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Leading harness racing trainers Greg and Nina Hope have never had the rub of the green all season with their stylish three year trotter Monbet. A series of niggles and bad draws has seen the son of Love You play the bridesmaid a few times this season in the Group 1 features. Tonight at Addington in cold and damp conditions, Monbet just sent a wee reminder of how really talented he is. Facing some very talented mid grade trotters, Monbet stepped cleanly from barrier one and then handed up to the free going front runner Waterloo Sunset after 200 metres. Driver Ricky May angled Monbet off Waterloo Sunset's back at the 200 metres and he flew by and away for an emphatic five length victory Monbet trotted the 2600 metres in the winter conditions in 3:23.7 with smart closing sectionals of 57.4 and 27.8. Greg Hope was philosophical about the bad luck that had plagued Monbet's three year old season. " We have deliberately looked after him all season and he has never been bottomed out in any of his races.' "It would have been nice to have got a good draw in just one of the big ones but he has only gone under by a neck and a nose in two of the group races so he has never disappointed me." "Tonight's win was penalty free which is why he was here and he can go out for a month or so now." "He won't be out too long as we want to have him up and running in the lead up to Cup week," Greg said. Driver Ricky May leaves you in no doubt about how he rates Monbet. " He is such a beautifully gaited trotter with high speed and is just a lovely horse to drive. " He showed tonight that when he gets a decent run he can really finish it off," Ricky said. Greg only has one grizzle and it is about the problems surrounding the availability of the frozen semen of leading sire, Love You. " I hope it becomes available again as he has done such a great job in New Zealand from small crops." " I will be one of the first in line if he becomes available," Greg said. Harnesslink Media  

Tonight's harness racing meeting at Addington was winter racing, Canterbury style. In other words, rain and a strong cold southerly were present most of the evening which had its effect on a lot of runners. One who seemed to relish the conditions was the three year old son of Love You in Great Things Happen who won like a really nice horse after doing plenty of work. Settling back from his second line draw for trainer/driver Gavin Smith, Great Things Happen was five back in the running line when hot favourite Harriet Of Mot galloped with a lap to go when challenging for the lead. Once back trotting John Dunn sent Harriet Of Mot forward again and reached the lead with 700 metres to go. Gavin followed the daughter of Monarchy forward and sat on her wheel from the 700 metres mark. These two knuckled down to it from the 400 metres mark and half way up the straight Great Things Happen grabbed the lead and ran away for a comfortable 2 1/4 lengths victory from a very game Harriet of Mot with Everybody Knows finishing on well late for third. Great Things Happen trotted the 1950 metres in the cold slushy conditions in 2:30.2, a mile rate of 2:03.9 with closing sectionals of 60.3 and 29. Gavin Smith knew he had just got a bit lucky with Harriot Of Mot breaking. " If she hadn't broken I don't think we would have beaten her. " In saying that Great Things Happen is a very nice horse in his own right and has a big future," Gavin said.  Passed in at the 2013 New Zealand Premier yearling sale for $27,500, Great Things Happen is a son of Love You from the former smart imported daughter of S J's Photo in Calamity Gal who won seven races and $92,255 in New Zealand. Offered a half share to train him by his vendor Ted Edwards after he failed to make his reserve, Gavin accepted immediately but not for the reason you would expect. " My daughter Hayley was born the morning of the sales and when I got offered a share in a horse called Great Things Happen the same day, I just had to take it." " I didn't like him when I broke him in and was starting to have some doubts." " However the next time in he was a different horse and hasn't looked back since." " He is very immature and after tonight he is going out for a big spell. " Once he strengthens up and matures I think he will go right to the top level. " He has really high speed and I have a big opinion of him," Gavin said. As progeny of Love You get better with age, Great Things Happen would look to have a big future in front of him. Harnesslink Media  

Since the inception of the Met Multiplier in the 2012/13 harness racing season a total of 67 pacers or trotters have won the bonus equating to a total pay-out of over half a million dollars.   26 have won the bonus this season. Each bonus is $7,500 with $5,000 going to the owners and $2,500 to the trainer.   Leading the way with eight bonuses is prominent trainer Robert Dunn with his winners taking home an additional $60,000 on top of stakes won.   His last runner to earn the bonus was the five year old mare She’s Got It who put her foot in the till on 22 May.   Bruce Hutton with five comes in next followed by Mark Jones and Murray Edmonds with three bonuses each.   There are plenty of trainers who have managed to win two Met Multipliers including Mike Austin, John Bromley, Jim Curtin, Kevin Townley, Phil Burrows, Brad Mowbray and John McDermott.   The scheme is designed to encourage trainers to support the New Zealand Metropolitan Trotting Club (NZMTC) with a lucrative incentive for the connections.   To earn a Met Multiplier a horse has to start at a NZMTC meeting a minimum of 15 times over a 12 month rolling period and be placed 1st or dead heat for 1st in one of those qualifying starts.   So that means that your horse has 12 months to have the 15 starts and gain one win from when it first starts at a NZMTC meeting. E.g. A horse that has its first start at Addington on 1 June 2015 must have a minimum of 15 starts at NZMTC meetings and be placed first in one of those starts by 31 May 2016.   Horses that have had more than 15 starts and are yet to win can still qualify as long as they win a race within their 12 month period and at the same time satisfy the 15-start criteria within that time period.   Full details and conditions of The Met Multiplier Reward can be found under the Racing - Promotions and Incentives section at addington.co.nz or contact Brian, Richard or Colin at the Addington Racing Department on (03) 338 9094.   Ged Mooar Marketing & Commercial Manager Addington

The Christian Cullen FFA at tonights harness racing meeting at Addington Raceway may not have had a big field numbers wise but with the Harness Jewels just eight days away, several of the name runners were having their final blowout before the big day. Dalton Bromac was a warm favourite in front of Sky Major and Tiger Tara while Messini was let go at ten to one in the 1950 metres mobile. Dalton Bromac and Ricky May came out firing from barrier four but were hotly challenged and headed by Tiger Tara and Gerard O'Reilly who took up the lead with 1600 metres to go. Tiger Tara was really running in front and was joined in front at the 1000 metres by Messini and Mark Purdon. The speed was upped again passing the 800 metres and the two smart four year olds sizzled down the back straight and and carried the battle around the corner and up the home straight. About 50 metres from home Messini mastered Tiger Tara and held a half neck margin at the finish. Sky Major made ground stylishly from well off the pace for third, 1 3/4 lengths away with six lengths away to a very disappointing Dalton Bromac. The 1950 metres was paced in a very quick 2:19.2 in the cool and brisk conditions, a mile rate of 1:54.8 with closing sectionals of 54.8 and 27.4 Mark Purdon was pleased to have the son of Art Major back in the winners circle. " I am really pleased that he is back to his best. " He didn't handle the Auckland way round so you can disregard those runs" " The draw (14) in the Jewels makes it very hard but at least he is back to his best," Mark said. Geoff Dunn was thrilled with the run of Tiger Tara. "He showed real gate speed and fought on great so I couldn't be happier. "He is right where I want him heading into next week and he is right on target,"Geoff said. Barry Purdon was also very happy with Sky Major. " They have run home in 54.8 and he has made up a lot of ground." " He blew out at the 100 metres but that will top him off nicely for the Jewels," Barry said. Dalton Bromac was very disappointing by his own high standards and it soon became apparent why. Post race it was discovered that Dalton Bromac had bled and he has been stood down for thirty days as a result. Benny Hill was very philosophical after the race. "At least we still have a horse." "We will take him home and give him a break and get him ready for next season," Benny said. Messini sent out a very clear message tonight that he is right in the zone at the moment and not completely out of it on Jewels day even from barrier 14. Harnesslink Media  

At last weeks harness racing meetings, our selectors went okay with the exception of the Addington meeting where after the heavy rain, a lot of the races became a bit of a lottery. There were several selections that were well supported but really struggled in the slushy conditions so we have decided to put a line under last week and move on. For the record our selectors picked four winners via Tony Herlihy, John Dunn, Brad Williamson and Jim Curtin while another seven were first three finishers. This week we only have four meetings and we are a bit light at Auckland where a lot of our regulars are not engaged. Forbury Park - Thursday night John Curtin (Harnesslink) - Thinks Blade even from barrier 14 can win race 3  Matthew Williamson - Gives Sage from barrier one a real chance of winning race 5 Nathan Williamson - Thought Sheeza Shark was overdue and could win race 10   Auckland - Friday night Todd Mitchell - Rates Lady J a big chance of clearing maidens in race 1 Tony Herlihy - Likes The Almighty Johnson to go back to back in race 4 Steve Richardson (TAB) - Reckons Paramount Dream can bounce back, also in race 4 Scott Phelan - Thought Happy To Go could leave maidens in race 8   Addington - Friday night Ricky May - Thinks Dalton Bromac will lead and be awfully hard to beat in race 3 Gerard O'Reilly - Reckons Tiger Tara can get a piece of the action, also in race 3 Terry Chimel - Expects improvement with driver change on Little Tess in race 7 Blair Orange - Gives Expresso Martini a good chance of winning race 8 Jim Curtin - Rates Lucky Fortune a big chance of winning race 9 Bob Butt - Waterloo Sunset is my best drive of the week in race 9 Tim Williams - Only drive on the night and will be trying hard in race 10 Sam Ottley - Opting for stable runner Secret Lotion in race 10.   Winton - Sunday afternoon Brad Williamson - Thinks River Patrol can go back to back in race 3 Clark Barron - Thought Mass Invasion could go one better this week and win race 4 Brendon McLellan - Forget Leigh Major's last run, she can win race 8 Shane Walkinshaw - Likes Winton and will get the money in race 10 Harnesslink Media

There were three group races at the harness racing meeting at Addington last night and Natalie Rasmussen won the lot. None of her three drives had drawn well but that didn't stop Natalie putting on a masterclass of driving in the atrocious conditions. High Gait, Fight For Glory and Chase The Dream all looked to be in trouble when the draws came out with none of them able to be involved early from their second line draws. But Natalie got all three home with different tactics for the three of them and showed once again what an outstanding driver she is. Natalie's impact on the harness racing scene in New Zealand since her arrival from Australia has been nothing short of phenomenal and her driving statistics are unmatched in this country. Last season Natalie drove 43 winners from just 94 drives along with 28 placings for a UDR of .5922  This season to date Natalie has driven 48 winners from just 124 drives along with 37 placings for a UDR of .5260 No one else in the country bar her training partner Mark Purdon has cracked a UDR of .4000 and no one else has cracked the .5000 mark It is not just the statistics that make Natalie such a great driver. Horses run for her, she gets horses to relax and she is a great judge of pace. Last night was just further confirmation if any was needed of just how talented Natalie is in the sulky. Harnesslink Media

Last nights New Zealand Oaks was meant to be a one horse affair with last weeks Nevele R Fillies winner The Orange Agent expected to dominate once again. However her wide draw this week had some pundits saying she was vulnerable and when the heavy rain and strong winds set in, no one really knew what to expect. Fight For Glory, who had pushed The Orange Agent last week had also drawn poorly at one on the second line so luck was going to play a part. As the gate left, Maurice McKendry took The Orange Agent  back from her wide draw while Natalie Rasmussen on Fight For Glory managed to get off the inside after 200 metres and into the running line. Shortly afterwards Natalie circled the field with Fight For Glory and grabbed the lead with just over a mile to run. Natalie then decided to make it a catch me if you can race and kept up a hot tempo in front. Passing the 500 metres, Natalie launched Fight For Glory and she put four lengths on the opposition as they turned for home. Although getting tired the last 100 metres Fight For Glory was still a length in front at the finishing line. Democrat Party and Zac Butcher finished on for second just a half head in front of a very unlucky Linda Lovegrace who came from well back for third. A close up fourth was The Orange Agent who didn't seem all that happy in the conditions. Natalie was mobbed by the connections in the winners circle post race and was full of praise for the Art Major filly. " As soon as I got off the inside, I decided to get on the pace because she is so hard to run down." " She is such a genuine filly and I thought they would have trouble getting past her." " She is just such a pleasure to drive and even though they got a bit close in the last little bit, I knew she would see it out," Natalie said. Blair Orange on Linda Lovegrace was rapt with her run. "We could have got off at the 1200 metres mark into the running line but I decided to stay on the inner." "She got held up a wee bit but has really found the line when clear." "It was a super run," Blair said. Maurice McKendry thought while The Orange Agent had run a creditable fourth, she wasn't entirely happy in the conditions. " She didn't feel as sharp tonight and all I can put it down to is the track conditions," Maurice said. Last nights win by Fight For Glory has breathed a bit of life back into the Harness Jewels race for the three year old fillies with The Orange Agent not as dominant as previously thought. Harnesslink Media

All the pundits (us included) thought that High Gait had a mountain to climb in the Lone Star Riccarton $60,000 New Zealand Sires Stakes Final for two year old trotters at last nights harness racing meeting at Addington. The unbeaten daughter of Muscles Yankee had drawn the inside of the second row behind Dark Ops, a hundred to one shot while her major opposition Gershwin had drawn perfectly at barrier two on the front line. All that changed as they reached the starting point when Dark Ops galloped in the slushy conditions as did Gershwin with High Gait and Natalie Rasmussen managing to duck both of them somehow. However as a result High Gait settled last of the pack as Arannalea and Mark Jones set a steady tempo in front. Still last at the 500 metres. Natalie sent High Gait around them four and five wide as they turned in and then just picked the leaders up like she had just joined in, It was a brilliant performance in the conditions and confirmed High Gait as New Zealand's leading two year old trotter this season. High Gait's stablemate Missandei held second after a big sweeping run for Mark Purdon with the pacemaking Arannalea holding on for third. High Gait trotted the 1950 metres in the atrocious conditions in 2:32.5 with closing sectionals of 62 and 29.3 Natalie was full of admiration for the daughter of Muscles Yankee. " She has gone absolutely super to come from that far back" " I don't know how we missed the early carnage, it felt as if I was going sideways." " She is such a determined wee thing, you have to admire her," Natalie said If there were any doubts about the top dog status amongst the two year old trotters this season, that was well and truly settled last night. Harnesslink Media

By the time the PGG Sales Series final for two year old fillies was due to be run at tonights harness racing meeting at Addington, the driving rain had well and truly set in and had made conditions atrocious. The hot favourite was the Mach Three filly Northern Velocity who drew nicely at barrier five while her main opposition  Luisanabelle Midfrew drew two further out at seven. The two favourites both came off the gate at speed but due to her better barrier Northern Velocity found the front first and driver Mark Purdon was in no mood to hand up in the slushy conditions. Luisanabelle Midfrew and Matthew Williamson ended up parked in the driving rain with Kashana and Ricky May in the trail. There was no moves mid race and as they turned for home  Northern Velocity went clear and still held a 3/4 length advantage at the finish from Kashana and Killer Queen and David Butcher who had been three back on the inner. Luisanabelle finished a big fourth after sitting out parked the whole way. Northern Velocity paced the 1950 metres in 2:28.2, a mile rate of 2:02.2 with closing sectionals of 59.7 and 28. Mark Purdon was a relieved man post race.  " I didn't know how she would handle those track conditions but I knew the place to be was in front. " The conditions are really bad out there so I'm just happy to have got the job done," Mark said. Mark thought time would be Northern Velocity's best friend. " I think she will develop into a lovely three year old and if it wasn't for the Harness Jewels, she would be headed for the spelling paddock," Mark said. While probably not up with a couple of her stablemates, Northern Velocity still shapes as a player on Harness Jewels day. Harnesslink Media  

Harness racing can be cruel at times as John Dunn well knows. The stable star two year old Code Black has been short on luck the whole season and having to start in the Sires Stakes consolation tonight at Addington (May 15th) instead of the big dance later in the night just about summed up the son of Bettors Delight's season. Code Black was a top third in the Young Guns final in early March but needed a break after that series which meant he only got one shot at a sires stakes heat in which he was very unlucky not to finish a lot closer than sixth. So even though he is more than capable of holding his own against the very best going around, tonight Code Black started in the $17,000 Sires Stakes consolation. Drawing barrier eight tonight meant John took Code Black off the gate and he settled last in the running line. Approaching the 1400 metres mark John sent Code Black forward and he worked to the death seat outside the leader Ice Crusher with 1000 metres to go. John applied some more pressure as they turned for home and Code Black burst clear before having to withstand a late challenge from the hot favourite Cash N Flow and Mark Purdon but he still had half a length to spare when the winning post came up. Sparkling Delight and Gerard O'Reilly battled on well for third. Code Black paced the 1950 metres in 2:25.6 with closing sectionals of 59.1 and 27.9 which was good going in the slushy conditions. John Dunn was happy the horse had showed everyone what he was capable of. " He went huge in the Sales race last week running on from well back on a 26.6 quarter. " If we had had some luck in our Sires Stakes heat he would have been in the final and not the consolation." "I am really glad for the owners who buy one every year at the sales so they deserve a good result like this." John is resigned to losing Code Black as he is under offer and will be vetted tomorrow. " The money is good but not as much as you would think but it is so hard to win those big age group races so the sale makes sense," John said. Code Black was one of the few two year olds around this season who was capable of mixing with the All Stars runners so his sale won't help age group racing in Canterbury. Harnesslink Media    

With the New Zealand Sires Stakes Final for two year olds being run at the harness racing meeting at Addington tonight, we here at Harnesslink thought we would do an in depth preview of the biggest race on the two year old calendar in New Zealand. New Zealand Sires Stakes Final 1) First Class Arden - Starts: 3    Wins: 0   Secs: 0    Thirds: 0    Life: $2,170 Has shown up at trials and workouts but his raceday performances to date have been below par. This is not the race to try to turn that form around even from the ace barrier. Not for us. 2) Mach Time - Starts: 6    Wins: 3  Secs: 0    Thirds: 0    Life: $16,425 Smart little two year old who has landed the perfect draw. Not up to beating two or three here but will lead early and should get a cosy trip on the back of the favourite Lazarus there after. Definite trifecta and first four player for us from the draw. 3) Lazarus - Starts: 6    Wins: 5    Secs: 1    Thirds: 0    Life: $178,050 Has looked a star in the making from the first time he stepped on to a track. Only beaten once in six starts and he was lacking a run on that occasion. Comes in here off the back of a dominant win last week and he is much better drawn this week. The horse to beat and a must include in all bets. 4) Max Phactor - Starts: 9    Wins: 1   Secs: 1    Thirds: 3    Life: $18,601 Has run some nice races this season but against grade opposition in the main. Battled in last weeks Sales Final and this field is tougher again. Draw is a help but we still struggle to see him in four. Not for us 5) Salty Robyn - Starts: 6    Wins: 4   Secs: 2    Thirds: 0    Life: $54,967 Very smart two year old who went a slasher first up in New Zealand when not 100% due to a long and exhausting trip from Australia just before that race. Will strip a lot sharper this time and and you won't be left wondering as he will be put in the race. Draw makes it harder but is a genuine winning chance and a must include in all bets. 6) Sparkling Delight - Scratched 7) Shandale - Starts: 5    Wins: 1    Secs: 2    Thirds: 2    Life: $43,595 Huge run last week to sit three wide from the 900 metres and still grab second off a 55.6 last half. Maurice McKendry told us post race last week that Shandale was still very green and he thought there would be a lot of improvement in him off last weeks run. Definite threat to Lazarus but may need a bit of luck from barrier six to actually win the race Include in everything. 8) Classie Brigade - Starts: 4    Wins: 0    Secs: 2    Thirds: 0    Life: $10,074 Worst possible draw for this horse who needs a soft run against these to have a chance of running in four. From out here he is on mission impossible in our view and we can't see him running in four. Not for us                                                     SECOND LINE 9) Wannabet - Starts: 2    Wins: 0  Secs: 0    Thirds: 1    Life: $3,280 Really smart run at his last start where he was pushed back to near last but got home in 56.6 three and four wide to run fourth. Again he has drawn to follow out a horse who is going to get crossed early and at best he will be four deep on the rails which makes it very hard. However great driver in the bike in Blair Orange and he is our smokey for trifecta and first four players 10) Chigago Bull - Starts: 5    Wins: 2    Secs: 1    Thirds: 0    Life: $9,805 Has won a couple of races this season and looked smart doing it but the company was nothing like he is facing here. Not a horse that can make its own luck and from this draw we find it hard to see him as a first four player. Not for us 11) Harry Hoo - Starts: 5    Wins: 0   Secs: 2    Thirds: 0    Life: $5,436 A nice two year old who deserves his place here but the draw and the class of the field make this way too hard. Did run second to Lazarus in a heat but that was off a cosy run on his back and in a small field. Not for us 12) Motu Premier - Starts: 6    Wins: 1  Secs: 2    Thirds: 3    Life: $46,153  Lovely two year old who has mixed it with the best all season and yet to finish out of the money in six starts. Not a really high speed horse so needs a solid tempo the whole way to be a major player but liable to get that here with Salty Robyn involved. Must include for trifecta and first four players. 13) Chase The Dream - Starts: 7    Wins: 5    Secs: 0    Thirds: 1    Life: $118,826 Has had an outstanding two year old season and the only horse to have beaten Lazarus so far. Last weeks run was his first time out of the money but he had no luck getting room early in the run home resulting in a bit of argy bargy with Classie Brigade and when you are running sub 27 quarters that has an effect. Still found the line and even from this draw is a major player. Can do work and still keep going so if there is a war up front then this is the horse to run over them late. Include in everything 14) Code Black - Scratched 15) Three Ways - Starts: 5    Wins: 0    Secs: 1    Thirds: 1    Life: $9,629  The draw is the killer here for this horse. Went a couple of slashers recently but those runs were from good draws and from out here he is really tested. Lost ground from the corner last week after not doing any work so hard to see him playing a part here. Not for us   SELECTIONS From the draw Lazarus is the clear top pick but with Salty Robyn sure to keep at him throughout the race, he may be vulnerable to a late swooper. Chase The Dream and Shandale are the two that we like to make it hard for the favourite along with Salty Robyn. Motu Premier, Mach Time and Wannabet for trifecta and first four players   Harnesslink Media 

We are at that point of the harness racing season where all the cream in the two year old ranks rises to the surface. That is especially so with the two year old trotters who line up on Friday night in the $60,000 Lone Star Riccarton Sires Stakes Championship at Addington. The northern raider Gershwin has shown plenty of ability in his short career and the beautifully bred colt looms as a major chance in Friday nights feature. A son of the champion North American sire Muscles Yankee, Gershwin is the second live foal of the former outstanding racemare Allegro Agitato (22 wins) ($529,854) and looks to have inherited a lot of the family ability. Trainer Sean McCaffrey has a high opinion of his two year old colt. " He is just such a natural trotter." " We raced him in aluminums all round and he doesn't need or appreciate any weight." " Once he is underway a kid could drive him," Sean told Harnesslink this week. Gershwin has met the hot favourite High Gait twice and Sean took a lot of confidence out of their last meeting. " My fella did a lot more work in the race and she only got us by a nose up the passing lane." " Gershwin has really improved since then as well and we have a big advantage at the barrier so I give him a big chance," Sean said. Gershwin is not the only two year old trotter that Sean has sent south with the stablemate Royal Willie also on the trip. " The owners missed a payment for the the Sire Stakes series which is why he is not there this week but he is third on the Harness Jewels rankings and will be at Ashburton." " His last start win at Alexandra Park where he sat parked against the maidens showed us he has a fair bit of bottom to him and they will know he is there on Jewels day,"Sean said. A son of the leading sire Majestic Son from the former smart racemare Miss Whiplash (13 wins) ($151,765) Royal Willie has always impressed Sean. " I have always liked him and there is nothing between him and Gershwin ability wise." " It is hard enough to get one nice two year old trotter most years but this year I have been lucky enough to strike two," Sean said. Seam McCaffrey is no stranger to winning age group trotting classics at Addington and in Gershwin he looks to have a royal chance of adding to the trophy cabinet on Friday night. Harnesslink Media

NSW harness racing reinsman Robbie Morris had very little luck during the Australasian Young Drivers Championship (AYDC) in New Zealand over the weekend. The popular reinsman finished ninth overall after driving in six of the seven heats during the Championship with his best result a fourth at Alexandra Park on Friday night. Throughout the Championship the average odds of horses driven by Morris was 20 to 1, however the 23 year old still left New Zealand on a winning note driving $81 chance Sioux Nation to victory in the final race, a non AYDC event, at Timaru on Sunday afternoon. "It may have not been part of the Australasian Young Drivers Championship but it was still a great feeling to drive a winner in New Zealand," Morris said. "I really enjoyed the experience, it was a great opportunity for me to represent New South Wales and I would like to thank HRNSW for the opportunity." Morris had never driven in New Zealand previously and had his first experience driving on a right handed track when he competed at Alexandra Park. "It was fantastic that the drivers were given the opportunity to drive at both of the big tracks in New Zealand, I have watched so many races from Addington and Alexandra Park, it was a thrill to get the chance to drive on both of them." Having driven 72 winners in NSW with more than three months still remaining in the current season, Morris will return to Australia and aim towards his season goal of 100 winners. "I've driven 100 winners each season for the past three years and that is a goal I will be aiming at between now and the end of the season. "I will be back driving at Menangle on Tuesday afternoon but it was good to see the team back home in Australia get a winner on Saturday night with Stormont Czar winning with Rickie Alchin driving." - HRNSW Media

In harness racing you can be on top of the world one minute and in the depths of despair the next when you are dealing with 500 kg horses. That's how the owners of The Manipulator must feel tonight after their very promising three year old son of Panspacificflight broke down while racing at Addington Raceway today (May 9th). A warm favourite for the $23,505 Alabar Super Series final for C1-C3 pacers,The Manipulator went away well initially but then galloped after 100 metres when checked and settled well behind the field. The Manipulator made up a lot of ground during the race and would have finished a lot closer than ninth if he hadn't been badly held up in the home straight. Nothing was noticeably wrong with the horse as he was ungeared and washed but as he cooled down The Manipulator was favouring his offside front leg. The Addington Raceway vet Corin Murfitt was quickly on the scene and after a thorough examination was convinced that The Manipulator had either fractured a cannon bone or a suspensory. The Manipulator will be x-rayed tomorrow and then a course of action decided after the diagnosis has been made. Natalie Rasmussen was philosophical about the injury. " It is just one of those things when you are racing horses but it is still not nice when it happens." " You just hope that it is not as bad as it looks and that the horse can make a complete recovery," Natalie said. We here at Harnesslink echo those sentiments and wish The Manipulator a speedy recovery. Harnesslink Media  

Every now and again a horse comes along in harness racing that has everybody reaching for the superlatives and shaking their heads in disbelief at what they have just witnessed. Today at Addington (May 9th) we were privalidged to witness one of the best performances ever produced by a three year old filly in New Zealand when The Orange Agent demolished her rivals in the $150,000 Nevele R Fillies Final. Sent straight to the front by driver Maurice McKendry from barrier two, the American Ideal filly put the foot down from the start and once they settled down after 250 metres there was no mid race moves as the speed was on. Second favourite Fight For Glory with Natalie Rasmussen in the bike ended up in the death seat from barrier six and sat on The Orange Agent's wheel with Democrat Party and Zac Butcher getting the dream run in the one by one. Going past the 400 metres Maurice applied some pressure and The Orange Agent immediately shot clear and but for knocking off when well clear would have won by a lot more than the official margin of 1 3/4 lengths. Fight For Glory went super to finish second after sitting parked the whole journey and she was clear of Democrat Party who just held third from a fast finishing Supersonic Miss. The Orange Agent broke the New Zealand record for the 1950 metres of  2:18.2, a mile rate of 1:54 with closing sectionals of 55.1 and 27.1. The previous record of 2.19.1 was held by Venus Serena. The Orange Agent is trained by Brian Hughes of Ardmore and is owned by her breeders Mrs P C Green, J P Green, Mrs M E Green and P C Bult. Harnesslink Media

The first big race on today's premier harness racing meeting at Addington was the $65,000 PGG Wrightson Open Trot for the 2 year olds and the small but select field was further testament to how far our two year old trotters have come in recent years. Conon Bridge from the Paul Nairn barn was a warm favourite in front of Wilma's Mate from the David and Catherine Butt barn. He's Like The Wind with Gavin Smith in the bike flew the gate from barrier five to lead and was followed through from the unruly mark by Conon Bridge with Bob Butt in the bike who pressed on to the front. Bob kept up a steady tempo in front until the 600 metres mark where he was joined in front by Wilma's mate and David Butt and the two favourites drew clear of the field. Passing the 450 metres mark,Wilma's Mate went off stride leaving Conon Bridge ten lengths clear as they turned for home and although Gunners Coin and Dexter Dunn and He's Like The Wind closed late, Conon Bidge always looked to have the race in safe keeping. Conon Bridge trotted the 1950 metres in 2:27.9, a mile rate of 2:02 with the last 800 metres in 59.8. Conon Bridge is a son of the deceased stallion Raffaello Ambrosio. Paul Nairn purchased the colt from last years New Zealand Premier sale on behalf of stable clients for the princely sum of $7,000. Bob Butt was confident once he found the front. " With a race like this one you have to take luck out of play" " I knew He's Like The Wind would fly the gate so I followed him through and found the front." "When he got left in front by that much I knew he would knock off but he still had plenty to offer," Bob said.  With one eye on the Harness Jewels, Paul Nairn has yet to make his mind up about weather he will take Conon Bridge off the unruly. " I will have a talk to Bob about it before we make any decisions but with the Jewels so close it may not pay to change too much." " He can get keen in his work at home so putting him on the gate may just light him up and we don't want to do that,"Paul said. Currently fifth on the Harness Jewels leaderboard, Conon Bridge now looms as the horse they have to beat at Ashburton on May 30th. Harnesslink Media

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