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Even when Star Galleria finished fourth at Alexandra Park last month, Tony Herlihy (MNZM) knew he was sitting behind a better than average 3-year-old.   Fast forward 28 days and Herlihy has now won twice behind the gifted 3-year-old Art Major gelding and is looking forward to sitting behind the Steven Reid and Simon McMullan trained gelding at Addington Raceway on (NZ) Cup Day - November 8.   Star Galleria endorsed his Group One Sires Stakes chances with a dominant win in the fourth NRM Sires Stakes Heat at Alexandra Park last Friday night.   That two length victory from the widest (eight) front-row draw comes on the back of Star Galleria’s head victory in the first heat at Cambridge Raceway on September 22.   “I’d never even driven him in a trial or workout until Steven asked me to drive him last month. He’s a lovely horse that just keeps stepping up every time I’ve asked him to go. You don’t mind travelling to Cambridge on a Thursday night to drive a good horse like that.   “If he keeps improving after every race like the way he has been then I think he can be competitive in Christchurch. Mark (Purdon) and Natalia (Rasmussen) have some nice 3-year-olds but this fella keeps stepping up every time he lines up - and that’s all you can ask a month out from the race,” Herlihy said.   Star Galleria is now the North Island’s best chance to win the coveted $170,000 NRM Sires Stakes Final. After Friday’s win he is now the $5 third favourite to nail the 1950m mobile.   “He felt really good. I think it is only onward and upward for him now. He’s a strong horse with lovely manners. He also relaxes very well in his races.   “He only had one start as a 2-year-old and is very lightly tried. He will be a nice drive in the big race,” 58-year-old Herlihy said.   Herlihy eased Star Galleria to last shortly after Friday’s heat before getting a drag into the race from favourite Jack’s Legend and Zac Butcher.   They then sat parked down the back straight and then in the lane the bay found another gear and left Jack’s Legend and Neighlor (Maurice McKendry) to fight out the minors.   Star Galleria paced the 1700m mobile in 2:02.9 (a slashing 1:56.3 mile rate) and final quarters in 57.8 and 27.4.   “He’s going great at the moment and I think he can only get better. Steven and Simon will have him primed for Cup Day. he’ll be competitive all right,” Herlihy said.   Reid said he would probably give Star Galleria another race in the North Island before lining him up in the New Zealand Cup Trials the week before the Cup.   Star Galleria was bred by Reg Caldow of Wellington. He retained a half share in him, while Reid has a quarter share, as do John and Terese Screen.   He has now won three of his four starts for $28,975 in stakes.   When Star Galleria lines up in the 33rd running of the Sires Stakes final, Herlihy will be attempting to claim the prestigious Group One event for the fourth time.   The Ardmore horseman won the great race with Chokin in 1991, Maheer Lord in 2002, and Fergiemack in 2006.   Reid trained Gold Ace to win race in 2010 when Cambridge reinsman Peter Ferguson did the driving.   “I’m really looking forward to driving on Cup Day again. There’s always a big crowd and it’s a thrill driving there.   “I may take my 4-year-old Walkinshaw down with me. He went real well first-up on Friday. I’ll confirm that in the next week or so,” Herlihy said.   The Herlihy trained and driven Walkinshaw was one of four winners for ‘The Iceman” on Friday.   As well as steering Star Galleria to victory, Herlihy also trained and drove Italian Delight to win the second event and Blackguard’s Corner to win race five.     Duane Ranger

There’s been no fear of missing out so far for the FOMO Syndicate. The group of harness racing enthusiasts, who are plain and simply there for a good time and to enjoy the thrill of having a horse at the races continued their grand start to horse ownership last night at Addington when Gupta’s Cullen made it two from two for the Jonny Cox stable after being purchased early in the season. It follows on from their success with Weedon’s Express who did a similar thing when winning for the group before being on sold. A winner at Forbury last week, Gupta’s Cullen showed that a change of environment had worked the oracle when he came from dead last the 200 metre mark to run past some quality opposition last night – much to the delight of the entourage of supporters in the grand stand. “They’re a great bunch of people to train for,” Cox said. “Mitchell Robertson has done a great job setting it all up, there are some new owners in there this time around too who haven’t owned a horse before so they are really getting the best out of it. “Hopefully we can keep it up for them.” Handled last night by Cox’s partner, Kim Butt, Gupta’s Cullen got the shuffle up in the final half of the race but unwound stylishly to win – surprising her trainer in the process. “I thought she would go a good race, but she really let down. At the top of the straight I thought she might be able to run into third or something but the closer they got to the post the more confident I got.” There was no exact reason for the turnaround in form according to Cox although he did give tribute to caretaker trainer, Ben Laughton who looked after the Cox team while he and Butt were away on a holiday recently. “Ben came around every day and worked her for me and did a great job because she was ready to go when he got back. “We haven’t done a lot with her to be honest, she seems to thrive on a very little amount of serious work.” Cox and Butt will be hoping to make it a double for the weekend tomorrow at Methven when they combine with the talented, but erratic Sunny Demon. “He went to charge into a gap last night and just got too keen and galloped, he’s working good but it’s just a case of if he wants to be out there or not. “If you catch him on the right day he’s pretty smart.” Cox tasted another victory last night when he made his debut in the blue and silver stars of Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen guiding Thefixer to victory on debut. He’s working there every morning at the moment, helping with the fast work side of the operation before heading off mid-morning to care for his own team. “It’s good, they are great people to work for and it was nice to get the colours on and get a result for them.” Cox is a chance to return to the sulky behind Thefixer in next week’s Sires’ Stakes heat.   Matt Markham

Addington harness racing fixed odds movers on Friday night as at 11:30am   Race 1 - Betta Go Franco $15 - $8.50 is the best backed but in multi betting it's all one way traffic on Don Pierre $3.00 - $2.90.   Race 2 - Laugh And Cry $8.00 - $7.50 is best backed but the stylish last start winner Glass Half Full $2.40 leads multi betting over Jean Sebastian $5.00   Race 3 - You Gotta Have Faith $1.70 - $1.50 has taken $2,200 at $1.80 and is all they want in multi betting. Judging by early betting he could close at $1.40. Ears Burning $5.50 hasn't been backed on the win 'book' but has taken some large multi bets money wise so some interest there.   Race 4 - Rocknroll Magic $3.10 - $2.40 is huge in win and multi betting, that opening price is now looking like it was good overs. The only other runner wanted on the win 'book' is Cmeerock $4.80 - $5.20.    Race 5 - A tough field for punter's to get involved in early with Quevert $2.20 and Lothario $2.50 the two favourites resuming with no trail form to gauge how forward they both are. Quevert does lead multi betting.    Race 6 - Usain Colt took a $2,000 bet at $4.20 last night and is now into $3.80. Little Rascal $2.80 and Delightful Dash $3.20 dominate multi betting.    Race 7 - Three runners taking early money in order are Lovetodream $4.00, Crackared $4.80 - $4.60 and Cullen Who $5.00 - $4.80. Crackared and Cullen Who lead equally multi wise over Lovetodream.   Race 8 - Marcoola $2.10 - $2.00 has taken a $1,000 bet at $2.00 and is all they want in multi betting. The favourite does seem short on paper but the early money is saying we have him at the right price to sell.    Race 9 - The Fixer is the best backed $2.30 - $2.00 and leads multi betting over King Solomon $3.00. Spondulicks $8.00 is attracting some support and is our worst result early.     Harnesslnk Media Courtesy of Stephen Richardson (TAB)

He’s all but given up expecting the best from Waterloo Sunset these days, but Paul Nairn refuses to not be hopeful when he takes the massive trotter with the big motor to the races. After a quiet start to the season, the master trainer of a trotter is unleashing a four-pronged attack on Addington tonight including Waterloo Sunset who returns to the races for the first time since his eye-catching effort behind Monbet in last season’s Rowe Cup at Alexandra Park. Coming in fresh up with just one workout to prepare, Nairn isn’t too concerned about fitness but more whether or not the real version of the powerful trotter is going to show up or not. “He’s about 90 per cent I would say,” Nairn said. “I’m happy with everything he’s doing at home and he’s come up this time round nice and strong. But he has let me down before so I guess I am always a wee bit hesitant to get too confident about him. “When he’s right, he can be very good but he’s just thrown the odd bad one in too which hasn’t helped and I’ve really got no reason to think that this time in will be any different.” Bob Butt will continue his association with the entire by Sundon as they build toward the Cup Week features next month. Nairn also has Any Old Way resuming in the same race in a field that boasts the return of last year’s outstanding three-year-old trotter Marcoola who has looked super in his workouts and trials prior to tonight’s assignment. Earlier in the night he will line up both Quevert and Lothario, both of whom return without having been out in public. Quevert made big strides last season and topped it off with a big win at Alexandra Park late in his campaign, taking his record for the season to four wins and three placings from 13 starts. Butt will also do the driving on him with his father, David on board Any Old Way and also Lothario. The well bred Lothario, who is from the same family as Habibti, Habibi Inta and Ten Too disappointed at times last season and Nairn said there have been plenty of issues to iron out with the chestnut. “I thought he was a Rowe Cup horse but he’s disappointed me a few times, he just wasn’t finishing his races off all that well. “Hopefully we have some of them ironed out because he can trot and could have a good season. “Both Lothaio and Quevert are about the same in terms of fitness and while they will improve with the run, they are probably still both ready enough to go close to winning if things go their way.” After a record-breaking season, by his own standards, of 26 winners, Nairn has some ground to make up if he is to go close to that mark again this term but with some serious trotting power in front of him it would take a brave man to bet against him at least getting close. Super Selector – Addington – By Matt Markham Race 1: Don Pierre, Here We Go Again, Errol Finn, Eja Patron Race 2: Jean Sebastien, Glass Half Full, The Fox, Benchmark Race 3: You Gotta Have Faith, Ears Burning, Donegal Rundlescreek, Micky Flynn Race 4: Kayteeoh Denario, Cmeerock, Daylight Robbery, Blade Race 5: Lothario, Quevert, Santorini Sunset, Idle Monkey Race 6: Usain Colt, Dreamy Damien, Delightful Dash, Little Rascal Race 7: Runaway Star, Crackared, Lovetodream, Cullen Who Race 8: Marcoola, Sunny Ruby, Waterloo Sunset, Daryl Boko Race 9: King Solomon, The Fixer, Smiley Sophie, Spondulicks Best Bet: You Gotta Have Faith (Race 3) Value: Runaway Star (Race 7)    

The equation with Sunny Ruby these days is pretty simple, be patient and then be patient a little bit longer. Do that and the camp behind arguably the fastest trotter over 100 metres in the country is going to be a big force in any race she lines up in for the remainder of the season. Don’t do it though and you run the risk of things going wrong. “Not much seems to go right for us when we drive her different than with a sit,” trainer Sam Smolenski said. “But her speed is her best weapon so we better utilise it.” A stunning fresh up winner earlier in the season, Sunny Ruby went off the boil slightly in her next three starts but it was more Smolenski trying to figure out a few things than the horse not putting in 100 per cent. He changed her work schedule at home, increasing the tempo of her work which seems to be doing the trick. “I’ve been working her pretty hard, just to take that freshness out of her that can often see her get pretty keen. “We seem to be getting somewhere which is good.” Sunny Ruby put all her eggs in a row on Friday night at Addington when she burst over the top of Alley Way and Amaretto Sun to win the Group Three Canterbury Park Trotting Cup. It was vintage Sunny Ruby combined with a heady drive from Gavin Smith who waited until almost the last possible moment to get her into the clear before she charged to the line. Smolenski is looking at both Cup Week features with the mare and all going well she will contest both. He’s also got the advantage of the pull down blinds up his sleeve which he’s quite keen to keep in ice until the Dominion Handicap. Meanwhile, Jack Harrington’s short, but impressive, training career may complete another first this season. The rising star of the training ranks may make his North Island debut later in the season with his exciting trotter Hey Yo who was victorious again on Friday night. The Northern Breeders Trotting Stakes later on in the year is on the agenda for the deceptively fast wee trotter. “I’d love to take her up there, it’s a good option because there won’t be a lot down here for her at that time of the year,” Harrington said. “We probably won’t see her until Cup Day now, she’s had a pretty busy time of it so we will just take it easy and maybe look to a trial.” Harrington watched from the stand as Robbie Holmes handled the driving duties on Friday night and Holmes timed his run to perfection after copping a bit of a shuffle up the markers with plenty of lead changes. But once clear she stormed to the line to win with a plenty in store.   Matt Markham

One of harness racing’s most reticent figures allowed his confidence levels to rise notably last night at Addington. Mark Purdon isn’t renowned for his outward talk about horses, he’s always just prefered to let the horse do the talking out on the track. But when Lazarus cemented himself as favourite for next month’s New Zealand Trotting Cup with a scarily easy victory in the Canterbury Classic last night, Purdon couldn’t help but give out a few compliments to his latest star. “He’s taken to open class racing like a little professional,” Purdon said. “In his first run he was a little bit hesitant about it all I think, including the start but he stood up there at the barrier tonight and went away like he’s been doing it for a long time. “Everything we throw his way he seems to take in his stride, he’s some horse. “I’m extremely happy with where we are at the moment, he’s putting it all together nicely.: Away safely last night, Purdon moved around the field to find the lead inside the final 1600 metres. Once there it was always going to be a case catch me if you can. “He relaxed beautifully in front and when I asked him to sprint he really hooked into it. “We will head to Ashburton now, he should cop the racing pretty good now I would think.” The result, in a New Zealand record time of 3.11.4 - bettering the previous mark which was held jointly by Christen Me and Bettor’s Strike, was the perfect result for co-owner Trevor Casey on his birthday. Casey is joined in the ownership by Phil and Glenys Kennard, who had double the reason to smile with Smolda running a great third, and also Australian based owner Kevin Riseley. Lazarus got home a length the better of an equally as brave Christen Me who showed he is no spent force just yet with another grand effort. Smolda was back in third while Have Faith In Me was fourth. Bookmakers have reacted to the performance by installing him a warm order favourite across the board, Natalie Rasmussen, who drove Have Faith In Me, is starting to get concerned about the stand start manners after the Miracle Mile winner panicked and lost considerable ground at the start of the race. “It’s an issue, there’s no doubt about that, but he’s running out of chances to get it right. “There’s plenty of time on our side. I’m not really sure he was happy with being on the outside of the front line. “If he was behind them it would have been a bit better I think, we just can’t afford to be giving away starts like that every time we go to the races. “It will end up costing us if he goes like in one of the real big races, when he’s not ready, he just panics.” Smolda will be pointed toward next Sunday's Methven Cup after his great run. “He’s gone super, we did a bit of work to get to where I wanted to be but he knocks of and has a look around,” driver, Tim Williams said. Franco Nelson was also very good in fifth after working wide around the last bend which isn’t really his go. The slight concern from the race was the performance of Locharburn who failed to show his usual fighting spirit and was beaten a long way from home. He was found after the race to have suffered from an arrhythmic heartbeat and has been stood down until a clearance is received.     Matt Markham

 Early fixed odds action for harness racing at Addington tonight.   Race 1 - Crazy Dude $2.20 easily leads multi betting but Mighty Flying Major $4.80 - $3.80 has been heavily backed on the win 'book' with a number of bets around the $300 - $500 mark with the largest so far $794 at $3.80.   Mighty Flying Major follows his stablemate through so no doubt punter's are thinking that he will find the trailing position.      Race 2 - Destiny Jones $7.60 - $7.00 is the best backed both in win and multi betting early. Hey Yo $4.40 is also attracting some money.    Race 3 - Tiger Thompson $17 - $11 is all they want on the win 'book' but the $2.90 favourite Cullenmore dominates multi betting and she has also attracted some win money.    Race 4 - On The Rantan $1.95 is huge in multi betting but best backed on the win 'book' is Ultimate Fella $7.00.    Race 5 - Alley Way $9.00 - $5.00 is going to be a bad result if he can take this race out but it is a very even field and most runners are getting solid support but combined together Alley Way holds more money.   Amaretto Sun $4.00 - $4.20 just leads multi betting over Alley Way.      Race 6 - Brilliant Strike $1.70 is huge in multi betting and judging by that early support he could close at $1.50 so if you are thinking of having a decent bet on him it might pay to bet early rather than closer to post time.   Race 7 - A $4,000 bet at $3.60 was taken on Have Faith In Me yesterday and he is now into $3.00 but the favourite Lazarus $2.00 is going 2 - 1 over him in multi betting.   Surprisingly in money terms both are holding near enough the same amount of money.   Outside Have Faith In Me on the win 'book' Christen Me $8.50 - $9.50 is the best backed.   Race 8 - She's A Flyin $14 - $12 from the pole draw is the best backed over Cullen Who at $4.80. Not a lot of early action here in multi betting.   Race 9 - The only runner backed in win and multi betting here is Kingdom Come $5.40 and on this early support that we are seeing he will start shorter than his current odds.    Race 10 - A $2,000 bet at $2.30 - $2.10 on Usain Colt is the largest bet taken early and he easily leads multi betting over Alpha Rock $4.40.    Addington runners best backed in multi betting (in order): R7 - Lazarus $2.00  R6 - Brilliant Strike $1.70  R1 - Cruzy Dude $2.20  R3 - Cullenmore $2.90  R5 - Amaretto Sun $4.20  R4 - On The Rantan $1.95      Harnesslink Media Courtesy of Stephen Richardson TAB

Don’t be surprised if Matty Williamson waits for no one in tonight’s Canterbury Park Trotting Cup at Addington. With the aid of the inside barrier draw and some impressive stand start manners, Williamson and his drive, Alley Way could find themselves in front early on in the Group Three event and if circumstances permit, there’s no hesitation in staying there. Second up after a tenacious runner-up effort behind Bordeaux two weeks ago, Alley Way will head to Addington tonight a much more forward prospect and also with a driver confident of a big showing. “He’s as good as anything else in there,” Williamson said. “And having that slight handicap advantage means if we have to make the most of it then so be it, he’s good in the fact he can do both whether it be coming from off the speed or setting it himself. “So with a front line draw we would be silly not to look to try and lead early and then see what unfolds.” Alley Way joined the stable of Williamson’s father, Phil this season after being previously trained by Neville Skinner and having also spent time in the stable of Colin and Julie DeFilippi. With a plethora of trotting stars around the Oamaru stable, it hasn’t been a tall ask to try and get a good line on last year’s Dominion Handicap runner-up and Williamson is certain he’s come through the run with flying colours. “It probably wasn’t ideal doing as much work as we did fresh up, and 3.16 is ticking along pretty nicely. “But he doesn’t seem to have taken any issues out of the run, he bounced right back and has trained really well since so he will be a better horse this week than when he last raced.” A lot of Williamson’s pre-race thoughts will hinge on the stand start manners of the untapped Amaretto Sun. A free-going trotter, the Ken Ford trained runner showed his liking for a solid tempo when he was emphatic in victory last time out and if he steps cleanly, Sheree Tomlinson could be expected to try a similar tactic this week. “He (Amaretto Sun) looks the likely leader, but I don’t expect him to be fast away so it will be a case of seeing what happens early and then making a decision from there.” With the absence of top line horses like Monbet and even Master Lavros and Stent, this year’s Canterbury Park Trotting Cup is without doubt one of the most even in recent years. North Island trotter, Realmein makes his Addington debut off the back of two very impressive Alexandra Park victories in his most recent starts. One Over Da Moon, who never looked completely comfortable on the grass last week when third, will start off the back mark and is expected to put his best hoof forward and be a player while the likes of Sheemon, Quite A Moment and Sunny Ruby are other leading contenders.   Matt Markham

Nineteen years after nailing his first Canterbury Park Trotting Cup Matthew Pemberton believes he’s got the horse to repeat the dose at Addington Raceway tonight (Friday). Back in 1997 Pemberton had a quarter share in the 25-win trotter his late father Bill used to train – Buster Hanover. Mark Purdon did the training that night but this time Pemberton trains and co-owns/breeds Realmein – the Patumahone-based squaregaiter who will be making his first trip to Addington this week after an emphatic victory at Alexandra Park last Friday night. And Pemberton thinks the 8-year-old son of Real Desire and Cullermein can notch up his 13th win in tonight’s Group Three $25,000 Yaldhurst Hotel Canterbury Park Trotting Cup He thinks the C6 and faster handicap will suit Realmein even more than what Alexandra Park does. “I think he’s as good as most of them down there off level marks. We are not scared of anyone. Up here he’s been winning off 20m and 40m handicaps. “He’s in the form of his life and that’s why we are heading south. Obviously Monbet is the best down there but I think he can get past most of the others. I just watched Harrysul win the DG Jones Trotting Cup, and we’ve beaten him before,” Pemberton said. Pemberton was delighted with Realmein’s easy one-and-a-quarter victory in Friday’s $16,000 Belmont Handicap R69-97 Trot. He and Philip Butcher trotted the 2700m stand (off a 40m handicap) in 3:27.1 - mile rate 2:03.4 with final 800m and 400m sprints of 59.3 and 29.1. “He feels like a 4-year-old at the moment. He’s come through that win very well. Phil drove him a treat and he was just too good for them. “He seems to be getting better with each run. He’s had three runs this time in for a second and two wins, so I can’t complain. He’s the best horse I have trained,” Pemberton said. Realmein will remain in Canterbury for the next two months with the $260,000 Dominion Trot on November 11 his main objective. “I’ve never had a Dominion starter, not even Buster Hanover won a Dominion. I think we are a real chance if he keeps improving. “He was paying $101 to win it a couple of weeks back and now he’s $26. I think single figures would be more realistic, especially the way he has come up this campaign,” Pemberton said. Realmein is owned and bred by nine family and friends of Pembertons. They are named the Splash out Syndicate after Realmein’s grand-dam – the skewbald Splashed, who won two races. Realmein flies to Christchurch on Friday and Butcher will retain the drive. The biggest win in his 67-race career came in the $25,000 Greenlane Cup in 2013. All-up he’s now won 12 times, placed on 17 occasions and has won $175,691 in stakes. Duane Ranger

He might hold the classification of All Stars “third stringer” but there’s no way Smolda is just some johnny-come-lately. Last year’s New Zealand Trotting Cup runner-up is flying under the radar so far in this build up to the second Tuesday in November as he chips away in the shadows of his high-class stablemates; Have Faith In Me and Lazarus. But the man charged with steering the the Smolda ship this season says that no one should be prepared to let their guard down on the wonderful horse. “He’s a great horse and you would leave him out at your own peril I think,” Tim Williams said. The next phase in the Cup preparation comes tonight (Friday) at Addington in the Canterbury Classic and Williams is amped to get back behind Smolda and try to upset the apple cart. While his stablemates were both in clear air and getting home stylishly in the New Brighton Cup a couple of weeks ago, Smolda was held up behind a wall of horses. And was fair travelling too. When the gap finally did appear, the old boy grabbed the bit and charged - his final 75 metres equally as impressive as the efforts of his stablemates in many eyes. “I never got the chance to pull the plugs, but when he got that little bit of room he really took off. “It was probably not an idea situation first up, but we did get the run under the belt we needed.” Williams has a little more inside knowledge on his two main rivals tonight than pretty much anyone else and he also has the added bonus of having driven both Lazarus and Have Faith In Me. He won twice on Lazarus during his two-year-old season and was the initial driver of Have Faith In Me before Natalie Rasmussen took over late last season. “They are both great horses, exceptional horses in fact. But I believe that if things can go my way that Smolda can beat them under the right circumstances. “My fella has definitely come on with that run under his belt, he’s really improved off the back of it. But so have the other two as well so it’s going to be a big ask this week.” The key to success will be a clean pair of heels from behind the barrier strand and there’s some confidence there that he can do it too. “He just didn’t quite catch it the other night and missed it slightly. “But when he gets on the right foot he will begin quickly and if he can do that this week well he’s going to be right in it. “The good thing is that he can make his own luck if we need him too, so we are going to get a better line on where he is at after we get through this week. “I’ll be happy if he’s finding the line again, that’s all I want.” An $8.50 chance with bookmakers last night, there’s some tidy each way value on offer around Smolda this week. Lazarus and Have Faith In Me are dominating the market, but both still have question marks over their stand start manners.   Matt Markham

Cran Dalgety is expecting life to be a little tougher for Christen Me tomorrow night at Addington. The West Melton horseman is still heading into the slight unknown as he builds towards the second Tuesday in November with his star pacer, but is taking every day as it comes and hoping for the best. Unsighted since his very good fresh up second behind Franco Nelson in the New Brighton Cup, Christen Me will return to Addington tomorrow night for the Canterbury Classic an improved horse. But Dalgety knows he will have to be. “It’s a completely different ball game this week,” Dalgety said. “Everyone is going to be improved and I don’t think things will be quite as quiet as they were from Mark and Natalie’s three. “So we are going to have to be better without doubt, but my guy has definitely improved off that first run.” As he builds towards the New Zealand Trotting Cup, Dalgety still doesn’t have a firm plan on where he is headed post tomorrow night but it is likely it could be Christen Me’s final race before the big show. Ashburton is looking less and less likely while Kaikoura is being bandied about but doesn’t seem a serious option so the Cup Trial could be the next time he’s seen publicly. “We don’t have to keep the work up to him as much these days, being an older horse he doesn’t take a lot to get back to fitness. “So we just keep him ticking over really.” Christen Me was able to take full advantage of a smart beginning in the New Brighton Cup to find the lead and although the camp weren’t really that keen on leading up in their first run - the race panned out quite well and it was only the sheer speed of Franco Nelson who sat on his back that saw him defeated. A winner of this race three years ago, Christen Me finished third to Terror To Love in 2015 and then was third behind Tiger Tara last year. Dalgety has the added bonus of another runner in the race with Mighty Flying Mac joining the fray this week. He returns after a stint on the beach with Robert Dunn during which he raced strongly during the later stages of last season. Blair Orange will take the drive on the horse this week off the back of some handy workout and trial performances. Bookmakers opened up Lazarus a $2 favourite for the Canterbury Classic last night off the back of his impressive third in the New Brighton Cup. Have Faith In Me holds the next line in betting at $3.60 while Locharburn, Smolda, Christen Me and Franco Nelson are all next at $8.50.   Matt Markham  

The harness racing "Fixed Odds" market for Friday night's Group 2 Christen Cullen Canterbury Classic FFA Stand over 2600m opened last night (Wednesday), the opening odds are listed below: Betting Win Option 807 1. Mighty Flying Mac  $47 2. Lazarus                 $2.00 3.Locharburn              $8.50 4.Christen Me             $8.50 5. Mossdale Conner    $41 6. Smolda                   $8.50 7. Franco Nelson         $8.50 8. Have Faith In Me      $3.60     Best backed early is Have faith In Me but the early hold is very small. In early multi betting 87% of the total is held on the $2.00 favourite Lazarus. The low early hold in the win 'book' is no doubt due to the favourite dominating everyone's thought's that based on his last start 3rd he will win the race.   The low win hold along with the high percentage he hold's in multi betting tells us that his current odds of $2.00 is correct.   One avid harness punter told us last night "wouldn't back the favourite under $3.00" and another said "you wouldn't hear this from me very often but on first up run Its overs".   Those two comments just show how much difference in opinion on odds punter's can be. We do expect some large late bets to come for the favourite and it's hard to see his odds drifting based on the above early money.    In this race last season Smolda was sent out as the 2nd favourite and finished 2nd, Christen Me 3rd, Mossdale Conner 4th and Mighty Flying Mac 7th. The race was won by Tiger Tara with a neck winning margin.   The other feature race on the night is the Group 3 Yaldhurst Hotel Canterbury Park Trotting Cup over 2600m, the current odds are listed below:    1.Alley Way $9.00 - $7.00 2. Daryl Boko $11 - $10 3. Jag's Invasion $16 4. Realmein $9.00 5. Ayra $41 6. Amaretto Sun $4.00 7. Quiet A Moment $13 8. Sunny Ruby $4.80 - $5.00 9. Sheemon $4.80 10. One Over Da Moon $4.80 - $5.50   Easily the best backed early is Alley Way with $400 at $9.00 and $500 at $8.00 with the next best backed Daryl Boko $500 at $11.   This is a very even betting market & that is proven with it holding 10 times more Fixed Odds early win money than the pacers Group race. In this race last year Quiet A Moment finished 2nd, Sheemon 4th and Alley Way 5th. The race was won by the favourite Master Lavros.   Amaretto Sun holds 75% of early multi tickets over Ally Way.   Harnesslink Media Courtesy of Stephen Richardson TAB

Geoff Dunn is taking a step back to reassess things with his star pacer Tiger Tara. The New Zealand Free-For-All winner last season was disappointing by his usually high standards when he finished fifth in the New Brighton Cup two weeks ago and Dunn has elected to miss this week’s Canterbury Classic to take stock of the situation. “We’re just going to lighten up on him a bit.” Dunn said. “I wasn’t completely happy with his run last time and we’ve had a few things checked out but there’s nothing serious there so we are going to freshen him up and look to Ashburton. “I don’t think we will look at the Methven Cup because he would be off a 30 metre handicap, but we will make a firm decision by the end of the week.” A $13 shot when the first market for the Cup was opened back in July, the dour pacer has drifted to an $18 quote - largely thanks to the enhanced claims of some of his more fancied rivals. Many of those rivals will head to Addington on Friday night for the Group Two Canterbury Classic where nine runners are in the initial nominations. New Brighton Cup winner Franco Nelson is back to continue his stand out start to the Cup build up while heavy hitters; Christen Me, Lazarus, Have Faith In Me and Smolda are also returning after kicking off their campaigns a fortnight ago. The latter three, from the Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen stable, will all be expected to produce more rounded performances this week after relatively quiet assignments in the New Brighton Cup. They are joined in the nominations by Locharburn, Quick As A Trick, Mossdale Conner and the fresh up Mighty Flying Mac. The trotters’ will also be on stage at Addington on Friday night for the Group Three Canterbury Park Trotting Cup. Won by some of the great names of trotting over the years, including the likes of Lyell Creek, I Can Doosit, Sundon and Take A Moment, the race is a key lead up to the Dominion Handicap. It will be a big night for Sheree Tomlinson who after driving her 15th winner last week is no eligible to drive the impressive Amaretto Sun in the race as they look to back up their Ordeal Cup win of a few weeks ago. Sheemon, One Over Da Moon and Sunny Ruby are also leading contenders while Greg Hope, who won Sunday’s DG Jones Banks Peninsula Trotting Cup with Harrysul, is expecting a good performance from Quite A Moment. Runner-up to Speeding Spur in last season’s Great Southern Star the mare has come back in fine fettle. “She’s working up really good and could surprise a few people with how well she goes this week,” Hope said. In the North Island former Kiwi trainer, Brent Lilley will begin his Dominion campaign when Kyvalley Blur makes his New Zealand debut. The winner of 19 races and more than $350,000 is expected to be one of small team of horses Lilley will race in New Zealand over the spring.   Matt Markham

Addington Raceway and the New Zealand Racing Board (NZRB) have further enhanced the growing international reputation of the quality of New Zealand’s harness racing product with a close up finish, in esteemed company, for the Simulcast Award presented at the 24th annual International Simulcast Conference recently held in New Orleans. The Simulcast Award honours excellence in the presentation of a racetrack’s live race product. In announcing Santa Anita Park as this year’s winner, organisers have made special mention of the quality of the combined Addington Raceway/NZRB entry. “The winner had noteworthy competition in this very close race from Keeneland and Addington Raceway in New Zealand, with Del Mar, Saratoga and Woodbine also receiving votes. Each received first, second or third-place votes on several ballots,” commented Jane Murray, Director of Services for the Thoroughbred Racing Associations of North America, joint host of the Conference with Harness Tracks of America. Addington Raceway Chief Executive Dean McKenzie commented, “With our entry to be mentioned in the same company as Santa Anita Park and Keeneland, two iconic world class tracks is extremely humbling for us here at Addington. Our entry featured the outstanding coverage the team at the NZRB put together for Christchurch Casino New Zealand Cup Day in 2015 and this international recognition for everyone who helps put New Zealand’s biggest day of racing together is a wonderful achievement for the industry as a whole. To effectively make the podium for such a prestigious award is clear evidence that we have a wonderful product in New Zealand which is the equal of anywhere in the world.” KERYN MCELROY

Harness racing at Addington tomorrow night sees another heat of the "Kiwi punters championship" to be run on course during the evening. The pick six is $25,000 and is run on the last six races at the meeting.  We preview the Pick Six starting in Race 4 at 7:02pm.  Race 4  The first leg is a fifteen horse maiden field that has many chances including several first starters. The favorite will be Mongolian Storm who finished third behind a field of smart 3yos here last week and if he steps from the stand he is the horse to beat. First starters Mikey Maguire and Yankee Tara have been good at workouts and are worth including. Race 5 Just A Dude was good last start flashing home late in the piece and he should be hard to beat on that run. The Fox has been racing well in similar fields and Agatha Tyron has trialed well in preration to this. Jean Sebastian has the draw and can win if he trails but could get pushed back on the fence. Race 6 A lot of depth in this field and a few needed. Callenburg was good winning at the recent Ashburton trials. Maverick was also good winning at Motukarara on Saturday leading most of the way. Expressive Victor is in great form and is needed also Race 7 Mongolian Hero raced well against the best 2yos last season and if fit enough should be too good for this field. For backups include Black Regal Princess who has Dexter on and gate speed and Smithy who has been trialing ok. Race 8 This is Hey Yo's chance to get another win. She was running home too late last start but has the motor to win. Royal Shine and Phil's Gift for cover Race 9 Michelangelo looks an anchor here with the standing start the only issue. Gun Powder and Living Legend needed if the favorite misses away.   Our suggested Pick Six $16.20 gives you 10% Leg 1     11 Leg 2     1,5,7,8 Leg 3     3,5,7 Leg 4     1,7,8 Leg 5      7,9,10 Leg 6      4,5,6   Harnesslink Addington Selections Race 1 Glass Half Full, Shona Mary, Star Pride, Shay Scott Race 2 Daylight Robbery, Blade, Rocki Warrior, Smoldering Ashes Race 3 Cruzy Dude, Hall Of Fame, Highland Reign, Illegal Immigrant Race 4 Mongolian Storm, Yankee Tara, Mikey Maguire, Hastag  Race 5 Just A Dude, Agatha Tyron, The Fox, Jean Sebastien Race 6 Maverick, Callenburg, Expressive Victor, Tangos Delight Race 7 Mongolian Hero, Black Regal Princess, Smithy, Shillelagh Race 8 Hey Yo, Royal Shine, Phil's Gift, Little Mo Race 9 Michelangelo, Gunpowder, Living legend, Franco Tai Best Bet : Mongolian Storm Value Bet: Blade   Harnesslink Media  

Brent Lilley is returning “home” for NZ Cup Week and could take as many as three of his stable stars with him. Lilley, who has continued to grow into one of Victoria’s top trainers since moving from NZ, said classy pacer Messini and rejuvenated veteran trotter Kyvalley Blur would definitely head to Addington. And, in an exciting twist, Lilley said he was seriously considering taking Australia’s champion trotter Keystone Del across as well. “That’s a real chance,” he said. “He (Keystone Del) will resume at Melton on Saturday week and I’ll talk more with the owners after that. “You know how much I love Cup Week and to go back with some of my best horses will be great.” Keystone Del has not raced since winning at Ballarat on May 28. The US-bred Kyvalley Blur, who started his career with the now retired Chris Lang Sr, has won 19 of his 83 starts and earned $317,293. Most importantly, the gelding has won both starts this season and is racing in career-best form. Messini, who boasts 21 wins from his 60 starts and $512,021 in earnings, took a few runs to find form this campaign, but looked good beating a handy field in the Preux Chevalier free-for-all at Melton at his latest run on September 17.   Adam Hamilton

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