chistian Cullen cost $68,000 at last years Premier sale at Christchurch. Was looking sharp at trials and workouts in January after which he had a brief let up and he has come back in late March with a couple of tidy runs including a quiet third today at Rangiora. Has run time and looks a progressive type to us and appeals as a roughie to spike up those trifectas and first fours.  7) Motu Premier - Starts: 3    Wins: 0   Secs: 1    Thirds: 2    Life: $9,091 Lovely Bettors Delight colt who has gone three smart races in his career to date. Unlucky third in the Sapling Stakes after jumping a shadow on the corner which was followed by a run at Invercargill for second on a slushy track which he didn't seem to handle all that well. Last start third third to Chase The Dream was full of merit as he drew the widest in the small field and worked mid race as well. A must have for all combination takers. 8) Chase The Dream - Starts: 4    Wins: 4    Secs: 0    Thirds: 0    Life: $99,414 ($99,414) Unbeaten in four starts as a juvenile but that record is under threat here from his stablemate Waikiki Beach. Has great ringcraft which all the smart two year olds have and has an all round game being both quick and tough. You can't do anymore than win and being a Bettors Delight he won't give up his unbeaten streak without a real fight. But for the draw would have been first pick. Include in everything 9) MacKenzie - First Tote Start This daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven from the former outstanding racemare Kept For Pleasure 1:56 ($542,343) was an $82,000 purchase at last years Australian Pacing Gold sale at Sydney. Has been very prominent at trials around Canterbury and is being aimed at the APG sales race series in Australia. Big strong filly who has shown the ability to work in her trials and workouts. Quiet trial win at Rangiora today but home in 27.1 and not out of her depth here but draw makes it hard. Include in first fours SELECTIONS  This really is an All Star barn benefit. The draw makes us lean towards Waikiki Beach who has looked special at trials and his one raceday start. The obvious danger is Chase The Dream and these two look the obvious quinella. Motu Premier is a clear third choice for us in front of Arden's Choice, Ice Crusher and MacKenzie who should fight out that fourth placing. Harnesslink Media

« Article Archive
USA
Canada
Australia
New Zealand
Europe
Loader
Loader
Loader
Well known harness racing trainer Robbie Holmes has been sidelined after a young horse lashed out and kicked him yesterday. Robbie waited all day at Christchurch Hospital for surgery to a broken hand but by late afternoon he was sent home due to time constraints with other surgery. He is due to go back in tomorrow morning for another attempt to reset his hand. Robbie was philosophical about the injury when speaking to Harnesslink this evening. " These things are sent to try us at times." " The top of the hand and the thumb got bent backwards so it was really painful when it happened." " I won't be much help round here for a while," Robbie said. Robbie was really looking forward to driving Saturday night, especially his wayward trotter, Willie Shine. "  He went super last Wednesday at the trials where he stepped and ran them along and won easily." " If he steps on Saturday night I think he will be hard to beat," Robbie said. Working with horses always has its risks but it is still something everybody is aware of especially around young horses. Regardless of how careful you are there are times where trainers have little control over accidents such as the one Robbie has just had. Here at Harnesslink we wish Robbie a speedy recovery and hope the surgery tomorrow goes well. Harnesslink Media
Patrons on track will notice a brand new large Digital Display on course at our next race meeting, this Easter Saturday night, 4 April. The big LED screen measuring approximately nine metres x five metres, will be located immediately adjacent to the Winning Post in front of the Metropolitan Stand and will show live races from the track, pre-race totes and post-race dividends. Replacing the tote board in the inner track area, the Digital Screen will enhance the experience for on course patrons providing a modern structure incorporating leading edge technology. Easter Saturday night also sees champion pacer Terror To Love race for the last time in the Group One $100,000 Breckon Farms / All Stars Racing Stables Easter Cup, a race he won in 2013. The Terror will lead the field out for the Cup with a montage including his three great Christchurch Casino New Zealand Trotting Cup wins showing on the large screen whilst he parades. There’ll be promotions on course including a double happy hour, Terror To Love caps, posters and a 1000 Easter Eggs given away and a life sized cut out figure of the champ hitched to a sulky for those keen to take part and have their photo taken.  The champ will be officially farewelled on the The Breeders New Zealand Oaks Night on Friday 15 May before he enters his new career as a stallion where he’ll stand at Pinelea Farm in Weedons,Canterbury. There’ll be a presentation made by The Met to his connections, on-course promotions and The Terror will parade for his fans. Let’s hope the champ bows out with a victory this Saturday night and adds another Group 1 to his impressive resume. Who can ever forget those three second Tuesdays in November made famous by one of our equine greats.  Ged Mooar Marketing & Commercial Manager Addington
One of the more select clubs in harness racing in New Zealand is the 1000 wins driver club which is about to get another new inductee in Clark Barron. The modest Southlander has been a quiet achiever on the New Zealand scene since he first started driving in the 1980/1981 season. A member of the renown Barron clan from Southland, Clark didn't go from school straight into harness racing, prefering instead to get a trade qualification behind him first. "I had four years doing a builders apprenticeship with Ray Harper before I got into harness racing full time." "During that four years I use to go and help out at the weekends at Maurice and Val Skinners." " They were really good to me and thats where I learnt the basics of the game," Clark told Harnesslink today. At age twenty one, Clark went to work for his father full time and appreciates the help his dad gave him in getting established. " I got plenty of drives for dad so that certainly helped in getting my name out there." " I drove my first winner at just my third start on Free Trouble at Forbury Park and what made it even more special was I beat one of my idols at the time in Peter Jones," Clark said.  Clark was full of praise for the part Michael House had played in his development. " I worked for Michael for two years and learnt so much while I was there." "Michael let me go south as often as I wanted to keep up all my contacts so he was great to work for," Clark said. Clark was quick to name the two best horses he had been associated with in his career to date. "Prince Rashard was the best colt or gelding that I have driven, he was just so tough." "On the mares side Lento would be number one just in front of Raksdeal," Clark said. Clark was quick to acknowledge the support of his wife and daughter throughout his career. " Jackie has been so supportive over the years and our daughter Allie has been as well." "Allie is a bit like me in that she is getting a physio qualification at the moment but it wouldn't surprise me if she ended up working with horses," Clark said. While two other members of the 1000 wins drivers club in Ken Barron and Robert Cameron started their careers in Southland, Clark will be the first to be based there when he actually reaches the milestone in the next week or two. Clark deserves all the accolades that come his way and hopefully that 1000th win won't be far away. Harnesslink Media
Harness racing is a worldwide industry which is getting more and more international as time goes on. Stallions move between hemispheres and bloodlines are getting to look the same no matter where in the world you are. The World Trotting Conference brings together all the administrators from around the world to try to smooth some of problems with horses moving between countries and different systems. One issue which they seem to ignore repeatedly is the one with regards to money won in different countries and how it is counted in the overall scheme of things. In Canada and Australia, a dollar won anywhere in the world is counted as a dollar won when assessing a horse's lifetime earnings. In America and New Zealand, every dollar earned outside of the country is converted back to the local currency equivalent in dollar terms. With so many horses moving back and forth between Canada and America and also between Australia and New Zealand it can either inflate or deflate a horses earnings which to us here at Harnesslink is just absolutely ridiculous. It can also alter siring charts as we saw last year in the two year old ranks in North America. In Canada where they count every dollar won as one dollar, Sportswriter topped the charts for two year olds with a lead of $125,000 over his nearest rival Art Major. In America where they convert money won outside America to American dollars at the exchange rate on the day the money is won, Art Major finished $26,000 dollars in front of Sportswriter. We are of no doubt that Sportswriter was the leading money earning two year sire in North America in 2014 and we recognize him as such in all our articles. When we quote any money won either by a sire or individual in a story, the figures we use are always sourced via Trackit from the Canadian Harness Racing Site as Trackit is the only database with a true money won system in our opinion In our view the American system is an absolute joke and is done primarily to protect the stallion owners based in America from those upstarts across the border whose stallions just happen to earn more money in a season. The same anomaly occurs between Australia and New Zealand. Harness Racing Australia to its credit counts every dollar won anywhere in the world as one dollar earned for all its lifetime records for horses. New Zealand on the other hand converts all money won overseas back to New Zealand dollars on the day the money is won overseas. That results in inflated lifetime earnings for a lot of New Zealand horses who spend big parts of their racing careers in Australia. In some cases it has turned horses into millionaires when in reality they are still a fair way off the magical seven figure mark in actual earnings. We will highlight a couple here just to show the difference it can make. Take our latest millionaire in Stent who according to Harness Racing New Zealand has earned $1,010,053 to date where in actual dollars earned the figure is $984,460. Another horse to have his earnings inflated was Vulcan who was lucky in that when he raced in Australia the New Zealand dollars was worth in the high seventy cents range in relation to the Australian dollar. So why Harness Racing New Zealand records Vulcan as having earned $1,006,002, in actual dollars won, his earnings stand at $898,855. Now these are two absolute champions and should be respected as such but the system has let them down badly in our view. Let us have a look at a horse that raced extensively in both hemispheres in Tupelo Rose. Tupelo Rose's earnings as recorded on the four countries data bases we have mentioned in this article. * Harness Racing New Zealand  -  $1,146,603 * Harness Racing Australia  -  $879,867 * Standardbred Canada  -  $586,785 * United States Trotting Association  -  $578,671  As you can see the current system has left us with four different figures. Which one is the correct one is a hard question to answer but we would lean towards the Australian as probably being closest to the truth in this instance. As the above example shows the current system between these four countries is open to ridicule and rightly so in our opinion. We need some commonality on these important statistics and all four countries on the same page. A dollar earned anywhere in these four countries should be treated as a dollar earned by the governing bodies by each of the four countries. Until that happens you should treat all claims with regards to money won and sires stakes earnings coming out of America and New Zealand with a high degree of skepticism. JC  
Loader

Additional Articles