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By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk    Woodend Beach trainers Greg and Nina Hope will be looking to summit bigger mountains this season with another quality trotter. Four-year-old gelding Muscle Mountain made it six wins from just nine starts when he was victorious in the Lamb and Hayward Handicap Trot (2600m) at Addington Raceway on Friday night.  He began well from his 10m mark and was able to navigate his way around a couple of breakers. Driver Ben Hope pushed his charge forward early to take the lead and was able to dictate the pace for the rest of the race. He kicked clear turning for home and was able to hold out his only challenger, Doff Your Cap, to win by 2-1/4 lengths, with a further 8-1/2 lengths back to The Player in third. “He is a very nice horse,” Nina Hope said. “Greg has got a pretty high opinion of him. “He can get a little bit hot and can pull a bit, but he went super first up. We have really been working on his manners.” Hope was delighted with his win and said the sky is the limit for the talented square-gaiter. “If he continues to improve and keeps his head and manners right, he will go right to the top,” she said. While he has plenty of ability, Hope said they will continue to take a cautious approach with the Gr.3 NZ Two-Year-Old Trotting Stakes (1980m) winner. “We tend to take each race as it comes,” Hope said. “We will just go by how he races, we don’t like to throw them in the deep end too soon.” Muscle Mountain’s victory completed a double for the Hope barn after stablemate Luella was dominant in the previous race on the card, the Allied Security Mobile Pace (1980m). Ben Hope was in the cart once again and took similar tactics into that race, taking Luella straight to the front and dictating terms throughout. She proved too strong for her rivals and ran away to a 5-3/4 length victory. “She went super last start (when finishing fifth),” Nina Hope said. “She ran her last half in 55, we were rapt with her. “We were pretty confident she would go a good race because it was down in grade a little bit.” While she was confident heading into the race, Hope admitted she was a bit nervous when the Sweet Lou mare took a front-running role. “She led up in her first start back and she was a little bit disappointing, so I was a little bit worried when she was leading up,” Hope said. “But she ran 56.2 for the last half, so she was pretty hard to catch from there.”

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk    While Champion expat New Zealand jockey James McDonald will by vying for Group Two success at Rosehill on Saturday, a day earlier a harness racing trainer of the same name will be hoping to kick-off his season in winning fashion at Addington Raceway. Ladbrooks trainer James McDonald said he often gets comments referring to his name, particularly a few years ago when the jockey was based in New Zealand. “I do get a few comments about the name, but I have been around longer than him,” McDonald quipped. “It’s quite funny, I won my first race with a horse called Misty Diamond, and in the same week James McDonald rode a galloper with the same name, I think he may have won. “I don’t follow galloping that much, but I always keep an eye out for him, he is a very good jockey.” While McDonald will be keeping an eye on Rosehill on Saturday, he is looking forward to lining up a couple of promising pacers at Addington Raceway on Friday night. Last-start winner Eastwood Isabella will contest the Allied Security Mobile Pace (1980m) and McDonald believes she is a strong chance despite drawing nine. “She is going terrific at the moment,” he said. “She has been a bit of a surprise really. She will go another good race on Friday. “I think one that could give her a few problems though is the one of the Hope’s (Luella), but I think she can handle the rest of the field. “She has got a bad draw, but that won’t matter, she tends to come from the back anyway.” The six-year-old mare picked up a penalty-free win when driven to victory last start by junior driver Dylan Ferguson and McDonald is hoping for a repeat performance. “She got driven beautifully by Dylan Ferguson and she was probably too good for those horses on the day,” he said. “It was a good win for her so she stays in the same class.” McDonald will also line-up Eastwood Ideal in the Trackside Dining At Addington Mobile Pace (1980m). “Eastwood Ideal is a really nice horse,” McDonald said. “He went really well last week. He just came up against Krug and a few others. He went around and sat parked and stuck on really well. “He should go another good race. I think they are both good each-way chances.”

We asked Ken Barron, Kevin Townley & Colin DeFilippi about their runners going around tonight at Addington.   Harness Racing New Zealand

Inter Dominion hero Ultimate Sniper has started the long road back to the track but don’t expect him to turn up in our greatest race. Because champion trainer Mark Purdon says while it is not impossible, the New Zealand Cup isn’t the aim for the Horse of the Year in waiting. Ultimate Sniper had his first day back jogging at the All Stars yesterday, having been sidelined by a leg injury since clean-sweeping the Inter Dominions at Auckland in December. That feels like an age ago and not just because of Covid-19 but because the emergence of Ride High, Lochinvar Art and Self Assured has most harness racing fans talking about them as the superstars of pacing when in fact Ultimate Sniper is the king. He has just been a king in the exile of the spelling paddock. Always a powerhouse, the winner of 14 of his 20 starts looks stunning upon his return but with that size and frame comes a longer road back than it would be for a slighter horse. So maybe the Auckland Cup looks a more realistic first major goal although the NZ Free-For-All would be easier to get ready for than the Cup. “It is great to have him back but we are in no hurry with him,” said Purdon. “So the New Zealand Cup is not his aim. I suppose it isn’t impossible he could end up there but we definitely aren’t aiming him at it.” That is crucial information for punters as Ultimate Sniper is the $5 second favourite for the Cup, with Self Assured’s win at Addington last Fridy seeing him shorten to $2.10. Turn It Up, who is in Queensland and must be unlikely to return if he even ends up racing again, is the third favourite while Spankem, who finished second in the Cup last year is the fourth favourite. Spankem will join the open class fray in September while the Purdon-Rasmussen stars who dominated the open class race last Friday are having this week off before returning to Addington at the end of the month. While they won’t be at Addington this Friday the stable will have a rare first this week as they train all eight starters in the race three, for three-year-olds and older. The All Stars have had big numbers in a single race before, even group ones, but never a full field of eight. The closest thing New Zealand has had in harness racing recently was when Steve Telfer had all six in a race won by American Brave at Cambridge in January 2018. “Yes, this is unusual even for us,” says Purdon. The stable has a huge amount of early season three-year-olds after all their two-year-olds were forced to the paddock during lock down, meaning many of them have come back into work at the same time. Some have already headed to Auckland but Friday’s race contains three last-start winners in It’s All About Faith and the fillies Darling Me and Bettor Twist. Four of the others are debutantes but one of the maidens in Pace N Pride could challenge the race winners as he was super running second to Darling Me on debut. “At this time of the season it is hard to tell who will end up being the best yet but there wouldn’t be a lot between Pace N Pride and It’s All About Faith among the boys at this stage,” said Purdon. Thankfully for Addington caller Matt Cross two of the eight starters will be in different colours with Bettor Twist in the Breckon Farms colours and Shan Noble in the colours of owner Gerald Shand. New Zealand punters aren’t totally unused to seeing one trainer monopolise a race with Lisa Cole doing it relatively regularly at greyhound meetings in the Central Districts   Michael Guerin

By Jonny Turner    Most 11-year-old boys get an Xbox game, a new bike or something similar for their birthdays. Not Alexy – but, he is no ordinary 11-year-old. Instead, he got oats, chaff, a big drink of water and a cheque for $4,125. And the veteran, trained by Denis O’Connell, deserved all of them. Just a day after his official birthday the Waikouaiti iron horse showed there was still plenty of zip in his legs and will in his heart when scoring his 10th win in his 282nd start. “He is sound and happy and when I have been jogging him lately he has been running around like a 2yr-old,” O’Connell said. “He was driven well and he finished strong, I was just so proud of him.” Alexy was forced to sit parked for the first lap of the 1980m of race 9, before driver Jessica Young-Grant found cover in the one-one. His rivals had their chance to run Alexy down, but the 11-year had too much pep for them as he went on to win comfortably by two lengths. The veteran was the toast of Waikouaiti and the pride of the O’Connell family following his victory. Alexy is raced by his trainer alongside his siblings - brothers Daniel, Gerald, Eugene and his wife Pru, as well as O’Connell’s sister, Joan Braam. “It is wonderful for the family, they are just so proud of the old horse.” Sunday’s win took the veteran past $100,000 in career stakes. Alexy has racked up those dollars by racing in each season since his career began as a 2yr-old in 2012. Alexy’s formline was patchy before he went a sound race for fourth for Kerryn Tomlinson in his previous start in a heat of the New Zealand Junior Driver’s Championship. “You would normally write a horse off like that, but not him,” O’Connell said. “But, strangely he seems to go well at this time of the year – coming out of winter and leading in to spring.” “He seems to get a bit of a spring in his step, himself.” Alexy comes in to the new season after having a quieter than usual past 12 months. The Courage Under Fire gelding had 26 starts last term, compared with 41, 48 and 44 in the three season prior. The pacer, who was bred by his star sire’s Sydney owner Greg Brodie, sits second behind Danke on the list of most all-time starts since records have been collated. Alexy started his racing career when stepping out at Reefton in 2012 for trainer Mark Jones and driver Regan Todd. The pacer had stints with Michelle Wallis and Bernie Hackett, Bruce Negus, Nora Bishop before rejoining Negus. O’Connell took over the training of Alexy in 2016. The 11yr-old spent time with Darryn Simpson and Nigel Chalmers before heading back to O’Connell late last year. Seven of Alexy’s ten wins have come for the Waikouaiti trainer. 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 12:00pm 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 Sunday 2nd August 2020   Race 1 Four Starzzz Shiraz has good from going into today and is a major player in this field. Needed…… Jimmy Cannon good second last start and can go on with it. Draw the only concern but include……. Calypso Rock deserved win last start and will probably head forward early. Can win….. Flame Lady has been consistent in these amateur races and place hopes again here. Selections:  Four Starzzz Shiraz (2),   Jimmy Cannon (10),   Calypso Rock (9),    Flame Lady (7)   Race 2 Luminosity mobile here will help her chances. Good winning claims with manners…….Build A Bridge  lands a decent draw and has been slightly unlucky in her last couple. Good winning claims…… Trixton Time drawn ok and from the powerful Dalgety/Purdon stable. Needs to trot all the way but is a player here…… Venus Tyron first start but stable respect. Field not strong and can win. Selections:  Luminosity (3),   Build A Bridge  (1),   Trixton Time (2),    Venus Tyron (4)   Race 3 Look Sharp coming in fresh but workouts good and drawn to suit. Top selection here…… Sonic Reign disappointed last start but much better than that. Must be included from the ace draw…. Invisible Girl coming in fresh and has gate speed. Not the worst and has winning claims…… I Am Adaline racing well against stronger fields. Can fill a place here. Selections:  Look Sharp (2),   Sonic Reign (1),   I Am Adaline (5),    …. Invisible Girl (3)   Race 4 Vacation Hill toyed with them last start and this is easier. Top winning chance who should be winning….. Crusher Collins has been running racing well and the distance will suit. Place claims here….. Missalyssa racing well and is getting fitter. Top three player with luck….. Zsa Zoe yet to get into her top form but at her best could place here. Include Selections:  Vacation Hill (6),   Crusher Collins (4),   Missalyssa (7),    Zsa Zoe (5)   Race 5 Madame Frost lands a good draw and was a bit unlucky last start. Can win with luck…..   Lennox Bromac ok in a stronger field last start. Needs the right trip but can finish into the placings… Scelta Uno  thereabouts his last couple. Getting fitter and top three player at good odds….. Beaudiene Hustler another who has been racing ok and who should handle the rise in grade. Top three claims with luck. Selections:  Madame Frost (1),   Lennox Bromac (3),   Scelta Uno (8),    Beaudiene Hustler (4)   Race 6 Spellbound  almost beat a similar field last start and should improve off that run. Top selection here. Should be hard to beat even if he can get handy early…… Cheezel  has been racing well and getting fitter. One of the leading chances even from the tricky draw….. Sugar Loaf ok last start and will improve off that run. Top three chance at big odds….. Folklore ok last start and another with claims in what is an even field. Selections:  Spellbound  (11),  Cheezel  (10),   Sugar Loaf (8),    Folklore (4)   Race 7 Take After Me racing ok and weaker field here. Can win with manners….. Tequila Sunset good fourth last start and he will be improved. Top three player.…… Majestic Sunset change of stable and begins ok. Winning hopes here…… Honeys Son fair last start and getting better with racing. Could turn up and beat this field Selections:  Take After Me (2),   Majestic Sunset (8),   Honeys Son (12),    Tequila Sunset (5)   Race 8 Foregone Conclusion good last start in a similar field. One of the leading chances here and top selection.……. Lovesomewhere respect the stable and top driver takes the reins. Tote the guide but can win…… Conquer Me early mistake cost her last start. Can run a place at good odds with manners….. Megarock ok last start and is is still on the improve. Place claims again here. Selections:  Foregone Conclusion (3),   Conquer Me (6),   Lovesomewhere (8),    Megarock (13)   Race 9 Maggie finished on well last start. Big improver and one of the leading chances here.……. Essence Of Easton lands the plum draw. Will be hard to beat in this field…… Paul's Verdict tricky draw but will head forward. Can run a place….. Zambia up in grdae and tricky draw. Driver change and at his best could place in this field. Selections:  Maggie (3),   Essence Of Easton (1),   Paul's Verdict (6),    Zambia (8)     Harnesslink Media

By Jonny Turner    Vacation Hill will boost her chances of going on a working holiday if she can repeat her brilliant first up win at Addington on Sunday. The Kevin Townley trained 3yr-old turned heads in her first run since lockdown, powering past the talented Majestic Lavros to win, early last month. Townley admitted he has not been able to fault his smart 3yr-old since her victory. “I have been very happy with her, it is hard not to be, she is a lovely trotter,” Townley said. “She had a quiet week after her win and we have just built her up again for Sunday.” “I think she will go well again.” Vacation Hill will effectively be on trial in the coming weeks to take on the country’s best male 3yr-old trotters in races like the rescheduled Sires Stakes Championship and Sales Series Final at Alexandra Park. “There only look to be a couple of really good 3yr-olds, so if it stays that way we might send her to Auckland.” “The other 3yr-olds are still very nice horses, but so is she.” “If it was looking like four or five top ones were going to be there we might not go.” “But, if she can keep going the way she is she might get there.” Part of the push to take on the Alexandra Park features comes from the condition Vacation Hill has returned in after having a six-week break following her New Zealand Trotting Oaks win in March. “She had six weeks off and she has come back in really well,” Townley said.  “I think it’s the Muscle Hill part of her that keeps her improving.” “She has always shown ability, she could have raced as a 2yr-old but she wasn’t ready for it so I decided against it.” “But this season she is a lot stronger.” Vacation Hill clashes with the in-form Missalyssa, who has been highly impressive in winning three of her last four starts at Addington, in race 4. Trainer Jonny Cox holds a key hand in race 6, another talented line up of fillies and mares. His stable’s pairing of Folklore and Sagano will clash with Robert Dunn’s leading contenders Need You Now and Spellbound. Though there is little between his two, Cox is leaning towards Sagano as his better chance following her defeat of the two Dunn fillies in their last meeting. “There is not a lot between them, but with the hard racing Sagano has had, I would lean towards her,” the trainer-driver said. “Folklore got crook a few weeks ago, so she is a bit behind her.” “Even though she ran eighth last time she ran some pretty good sectionals, she just couldn’t get a drag in to it.” Sagano faces a tougher test with Spellbound and Need You Now bound to strip fitter than in their last meeting Cox is hopeful his mare can still test her main rivals. “I think Sagano can handle it, because even though she hasn’t got a real snap turn of foot she can maintain her speed for quite a while.” Forgone Conclusion looks a big winning chance for Cox in race 8 following his first up run for second behind Ashes To Ashes at Addington last week. “He had never seen a tape, so he was a bit slow, but he paced away.” “It was a good effort and he has come on from that run.” “If he can get away a bit quicker he will be a good eachway show.” Cox also drives winning chances I Am Adaline (race 3) and Lennox Bromac (race 5) on Sunday. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Jonny Turner    John Morrison put the perfect full stop at the end of his premiership winning season when taking out the Darren De Filippi Memorial Trot at Addington on Friday night with Sods Law. The win meant a lot to Morrison, which could be see as he flourished his whip as he crossed the line in the highly sought after event for junior drivers. The victory behind the Jim and James Geddes trained 6yr-old came just a day after the reinsman sealed his victory in the national junior driver’s premiership for the second time. “It is an honour to have a drive in this race, let alone win it,” Morrison said.  “So, it is a big thrill – it is up there with the biggest highlights of my career.” “I have had a drive in it just about every year since I started, but I have either missed away or buggered it up myself each time.” After a smart beginning, Morrison gave Sods Law a perfect run in the trail until being shuffled three-back at the 1000m. The reinsman came off the inner in the back straight and was soon in front when the leader, Westeros, galloped. “He had been going well and everything worked out perfectly for him,” Morrison said. The win took Morrison’s final tally in his premiership winning season to 35. The junior driver was not the only one to finish his season in perfect style at Addington on Friday night. All Stars pacer Self Assured showed he was on track for his New Zealand Cup tilt when winning in sensational fashion with Mark Purdon in the sulky. Galloping away, then sitting last before the home turn proved no obstacle for the 4yr-old who reeled off a sizzling 54.16sec last 800m to win the meeting’s 2600m open class handicap pace. With two wins under his belt and still several weeks to New Zealand’s great race, Self Assured has earned some quiet time as the All Stars team manage his progress towards November. “I think now he can have a few days off,” Purdon said in a post-race interview. “He is enjoying his work and enjoying his racing.” “It is just a matter of giving him a few days off here and there along the way and I am sure we will keep him at the top level.” The All Stars stable were also in the winner’s circle with Stag Party, Regal Attire and Enhance Your Calm. Though he was far from in his toughest test, the country’s leading 2yr-old male pacer made a big statement at Addington on Friday night. Krug shrugged off an early duel for the lead with outsider, Kiwis Can Fly, to beat a field of older horses with incredible ease. Despite his early burn, the Cran Dalgety and Nathan Purdon trained colt was not pressured when running a 56.0sec last 800m to win.  Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

Champion driver Blair Orange will end the season a happy man. And that means no regrets over what 2019-2020 could have been. Orange heads to Addington tonight expecting to win at least one race with Krug and hoping to add a few more to his season’s tally of 218, which means he starts tonight exactly where he left off last season with its 218 wins. While those would be scarcely believable numbers for anybody else in harness racing, Orange has of course been higher, setting a national record 232 win for the season in 2018, a number that he almost certainly would have bettered this season but for Covid-19 and the two and a half months it cost harness racing. But while he will fall maybe a dozen short of a new record, Orange has earned a personal best in maybe the even more important stakes won, his $2,439,122 earned heading into tonight nearly $40,000 more than his 2018 tally with tonight’s stakes to come. “I didn’t know that,” admitted Orange this week. “I hadn’t thought much about it and I am not worried about the wins record either because while I probably would have broken it, it is my record any way. “More important than both those those things is driving well for the owners and trainers who put me on. “And I think I have done that. And I had that magic Cup week as well which was pretty special.”That was when Orange won both our greatest race, the NZ Cup with Cruz Bromac and the Dominion three days later with Habibi Inta, the dream double. “To win the Cup is everybody’s dream and it was special to do it for Mark and Nat (trainers), who have been huge supporters of mine,” says the now 42-year-old. “But to back it up a few days later in the Dominion, winning both on horses who weren’t favoured to win, that was pretty amazing.” Add to that entering the 2000 win club and Orange has had a season to remember. “I said to Lisa (wife) I want to go out and drive well to prove to people what I can do. That is how I started the season and then it grew. I drove well, got more confident and then got even better drives and was able to maintain a really high standard. “So it had a snowball effect and when you are winning races and driving well for good people it can provide a distraction from other things. “And that has been the story of my season. I think I have driven really well and I am proud of what I have achieved. So for all the challenges, I am happier now than I have been for a long time.” And winning a New Zealand Cup, the holy grail, what does that mean to a Canterbury boy? “It is the most special. Because nobody can take that away from me,” says Orange.   Michael Guerin

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk    Multiple Group One winner Sundees Son will return to racing at Addington Raceway on Friday night and trainer Robert Dunn is hoping the five-year-old will bring his manners. The Majestic Son gelding’s Inter Dominion campaign was cut short last year after he developed a tendency to break in his last three appearances. “He got to the stage where he wasn’t trotting his races out at all, so we just decided to pull the plug,” Dunn said. Sundees Son will have his first start in nearly nine months when he contests the Allied Security Handicap Trot (2600m) on Friday and Dunn said he took a lot of confidence out of his trial win over 2600m earlier this month. “We gave him a really good spell and it looks like it has worked a treat,” Dunn said. “He has been trotting really well at the trials, Johnny (Dunn, driver and South Island stable foreman) has been really pleased with him. He seems to have come back nice and sound and he is trotting great. “It was a strong win and he trotted nicely all the way, which was the main thing with him.” Dunn would like to add another Group One win to his tally in the new season and he said Friday night’s race will be focussed on trying to get the talented trotter to remain in his gait for the entire trip. “It is only a small field but being 30m behind I think Johnny will be looking for a fluid gait all the way and making sure he does everything right,” Dunn said. “With Sundees Son he is a horse that when he starts doing things wrong he can carry that on for a while. “It will be a confidence building exercise for him on Friday night. “His first big aim will be the Dominion (Gr.1, 3200m). If everything goes our way we will have four in it – Sundees Son, Press The Belle, Pretty Majestic, and Woodstone.” Press The Belle will join Sundees Son in Friday’s contest and Dunn is happy with her ahead of her first-up run this preparation. “She has been trotting super at the trials and she has come back really well,” he said. “She had a good season and we think she will have an even better season ahead of her.” One race later Dunn will line-up Gr.1 New Zealand Cup (3200m) hopefuls Henry Hubert, Heisenberg, and Classie Brigade. The trio make up half of the six-horse field, with Princess Tiffany, Self Assured, and Another Masterpiece representing the All Stars Stable of Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen. “They will all keep on improving,” Dunn said. “They are heading towards the New Zealand Cup. “Classie Brigade has a bit more experience than the other two, while Henry Hubert thrives on racing and hopefully he will improve on his run last week. “Heisenberg has just got to get away from the standing start, he is traditionally better from the mobile. We thought he needed to go around. He is a little bit behind the others in terms of experience so he will improve as the season goes on. “Mark has got three powerful horses in the race.” Friday’s meeting will close out the season for Dunn, who has already secured the New Zealand Trainers’ Premiership, the first time he has achieved the feat. “It’s great and has been a long time coming,” he said. “I never went after it all the way through, there were stables more powerful than me that had bigger buying benches at the sales, but just lately we have bought very well at the sales and as the horses have gotten older they have become stronger and we have got a great group of owners around us. “Lockdown also helped the cause. I am sure Mark (Purdon) would have been snapping at my heels had lockdown not occurred. “But we have had a great season and have been strong all the way through. We have got a nice team for the new season, so we are looking forward to it.”

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 5:26pm 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 tonight for Addington.   Addington Friday 31st July 2020   Race 1 Fighting Fire has been going extra at trials and workouts and clearly the top selection in this field…… Pastrana good second last week and can go on with it. Include……. Zsahara she ran a decent third last start and is a place chance again here….. Faith No More first up for new trainer. One for longer odds. Selections:  Fighting Fire (1),   Pastrana (4),   Zsahara (9),    Faith No More (2)   Race 2 Delightful Dude disappointing last start but much better than that. Good winning claims……. Stag Party lands a decent draw and has had a driver change. Good winning claims…… Samhara  drawn ok and from the powerful All Stars stable. Needed…… Mark O'Ronga battled on well last start and getting fitter now. Can get amongst the placings here. Selections:  Delightful Dude (8),   Stag Party (2),   Mark O'Ronga (7),    Samhara  (4)   Race 3 Mexicana getting better with racing and drawn to suit. Can run top three here…… La Reina Del Sur disappointed last start but much better than that. Must be incuded…. Regal Attire one start and one win last campaign, big motor so can win…… Wanna Play With Me easy win last start but this is harder. Can fill a place here. Selections:  Regal Attire (9),   La Reina Del Sur (5),   Wanna Play With Me (6),    Mexicana  (1)   Race 4 Krug toyed with them last week and this is not much harder. Top winning chance ….. Tango Tara has been running on and the distance will suit. Can push the favourite….. Burnham Boy racing well and is getting fitter. Top three player with luck….. Kensington Bill likes the pace on all the way. Needs to bring his a-game but can place. Selections:  Krug (4),   Tango Tara (7),   Burnham Boy (6),    Kensington Bill (2)   Race 5 Sods Law lands a good draw and was a bit unlucky last start. Can win with luck….. Kowhai Sundown won a similar race three starts ago. Needs the right trip but can finish into the placings… Sugarinspice thereabouts his last couple. Will need a trailing run but can place….. Justan's Sister another who has been racing ok and one of the leading drivers on. Top three claims with luck. Selections:  Sods Law (5),   Sugarinspice (3),   Justan's Sister (8),    Kowhai Sundown (9)   Race 6 Enhance Your Calm gets into a winnable race for him. Should be hard to beat even if he can get handy early…… Majestic Man has been racing well and getting fitter. One of the leading chances….. Madeleine Stowe ok last start and will improve off that run. Top three chance at big odds….. Sundees Son tricky handicap but small field will help. Winning claims. Selections:  Enhance Your Calm (3),  Madeleine Stowe (1),   Majestic Man (5),    Sundees Son (6)   Race 7 Self Assured too good with the worst run last start. Do not think they can beat him if he gets some luck in the running….. Another Masterpiece good third last start and he will be improved hard to see him beating the favourite.…… Princess Tiffany was a bit disappointing last start but was running on. Place hope here…… Classie Brigade ok last start and getting better with racing. Hard to see him winning but can place. Selections:  Self Assured (5),   Another Masterpiece (6),   Princess Tiffany (4),    Classie Brigade (3)   Race 8 Overzealous good last start in a strong field. One of the leading chances here and top selection.……. Count Eyre has had some issues getting around the last corner here but trotted all the way at the trials. Can still win and is over the odds…… Monrika big drop in grade for this. Can run a place at good odds….. Majestic Chevron ok last start and is is still on the improve. Winning claims if she can negotiate the 25m handicap. Selections:  Overzealous (7),   Count Eyre (1),   Monrika (6),    Majestic Chevron (10)   Race 9 The Kaik finished on well last start. Big improver and one of the leading chances here.……. Somekindawonderful big run for third last start in a strong field. Winning claims if he can get handy before the turn…… Melody's Mischief tricky draw but will be fitter now. Can run a place….. Hells Shadow disappointed last start but drawn to trail here. Place chances best. Selections:  The Kaik (5),   Somekindawonderful (13),   Melody's Mischief (12),    Hells Shadow (2)   Race 10 Italian Lad class horse of the field and draw the only concern. Should go close here.……. Down To The Bone top win last start and has ability. Winning claims in this field…… Aqua Sancta likely to trail here and good second last start. Place chance again here….. Cardinal Sin looks to have quite a bit of ability and should get a run through from the draw. Can get some money here. Selections:  Italian Lad (10),   Aqua Sancta (1),   Down To The Bone (5),    Cardinal Sin (11)   Harnesslink Media

Punters would be best to remind themselves that it’s not Groundhog Day on Friday night at Addington with the feature pace of the night, the Mico Plumbing Hornby Handicap Pace, mustering the same exact field as the week before. On that occasion Self Assured proved a little too strong from a parked position to pip the brave Classie Brigade who had dictated the mid-race tempo. As punters may appreciate it tends to be a little difficult to make much of the small fields with tempo generally coming out of the event with a dictator of speed likely to score some easy mid-race sectionals. The improvement of both Princess Tiffany may represent the interest factor here along with the form of Self Assured. The feature trot of the night, the Allied Security Handicap Trot,again lacks numbers but does see the clash of the R Dunn trained stablemates in Sundees Son and Pres The Belle. Both have been seen doing sound work in recent workouts and trials with Pres The Belle offering the value in a field that also includes Enchance Your Calm who was well beaten behind the flying Cracker Hill last week. Other animals of note that fill out the card on Friday include the Dalgety / Purdon trained Krug who goes around in race four and looks to continue his strong form. The son of Bettor’s Delight looks to bring up his 5th race day victory from just the 7 starts. An All Stars quinella looks likely in the last of the night the Thanks For Your Support Blue Stars Taxis Pace with Italian Lad drawn on the back of stablemate Aqua Sancta. Main threats in the race may lie with the Mitchell Kerr trained Koenigsegg with a watch on the effort of Cardinal Sin.   Ben McMillan     

By Dave Di Somma, Harness News Desk      Not a day goes by when Colin and Julie DeFilippi don’t think about their son Darren. “It’s still hurts thinking about him and what he has missed out on in life,” says Julie. The 25th running of the Darren DeFilippi Memorial Trot will be held at Addington Raceway on Friday night. It marks a quarter of a century since the talented junior driver was killed in a three car crash as he returned from the Orari races. “We have both struggled,” says Colin, “sometimes it feels like just 10 years other times it feels like an eternity.” “We both still have sleepless nights since the accident, and although life goes on - it’s still hard to live with.” says Julie “At the time of the accident it was front and foremost all the time… now it’s still there but you can concentrate on other things a little more.” Colin remembers a young man who was “focused and with his heart in the game”. Julie says he also had “gorgeous smiling eyes and when he smiled it melted my heart”. Darren had 14 wins in two years of driving, his last drive was a sixth on Stambro (trained by Colin) at Geraldine just hours before his death. Stambro was also killed in a separate accident on the same road on the same day (November 25 1995). The DeFilippis have never found out the exact detail around the crash. “We know a car crossed the centre line and hit two cars, we don’t know if she had fallen asleep or what.” “She broke an arm and was disqualified from driving for six months.” In the DeFilippi family home there is a constant reminder of their teenage son, with a memorial cabinet that includes his photos, his racing colours, and trophies. “We will never forget him,” says Julie. She also praises her husband’s support over the years and their daughter Mandy who she describes as a “tower of strength”. “She was just 17 when this happened. It had a big impact and she is amazingly strong to have coped like she has.” The DeFilippis will be at Addington on Friday night – For them personally, they know it won’t be easy. “Many of the junior drivers weren’t even born when Darren was around, but there’s been a lot of support from trainers and everyone else, his trophy is held in high esteem by the junior drivers, and that makes us very proud,” says Julie.

By Josh Smith - Harness News Desk    Kerryn Tomlinson may have only had four drives in the New Zealand Junior Drivers Championship at Addington Raceway over the weekend, but she made them count, taking out the series on Sunday. The Oamaru-based reinswoman was sitting third-equal with sister Sheree heading into the final heat and she was able to guide Bright Glow up the passing lane to finish runner-up and secure the Championship Crown. Tomlinson admitted it was a bit of surprise to find out that she had won the series after not looking at the points table heading into the final race. “I didn’t look at the points table before I went into the final heat because I just wanted to drive my best race and not worry about it too much,” she said. “Luckily I had some good horse power in Bright Glow in the final heat. We were able to get a good run through up the fence to come second by a nose.” Tomlinson kicked off the series with a win in Heat 2 with Aladdin Sane and she said that gave her a boost going into the remainder of the competition. “Coaster (Howe, trainer) had Aladdin Sane right so it went really well,” Tomlinson said. “That first win gave me a lot of confidence heading into the rest of the series because it put me up there with the points.” Tomlinson had to sit on the sidelines in two of the heats and admitted to being slightly jealous of her contemporaries out on the track, but said it was great how the competition was so tightly contested. “I had two scratchings, so I only had four drives, but I was still able to get up for the win,” she said. “A different driver won each heat, so it wasn’t overly dominated by anyone.” It was Tomlinson’s first time competing in the series this year and she said she owes a lot to employer Brad Williamson. “This is my second season and my first time in the junior champs,” she said. “The best thing has been going down south to Oamaru where the Williamson’s have helped me out so much. “I am getting a lot more opportunities after going south.” As the Championship victor, Tomlinson secured her ticket, courtesy of trainer Tim Butt, to fly to Australia to watch the Miracle Mile, if travel restrictions allow. “I am really excited to be going over there, so a big thanks to Tim Butt and the team over there for putting up that prize,” Tomlinson said. “I’m also grateful to everyone else who has sponsored the competition and put up prizes.” Tomlinson’s uncle Clint Ford also donated a service fee for new season sire Marcoola, and Tomlinson said she is now on the hunt for a mare to send to the family favourite. “I’m just going to have to find a mare that is not related to him. I have got to try and see if Phil has any of his good ones that he is not using,” she quipped. Cambridge drivers Luke Whittaker and Alicia Harrison finished second and third respectively in the series, while the North Island took out the team competition. 

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 eight race program starting at 12:55pm 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 Sunday 26th July 2020   Race 1 Anamajor in top form and racing better fields. She should go close to winning this race……Pay Me Visa last few runs have been better than they look on paper. Can win…….Glacier Coaster good draw to work with and winning claims if she backs up from the win on Friday night…..Donegal Gilbert up in grade for this but leading junior driver on board. Can finish into a placing in this field. Selections:  Anamajor (8),   Pay Me Visa (7),   Glacier Coaster (2),    Donegal Gilbert (4)   Race 2 Isla Elsie trials have been encouraging and from a form stable. Winning claims fresh and top driver booked……. Shiffty nice after an early gallop last start. Well placed in this field. Can win…… Sheza Mighty Monarch change of stables and ok at workouts. One for longer odds in this field…… Pastrana a bit one paced but has ability, can spice up the multiples. Selections:  Isla Elsie (3),   Shiffty (4),   Sheza Mighty Monarch (16),    Pastrana (7)   Race 3 Calypso Rock  only fair last start but better placed here drawn to lead. One of the leading chances…… Mathilda getting better with racing and can place at longer odds with luck in the running…. Mrs Washington going ok races from bad draws. Gets her chance from the inside barrier…… Lottie Moon racing well in stronger fields. Is getting fitter and can win. Selections:  Calypso Rock  (5),   Mathilda (8),   Lottie Moon (6),    Mrs Washington (1)   Race 4 Magicol Ideal disappointed last start but did a bit of work in the running. Draw ok and has winning claims….. Diamond Edition looks the early leader and good workout recently. Can win and note: racing free legged this week….. Eastwood Isabella racing well but tricky draw. Top three player with luck….. Four Starzzz Shiraz bad draw but top junior on board. Needs to bring his a-game but can win. Selections:  Four Starzzz Shiraz (12),   Eastwood Isabella (10),   Diamond Edition (4),    Magicol Ideal (3)   Race 5 Invaluable still a maiden but has raced well in similar fields before. Can run top three with manners….. Sweeney Todd good from a stand and runs have been ok. Good winning chance in this field…… Scelta Uno  racing well without a lot of luck. Tote the guide….. Flamboyant another who has been racing ok and stand suits. Top three claims. Selections:  Invaluable (6),   Sweeney Todd (7),   Scelta Uno   (11),    Flamboyant (10)   Race 6 Prince Teka good run for fourth here on Friday. Should be hard to beat…… Sods Law has been running the odd cheeky race and gets his chance here. Place claims at longer odds….. Take After Me paced away last week and never recovered. Can trot with manners.Leave out at your peril….. Bright Glow draw suits and he has been getting better with racing. Winning claims. Selections:  Prince Teka (8),  Bright Glow (2),   Sods Law (10),    Take After Me (5)   Race 7 Ashes To Ashes good finish last start in a similar field. Draw not great but he can win….. Foregone Conclusion not the worst in this field from the draw and workout form is ok. Good place chance…… Megarock was a bit disappointing last start but cops a decent draw. Allow another chance…… Jake ok last start and getting better with racing. Include Selections:  Ashes To Ashes (10),   Foregone Conclusion (4),   Megarock (1),    Jake (5)   Race 8 The Falcon good win last start but harder field to contend with. One of the leading chances in this field.……. Madame Frost good win from a new stable last start and getting better with racing. Can win if she can clear traffic…… Majorca has the draw to be handy in the race. One for longer odds….. Machs Mareta ok last start and will be fitter. Winning claims here. Selections:  The Falcon (11),   Majorca (1),   Madame Frost (10),    Machs Mareta (5)   Harnesslink Media

By Jonny Turner    The Falcon will have his toughness put to the test when he attempts to double up at Addington on Sunday. The Geoff Dunn trained 2yr-old impressed when sitting parked and outmuscling one of the smartest maiden fields since lockdown in his last start, early last month. The form out of the race has been hot with Percy, Bettor Grunter and Savvy Bromac all going on to win after chasing The Falcon and driver Gerard O’Reilly home. Dunn did not go in to the horse’s debut with huge confidence, but he knew his horse had a good amount of talent. “He is just a nice horse, at that stage I thought he might have lacked a little bit of speed and those horses would be too quick for him.” “But, I thought it was a really good drive and he just outstayed them.” Since his win, Dunn has given the Bettor’s Delight pacer some time off and then worked on having him ready to race again. “He has been good, I am really happy with him,” the trainer said. “I gave him a wee break and he has had one trial.” “He was going to have another trial, but then we decided to put him in on Sunday.” That trial also contained a hot line up that included Friday night’s winner, Its All About Faith and placegetter, Pace N Pride. The Falcon worked home nicely from midfield on a sizzling 26.8sec last 400m. It is his staying prowess, rather than that kind of speed which will be tested on Sunday. Stepping up from the 1980m of his first win to 2600m in race 8 is a slight concern for Dunn. “That is the only question, but he should handle it alright.” “He has been working really good, but he is not really match fit.” “But, he is only a 2yr-old and they are pretty naturally sort of fit anyway.” Dunn and O’Reilly also combine with Lottie Moon, who starts from barrier 6 in race 3. Like her stablemate, the 4yr-old has been running around in strong company. “If you look at her sectionals she had been going really well,” Dunn said.  “Again, we have picked a softer option on Sunday.” “It would have been nice to draw in a little bit, but she has also been working really well.” Sunday’s meeting features the final three heats of the New Zealand Junior Driver’s Championship. Luke Whittaker looks a big chance of moving up from eighth position on the leaderboard in heat four (race 1). His drive, Anamajor, drops in class after having to take on his stablemate, Kensington Bill in his last start at Addington. Dylan Ferguson has the form runner in heat five (race 4) in Eastwood Isabella. His main mission will be to negotiate a winning path for the in-form mare from barrier 1 on the second row. Crackerbrie and Sonic Reign also look good hopes, but they are also drawn awkwardly in barriers 9 and 8 respectively. Kerryn Tomlinson and Sarah O’Reilly drive the leading chances in heat six (race 6) of the competition. Escargo (O’Reilly) and Bright Glow (Tomlinson) both go in to race 6 after running good second placings in their last starts. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

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