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By Jonny Turner    John Morrison will take his junior driver’s premiership quest in to his own hands at Addington on Sunday. Morrison has the chance to extend his one win lead in the national competition with six drives, including two from his own stable. The trainer-driver will attempt a repeat of Standout’s impressive win in his first start from his West Melton barn. A slow beginning was not enough to stop the 4yr-old from powering home to win over 2000m, at Addington last month. Morrison is hopeful Standout can measure up when he steps up in both distance and class on Sunday in race 6. “It was a nice win last time, but this is quite a big step up in class.” “I think he can measure up to them, but it will depend on the kind of run he gets.” “He can’t afford to do too much work, because he is more of a sprinter.” Harrison will make his debut from Morrison’s stable in race 2. The 4yr-old comes in to the 2600m standing start after running third in an Ashburton qualifying trial, last month. Harrison’s lack of ring craft leading in to his debut is Morrison’s biggest concern. “He is a bit of a big, dumb bugger – he is probably six months away from his best.” “But, he is good enough to compete and if he gets away, which he seems to do, hopefully he can hit the line.” “I would say he is a top five chance.” Morrison will reunite will Champagneandwine following her narrow second to Sagano at Addington last weekend for trainer Malcolm Shinn. The standing start specialist steps up from 2000m to 2600m, which Morrison thinks will suit her even better. “The 2600m should suit her even better because she is a stayer, she is a nice mare that is better over the longer distances.” “Hopefully she can step well, which she usually does, and she can be thereabouts.” “She has been really consistent and hopefully she just holds that form.” “We have put blinds on her this week, too, so that should sharpen her up a bit, too.” Champagneandwine clashes with impressive debut winner American Sniper in race 5. Morrison combines with Sunnivue Philleah, who treks north after producing consistent form in Southland recently. Though the junior driver has not driven the mare, he has seen plenty of her recently. “I have driven in a lot of the races she has been in and she has being going nice.” “If we get a nice run somewhere – she is more of a one run type by the looks of her – she should be right there.” Time In A Bottle in race 1 and Gottagettabeer in race 8 look outside chances for Morrison. “Time In A Bottle has been looking for a short distance and she has finally got it.” “She can trot a bit, but you just don’t know which one is going to turn up.” “Gottagettabeer is probably one to watch when the grass tracks start up, I’d say.” Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Jonny Turner     Toliman Lodge proprietors Ken Barron and Blair Orange unveiled a trotter with a good future at Addington on Friday night in impressive debut winner, Cochy Malc. The Dream Vacation 3yr-old continued his dam Cochy Bondu’s perfect record when striding to an effortless win in race 1. Barron confirmed his stable has a decent opinion of the horse. “He is a lovely horse.” Cochy Malc became the fourth winner of four foals his four-win dam has had at the races. That breeding is part of the reason Barron can see his 3yr-old putting together a good record. “If he keeps improving the way he is, with his breeding, he should go up through the grades.” Cochy Malc is a half-brother to Over The Love, who rushed through to open class when winning six of his 19 starts for Barron and Orange. The talented Love You gelding has missed this entire season after being injured ahead of his last start third in the group 3 Southern Lights Trot at Ascot Park in March of last year. “He broke a splint bone on the float on the way down for the Southern Lights Trot and he still ran third,” Barron said. “When we got him home it took us quite a while to figure out why he was sore.” “He has just started fast working again now.” Cochy Malc will try to add to his family’s record while Over The Love progresses towards the races. Barron plans to give the 3yr-old a handful of starts during the winter before freshening him. Barron and Orange completed a winning double when Bettor Grunter took out race 5. The 3yr-old Bettor’s Delight gelding had made steady progress towards the winner’s circle, running second to Arden Messi leading in to the event. According to his trainer, it has been a lack of focus, rather than a lack of ability that has stopped Bettor Grunter from winning before Friday night. “He is one of those big, dumb horses that switches on and off in his races and that has been his problem.” It is hoped that more racing will help the 3yr-old develop his race smarts. Barron was not the only trainer at Friday night’s meeting to notch a winning double. Robert Dunn notched back-to-back victories when Hayden’s Meddle took out race 6 and Kensington Bill won race 7. Hayden’s Meddle held on to win race 6 by a head over Cast No Shadow in an exciting finish to Friday night’s feature pace. The 6yr-old made a sweeping run around the field before hanging tough in the home straight for driver John Dunn. Kensington came with a big finish wide on the track to win for stable junior driver Korban Newman. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

Welcome to the Harness Analyst series where we take a look at New Zealand's harness racing with free previews,tips and reviews of trials and the previous weeks racing. Harness racing hits Addington again today with a nine race program starting at 12:40pm and in this video we highlight some specials and value runners we think can give you a run for your money on a good day of racing. The content and data on this video is provided for informational purposes only Check below the video for our selections for all of the races today for Addington.   Addington Selections 5th July   Race 1 Kahress in good form and mobile suits should run first or second here……That’s The Story ok last start and can go a big race here……Girls Let Loose a question mark on the manners but is a chance if she can trot all the way…..Time In A Bottle nice draw but some of these here are better place at best. Selections:  Kahress  (2),   That’s The Story (4),   Girls Let Loose (3),    Time In A Bottle (1)   Race 2 Franco Nathan he broke and lost his chance last start but workouts prior were good,top selection……Ashes To Ashes nice draw and good third last start. One of the major players in this race…..Praire has run two good seconds and a nice chance to breakthrough for a win today……Suzie Reignmaker good workout win at Rangiora and top driver booked. Can win first up. Selections:  Franco Nathan (5),   Praire (7),   Ashes To Ashes (1),    Suzie Reignmaker (10)   Race 3 Stick Man he strikes a winnable race here and a good chance with the top driver taking the reins…..Vintage Beach normally a good beginner and should be thereabouts with a cosy run on the fence…….Flamboyant a bit one paced but has claims here if the pace is on all the way…..Chloe has not had the best of luck and a better draw here. Dangerous if left alone in front. Selections:  Stick Man  (3),   Vintage Beach (2),   Flamboyant (6),    Chloe (7)   Race 4 Justan’s Sister has the best from in the race and a chance to grab a win here in the junior drivers race…..With Ice mobile will suit and a good chance here with a mistake free run in transit……The Eye Of The Tiger getting better with racing and smaller field suits. Include……Idle Moose has been racing better fields recently and one for longer odds in this race. Selections:  Justan’s Sister  (6),   With Ice (8),   The Eye Of The Tiger (4),    Idle Moose (7)   Race 5 Arocknatthepark broke early last start but normally reliable. Should be hard to beat with a clean getaway…..Stealth Bomber stand suits and a danger to the favourite if he can get to the pegs early…..Pats Dragon has been racing well and is a good chance with luck in the running here…..Blue Chip Delight running on last start from back in the field. Place hopes if he can land closer to the pace. Selections:  Pats Dragon (8),   Arocknatthepark  (2),   Stealth Bomber (3),    Blue Chip Delight (9)   Race 6 Go Davey getting back in the running at his previous starts but has been finishing ok. Winning claims if he can get closer to them before the home turn....Elo Louise holding them before a late gallop at the recent trials. Will be tough to beat with manners….Fynn Frost has been racing well without a lot of luck. Smaller field here will suit and he can win…..Standout easy win fresh up and will be improved. Good place claims here. Selections:  Go Davey (7),   Fynn Frost  (6),   Elo Louise (9),   Standout (2)   Race 7 Jazelle good finish in a strong field on Friday. This looks hers for the taking with a clear run in transit…..Pauls Verdict better last start and he normally holds his form. Can place……Essence Of Easton running on late last start and better draw here. Top three player…..Szybka Lane drawn to get a run through early. Can finish into the placings. Selections:  Jazelle  (10),   Pauls Verdict (5),   Essence Of Easton (4),   Szybka Lane (11)   Race 8 Megarock gets the ace draw to work with and has been running nice races. Top selection……Conquer Me great second last start and only needs manners to be somewhere near winning this…..Kwik Sport good second three starts back. Winning claims with luck in transit…..Mongolian Marshal has been freshened for this. Might start favourite and can win. Selections:  Megarock  (1),   Conquer Me (5),   Kwik Sport (6),    Mongolian Marshal (3)   Race 9 Distinguished Taste better run last start and could be on the way up. Top selection here….. Kayla Maguire good run for second last start and possible leader early. Needed here…..Magical Matty has been running on in her races and draw suits. Good place chance in this…..Machs Mareta disappointing last start but puts in the odds strong performance. Winning chance with one run at them. Selections:  Distinguished Taste  (7),   Kayla Maguire (6),   Magical Matty (2),   Machs Mareta (5)   Best Bet : Jazelle                          Value Bet : Go Davey   Harnesslink Media

By Josh Smith - Harness News Desk    William Wallace kept his undefeated three-year-old record intact at Addington Raceway on Friday when easily accounting for his rivals in the Allied Security Mobile Pace (2600m). The son of Bettor’s Delight was pushed forward early by driver Matt Anderson to take the lead before handing up to last-start winner Bossmaro. William Wallace was given the perfect trip in the trail and cruised to the line to win by 1-1/2 lengths over Seamark, with a further 2-3/4 lengths back to Bossmaro in third. Trainer Mitchell Kerr was delighted with the win and was just happy to get the talented pacer back to the races after a near seven-month absence. “He is a lovely horse, I have got a lot of time for him and it’s just good to have him back on the track,” Kerr said. “He has been off the scene for a while, so it’s just good to see him do his thing and hopefully he carries on with it. “Matty (Anderson) was really happy with him, he just did it under his own steam like he can do. He just does what he has to that boy.” Runner-up in the Gr.2 Diamond Creek Farm 2YO Classic (2200m), William Wallace subsequently finished fifth and sixth in the Gr.1 Garrard’s 2YO Sires’ Stakes Series Final (1980m) as a juvenile before coming of age as a three-year-old. He won first-up this season at Addington Raceway in December and was being set for a tilt at some of the Derbys, however, COVID-19 put an end to those plans. While he wasn’t able to contest any stakes races as a three-year-old, Kerr believes William Wallace has the talent to make it through to the highest level. “I had him ready for the Derbys, but it was just a disaster that they got canned,” Kerr said. “I think he is a very serious horse and he is still learning all the time. He will only get better and better and I am pretty hopeful he should go through the grades.” Kerr had a number of other representatives on Friday and he believes both Change Is Good and Matt Damon, who finished fourth and fifth respectively in the HRS Construction Handicap Pace (2600m), will take a lot of benefit from the run. “Change Is Good went massive,” Kerr said. “She did a bit of work early, she is a tough old thing. She is just in a really hard grade at the moment with the way the races are panning out with the mares. “She is going well and her turn won’t be too far away. “Matt Damon, 20m fresh-up tonight and it was his first run back in a long time. He had a good blow and will improve 10-fold off that. “I am pretty sure he will bounce back next time.” Meanwhile, Kerr was disappointed with Storm’s run when finishing fifth in the Peek Exhibition Mobile Pace (1980m) and he said he will investigate further to see if there are any underlying issues. “Storm went okay, she’s just not going quite as good as what I hoped. Something is just not quite right with her, so we’ll take some blood tests and see what is going on with her. “She is a better filly than that. In saying that she has had a couple of tough runs, so we will go back to the drawing board with her and get her right again and hopefully she will bounce back.”

Friday night could be the calm before the open class storm for John Dunn. But just because he has to wait until next Wednesday to see his and father Robert’s stable stars back in public, doesn’t mean he can win a race or two beforehand. John is preparing to bring trotting superstar Sundees Son back to the workouts at Rangiora on Wednesday along with big-name pacers like Henry Hubert, Classie Brigade and Heroes Square. “It will be good to get them back and they are coming up well,” says Dunn. “I am really happy with Sundees Son and next Wednesday will only be a kick off point but I think if the right races are programmed we could have them all back racing in early August.” The Dunn horses have raced well since resuming after lockdown with eight wins in June as they count down toward Robert’s first premiership. “Obviously they haven’t been the best horses in the barn but almost all the horses we have taken to the races have raced well. “And that looks the case again this Friday.” One of the issues for the Dunn horses is anything but a win can seem disappointing because punter gravitate toward them, especially with no All Stars rivals. A point in case is The Player in race four tonight, who has had two placings in three starts since coming back. “He is actually racing well, he finished third to Matua Tana last start which is good form for this type of race,” explains John. “But his problem if he can over-race when he leads and that is where he likes to be. So hopefully he can settle better with a trail and would be a good chance.” Dunn opts for Cheddar Valley in race nine as perhaps his best of the weekend even though he meets a handy last-start runner-up in J R Bromac. “He has been racing well and came home (last 800m) in 55.4 seconds last start but something came off his back to beat him.” The stable has three even chances in race seven, with Dunn reluctant to choose between Anamajor, Kensington Bill and Carlos Bromac. “They could all win with the right run cause it looks a tricky little race.”   Michael Guerin

By Dave Di Somma - Harness News Desk    A flamboyant finish line flourish told the story for Jason Thomas. The young trainer-driver had just won with a first start trotter Martha Stuart that he’d had “from day dot” “It was really special.” To make it even sweeter the victory at Addington on Sunday in the Non-winners 3YO+ MR46 to MR50 event (2600 metres) was his first winning drive since 2014 when he was still a junior driver. These days his “good mate” John Dunn is his go-to driver though on Sunday he was committed to his own horse and favourite Yuri who ended up running second to Thomas. “It was cool because we have a great group of owners, there’s dad (Ian Thomas), Nick Vertogen, Jed and Greg McIntosh and Stu Dolamore, who’s been a big supporters of ours, so to have a good horse for them …” Thomas had acquired the bay filly (Superfast Stuart – Dusky Wishes) from fellow trainer Bruce Negus as a yearling. “It probably took us two and a half years to get her to the races so it’s been a while coming.” It was Thomas’ second win in a week, after Dunn reined The Diva home at big odds ($31.60 and 8.30) the previous Sunday. With 15 career wins as a driver and nine as a trainer, Thomas has a team of around a dozen in work at Charing Cross, a 45 minute drive from Christchurch where he leases facilities at Elrae Lodge. Next season he’ll go into partnership with his father. “Dad does a lot of chiropractic work on the horses, specially the trotters with their bodies and muscles and joints.” “It’s a big part of what we do.” And more winners could be on their way, he’s looking forward to seeing two-year-old Evangalista in action, hoping she too can do a “Martha Stuart” on debut this Friday.

By Josh Smith - Harness News Desk    Punters backed Bossmaro into an equal money favourite in the Fahey Fence hire Mobile Pace (2600m) at Addington Raceway on Sunday and the Rodger Austin-trained gelding didn’t disappoint his supporters. New Zealand Premiership leading driver Blair Orange took advantage of his ace draw, stoking up his charge to take and early lead. The pair didn’t relinquish their advantage and ran away to a comfortable 3-1/2 length win over Paul’s Verdict, with a further 4-1/2 lengths back to Donegal Gilbert in third. Austin was pleased with the four-year-old’s winning effort and said it came as a relief after a series of promising runs this preparation. “He went really well, I am really pleased with the way he went today,” Austin said. “Once he got out of the gate he got an easy lead and from there I thought he would take some catching.” The son of Auckland Reactor has continued to impress Austin with his progress this preparation, particularly his runner-up performance over 2600m at Addington Raceway last week. “He has been going some quite good races,” Austin said. “He has been racing a lot kinder and has been doing things right. His sectionals have been really good, so he has been knocking on the door.” Austin has been trying to correct a few issues Bossmaro developed late last year and is delighted to see his patience pay dividends on Sunday. “We had a bit of trouble with him after Christmas, after he won a race,” Austin said. “He started pulling quite hard in his races and not doing things right, especially behind the mobile. “We put him on the unruly and he had a few bad runs. The unruly is not always the best place to be, especially over those 1950m races. He just wasn’t getting good runs, but was going okay races. “We did a bit of work with him over the break and changed a bit of gear on him, which seems to have helped. “We got him off the unruly, so that has made a big difference to him.” It was Bossmaro’s fourth run this preparation and Austin said the four-year-old gelding may now head for a quick freshen-up. “We might give him a bit of a breather now because he is a big, skinny fella.” Earlier in the card Austin lined-up another favourite in Idle Stuartia, but the daughter of Superfast Stuart could only manage a fourth-placing after doing a bit of work mid-race. While she wasn’t able to add to her win tally Austin was still happy with the way she performed. “She went near enough, she did a bit of work through the race,” he said. “She probably just lacks a little bit of toughness. She has got a lot of speed but if she has got to do a little bit of extra work she is not quite as good.”

By Josh Smith - Harness News Desk    It may have been a wet winters day at Addington Raceway on Sunday, but it will live long in the memory of Jo-ann Buckland-Stevens. The amateur driver was having just her second raceday outing and was able to pick-up her first win behind Glacier Coaster in the Mike Stratford Memorial Amateur Drivers Mobile Pace (2600m) for trainer Bruce Negus. Buckland-Stevens bided her time at the rear of the field for the majority of the race before electing to press her claims four-wide down the back-straight. Glacier Coaster stuck on resolutely and was able to pick-up her rivals in the home-straight to record a half-length victory over Changearound, with a further 1-1/2 lengths back to Flame Lady in third. The win was made even more satisfying for Buckland-Stevens given the mare is owned by the estate of Stratford, who passed away earlier this month. “It was pretty exciting to get my first win,” Buckland-Stevens said. “I was just trying to be really positive today. I knew she was a lovely horse to drive. I just tried to listen to the instructions and go out there and have fun. “She is just such a nice horse to drive and she is such an honest mare. I was ecstatic to drive her for Mike, especially on a special day with his memorial. “It was also great to get the win for Bruce and Colleen (Negus) and what they have done for me over the past few years.” Bruce Negus was instrumental in Buckland-Stevens’ involvement in harness racing, having introduced her to the sport three years ago, and he has encouraged her to pursue an amateur driver’s license. “We own a garage out at Burnham and Bruce is one of our customers,” Buckland-Stevens said. “He came in about three years ago and Brendan (husband) and a few of the other mechanics went into shares in one of his horses. “I thought I would go and check the horse out and I ended up helping brush all the horses and learnt how to gear up. “One day Bruce said did I want to jump in the bike and it all started from there. As soon as I did (drive a horse) I was addicted and then I started on the road towards an amateur license.” Glacier Coaster has become one of Buckland-Stevens’ favourite horses at Negus’ stable, alongside She’s Allthe Craze who finished runner-up later on the card behind the Colin and Julie DeFilippi-trained Midnight Assassin. “Glacier Coaster is just an honest mare to drive, I like her, and She’s Allthe Craze,” Buckland-Stevens said. “It’s a shame we don’t get to drive them because I like the trotters and she is just an amazing horse to drive.” Buckland-Stevens is enjoying her time out on the track on raceday and said the only goal she has at this stage is to improve on her driving abilities. “I am just trying to drive horses to their capability and listen to the trainer,” she said. “Next season I would like to get as many drives as I can and just continue to improve my driving skills.” 

Welcome to the Harness Analyst series where we take a look at New Zealand's harness racing with free previews,tips and reviews of trials and the previous weeks racing. Harness racing hits Addington again today with an eleven race program starting at 11:54am and in this video we highlight some specials and value runners we think can give you a run for your money on a good day of racing. The content and data on this video is provided for informational purposes only Check below the video for our selections for all of the races today for Addington. NZ Metro Sunday 28th June 2020   Race 1 Four Starzzz Shiraz handy run after an early break last start. Drawn wide but one of the better chances in this field….Flame Lady she stuck on for third in a similar field last start and has winning claims here…..Royal Jester coming in fresh but will get a good run on the fence, one for longer odds…..Pete’s Dash good draw to work with and throws in the odd good race. Nice odds available. Selections:  Four Starzzz Shiraz(9),   Flame Lady (5),   Pete’s Dash (3),    Royal Jester (10)   Race 2 Luminosity yet to break her maiden win but today could be the day. Running big races with not much luck…..Pastrana a gallop midrace put paid to his chances last start. Not the worst in this field….Build A Bridge good second last start but manners a concern, will be in it with no mistakes…..Midnight Memories normally there abouts and is reliable at the start. Place hopes again here. Selections:  Luminosity (11),   Pastrana (5),   Build A Bridge (6),    Midnight Memories (10)   Race 3 Prairie tidy second here last week and he should be right in the fight again here. Top selection…..Buckskin roared home late after a slow beginning last week and only has to step cleanly to be right there……Pembrook Tilly big improvement in form last start and can go on with it. Winning claims…..Southern Storm held up at a vital stage last week and ran on ok. Can win if closer on the turn. Selections:  Prairie (4),   Buckskin (5),   Southern Storm (14),    Pembrook Tilly (10)   Race 4 Missalyssa she got the money at big odds last start and is a good chance to win again with manners…..Tehoro Dazzle gallop midrace was costly last start but she is a chance with luck in the running…Honeys Son big run for second last start with good sectionals. Can go one better…..Sunny Bill last start run not as bad as it looks on paper and he normally begins well. One for longer odds. Selections:  Missalyssa (15),   Honeys Son (12),  Sunny Bill (5),    Tehoro Dazzle (9)   Race 5 Champagneandwine slightly unlucky last week when a horse galloped in front of her and she got forced wide.Winning claims here……Donegal Carrickfin drops back for this and runs have been ok. Can win at decent odds with manners……Sagano disappointing last start but well placed here. Stand start a concern but she will be right there with a clean getaway…..The Diva tidy win last start and this field no stronger. Can repeat with a similar run in transit. Selections:  Champagneandwine (4),   Donegal Carrickfin (2),   Sagano (9),    The Diva (8)   Race 6 American Viking looked to be going ok when he broke last start. One for longer odds here…..Princess Dakota she ran on well after a slow start last week and only needs to bring her manners to go close to winning…..Yuri has run a couple of good seconds this campaign. Winning claims here…..Funky Monkey from a top trotting stable and sure to be ready. Can win with the tote the guide. Selections:  American Viking (4),   Yuri (10),   Princess Dakota (5),    Funky Monkey (7)   Race 7 Conquer Me has a decent draw to contend with and has been ok in his previous runs. One to spice up the exotics…..Samarias Mach tidy third here last week. Can go one better with luck in the running…..Tara Bromac tough run last start and weaker field here. Winning claims…..Deja Blue nice finish for second last start but tricky draw. Can place with luck in the running. Selections:  Conquer Me (1),   Samarias Mach (2),   Tara Bromac (6),    Deja Blue (9)   Race 8 Fortunia easy winner last start with the stand the only worry. Will go close to winning with a clean beginning…..Arocknatthepark nice win last start and manners are good. Should lead and can win……Uber Express building a tidy formline and begins ok. Winning claims with luck in the running….Pats Dragon another with good form who has been stepping well. Place hopes again here. Selections:  Fortunia  (1),   Arocknatthepark (3),   Uber Express (10),    Pats Dragon (7)   Race 9 Bossmaro good second last start and top driver booked. Should go close to winning this….Mordecai unlucky last start after getting knocked over at the 600m. Can go close here with luck in the running….Bird Of Paradise bobs up now and then and draw is good. One for longer odds….Art Banker previous runs have been better than they look on paper. Not the worst at decent odds. Selections:  Bossmaro (1),   Mordecai (8),   Art Banker (5),    Bird Of Paradise (3)   Race 10 Midnight Assassin good win here last week and is improving. Winning claims again here…..Count Eyre has run some good races on the track and could be over the odds at $21.00. Can add some value……With Ice running on from well back last start. Only needs to land closer to them to be a winning chance....That's The Story building a good formline now and has place claims again here. Selections:  Midnight Assassin (14),   Count Eyre (15),   With Ice (17),    That's The Story (12)   Race 11 Adam Patron got back and ran on last start. Might be closer to the lead this week and good winning chance……Playboy Prince eyecatching finishes the last couple and good draw. Can be a major player here…..Madam Frost good run after getting back in the field at her last start. Well placed in this field and is at decent odds…..Loissonya could end up being a good draw and she is not the worst for a place bet in this field. Selections:  Adam Patron (5),   Madam Frost (7),   Loissonya (1),    Playboy Prince (3)     Harnesslink Media

By Josh Smith - Harness News Desk    The Diva will be vying to record back-to-back wins when she contests the Blue Star Taxis Pace (2000m) at Addington Raceway on Sunday. The daughter of Art Major ran away to a dominant 2-1/2 length victory over 2600m at the Christchurch track last Sunday, a performance trainer Jason Thomas was expecting in her previous run. “It was a good win,” he said. “I thought that was going to happen the first week, but she did run in around that last bend. “We just changed a bit of gear around and tried to drive more aggressively and get to the markers, which is what happened, and she won. “She is just a different horse when she can get down on the markers and get in front, or the trail. “We will be aiming to do the same again on Sunday.” Thomas took a lot of confidence out of her last start performance and is expecting a similar effort this weekend. “She has come into it pretty nicely, it is pretty much the same sort of race. She has been in pretty good form and has worked on pretty well since last week,” he said. “The 2000m is ideal for her seeming has she has raced three weeks in a row and last week was 2600m. She has drawn eight, but will come into seven, which will make a difference too. “I reckon she should put in a repeat performance, she just seems in a good space at the moment.” Thomas will hop in the cart himself to steer debutant trotter Martha Stewart in the Book Your Event At Addington & Be In To Win Trot (2600m). The three-year-old filly impressed her trainer with her 2400m trial victory last week and Thomas is cautiously optimistic heading into her debut run. “I have been driving her at the trials and Johnny (Dunn, driver) has got one in the race. She has been going not too bad for me, so I decided to stick with the ship,” he said. “She has been trialling really nice. She has had great manners so far at the trials and workouts. I think she is quite a nice filly.” Thomas has taken his time with the daughter of Superfast Stuart, who he said has had to overcome a few issues. “She did kick the jogger towards the end of last year and we were planning on going to the Oaks with her, but that didn’t work out. “We had a few other niggles with her after that, but we have given her a spell and she has come up really nice. “We are reasonably confident with her going into Sunday. Sometimes the first start for trotters can be a bit tricky, but she is a nice mannered filly and she really wants to do it. “There are a couple that she beat in her trial that she is racing on Sunday. They would have improved a bit as well, but she has too.” While Thomas is confident with the chances of The Diva and Martha Stewart in their respective races, he is less upbeat about the prospects of trotter Shpeedy. The nine-year-old mare disappointed when tailing the field home in her 1980m contest at Addington Raceway last Friday and Thomas said she will need to improve substantially in order to threaten her rivals in the New Trackside Dining Menu At Addington Trot (2600m). “She was quite disappointing the other night, she just didn’t feel like she wanted to be there,” Thomas said. “We will just change a bit of gear around. Her work was good this week but we are just trying to get her to switch on more on raceday. “When she does switch on she doesn’t go that bad, but at the moment it just seems like she is going through the motions a bit. “The blinds have gone on, so hopefully that will sharpen her up, but she will be looking for a lot of improvement.” Thomas has highlighted The Diva as his stable’s best winning chance on Sunday. “The Diva would be my pick, just because she has been out there doing it,” he said. “But Martha Stewart is a good chance.” – Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk

By Jonny Turner     Arden Messi kicked the first of what could be many winning goals when breaking his maiden at Addington on Friday night. The 3yr-old took his first step towards trying to emulate some of the impressive deeds of his New Zealand Cup winning full brother Arden Rooney when pouncing on the leaders to win race 2. They might have identical pedigrees, but there are some striking differences between Arden Messi and his big race winning brother, according to trainer Grant Payne. “Arden Rooney was up and running as a 2yr-old, but we ended up turning him out because he was getting on a knee.” “Arden Messi has taken a lot longer, he couldn’t even really pace when I first got him.” “But, he has just got better and better.” “He is a real nice horse, I like him.” Arden Messi’s continued improvement helped him progress from his solid fourth on debut, three weeks ago, to score on Friday night. The Bettor’s Delight pacer looked green when he was off the bit and going backward on the home turn before rallying in the straight in his first up effort. Thankfully for Payne, the pacer is rapidly improving his race smarts as well as developing his motor. “He is very green, but he is getting better.” “He just seems to improve every time I take him off the place.” Arden Messi’s West Otago breeder-owner John Stiven will soon get the chance to see his pacer close to home. An Ascot Park start is on the cards for the son of Walton Hanover mare, Tosca Hanover. “We will keep going with him through the winter,” Payne said. “John is quite keen to give him a race or two down south, so we will look at that.” Arden Messi is the first full sibling to Arden Rooney that Tosca Hanover has produced since she foaled the New Zealand Cup winner in 2009. Stiven has a 2yr-old full sister and a weanling full brother to Arden Rooney and Arden Messi. Tosca Hanover was served by superstar racehorse turned sire, Betting Line, last spring. Manners were the key to Eurokash taking out the highly anticipated clash of 2yr-old trotters at Addington on Friday night. The Greg and Nina Hope trained squaregaiter and his stablemate Franco Jorik were the only two horses not to make a mistake when filling the quinella in race 6. Eurokash was driven by national junior driver’s premiership hopeful Ben Hope, who also took out race 4 with Midnight Dash. Hope’s double took him to 27 wins for the season, two behind premiership co-leaders John Morrison and Sheree Tomlinson. Hope’s double also saw him move from $2.80 to $2.20 in the premiership market opened by the TAB on Friday. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Jonny Turner    Quality age-group racing is set to return in emphatic style at Addington on Friday night with an epic clash of two-year-old trotters. A seven-horse field of squaregaiters will reignite New Zealand’s two-year-old racing after harness racing’s lockdown hiatus when they do battle over 1980m. The scintillating clash will give trainers Greg and Nina Hope the chance continue their brilliant late season form when they start Eurokash, Summer Lovin and Franco Jorik. Stable junior driver Ben Hope will attempt to keep his own hot form going when he drives Eurokash. Though he would not want to switch and drive any other horse in the race, he admits there is little between the trio his parents trains. “I am really happy with Eurokash, but it would be unfair to say he is better than Summer Lovin and Franco Jorik,” Hope said. “They are three lovely horses.” All three of the Hope’s runners come in to race 6 after impressing in last start wins at Addington. Eurokash took his unbeaten run on the trials track to race day when putting more than five and a half lengths on a maiden field late last month. The two-year-old fitness has been kept up to the mark by the Hope stable since and he is ready to show his best on Friday night. “He had that race a few weeks ago and his work has been really good since, so he is ready.” Franco Jorik comes in to race 6 with a similar gap between runs after beating subsequent winner, Mighty Flying Rocker, a day after Eurokash’s victory. “Franco Jorik is the most natural two-year-old of our three,” Hope said. “He always looked like he was going to run early and he is a nice horse.” Summer Lovin brings the most recent form of the Hope trio. He turned heads with huge, but far from perfect performance when galloping across the line more than ten lengths in front of his rivals at Addington last week. While he has clearly got a motor to match his stablemates, he may not quite be able to match them on manners. “Summer Lovin has got a lot of ability, he has got a good staying motor and he certainly showed that last week,” Hope said. “But he is not a natural two-year-old, I remember as a yearling we thought he would be a three-year-old before he raced.” “Eurokash and Franco Jorik would be pretty much the same on manners.” “They don’t generally put a foot wrong in work, but they are two-year-olds and it is much different at the races.” Winter star Matua Tana will attempt to make it four wins in a row in race 8, Friday night’s feature trot. The trotter sealed a hat-trick of wins by reeling off a sensational 27.6sec last 400m to seal a winning hat-trick at Addington last weekend. “Initially we were not going to back him up, but when we saw it was a small field and pretty much the same field he beat last week we thought we would line up,” Hope said. “His work has been good and there is no reason he shouldn’t go another good race again.” Midnight Dash ran second behind Matua Tana last week, which holds him in excellent stead ahead of race 8. “I thought he was really good last week running on that fast quarter,” Hope said. “Without being disrespectful to the opposition, because there are some nice ones in there like Chloe Rose and Carnegie Hall, this looks a drop in class for him and he should be hard to beat.” The Hope stable also line up Mossdale Art, who has not had much racing luck in three post-lockdown runs, in race 10. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

Welcome to the Harness Analyst series where we take a look at New Zealand's harness racing with free previews,tips and reviews of trials and the previous weeks racing. Harness racing hits Addington again tonight with a ten race program starting at 5:05pm and in this video we highlight some specials and value runners we think can give you a run for your money on a good night of racing. The content and data on this video is provided for informational purposes only Check below the video for our selections for all of the races tonight for Addington. Addington 26th June 2020 Race 1 Where’s Daddy got too far back when resuming but better placed here.Can win…..Jaffa Josh tricky draw but the small field will help. Can pick them up late…..Prospect Park he should get a good run in transit from the ace draw and is a good place chance in this field…..Hot Starff nice third here last week and can run in the money again with a similar effort. Selections:  Where’s Daddy (6),   Prospect Park (1),   Jaffa Josh (10),    Hot Starff (8)   Race 2 Beaudiene Hustler has been unlucky and has gate speed. Can run top three here with luck…….Twilight Bromac disappointing last start but good when he ran second here fresh up, include….Fast Ace he should get a good run through from the draw and is in good form. Winning claims if he can clear traffic….Reinimin Patron good finish for third last start and will be running on if the pace is on. Selections:  Beaudiene Hustler (4),   Twilight Bromac (2),   Fast Ace (10),    Reinimin Patron (12)   Race 3 Midnight Dash solid second here last week and this is arguably easier. Top selection……Carnegie Hall easy winner here last start and mobile helps again, include….Jimmy Carter up from the South and was a mistake maker last start. If he brings his manners he can place here…..Clyde he crossed them off the gate last start and beat them up the passing lane. Look for similar tactics here. Selections:  Midnight Dash (6),   Carnegie Hall (11),   Clyde (7),    Jimmy Carter (12)   Race 4 Crackasmile overdue a win and gets her chance in this field.Top selection……Neyveli Franco interrupted trip at her first start but will be better for it, can run a place at good odds……Sweet Belle she looks to have some speed but tricky draw. A chance if she gets a drag into it…..La Rosa not far away at her first start and similar draw here,include. Selections:  Crackasmile (3),   Neyveli Franco (4),   Sweet Belle (9),    La Rosa (2)   Race 5 Storm tidy win last start and should be improved. Likely winner again and will start favourite……Roll The Dice has been unlucky although slightly disappointing last start. Better draw here and one for longer odds…..Jazelle did some work but finished ok last week. Can place…..Longview Lady good run last start and weaker field to contend with here. Can get some money. Selections:  Storm (6),   Roll The Dice (2),   Jazelle (5),    Longview Lady (7)   Race 6 Summer Lovin big win last start and no reason he will not go close again here.Top selection….Time Up The Hill tidy winner in fast time at her first start and should run top three again here……Eurokash has a big reputation and will start a worthy favourite in this race……Franco Jorik getting better with racing and another good chance again here for the Hope stable. Selections:  Summer Lovin (7),   Time Up The Hill (5),   Franco Jorik (6),    Eurokash (8)   Race 7 Fabrizio back to the mobile will help after a bad gallop last start will start favourite and be hard to beat…….Franco Niven looks a danger to the favourite with a good run in transit….Lulu Le Mans she should get a cosy run from the draw and can run a place in this field……Mikey Maquire will be improved with racing and one to add some spice to multiples. Selections:  Fabrizio (4),   Franco Niven (6),   Lulu Le Mans (2),    Mikey Maquire (8)   Race 8 Madeleine Stowe tidy finish last start and only needs manners to be a good chance in this field…..Matua Tana stand start still a worry but he has a big motor. Wins again if he brings his a-game…….Overzealous ok last start but gets a favourable draw to work with. One for value……Fanny Hill well supported last start and only battled. Will be fitter and a chance at decent odds. Selections:  Madeleine Stowe (5),   Matua Tana (11),   Overzealous (2),    Fanny Hill (1)   Race 9 Rocknroll Max disappointing effort last start but his runs previous were super and leading junior in the sulky.Include….Kensington Bill unlucky last start and looks to be coming back into form. Can get some money here…..Go Davey back in the front row draw and his record here is ok. One for longer odds....Franco Texas has gate speed and good second last start. Not the worst at decent odds Selections:  Rocknroll Max (8),   Kensington Bill (5),   Go Davey (4),    Franco Texas (6)   Race 10 Soundslikeart she has been getting back in her races but finishing off ok. Winning claims with luck in the running…..Eastwood Ideal another good run to place last start and he can repeat with a similar effort in this field….A Delightful Act lands a decent draw and should be lead or trail. Can win…….Rocknroll Rod he ran them along in front to score last start and possibly similar tactics here. Chance again. Selections:  Soundslikeart (10),   A Delightful Act (1),   Eastwood Ideal (5),    Rocknroll Rod (8)   Harnesslink Media

By Dave Di Somma - Harness News Desk    The joy of winning his 50th race for the season was written all over Robbie Close’s face.   “It was pretty incredible really,  getting to 50 is not easy”, he said. After driving Jenabella  ($11.40 and $3.10)  to victory in race 3 at Addington on Sunday Close celebrated the achievement by poking his tongue out in the direction of Blair Orange who’d run second with Pembrook Tilly. It’s his version of the Pukana that is the trademark of both Blackcap Ross Taylor and jockey Michael Walker.   “I only do that in some races, the ones I’m happy to win on.” The win is the latest milestone in a season that his best yet, despite the two month break because of the COVID-19 lockdown. Previously his best was the 42-win season he had in 2015. That was the year he was New Zealand’s Champion Junior Driver, and won the Australasian Young Drivers Championship as well. Career wise Close – or “The Goose” as he’s nicknamed -  has won 277 races from 2976 drives for a UDR of .1728 though his strike rate this season has been .2252.   Two horses stand out in the 50 victories, Ariella’s win in the Caduceus Club of Southland/Alabar two-year-old Fillies Classic at Ascot Raceway on March 7 and Splash Cola beating the likes of Marcoola, Enhance Your Calm and Pres the Belle at Addington on February 28 for his employer and good mate Regan Todd. In both races Close was snookered three back on the fence, and both won at double figure odds (Ariella $19.40 and $6.10) and Splash Cola  ($16.60 and $3.90). “Next season I just want to do the same – just keep the winners ticking over.” Though he does have one more specific target. “I’d really like to win a Group One.” He isn’t fussy – any Group 1 will do -  and we all know how he’d celebrate that. 

By Josh Smith - Harness News Desk    Ricky May and his golden helmet were back in the winner’s circle at Addington Raceway on Sunday in what has been a remarkable comeback. In bone chilling scenes at Omakau in January, the champion reinsman collapsed unconscious in the sulky mid-race and came close to death. It has been a steady return to the sulky since then and just five months after the harrowing incident he has not only returned to raceday driving, but to the winner’s circle as well. It may have been by the barest of margins, but May was able to get the Brendon Hill-trained Oaxacan Dream up the passing lane in the Commodore Airport Hotel Mobile Pace (2600m) to nab Deja Blue on the line by a head. The moment meant a lot to May who said he was rapt with the reception he got when he returned to the winner’s circle. “It’s great to be back in the winner’s circle, it has been a while,” he said. “Everyone has been great. The crowd even clapped after the race, so that was pretty cool.” May said the win was made even more special given the fact it was for close friend Hill, who May won two Gr.1 New Zealand Cups (3200m) and a Gr.1 Miracle Mile (1609m) for with star pacer Monkey King. “Benny is my main trainer. Between him and Laurence (Hanrahan) they have been really good friends to me,” May said. “It was really nice to get the win for Benny. He was pretty emotional about it as well, so that was great.” It has been a long road to recovery for May, but he said it didn’t take him long to get back out onto his farm and progress back into the cart. “The first month to six weeks (after the incident) I had a lot of broken ribs, so it was pretty hard going. But I slowly wound into it,” he said. “I started working on the farm when it was harvest time. I did that with a bit of help and it has gone on from there. “I have been driving horses for the last three months at home. Then Benny and Laurence took their horses to Ashburton, so I went and drove them there. That was the start of it all.” May was overwhelmed with the media attention he received prior to his raceday return last week and he said he is pleased to finally get that first win back on the board. “It was a big media thing when I first started,” he said. “I had a pretty good night, but I couldn’t win a race. I didn’t think I did a lot wrong, you have just got to have a decent horse to win.” He got the rub of the green on Sunday and he said his phone has been red hot ever since from well-wishers. “Everybody has been great. I have received so many texts and phone calls I have got to reply to,” he said

By Jonny Turner    Rangiora trainer Andrew Stuart has four runners at Addington on Sunday that will be out to continue his brilliant run of recent form. Stuart has scored a win with his small team in three of the four wins since harness racing resumed after lockdown with Crackabrie, Galleons Connoisseur and Ohoka Matty. Stuart will be in a unique position when Galleons Connoisseur seeks another victory in race 12. The 5yr-old will have to beat out two other horses the trainer also has a share in. Stuart races both the Ken Barron trained Plutonium and the Regan Todd trained Hells Shadow. Galleons Connoisseur goes in to the race in winning form after cleaning up a rating 40-45 feild at Addington last weekend. Stuart is hoping driver Ricky May can get his colours in to the winner’s circle. “It is a jump in class, he probably beat an average maiden field last time,” the trainer said. “But, he is definitely going well and he tries hard.” “He might just lack a bit of high speed, but he has the man on to get a bit of luck – Ricky May.” Galleons Connoisseur opened the roughest of Stuart’s trio in fixed odds betting at $21. Plutonium was rated the $4.60 equal favourite with Bossmaro, ahead of Hells Shadow ($8.50). Guido Da Sienna looks the horse to beat when he starts from Stuart’s barn in race 11. The 4yr-old ran home strongly for second behind Hidden Delight at Addington, last weekend. Guido Da Sienna may need luck from barrier 1 on the second row of the mobile, but Stuart has full confidence in driver Blair Orange finding a run for his horse. “Having Blair on makes a difference, he is a freak.” “On his run last week he should be hard to beat.” Guido Da Sienna was rated the $3.30 fixed odds win favourite for race 11 on market opening. It's A Shawthing was a beaten favourite after galloping early then failing to run on at Addington three weeks ago following an eye catching trial run. The 5yr-old has been freshened and is ready to show his best if he can bring his manners on Sunday. “He has definitely got the ability, he just hasn’t put it all together.” “He missed away in that trial, so that might have flattened him a little bit.” “But he seems all good now.” It's A Shawthing opened at a $10 price to win race 2, behind the $3.50 favourite, For Today. Cheddar Made Beta failed to fire in his first run since lockdown at Addington a fortnight ago. Though the 5yr-old may struggle to beat the favourite Tom Martin, Stuart expects an improved effort. “He trialled well before his first race back.” “He was a bit disappointing there, but then you look at the form out of the race with Team Kiwi and Ohoka Matty winning.” “He also might have needed that race a bit, he had been out for a while.” “He is definitely a place chance, but I don’t think he can beat Tom Martin.” Ohoka Matty started the weekend off well for the Stuart stable. The 7yr-old reeled off a sizzling 55.4sec last 800m to win on Friday night. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

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