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Canterbury junior driver Darren Keast’s night went from disappointment, to absolute joy. Happy to have 2 drives at “headquarters”, Keast was looking forward to his drive in the junior drivers only race, behind the Jamie Gameson trained Sauchiehall. That’s where the disappointment began. Standing perfectly at the tapes the first time, another runner Shelly Ann started playing up causing a significant delay. With that runner sent to the unruly, the restart was all set to go when Sauchiehall dug her heels in and refused to move. After another delay, the 4yo mare was declared a late scratching by stewards and Keast was on his way back to the stables. “It was disappointing because when they let the tapes go to send me back to the stables, she actually stepped away off her mark. I definitely felt she was a top 4 chance in that field” said Darren. With his next drive, Saramon starting directly after the junior driver’s race, Keast was quick to regroup and focus on his upcoming assignment. Saramon a 4yo Gotta Go Cullen gelding trained by Yaldhurst trainer Leonne Jones drew nicely in barrier 3 and with his good gate speed was up contesting the early pace with Lucky Three (Henderson Hunter). With a lead time under 23 seconds, they certainly were humming. “I was quite happy to lead the entire race, but we were running early and I was confident my fella could get up the passing lane at the business end” “We only walked home, but he’s pretty tough and stuck his head out at the right time. He actually won a penalty free invited drivers race a couple of months back so it was just a matter of time before he won a maiden” said Keast. Leased by Ms H Westrum, P J Cusdin, D I O’Neill, B J Slagter, W Thompson and N G Pugh, Saramon was having his 10th race day start and 2nd win for trainer Leonne Jones from just the 5 starts. “I’d like to thank all the owners, including my step mum Henrietta Westrum for sticking by me and allowing me to drive him, hopefully he can continue on his success and they can have some more fun with him” With his first winner coming behind the Nigel McGrath trained Jeanie Pops at Addington back in September 2015, tonight’s win doubles Darren’s career numbers. In his first year of Junior Driving, from 26 drives, he has managed 2 winners and a 3rd. “It’s great to get another winner, seeing the joy and excitement it brings to owners is well worth it” Andrew Fitzgerald

A significant recent harness racing landmark was reached when the 400th Met Breeders Bonus was paid to New York Town after being successful at Addington Raceway. Since being introduced in January 2014, a total of over $208,000 has been paid directly via the Met Breeders Bonus scheme to the qualified breeders of horses who score a win at a New Zealand Metropolitan Trotting Club fixture, excluding Group and Premier races. New Zealand Metropolitan Trotting Club CEO Dean McKenzie commented, “One of the most pressing challenges our industry is grappling with is the declining broodmare population. As the premier Club in the Country we believed it was important for us to do our bit in attempting to arrest this decline. By paying such a large number of bonuses directly to Breeders, they are more than $200,000 better off than they would have been without this initiative, which is just one element of a wider co-ordinated Stakes and Distribution policy our Club has implemented in recent years”. “With a huge proportion of Breeders also actively involved as owners, their decision to support Addington by starting at our venue is a classic win/win for all involved, with strong average field sizes the payback for us as a Club”. For more details on the Club’s promotions and initiatives please visit Alternatively, please call Brian, Richard or Colin of Addington’s Racing Department on (03) 338 9094.  Keryn McElroy

The C4 and faster trot at Addington Raceway on Saturday night only drew nine runners but there was plenty of harness racing talent on display. The outstanding Sheemon led the way and even though he was off 40 metres, he was the public betting elect for the race. The enigmatic Waterloo Sunset was well supported as was Jag's Invasion but after that the runners were in double figures. Pyramaid Monarch jumped to an early lead for Brad Williamson and led for the first 1200 metres before John Dunn and Jag's Invasion took over with 1400 metres to run. Sheemon and Dexter Dunn were immediately up to sit on Jag's Invasion wheel and these two trotters looked each other in the eye a long way out from home. Going past the 400 metres mark, they had started to gap the chasing bunch and as they turned for home, the gap back to the bunch was a conserative ten lengths. Just as the public settled down to see which one of the two protanginists doing battle would win the race, Gavin Smith eased Sunny Ruby out from last of the chasing pack and then producing an exhibition of speed over 200 metres that is as quick as anything this writer has seen from a trotter at Addington. Not only did the four-year-old daughter of Sundon sweep on past Sheemon and Jag's Invasion and win by two lengths, but she did it with her driver Gavin Smith sitting dead still in the bike and not moving a muscle. The week before last Saturday night Sunny Ruby had been expected to go a big race but had finished last although Gavin said she had her reasons for the poor display. "It was blowing a gale and the removable hood came off not long after the start and after that she just grabbed the bit and never came back to me." "Trainer Sam Smolenski made a couple of adjustments so the hood couldn't fly off again but the plan on Saturday night was to just get around and get her to relax and let her run home late." "Her biggest problem is she can get really wound up on raceday and that is going to count against her in the big trotting races but if you can give her a run like she got on Saturday night, I think she is good enough to win one of the big ones," Gavin said. Sunny Ruby was privately timed to run her last 800 metres in 56.5 and her last 400 metres in 27.9 but Gavin only pulled her out at the 200 metres mark and she scooted that sectional in a blistering 12.9 and did it with ease. "I know her form looks a bit inconsisitent but it will always look like that because of the way Sunny Ruby races." "But she remains capable of beating any of the trotters going around if she gets that soft trip and has one run at them," Gavin said. Harnesslink Media

With the depth of the open class pacing ranks in New Zealand not exactly flush this season due to injury and retirement, harness racing has been crying out for a new face to challenge the established stars and just lately there have been a few looking likely. Seel  The Deal and Costa Del Magnifico have suggested they will be challengers with some outstanding performances so far this season while some of those coming back from injury such as Locharburn and Franco Nelson are proven performers at this level but now have to really re-establish themselves after quietly working themselves back into form. Tonights $100,000 Group 1 Easter Cup at Addington Raceway only drew one horse to have raced on the Grand Circuit with distinction this season in the form of the Courage Under Fire gelding, Smolda who was handicapped on 20 metres.  Locharburn (Christian Cullen) is a renowned stayer and with a 20 metre head start, he was given a good chance of upsetting Smolda while several others had a case to be a first four player. Mighty Flying Mac and Blair Orange grabbed the lead early and kept the tempo solid before handing up to Sky Major and Zac Butcher with two laps to go. Two hundred metres later, Locharburn and Dexter Dunn who been working around the field for the first 800 metres swept to the front with ease and eased off the pace a touch to give the big horse a bit of a breather. With a mile to go, Smolda and Mark Purdon started to mooch around the field from the rear and ended up on Locharburn's wheel with 1000 metres to go at which point Dexter upped the tempo. Off the back straight Dexter went for broke and put two to three lengths on Smolda as they straightened for home. As only Smolda can do, he slowly started to reel in Locharburn in the straight and in the last 50 metres Smolda got up alongside Locharburn but just couldn't get past and was still a neck adrift at the winning post. Smolda was as game as ever in running second with Mighty Flying Mac flying along the inner late for third. Costa Del Magnifico provided a minor highlight of the race after working early, sitting parked for 600 metres and running on well again to break 4:00 in finishing fourth. Locharburn paced the 3200 metres in a very quick 3:58.9, a mile rate of 2:00.1 with closing sectionals of 55.3 and 27.9 It is the third quickest time for the 3200 metres Easter Cup since the race was changed to that distance in 1972 with only Christen Me and Monkey King having gone quicker. Smolda's official time of 3:57.4 off the 20 metres mark was a brilliant effort from the old warrior. Dexter Dunn was all smiles post race. "I had to work a bit early to get around them but once I got to front I was able to button off the speed a touch." "I upped the ante at the 1000 metre mark and really put the pressure on down the back straight." "When I had a look just before the corner, I thought Mark was a bit flat on Smolda so I went for home." "I thought I was on the winner until the last 50 metres when Smolda really came at us but Locharburn had enough of a lead to hold him out and my fella fights really hard," Dexter said. Locharburn plans are not set in concrete but Dexter felt that tonights race may be last this season with a view to having a long prep aimed at next years New Zealand Cup. Harnesslink Media  

The second $18,700 Sires Stakes heat for two year old fillies was held at the Easter harness racing meeting at Addington Raceway last night and in a surprise upset for many on course, the very well performed Delightful Memphis lost her unbeaten record. Driver Blair Orange was very bullish about the chances of Delightful Memphis prior to the race, stating he thought she had an edge over the four All Stars runners in the heat. " On what I have seen around the trials and on raceday, I think Delightful Memphis has got an edge on the competition and should win," Blair said. When Mark Purdon was going through the chances of his four runners in the heat on Trackside, he made the observation about how pleased he was with the run of Renske B at Invercargill when she ran second to Delightful Memphis. " Renske B was parked the whole way at Invercargill with Delightful Memphis on her back." " I thought if you switched the runs the two fillies got, that Renske B would have come out on top, Mark said. And that is exactly what happened last night. Flying Miss Mac and Dexter Dunn worked to the lead after 300 metres and that left Delightful Memphis facing the breeze, which she had to do for the whole race. Hard on her back was Renske B and Tim Williams and as they turned for home, Tim eased her out and slowly but surely took ground off Delightful Memphis and grabbed her just short of the winning post for a memorable victory. The margin of half a neck could have been a lot healthier if Renske B hadn't laid in badly a couple of times in the straight, costing her ground and momentum both times. The daughter of Mach Three has been a model of consisitentcy throughout her brief racing career with last nights win her second from just four starts and along with two placings took her stake earnings over the $29,000 mark. She paced the 1950 metres last night in 2:25.2, a mile rate of 1:59.9 with smart closing sectionals of 56.5 and 27.8 Delightful Memphis lost no friends in defeat with such a game effort while Smiley Sophie made a promising debut in running into third late. At this stage there doesn't appear to be a lot between Delightful Memphis and Renske B and as last night race showed, it may be the draw that decides a lot of their clashes in the next few weeks. Harnesslink Media

The first of the classics for the two year old trotters this season is the $25,000 New Zealand Two Year old Trotting Stakes which was run at the harness racing meeting at Addington Raceway tonight. The unbeaten Love You colt Habibi Inta from the Paul Nairn barn looked the horse to beat after two effortless wins in his leadup races even though he had drawn a bit wide at barrier seven. Enghien was expected to test the favourite after a bold second to him at Methven while Miracle Rising and Di'z Luck were others to have shown up on raceday. Habibi Inta came out trucking for Blair Orange  from barrier seven and grabbed the lead from Custodian and David Butt. At this point Enghien and Ricky May went for a gallop, losing all chance. Habibi Inta kept up a solid tempo in front with Miracle Rising in the death and her stablemate Di'z Luck in the one by one. With the good tempo up front there was no mid race moves and on the last corner Habibi Inta looking to be travelling the best. The only danger appeared to be Custodian in the trail who slowly closed the gap on Habibi Inta the whole way up the straight but was still a nose in arrears at the finish. The two did get close in the last 50 metres and the siren went post race but the protest was not progressed with. Di'z Luck finished on well for third in front of her stablemate Miracle Rising. Habibi Inta ran the 1950 metres in 2:30.3, a mile rate of 2:04 with closing sectionals of 59.3 and 29.4 Before tonight Habibi Inta looked a class above above his rivals on the two year old trotters scene but Custodian showed tonight that the gap is not as big as some thought and that should make the upcoming races amongst the juveniles really worth waiting for. Harnesslink Media 

The sixth heat of the Nevele R Fillies Series is up for decision at the harness racing meeting at Forbury Park on Thursday night and RR Sand Dollar has all the form on the board to be the one to beat here. A three year old filly from the first crop of the now defunct Rob Roy Mattgregor, RR Sand Dollar has nothing in her favour except class and even from barrier seven over the 1700 metres trip she looks to carry too many guns for the opposition here.  RR Sand Dollar was beaten a nose here at Forbury Park in December over the 1700 metres at her only start on the track and she has improved dramatically since then. Three runs back she was beaten a nose by the brilliant Nek Time in a brilliant 1:54.8 mile rate at Addington Raceway and followed that with two effortless wins down south, with the big late finish at Winton especially impressive. Trainer Paul Court has enlisted the services of Blair Orange, the hottest driver in the south over the last few weeks to take the reins again and only bad luck should really beat her. Take out RR Sand Dollar and the race becomes very even, with four or five big winning chances. The Gavin Smith pair of Scarlett Banner and Allison Stokke have both shown enough at various stages this season to be big chances here from their draws of one and two. Scarlett Banner has been racing Golden Goddess, Piccadilly Princess, and Luisansbelle Midfrew most of the season and will appreciate the huge dropback in class here while Allison Stokke has run two beauties in her last two starts behind two very smart maidens in Heavens Rocks and Fiddlethefool and looms as a big improver here.  Rakarazor continues to go good races every week and her third in 1:54.1 for the mile at Winton on Saturday is good form for this race. Rakarazor has high gate speed and Clark Barron is sure to use that and attempt to lead all the way from barrier four with catch me if you can tactics. And so we come to Emily Blunt. Three months ago she would have been a hot favourite in this race and although she has performed admirably since, she has not been her old self lately. Blinds come off tomorrow night in an effort to sharpen her up and that just be enough to right the ship here.. She has the ability to beat most here and weather she has the aptitude we will see on Thursday night. Selections RR Sand Dollar is the clear first pick for us and should win barring accidents Scarlett Banner and Emily Blunt may not have the best form on the board right now but they are two high class fillies at their best and we found it hard to split them for second or third.  It is the same for 4th and 5th with Allison Stokke and Rakarazor both going consistently well and both are capable of finishing first four. Trifecta and First Four  8 --- 2, 3, 4, 5 Harnessjlink Media

Last nights harness racing meeting at Addington Raceway saw the reappearance of one of the forgotten stars from the Robert Dunn barn in Say My Name. The now four year old son of Art Major was a high class two year old for the Dunn barn and looked as though he would be a major player in all the three year old classics last season. However injury followed Say My Name wherever he went and in two campaigns at three, he managed just four starts for not much return. It was at that point that it was discovered that Say My Name had a hairline fracture in his hock and he was put away for the season. Now halfway through his four year old season, Say My Name finally made his long awaited resumption in a junior drivers race at Addington last night and didn't disappoint with a performance right out of the top draw. Say My Name was allowed to settle back early  from his second row draw by driver Matt Purvis as Star Fantasy and Craig Ferguson set a hot tempo in front. Matt eased Say My Name into the running line at the 1800 metres mark and slowly worked his way around to the death seat by the 900 metres when Booster appeared out three wide and injected some real speed into the race. Star Fantasy and Say My Name eyeballed each other down the back in a quick 27.6 and just before they straightened for home Say My Name went to the front and never really looked like being run down. Nui Toc Tien who had trailed the whole way made a late dab at Say My Name but second was his lot and Usain Colt went his usual honest race in finishing third. Say My Name paced the 2600 metres in a swift 3:13.8, a mile rate of 1:59.9 with closing sectionals of 56.4 and 29 which was a great effort in the windy conditions. Back in the stable complex,John Dunn had a smile a mile wide. " I am just so relieved that he has got around in one piece." " He is such a good horse but he has had such a shocking run with injuries and setbacks." " He only had the one workout leading into tonight and that was after having twelve months on the sidelines so to win like that was just a reminder of how good he is." " I will line him up in the next two Premier nights at Addington and if he was to win those, he would be knocking on the door of entry to the Harness Jewels," John said.  Junior driver Matt Purvis was another impressed by last night's effort. " To do what he did tonight in those windy conditions was a top effort." " I just let him mooch around to the death seat in his own time but they were running along in front." " I was pretty confident going past the 800 metres that I was on the winner and he found plenty in the home straight when I asked him." "He is no where near his peak yet after twelve months off but he still gave me a great feel tonight," Matt said. The Robert Dunn barn have always held Say My Name in the highest regard and one can only hope that all their hard work in getting Say My Name back to the track is rewarded in the next few months. Harnesslink Media  

The two year old pace at the harness racing meeting at Addington Raceway tonight looked a fairly open race with several runners being well supported on the tote. Mongolian Storm was sent out the favourite but Tere The Terminator and Nicol Shard were very close up in the betting market as well. Tere The Terminator led from barrier one for Blair Orange and was out by a couple of lengths passing the mile marker and then for no reason galloped and veered out and almost collected Nicol Shard and Dexter Dunn who were improving on his outer. Mongolian Storm and Ricky May took the opportunity to work to the front and then hand up to Nicol Shard who after getting skittled by Tere The Terminator showed speed to whip around the field and lead. The order stayed the same until Bettor To Be Tricky went up and applied real pressure passing the 500 metres mark. Turning for home Bettor To Be Tricky surged to the front and looked the likely winner but Mongolian Storm slowly but surely started to real him in the last 150 metres and went on by in the last 50 metres for a deserved win. Bettor To Be Tricky stuck on really well for second with the first starter Cobra Banner running on late for third. In the coolish windy conditions, Mongolian Storm paced the 1950 metres in 2:24.1, a mile rate of 1:58.9 with the closing sectionals of 58.4 and 29.1. Trainer Paul Court was happy with the run by the son of Courage Under Fire " He has missed a bit of work lately so he was pretty short tonight." " I thought he might be vunerable because of that but class has got him home." " That run will tighten him up bigtime and he can go to the Sires Stakes heat next week now." " Also I think he is better driven with a sit because he has such high speed."  " Whatever he does at two is a bonus as I think he will make a lovely three year old," Paul said. Driver Ricky May was also happy with the run of Mongolian Storm. " He has actually won that a lot easier than it looked." "I was trying to look after him throughout the race as I knew he was short of race fitness." " It was really windy out there as well so it was a  good effort,"  Ricky said. Brad Mowbray, the trainer of Tere The Terminator was still shaking his head when asked for comment on his smart two year old. " He galloped for no reason really which is frustrating but I suppose you can say he is a work in progress."  "He did make up a lot of ground after his gallop to finish where he did so there is no problem with the ability". " We just needs the manners to come right," Brad said Harnesslink Media  

The eight two year olds lining up in the juvenile race at the harness racing meeting at Addington Raceway tonight have one thing in common. None are from the All Stars barn which is a very unusual occurrence for a two year race in Canterbury, but it does give some really promising two year olds the opportunity to showcase their talent. One of the two year olds that has really impressed us here at Harnesslink that is lining up tonight is Tere The Terminator from the Brad Mowbray barn. The son of Washington VC has impressed from day one at the trials and workouts but as Brad explained to Harnesslink today, nothing went right on his debut at Wyndham in the Kindergarten Stakes. " I have a pretty big opinion of him and I thought he wouldn't disgrace himself in what was a really good field." " However he got really wound up and galloped badly which was a real surprise to me," Brad said. Given a wee freshener, Tere The Terminator lined up at the Motukarara trials last week and made a botch of the first race he was in and then lined up later in the C1 and faster pace. Leading from the unruly, Tere The Terminator was pressured by the very smart Torrid Bromac mid race but kept the lead. Torrid Bromac was out again at the 400 metres but Tere The Terminator kicked in the straight and kept Torrid Bromac at bay. Tere The Bromac raced greenly on a couple of occasions during the running but still managed to run the 2200 metres in a quick  2:46.5 with smart closing sectionals of 57.9 and 27.8 . There is no doubting the natural ability of Tere The Terminator but as Brad explained today, time will be his best friend. " He was a lot better manners wise earlier on actually but he just needs racing now to get that bit of ringcraft to go with the natural ability." " I knew we had something above average when he took ground off More The Better at the trials last November and he has improved a lot since then." " I probably didn't want the one draw tonight but it is what it is and it will give us a line on where we are with him." " I think he is definitely a Sires Stakes horse and if he performs well tonight ,we may have a look at next weeks heat," Brad said. All eyes tonight will be on Tere The Terminator at the start but if Blair Orange can get him through the first 200 metres, then he becomes the horse they all have to beat. Harnesslink Media  

Addington Raceway is proud to announce that harness racing enthusiasts Nigel & Brenda Armstrong of Paintlab Hornby are the new business partner for the Group One $80,000  New Zealand Trotting Derby Race that will be run on Friday, 8 April.   What is unbelievable about this sponsorship is Nigel & Brenda are gifting naming rights to this prestigious race to support the gorgeous 3 year old Jonty Smolenski who has a rare genetic syndrome called Trichothiodystrophy.  The official name of the race will be  Paintlab Racing 4 Jonty New Zealand Trotting Derby.   Nigel commented, “We have known the Smolenski Family for many years through our love of harness racing and Brenda and I wish to support Jonty as much as possible as he needs to fly to Washington DC in July for treatment, so putting our sponsored race towards helping Jonty was a no brainer. " A logo has been designed in Jonty’s honour and will appear on all of our colours."  Also for every horse of ours that wins, 2.5% of the stake will go towards helping Jonty.”   Addington is supporting the Smolenski’s by making their charity of choice for the months of April and May ‘Jonty’s Journey’.  This was obviously meant to be as wee Jonty’s birthday is the 18 May. Addington has also bought a table at the fundraising dinner on Saturday, 2 April that will be hosted by Steve Hansen and Bondy from More FM at the Hornby Working Men’s Club. I am sure everyone reading this release will agree that Nigel and Brenda Armstrong have extremely kind hearts. Keryn McElroy Business & Marketing Manager,  Addington 

If all goes to plan, this Friday will herald the resumption in the Robert Dunn stable of the proven Group One star Franco Nelson at the harness racing meeting at Addington Raceway. Franco Nelson has been back with the stable for about a month and has pleased John Dunn with his progress since returning. With the fact that he had been racing against the best in Australasia before returning home - Victoria Cup and Hunter Cup - he hasn't taken a lot of work to get back to racing trim.  Friday's planned resumption is a C5-OC handicap over the 2600m. However, with only the five nominations at present, the race may struggle to get off the ground. This reflects again the dearth of opportunities for the open class horses and as a planned dress rehearsal for next week's Easter Cup is far from ideal.  Friday's race is also planned as the first start from the stable for Mighty Flying Mac that has joined the stable in the last few weeks. Formerly trained at West Melton by Cran Dalgety, it was felt that a change of scenery may be what the horse needed to return to his very best form that included a win in the Hannon Memorial back in September. John has been very happy with his progress and expects a big run this week. He too is on target for next week's Easter Cup. Courtesy of Robert Dunn Racing Stables   -   Check site here

Leading harness racing trainer Nigel McGrath has never had it easy with Luisanabelle Midfrew in his barn but all the problems she has had are quickly fading from his memory as the daughter of American Ideal starts to fulfill the potential she showed as an early two year old. After a great start to her career including a second to Dream About Me in the $138,000 Sires Stakes Final at Alexandra Park, Luisanabelle Midfrew all but died on two occasions after the Harness Jewels last year and her future was in doubt for quite a while. Nursed back to full health by Nigel McGrath, he has taken his time with the filly all season and only really trained her down for the $150,000 PGG Sales Final at Addington Raceway in early February which she won easily. The question then was could Luisanabelle Midfrew make that last step back up to the elite level fillies she had competed against at two after all her health issues. A start at Methven on the grass in a Nevele R Fillies heat left a lot of people having doubts after she battled into sixth but tonight at Addington Raceway she produced a performance right out of the top draw and announced herself as a major contender for the fillies classics at Addington in May. Driver Matthew Williamson sent her forward off the gate from her wide barrier of seven and settled her three back in the running line as Artful set up a good tempo in front. Going past the 800 metres, Matthew looped the field with Luisanabelle Midfrew and took over in front going past the 600 metres and then proceeded to slowly put daylight between her and the rest of the field. Matthew eased Luisanabelle Midfrew down over the last 150 metres as she coasted to the line an easy winner by 3 1/2 lengths in what was without doubt her most impressive win in her career to date. Luisanabelle Midfrew paced the 1950 metres in a smart 2:21.9, a mile rate of 1:57 with closing sectionals of 58.4 and 28.3. Matthew Williamson was thrilled with the performance. " That is the best she has ever gone for me in since I began driving her." " She was absolutely jogging at the 800 metres which is why I took off when I did." " I didn't even pull the plugs tonight she was traveling that well" " On that run tonight, she will be competitive against the best fillies," Matthew said. Nigel McGrath was still scratching his head tonight over the run of Luisanabelle Midfrew at Methven. " I thought I may have backed her up too quickly from the PGG Sales race as there was only a nine day gap but maybe it was just the grass track that tripped her up." " She has really come on lately and I was pretty confident she would go a big race tonight, " Nigel said. The manner of the win tonight by Luisanabelle Midfrew would suggest that she will be a major player in the 3 year old fillies classics in May at Addington Raceway Harnesslink Media

The harness racing amateur drivers event tonight at Addington Raceway had one highly credentialled runner incuded in the form of Mach Cruiser. Raced by the Westview Racing number 14 syndicate and trained by Robert Dunn, Mach Cruiser had nine wins on his card prior to tonight and had been racing in strong grade classes in Canterbury. Even though the gelding by Mach Three had drawn at barrier nine due to his classification, he was heavily supported to win the race. Part of the condition for a horse of his class to be eligible for the race was to have a claiming price attached which Westview Racing set at $5,000 The experienced and successful amateur Raymond Reekie was in the bike and everything went to plan as Mach Cruiser sped to the front and then proceeded to run the field off their feet. The 2600 metres from the mobile took a tick over 3:11 to complete which was too much for the lower graded competition and Mach Cruiser bolted in by 2 ¾ lengths. Ray Reekie, on the lookout for another horse to drive in the amateur races had lodged his claim for $5,000 before the race and was delighted to find out post race that his claim was the only one that had lodged a claim. However that joy turned to despair shortly after when the stewards told Ray Reekie that his claim for Mach Cruiser was not valid – and the reason--- because a driver of a horse in a race cannot claim a horse he is driving. So Westview Racing number 14 syndicate are still the proud owners of Mach Cruiuser. Their plans are still the same and Mach Cruiser will be put in the next $7500 amateur drivers race at Addington as a claimer. However after tonights demolition job in a swift 3:11, there just might be a few more claims lodged against Mach Cruiser at his next appearance than there was tonight.  Harnesslink Media

It is not often that a low key harness racing meeting on a Thursday night  at Addington unearths a horse on his way to much better things but the performance of Chittybangbang last night at Addington Raceway suggested that this is a three year old with a big future. Settling well back in the field in  the 1950 metres mobile from his wide second row draw, Chittybangbang was sent forward by driver Blair Orange on the three wide train and reached the death seat with 1100 metres to go. Taking cover behind Extreme Guest who had followed him forward, Chittybangbang was forced three back in the running line down the back straight. Turning for home, Chittybangbang was still several lengths off the leaders but once Blair had got him balanced, he flew down the outside late to pick them up and beat them with ease. A three year old son of Gotta Go Cullen, Chittybangbang has a real' blue blood' maternal family being closely related to several smart horses including Courage Under Fire 1:54.2 ($1,485,672) while the three quarter brother to Chittybangbang in Chattanoogachoochoo 1:54.5 ($107,163) continues to race well in Australia. Chittybangbang has always been held in the highest regard by the Toliman Lodge barn but immaturity has held up his progress to date. A very good second first up as a two year old behind the talented Cash N Flow suggested a big future at that age but it wasn't to be. Part owner Wendy Kennard thinks they may have got ahead of themselves. " Chittybangbang stands close to 16.3 hands and is a big framed horse with it." " For such a big horse, he has tremendous high speed and showed that at his first start at two but didn't have the strength to go on with it then."  " Ken (Barron) has always had a very big opinion of the horse and is very confident that once he fully matures, we are going to have a lot of fun with him." " He likes Chittybangbang that much that he went and bought his three quarter brother at the yearling sales this week." " Even tonight you can see he is a work in progress but I think he will come into his own in the next 12 months and show people what he is really capable of," Wendy said. Wendy and Noel Kennard have bought a number of good memories to a lot of people with their "Go Harness " racing syndicates and it was nice to see them getting so much pleasure themselves from last nights win at Addington. Harnesslink Media  

The first of the tote races for the 2015-2106 season for the two year old trotters was held at Addington Raceway this evening and provided a great spectacle as the first four home all showed enough on the night to suggest that we are in for some great contests as the harness racing season progresses. Custodian from barrier eight left the gate with the mobile for driver David Butt and was in front after 200 metres and proceeded to set a hectic pace in front. The well supported Habibi Inta with Blair Orange in the cart was slow off the gate and settled sixth in the running early while Regal Love and Tim Williams ended up in the open in the running line when things settled down after the start. David Butt kept Custodian rolling in front, putting half a dozen lengths between himself and the field as they went past the 800 metres mark. Tim Williams and Regal Love were the first to make a move to close the gap on the tearaway leader and Habibi Inta quickly got onto Regal Love's back as they passed the 400 metres. These three were joined on the point of the turn by Miracle Rising with trainer / driver Gavin Smith in the bike who had been four back on the inner and these four drew away from the rest. Custodian was still in front 100 metres out but his earlier exertions started to catch up with him and he was claimed by both Habibi Inta and Miracle Rising with 50 metres to go with Habibi Inta holding a neck advantage over Miracle Rising at  the finishing line with a game Custodian a close up third just in front of an equally game Regal Love who had dragged the field up to the leader. The winners time for the 1950 metres from the mobile was a smart 2:26.6, a mile rate of 2:00.9 with closing sectionals of 60.2 and 30.7 Trainer Paul Nairn was happy that his charge did everything right at his first race start. " I told Blair he had never been behind the mobile before and to not rush him early which is why he was so far behind them early on." " I knew he was good enough to win the race but I was more concerned that he did everything right at his first start to help build up his confidence." " I think I will give him his next start in the two year old trot at Methven on the grass as a lead into the 2 year old Trotting Stakes at the end of March at Addington as he handles the grass really well," Paul told Harnesslink this evening. Gavin Smith had a huge smile on his face after the run of Miracle Rising to grab second on debut. " I couldn't have been happier with my horse's run." " He is not switched on as yet to what racings all about but he has got an awful lot of natural ability. " I thought he was too big to make a two year old but he is proving me wrong." " He is beautifully gaited and has great manners and going forward there is so much improvement in him that it is scary," Gavin said. Throw in Custodian and Regal Love who lost no admirers with their game runs tonight and the two year old trotting ranks look to be especially strong this year. Harnesslink Media  

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