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By Jonny Turner Stevie Golding scored his first win as a trainer in sensational style when Stunin Magic bolted in by more than six lengths at Addington on Friday night. Golding’s fiancé, Samantha Ottley, let the Stunin Cullen pacer loose at the 500m and the mare ran her rivals off their feet to score an empathic victory in just her third start. Golding admitted Stunin Magic’s impressive performance came as slight surprise to him.  “It was a massive thrill.” “She went good at the trials two weeks ago, so I didn’t think she would be too far away” “But, I wasn’t expecting her to win like that.” “Hopefully she can keep it going.” Stunin Magic has allowed Golding to keep his hand in harness racing while he works full time as a real estate agent. The 4yr-old is the only horse the former premiership winning junior driver has in work. “I only do it for a hobby and she is the only one I have in work.” “It is just a good to have one at the races so I can come along and have a beer and catch up with everyone.” Though Golding has made a flying start to his training career by producing a win and two seconds from just four starts, he does not plan on expanding his team, with real estate being his main focus.   Stunin Magic produced Golding’s two second placings when producing two runner-up performances in her first two starts, late last season. The mare then underwent surgery to remove bone chips, before Golding brought her back up to race fitness. Stunin Magic is raced by her breeder Terry McDonald along with Golding’s brother, Matt, and Soph Herbert. Another milestone was notched at Addington on Friday night when trainers Jason and Amber Lethaby scored their first quinella. Amber produced a well judged front running drive to help Justamollyarcher hold out Globe Trekker and Jonny Cox. The couple’s training effort was just also well judged as the neither horse had been sighted at the races recently. Justamollyarcher was having her first start since running a creditable sixth behind Ruthless Kayla in the Uncut Gems Trotters Classic at Addington in June. Globe Trekker was also having his first start since June, when he clashed with exciting trotter Oscar Bonavena at Ashburton. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Jonny Turner  A sensational line up of 3yr-olds will provide a mouth-watering entre for punters at Addington on Friday night ahead of the beginning of the Sires Stakes Series. Sires Stakes eligible pacers Skippy’s Delight, Tyron's Bit Of Lemon, Somekindawonderful and Above N Beyond will battle with fellow 3yr-olds Willison and Im A Gigolo and older pacers Letterkenny Boy, Lets Hustle and Givemewhatineed in a brilliant rating 52-59 event over 1980m. Skippy’s Delight will warm up for next week’s first South Island Sires Stakes Series heat when he starts from barrier 2 in the line up of emerging stars. Though next week’s race is his main aim, trainer Brendon Hill is hopeful Skippy’s Delight can run a big race. “I'd like to think he'd be top three or go really the race.” “He has got a good draw and he has got gate speed.” “He can be up handy on the speed.” Skippy’s Delight scored back-to-back wins after running in to major traffic problems and going to the line under a hold by driver Ricky May, behind One Change at the Harness Jewels. The Art Major pacer led in both of his wins and is likely to be on the speed again, on Friday. However, Hill is hopeful the horse will get the opportunity to show off more of his skill set soon. “He's won his last two in front and Ricky and I hope he will be better in behind.” “We haven't been to do that and I don't know if we'll get a chance to do that on Friday night.” “But, let's hope is another dimension to them that we haven't used.” Skippy’s Delight has tuned up for his return to racing with two Rangiora trials. The 3yr-old was off the pace in a leader dominated heat in his first attempt. Skippy’s Delight then impressed when sweeping around the field to beat a quality line up including race rival, Above N Beyond, and group 1 performer, Flying Even Bettor. Bookmakers rated Im A Gigolo the hardest horse to beat when making 3yr-old the $2.60 favourite on market opening. The Cran Dalgety and Nathan Purdon trained pacer won his debut by more than nine lengths before scoring a comfortable length victory against a field of largely race hardened older horses in his second start. Trainer Robert Dunn has a powerful hand in the race with debutante winners Tyron's Bit Of Lemon, Somekindawonderful and former smart 2yr-old, Above N Beyond. Above N Beyond stormed home wide on the track to reel off a smart last 400m when running in to second in Skippy’s Delight’s trial win. Tyron's Bit Of Lemon and Somekindawonderful will both step up sharply in grade after clearly maidens nicely in their first starts to the races. The Mark Jones trained Willison adds more depth to Friday night’s race. The 3yr-old fought on for second behind Kiwis Are Flying in his first start for six weeks at Addington last week. All Stars pacer Letterkenny Boy heads the older brigade taking on the race’s smart 3yr-olds. The Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen trained pacer finished ahead of Skippy’s Delight at the trials before going on to win another heat, last week. The 10 race Addington card is stacked with smart 3yr-olds. Arden's Reality , Pur Dan, and Gilligans Island go head to head in race 1. On A Roll, Diamond Party and A Delightful act clash in race 3. Smart All Stars pacer Aqua Sancta will battle older horses in race 10. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Jonny Turner Team Bagrie will complete a perfect week if Belmont Major is able to salute at Ascot Park on Saturday. Father and son trainers Peter and Tom Bagrie had their best night at the races when they produced the winners of the first three races at Addington on Thursday. Tom started their winning run when The Governor took out race 1 and Eye Of The Tiger won race 2. Peter kept up the Bagries’ good form when producing The General to win race 3.  “It was our best night at the races by far, it all came together and the stars aligned,” Tom said. Tom helped reward his former school mate, Hoani Matenga, for his patience when Eye Of The Tiger scored her maiden victory. The Bay Of Plenty Steamers rugby player and former bassist for the band Six60 bought in to the mare when she was a yearling. And he has had to wait until she was 5yrs-old to see her in the winner’s circle. “He came down to the races one night, it must have been four years ago now, and he ended up buying a share in her after the sales,” Bagrie said. “It is his first ever horse and he has been patient and he was rapt to get the job done.” Eye Of The Tiger has been limited to just three career starts because of weakness. “She has just been a bit weak in behind,” Bagrie said. “She's always had a lot of speed.” “They always say trotters need a few miles and a bit of time.” “She was a cheapie we got from the sales and because we have got a farm it was pretty easy to leave her in a paddock for a long period of time just to let her mature.” Patience was also rewarded when The Governor won his first race since January of 2017 when he scored in amateur drivers company for Sheldon Murtha. The pacer broke a pedal bone after winning twice and placing three times in five starts as a 3yr-old. The Governor had initially raced consistently after his return, but he had not shown much enthusiasm for racing, recently. So, Bagrie started mixing his work up. “His drivers would comment and say sort of felt alright, but they asked him for something he didn't have much more,” the trainer said. “He just keep plugging on.” “We've just done a few things differently with this training and he seems to be enjoying it.” “He’s been a bit of a heat scratcher, really, because he has a lot of ability.” “We thought a lot of them until he broke down as a three year old.” More patience was rewarded when The General completed the Bagrie hat-trick at Addington. Peter waited until the half brother to Bettor Heart was a 4yr-old to step him at the races and the trainer was instantly rewarded when The General scored in a 2600m maiden event. Progressive 3yr-old Belmont Major could complete a perfect week for Team Bagrie if he can win for Tom at Ascot Park. The pacer should be very hard to beat if he is able to step away in his first standing start attempt in the rating 40-55 event. “The stand is a bit of a question mark, I suppose, but he has been good at the trials and he seems good at home,” Tom said.     “I am expecting him to go pretty good.”

By Jonny Turner Trainers Cran Dalgety and Nathan Purdon hope to continue the brilliant start they have made to the new season at Addington on Thursday night. Their new training partnership has gotten off to a flying start in its first six weeks by producing 11 winners from just 30 starters. And they hope to keep that up that good form. “As you know you have to keep it going, we don’t want to be a flash in the pan,” Dalgety said. “So, we will try to keep the momentum going.” Four of Dalgety and Purdon’s 11 victories, so far this term, have come from Arden Roanoke. Dalgety said the trainers are reaping the rewards after the former high priced yearling finally grew in to his frame. “When you pay a lot of money for them you want to get to the races as quick as you can.” “But, he simply wasn’t ready and he was quite immature for a few seasons.” Arden Roanoke beat Hayden’s Meddle, Smarter VC and Pay Me Visa when getting up late to nail Kruizr on the line in a similar event at Addington, last week. The five pacers will square off again on Thursday night. Arden Roanoke could be an even harder horse to beat when he returns to the track, this week, Dalgety said. “He has really improved since his last run.” Almost all of the eight runners in 1980m event look to have legitimate winning hopes. Smart 3yr-olds Global Domination and Dadndave return to make their 4yr-olds in the race. Storm Prince drops massively in class after starting in Classie Brigade’s Maurice Holmes Vase. The Dalgety and Purdon stable are looking forward to Bettathanfast resuming from a short winter spell on Thursday night. Dalgety said the 4yr-old should also return to Addington better than before. “We do like him – he has really improved.” “He was big and ugly, he was a bit like a big thoroughbred, he just lacked a bit of middle in him, last campaign.” Bettathanfast showed he was looking good when he held out Koenigsegg, who looks also looks a strong winning chance on Thursday night, to win a trial at Rangiora, last week. “I think he will be a really good under grade free-for-all horse and country cups horse and I reckon he will perform really good [on Thursday] night,” Dalgety said. Maiden 3yr-old Invaluable looks another strong chance for the Dalgety-Purdon stable at Addington. He went down fighting to Tyron's Bit Of Lemon after working hard in his last start at Winton. “I would like to think he wouldn’t be a maiden for too much longer,” Dalgety said. Woman In Gold will also attempt to break her maiden at Addington. The 3yr-old faded in to fourth after doing plenty of work in her last start at Winton. “She did work hard early, she worked for about the first 700m.” “I thought it wasn’t a bad run, because she did fight hard up the straight.” Pocket Watch steps sharply up in grade after clearing maiden ranks at Forbury in his last start. Dalgety is hopeful the 3yr-old’s good manners can help put him in a striking position. “He has got to jump up three classes, rather than one.” “But his forte is he is very quick from a stand and I am excited to draw the front line with him.” “So, he will put himself in a good position for the first part of the race.” Dalgety and Purdon will have one other starter this week with Donegal Mary Francis heading to Invercargill on Saturday. The 5yr-old looks a strong winning chance for new stable employee, junior driver Sarah O’Reilly.  Reprinted with permission of Harness Racing New Zealand

By Jonny Turner Chase Auckland announced himself as a New Zealand Cup contender when sprinting to victory in the New Brighton Cup at Addington on Friday night.   The Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen trained 5yr-old put a frustrating past season behind him when scoring a front running victory in the group 3 feature. After being dogged by a muscle injury and a run of frustrating luck on the track last term, Chase Auckland could not have started his new season in more contrasting fashion. The Auckland Reactor gelding began brilliantly in his first standing start attempt, before taking the lead early for driver Tim Williams. Williams set a sedate tempo, that effectively won Chase Auckland the race with a lap to run. The 5yr-old gave his rivals little chance of making ground when sprinting his last 800m in 54.4sec and final 400m in 26.2sec to win. Spankem ran even faster sectional times when coming three wide on the home bend to run second.  The 5yr-old’s effort was good enough to see him maintain New Zealand Cup favouritism at $4.20 odds. Ultimate Sniper and A G’s Whitesocks trailed the quinella makers home. Hail Christian disappointed when running fifth. Classie Brigade took no part in the race when galloping badly at the start. Chase Auckland The road to the Dominion heated up when Sundees Son and Oscar Bonavena trotted to sizzling wins at Addington on Friday night. Sundees Son scorched away from his rivals when winning the group 3 Ordeal Trotting Cup by almost five lengths. The win was the Robert Dunn trained 5yr-old’s fifth consecutive victory and confirmed his Dominion favouritism. Driver John Dunn settled Sundees Son off a strong speed set up by Habibi Inta. Once Dunn asked his charge for a three wide bid at the 700m, the trotter charged around the field to score comprehensively. Destiny Jones ran home well out of the pack to grab second ahead of Habibi Inta, who held third. Sundees Son Earlier, Oscar Bonavena started his Dominion campaign in brilliant style when rattling off sizzling final sectionals to win. The Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen trained 4yr-old ran his last 800m in 56.4sec and final 400m in 27.5sec to win in intermediate company. The Purdon-Rasmussen stable forwent a tilt at the rich Australasian Breeders Crown with the trotter and that looks to have paid off with the way the horse returned from a short winter spell on Friday night. Oscar Bonavena Oscar Bonavena moved in to a $2.70 win price for the Dominion, following last night’s racing. Sundees Sun heads the market at $2.30.  Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

Hail Christian’s arrogance may force a change of tactics that could greatly impact the first serious open class pace of the season at Addington tonight. Some of the big boys of the elite pacing scene return, headlined by Miracle Mile and Horse of the Year in waiting Spankem, who is joined by stablemates Chase Auckland and Ultimate Sniper. They will meet a trio of proper horses who clashed two weeks ago in Classie Brigade, A G’s White Socks and Hail Christian in tonight’s $30,000 Avon City Ford Cup, a 2600m standing start. With their fitness edge the latter trios best chances of beating the Purdon-Rasmussen favourites would seem to be to stay in front of them, with the small field suggesting half the race being run in single file and a quick last 800m. Under those circumstances almost any horse is beatable if trapped back in the field and while Spankem might be the best pacer in the country, especially with stablemate Turn It Up sidelined, he has been at his most potent when able to lead.  So surely Hail Christian, who stepped and led last time before being run down late, would want to stay in front of the returning stars? Well, maybe not. “To be honest I was a little disappointed when he led and was run down two weeks ago,” says trainer Paul Court. “I actually think he waited for the other horses and maybe he just isn’t as good in front. “He is quite an arrogant horse and knows he is good so when he gets a break on them he can pull up and wait. “So while nothing is definite, I think he is better with a trail.” But Court realises if he and fellow trainers keep handing up to the All Stars big names they will hardly ever beat them so he would like to see one of his last-start rivals in Classie Brigade or A G’s White Socks take the fight to them. “Somebody has to do it or they will just beat us all the time but I honestly don’t think it is the best way for my horse to be driven.” If Classie Brigade or A G’s White Socks are able to lead and run a fast last 800m then Spankem is beatable. But with potentially one less rival for the lead, the Miracle Mile winner deserves favouritism tonight. Tactics may be less important in the $30,000 Ordeal Trot because Sundees Son has been magnificent in his last four starts, three last season and his fresh-up win at Addington off a 25 handicap last Friday. He returns to a mobile tonight so is back on level marks and if his manners hold, and they have been fine at both the races and trials for quite some time now, he should win. Further north, Alexandra Park hosts another of its all-mile meetings, which have provided a great boost to usual Friday night turnovers because of the competitive racing and lack of red hot favourites. The feature brings together three last-start winners in The Moonshadow, Blazen River and Solid Gold and punters might lean toward The Moonshadow over stablemate Blazen River because trainer Tony Herlihy will drive him. “But to be honest there isn’t much between them and Tony (Cameron) has driven Blazen River to win before so he might even be our better hope,” explained Herlihy. But Solid Gold is a natural speedster so even drawn outside the other pair may be the one to beat.   Michael Guerin

Paul Nairn has been left under no illusion how tough the new open class trotting season is going to be. And it isn’t about to get any easier at Addington tomorrow night. Nairn was more than happy with Habibi Inta’s solid third to a rampant Sundees Son at Addington last Friday night, especially as he went into the race without a trial. “He had done plenty of work leading into it so he was ready but it is a tough old grade for these horses,” says Nairn. “So I was happy with how he went but it is going to be a hard grade the open trotters this season. “You have a lot of those good older horses like Marcoola and the others but also Sundees Son and Majestic Man and the younger ones of Mark’s (Oscar Bonavena and eventually Enhance Your Calm). “So it could be a really good open class crop.” Habibi Inta’s chances of turning the tables on Sundees Son tomorrow night have been done no favours by him drawing the inside of the second line in the mobile start Ordeal Cup, which Nairn admits has at least one positive. “I was happy with how he hit the line last week and again this week he shouldn’t get a hard run so at least he will have not too taxing start to the season. “But there are only 10 starters in it on Friday night so he should be a run at some stage.” Safely through the Ordeal Cup, Habibi Inta will head to the Banks Peninsula Cup on the grass on September 29 and head along the Dominion path but Nairn wants to see the former Harness Jewels winner develop a harder edge this season. “I think he can be a really good horse but he has to keep finding the line all the time. “He has the ability but sometimes he hasn’t found the line so I hope he starts to do that more regularly. Hopefully that experience in open class last season will help.”
  While Habibi Inta is up and running for the open class season he won’t be joined any time soon by Nairn’s other open class regular in Ronald J, who has been having soundness issues and been sent for a spell. “He just wasn’t trotting right so I will put him aside and I don’t think we will see him this side of the Cup carnival.”  Also enjoying a long spell are last season’s NZ Trotting Derby winner Lotamuscle and Jewels placegetter Gil Favor. “They are both having five months off, to give them the chance to strengthen up before they come back because there isn’t a lot for them as early four-year-olds any way.” Nairn says an end of season veterinary examination revealed Lotamuscle had been suffering from ulcers. “That might explain why he was a bit up and down during the season but we don’t know how long he had them.”   by Michael Guerin

The often sedate nature of early season open class pacing races has provided Addington with an unexpected boost this week. Because Miracle Mile winner Spankem and his high-class stablemates Ultimate Sniper and Chase Auckland will resume at their Friday night meeting, a week earlier than expected. All three Purdon-Rasmussen group one stars were originally expected to start their New Zealand Cup campaigns in the Hannon Memorial at Oamaru on Sunday week. But Purdon decided with the first open class pace of the season two weeks ago run at a farcical speed, an earlier start to their preparations wouldn’t hurt the trio. “We could have taken them back to the trials but often these early season open class races can be a bit slower than usual and raced in single file,” explains Purdon. ‘“I am not saying that will be the case this week but I think a race will be more useful than a trial which might have only been our three anyway. “And if they only run a big half (last 800m) on Friday then it is similar to a trial.” A look at the first open class pace of the season, the Maurice Holmes Vase on August 30, suggests Friday’s comeback shouldn’t be too brutal on the big guns. While there were only two head margins between Classie Brigade, A G’s White Socks and Hail Christian that night, the overall time of 3:21.4 for the 2600m standing start was 12.7 seconds outside the national record, with the leaders flying their last 800m in 54.3 seconds and the 400m in 26.7. The final sectional is exactly the same one Spankem paced winning a trial at Ashburton last week, suggesting field position might decide Friday’s Avon City Ford New Brighton Cup. But regardless of who wins on Friday having some of the All Stars pacing heroes back creates a lot more interest in the meeting and makes it feel like the open class season is actually starting. “It will be good to have them back and all going well they will probably still go to Oamaru for the Hannon, then races like the Canterbury Classic (October 4) and the Flying Stakes at Ashburton on October 28.” New Zealand Cup defending champion Thefixer won’t be back on Friday though as he has had a very slight setback and will instead trial at Rangiora today. And Auckland Cup winner Turn It Up is still definitely not racing until next year. Also returning on Friday night but away from the elite trotters is Oscar Bonavena, who is expected to be one of the big movers in that gait this season. He has thrilled Purdon in both his work and a trial last week and while he is the $4.80 second favourite for the Dominion during Cup week in Christchurch he comes back off only a 20m handicap in a moderate rating56 race on Friday. “He is trotting beautifully and we have no concerns about him stepping into open class later in the spring,” said Purdon. Friday’s main trot will see Sundees Son start a hot favourite back to mobile conditions in the Ordeal Trotting Cup after he bolted in from a 25m handicap against similar opposition last Friday.   Michael Guerin

By Jonny Turner  Sundees Son’s sensational return to racing provided owner Colin Hair with the second of two harness racing highlights in less than a week. The Robert Dunn trained trotter signalled he was set for a big spring campaign when he unleashed a powerful finish to win his first start of the new season. Though Hair does not want to get ahead of himself, the breeder-owner admitted its hard not to get excited about what could be in store for Sundees Son. “You don’t want to get ahead you yourself, but it is a bit scary to think about what is coming up.” A strong early pace set up by The Dominator had Sundees Son well back in a strung out field. After tacking on to the field from his 25m handicap, the 5yr-old still had a big task ahead of him with lap to run, when third last. Driver John Dunn found a three-wide cart in to the race before the turn for Sundees Son and the trotter let down with a brilliant finish to reel in the game pacemaker, The Dominator, by three-quarters of a length at the line. Sundees Sun looks set to return an even better prospect that he was when he ended his sensational 4yr-old with a hat-trick of group 1 wins. Hair said his horse had thrived during his short winter break. “He did do well when he was out, he has never been an overly big horse, but he has come back looking a bit bigger and a bit stronger.” Hair was to have a two-pronged attack on Friday night’s 2600m feature. Woodstone, who trialled well behind Sundees Son recently, had to be scratched from the race. The trotter is expected to be back at the races next week, Hair said. It was a case of two out of three ain’t bad for the Canterbury owner, this week. Woodstone’s scratching was one negative beside two positives - Sundees Son’s win and Hair’s re-election to the Harness Racing New Zealand board. Hair received the most votes of any of the nine people who stood in the recent election, which came as a pleasant surprise. “I was quite surprised – I didn’t realise I would get so much support because I am not affiliated to a particular club.” Friday night’s race provided contrasting fortunes for its Dominion bound trotters. Habibi Inta hit the line strongly after only finding clear running on the passing lane in the last 50m of the event. Destiny Jones and Monkeys Way went sound races, finishing fourth and sixth, respectively. Madeline Stowe, who is not nominated for the Dominion went a bold race to run fifth in her toughest career test. Comeback trotters Monbet and Enghien were not able to show their best on a wet Addington track. Monbet lost touch with the leaders before the turn and battled in to ninth placing. Driver Ricky May reported to stewards the horse felt lethargic throughout the race and it could have been due to the wet state of the track. A post-race veterinary examination showed Monbet had recovered poorly and had an elevated heart rate. Enghien broke briefly on two occasions in the running, before tiring at the finish to run seventh.   Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Jonny Turner Junior driver Ben Hope will have notched a career highlight before the tapes fly for a star-studded line up of trotters at Addington on Friday night.  Hope will drive Enghien, who clashes with his stablemate Monbet and Rowe Cup winner, Sundees Son, in a blockbuster 2600m handicap. The rookie reinsman admitted just being entrusted with the drive on the 6yr-old, who is trained by his parents, Greg and Nina Hope, is a massive thrill. Enghien will be having his first start in more than 15 months when Hope lines him up from the 15m mark.  The former Harness Jewels winner did not look like a horse that had had a long stretch away from the track when winning his first public appearance since his battle with a minor leg injury, last month. Enghien could not back up that performance in a subsequent workout on the same track a week later, but there were genuine excuses for his fourth placing.  “The first trial everything went to plan, he trotted super and he did everything we asked of him,” Hope said.  “The second workout didn’t really go to plan – earlier in the race he lost a shoe.  “We have changed a couple of little things from his trials and he has been great.” Trotting fans will remember Enghien as much for his less than perfect gait as they will for his eight listed and group race wins. Hope said though the horse’s well known action has improved as he has matured, it will never be perfect.  “His gait probably has improved a bit.” “He is the sort of horse – being a typical Love You – that he is a nice rolling type that likes to get in to his groove a bit.” “I think he is always going to be little bit funny and his gait.” Monbet will combine with driver Ricky May for just his second start in nearly three years on Friday night. The 23-race winner has had three trial and workout runs at Rangiora to prepare him for his latest comeback bid. Monbet beat lower grade trotters in the first of those, before effectively following Enghien around in his trial win. In his latest public appearance, Monbet beat pacers to win the same workout in which Enghien suffered his shoe problem. “We were really happy with his trial and Ricky jumped off and was ecstatic to get the feel of him again,” Hope said.  Few would expect Monbet to be at his best on Friday night after spending much of the past three years on the sideline. The champion trotter is simply as fit as he can be without the having the benefit of recent racing.  “He is probably going to need the run, Enghien is probably a little bit more forward than him at the moment, but after a couple of runs it could be a different story,” Hope said.  “He is the sort of horse that I think with the more races and hit outs he gets, the more he will improve.” The Hope trained pairing of Enghien and Monbet face the daunting task of facing the New Zealand’s newly crowned trotting king Sundees Son. The Robert Dunn trained 5yr-old has had one trial leading in to his resumption and produced an impressive effort.  Sundees Son beat his stablemate Woodstone, who is scratched from Friday night’s race, as well as race rivals Harriet Of Mot, Monkey’s Way and Destiny Jones in a 2600m free-for-all event at Rangiora. Sundees Son, who clearly looks the horse to beat in Friday night’s event, will start from the 25m mark alongside Monbet and Harriet of Mot. Enghien, Monkey’s Way and Habibi Inta start from 15m.  Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Peter Craig This year’s inductees were announced at Addington Raceway on Friday 30 August 2019 as part of the seventeenth Canterbury Owners and Breeders Night. Two time winners of the NZ Trotting Cup in Monkey King and Dominion Handicap in Scotch Tar together with Canterbury harness racing identity Fred Fletcher are the latest to be honoured by the Addington Harness Hall of Fame. Monkey King – triple millionaire, thirteenth winner of two NZ Cups, winning thirty five races in NZ, nineteen at Addington, four in Australia. Winner of twenty group races including ten at Group One level (GN Derby, Messenger, NZ Cup/NZFFA/Easter Cup twice, Auckland Cup and Miracle Mile). Leading pacing/overall stake earner for 2009/10 season ($1,022,944), only horse to win consecutive NZ Cups/NZFFA’s, Pacer of Year, NZ Harness Horse of Year, Australasian Grand Circuit champion. Driven in majority of career by Addington Harness Hall of Famer Ricky May (24 wins) including when he established an Australian Pacers mile/Australasian Pacers race mile record of 1:50.8 at Menangle (Miracle Mile 2009). Trained by Stephen Reid (20 wins), Stephen Reid and Graeme Rogerson (2 wins) and Brendon Hill (17 wins).  A NZ Trotting Hall of Fame inductee. Scotch Tar – fifth trotter to win two Dominion Hcps, winner of twenty nine races, eighteen of these at Addington (T2:04.4, T1:58.9TT, $142,405). He was leading trotting stake earner for consecutive seasons : 1979/80 ($35,715), 1980/81 ($50,040). Scotch Tar won eight group races, two at Group One being his Dominion Hcp victories. He was aged trotting entire or gelding of year twice, Trotter of Year, time trialled in T1:58.9 at Addington, owned/trained by Slim Dykman (driver for 15 wins; Robert Cameron 10 wins and Peter Wolfenden 4 wins)) and a NZ Trotting Hall Of Fame inductee. Fred Fletcher is a Canterbury harness racing identity although he was born on the West Coast. A breeder and owner, he was prominent for nearly four decades as stud manager with responsibility for the running of Roydon Lodge where his stallion charges included Thurber Frost, Scottish Hanover Armbro Hurricane, Smooth Fella, Game Pride and Sundon. As a trainer/driver Fletcher drove 169 winners commencing with Roydon Scott in 1977 and concluding with Major Decision in 2002. His training record sits just under 500 successes (490) with 229 having been with trotters. Fred Fletcher has eight Group One wins on his training record, specifically Roydon Glen (4), Sundon and three Ruby Jewels with Jinja Gal, Royal Aspirations and Sunny Ruby (fastest trotting female in Australasia with t3, T1:54.7 at time record set). His rich assortment of both pacers and trotters have won numerous age group awards and a Trotter Of Year (Sundon) and Pacer/Harness Horse Of Year winner in Roydon Glen. These are just a few of many notable achievements in the careers of the latest inductees to Addington’s Harness Hall Of Fame.   Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Jonny Turner Classie Brigade put a frustrating season behind him on Friday night when he dashed along the Addington passing lane to win the Maurice Holmes Vase and book his ticket to the New Zealand Cup. The one-time arch nemesis of Lazarus outsprinted the leader, Hail Christian, and held off a late dive from A G’s White Socks to win the Group 3 New Zealand Cup qualifier.  Classie Brigade enjoyed a fruitful 4-year-old season following his epic 3-year-old battles with Lazarus, but was not able to step on the track more than eight times in the next two years.  Thankfully for his owners Grant and Colin Eynon and Mark McKinnon, the stars look to be aligning for their pacer’s 7-year-old year. There is no Lazarus to contend with anymore, now he has settled in to his stud duties and Classie Brigade is fighting fit and ready for a title shot at the New Zealand Cup.   “Anytime when they go AWOL, you wonder if they are ever going to be anything like they used to be,” Grant Eynon said.  “We were thrilled with him as a 3-year-old, he ran second to Lazarus a few times and we wondered why we can’t beat that horse and we found no one else could either.” Classie Brigade’s resurgence has come following his move to the Woodend Beach stable of Robert Dunn, which is headed by his son John.  “He’s loving it at the beach,” Eynon said. “We can’t believe it – for him to come back from injury – we are just thrilled with the horse and thrilled with Robert and John for all the hard work they have done.” Though Classie Brigade has moved on from former trainer Nigel McGrath’s barn it does not mean the Eynon's can not combine with McGrath to take out the great race. The father and son pairing of Grant and Colin have their McGrath trained pacer Gran Chico nominated for the New Zealand Cup. Gran Chico has not made a public appearance this season, but is expected to trial later in the spring.  The Maurice Holmes Vase was run at a sedate pace for much of its 2600m.  Classie Brigade and driver John Dunn followed Hail Christian and Blair Orange, who led throughout.  The slow early speed set up Classie Brigade’s fast closing sectionals of 54.3sec (800m) and 26.7sec (400m). The winner wore down third placed Hail Christian early in the straight, before holding out the flying finish of runner-up A G’s White Socks.  Classie Brigade’s win saw him move to $17 in the New Zealand Cup market. A G’s White Socks was at $12 and Hail Christian at $31 on the reopening of betting following the Maurice Holmes Vase. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Jonny Turner Classie Brigade will take the first step in what trainer Robert Dunn hopes will be a season of making up for lost time when he lines up in the Maurice Holmes Vase at Addington on Friday night.  Dunn is eyeing a big 12 months with the pacer, who missed most of last term through injury. Classie Brigade was not sighted at the races for nearly nine months after his mediocre run in last year’s Maurice Holmes Vase.  The 7-year-old put a series of minor niggles behind him with a victory and hard fighting second to U May Cullect in a three start winter campaign after transferring to the Dunn stable from trainer Nigel McGrath.  Classie Brigade’s mini winter campaign could give him a slight fitness edge over his key rivals in Friday night’s race.  “He has only had a few weeks off because obviously during the course of the last year he had extended time recovering from injury,” Dunn said.  “He trialled up well and he is training super and we are looking forward to his resumption because I think he is going to have a great year.” Though he can not comment on the state of Classie Brigade’s rivals, Dunn knows his horse will be fit and ready to win.  “There will be no excuses,” the trainer said. “He is ready and he has had a couple of trials.” “His first one was a bit quiet and the second one was a bit more strenuous.” Classie Brigade looked sharp when sprinting late to win at the Rangiora trials more than two weeks ago. He beat one of his main rivals, Hail Christian, who was not pulled out and asked to sprint in the straight.  Hail Christian trialled again at Ashburton a week later and impressed when running down Ive Already Told You to win after being asked for a full effort.  A G’s White Socks is the leading New Zealand Cup contender among Friday night’s small field, which has been reduced to five runners with the scratching of the Dunn trained Hayden’s Meddle. However, the Greg And Nina Hope trained pacer could strip in far from his New Zealand Cup condition for the race.  A G’s White Socks goes in to the 2600m standing start without having a trial or workout ahead of his new campaign. The 6-year-old was last sighted when winning the Rangiora Winter Classic in July.  Classie Brigade, Hail Christian and A G’s White Socks look to have a decent class edge on the remaining runners in the Maurice Holmes Vase in Storm Prince and Stick Man. The Dunn stable made significant progress towards the New Zealand Cup carnival ahead of the Addington meeting.  New Zealand Trotter Of The Year contender, Sundees Sun, had his first public appearance of the new season when winning at the Rangiora trials on Wednesday. The 4-year-old held out his stablemate, Woodstone, who also impressed when going down by just a neck.  Dunn also stepped New Zealand Cup hopeful Henry Hubert out at Rangiora. The 5-year-old enjoyed a quiet trial and was not fully tested when running third.   Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

TAB News Pick6 this week - $25K Pick6 Friday Night at Addington August and September - Harness First4 $6,000 Bonus First4 on a Race 4 Every Friday Night in Aug/Sept and on Race 4 at Addington on Thu 19 Sept.   Addington Raceway and Events Centre – Friday 30 August Hello Everyone, Only 76 days til Christchurch Casino NZ Trotting Cup Day!  Let’s get excited! Cup Week Public Tickets on sale – Monday 2 September! Not long now!   Be sure to visit this Monday to find out all the fabulous things happening during cup week. Remember to book your spot for Cup Week.  Our fabulous hospitality packages are on sale for Christchurch Casino NZ Trotting Cup Day and Show Day Races.  Be sure to book soon and #bepartofthemagic, as three areas are already sold out for Tuesday and limited availability on Show Day. For further details, please visit;  Alternatively, if you have any questions, or wish to book, please contact Joanne McMaster on, or 021 0298 5972.  We look forward to hosting you all! Have a great week everyone and we look forward to welcoming you to the races on Friday for the start of Road to the Cup with the Allied Security Maurice Holmes Vase Group 3 Race.  Good luck to all the connections!  From the Addington Team.   Cambridge - Waikato Bay of Plenty Friday 30 August Faulty Towers at The Races- September 5th at Cambridge Raceway In what is almost certainly a world first we're hosting a very special Faulty Towers Dinner Show at the races!  Featuring the side-splittingly funny trio of Basil, Sybil and Manuel alongside thrilling harness racing action. The Auckland-based comedy troupe is returning to Cambridge Raceway following their hilarious debut at the venue in June, but this time they're merging their renowned performances with the racing action.  Enjoy their performance from the comfort of the Skyline Lounge, the custom show will take place between the races and it will be an interactive experience like never before.  Fingers-crossed they'll be able to steer you into a winner or two! Tickets are only $35 per person! For more info or to book tickets headlong to: INTRODUCING OUR LATEST INNOVATIVE RACE NIGHT EXPERIENCE AT CAMBRIDGE RACEWAY START YOUR WEEKEND RIGHT... UNDER THE LIGHTS Friday Nights Under The Lights is a fusion of harness racing action, social interaction, exciting light displays, inspired music and culinary adventure. Held at Cambridge Raceway over seven Fridays, Friday Nights Under The Lights is the perfect event to take after work drinks to the next level or commit to a regular night out with your besties. Feel the rush of the harness racing action, reach out and network, indulge in the food truck-style cuisine, witness the bright lights, catch up with your mates, make new friends, listen to the music, dance the night away and repeat. It's light therapy for your senses! For more info, head along to:   Forbury Park – Sunday 1 September Come and enjoy Father’s Day at Forbury Park! Free kids entertainment, and Equinox Restaurant are doing an $18 roast & dessert special for the day. Overnight stabling charge  Forbury Park Trotting Club would like to advise that we are happy for trainers & their teams to stop over at Forbury Park on your way to other race meetings, however there will be a small charge @ $7.50 + gst per horse, per night - This is to cover our staff & use of facilities. There is a form to complete prior to a visit which is available from the Forbury Office.  Phone number:  03 455 2154, or email:  We would appreciate a couple of days’ notice ahead of an intended visit so that we can have the facilities ready for your stay, and to arrange access at a suitable time for us.   Methven Trotting Club – Sunday 15 September As winter slowly fades  the Methven Trotting Club committee are hard at work preparing for the first grass track meeting of the season scheduled for Sunday September 15 at the picturesque Mt Harding course. Track supervisor Carl Markham and groundsman Pete ‘Stalky ‘ McLeod have overseen a complete removal and replacement of 400 meters of topsoil  just after the winning post which appears to have rejuvenated nicely ready for the new season. Among the patrons on-course will be a large number from working men’s clubs all over Canterbury. One of the highlights is always the presidents race which usually generates plenty of colourful comment from the crowd as the ‘drivers’ reveal a few unusual tactics in endeavouring to grab bragging rights for the next year. Over the last season the Mid Canterbury harness community lost some wonderful members including hardworking Methven committee men in John Stackhouse and Bernie Davidson. Both made huge contributions and will be irreplaceable. Popular trainers Doug McCormick and Pat Melville were also huge losses their big smiles will be sorely missed. Lastly Pauline O’Reilly who along with late husband Pat  were friend to so many in all walks of life. The Methven Club acknowledges and is grateful for all their contributions. Rest in peace. Recently the club had its annual awards night and results were as follows; Morrison Saddlery leading driver-John Morrison John and Robyn Nicholl leading junior driver-John Morrison. Horse Shoe Brands leading trainer-Greg and Nina Hope Trouble Lodge and R.T. and J. May Young Achiever Award-Sarah O’Reilly. This year the club is trailing an extra meeting which will be a eight race twilight meeting on Friday November 1. The club’s sponsorship  theme for the day will  be based around local rural contractors and their staff and a barbeque type social day. It is new ground for Methven and we have been encouraged by progress to date. So see you under the mountains on the 15th at Methven where the sun always shines. Mike Heenan for Methven Trotting Club   Alexandra Park News TENDER: Auckland Trotting Club in Conjection with Alabar have a Service Fee for Tender to Ultimate Machete. All tenders to be received by 8.00pm on Friday 20 September. For more information or to lodge your tender, contact Karen Blanchard at or call 027 808 3150 MEZZE: A Night of Sharing |  Friday 13 September from 5.30pm Inspired by the Mediterranean. Join us in Alexandra Park’s premier restaurant, Top of the Park for a night of sharing and harness racing action. Begin the night with a drink on arrival and an antipasto platter to your table followed by a grazing buffet filled with goodies and scrumptious desserts to finish the night. We have group discounts available with packages starting from $65pp. Please note; groups of less than 8 may be required to share a table. Embrace the family traditions of the Mediterranean and book today! Save time, book online [WIN!] Journey to Thailand with Thai Airways |  Friday 27 September from 5.30pm Revel in the beauty of Southeast Asia, a tropical wonderland known for its’ rich culture, diverse communities and flavoursome food. Our ever popular Thai-inspired night at the races will take place in the Tasman Room located on level one with direct access trackside. Those who book and attend have the chance to go in the draw to WIN Flights for Two to Bangkok, Thailand thanks to our friends at Thai Airways. This is a night you do not want to miss so we recommended booking sooner rather than later! Save time, book online   Kaikoura Trotting Club – November 3 and 4 The Kaikoura Trotting Club is already preparing for the annual two day meeting at South Bay Racecourse to be held this year on Sunday November 3 and Monday November 4. Working bees are underway, and the club are calling for trainers to please contact them in advance to arrange horse accommodation and assistance with any accommodation for trainers/drivers and owners. Minimum stake on Day One’s twilight meeting is $8,000, with other races with stakes of $10,000 and $12,000. On Alabar Kaikoura Cup Day on Monday the minimum stake is $10,000. If anyone has any questions or wants to book their accommodation for horses please contact the club directly or Grant Anderson on 027 450 5468 Otago Harness Racing Awards - September 14 A star studded line up of New Zealand’s best pacers and broodmares will vie for titles at next month’s Otago Harness Racing Awards in Dunedin. Classy youngsters Princess Tiffany and Ultimate Sniper will take on home town favourites Eamon Maguire and Majestic Man and northerners Speeding Spur and Havtime in the Best Otago Owned Horse category. Bethany, the dam of Lazarus, One Over Kenny, the dam of Ultimate Stride, and Foreal, the dam of Field Marshal with square off with 100-win producer, Fleet’s Pocket, in the Broodmare Excellence category. Each of those broodmare’s owners, Gavin Chin, Lex and Heather Williams and Syd and Shona Brown are finalists for Otago Breeder Of The Year alongside Archie Affleck. Winners of the breeding awards and the Otago Horse Of The Year will be announced at a gala evening at Forbury Park on September 14. A massive total of 23 titles will be awarded in age group trotting and pacing and training and driving categories. Winners of the age group trotting and pacing awards will be eligible to be crowned Otago’s horse of the year. Big race performers Cracker Hill, Ultimate Stride, Majestic Man and Jess Jaccka look to be some of the strongest contenders for the overall title. More than one significant contribution award will industry members at the Otago awards. Former champion thoroughbred trainer Dave O’Sullivan will be the guest speaker at the awards. Tickets are available by contacting Lisa Butler at the Forbury Park Trotting Club on or 03 455 2154.   2019 Woodlands Stud Canterbury Harness Awards Dinner - Saturday 21 September Silks Lounge - Addington Raceway, Addington 6.30pm for a 7.15pm start Tickets $60.00 incl. GST Drinks extra at individual's cost. Watch our for our stallion tender for Downbytheseaside and Pegasus Spur services which close on 02 September 2019. All enquiries to 021 969 969 or Canterbury Combined Awards Dinner Committee - Stallion Services Purchase by Tender  The Canterbury Combined Awards Dinner has two Woodlands Stud Services for purchase by Tender. DOWNBYTHESEASIDE Equal fastest 2yo in Standardbred history, paced 1.49 - Breeders Crown Final Foaled in 2014 – Son of Somebeachsomewhere Banked $2,179,558 from 35 career starts Second year standing in New Zealand 2019/20 Service Fee RRP – $6,000+GST. PEGASUS SPUR ‘Trotting’s Mr Consistent’ Sire of 124 NZ bred and 35 Australian bred winners including: Maori Time – Australasia’s Fastest ever Trotter, t,1:51.5 Speeding Spur – winner of 17 Group 1’s including Prydes Great Southern Star - $1.1 million Paramount Gee Gee – 2yo Colt of The Year,  3yo Colt of The Year, 4yo Entire of The Year 2019/20 Service Fee RRP – $3,000+GST. Conditions of Tender: All tenders submitted shall be plus GST. The Canterbury Combined Awards Dinner Committee have the right to select any tender they so desire. They may decline all or any tender/s and their decision shall be final. The successful purchaser will be advised within 3 working days and will immediately be issued with a tax invoice for a deposit of $250.00+GST with payment required within 21 days. This deposit will be deducted from the amount tendered in the tender. This deposit will be refunded only if the mare fails to get in foal. The Canterbury Combined Awards Dinner Committee will invoice the purchaser for the remaining amount submitted and accepted as the tender amount once the mare has a 42 day positive test, and payment of this tax invoice is due within 21 days. The tender is for the ‘Service Fee’ only. All other farm charges apply and will be payable by the successful purchaser. The successful purchaser will be required to complete and sign a Woodlands Stud Stallion Service Agreement. All the terms and conditions set out in this Stallion Service Agreement shall apply in full to the successful purchaser.  A live foal guarantee applies only if the conditions of the Woodlands Stud Stallion Service Agreement are complied with. Written tenders are to be posted to 7 Clare Road, St Albans, Christchurch 8014 or e-mailed to .  The closing date for tenders is Tuesday 02 September 2019 at 4.00 pm.   Southland Owners Day - 21 September Harness Racing New Zealand, in conjunction with the Invercargill Harness Racing Club, are pleased to announce that on Saturday 21 September an Owners Day will be held at Ascot Park. The event is a trial and part of the HRNZ ownership initiatives and will be held on race day. It is free for all owners, not just those with horses competing at the race meeting. Guests are also encouraged to bring along friends and acquaintances who are interested in finding out more about becoming an owner themselves. Owners Day will run throughout the race meeting and will include competitions and draws, the chance for prospective owners to win phantom shares in a racehorse competing on the day and much more. An MC will interview various owners, trainers and drivers throughout the event and promote the various aspects of the sport and experiences of the winning connections. Potential owners can also meet with trainers and syndicators to learn about how they can become part of the action. There is also the opportunity for businesses to showcase their products to owners on the day, with a small expo operating in the room. This event is part of a trial following on from previous functions at Alexandra Park and Addington that will explore multiple aspects which will be used to present ideas to clubs for future events they may hold themselves. In the attempt to encourage owners to attend their race days, with options for all clubs covered. It is important that we canvas as many owners as possible to be able to provide accurate feedback so clubs can provide owners rewards in future. These events could be an annual event for clubs to thank those who have supported them by racing their horse with them, or they could be held on a more regular basis. Further information on the event will follow soon. If you are interested in attending, or if you are a trainer, syndicator or business who is keen to be present to promote yourself, please contact Jess Smith at Harness Racing New Zealand to register your interest. Space is limited so an RSVP is advised –   

Addington club Racing Manager, Brian Rabbitt, is pleased with the volume of Nominations for both the Christchurch Casino NZ Trotting Cup and the Airpark Canterbury Dominion Trot. He is also happy with the level of interest shown from Australia. Connections have nominated eight pacers and three trotters for their respective features. To view the Nominations click HERE    Courtney Clarke Communications and Marketing Co-Ordinator Harness Racing New Zealand Inc

Addington have won the battle to get their first open class race of the season off the ground but racing bosses there fear it is a war they will eventually lose. The $30,000 group three Maurice Holmes Vase on Friday night has been saved after late entries enabled Addington to card the 2600m standing start with six starters after it looked certain to be canned yesterday morning. But in reality the race contains three open class horses, Classie Brigade, Hail Christian and A G’s White Socks and three who have simply been thrown in to make up the field. While trainers boosting fields with horses well out of their grade to ensure their better horses get the opportunity to race is common world wide, Addington racing manager Brian Rabbitt can see the writing on the way for the early season open class races. “It is getting harder and harder,” admits Rabbitt. “It used to be that trainers wanted to be racing in August to get ready for the New Zealand Cup but the reality is most of them don’t start racing now until September. “So while we are happy to get this race of the ground maybe we need to look at where it sits. “But with open class races almost every week down here from the middle of next month, if we had lost it this week it might have been lost for the season, which obviously we don’t want.” Even the next South Island open class event, the Avon City Ford Cup on September 13 is unlikely to attract significantly bigger numbers as the elite pacers like New Zealand Cup favourites Thefixer and Spankem will only be trialing by then. While the steady flow of open class horses being sold or exported to race overseas is a major part of the problem, the reality is trainers are bringing their best horses back to the races later and later. It used to be that four or fives races were seen as the minimum in a campaign before the Cup, much in the same way the late, great Bart Cummings used to say a Melbourne Cup winner needed 10,000m of races in its legs in a campaign. So the road to the winner’s circle both both the iconic November races, run on Tuesdays just one week apart, appears to have changed for ever. “I think the Jewels being so late in the season has been a factor as well as the compact racing programme once the horses do get up and racing,” says Rabbitt. This season that will include four more races in December for many of the best pacers as the Inter Dominions return to Alexandra Park. One horse who won’t be at the Inters or the New Zealand Cup is WA superstar Chicago Bull, who was nominated for the Cup last week but withdrawn over the weekend. His trainer Gary Hall is concerned injuries suffered in the life-threatening fall last term are still nagging the tiny pacer and he has been spelled. Entries for the Cup and Dominion close with Addington today and while most of the big name Kiwis will nominate late, as tends to be the way with so many harness trainers, Rabbitt is thrilled to have Tiger Tara already among the entries. “We have him and a few from Australia like Uncle Sam and Buster Brady entered while Tough Monarch and McLovin are nominated for the Dominion.”   Michael Guerin

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