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A drop back from Country Cup racing at Rangiora on Sunday should see Linton Shard tough to roll in the main event on a rare Friday afternoon at Addington Raceway. The Cran Dalgety trained pacer, who lacks nothing in the size department, went down fighting against a strong field in Sunday’s Rangiora Cup on the grass track - beaten only by Imola, Stroke Of Luck and Karanga Red Fantasy. That form should bode well for him heading into an even C2-C3 pace today. A winner of three of his 17 career starts, the half-brother to Smiling Shard and Pemberton Shard might not reach the heights his siblings managed, but he should be in for a good summer around the traps. Dexter Dunn will combine with the gelding again as he looks to peg back Blair Orange’s eight win lead on the drivers’ premiership/ While a standout on recent form arguably, Linton Shard won’t get it all his own way. There’s a bit of depth to the 2600 metre field including in-form pacers Franco Tai and Letspendanitetogetha. The former is running consistently good races for Terry and Glenys Chmiel and off the front mark will give those behind him something to chase. Letspendanitetogetha has won his last two with Craig Smith in the sulky. John Dunn takes the drive tonight. Meanwhile, Weedons horseman Nigel McGrath is keeping things even in his career. As well as being on 470 training wins, McGrath is also on 470 driving wins. He’s got a big month and a bit ahead and should be getting close to at least the training milestone come the end of the season with a strong racing team around him. Today he has My Wee Man and Special Change in an early maiden and then an in-form One Big Fella who tackles the last race of the evening. Super Selector - By Matt Markham Race 1: Muscles Galore, One Over Da Stars, Chevron Express, Dragon’s Sister Race 2: My Wee Man, Wall Street Wolf, Waimac Attack, Titanium Race 3: Ice Crusher, Missinmemate, One Direction, Mighty American  Race 4: Ruakapuka Ruler, Culley Backy, Distinctive Del. Mrs Browns Boys  Race 5: Idle Monkey, Little Mo, Sundon’s Flyer, Astrapi Race 6: Cullenz Diamond, Stop Means Stop, Toll Gate, Mac Toddy Race 7: Smithy, Franco Tai, Letspendanitetogetha, Linton Shard Race 8: Debaneyre, Sugar Cane, Forgot To Remember, Galleon’s Royale Race 9: Letsgotothehop, Kitura, Time Traveller, Unico Enchantress Race 10: Remiss, Nui Toc Tien, Joey Maguire. As Kiwi As Best Bet: My Wee Man (Race 2) Value: Ice Crusher (Race 3)

Gavin Smith didn’t want to be one of those people who gets stuck in the nervous nineties for too long. Three months was long enough as it is, so when Imola took apart a tidy field of pacers in Sunday’s Rangiora Summer Cup, the North Canterbury horseman allowed himself a sigh of relief as he notched up the 500th driving win of his career. It’s been a long 12 weeks, but Smith can head into the busy Christmas and New Year racing period with the weight off his shoulders now and just enjoy the fact he has achieved something that only a small percentage of drivers get the privilege to do. “I certainly didn’t want to get stuck on a mark for too long,” Smith said. “It’s nice to have finally reached 500 wins, a bit of a relief, but a pretty cool feeling at the same time.” It was fitting too that Smith was able to reach the milestone on one of his own horses as the training side of his harness racing career has become a major thing in the past few years. Based out of the immaculate Dancingonmoonlight Farm in Ohoka, Smith’s success in the past few seasons as a trainer has been excellent and he’s slowly building a consistent and more than capable team of horses around him. Sunday’s winner Imola is the perfect example of that. The Jereme’s Jet gelding won once in 10 starts as a three-year-old but has come back this season and performed with distinction, winning four of his 14 starts so far and placing on a further two occasions for stake earnings of close to $25,000. He’s also picked up a Met Multiplier cheque from Addington Raceway worth $7,500 – making for a profitable month and a bit for his owner, Aaron Johnstone. “We targeted getting the met multiplier and probably raced him at Addington a bit too much to get him there. “He’s actually been racing really well for most of the season, but getting away from Addington has probably helped him a bit too.” Smith said the Nelson Cup in January was a potential target now for the progressive pacer. His 500th win comes almost exactly 15 years after his first, Went Motoring for Jeff Whittaker at Methven. His 61 winners last season was a personal best tally for a 12 month period and coupled with 28 training wins, things are ticking along quite nicely.  Matt Markham

Harness racing fixed odds movers at Addington as at 4.15pm Race 1 - The $2.30 favourite Raukapuka Ruler easily leads win and multi betting over Augusta $2.80 - $3.00.   Race 2 - Nicky Anew $4.80 is the best backed runner on the win 'book' over Flashing Diamond $8.60.   Race 3 - Mossdale Conner $2.20 leads multi betting over Ears Burning $3.90 and these two are the only runners wanted early.   Race 4 - Vinny Gambini $4.20 - $3.50 is best backed on the win 'book' over Wanted man $10 - $7.00.   Race 5 - Kingdom Come at $12.50 - $11 is the best backed on the win 'book' over McLovin $3.00.   Race 6 - Master Lavros $1.70 is huge in multi betting holding 203 ticket's compared to the next best Hey Yo $6.00 who holds just 7 tickets.    Race 7 - American Tart $2.10 has drawn out wide but that hasn't stopped punter's jumping on in both win & multi betting. Crackabella $5.60 has also attracted some win money.   Race 8 - Franco Saxon $7.50 is best backed on the win 'book' over Franco Tai $7.00 with the $3.20 favourite Letspendanitetogetha $2.90 - $3.20 the best backed in multi betting.   Race 9 - Donegal Bettorgretch $3.40 is best backed on the win 'book' over Le Lievre's Gift at $6.80 with Everybody Knows $3.50 - $4.00 best backed in multi betting over Lothario $3.90 - $3.40.   Race 10 -Wozniacki $5.80 is best backed on the win 'book' over Millwood Daisy $6.50.     Harnesslink Media Courtesy of Stephen Richardson(TAB)

He’s chasing Group race success in Auckland but Mark Jones can be forgiven for all his attention being focussed on a five horse race at Addington tonight. That five horse race, worth $13,000 compared to the $220,000 his four horses in Auckland are racing for, has the potential to be one of the most important of the Burnham trainer’s season. His stable star, two-time Dominion Handicap winner, Master Lavros returns to the races from injury early on in the night at Addington and where he heads to next will very much depend on what the outstanding trotter shows both on the track and when he walks out of his box on Saturday morning. Auckland for the National Trot on New Year’s Eve is still an option, but a trip to Central Otago is a possibility too. “We will let him dictate what happens next,” Jones said. “A lot of it is going to depend on how his leg is after the run. Both options are on the table.” The return race has been marred by scratchings, leaving Master Lavros with just four opponents to face but Jones should get a good enough indication on where the gelding is at. “It’s really another glorified trial for us, of course we are there to win but there is a bigger picture too.” The stable will also be represented tonight at Addington by the ultra consistent Ruthless Success. In Auckland, Rocker Band and Delightful Memphis will tackle Group racing while The Bus and Real Torque tackle other races on the programme. Delightful Memphis has come up with barrier one in the Peter Breckon Memorial - a key result if she is to down the colours of Spanish Armada once again. “I still don’t think there is anything between the two of them, but we’ve got the draw this week so we will have to look to make the most of it.” Rocker Band, by her trainer’s admission, probably can’t beat Dream About Me. But she is a real hope of running second behind her. “She’s going great guns at the moment and from that draw we should get our chance.” The Bus was late scratched last week after jumping shadows during his warm up but a strong workout win on Saturday has Jones confident he’s got a horse who can be a player in the Young Guns series. Super Selector Addington - By Matt Markham Race 1: Ruakapuka Ruler, Myidealson, Augusta, Mighty American Race 2: My Wee Man, Belmont Jet, Webby Vanderquack, Nicky Anew Race 3: Ears Burning, Mossdale Conner, Alta Orlando, Maverick Race 4: Letsgotothehop, Vinny Gambino, Loretta Franco, Hayden’s Meddle Race 5: McLovin, Fireze, Jean Sebastien, Kingdom Come Race 6: Master Lavros, Daryl Boko, Hey Yo, Waterloo Sunset Race 7: American Tart, Crackabella, Emily Blunt, Runaway Star Race 8: Torrid Bromac, Letspendanitetogetha, Franco Saxon, Eh Ef El Race 9: Le Leivre’s Gift, Everybody Knows, Lothario, Donegal Bettorgretch Race 10: Curlimore, Gunpowder, Wozniacki, Atchoo Best Bet: Curlimore (Race 10) Value: Le Leivre’s Gift (Race 9)

A record number of harness racing nominations were received for the Diamond Creek Farm NZ Derby that will be held at Addington on Friday, 7 April next year. This prestigious race will be held at Addington on Friday, 7April 2017. The 49 horses nominated are listed below. Their current fixed odds prices (NZ Dollars) will be released by the TAB early next week. Please note first withdrawals (sustaining fee) is due on Wednesday, 25 January 2017 at 3pm (NZ time). 3YO Pacers nominated for the Diamond Creek Farm New Zealand Derby are; 1. Burst Out Laughing C0 2. Dream To Reality C0 3. Hayden’s Meddle C0 4. Hurrikane Poker C0 5. Johnny White C0 6. Kamwood Kid C0 7. Let It Ride C0 8. Letsgotothehop C0 9. Locked Out Of Heaven C0 10. Micky Gee C0 11. Motu Meteor C0 12. Santanna Mach C0 13. Speedy Mach C0 14. Warloch C0 15. Whittaker C0 16. Acceptance C1 17. Accumulator C1 18. Afterdinnerspeaker C1 19. Alta Intrigue C1 20. Big Mach C1 21. Eamon Maguire C1 22. Forgotten Highway C1 23. Franco Hampton C1 24. Gotta Go Ya Hu C1 25. Jack’s Legend C1 26. Mongolian Storm C1 27. Raptors Flight C1 28. Raukapuka Ruler C1 29. Red Moon Rising C1 30. Regal Major C1 31. Riccardo C1 32. Rory McIlroy C1 33. Spring Campaign C1 34. Stars Align C1 35. The Bachelor C1 36. The Governor C1 37. The Honey Badger C1 38. Tiger Thompson C1 39. Wrangler C1 40. You Gotta Have Faith C1 41. Billy Badger C2 42. On The Rantan C2 43. Star Galleria C2 44. Vincent (AUS) C2 45. Mongolian Hero C3 46. Vasari C3 47. Pacing Major C4 48. Ultimate Machete C4 49. More the Better C6     KERYN MCELROY    

It’s unlikely that high quality mare Nek Time will ever race again. The Terry and Glenys Chmiel trained four-year-old was set to resume at Addington on Friday night off the back of a strong trial victory at Ashburton last Tuesday but all that was thrown out the window late last week. After impressing in her trial, Nek Time was completing fast work and Chmiel noticed she was lame in a hind leg. “It didn’t look to serious, but something was clearly troubling her,” Terry said. “Our vet happened to be out looking at another horse and she said we should do a scan just to be sure and it revealed that she has a hole in her hind suspensory. “I’ve got no idea how it happened as it’s not something you usually see with pacers. We just can’t figure it out.” The prognosis is that Nek Time is a 50/50 chance of racing again, but Chmiel said initial chats with the mare’s owners, Robert and Sharyn Symon, suggested that she may be retired and an attempt may be made to serve her this breeding season. “She could potentially race again, but I’m thinking it will be unlikely because she is so valuable as a broodmare. “It’s a bloody shame really because she was going along pretty nicely so the news made for a pretty long weekend.” It’s a big blow for the Chmiel stable as Nek Time was their flagship horse and she also gave them plenty of highs last season as a three-year-old including wins in the Southland, Gold Coast and Queensland Oaks. Last season alone she won seven races and close to $140,000 in stakes - not a bad effort considering she comes from the same crop as dominant fillies Piccadilly Princess and Dream About Me. “She’s the horse that made getting out of bed to go and work the team in the morning easy. “She’ll be pretty hard to replace.” The fastest of the progeny of Gotta Go Cullect, Nek Time has a 1:54.7 mile rate next to her name so will be a valuable broodmare no matter which stallion she is sent to. Matt Markham

Addington harness racing fixed odds movers as at 4:30pm   Race 1  - The $3.10 favourite Blade is a clear leader in multi betting early over Living Legend $5.20.   Race 2 -  Hey Yo $4.80 is best backed in win betting with Tornado Valley $3.30 leading multi betting.    Race 3 - Ears Burning $6.80 & Usain Colt $6.60 lead win betting with Classie Brigade $2.10 going 2 - 1 in multi betting tickets over Ears Burning.   Race 4 - Going To California $3.80 - $3.60 leads win betting with Christopher Banner $3.40 leading multi betting over Mach's Terminator $7.00.   Race 5 - Thisismylastflight $2.10 is all punter's want in win & multi betting.   Race 6 - Beg Hall $3.40 - $3.20 is easily the best backed early over Bear's Rest $13.   Race 7 - The two favourites Ice Crusher $2.60 & Letspendanitetogetha $3.40 is all punter's want here in win betting & in multi betting Letspendanitetogetha leads over Ice Crusher.    Race 8 - Loretta Franco $3.00 is best backed over Toll Gate $2.90 with the former leading multi betting.   In the Drivers Challenge Ricky may $5.00 is best backed over Blair Orange $2.40.     Harnesslink Media Courtesy of Stephen Richardson (TAB)

Never before did the international amateur harness racing driving competition mantra mean more than it did on the first day of the Friendship Competition between the visiting North American Amateur Drivers Association and the local New Zealand amateurs. According to the international amateur driver's mantra, 'it's not of the utmost importance who wins or loses; it's just that amateur racing is a great vehicle for human relations' certainly rang true after the first of three races in the competition has been completed. The NAADA team of Joe Lee, Peter Kleinhans, Gerry Fielding and Dave Offenberg were drubbed by the local amateurs in the first event of the three race competition. That being said, here is Joe Lee's first-hand account of Thursday's competition race at Addington, NZ. "Last night was our first race. There were 13 horses in the contest and I was on the 10-horse which was starting at the beginning of the second tier. I got away a little further back than I would have liked and didn't find room to shake loose until the passing lane in the mile and a quarter event and although my horse passed quite a few others we still end-up sixth. "Gerry Fielding sat on the outside the entire race which is common here and even was up toward the lead a good portion of the race after leaving from the eight- hole. But the distance took its toll and Gerry finished 10th. "Peter Kleinhans was in a favorable spot sitting with cover behind the favorite who eventually won the race but Peter's horse, Stylish Babe, didn't last behind the cover and faded and finished 11th. "Dave Offenberg got caught three-wide at the start of the race from an outside post and wasn't able to settle in for a bit and eventually tired and finished ninth. "We didn't do much good but it was a great experience and definitely a different style of racing here. Here is the race; Lee also offered the following; "This morning (New Zealand is 19 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time) we are working horses on the beach. Our next race is Saturday night and then Sunday's race is on the grass. Saturday's race, again at Addington, will be 2600 meters of about 1.6 miles with 14 going to post. Sunday is 2000 meters just over 1.25 miles at Motukarara. "Still, we're having wonderful time with some great people in a very picturesque country," Lee added. And here is the result; Plc Bk Horse Barrier Hcap Stakes Fav Time Margin Driver Trainer 1 14 Nui Toc Tien 14 fr 4,240.00 1/1 2-22.7   S P Murtha S A Dolan 2 7 Living Legend 7 fr 1,120.00 6/6 2-23.2 3.10 R A Reekie R J Dunn 3 6 Handlebar Hank 6 fr 560.00 9/9 2-23.3 3.50 D S Reardon Mrs L M Jones 4 1 Onedin's Delight 1 fr 360.00 2/3 2-23.9 6.90 A N Edge M J House 5 13 As Kiwi As 13 fr 330.00 5/5 2-24.3 8.90 R J Sissons R D Holmes 6 10 Redmaro 10 fr 210.00 7/7 2-24.8 11.70 J D Lee G A Cook 7 3 Bettor Backim 3 fr 210.00 4/2 2-24.8 12.20 P T Cook Ms S Blake 8 11 Tufflittlerooster 11 fr 210.00 8/8 2-25.3 14.90 M Hallett Mrs M Hallett 9 8 Franco Caliph 8 fr 210.00 10/10 2-25.6 16.70 D H Offenberg D A Taylor 10 9 Earthbound 9 fr 210.00 12/12 2-26.0 18.80 G R Fielding J B McDermott 11 4 Stylish Babe 4 fr 210.00 13/13 2-26.6 22.00 P Kleinhans J B McDermott 12 2 Regal Suzy 2 fr 210.00 11/11 2-27.2 25.70 B G White M J Stratford 13 12 Eja Patron 12 fr 210.00 3/4 2-31.2 48.50 M F Maynard B K Mowbray by John Manzi with Joe Lee for NAADA

NZ Metro harness racing fixed odds movers as at 5:30pm Race 1 - Mekong Princess $2.00 - $1.80 is the best backed on the win 'book' with $2,000 at $2.00 & $1,000 at $1.80. The 2nd favourite Louis Moss $2.90 is the only other runner wanted early.    Race 2 - Last start winner Nui Toc Tien $2.40 is easily the best backed in multi betting over Eja Patron $6.80.   Race 3 - The big mover early has been Franco Tai $8.20 - $3.20 with the largest bet $2,500 at $6.00. Billy Badger has attracted a $1,000 bet at $2.60.   Race 4 - Glenferrie Classic $2.40 easily leads multi betting over No More Change $6.50.   Race 5 - Baileys Rock $2.00 - $1.80 is huge in multi betting with the best backed in win betting Fire One $6.50.   Race 6 - An even betting race early with the best backed Blade $3.20 over Nicky's Logic $9.60. C'est L'heure the opening $2.20 favourite was late scratched at 10:46am this morning and any bets placed prior to that scratching time will have 36% win and 23% place deductions apply.   Race 7 - Enghien opened the 2nd favourite at $2.70 and is now into a $2.10 favourite with Donegal Bettorgretch drifting from $2.40 - $3.20. Largest bet on Enghien $3,000 at $2.70.   Race 8 - Best backed on the win 'book' early Hilarious Magic $2.40 over Baileys Knight $5.50 and Titanium $10.   Harnesslink Media Courtesy of Stephen Richardson (TAB)  

Monbet might be out for potentially the rest of the season, but Greg and Nina Hope will tonight unleash another up and coming trotting star when Enghien makes his three-year-old debut. Reigning Horse of the Year, Monbet, underwent an operation on Tuesday to have a bone chip removed from a knee – a procedure that curtailed plans of an Australian raid late in the summer and also leaves his Rowe Cup defence up in the air. Quite A Moment, who ran a bold second to her stablemate in the Dominion last month is the natural replacement at the top of the trotting pile you would think, but then again, there’s a fair bit of x-factor about Enghien. A stand out at two, things got a little too much for him late in the season as he threw a Harness Jewels victory away with a couple of gallops – but there was always the belief from the Hope team that what he was doing then he was doing on raw ability with time set to be his best friend. A decent spell to strengthen up and a solid build up toward tonight has been undertaken and a quiet run in behind Marcoola last week at the Methven workouts should see the well-bred trotter ready to rock and roll when he steps out late in the night tonight at Addington. “He’s good, progressing along nice,” Greg Hope said. “It’s always an interesting one when they come back from being a two-year-old to see just where they measure up. “But we have always had a lot of time for him and he’s maturing into quite a nice horse.” Drawn out wide tonight with Ricky May in the bike, the task won’t be easy – especially with Donegal Bettorgretch, a Jewels winner herself, out for redemption after some poor manners last time out. Another young star is set to return to the Addington track tonight with Nathan Purdon back in Canterbury. The son of champion trainer, Mark, has been on an extended working trip to Australia during which time he enjoyed Group One success with Ohoka Punter as well as making quite the name for himself among the Australian circles. Purdon is set to team up with West Melton trainer, Cran Dalgety in the coming months and will take the reins on Donegal Bettorgretch tonight. He will also drive Bettor To Be Tricky for Grant Payne in the final event of the night. Super Selector  - By Matt Markham Race 1: Mekong Princess, Louis Moss, Shona Mary, Zsa Ziva Race 2: Eja Patron, Nui Toc Tien, Handlebar Hank, Bettor Backim Race 3: Franco Tai, Billy Badger, Ranfurly Rulz, Runaway Star Race 4: No More Change, Glenferrie Classic, Vai Star, Wozniacki Race 5: Bailey’s Rock, Aymar, Fire One, Illegal Immigrant Race 6: Blade, Cmeerock, Stop Means Stop, Missinmemate Race 7: Enghien, Donegal Bettorgretch, Idle Monkey, All Lit Up Race 8: Hilarious Magic, Kitura, Titanium, Bettor To Be Tricky Best Bet: No More Change (Race 4) Value: Franco Tai (Race 3)

Whether or not  last season’s Horse of the Year, Monbet, makes it back onto the track this season is sitting in limbo. The Dominion Handicap winner of last month will undergo a minor operation on Tuesday to have a bone chip removed from a knee after it was discovered following his Group One double during Cup Week. Co-trainer Greg Hope, who trains with his wife Nina, said the bone chip was only a minor issue, but it was something he felt needed to be sorted out. “It’s nothing too serious, but it’s there and we are better off getting on top of it,” Hope said. “We had him x-rayed after Cup Week and it came up there. He’ll have it removed on Tuesday.” After the operation, Monbet will be required to be boxed for up to six weeks which leaves the rest of his season in doubt according to Hope. That means no Australia for the Great Southern Star and even races like the Rowe Cup, which he won last year, are also in doubt. “We obviously won’t be rushing him, there’s no need too. “We will give him the time he needs and then bring him up and see where we are at before making any decisions.” The loss of Monbet is another blow for the open class trotting ranks who continue to be depleted by injuries. Speeding Spur is still on the sidelines and the news from the Stent camp isn’t encouraging. His co-trainer, Colin DeFilippi confirmed last night that there had been another setback on the comeback trail. “His leg has blown up again, so I’m not really sure where we are at. “We won’t be doing anything for at least couple of weeks.” Master Lavros is on the right path to make it to Auckland which is encouraging but the ball is firmly in the court of Marcoola who will head to Methven on Sunday and then to Auckland. While it was a tough week for the Hopes, they did gain some small consolation when Everybody Knows continued his march towards open class with another strong victory last night at Addington. The diminutive trotter worked hard during the final lap of the race but was too good for his opposition, picking up his third win in his last five starts. HRNZ News

Addington harness racing fixed odds movers as at 4:30pm   Race 1 - Firenze $2.60 leads win betting over Beg Hall $4.20.     Race 2 - A huge move here is on Tuscany Miss $4.80 - $3.80 with the $1.60 favourite Bonnie Joan also having strong support.   Race 3 - The only runner wanted here is Lydia Ko $4.60 - $2.70.   Race 4 - Royal Jester $3.00 - $2.60 is easily the best backed on the win 'book' over the longshot It's A Deal $30 - $18.   Race 5 - Easily the best backed runner today in multi betting is Riccardo $1.12. In win betting he is the least backed runner holding just $4.00 at $1.12.   Race 6 - Fatima Siad $3.70 leads multi betting over Cmeerock $4.20.   Race 7 - Donegal Bettorgretch $1.75 - $1.65 leads win & multi betting easily.    Race 8 - Stroke Of Luck $4.40 leads win betting over American Tart $2.90.   In the Drivers Challenge Blair Orange $2.20 is the best backed  over John Dunn $1.90     Harnesslink Media Courtesy of Stephen Richardson (TAB)

There’s an air of confidence about the way Mark Jones is speaking of his exciting filly, Delightful Memphis, this season. And coming from a usually reserved and measured horseman such as Jones, that spells good signs for fans of the daughter of Bettor’s Delight with some hefty assignments in front of her in the next month. An impressive winner fresh up at Addington a month ago in a heat of the Sires’ Stakes Series, Delightful Memphis returns to Harness HQ again tonight for another heat - this time with just four other runners lining up against her. “Initially I didn’t think we would come back for another heat, but it’s worked out pretty well,” Jones said. “We knew we were going to draw the outside so that didn’t matter but it’s been made a lot easier by having a small field to go up against.” Jones is keeping the imposing filly’s racing spaced as much as he can as he tries to handle what could be a big season on the track and everything she’s done so far is keeping her boss impressed. “I’m really happy with her, she’s ticking along perfectly, I am definitely much happier this time around than what I was ahead of her first run.” The opposition tonight includes Spanish Armada who was, until the Jewels, the dominant filly of the crop. Partyon potentially moved ahead of her with her dominant performances, but she will provide a good yardstick for Jones when the clash horns tonight. “I think if we had picked up a few of the draws Spanish Armada had last season we might be the one with $300,000 in the bank, so I’m not concerned about her, but do respect her. “We can pick and choose our battle this week which is good. She showed she’s good coming off the speed but then last time she was just as good in front and ran away from them late.” Tonight’s meeting also sees the return of Eyre I Come from the Jones stable. The talented trotter, who has been plagued by injuries throughout his career takes on a handy field first up. “He’s a day to day proposition, so we are just taking it one step at a time, but I’m happy with him. “He’s probably only 80 per cent in terms of fitness but there are some nice races coming up for him in the next few weeks.” Two other stable stars are getting close to stepping out as well. Master Lavros will most likely make an appearance in between heats at Sunday’s Mt Hutt workouts at Methven before trialling at Rangiora while Whittaker is also progressing nicely. “We are looking at a race on the 16th for Master Lavros then up to Auckland if everything goes well. “With no Monbet it makes sense to go up and have a crack.” Whittaker is also being aimed at an Auckland appearance but his major target is the Harness 5000 early next year.   Super Selector - By Matt Markham Race 1: Delightful Memphis, Spanish Armada, Smiley Sophie, Major Rocket Race 2: Don Pierre, Eja Patron, Loose Cannon, Bettor Backim Race 3: Riccardo, Pirate Bay, Burst Out Laughing, Unice Enchantress Race 4: Kingdom Come, Debaneyre, Ruthless Success, .BK Dawn Race 5: Mighty Flying Major, American Tart, Letspendanitetogetha, Bronze Over Race 6: Tiger Thompson, Mikey Maguire, On The Rantan, The Fixer Race 7: Lavros Jack, Shona Mary, Topnotch Titan, Spots Gold N Girl Race 8: Mongolian Storm, Freedom Fighter, Bailey’s Rock, Sparkling Delight Race 9: Maninthemirror, Smouldering Ashes, Royal Jester, Eastwood Suzy Race 10: Gee Up Neddy, Twelve Monkeys, Donegal Bettorgretch, Eyre I Come Race 11: Blade, Lloydin Magic, Missinmemate, Stop Means Stop Best Bet: Riccardo (Race 3) Value: Gee Up Neddy (Race 10)

Nominations for the 2017 Diamond Creek Farm New Zealand Pacing Derby for 3YO Pacers to be held on Friday, 7 April 2017 are now open. Nominations for this Group 1 prestigious race will close on Wednesday 14 December 2016 at 3.00pm. The fixed odds markets will be available shortly afterwards.   Diamond Creek Farm New Zealand Pacing Derby - $200,000 – Group 1 on 7 April 2017 Initial nomination fee due Wednesday 14 December 2016 3.00pm (NZ time) $115.00 First late nomination fee due Wednesday 25 January 2017 3.00pm (NZ time) $1,150.00 First withdrawal fee due Wednesday 25 January 2017 3.00pm (NZ time) $230.00 Second withdrawal fee due Wednesday 1 March 2017 3.00pm (NZ time) $460.00 Final late nomination fee due Monday 3 April 2017 1.00pm (NZ time) $5,750.00 Starting fee $2,875.00 All fees are including GST.   All fees above are included in the total stakes pay out.   For full details on the breakdown of stakes, conditions and the nomination form please visit addington.co.nz/racing/promotions-incentives/.   Alternatively, please call Addington’s Racing Department on 03 338 9094.   Keryn McElroy

Monbet has just completed one of the great weeks in New Zealand trotting history and did it without being anywhere near his best. And if you think that assessment from owner and trainer Greg Hope may be just a little post-race drama, the Canterbury horseman is putting his money where his mouth is. Because the champion trotter, who smashed yet another national record winning the $260,000 Dominion at Addington on Friday  may not race again this summer, so concerned is Hope with some issues troubling the magnificent five-year-old. “I am putting him in the paddock and he will definitely miss the major races up north over Christmas,” said Hope. “We bought him up to win this race so he had all the big trots in the country next to his name in the space of a year. “But to be honest we have been nursing him through. He has some little issues which are bugging him and with a break I think they will settle down. “So we have been cautious with those. I don’t want to say too much but they are wear and tear issues with a leg so we want to give him a break now. “I think long-term he will be fine but we are willing to forgo the northern races and if he comes back at all this summer it might be for the Great Southern Star in Melbourne as a hit and run mission. “We are so proud of what he has done we aren’t going to take any chances with him.” Hope and his wife Nina have plenty to be proud of as Monbet tore almost two seconds off the national 3200m record holding out stablemate Quite A Moment in the great trot, courtesy of a patiently perfect Ricky May drive. He has won two group ones in three days, both in record time, without quite dominating as he did last season, suggesting something wasn’t quite right. But the reality is, with the other three big established stars in open class trotting sidelined, even a 90 per cent Monbet is too good for the remainder. The good news is Hope is confident the issues troubling his stable star will not threaten his career long-term, especially if he is looked after now. In almost any other Cup week Monbet would be the King but that title had already been bestowed on Lazarus in Tuesday’s New Zealand Cup and he wore the crown with brutal majesty in the Pacing Free-For-All yesterday. His rivals were in no mood for reputations as Christen Me burned to the lead early and driver Dexter Dunn kept up a pulsating speed, making Lazarus work for very centremetre of the 1950m. For a few seconds at the 400m mark when Christen Me stole a length break Lzarus looked in trouble but once he got balanced up in the straight he simply had too much strength for his $2.4million earning rival. It was a performance every bit as special as his New Zealand Cup win and in some ways more impressive because nothing went this way and it is hard to think of another New Zealand pacer this millennium who could have done with Lazarus did yesterday. Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen will now plot his summer path but the Auckland Cup is no certainty, with Australian riches beckoning in February and March. The pair’s double-double, both in group ones and both in national record time, made for one of the greatest Cup weeks Addington has ever hosted.   Michael Guerin

Lazarus has won the Woodlands New Zealand harness racing "Free For All" in dominating fashion. He had to be the best horse to win, sitting parked on a frantic pace, but his toughness got him home in the end. "He was just coasting the last bit. It was another scintillating performance" Mark said after Lazarus won in national record time (2.16.3) MR 1-52.4 his second record in a week on Friday. "He wasn't bothered by the Cup run so you had to be confident but he did it so easy in the finish" Now we have to decide what to do next. He has to have a break some time. We had the Auckland Cup in the plan but I will see how he comes through this before we make any final decision. If he does go there the rest of his racing will be in Australia, probably starting in Melbourne." Mark was confident enough not to spend petrol winning the lead from Christen Me when Dexter was clearly in no mood to give it up, taking hold of the odds on fave quickly. The ability of Lazarus to relax in such a situation is a key to his winning streak and has been such a notable part of the stock of Bettor's Delight. The national record is still a national record though it is not as notable as some. The Free for All was traditionally 2000m then tried at a mile for a few years before setting on 1950m at which distance it has only been run twice. But dual shareholders Phil and Glenys Kennard and Kevin and Carol Riseley would not have been upset that one of their horses took another -Ultimate Machete- out of the all comer record books. Natalie was enthusiastic about the run of Dream About Me even though she had to settle for 6th. "I was really happy with her. The draw was always a problem and when we ended up on the back of Locharburn and he couldn't carry us into the race she lost any chance she had. But she responded well. I thought it was a top run" Often asked to rate his champions and more often reluctant to do so, Mark has always had a soft spot for the sheer brilliance of Auckland Reactor but even that must be wilting in the face of these amazing efforts of Lazarus. Harnesslink Media Courtesy of Allstars Website    

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