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If she was to only win one more race this season, Sam Ottley wouldn’t be too concerned as long as that win came in tonight’s Darren DeFilippi Memorial at Addington Raceway. New Zealand’s leading junior driver has achieved almost everything she possibly can in her time in the junior ranks – and has one hand firmly on her first national premiership with a two win lead over Sailesh Abernethy with just weeks remaining in the season. But a win in tonight’s Darren DeFilippi would come with more sentimental value than anything else considering the young horsewoman’s close connection with DeFilippi’s parents, Colin and Julie. “Colin and Julie have been incredible to me since the day I started working for them,’’ Ottley said. “It would be a huge honour to win the race considering how bigger role they have played in my success.’’ DeFilippi was tragically killed in a car accident while on his way home from the Orari races in 1995, leaving the harness racing community reeling at the loss of such a talented young horseman. The race named in his honour is a high priority on every junior driver’s list of goals for a season – and although only a few get the chance to win it – just the chance to drive in a race of such stature is regarded as a true privilege by those afforded the opportunity. “People are talking about it (the race) months in advance, everyone wants to be a part of it and have a chance at winning it.’’ Ottley has picked up the drive on exciting trotter Jayceekay in the event – giving her a royal chance of achieving her goal considering the abundance of ability the John Boylan-trained mare possesses. “I had a drive of her at the workouts last weekend just to get a feel for her. “She’s certainly got plenty of ability and the speed she has is quite incredible. “I only gave her a quiet workout but she really impressed me. “In saying that though it won’t be easy, it’s a big field of trotters and there are plenty of chances.” Phil Williamson holds a strong hand in the race with both Monty Python and The Silver Fox while Aile Rouge was impressive enough winning last week to warrant respect. Jean Sebastien, who will be driven by Jeremy Markham who also has a close association with the DeFilippi family, is another chance in the wide open contest. As she looks to extend her lead on Abernethy, Ottley is grateful for the opportunity given to her by John and Robert Dunn who took her on loan from the DeFilippi’s in an effort to help her cause. “I’ve really enjoy working with them, I had never worked with horses on the beach so I’ve been enjoying that aspect of it. “Just trying something new and seeing another way to training horses has been really beneficial. “And they have been great at giving me drives too.’’ Six of Ottley’s nine drives at tonight’s meeting come from the Dunn stable including realistic winning chances; Billy The Bus, Madiba Magic, Johnny Jet and Nikola.  By Matt Markham (Harness Racing New Zealand)

New Brighton harness racing owner Paul Thomas got the best birthday present that he could have wished for when his ‘pride and joy’ JC Skipper was victorious in a heat of the Young At Heart series at Addington on Friday. “It’s quite ironic really because the final for the series is set to be run on my mother’s birthday,” said an ecstatic Thomas, who turned 59 on Friday. Driven by Colin DeFilippi, JC Skipper worked around the field three wide down the back straight to find the parked position before racing clear on the home bend and narrowly fighting of a late challenge from the fast finishing Mighty Peruvian Franco Revel, who downed JC Skipper in the first heat of the Young At Heart series, finished a further 2 & ¾ lenghts away in third. The five-year-old black son of Julius Caesar paced the 1950 metre journey in a tidy 2:23.7 (1:58.5), with sectionals of 57.5 and 28.1. JC Skipper, who won four races for Templeton trainer Peter Robertson, was transferred to the barn of Peter and Leonne Jones after having a failed campaign in the North Island with Michelle Wallis and Bernie Hackett. “He is a handy enough horse but he has been plagued by some bad luck and bad draws in his racing,” said Thomas. “He seems to suit the shorter races. There is no reason he won’t be competitive in the final,” he added. Thomas, who is a diesel mechanic by trade, is the son of the late Trevor Thomas, who trained numerous good horses in the 70s and 80s including top trotter Stormy Mourn and smart pacer Genesis. JC Skipper, who is also co-owned by his breeder Peter Higinbottom, is the first horse that Thomas has raced as an owner. Higinbottom has previously enjoyed good success with JC Skipper’s older half-brother George Skipper and also owns the smart type Cullect A Guinness, who  was victorious in his debut at Blenheim back in January. JC Skipper will compete in another heat of the Young At Heart Series on Fridau night before preparing for the $11,000 final. By Mitchell Robertson  

The new Breeders’ Bonus scheme that commenced on 17 January this year is proving to be a real winner amongst breeders who have won a race at Addington. Furthermore, and what is good news for Breeders, the initiative will continue for the 2014-15 season. Fifteen New Zealand Metropolitan Trotting Club (NZMTC) race meetings have been held between January and June, with 97 bonuses paid out at a total of $48,500. Kiely Buttell, Executive Manager of the New Zealand Standardbred Breeders’ Association (NZSBA), commented that 35 new members have joined the Association since January and that can be put down to the new bonus scheme. “At only $89.95 for an annual subscription and the chance to earn $500 each time your horse wins, many breeders have taken advantage of the opportunity. Both The Met and the NZSBA have received excellent feedback and jointly we are delighted to reward members’ efforts in breeding winning racehorses.” “Moving forward to the new season and to be eligible for the bonus, you will need to be a fully paid up member by 31 August 2014. That’s the only difference in conditions from last season.” The scheme is open to any member of the NZSBA who breeds the winner of a totalisator race held at an NZMTC meeting at Addington Raceway, subject to conditions. They will be eligible for a $500 bonus payment. Full terms and conditions are available at or Ged Mooar                            Marketing & Commercial Manager Executive Manager    

Not even the thought of having to drive back to Nelson from Christchurch last night could wipe the smile off the face of Dylan Stratford after he was crowned the regional winner of the Primary ITO Cadet of the Year competition yesterday. The 23-year-old horseman fended off the challenge of 12 of his peers from the Canterbury area to claim the first ever regional title in the inaugural running of the competition and will now head to the national final at Addington Raceway next month to contest for the supreme title of national champion. Stratford, who is now based in Nelson and working in a labouring job, drove South on Tuesday night to compete and then jumped back in his car almost instantly to face the drive back home. “It’s going to be a little bit easier than if I hadn’t won that’s for sure,’’ he said. In a three-part competition which pitted the Level 4 cadets against each other in a myriad of challenges which included a driving challenge and being able to correctly name 20 different types of horse feed - Stratford shone. He claimed the outright top score in three of the six different stages of the competition and finished in a tie for first in another – underlining his all-round knowledge. “I really enjoyed the competition, it’s been a really enjoyable day and the team in charge of it need to be applauded for coming up with something like this. “The Cadet scheme has really come along in the last couple of years, what is being offered up to us has been of huge value and a series like this only compliments it I think.’’ Stratford will head to the national final knowing that it will be more than likely be his last chance to win it as he intends on heading overseas later this year. “If I don’t do it now, I’ll never do it. “So I’m working up in Nelson and trying to save up a bit of money and I plan to head to America later in the year.’’ Stratford will be joined in the final by fellow Cantab, Alex Veint. Due to the large number of Level 4 Cadets, two competitors from the Canterbury region will compete in the national final alongside the regional winners from both the Southern and Northern regions. Veint scored the highest mark in the driving challenge with a score of 51 out of a possible 60 in what proved to the most popular discipline of the day. Without a stopwatch the cadets were asked to work a horse over a 2400 metre distance with specific time guidelines set for each of the three 800 metre stages of the workout. 1 point was deducted for each second the driver was out from the set times – but all managed to produce impressive scores considering they weren’t allowed the use of a watch and that a number had never driven around Addington before. Veint claimed top prize in the challenge, while Denis Van Werhooven finished second with 50 points and Todd Quate was third with 49 points. The regional finals now move to Invercargill and the Southern Region on Wednesday, July 2 and then the Northern Region final at the Franklin Trotting Club on Monday, July 7. By Matt Markham (Harness Racing New Zealand)

The future stars of the harness racing industry will this year get a chance to test themselves against their like-minded peers from around the country in the inaugural staging of the Primary ITO Cadet of the Year competition. Based on a similar concept to the popular Young Farmer of the Year contest, the new competition will see New Zealand’s current Level 4 Cadets go head-to-head with their classmates in firstly their regional finals and then the national final at Addington Raceway on July 30. One regional representative from both Southland and Auckland will make the trip South while Canterbury will produce the other two finalists. The regional finals will see contestants forced to call on all the knowledge they have acquired throughout their time on the Cadet course with six different disciplines to be tested on during the day from a general knowledge quiz, down to a timed driving challenge in which Cadets will have to work a horse to within a specific time for each sectional. 29 cadets from around New Zealand will compete in the regional finals which kick off next Wednesday, June 25 at Addington for the Canterbury finals before heading to Ascot Park in Invercargill for the Southland final on July 2 and then the Frankling Trotting Track for the Northern region on July 7. For more information on Cadet of the Year, click here  

The better judgement of Cran Dalgety tells him that missing Sunday’s Marlborough Winter Cup with Major Bubbles will pay dividends down the track. And if the West Melton horseman has been taught anything since the exciting three-year-old pacer arrived on his property for his first preparation it’s that patience is always going to be his best friend. The son of Art Major extended his career record to six wins from seven starts with a tradesman like effort in today’s Cup Prelude for Dexter Dunn and would have started a dominant favourite had he started on Sunday. While tempted to take on the challenge – Dalgety knows he’s lucky to be where he is with the well-bred pacer so isn’t too keen to ask him for too much, too early. “It sounds funny now, but he was the worst yearling of the lot that year,’’ he said. “We couldn’t get him to pace, in fact we couldn’t get him to do much. “I think it took three preps before he actually showed anything.’’ Incidentally Dalgety has also trained two other horses out of the dam of Major Bubbles – Miss Bubbles and both were also horses who developed over time. “Mac Bubbles didn’t impress us a lot early on but got better each time she raced and Frizzante was a bit the same.’’ Those frustrating days are now mere memories as Major Bubbles continues to work his way through the grades for owners John and Jenny Grainger, Chrissie Dalgety and David and Kathy Rankin. Dalgety will instead turn his focus toward Addington Raceway and a shot at the Winter Super Series which was announced during the week. “He could have lined up, but I think I had two very good reasons to take him out. “The first is that we will have Fifth Edition in the race and it is a bit tough to ask this guy to take on an older horse like him when he is so in the zone at the moment. “The second reason is that if he was to have a really hard two miles it could easily knock him and put him right back. “I think he could go a wee way so I’m in favour of not asking him for too much at this stage.’’ Dalgety has enjoyed three wins in the Winter Cup and two of them have come from three-year-olds. Bettor’s Strike, who went on to run a brilliant second in a New Zealand Trotting Cup, set a New Zealand record when he was victorious there in 2008 – while even further back in the annals Scorching produced the same result when he won in 2003. Bettor’s Strike’s record for a three-year-old over 3200 metres was later overtaken by stable mate Mighty Flying Mac when he won over the ultimate distance at Ashburton last season. The third win came from About Ambition in 2010. And in Fifth Edition this year, Dalgety has a good chance to add to the list. “He’s flying at the moment and will relish the distance and track.’’ A winner of four of his last seven starts, Fifth Edition was victorious in the Nelson Winter Cup a fortnight ago. By Matt Markham (Harness Racing New Zealand)

Following a hiatus of several years, the Canterbury Branches of the Standardbred Breeders Association, Owners Association, and the Trainers & Drivers Association, are combining to resurrect an Awards dinner to recognise the achievements of local harness racing participants. The event will be staged in the Silks Lounge at Addington Raceway on Saturday 27 September and will comprise of a buffet dinner interspersed with the presentation of the awards by Master of Ceremonies, Mark McNamara. Guests should arrive from 6:30pm onwards with the function itself commencing at 7:15. Numbers are limited to 300 and the ticket price is $50 per person, which includes an introductory drink and antipasto platter. The criteria for the winners will differ from those presented at the National Awards function, in that they will not necessarily be given to the Season leaders. More information on this aspect of the evening will be forthcoming in the near future. Should you wish to book tickets or require more information, please contact the following: OWNERS Assn: Barry Dent 021 653 499 Greg Crawford 027 778 9493 HORSEMANS Assn: Ken Barron 027 4372532 Peter Cook 3433 713 BREEDERS Assn: Robyn Boyle 027 2173643 Noel Kennard 3479699 By Peter Cook                            

More than 50 prominent breeders and industry officials from around the country attended this year’s Annual Breeders’ Conference which was held at the Hornby Workingmens Club in Christchurch on May 16. Sponsored once again by Noel Kennard’s unique website, this was the third edition of an annual conference for breeders and it continues to mould itself into an enjoyable and informative few hours for those who attend. NZSBA Chairman John Mooney touched on this in his opening address, “the aim was to make this year’s Conference more generalised and about the industry,” Mooney said. HRNZ’s General Manager Edward Rennell provided a list of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) during his presentation of an industry overview of the season to date, with all figures quoted being as at May 12. Consistent with the same period last year were the number of totalisator races staged so far (2276 compared to 2262); total domestic turnover ($193.3m/$193m) and domestic market share (static at 29.7 percent). Marginal positives were recorded in the areas of horses’ total number of starts (24,300/23,697); average field size (10.7/10.5); average starts per horse (8.04/7.58); the amount of races with less than eight starters (244/269); total stakes paid ($24.25m/$23.07m) and total net stakes ($23.78m/$22.76m), while fixed odds turnover showed a substantial increase of nearly 23 percent to $50.5m (from $41.1m as at the same time last season). Rennell reported that the areas of decline included the total number of individual starters (3022/3127); off-course turnover ($127.6m/$135.4m); on-course turnover ($15.2m/$16.5m), and betting on our exported telecasts ($101.9m/$125.3m). He said that the key issues facing the industry at present included participation numbers; Funding; Internationalisation; the export of NZ harness racing; the Business/Strategic Plans; Dates; an Age Group/Premier Racing Review, and Gaming. HRNZ’s Commercial Development Manager Pete Ydgren outlined their Communications Review and gave an insight into their immediate plans. The Harness Racing Weekly and HRNZ Marketing Departments are to merge, and the current magazine that gets mailed out every seven days will now change to a monthly publication focussing on the industry – but at the same time an electronic version of the weekly magazine will still be available online and be “racing focussed”. Monique Cairns, the NZRB’s Executive General Manager – Strategy & Transformation, said during her presentation that the NZ Racing Board was now “moving into Year Two of our five-year strategy”. “We’ve got a portfolio of 20 key initiatives to support our strategy,” she said, “seven of which were prioritised for implementation during the current season.” These included digitising the business; strategic retail growth; product innovation; broadcasting; their VIPs, and Government relations. She went on to say that the industry has avoided making the hard decisions, and that increased funding has shielded it. “Historically, industry initiatives have not delivered and we have an ageing infrastructure. Change is inevitable,” she added. Next behind the rostrum was well-known trainer/driver Ken Barron, who was very entertaining and didn’t pull any punches during a Q&A session with ‘MC’ Mick Guerin. As a major buyer at the Yearling Sales, Barron was quizzed about the sort of things he looks for in a horse and what advice he’d give breeders in that respect. “Thanks to artificial insemination, these days you can virtually breed to any stallion in the world,” he said. “But if your yearling isn’t by one of the top four or five sires, you’re not in the race.” However, Barron was quick to say that he still likes to assess an individual on its merits before considering its bloodlines. “My owners look at the page in the catalogue – I look at the horse,” he said, adding that some of his and former training partner John Lischner’s best horses over the years were by nondescript and ‘unfashionable’ stallions. Barron believes that “slowly but surely, we’re becoming Americanised”. “Our handicapping, our stakes, and the structure of our industry – they’re all geared towards two and 3-year-old racing,” he said. “And it’s a fact: a horse’s earning ability reduces dramatically once it turns four on August 1, so people are always trying to buy early-maturers. “If a breeder’s got a family that tends to take time – go to a stallion that leaves them early and it’ll speed up the process.” From an industry point of view, Barron said it was “crucial” that a couple of things are changed as soon as possible. “Like handicapping – we’re underutilising the conditions,” he said. “We know there’s too many racetracks, and too much leakage of horses overseas. Well, how about categorising horses? There’s no reason why we couldn’t have A, B and C grades within each class. “Stakes is not the ‘magic bullet’ answer that everyone thinks it is. “In Australasia, the two venues that pay the most stakes are Auckland and Menangle – yet they’ve got the least amount of horses racing there.” Barron addressed the issue of falling broodmare numbers, but sees it as positive, saying the spinoff is better mares being used, better stallions getting chosen and a better product as a result. “I’d be surprised if the five hundred or so that we’ve lost are from the top end,” he offered. “Figures show that there’s more horses getting to the track, even though there’s less mares being bred from.” Following a panel of open discussion where the guest speakers answered questions from the floor, this year’s Breeders’ Conference was concluded with Addington Raceway’s Dean McKenzie having a sit-down discussion with Guerin as to what his organisation was doing for owners and the industry. “Considering that we hold 20 percent of racing at our venue, plus the biggest race of any Code in the country, if racing at Addington is strong then it’s got to be dragging harness racing in the right direction,” he said. “In 1999, 80 percent of our income came from racing and 20 percent of it came from other business ventures; these days, it’s 49 percent and 51 percent. “The only intention of our Club is to generate more revenue to put back into the game.” One common view of all the guest speakers was that the governance of harness racing at an HRNZ Board Level needs to be looked at. By John Robinson

1:51 miler Pure Power will arrive back in New Zealand tomorrow (Tuesday), 17 months after joining Nicole Molander’s New South Wales barn. The 2012 New Zealand Free-For All runner-up will now be spelled and then brought back for the New Zealand Cup and lead-up races at Addington Raceway in the spring. But to do that he will first have to overcome a muscle-tear which he copped when finishing seventh in the Society 389 Free-For-All at Tabcorp Park Menangle on May 10. It was Pure Power’s first run back since February and Molander said it was unfortunate because he had been trialling well prior to the injury. Original co-trainer, Dave McGowan said the horse now needed the expertise of his wife Clare – a renowned equine physiotherapist, and also co-owner and trainer of the rising 8-year-old. “It sounds like an injury which Clare could treat,’’ McGowan said. “He’s pulled a muscle in his rump so we will get him home and get Clare to manipulate him – and then we will put him out for while. “It’s good timing because Clare gets home from England this week.’’ Both McGowan and Molander believed Pure Power’s 23-race stint in Australia had been a success. He won four of those starts and placed four more times for $177,035 in stakes. The bay won in 1:51 and placed in 1:50.6 and also won the Group Three $40,000 Ilsley Cup at Menangle on May 25 last year. He also ran third behind Baby Bling in the 2013 Miracle Mile. “It will be great to have him back, Nicole, who is like a daughter to me, has done a wonderful job with him. “He will probably end up with Nicole and Dean next year but for now it’s all about diagnosing his injury and then treating it. “If he does come back okay he can only really race at Addington because he can’t go the right-handed way around. “We would probably send him down to the beach for the lead-up races to the Cup. “There’s nothing for him at Cambridge, so that’s his only New Zealand option really.’’ Pure Power won on debut (with Tony Herlihy (MNZM) in the bike) at Cambridge Raceway back on July 1 2010. The Grinfromeartoear gelding has had 31 starts in New Zealand, winning nine of them and placing four times. His biggest win came on May 8, 2011 when he won the Group Three $50,000 Rangiora Classic. His last start in this country, on November 16, 2002, saw him run second behind Gold Ace in the New Zealand Free-For-All. His career stats now read 54 starts, 13 wins, six seconds, two thirds and $301, 202 in purses. “It’s a shame he can’t be treated in Australia, a vet can only do so much but physiotherapists can actually treat and cure the problem. “Personally I don’t think there are not enough equine physiotherapists in harness racing – and to me that is a shame. “It’s weird because every sports athlete or team has one. “I’m just so grateful for the skills that Clare has, I have learnt so much from her. “Without her skills there was no way in the world Be Seein Ya would have won at Alexandra Park last week. “She was a cripple until Clare worked on her.’’ By Duane Ranger (Harness Racing New Zealand)

Talented two-year-old Alta Orlando is out of Friday night’s $170,000 Sires Stakes Final at Addington, but the All Stars team have a more than handy replacement in the form of Hug The Wind. Alta Orlando, who was an impressive winner of last week’s $200,000 Sales Series Final, will also miss the upcoming Harness Jewels. However, his injury should not affect his future racing career. "It is an older injury which has caused a callous on the cannon bone which will be removed and then he will be spelled" said Mark Purdon on his All Stars website "Natalie (Rasmussen) noticed him a little tender on it and we called in the experts so it is sorted out. It is bad luck but it could be worse" Hug The Wind, who will be driven by Purdon, has drawn two on the second-line in Friday’s feature. However, Purdon rates his chances despite the fact that two of his main rivals in Art Union (1) and Say My Name (2), have drawn well on the front-line. “He looks a pretty good back up,” enthused Purdon. He’s chased Alta Orlando home a couple of times and gone well in both of them. It’s maybe not a vintage field and I like his chances,” he added. Purdon is also bullish about the chances of Iceobar and Messini in their respective events, while he is hopeful that Saratoga and Border Control can perform in what is a last minute bid to get them qualified for the Harness Jewels at Cambridge on May 31st. Meanwhile, star filly Venus Serena will have to overcome the unfavourable outside barrier (9) if she is to come up truimps over Ideal Belle, who ran her close in last week's Nevele R Fillies Final, in the $125,000 NZ Oaks. By Mitchell Robertson

The Peter Bagrie trained 5-year old pacer Vice Chairman has been one to really reap the rewards at Addington during the 2013-14 season. The impressive gelding has won seven races since September 2013 at harness headquarters and bank rolled over $68,000 from those wins. On top of that, he took out a “Met Mutiplier” earning a further $7,500 for his connections Peter and Ann Bagrie and Keith and Tracey Norman. Amongst the wins have been successes on Cup and Show Day in November when he took out the Graphite Developments Show Day Futurity on Canterbury Anniversary Day. This was a race introduced by the New Zealand Metropolitan Trotting Club in 2012. Adding to his impressive resume, Vice Chairman scored a victory on 18 October in one of the Seasonal Super Series Finals that was instigated by The Met this season. With these wins at Addington, and his connections picking a path for their runner to take maximum opportunity of what is on offer through stakes and initiatives, Vice Chairman has excelled and earned his keep many times over. To boot, he holds the track record at Addington Raceway for a mile flying over the distance in 1:51.9. For more information on Addington’s Met Multiplier and Seasonal Super Series, where you as an owner or trainer can cash in, please visit Ged Mooar Marketing and Commercial Manager Addington

The Stabling Awareness Area Course (SAAC) introduced by Addington Raceway and Harness Racing New Zealand (HRNZ) in September 2013 has had a very popular uptake with 84 children completing the course up to now. The course, designed by HRNZ, provides an understanding of potential hazards and dangers in the stable environment for children aged 6 to 14 years old who wish to have access to the Addington stable complex.  HRNZ’s Education and Training Manager Natalie Gameson commented “The course has been very good at educating children of the potential hazards that they may be exposed to in the stable complex. We’re really pleased with the number of children that have taken part and learned from the course and look forward to the program continuing.”  Upon completion of the course, for which there is no charge and takes no longer than one hour to complete, a pass including a photo of the child is issued that will allow access to the stable area.  Courses are now run at Addington on a request basis and appointments can be made by telephoning either Charlotte Mooney or Ged Mooar at Addington on (03) 338 9094. Full details of SAAC can be viewed at and at  Ged Mooar  Marketing and Commercial Manager  Addington    

Join us at Addington Raceway on Friday 16 May for a premier night’s racing that includes the running of the Group 1 $125,000 Canterbury Breeders New Zealand Oaks for 3yo fillies. It’s also Ladies Night in Twiggers where there’ll be plenty going on. Addington, in association with Aviva, Westfield Riccarton and Pascoes The Jewellers are planning a terrific evening for Canterbury women looking to liven up an autumn evening. Entertainment will be provided by effervescent Chef, Media Personality and Aviva Ambassador, Jax Hamilton. Westfield Riccarton, along with local fashion stylist Stephanie Rumble, will showcase fashion elements from a selection of their retailers. Add in the chance to win an 18 white gold diamond set abstract ring worth $3,599 courtesy of Pascoes The Jewellers and there’s plenty on offer for the ladies. Addington is pleased to partner with the charitable organisation Aviva, a Canterbury based specialist family violence agency that was established in 1973 as Christchurch Women’s Refuge. As it's Aviva's annual appeal weekend on 16 and 17 May, a portion of the ticket price will go to them and they will also have an array of silent auction items on display for you to bid on and take home. Julie McCloy, Marketing and Funding Manager for Aviva commented “We’re so pleased to be involved with Addington Raceway for what will no doubt be a great event. It gives us a great opportunity to raise awareness and some of the almost $1million we must generate each year to support Canterbury children, women and men towards violence-free futures.” To find out more about Aviva please visit Ladies Night is the highlight of the evening and part of a premier night’s racing that includes the running of the prestigious Canterbury Standardbred Breeders’ Association New Zealand Oaks for 3 year old fillies featuring champion filly Venus Serena. Ladies Night – Friday 16 May from 7pm. Twiggers, Addington Raceway & Events Centre Tickets - $45 incl. GST that includes a drink on arrival and canapés served throughout the evening Details and tickets from     Ged Mooar Marketing & Commercial Manager Addington

Or the past couple of months, Chairman Ken and the undersigned have attended meetings aimed at resurrecting a Greater Canterbury Awards night, in conjunction with representatives of the local Owners and Breeders Associations. As a result an Awards Dinner will be held on the evening of Saturday 27 September, in the Silks Lounge at Addington Raceway. The plan is for the awards to relate to excellence or exceptional achievements during the past season, and not necessarily for simply season leaders, as these were normally covered in the National Awards. Keep an eye out for more details. Kevin Townley expressed concern at the handicaps being given in discretionary handicaps, particularly the Country Cup finals and the 4&5 year old Trotters Championship. He suggested that handicaps based on money won would see fairer contests. A couple of issues surrounding Addington Raceway were raised, and replies from officials have subsequently been received on them. The initial comment was unanimous praise for the excellent condition of the track, and a note of thanks was sent to John Denton and his crew. The urgent need for a new drivers’ room at the venue was expressed, and it is understood that by Thursday 24 April, work will be completed on converting the old stable barbecue area into a drivers facility. Investigations are also underway as to how to solve the historical problem of the shadows from light poles at the Raceway. The initial idea of installing LED lighting has been shelved as the current technology has been found to be unsatisfactory at some other venues, both here and overseas. Tests were carried out involving turning the lights on to eliminate shadows with limited success, and this may be used as a temporary solution while other avenues are explored. Other matters raised at the meeting included Mark Jones suggesting a reduction in options for trial programmes to eliminate two and three horse fields, a letter was to be sent to the RIU congratulating the Stewards officiating at the recent Westport meeting on their handling of the unfortunate accident, and those present feeling that there were too many false starts, with Kevin Townley suggesting that Starters should be fined for faulty gear (eg. Starting mechanisms and tapes) in a similar way to trainers. Ken Barron questioned why, in the TAB Racing Calendar, the official starting time for night meetings was 5pm, when an earlier start could be preferable for all concerned. This was to be raised at the upcoming meeting with Racing Board CEO Chris Bayliss. By Peter T Cook (Courtesy on the NZ Trainers & Drivers Association)

Nominations for the Canterbury Breeders NZ Oaks on the 16th of May have been released.  Venus Serena heads up a 24-strong nomination. The race has also attracted Australian interest with expat Kiwi Nike Franco among the nominations for her Victorian trainer Dean Braun. To view all of the nominations for the Group One feature click here GED MOOAR MARKETING AND COMMERCIAL MANAGER  

Art Union should not be lining up for career start number two in the Resource Recycling Technologies NZ $8,000 Pace for 2-year-olds at Addington Raceway on Saturday. In fact he should have been retired long before his racing career started. Trainer Cran Dalgety said the well-bred Art Major colt could easily have been wandering around in a paddock now retired from what he termed a “one in a million” injury. “He could have been racing for us three months ago, but we lost valuable ground with him. If you raced a thousand times you wouldn’t see what happened to the poor buggar in a trial at Ashburton back in December. “He was in the one-one and the parked horse came back on him and he got his foot stuck up in the cart and fractured his hock,” Dalgety said. Vets then told the West Melton horseman there was little or no chance of Art Union ever racing again. They did toy with operating and putting a screw in his leg but Dalgety opted against it. “I told the vets if he was out in the wild he wouldn’t be able to get operated on, so we just swum him. It’s a bit of a miracle but time, swimming, and Mother Nature have cured it,” Dalgety said. “Well fingers crossed it’s cured. He’s shown no signs of distress and has bounced back well from his win the other night,” he added. Art Union won his Motukarara Workout on April 5 and then his Rangiora Trial two days later before making a winning debut at Addington Raceway last Friday (April 11). The brown colt was backed into a $3.20 favourite and never looked like losing the $8,000 Spectators Bar & Bistro Open ‘Til Late Mobile Pace. He won the 1950m mobile by 1-1/4 lengths in 2:24.2. Mile rate: 1:58.9. last 800m: 57.2. Last 400m: 27.4. Art Union was eased back early, improved to be parked at the 900m and then drew clear inside the closing 100m proving too strong for Dana Duke (Gavin Smith) and Abbey Cullen (Stephen McNally). “His dam Sparks A Flyin (21 wins and $627,218) was a very good horse winning several big races here and was a New South Wales Oaks winner. She also went 1:51 in America. She was also 3yo Filly-Of-The-Year and just keeps popping them out for the Wakefields (owners and breeders),” Dalgety said. Art Union is a half-brother to earlier classy performers, Diomedes (1:57.5), Empyrean (1:56.2), Bettor’s Fire (1:57.4) and Safedra (1:56.3). Last Friday he became the fifth sub 2:00 winner from Sparks A Flyin (1:52). Dalgety said he would race him in the Sires Stakes heat at Addington after this weekend’s mission, and if he still didn’t have enough money in the bank he could possibly head north to qualify for the 2yo Emerald Final at the Harness Jewels meeting at Cambridge Raceway on May 31. “He’d be right up there with some of the best colts I’ve trained. He has really bulked up since coming back from his injury. He now looks like a 3-year-old. “He’s a tall and long legged creature. Almost thoroughbred like. He’s certainly no flash in the pan,” Dalgety said. By Duane Ranger (Courtesy of HRNZ)

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