Day At The Track

Natalie Rasmussen is happy to admit she was wrong. Because being wrong might just win her next week’s $500,000 IRT Inter Dominion Pacing Final at Alexandra Park. Driving an Inter Dominion winner would be nothing new for Rasmussen, she partnered Blacks A Fake to win four of them even before she joined partner Mark Purdon to set up their super stable. That stable now dominates the market for the pacing final on Saturday week, with five of the six favourites, only series surprise package A G’s White Socks crashing their party. But while the All Stars being favourites to win any big race is hardly a surprise both Rasmussen and Purdon were adamant just six days ago that Cruz Bromac was their best chance of winning the series. Not any more. “Yeah, the order has changed,” says Rasmussen. “Not that Cruz has done anything wrong because he hasn’t but Sniper has really stepped up. “We went into the series with a little question mark over how he would handle the right handed track but he has been perfect. “And you find in a series like this some horses love it, they love the high pressure racing. “He has been that horse in this series. When he won on Tuesday night once he got a head of steam up he just kept going. “I think it has taken us until this stage of his campaign to get him really fit and to be honest I have a suspicion, with him being a rig, he might have been pinching himself a month or so ago when he was doing things wrong. “But at the moment he is exactly where he needs to be.” For most horses the second line barrier draw Ultimate Sniper faces in his 2700m mobile heat tomorrow night would be a market cooler but has has spent much of the series three wide so Rasmussen doesn’t bat an eyelid over giving away a start tomorrow night. “He will probably go sit parked if he can’t get the lead and he will love it there. “So he is now our top chance, as everybody has probably seen.”Ultimate Sniper is the $2.4 favourite to win the final and if he wins tomorrow night what barrier he draws on Sunday will determine whether he starts odds-on for the final. The pacing series’s other unbeaten star A G’s White Socks also faces a second line draw in the later heat tomorrow but his task is enormously more difficult than Ultimate Sniper because Cruz Bromac (2) and Thefixer (4) are ideally drawn to control the race. Thefixer has been luckless in both starts in the series but Rasmussen says that will be an advantage tomorrow night. “He hasn’t had the hard runs some of the other horses have and he will be ready to do some work,” she says. “He has hit the line really well both nights and he has to go close on Friday."The pacing final is probably two-thirds finalised with those sitting between 9th and 15th on the points table scrapping out the last spots in the 12-strong field, with the most market relevant horse on the cusp being Bling It On, who goes into tomorrow night 13th equal and needing to leapfrog a couple of rivals. He should and will probably join My Kiwi Mate and San Carlo as the Australians in the final. The trotting series is more even, with probably seven horses still given realistic winning chances in the $150,000 final on Saturday week.   By Michael Guerin

By Garrick Knight    While the meeting is dwarfed by the Inter Dominion carnival operating up the road in Auckland this week, tonight’s Cambridge meeting still presents a great opportunity for punters. A guaranteed $75,000 Pick 6 is in operation after nearly $34,000 was carried forward from last week’s modest Forbury Park card. Most will argue tonight’s fields aren’t much better, but there are still six winners in there somewhere, and the chance for a brave punter to make some early Christmas cash. It is very slim pickings on the ‘anchor’ tree with perhaps the three-year-olds Double Or Nothing (Leg 3) and Ideal Agent (Leg 5) the most appealing. Local horseman Kyle Marshall has a key chance on the card in trotting mare Lady Be Good (Leg 4), so we had a yarn to him for some direction on her and a couple of his other runners in the pick 6 legs. Lady Be Good is a mare with a future, as evidenced by her excellent win at Alexandra Park two starts ago. She went back there just over a fortnight ago, but struck misfortune and the run is best forgotten. “She got a flat tyre at the start of the race, which didn’t do her any favours,” said Marshall. “It was a junior drivers’ race and Dylan (Ferguson) looked after her thankfully; he didn’t ask her for anything.” Marshall is back in the cart tonight, despite a free win being in the offing with a junior driver in the cart. “I’m still working things out with her and just want to make sure she’s right. “I’ve had problems with her tying up, but after reading the story about Paramount King last week, and how he’s overcome the same issues, I talked to Josh Dickie and Sammy Kilgour about what to feed her. “She’s been spot on the last few days so hopefully it’s done the trick. “She might be just a wee bit short this week but I still think if she trots the whole way, she’ll be too good for them.” In the same race Marshall has Lukyanova, junior driver Luke Whittaker taking the reins. “She’s working super at the moment.  “I’m not doing a lot with her; Luke is riding her under saddle and that seems to be really helping her. “It’s a penalty free win for her this week so hopefully she can get the job done.” Earlier in the night, Marshall has the debutant Fleeting Major in Leg 1, but he’s drawn awkwardly on the outside of the second row. He impressed when qualifying on the track back in August and has had one quiet workout at Pukekohe before this, his first career outing. “I quite like the horse – he’s got a bit of scope – but he’s just green. “It’s going to take a couple of starts for him to learn what it’s about and I think he’ll really improve with each run. “Twelve is probably a good draw for him first up as he’s going to get back in the field and look to go up the fence.” Probably worth risking him tonight on those words, but you will need Manhattan Sunshine, Courtney Jane and Cassius on your ticket. Leg 2 looks an open go with Major Blink, Lady Santana, Quick As Fire and Arty Pharty the best of numerous chances. Leg 3 you either go skinny with Double Or Nothing or wide with Charlotte Royal, American Me, Armed Reactor and Flying Steps. Lady Be Good is the top option in Leg 4, but you’ll need Presidential Jewel, As Free As Air and Lukyanova too. Ideal Agent has let punters down recently but is clearly the best horse in Leg 5, Runcle and Bella Roza the next best with Mighty Monica an absolute blowout. Throw a dart for the final leg, but make sure you include the Wallis/Hackett pair of Stow and Aldebaran Bonny.  Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

The Hanley Formula Australasian Young Drivers Championship begins on Saturday. The first heat is at Addington Raceway on Saturday with two more heats being run at Methven at Sunday, two at Manawatu on Tuesday and Thursday and the final heat at Alexandra Park next Friday. Please click here to see the driver profiles.   Harness Racing New Zealand

More Christmas racing at Invercargill Racing at Ascot Park Raceway in Invercargill this Saturday from 12.02pm. A free bag of lollies for all children on course after Race 6 while all losing tote tickets up to race five will go in the draw for a meal voucher from Level 1 Restaurant & Bar. Winton Harness Racing Club at Central Southland Raceway, Winton, Sunday 15 December – free Mini Jeeps, a visit from Santa and a whitebait stand on course raising funds for Kidz Kartz. Wairio Trotting Club, Saturday 21 December, Central Southland Raceway at Winton. $2 Mini Jeep rides and a visit by Santa. Tent Sites are still available at all meetings and BYO is permitted. Contact us today for full details and conditions. Lindsay Beer - 021 351 499 / lindsay.beer@xtra.co.nz SOUTHERN HARNESS RACING CHRISTMAS FUNCTIONS Christmas is on the way! And so are our pre-Christmas race meetings. December is a fantastic month for racing with pre-Christmas events at Invercargill (Saturday 7 December) plus two at Winton – Winton Harness Racing Club (Sunday 15 December) and Wairio Trotting Club (Saturday 21 December). A room cancellation at Invercargill means we have a hospitality area overlooking the winning post available for a group while there are tent sites available at all three meetings for your Christmas function or get together. Contact us today for full details and conditions. Lindsay Beer - 021 351 499 / lindsay.beer@xtra.co.nz Methven Trotting Club The rain has slowed the snow has finally left the might of the Southern Alps and Methven folks thoughts are turning to the upcoming meeting of their local trotting club on Sunday December 8. The track is in good nick and the club is looking for a host of summer holidaymakers to join those just looking for a relaxing day with barbeque and drinks. The feature races are the Methven Four Square Pacers Green Mile and the Fast Track Insurance/Greg and Nina Hope Racing Trotters Green Mile with the club hoping both will include intermediate and up and coming types with the crème being in Auckland for the Inters. The other attraction will be two heats of the Australasian Young Drivers Championship a first for Methven and possibly the grass track a first for many Aussie competitors. Of particular interest to Mid Canterbury racegoers will be a rare Mid Canty flavour with both John Morrison and Sarah O’Reilly amongst the competitors sure to be crowd favourites. Lots of luck to all. Numerous giveaways and spot prizes, lolly scrambles, the red robed white whiskered one will make an appearance for the little ones and as always the wonderfully politically incorrect ‘Babes in a barrow’ race where competitors race around the birdcage with the female half in a wheelbarrow and the male pushing to the accompaniment of a raucous and generally ‘helpful’ crowd. In another innovative move the farmer first health clinic will be on hand to help with any rural folks and horse people’s health concerns, great initiative Wiggy, people make good use of it, so see you all at Methven Sunday week where the sun always shines. Free health checks at Methven Races GlobalHQ will be taking its health and wellbeing caravan to the Methven Races on the 8th December. The caravan will be providing free health checks for anyone attending the Methven races on this date. Dr Sue Fowlie and her nurse will be available to see anyone who would like a health check as GlobalHQ help to make sure that Farmers and the likes are being regularly checked out. So when you are on course on the 8th December look for the bright orange caravan and pay them a visit.   Kapiti Coast Harness Racing Club We are thrilled to confirm that we have been granted a one day racing licence to race on the Otaki Maori Race Course, Otaki on Sunday 2nd February 2020. Grass track racing at it's very best. The tentative Programme is already posted on the HRNZ Website. It is planned to host 9 races on the day, with minimum stakes of $10,000 per race (The highest stakes of any grass track meeting in the North Island.) Features will be the Otaki Trotting Cup for the pacers run over 3000 metres from the stand with a stake of $12,000 and the Wellington Trotting Cup for the trotters run from a stand over 3000 metres with a stake of $12,000. The Friday prior to our KCHRC Otaki race meeting (being Friday 31st January 2020) will see Manawatu Harness race at Manawatu Raceway. Therefore horses who wish to travel from the South Island or upper North Island to race 2 days could nominate for both meetings. Grass track horses could race at Rotorua on Sunday 26th January, then a week later race at Otaki on the grass. Sunday 2nd February will be an Interislander Summer Festival of Racing Race day at Otaki. The Committee is working tirelessly to make this day a major success. Hosting Kidz Kartz from Taranaki, free children's entertainment, an All Up Place competition with a prize of $500. Recently Kapiti Coast Harness Racing Club held it's AGM. After 20+ years at the helm President Mary Colman retired to take the role of immediate Past President, and was honoured with a Life Membership of the Kapiti Coast Harness Racing Club. The new Club President is Chris Craddock who had served as Vice President for the proceeding 10+ years. (With harness family roots originating in ‘the Buller’, Westport.) Kapiti Coast Harness has a new expanded Committee and is really looking forward to hosting an outstanding day on the Otaki Maori grass track Race Course on Sunday 2nd February 2020. Cheviot Harness Racing Club – Stallion Tenders The Cheviot Harness Racing Club has two stallion tenders on offer. DOWNBYTHESEASIDE – a son of Somebeachsomewhere Equal fastest 2yo in Standardbred history, paced 1.49 - Breeders Crown Final 2019/20 Service Fee RRP – $6,000+GST. PEGASUS SPUR – sire of Speeding Spur Sire of Speeding Spur – now competing at the highest level in the USA Sire of Paramount Gee Gee 2019/20 Service Fee RRP – $3,000+GST. Please send all tenders to kirsten_mcnabb@yahoo.co.nz

Craig Demmler says the door to the Inter Dominion final is ajar, My Kiwi Mate just has to pace through it. And the 2700m of the final round of heats for the series at Alexandra Park on Friday night gives him in the perfect chance to do just that. My Kiwi Mate all but earned his spot in the A$500,000 final with his third placing on Tuesday night and he goes into Friday seventh on the points ladder with 19, giving him a huge buffer over the 13th equal pair of On The Cards and Bling It On, who sit on 13 points and at the moment tied for the emergency spot. That would suggest My Kiwi Mate could run seventh or even eighth on Friday night but Victorian horseman Demmler isn’t thinking too far ahead. “Sure, I’d love to make the final but I don’t want to be worrying about it too much cause we can’t control how the others go. “But we are a long way toward the final and he loves the series racing.” Demmler says the step up to 2700m for the final round of heats and the final will suit My Kiwi Mate, he just wishes he had more distance races to aim him at in Victoria. “He loves following a good speed and he gets a better drawn than some of those others who need points. “So getting into the final is the first thing and we will take anything else as a bonus. “We all know how hard it is going to be to beat a horse like Ultimate Sniper because he is flying but I think on our Victorian form we aren’t far behind Cruz Bromac.”Demmler is loving the series at his good friend Barry Purdon’s property, where some of the big guns of the series are also stationed. Depending on results on Friday night it is very possible five of the pacing Grand Final 12 could come from Purdon’s property as well as Marcoola for the trotting final. “I just love being here for the series, it is iconic,” says Demmler. “This is why we train horses, to come away and race the best and spend time with good friends and make new ones.” The series did however start on a sad note for Demmler, with his uncle Rodney passing away last Friday. “Rodney was in the horses early doors but got out of racing to drive trucks and he was a great guy,” remembers Demmler. “He was a very different guy from Dad (Ted, Rodney’s brother). Louder and more of a party guy. “I got the call from Dad before the heats last Friday to tell me he had passed and it really knocked me. "So I’d love to make the final to give the family something to cheer about.”   Michael Guerin

World first, real time 360° in race experience trialed at Alexandra Park, Successfully trialed at Australasia’s biggest harness racing meeting is set to revolutionise the New Zealand and global racing and wagering industry. Representatives from the New Zealand TAB and Australian Harness Racing were on site at Auckland’s Alexandra Park last Friday night when the new broadcast technology was unveiled at harness racing’s IRT sponsored Inter Dominion Championships. The successful trial featured on-site coverage of races involving 360-degree cameras mounted on the helmets of drivers, which will soon allow fans to use smartphones to experience the race in real-time from the perspective of the drivers. Racing officials globally are interested in the technology’s ability to deliver in-race wagering, opening a vital new revenue stream for the TAB and also acting as an attraction to lure fans and the next generation of event seekers, back to racing clubs suffering from declining attendances. “This has huge potential. Punters should get involved while attending the InterDoms. We need their feedback to make the experience the best it can be. Looking forward to the next stage. One of the more exciting things that’s happened to Racing for years,” says Racing Board general manager of customers, Gary Woodham “Once we have proven the system, we can look to monetise it for punters. Very exciting. TAB understands how this could change the game for Racing punters.” Representatives from 5G providers Huawei, have been contributors to the “proof-of-concept” which has been overseen by the inventor of the “BESTSEAT360” product, Aucklander Craig Meek. The innovative smartphone-delivered products allow spectators at track side or at home, to view the race in real-time from the perspective of the driver or jockey. The product allows users to rotate the view a full 360 degrees to see the horses in front, next and behind the chosen driver. Fans can also ‘teleport’ or ‘swap’ to different drivers during the race. “In the past, if you were at a track, you’d follow a race with a set of binoculars,” explained Meek. “Today, our product allows you to use a smartphone, while giving you the incredible experience of driving your horse in the race by simply rotating your view 360 degrees during the race allowing you to move from horse to horse for a better view, putting you right in the action.” A select group of 50 “VIPs” used the product for the first time during the Alexandra Park pilot and were unanimous in agreement; this trial was a glimpse into the future and could be a huge boost for the industry and other sporting codes. “Racing has probably lagged a bit in technology in recent times, but this could be a game-changer,” said Jamie MacKinnon, Board Director of Alexandra Park. “We need to find effective and stimulating ways to convince event seekers to come to race meetings and to better engage with our sport. This is the future of engaging sports viewership and a platform to improve revenues. It’s easy to use and very captivating. We saw positive response to the idea, especially by those not directly involved with harness racing.” “Many of them were blown away by the technology and say they want more.” Importantly, MacKinnon added, the future ability to bet through the BESTSEAT360 product could prove a huge benefit to the future of the racing industry. Harness racing officials both sides of the Tasman are enthusiastic about the products potential with the wagering community. “Having seen the amazing vision generated by the BestSeat360 technology, I sincerely believe that this innovative presentation of vision can be 'game changing' for the Harness Racing Industry. Not only does it provide the ability to revolutionise the way in which people view and experience our racing product, but it also has the potential to open new revenue streams to the Industry.” said Chairman - Harness Racing Australia, Michael Taranto. “The potential uses of the vision are endless.” Based on the success of this trial, BESTSEAT360 has been invited to present to the governing body of the China racing body responsible for horse racing and wagering on Hainan Island, China. Meek said 5G will be the “game-changer” that makes BESTSEAT360 the ultimate in sports engagement. While harness racing was the “first proof-of-concept”, the technology and product had a “natural fit” with other sporting codes and media coverage. The Alexandra Park trial was successful using 4.5G. “If we had 5G, the full-on experience would be mind-blowing,” said Meek. “Being Kiwis, we are overcoming all obstacles as they present. Working with the team at Spark and Huawei they upgraded the Alexandra Park cell site from 4G to 4.5G to provide us with enough band width to provide the VIPs with an exclusive experience from multiple horses. We have also tested the technology in the Spark 5G Lab.” MacKinnon said, “Alexandra Park has been working with Meek’s company since the beginning of the year and saw the IRT Inter-Dominion as the perfect event to pilot the technology.” “We have provided them with access to our facilities,” he explained. “The horse owners, drivers and staff have been amazingly helpful and realise they will be beneficiaries of the new technology and are part of a world first.” Meek said the test project had been invaluable in identifying and overcoming issues and that real-time, in-race wagering “is absolutely possible” and that the product is easily transferrable to the sports and entertainment world. He said BESTSEAT360 will roll out other world firsts with various sports over the next year and would also concentrate on adding an “AI” (Artificial Intelligence) component to assist users and take engagement to the next level. “We’re talking about smart media for smart phones that gives you the event in real-time, close up from the eyes of those in it the middle of it,” he said. “There is an obvious application to all manner of sports from motor-racing to rugby, cricket to baseball, basketball to netball, Tour de France to crazy extreme sports and a host of other sports. Not only does it offer fans gripping new perspectives from the view of the athlete but also the ability to create gamification to drive fan engagement and also maximise the wagering economy.” Meek said, “Licencing opportunities are underway with sports organisations, telcos and broadcasters in New Zealand and internationally with an investment round also planned early next year.”   Media Release

Harness racing legend and Cambridge Raceway patron, Charlie Hunter, was recognised for his achievements in the sport at an event in Auckland on Thursday night ahead of the Inter Dominion carnival held at Alexandra Park. The long-time servant of harness racing was presented with an award for distinguished service by the Inter Dominion Event Committee and Hunter said the honour was a pleasant surprise. “I had been asked to accept the role as the Inter Dominion ambassador and at the function the other night one thing led to another,” he said. “It was a nice surprise. You don’t do the things you do in your life looking for acclaim and awards, but it is very nice when you are recognised, particularly from an Australasian viewpoint. “I have enjoyed everything I have done in harness racing, whether it be administration, training, or driving.” Hunter remains one of the most successful trainers to have competed in the series, winning three finals and the only trainer to have won both finals in the same year. He won his first Inter Dominion Final in 1971 when he trained and drove Geffin to win the Trotters series, and Hunter said that first series victory was a great thrill.  “I won it with Geffin who was the first four-year-old trotter to win the final. He was a lovely horse. “That was a real pleasure because he was a work in progress at that time. He had a very good season and won two heats and the final.” Four years later, at Alexandra Park in Auckland, Hunter became the first (and to date only) trainer to secure both titles in the same year, winning the Trotters Final with Castleton’s Pride, and taking out the Pacers Final with a horse he labelled as the best he has trained, Young Quinn. “He just did things that other horses haven’t done,” Hunter said. “In the 1975 season, he won 19 of his 22 starts, including the three heats and final of the Inter Dominion and a whole bunch of races prior to going over to Australia and winning top free-for-all pacing races, and then in Canada and the United States. He was just a super horse.” Hunter was unable to take the reins in either final in 1975 due to injury, however, he said it remains one of his most pleasing achievements in the sport.  “1975 was a mixed carnival for the fact that my horse was brought down on the second night and I was out of it as a driver from thereon in.  “But it didn’t stop the pleasure of seeing my team race well and win. That’s what you are trying to train them for.” The 1975 series was also a turning point for talented horseman John Langdon, who drove both horses in the absence of his then employer. Langdon went onto forge his own stellar training career, winning the 1992 Trotting Final with William Dee and subsequently inducted into the Inter Dominion Hall of Fame. “John Langdon was working for me at the time and had been for about three years. John was always a good horseman and he proved it at that carnival,” Hunter said. “The next year I was going to the States and we had started off the season well. I was going to be away for a long time, so I split the team and John took over one of the properties that I had leased and he started up on his own with some of the owners. I had encouraged my owners to go with him and away he went. “Everything worked out well for him.” As well as the three Inter Dominion Final victories, Hunter came close in other years, as both a trainer and an owner. “I was second at Auckland with French Pass back in 1968 and I was also second with Jenner in the early eighties, again at Auckland,” Hunter recalled. “Sovereignty ran a place in the Inter Dominions at Melbourne and then at Auckland we were fourth. He was thereabouts without getting the job done, but he did a lot of good things.” Hunter had been looking forward to contesting this year’s carnival with Group One-winning trotter Lemond, however, the Ross Paynter-trained seven-year-old was ruled out through injury. “He generally races pretty well at Auckland,” Hunter said. “He has set a couple of national records up there for the 1700m and 2400m stand, and has won Group One and Group Two races. “But it was evident to us a few weeks back that he was not going to make it. “He was doing things which he doesn’t normally do. One was making a break at Auckland, and we thought we had that fixed, and then he went to Cambridge for the two mile race and he broke on the first turn. He just couldn’t handle the turns. “We had him checked out by the vets. He went to Cambridge Equine Hospital where they have a scintigraphy scanner. That showed up a stress fracture in the left tibia between the hock and stifle. “That was the obvious cause of pain and it also showed up another smaller issue. He is confined to a stall for six weeks and then confined to a small area for another six weeks, so we are not looking at racing him until next season.” While Hunter is disappointed Lemond has been ruled out, he is still taking plenty of interest in the carnival, particularly with the performance of trainers Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen, who he believes can take out both finals this year. “It will be interesting to see what happens in this championship, particularly with the way Winterfell went on Friday night,” he said.  “Mark has got a real chance of winning both the Pacers and the Trotters series, so it will be interesting to see if he joins me in the title of winning both finals at the one carnival. I wouldn’t count him out.”   Joshua Smith for Cambridge Raceway

Brad Williamson might have missed his plane on the way to the Inter Dominions last night but he still got the chance to fly. Because the Oamaru driver and Majestic Man were airbourne in their heat of the trotting series as they threw down the gauntlet to their rivals with a stunning all-the-way win. After some brilliant but luckless performances at Alexandra Park in the past, Majestic Man was able to find the front last night and Williamson, driving for his trainer father Phil, barely looked around as Majestic Man controlled the 1700m mobile before racing clear of Habibi Inta, Massive Metro and Winterfell. Williamson knows he is lucky to have a serious Inter Dominion winning chance at such a young age but he was also lucky just to be in Auckland at all. “I missed my first plane out of Dunedin but it wasn’t my fault,” Williamson sheepishly said after the win. “I tried to check in and there was nobody at the counters and then nothing went right. “I was lucky to get here at all because there was only one seat on the next plane, otherwise I was going home to watch.” Majestic Man’s gate speed is going to be a handy weapon come the $150,000 final on Saturday week but he has also been superb when coming with one run in races like the Rowe Cup so he has plenty of strings to his bow. The second trotting heat last night, and fourth overall, went to Temporale who has re-emerged after trainer Tony Herlihy struggled to pin down soreness issues which bothered him last season. Almost at his wits end Herlihy sent the former Rowe Cup winner out to friends Michelle Wallis and Bernie Hackett to beach train and they have worked the oracle, with Temporale having been faultless this campaign. He was beaten off the gate last night but soon retook the lead and held the sizzling late run from Marcoola while Paramount King showed his first night win was no fluke his a massive third.   ULTIMATE PERFORMANCE It is going to take a very good horse to deny Ultimate Sniper the Inter Dominion Pacing title in 10 days time. That was the booming message the four-year-old sent to his rivals in the strongest pacing heat last night when he was again three wide for much of the race yet still beat stablemate Cruz Bromac. His win mirrored his stunning first night run when he was three wide for 1400m of his 2200m heat but last night was perhaps even more impressive as he was three wide the entire opening lap. That he could still surge clear at the top of the straight was a graphic example of his incredible stamina and he should only be better over 2700m in Friday night’s last round of heats and the final. Cruz Bromac would have lost few fans in second, with stewards questioning Mark Purdon over failing to hold the parked out position at the 500m mark, with the inquiry being adjourned. Earlier in the night A G’s White Sock continued his remarkable form turnaround since joining Barry Purdon just a week ago when he powered to the lead and was then too good for Chase Auckland. The night was a mixed bag for the Australians though, with Colt Thirty One all but out of the series after being trapped wide and dropping out but My Kiwi Mate, San Carlo and Bling It On still have hopes of making the final. The fields for the final round of heats will be out early this afternoon.   by Michael Guerin

By Garrick Knight    Temporale added his name in the mix of an open Inter Dominion Trotting Championship with an impressive front-running victory over the short course at Alexandra Park on Tuesday night. Beach training appears to have worked the oracle with the seven-year-old son of Monarchy, who has been boarding with Bernie Hackett and Michelle Wallis in Waiuku for the past couple of months. “He’s just trotting so good now,” said Tony Herlihy, who drive the horse and is still officially the trainer. “Bernie and Michelle have done a great job on the beach with him. “His couple of races before the series were really good and he trialed nicely the week before, too.” He was a brave fourth behind Winterfell on night 1 last Friday after first leading, then trailing and moving to parked half a lap from home. But it was straight to the front on night 2 and race favourite Marcoola was unable to bridge the gap from three back on the markers. Now safely ensconced in next Saturday’s $150,000 Final, Herlihy can’t help but cast his eye ahead. “My fella has been terrific, but the longer trip will suit a few of the good horses, too. “I just hope we get no bad luck in the run and have our show. “Massive Metro will suit the 2700 metres and a few of the other boys can stay. “Majestic Man is racing so terrifically at the moment, and Marcoola, too.” Michelle Wallis said Temporale is a low-fuss commodity that is a pleasure to train on loan from Herlihy. “He’s a cool horse to do anything with. He just does what you ask him to and does it well. “We didn’t do much with him between Friday and today, just kept him happy, really.” Wallis and Hackett’s own horse, Massive Metro, made good ground from a hopeless position to finish third over an unsuitable short trip. Perhaps with a touch of bias, she declared he was the stable’s better chance in the final, but that it was a very open race. “Any one of half-a-dozen could win it. “It’s a good bunch of trotters with no real standout in my eyes. “Marcoola might be the one to beat – he’s had two nice soft trips on the markers and has ran home well both times.” Marcoola’s driver, Sheree Tomlinson, was thrilled with his performance and said everything is boding well for the final. “Really happy with him again tonight. He’s so well within himself and is thriving up here. “Probably drawing one isn’t helping us as he just can’t quite go with them early on.” Night 1 winner Paramount King was superb again, looping the field over the last half-lap and pushing the first two home to half-a-length. Co-trainer and driver Joshua Dickie couldn’t have been more pleased with the effort and said it gives him further confidence that the horse is a legitimate chance of winning the final with the right run. Trotters’ points after night 2. 25 Majestic Man, 25 Paramount King, 24 Marcoola, 23 Temporale, 23 Winterfell, 22 Massive Metro, 18 Habibi Inta, 15 Destiny Jones, 14 Bonnie Highlander, 13 Big Jack Hammer, 12 Monty Python, 12 Tough Monarch, 12 Valloria, 10 C K Spur, 10 Sertorius, 8 Pres The Belle, 7 Ronald J, 6 Didjabringthebeers, 6 Kenny’s Dream, 4 Woodstone Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Jonny Turner    All Stars pacer Ultimate Sniper again stamped himself as the horse to beat in this year’s Interdominion pacing series with an incredible winning performance on night two of the championship. A tough run three-wide, before eventually making the parked position, proved a minor inconvenience for the 4yr-old, who remained unbeaten in the series in the hands of co-trainer and driver Natalie Rasmussen. Ultimate Sniper is now the firm favourite for next week’s final – an incredible position for a horse that was not even meant to be in the series. Co-owners Phil and Glenys Kennard revealed after their horse’s 1700m that just a matter of days prior to the championship Ultimate Sniper was destined to be in the spelling paddock, rather than in Auckland. “This series wasn’t on the agenda – he was going to go the paddock for two weeks and go to the Auckland Cup,” Phil said. A freshen up after the horse’s lack lustre run in the Ashburton Flying Stakes has proven to the catalyst for Ultimate Sniper charging to the top of the Interdominion pacing series. “We wanted to go in the New Zealand Cup, but he had to do everything right on the way through to the cup,” Kennard said. “But, when he had that wee glitch in the Ashburton Flying Stakes we had to pull the pin.” “And if he had to have stayed for that last ten days of hard work before the second Tuesday in the month.” “Nat said if we back off him we will see how he comes back through it.” Ultimate Sniper did not just again prove he was back on his best on Tuesday, he produced a performance even his owners did not see coming. “It was just an arrogant display tonight, he has had no favours drawn 7, he was never near the fence going three wide,” Kennard said. “If he had’ve run fourth or fifth tonight I would have been happy, but he just kept coming.” Ultimate Sniper held out his stablemate Cruz Bromac by a head at the finish. Though the margin was small, the win was comfortable, Rasmussen said. “He is just a fighter, he really wants to win for you, give his best, and he still felt good on the line.” “I’m just thrilled with him.” Cruz Bromac was excellent when also working harder than most of his rivals to take second. Mach Shard took third after showing excellent gate speed to cross the pole-horse San Carlo. San Carlo battled in to sixth in the run home with fellow Austrailian Bling It On beating him home to finish fifth behind the fourth placed Classie Brigade. After the completion of Tuesday night’s racing Ultimate Sniper was rated the $2.50 favourite for the Interdominion pacing final by bookmakers. A G’s White Socks ($4.50), Cruz Bromac ($5), and Thefixer ($5.50) are rated closely behind him.  Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Jonny Turner    Otago trotter Majestic Man made a stunning statement on night two of the Interdominions at Alexandra Park last night when thumping his rivals with incredible ease. Driver Brad Williamson sat motionless in the cart in the home straight the trotter trained by his father, Phil, dashed away from a high class field to win by four and a half lengths. The reinsman confirmed the win was as easy as it looked. “He never left second gear tonight, he just cruised it.” “He is just in the zone right now, he loves it here and Dad has done a great job with him.” The way the first 1700m trotting heat panned out meant Williamson’s journey to the races proved more stressful than the race. Williamson missed an earlier drive at Alexandra Park behind Fanny Hill after striking flight troubles. The reinsman was forced to rebook a flight from Dunedin and struck it lucky when securing the last available seat. Master trainer Phil Williamson had Majestic Man in prime condition for last night’s heat after the horse had failed to back up from a short turn around in his previous attempt. Majestic Man struggled in Habibi Inta’s Dominion after going a slashing race for fourth in the New Zealand Free-For-All three days earlier. There were no such troubles when Majestic Man produced his brilliant performance last night just four days after his sensation run for third on night one of the Interdominions. “It was a wee bit different, that was two miles (3200m) and this was basically one.” “He went a huge race in the free-for-all, he was three wide down back, if he had had a better draw he could have won that race.” “We definitely had some concerns after the Dominion, it was just out of character for him to go that bad.” Habibi Inta chased in vain to finish four and a half lengths behind Majestic Man. Though the Paul Nairn trained trotter was comprehensively beaten, his Interdominion campaign took a major upward turn after his head-scratching performance on night one. Massive Metro produced a sound performance to run third, after trailling the quinella makers home. Winterfell ran fourth after getting trapped in the one-one before the home turn and not finding clear air until the race was effectively over. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Garrick Knight    It’s the comeback story of the year. And until now, the reason behind A G’s White Socks’ disastrous Spring has been kept quiet. But after another brilliant win on the second night of the Inter Dominion Carnival – his second in four days – part-owner and usual co-trainer Greg Hope was finally prepared to talk about what had been troubling his stable star. “For the last two-and-a-half months, he’s been scouring constantly,” Hope told HRNZ. “He basically had the shits every day and it would only be exasperated by going to the races. “And the standing starts weren’t giving him much confidence either.” Hope says he tried everything under the sun to curb the problem, but nothing worked. “I tried every probiotic, every antibiotic, every ulcer treatment known to man. “But it still wouldn’t bring it right. “After Cup week I said to the other owners that we have to pull the pin on the Inter Dominions and get him right. “Then, out of desperation, I tried him on a grain-free feed and it just turned him around. Within three days. “He was back pooing right and seemed to be a different horse.” Those three days were the last three days before the final acceptance fee was due for the Inter Dominions. It was a Friday morning and Hope fast-worked him to see if they would change their plans at the last minute. “The $450 was due that day and it was only after he trained super that I thought we might as well have a go. “The fact we were able to fly up on the Monday made it much more attractive as well.” But Hope and training partner/wife Nina decided they would stay home and focus on their horses given there had been a bug go through the stable. “We had to sort through all the issues with them and that meant we couldn’t afford to come away. “That’s the best way to fall out with owners is to head to Auckland with a horse of your own while the ones at home are having issues. “We just felt it was the right to do, and he was never going to miss out at Barry Purdon’s.” The fact A G’s White Socks was a nervous horse “with a history of a crook guts” meant his first choice of Maurice McKendry as trainer wasn’t going to be suitable. “With Maurice having just moved properties and needing to float the horse every day, that wasn’t going to work. “He suggested Barry (Purdon) and once Ricky May said he was only going up for the final night, we decided to offer the drive to Maurice.” Hope confirmed McKendry would retain the drive in next Saturday’s Grand Final. Hope said he, Nina and son Ben were overjoyed watching Tuesday night’s front-running win at home in North Canterbury. “He’s always been a good horse, he’s just turned the corner and is a lot happier now. “He was bolting in the (NZ) Free For All when he galloped and he would have run top four. “In the Flying Stakes he gave them 100 metres and beat half of them home. “This gut problem was exaggerated by his nerves and he was constantly getting himself work up on race day. “It was just such a shame he lost his confidence.” But it’s back now, and he’s vindicating his owners’ decision not to sell a month ago in spades. Connections were offered in excess of $300,000 by American interests, but it was turned down. Hope owns 40 percent of the horse so that is a ringing endorsement of his faith in the horse if ever there was one. “We always knew the horse was up to very best and the money wasn’t enough really with all the owners in him and what we knew he was capable of.” Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

Pure racing, Pure excitement, Pure fun   Momentum is well and truly building for the first ever Fast10 Horse Racing Event being held on 20th December at Addington Raceway, Christchurch.   The Fast10 Horse Racing team were present at the Addington Stables on Friday night to answer any questions after the FAQ’s were sent out to drivers and trainers last week.   The positive feedback has been overwhelming and communication will be keep flowing to ensure everyone is up to speed with the timings.   The team caught up with one of the many advocates, Paul Court, who has been super enthusiastic since he first heard of Fast10 Horse Racing.   Paul said, “It is an exciting concept and the way of the future and will bring new fans to Harness Racing.”   Some of the Fast10 Horse Racing team will also be present at Addington, this Saturday 7 December.   Ever wondered what it’s like to own a horse to race at Addington?   There will be a chance to feel the excitement of ownership along with other fun activities.   Tickets for the Fast10 Horse Racing luncheon event can be purchased at https://www.addington.co.nz/events-centre/events/fast10-horse-racing/   Just $45 per head for lunch and just under 3 hours of horse racing in half the time, double the fun.   For further information on Fast10 Horse Racing, please contact:   Glenn Hames - ghames.qhr@gmail.com or 0272032746 Tony Russell - trussell.qhr@gmail.com or 0274326522   Pure racing, Pure excitement, Pure fun     Jess Smith Communication and Ownership Co-Ordinator | Harness Racing New Zealand Inc

By Garrick Knight    Will he? Won’t he? Whether San Carlo can hold the lead over the sprint trip from barrier 1 presents as the biggest burning question ahead of tonight’s second round of Inter Dominion Pacing Championship heats at Alexandra Park. The Victorian star has never been crossed when drawing barrier one, but co-trainer and driver, Bec Bartley, isn’t about to declare him the leader tonight. “I’d like to stay in front the whole way, but he’s not blisteringly fast out,” she told HRNZ today. “I think he’s been good enough to hold his own in the past so I’ll look to get him really wound up tonight.” That will mean a searching warm-up for the nine-year-old veteran. San Carlo has led 17 times in his career and won 16 of those races, so if he can hold the top over 1700 metres tonight, he does become a key player. But Bartley does warn that the short-course is not ideal. “A mile is not his go so we are lucky we’ve got a draw to be able to give us a chance at getting some good points. “Of course, you want a good draw in every heat but this is the one where we really needed it.” If San Carlo holds the lead that then dramatically increases the chances of Bling It On, who follows him out. But Bartley takes the view that she would rather lead and know what to expect than take a forced trail, which is an unusual circumstance. “I don’t think he’s ever had the opportunity to sit in the trail so it would be interesting to how he does go if he gets crossed. “If we did, it might not be the worst thing because it would put Bling It On three back.” Bling It On is arguably the most lethal sit-sprint horse of his generation and driver Luke McCarthy has advised it was best to forget his round 1 heat performance, when he over-raced in an unfamiliar leading role. “Drawing inside the back, behind the likely leader San Carlo, is just perfect,” McCarthy told HRNZ over the weekend. The most likely candidate to challenge San Carlo for the early leader appears to be Classie Brigade, a natural speedster who finished on nicely from a bad draw on night 1. New Zealand Cup winner Cruz Bromac has superior gate speed to anything in the race, but is drawn the outside of the front line and driver Mark Purdon may opt for a more measured approach in to the first turn. Bartley reported she was very pleased with how San Carlo handled his first look at the right-handed Auckland track. “He was really good; I was quite surprised with how well he handled it. We changed a bit of gear during week and that helped a lot. “My biggest worry was how he was going to handle it but he was near perfect. “He got hanging on the last turn when getting tired but that’s him, he always hangs at home.” In late news for the heat, Tony Herlihy will reunite with Our Uncle Sam 10 days after they combined to win at Alexandra Park, usual driver Anthony Frisby staying in Australia for the birth of his first child. Ultimate Sniper remains the $1.90 favourite for the race, despite drawing one from the outside, with stablemate Cruz Bromac. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

Sharp Down Under harness racing pacer doing extra well in North America. Former Australian pacer Anythingforlove A was seen winning the $15,000 Open Pace at Northfield Park on Monday, for trainer C Brian Loney and driver Simon Allard. The son of Rock n Roll Heaven paced the mile in 1:51.1 making it his 6th win and notching over $130,000 in stake earnings for the current season in North America. While racing Down Under, Anythingforlove was the winner of 19 races and over $374,000 in prize money notably placing at Group level on three occasions and also winning at group level on 3 occasions. With his biggest win coming in the $100,000 Allied Express Sprint in 1:48.7 at Menangle in Sydney Australia. Anythingforlove and driver Aaron Merriman Consistent Down Under gelding continues to excel in North American racing career. New Zealand bred Benhope Rulz won on Saturday night at Yonkers Raceway in the $20,000 pace for current trainer Darran Cassar and driver Brent Holland. Clocking a time of 1:53.4 around the half mile (800m) track, the son of Courage Under Fire was far too good for rivals, proving his ability while racing in his third country. He started off his career racing in New Zealand, but was soon relocated to Western Australia to race successfully, and now presently racing in North America. The 5yos Down Under racing career consisted of 11 wins and just shy of $150,000 in prize money, while impressively winning three of his first four career starts and highlight being winning a $50,000 Group 2 at Gloucester Park in Western Australia.   Monday 25th November   Hollywood Gaming Dayton Raceway OH Nicol Shard N – Time: 1:53.0, Stake: $4,000   Northfield Park OH Anythingforlove A – Time: 1:51.1, Stake: $15,000   Plainridge Park MA Zinny Mach N – Time: 1:53.2, Stake: $14,000   Yonkers Raceway NY Benson Boys N – Time: 1:54.0, Stake: $19,000     Tuesday 26th November   Dover Downs DE Stella A – Time: 1:59.0, Stake: $15,000 Shared Interest A – Time: 1:54.3, Stake: $9,500   The Meadows PA Amelia’s Courage A – Time: 1:51.3, Stake: $20,000   Wednesday 27th November   Dover Downs DE Bettor Trix N – Time: 1:52.3, Stake: $6,500   Plainridge Park MA Stihl N – Time: 1:56.4, Stake: $8,500   Saratoga Harness NY Dibaba N – Time: 1:52.4, Stake: $18,000 Two Fiftyeight N – Time: 1:55.1, Stake: $6,400   Friday 29th November   Batavia Downs NY Empire Earl N – Time: 2:00.0, Stake: $9,000   Harrah’s Philadelphia PA Ideal Lifestyle A – Time: 1:53.1, Stake: $7,000 Islay N – Time: 1:53.0, Stake: $12,500   The Meadows PA Statham N – Time: 1:52.2, Stake: $11,500 Blow a Cloud N – Time: 1:53.1, Stake: $6,600   Woodbine Mohawk Park CA Bettor Be Donna N – Time: 1:53.4, Stake: $26,000 High Rolling A – Time: 2:38.4 (1 3/8 Miles), Stake: $16,000   Saturday 30th November   Freehold Raceway NJ Bobjacks Angle A – Time: 1:56.3, Stake: $4,800   Hollywood Gaming Dayton Raceway OH Three Of The Best A – Time: 1:51.4, Stake: $17,500   Meadowlands NJ San Domino A – Time: 1:50.1, Stake: $22,500   Saratoga Harness NY Khun Ratha A – Time: 1:54.1, Stake: $9,500 Redbank Blaze A – Time: 1:53.2, Stake: $15,000 Fcee N – Time: 1:56.1, Stake: $8,500   Scarborough Downs ME Emperor Montana N – Time: 2:00.2, Stake: $3,000   Yonkers Raceway NY Vapour N – Time: 1:54.0, Stake: $17,000 Ambro Courage N – Time: 1:53.3, Stake: $20,000 Benhope Rulz N – Time: 1:53.4, Stake: $20,000     Sunday 1st December   Scarborough Downs ME Ideal Legacy A – Time: 1:56.4, Stake:    Previous weeks 26th November 2019 + Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 19th November 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 12th November 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 5th of Nov 2019 + Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 29th October 2019 + Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 22nd October 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 15th October 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 8th October 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 1st October 2019 - Down Under Winners with Carter Dalgety 24th Sep 2019 - Down Under Winners with Carter Dalgety 17th Sep 2019 - Down Under Winners with Carter Dalgety 11th Sep 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 3rd Sep 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 27th Aug 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 20th Aug 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 12th Aug 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 5th Aug 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 29 Jul 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 24 Jul 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety Carter Dalgety    

By Jonny Turner    Otago trotter Majestic Man gets the perfect chance to be rewarded for his sensational night one performance in the second round of Interdominion trotting heats on Tuesday. The Phil Williamson trained squaregaiter turned heads when producing a sizzling finish to finish third behind Winterfell and Marcoola at Alexandra Park last Friday. The performance was not just pretty to watch - the 5yr-old produced stunning closing sectionals that made his effort arguably the best of all beaten runners across the heats of both Interdominion series. Majestic Man’s closing splits of 54.6sec (last 800m) and 26.9sec (last 400m) were even enough to have driver Brad Williamson shaking his head. “They were unbelievable times – he just flew,” the reinsman said. Majestic Man gets an ideal scenario to continue the momentum from his brilliant first night run in Tuesday’s second round. The sprint trip of 1700m, a premium number 3 barrier draw and racing right-handed make the race almost tailor-made for the Majestic Son trotter. And Williamson has no plans to waste the opportunity. “We will definitely look to use his gate speed, with a draw like that you have to use it,” Williamson said. “We will come out and if we found the front, that looks the perfect scenario.” “But, other drivers are out there and they will have their own plans.” “My horse has got plenty of gate speed, but a few of the others have plenty of gatespeed, too.” Many expected Habibi Inta to find the front before he put in a lack lustre performance in the first of last Friday’s trotting heats. Williamson said it would be no surprise if driver Blair Orange had the Paul Nairn trained trotter much handier on Tuesday. “Habibi Inta has got a decent amount of gate speed – he has led up in a Harness Jewels.” “It looked like Blair had to go back last week, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him go out hard this time.” Habibi Inta will start from barrier 2 alongside the Phil Williamson owned Kenny’s Dream, who starts from barrier 1. First round runner-up Massive Metro has his early fate resting with the Tony Herlihy trained and driven Kenny’s Dream. All Stars trotter Winterfell, who was extremely keen behind the mobile before his big opening round heat starts from barrier 5. Those wishing to harshly scrutinise Majestic Man’s first round performance may have noticed the trotter put in a rough stride on the home turn before he flew home for third. Williamson said he was initially concerned about the incident, that cost the horse any chance of winning. After analysing the race’s sectionals the driver was not nearly as concerned. “I don’t think it is any concern - it was his first run at Alexandra Park for a long,” the driver said. “And there is no way they will be running home like that in the final, so it’s not a big worry going forward.” Majestic Man has been backed in from $3.20 to $2.60 in fixed odds betting since Tuesday. Winterfell has headed the race market at $2.20, ahead of Habibi Inta ($3.70) and Massive Metro ($10).  Reprinted with permission of HRNZ