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By Jonny Turner    A wide draw looks the only thing that can stop Vacation Hill’s recent progress in tonight’s Sires' Stakes Classique at Addington. The Kevin Townley trained 3yr-old worked herself in to consistent form before being the first filly home in Cracker Hill’s Hambletonian Classic at Ashburton last weekend. The Muscle Hill trotter powered home stylishly, leaving rival Tailored Elegance in her wake, to run in to fourth group 3 feature. That effort not only continued her excellent run of top five placings, but showed how far Vacation Hill has come since first stepping out in August. “I was very pleased with her in the Hambletonian, she has come right at the right time with all of the good racing coming up,” Townley said. “I couldn’t be happier with her.” “It took her about five starts to get everything together and get organised and her last three have been really good.” Drawing the outside of the front line in barrier nine looks the biggest challenge Vacation Hill has in continuing her progression in tonight’s listed 1980m feature. “Its a very tough draw,” Townley said. “It will depend where she ends up from there.” “It is a nice crop of fillies and there is a nice bit of depth there.” “But, on what she has done I would think she up with any of them if things went her way.” Tailored Elegance disappointed when battling in to seventh in the Hambletonian Classic. Co-trainer Natalie Rasmussen reported on her stable’s website the wet Ashburton track could explain her filly’s flop. “Tailored Elegance was certainly disappointing last week when I was expecting a lot better, but the track was crap and that could have been the story.” “Actually she has had two starts on wet tracks and gone poor both times so back at Addington I would be expecting a lot better.” Tailored Elegance has a major draw advantage over Vacation Hill in barrier 3. The All Stars 3yr-old leading contender, Chloe Rose, inside her in barrier 1. Townley also starts Immer Besser in race 8. The filly ran a distant third behind impressive debutante Heroes Square at Addington last week. “Heroes Square really put us in our place last week,” the trainer said. “But, back to a normal looking maiden race this week she looks like she should be up to them and a nice chance.” Heroes Square will start from barrier 1 in another of tonight’s features at Addington, the Lazarus Stakes. Heroes Square’s main danger, Minstrel will start at the opposite end of the front line of the mobile in the 1980m event in barrier 6. Minstrel was brilliant in two spring runs in Southland, winning in smart times at Gore and Winton. The David and Catherine Butt trained 3yr-old showed he was ready to resume when beating leading 3yr-old One Change in a workout at Rangiora last week.  Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

Natalie Rasmussen isn’t expecting Princess Tiffany to be gifted tonight’s $100,000 New Zealand Breeders Stakes at Addington. That doesn’t diminish her confidence the hot favourite can win and earn herself a trip to Sydney but it might not be the comfortable watch many punters expect. Princess Tiffany is $1.40 in the Breeders after returning from a long layoff by easily beating many of these last start over 1980m when she was able to stroll to the front and control the race. Rasmussen, who co-trains the multiple group one winner and will drive her, says Princess Tiffany has improved with that outing but she expects more early challenges tonight. “I don’t think the other drivers will just hand it to her this time,” says Rasmussen. “I think the two drawn inside her might be happy to trail but other horses like Wainui Creek, Step Up or Bettors Heart drawn wider might have a crack early. “So while I am confident she can win I might not be as easy as last time.” While multi punters or big players might be happy to take the $1.40 for Princess Tiffany others may look for different ways to make money out of the race, with the natural option looking to be Ivana Flybye at $2.20 a place drawn the ace. If Princess Tiffany is able to run straight to the front and stay there that could be good money but if Rasmussen is right and there is more early pressure than the Ivana Flybye trail and run second theory may not be so logical. If the market is right and Princess Tiffany does win then she will earn automatic entry into the A200,000 Ladyship Mile in Sydney on March 7 and she would head there to take on arch-rival Belle Of Montana. Rasmussen and partner Mark Purdon hold the key to most of the features at Addington tonight with Amazing Dream expected to continue her domination of the three-year-old fillies season in the $150,000 Sales Series Pace. “She is working really well and even if she doesn’t lead she should trail at worst.” Another Masterpiece is fresh up since the Auckland Cup on New Years Eve but has been working so well Rasmussen says she will not be scared to put him into the race from a wide draw, even though he meets some fit, hard-running rivals. But the $30,000 Trotters Free-For-All looks potentially more challenging for the All Stars with Marcoola and Valloria genuine threats to their pair of Enhance Your Calm and King’s Landing. “Our two are trotting well but it won’t be an easy race,” offers Rasmussen. “I’d favour Enhance Your Calm slightly out of our two.”   Michael Guerin

The curse of winning pacing’s greatest races has claimed its latest victim. New Zealand Cup winner Cruz Bromac has been sidelined for the rest of the season by a fetlock injury and his entire career may now even be in doubt. The injury was revealed by trainer Mark Purdon yesterday with the one-time favourite for next month’s Miracle Mile still heading to Sydney, but for a four-month spell on the NSW property of one of his owners. “It is a fetlock issue and the kind of thing a lot of horses his age might get,” explains Purdon. “He is a horse who has raced at a very high level for a really long time and we hope he comes back but that won’t be until next season and we would know if he makes it back until after he has had his spell.” It is only three months today since Cruz Bromac, beautifully driven by Blair Orange, scored the greatest win of his career in the New Zealand Cup, adding it to the NZ Free-For-All he won the season before. He has also been hugely competitive in two Inter Dominion series, albeit his Final chances at both ruined by bad draws, and yet he is still a touch under-rated for a horse with 23 career wins and over $1 million in earnings. His last outing was in the Auckland Cup, where he finished fifth, before heading back to Canterbury to prepare for the Miracle Mile. Cruz Bromac joins an quite remarkable list of open class stars to be sidelined by injuries in the last 16 months dating back to Thefixer’s win in the 2018 New Zealand Cup. He has struggled on and off with hoof problems since and while he had a strong Australian summer last year, Thefixer hasn’t won a race this season and looks to be heading to the paddock because of his nagging foot issues. Turn It Up won that season’s Auckland Cup and had a good rest of his four-year-old season, winning the Jewels, but has missed the entire of this year because of injury. Spankem, who won last year’s Miracle Mile and finished second to Cruz Bromac in the NZ Cup, has also been sidelined although his prognosis sounds promising. And then Ultimate Sniper, who was unbeaten in the Inter Dominions in Auckland in December, broke down after the series and while he is expected to make it back to the track it means that almost every major group one pacing race winner for older horses in New Zealand in the past 16 months has succumbed to injury at some stage. “We have had a bad run with them but they are all different types of injuries so I am not sure what we can do about it,” says Purdon. “To be honest the only thing I can put it down to is how hard the horses race these days, they go so quick in every race.” Purdon will be hoping his latest star, Auckland Cup winner Self Assured, can dodge the curse after he return to winning form at Menangle last Saturday night. He sat parked to win in 1:50.3 as his lead to the A$200,000 Chariots Of Fire on Saturday week, likely to be followed by the A$1 million Miracle Mile on March 7. Self Assured as beaten twice, albeit brave both times, in Victoria recently but Purdon thinks he is back to his best form and with strength to match his speed he may prove better suited to Menangle mile racing than many Kiwi pacers. The stable has Chase Auckland and Stylish Memphis, who Purdon is caretaker trainer for, racing at Menangle this Saturday as they are aimed at the Miracle Mile and NSW Oaks (February 29) respectively. Before then premier racing returns to Addington on Friday where Princess Tiffany is hot favourite to win the Breeders Stakes, victory in which would give her direct entry to the A$200,000 Ladyship Mile at Menangle on March 7 and another shot at her arch nemesis Belle Of Montana. A G’s White Socks continues his Miracle Mile build-up in the A$50,000 Terang Cup on Saturday night while Kiwi trotters Massive Metro and Temporale tackle the A$50,000 Knight Pistol at Melton on Friday night.   Michael Guerin

By Jonny Turner    Trotting stallion Father Patrick got his New Zealand career off to a brilliant start when La Reina Del Sur won at Addington on Friday night. The All Stars filly notched her sire’s first win with his first starter when taking out the first 2yr-old trotters’ tote race of the season. La Reina Del Sur put in a late dive to nab runner-up Royal Del and deny sire Royal Aspirations from notching his first winner with his first starter. Scoring his first win in New Zealand was a mere formality for Father Patrick given the wave of success he has produced in North America. Nevele R Stud, who stand the stallion in Australasia via frozen semen, is delighted their son of Cantab Hall is on the board, general manager Ged Mooar said. “We are really happy.” “First starter, first winner and she was pretty professional.” “She is a beautifully bred filly and she had been trialling pretty well.” La Reina Del Sur is one of 28 New Zealand bred 2yr-olds by Father Patrick. If reports on his stock are accurate, the filly certainly will not be his only winner among them this season. “The feedback we are getting from his 2yr-olds is really positive,” Mooar said. La Reina Del Sur is from the talented former All Stars racemare Escapee and is bred and owned by Trevor Casey. Another of the progeny of Father Patrick and a talented former All Stars mare is among the tiny group of yearlings the sire will be represented by at this year’s national yearling sales. Just four Father Patrick yearlings will be offered – all of which will go through the ring in Christchurch. The stallion produced just 12 live foals in New Zealand in the 2018-19 breeding season, before his popularity skyrocketed in the Northern Hemisphere. A colt from Hot Pants, offered by Spreydon Lodge, which is also managed by Mooar, is among the draft. Colts from Kiwi Girl, Moment Of Beauty and a filly from Rosedorae will also be offered. The success of Father Patrick’s yearlings at sales in North America has been well documented after a full brother to star trotter Greenshoe sold for $US1,100,000 at Lexington, late last year. The first public offerings  Father Patrick’s Australasian yearling crop of this season went through the ring at last weekend’s Melbourne trotting sale. Four fillies sold at an average of $A36,875. Many more yearlings are set to be offered at next year’s yearling sale after Father Patrick served a what is thought to be a record book, this season, for a stallion standing via frozen semen. The book of 126 mares included a high number of quality producers, Mooar said. The sale of Always B Miki’s first crop of yearlings in New Zealand could bring more excitement to Nevele R Stud at the upcoming yearling sales. The stallion has 20 yearlings in the sale, with 14 being offered in Christchurch and six in Auckland. The stock of Always B Miki have been popular at yearling sales in North America and Australia, recently. His progeny that have sold at the recent Brisbane and Melbourne sales have fetched an average price of A$32,307.  Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Jonny Turner    Talented, but temperamental trotter War Admiral has given trainer Michael House an interesting ride leading in to his impressive first up win at Addington on Friday night. The 5yr-old produced a big win in his first start in House’s colours when holding out The Dominator in a hectic feature trot. War Admiral transferred to House’s barn after having his last start behind Sundees Son at the Harness Jewels for Southland trainer Tony Stratford. Since arriving, the trotter has tested the patience of House and his staff. “He is an interesting horse, I am only a recipient of all of the hard work Tony Stratford has done,” the trainer said. “He would have been an awful horse to have had for the first two years of his career.” “Tony must have done a fantastic job to get him to where he did and get him educated and raced up and getting him winning.” “He is just not an easy horse.” House credited his staff for helping War Admiral calm his wild tendencies since arriving in his stable. “My team has done a great job with him, the girls have spent a lot of time with him and made him really manageable.” “They all love him, they all think he is a cuddly teddy bear now.” “Wherever you go in this game there are horses that challenge you and he has been a horse that has challenged anyone that has worked with him.” War Admiral was sent north by his Southland owner-breeders Kenny and Jo Baynes with the hope he could take his career to a new level. “Kenny has great faith in the horse, he is the one pushing the barrow of the horse and you have got to admire the faith he has in him,” House said. Punters had no qualms about backing War Admiral in to a $3.50 win price despite the trotter giving away a race fitness advantage to his rivals. The Skyvalley trotter was fit and ready to win, meaning his fitness will not significantly improve following his victory. However, House expects general improvement through the horses manners and tractability.   “He was pretty ready,” the trainer said. “Overall, in the big scheme of things he will improve – we have got a couple of wee things to work on.”  “He is the sort of horse on the big tracks when they are going a bit he will be competitive.” Star performer Princess Tiffany added another group race to her glittering resume when easily winning the group 2 Premier Mares Championship on Friday night. Driver and co-trainer Natalie Rasmussen secured a dream run in front for the returning 4yr-old after they speared to the lead at the start. Princess Tiffany reeled off a slick 26.6sec second last 400m to set her rivals an impossible task to catch her. The All Stars mare scored by a length over Bettor’s Heart. Step Up stuck on well for third after sitting parked.  Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Jonny Turner    Leading filly Spellbound will attempt to get her summer campaign back on track at Addington tonight. The Robert Dunn trained 3yr-old put in a performance too bad to be true when she tired from the 600m in Amazing Dream’s Sires Stakes Championship at Alexandra Park, last month. Spellbound was found to have been suffering from a virus, which did not show up leading in to the group 1 event. “It was one of those ones that was out of the blue – we couldn’t pick it,” Dunn said. “She was working great and she was eating great.” Spellbound returned to Dunn’s Woodend Beach stable after her northern campaign. The filly has pleased the trainer’s son, John, who manages the southern base and will drive Spellbound from barrier 8 in race 1.  “She seems really good now, Johnny is pretty happy with her,” Dunn said. “She will obviously need this race this week and then she has the Sales Series race in a couple of weeks.” “She has drawn out a bit, so I don’t think Johnny will be doing anything drastic at the start, he won’t want to knock her around.” The Dunn stable start two of the leading chances in race 8 in Spot On and Hayden’s Meddle. Spot On beat rivals Bettathanfast and Mongolian Cavalry at Addington last week. “He would have to be a great chance again, it is not much of a different field to last time,” Dunn said.  “He is just a nice horse all round.” Hayden’s Meddle comes in to the race after running second to his stablemate, Stars Tonight, in the Marlborough Cup.  Star mare Princess Tiffany will have her first start as a 4yr-old in tonight’s group 2 Premier Mares Championship. The All Stars filly has looked ready to resume when reeling off slick sectionals to win two trials leading in to her resumption.  Despite that, co-trainer and driver Natalie Rasmussen is weary about the task in front of Princess Tiffany.  “She is really well and fit but I am worried about her lack of racing and I fear she could be vulnerable in the late stages because of that,” she said on her stable’s website.  “The leadup race that could have suited her is restricted to keep mares like her out of it.” Princess Tiffany opened the hot $1.40 favourite for the 1980m feature.  Father and son trainers Peter and Tom Bagrie start two of the main challengers to Princess Tiffany. Peter lines up Bettor’s Heart from barrier 12 and Pressed For Time starts from barrier 7 for Tom.  Though the mares do their trackwork together, they are difficult to compare as they are contrasting types.  “They are both class mares, I will say mine is the best and Dad will say his is the best,” Tom said. “It is hard to compare them, because they are different.”  “Pressed For Time is a great stayer and I think she would be able to sustain her speed for a long time.” “Bettor’s Heart is a sit sprinter that has got a bit tougher over time.” Bettor’s Heart stuck on well for second after she sat parked outside star mare Belle Of Montana in the group 1 Queen Of Hearts, three starts ago.  The 6yr-old then beat a moderate field at Alexandra Par,  before tuning up for tonight’s race with a solid fourth behind rival Enchantee at Addington, last week. “We were pretty happy with her run last week because she probably needed that run and she should improve a lot from it,” Bagrie said. Pressed For Time goes in to the Premier Mares Classic after making a perfect two-from-two start to her 4yr-old term. Though she is already a group 2 winner, tonight’s race will be her toughest career test. “Obviously there are some nice mares in there and we are optimistic that we will be able to measure up,” Bagrie said. “She has been working great with Bettor’s Heart.” Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Jonny Turner    All Stars trotter Kings Landing will need to call on his class when steps out for the first time this season at Addington on Friday night. Each of his rivals will have a significant race fitness edge over the 5yr-old, when he starts for in a competitive 1980m feature trot. Kings Landing has looked to have thrived since his last start at the Harness Jewels when winning two trials and a workout ahead of his return from a decent winter spell. But, driver Tim Williams is weary that nothing quite gets a horse ready to take on a smart field like the benefit of race fitness. “His class is going to take him a wee way, but it is definitely not going to be easy taking on some of those seasoned horses first up.” “That would be the only concern.” “The way the draws have fallen, being preferential, that is in his favour.” “It won’t be easy, but if he got the right run and the race unfolded to suit, him he is definitely good enough.” The three horses drawn on the outside of the front line bring both class and race fitness to Friday night’s race. Pres The Belle will be looking to replicate the emphatic win she produced under the same conditions as her 1980m mobile victory in her first run after the Interdominions at Addington, last month. Destiny Jones drops massively in grade after producing a sound fifth in the group 1 National Trot at Alexandra Park in her last start. The 8yr-old has a slight draw advantage in barrier 7 over both Pres The Belle (8) and Great Things Happen (9). Great Things Happen should relish a return to mobile racing despite his draw. The 8yr-old was forced to chase from massive 60m handicaps in his two starts at the recent Nelson meeting. Tailored Elegance is in a similar position to Kings Landing – starting fresh up against race-hardened opposition in race 2 with Williams in the sulky. Though, it is not the class of her opposition that is the main concern ahead of her first start as a 3yr-old. It is how she will be able to negotiate a capacity field from barrier 7. “She has come back well, but being drawn out a little bit wide in a full field probably won’t make things easy,” Williams said. “She is another one that her class should take her a long way in there.” “She generally has good manners, so there is no reason why she shouldn’t go a really good race.” Williams will also combine with another fresh All Stars runner at Addington on Friday night in race 4. First starter Picture Me faces a similar assignment to his stablemate Tailored Elegance when he starts from barrier 12. “He is a little bit the same as Tailored Elegance – he is in a full field and has a tricky enough draw,” Williams said. “He is going to need the right suck in to it or to make a move.” “It is just going to depend on how the race is run from that draw.” “On his trials, he keeps putting his hand up, so on that he is a good chance.” Picture Me has won two Rangiora trials ahead of his debut and beat rival Chubby Checker in the latest of those. Williams has a standout book of drives at Friday night’s Addington meeting that includes strong eachway chances Cheezel (race 5) and Szybka Lane (race 8). The reinsman also combines with Lets Hustle (race 3), Red Hot Poker (race 9) and Peraki Reactor (race 10).  Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Garrick Knight    Pukekohe mare Best Western is booked to fly to Christchurch next week for two black-type features but first she’ll head to Alexandra Park on Friday night. Her trainer, Jeremy Young, says last season’s Northern Oaks winner is nearing “cherry-ripe” status. “I’m happy with her; she’s working really well and seems very bright,” he said. “I want to have her cherry-ripe for the two Addington races, but she’s pretty close to the mark.” Best Western was an unlucky fourth last week after being held up before the passing lane when trailing a tiring leader. “She just got held up a little bit and there was a very slight snotty nose after the race. “But that’s cleared up now and isn’t a concern. “It had been 17 days since her New Years’ Eve run and I feel like last week has sharpened her up even more.” Complicating matters this week is a wide draw plus the fact her stablemate, On A Roll, is in the same race and has drawn decidedly better. “The stablemate will be going forward so I guess that means we’ll have to look to go back with Best Western.” On A Roll has been a bit of a surprise package for Young since coming north in the early spring. She was effectively ‘sacked’ by previous trainers, Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen, and arrived at Young’s with no great ambitions. “When we first got her up here from Mark’s, I thought she would be a C2 or C3 horse, maybe. “If we were lucky, we’d be able to get a bit of money for the owners. “But she ran second to Lulu Le Mans, then won one, and then placed a few more times. “So, I threw her in the Group races before Christmas against the best fillies and I thought the second run, especially, was excellent. “She was four-wide down the back and had no right to run fifth, but still battled on well.” It also gave Young and driver, Sailesh Abernethy, an insight in to how she is best driven. “Sailesh and I thought we’d try something different last week and let her roll along in front.” The result? A five-length win in a sensational 2.39.4 (1.56.6 MR). “She’s a funny horse in that she won’t outsprint anything, you’ve got to let her run the whole way. “I had Stylish Memphis here at the same time and she would beat On A Roll off her back every time because she had so much speed. “On A Roll is better off leading and rolling along or even sitting parked, so that’s how we intend to drive her this week and in the future. “More aggressively.” The Oaks races are now firmly in the plans for On A Roll. Rounding out Young’s team this week is Tommy Tukaa, who returns to Alexandra Park from back-to-back wins at Cambridge over the holiday period. “I know he only won at Cambridge, but I think he’s an ‘Auckland horse’ all the same. “Those wins will have given him a bit of confidence and his work has been a lot better since. “The draw is awkward this week but I would expect, just being on the fence the whole way, that he should be able to run in the first three.” Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Jonny Turner    Organisers are hailing Friday’s inaugural Fast10 meeting at Addington a success. The concept saw fields of ten horses run in mobile races in quickfire success under the Fast10 model designed by Canterbury owners Glenn Hames and Tony Russell. The pair spent two years refining the concept which they branded as harness racing’s version of Twenty20 cricket. Hames declared the first running of the event as a raging success. Addington Raceway general manager Brian Thompson also gave the meeting a tick of approval. Thompson said turnover figures from the inaugural Fast10 race day were positive. “Turnover was positive and it was what we were hoping for.” A healthy crowd enjoying an array of on-track entertainment and promotion developed as part of the Fast 10 concept. Attendance numbers were another plus Addington took out of Friday’s meeting. “I think the people that were there enjoyed it and I think it brought a few people that hadn’t been here before to Addington because of the reduced time,” Thompson said. “I would put it down as a success, for sure.” “We will definitely support Fast10 and we will support other clubs looking at it as well.” Seeing trainers, drivers and officials work together to ensure the meeting ran smoothly under its shorter than usual 18 minute gaps between races was especially pleasing, Thompson said. “It was especially pleasing seeing all the trainers and drivers – and even the track guys too – there was a sense of urgency with everyone working together to get the best result.” Hames was in the stable throughout the meeting and got to see first-hand how trainers and drivers pitched in to make the quickfire meeting work. “I was in the stables and the feedback I got from the trainers and drivers was great.” “We were tested, there were two false starts and an enquiry and we still ran to time.” Hames said he received strong feedback from across the harness racing industry yesterday. “I couldn’t have been happier,” Hames said. “It was a real vibrant feel and I was really happy with how it went.” “Everyone across the industry was so positive and I had people ringing me up and saying well done.” The quickfire meeting’s early running, between 11.52am and 2.34pm, meant it was able to be shown on Australia’s prime racing channel, Sky1. The expanded audience was another reason for the meeting’s success, Hames said. Hames and Russell are eager to try the Fast10 concept again soon. “We can’t wait,” Hames said. “We have had some clubs approach us about the idea.” “We don’t want to take over traditional racing, we just was to make it a bit more exciting on the odd occasion.” The pair have taken elements of the Fast10 idea to work on and refine. Working on marketing a meeting with New Zealand’s top drivers was one idea that came out of yesterday’s event. “We wouldn’t mind having ten horses, ten races and ten top drivers just for a day.” Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

So the first "Fast Ten harness racing" meeting has been run. Despite a stiff wind blowing across Addington Raceway it was quick and engaging and importantly it was also achievable logistically And that, in a nutshell, is why it should be supported. In a time where nearly every sporting body is attempting to revolutionize their sport for wider appeal harness racing, at least in New Zealand, has been sadly lacking in the ideas department. "Fast ten racing" or a concept like it would seem a realistic and commonsense first step towards a better on-course product and that's something that's been long overdue. It's vitally important that the NZTAB continue to support the concept. A compact race-card doesn't have to mean a decline in betting turnover but it will take a step-change in how the NZTAB currently works when on course. The amount of on course education from the NZTAB for the new punter and average racegoer is absurdly lacking and needs to be addressed in full. I've NEVER seen a dedicated NZTAB representative on course going around the racecourse educating new punters on bet types, betting terminology or responsible gambling. I've NEVER seen the NZTAB employ interactive betting displays that could become a fixture of all New Zealand racetracks and drive customer engagement . I've NEVER heard of the NZTAB providing free spot bets or extended / better odds promotions for on-course patrons. It's not hard to do but sadly it's not being done. A "fast ten" concept doesn't have to be the end of the traditional meeting either but it could provide an amount of clubs with a powerful tool to get more people through their gates and interested in their race-days. Winter race cards would arguably be most appropriate for a condensed race card but the real opportunity for the concept I believe is supplementing the fast on-track action with "event" like options off it. As an example,If a "fast ten racing" card is running at Addington, marry up a decent "fast 10" race card with activities off the track. -Have the local "sip and paint" club run an event one night overlooking the track. -If the circus is in town on a race night spend a little money and get a showcase of acrobats to put on a display between a couple of races. -Set up a mini-sized netball court and have the TACTIX netball team play a quarter of netball against some youngsters from clubs around Christchurch -Have the big screen play the "catch driver" concept with real time races shown on the infield. -Have a charity that benefits from a gold coin donation collection each night too to increase goodwill and grow relationships with a wider community. Embracing change in harness racing need not be all that difficult but it's going to take a welcoming attitude towards it and people that aren't afraid to go all out for a period of time to see if it can be done. Well done to those that have supported and brought the concept forward this so far. I do hope it gets the support it deserves.   Ben Mcmillan Harnesslink Media.

By Jonny Turner    Champion reinsman Ricky May is a driver to follow when the new Fast10 harness racing concept is unveiled at Addington today. Two Canterbury trots enthusiasts are behind the drive to add excitement and interest in the sport by offering quickfire racing in what is being branded as harness racing’s take on Twenty20 cricket. Glen Hames and Tony Russell have worked on the Fast10 concept for two years and believe it will “reignite passion and interest in the industry while creating a fun and exciting event to appeal to new customers”. 10 horse fields, all mobile starts, 18 minute gaps between races and a stream of on-course entertainment and innovations await Addington racegoers at the inaugural running of the Fast10 meeting. May is a reinsman that has witnessed all manner of changes to harness racing during his career of more than four decades. The winner of 2,941 races in New Zealand looks well placed to enjoy success at Friday’s meeting with his strong book of nine drives. May rates impressive recent winner Ranger Bomb, who lines up in race 9, the best of his chances. The Mark Jones and Brendon Hill trained 3yr-old bolted in by more than five lengths after leading in his last start at Addington. May hopes Ranger Bomb can do the same again from barrier 1. “He was pretty good last time, he got attacked early and still won pretty impressively,” the driver said. “And he ran good time.” “From [barrier] 1 we will probably have to try to hold up and lead again.” May combines with another smart 3yr-old in Luella in race 6. The filly gave the reinsman the feel of a horse that would win more races when making a successful start to her career at Nelson, last season. “She did pretty well up at Nelson and she felt like a pretty smart filly that would go on with it.” May was not in the sulky when Luella trialled solidly behind her main rival, Delma Craze, at Rangiora recently. May has driven Oaxacan Dream in her recent trials and he has been impressed by the filly. Under normal circumstances she would be a big winning hope on debut, but today she runs in to a very strong maiden line up. “She is a really nice filly and I have been happy with her trials, but it is a very strong race.” “So, she might be more of a place chance.” Oaxacan Dream clashes with William Wallace, who has his first start since running fifth behind One Change at last season’s Harness Jewels in the event. May’s skill will be put to the test when he drives three talented, but inconsistent trotters at today’s Fast10 meeting. The reinsman will drive the Jones and Hill trained Simone De Beauvoir and Michelle for the first time in races 1 and 3, respectively. Both have the talent to win, but must markedly improve their manners after galloping out of their last starts. Missie Castleton, who starts in race 5, looks biggest chance of trotting throughout among May’s tricky trio. “She got it badly wrong last time, but if she trots all the way she can definitely be in it.” Missie Castleton clashes with highly impressive debut winner The Last Love. May also drives Mrs Washington (race 2), Mrs Washington (race 7) and Three Ideas (race 10) at Friday’s meeting. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

When the hustle and bustle of Christmas ends, friends and families across the country gather at the iconic Interislander Summer Festival racedays at some of the most scenic racecourses in NZ. Fold out your beach chairs to watch the races in your favourite pair of jandals, while the kids are treated to hot chips and ice cream - this is summer NZ! Now in its 14th season, families from all over the country have been marking Interislander Summer Festival raceday in their calendar as the perfect opportunity to relax with their loved ones. Last season, racing clubs and The Races Limited Partnership (TRLP) welcomed the millionth Interislander Summer Festival customer through the gates. This year more than 70,000 customers are expected on-course at 30 events nationwide from Boxing Day til Mid Feb. The TRLP Event Delivery Teams will entertain thousands of children on-course with free kids entertainment including on-track sack races, tug of war, and games in the MoreFM Kids Go Racing area. Thousands of colouring-in competitions will be coloured, 7,000 Kids Go Racing aluminium drink bottles will be gifted to kids, and 120kg of lollies will be thrown in lolly scrambles! Interislander Summer Festival events are often the first introduction that children have to horses and racing with an average of 17% of attendees each season having never been to a race meeting before. The Interislander Summer Festival brings everyone together, from the young to the young at heart, and engages a new generation in racing. Events Nationwide from Boxing Day. Find out more at summerfestival.nz

By Jonny Turner    The waiting is over at Addington on Friday night for punters who jotted down Sweet Mary’s name in their black-books following her impressive effort at the New Zealand Cup Carnival. Trainer Brad Mowbray has had the 5yr-old one ice since she scorched down the Addington track to run an eye-catching third to Wainui Creek in the Sires Stakes Southern Mares Classic. Sweet Mary was buried deep on the inner with no racing room, then was relegated to a clear last after the field turned for home, before she produced a booming finish to just be nosed out of second by Change Is Good. Mowbray was naturally delighted with the effort, but was also left wondering what might have been if his mare had been able to get in the clear sooner. “If she was a spot or two closer, she would have given Wainui Creek a shake,” the trainer said.  “And if she had come out a bit cleaner, that would have helped, because she just wanted to run down the track a bit.” “We would have loved to get first or second, but we were really happy with the way she went.” It will be one day short of a month since Sweet Mary produced her fast finishing effort when she again clashes with Change Is Good in a 1980m mares feature on Friday night. The gap between races has not been a case of Mowbray needing to freshen his pacer following her cup carnival tilt. The trainer has been waiting patiently for a suitable race for Sweet Mary and he thinks he has found the perfect fit. “We just look for the right races for her and this race suits her right down to the ground.” Mowbray has kept Sweet Mary’s fitness levels up by giving her a trial at Rangiora last week. Driver Matthew Williamson did not ask the mare for a serious effort, just letting her sprint home from last in the straight. “I gave her a quiet trial last week, just to keep her ticking over, so she should be where she needs to be for this race,” Mowbray said. Change Is Good followed up her second to Wainui Creek by winning the Timaru Cup when leading all of the way for trainer Mitchell Kerr and driver Matt Anderson. The 5yr-old has had Sweet Mary’s measure in their last two meetings after the pair finished first and second at Ashburton Flying Stakes day. Sweet Mary (7) has a slight draw advantage, starting one spot inside Change Is Good (8) on Friday night. Cheezel (2) looks the best of the runners drawn handily under the preferential barrier draw. The Regan Todd trained pacer reeled of a stunning 25.8sec last 400m when running second to Franco Niven at Addington last weekend. Kendra (6) looks the main threat to Sweet Mary and Change Is Good. The Greg and Nina Hope trained 4yr-old looked set to let down with a good finished when she was wiped out by the galloping Jazzy Star of the Pacers’ Green Mile at Methven last weekend. Jazzy Star will attempt to get back to the kind of brilliant form he was in before his mishap in Friday night’s feature 1980m pace for entires and geldings. The Brent White trained 5yr-old clashes with Green Mile fourth placegetter, Smokin By, and Mongolian Cavalry, who won the trial Sweet Mary competed in at Rangiora. Memphis Tennessee also starts in the race after producing a brilliant 25.9sec last 400m to run third behind Franco Niven and Cheezel at Addington last weekend. Trainer-driver Terry Chmiel said he expected further improvement from the 4yr-old after his good fresh up effort. “He is still on the way up and he should improve a bit more with this race.” “If things go to plan we will look at the Ashburton Cup and then maybe going down to Omakau for the cup down there.” Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

Spankem is not likely to return to the tracks any time soon but there was better news over the fetlock injury that sidelined him from the Inter Dominion series. Originally he was programmed to have an operation on the injury. However after x rays there was doubt raised whether an operation was in fact necessary. All Stars veterinary experts and shared the x rays with other experts who came to the same conclusion. So in the meantime Spankem will have another month’s rest, Mark said, and will then be reassessed probably with further tests at the Matamata Veterinary Services where internationally sophisticated procedures will establish the immediate future with more precision. However the likelihood that an operation on the injury may not be necessary now will shorten the recovery period for the Miracle Mile winner of $1.3m though it will be some time before he is seen out again. Stablemate Turn It Up is at All Stars doing light exercise but his racing future is still in doubt. That All Stars would have five starters in the Inter Dominion Grand Final including the first two favourites after two such stars suffered setbacks is a testimonial to the depth of the current team with Self Assured also being allowed to miss the series in favour of the Auckland Cup.   Courtesy of All Stars Racing Stables http://www.allstarsracingstables.com/

By Garrick Knight    The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry. The men in the case are Mark Jones and Benny Hill, co-trainers of exciting filly Stylish Memphis. And the plan was to keep her at home for a $22,000 Sires Stakes Series heat at Addington tonight against inferior opposition to what she would meet in the next heat, in Auckland next Friday. But that’s come unstuck somewhat with the daughter of Bettor’s Delight drawing the outside barrier draw over the sprint trip this week. “We’ve done it on purpose to try and qualify her down here because the field up north will be pretty hot,” said Jones. “If she’s good enough, she’s good enough; the wide draw is a concern but she’s got good gate speed and high tactical speed.” The $150,000 Final is at Alexandra Park on New Year’s Eve and Stylish Memphis will go north for it if she can run in the first three tonight. She resumed with a fortuitous win at Wyndham nearly three weeks ago, though Jones felt she could have been better. “She probably should have won by more, but seemed to knock off when she hit the front.” Since then, a workout run at Rangiora, where she flashed home late in quick time, impressed Jones and told him she was on track. Despite the wide draw, bookies opened her a $2.70 equal favourite alongside Sugar Loaf, who was mightily impressive winning her debut on New Zealand Cup day for Robert Dunn. “Sugar Loaf has got the raps, and Nigel McGrath’s one (Miss Graceful) looks an exciting filly in the making, too. “But all things being equal, I’d go my one to beat them if she races up to her ability.” The expectations are high with Stylish Memphis, a full sister to multiple Group 1-placed filly-turned-mare, Delightful Memphis, who is now racing in America. “I actually think she’s got more sheer speed and a touch more brilliance than her sister, but Delightful Memphis probably wasn’t appreciated as much as she should have been. “She was in a crop with Spanish Armada and Partyon.” The stable also has last-start winner Fancy in the race and she’s drawn mid-front line. “She got her own terms but won well last time. A nice progressive filly that I can see winning four or five races. “We’ll probably look to take her down for the Southland Oaks after this.” Later in the night, Skippys Delight will go around in the $24,000 Sires Stakes Silver, a five-horse affair, and Jones expects better luck than he had in the main final on New Zealand Cup day. “I thought his run in the final was good; he got held up and lost ground but still found the line well. “I know Benny is pretty happy with him.” Stablemate Silent Major has been scratched from the same race after being dealt to Australian interests earlier in the week, as has another from the barn in Philadelphia Freedom. In the last on the card the stable lines up Nirvana Beach and Willison, Jones thinking the latter can win it before heading out for a spell. “He’s come to the end of it but is a Derby type of horse. “Looking for the paddock but I expect he should be able to handle that field. “Nirvana Beach hates Ashburton so best to forget that last run. “He’s got the right draw here and that will help.” Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

Now that Cup Week is done and dusted for another year, we can focus on the next big thing at Addington Raceway. It is just a month now until Fast10 Horse Racing kicks off on Friday 20 December 2019. It has been an exciting two years developing this concept and there has been great support from across the industry. One such supporter is well known business man, harness racing enthusiast, owner and sponsor, Philip Kennard. “The Fast10 concept is an exciting innovation for harness racing. “Focussed correctly with use of modern technology this concept of having a race meeting from start to finish in less than two and a half hours could be a game changer. “This is also a great opportunity to attract new participants to harness racing, and fast and exciting harness racing programmes could help harness racing like 20/20 cricket did for that sport. “Personally I’m very excited to see this innovation tried by our industry,” said Philip Kennard. There will be an information stand at Addington Raceway during their meetings on 29 November and 7 December to answer everyone’s questions. The first race is scheduled for 11.52am and the last of ten at 2.34pm. Perfect timing for your end of year function, or just one of those two hour lunch breaks. Please visit https://www.addington.co.nz/events-centre/events/fast10-horse-racing/ to book your table and enjoy a sumptuous lunch, in-room entertainment and exciting harness racing action. 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   Jess Smith Communication and Ownership Co-Ordinator | Harness Racing New Zealand Inc

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