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For a horse who four weeks ago wasn’t a show of making the Harness Jewels, Buster Brady has certainly risen to the occasion. And judging by his effort to win Friday night’s Winter Cup at Addington, the old Buster is firmly back in business and that means he’s not without a forlorn hope in a very good field in the 4YO Emerald in two weeks time. The win also gave further plaudits to the decision of Buster Brady’s trainer Jock Austin to send his star pacer out to the beach and into the care of Regan Todd. “He’ certainly feels like the old version of Buster Brady,” driver Dexter Dunn said after the race. Having his third start since becoming a beach resident, Buster Brady enjoyed a saloon run in the trail throughout the two mile event behind the pace-making Classie Brigade. With that run and a last mile which was recorded in 1:53, Dunn had the pleasure of simply angling Buster Brady into the clear air up the passing lane and surging him to the line to hold off the late challenge of Piccadilly Princess to claim the win. The performance will elevate Buster Brady up the rankings ahead of the Jewels - a race which now becomes a realistic target. “We have to have a look at it now,” Todd said. “But ultimately that will be up to Jock, but I’d be surprised if it didn’t work out that way. “He’s going good and really enjoying the beach.” The second placing of Piccadilly Princess should be enough to see her into Jewels contention, although there are some contenders still to race over the weekend who could usurp her if they are successful. Waikiki Beach, who started off a 30 metre handicap, was brave in his effort for third after sitting parked -a performance which sees him right in contention for Jewels success when he squares off with Heaven Rocks on June 3. Matt Markham  

Greg and Nina Hope wouldn’t have had too many concerns in signing off on Ricky May’s driving fee for his effort behind Enghien in the PGG Wrightson NZ Yearling Sales Series Final last night. Because while horses winning is as much about the motor they possess, success should also be attributed to, and if often not, the person sitting behind and guiding them and in May’s case last night, it was great horsemanship. It was as clear as day for all in sundry to see that Enghien wasn’t handling the Addington bends as well as he should, and it was just as clear that it was May’s patient and kind hands that helped nurse him through those rough patches which ultimately won him the race. “I think the track was a bit hard for him” May said after the race. “He just wasn’t that comfortable on them as what he should be, he never trots them that well but he was a little worse than usual tonight.” While many will see it as a major flaw heading into the Harness Jewels in two weeks time, there was very little concern if any from the Hope camp. A few gear changes and the more roomy Ashburton bend should help sort the issues. “I’m not worried,” Greg Hope said. “It’s just minor things that we can sort I think. The main thing is that the motor is there.” While May’s drive drew plenty of plaudits there was also just as many for Mark Purdon for his effort on President Roydon who set the terms from the top and went down fighting. Purdon identified that Enghien wasn’t comfortable around the bends and did everything he could to try and ensure that his rival was hitting the bends at speed by holding the running line. In the end Enghien’s class, once balanced up in the straight, showed through and he won reasonably comfortably with May rather quiet in the sulky up the straight. The two bits of horsemanship drew plenty of praise on social media with former World Champion driver, Mark Jones weighing in on twitter to say that it was “true horsemanship from two of the best.” An hour later it was Brad Williamson who was earning the praise for his handling of the exciting Majestic Man who was simply stunning winning the Sires’ Stakes Final for the baby trotters. Trained by his father, Phil the excitement machine did some work after being balanced along early by Williamson and showed his staying potential with a bold effort to run past BJ Lidenny and the brave More Shades Of Gold who set the speed from the front. “I nearly lost him a few times around the first bend,” Brad said. “But after that he was great, he’s going to be a really good three-year-old but is doing a good job now.” Owned by the well-populated, Griffins Syndicate, most of whom were on hand last night to enjoy the win, Majestic Man gives Brad a great chance to follow in the footsteps of his brothers, Nathan and Matty and become a Jewels winning driver in two weeks time. Matt Markham

Natalie Rasmussen’s reserved, but powerful, raise of the fist at the end of last night’s New Zealand Oaks at Addington was a salute to a filly who she is fast considering to be one of her favourite horses of all time. Naturally, nothing will ever quite measure up to the legendary Black’s A Fake, but if you asked the 16-time New Zealand Group One winning driver who was next, Spanish Armada’s name would be right up there. “I’ve just got so much time for this horse,” Rasmussen said. “She’s everything you could ask for in a horse really, she’s one of my most favourite horses at the moment.” With brimming confidence and a strong knowledge of what was going on around her, Rasmussen was on a one-way mission in the $150,000 Group One last night and was never going to back down from the challenge of starting off the second row and having to work her way into the race. “I just had so much faith in her, and what she is capable of. “Her work during the week was exceptional I thought and she really felt on top of her game so I knew we were good to go heading into the race. “The circumstances worked out alright, but she did have to work quite a few times in the race in tricky conditions. “But her staying ability was always going to be her best asset and it showed with the way she really kept at it the entire way to the line.” Despite the inclement weather, Spanish Armada still managed to stop the clock in a staggering 3:09.1, obliterating the previous best mark for a three-year-old filly in a 2600 metre mobile, which was held by De Lovely from when we won the Oaks in 3:10.9 back in 2010. It was another magical moment for Jean Feiss, who has enjoyed a stellar run over the past few seasons. And that fun hasn’t stopped. The Harness Jewels are the next stop on the path to greatness for Spanish Armada and based on her performances over the past two weeks, she’s going to be the one they all have to beat again over the mile at Ashburton. Bonnie Joan was a gallant second, beaten by a superstar, after doing plenty of work. “She’s gone great, as good as she could have really,” Dexter Dunn said of his drive. Upmost Delight emerged from the pack to run a strong third and earn herself a Jewels berth while Mark Purdon was simply beaming at the effort of Partyon who ran on strongly from well back in the field for fourth. Purdon, less than 45 minutes earlier, had been tasting big race success himself as a driver when he partnered Spankem to win the Sires’ Stakes Final for the two-year-olds. The Jewels leader in the Emerald, Spankem enjoyed a nice trip just off the speed before unleashing to win effortlessly. “He deserved that big one,” Purdon said after the race. “And with that run he was always going to be very hard to beat I thought. “He’s quite an exceptional horse.” Spankem is owned by the same connections who enjoyed the win of The Devil’s Own in last week’s Yearling Sales Series Final, capping a big week for the group who will now look forward to the Jewels with both horses.   Matt Markham  

Addington harness racing fixed odds movers as at 3:10pm Race 1 - Sweet Loress $13 - $12 is best backed in win betting over Delight My Soul $29 - $26 with Pirate Bay $3.80 a clear leader in multi betting.   Race 2 - Lavros Jack $3.80 easily leads multi betting but best backed in win betting is The Foot Tapper $7.00 - $5.00.   Race 3 - The $1.17 favourite Enghien has stifled win betting but in multi betting punters are happy to include him.    Race 4 - Mac Almighty $2.80 leads win & multi betting easily. The $2.30 opening favourite Don Domingo was late scratched at 12:17pm with 35% win and 23% place deductions applying to any bets placed prior to that time.   Race 5 - One Muscle Hill $2.40 is best backed over Castlereagh $11.50 - $8.50 & Renezmae $11.00. One Muscle Hill easily leads multi betting.   Race 6 - Piccadilly Princess $10 - $9.00 leads win betting over Cash N Flow $1.70 but that runner leads multi betting easily & is going 2 to 1 in ticket sales over Waikiki Beach $3.80.   Race 7 - The Fixer $4.20 - $3.20 is the big win mover here & is best backed over Eamon Maguire $3.50. There isn't a lot of ticket sale difference between the first three favourites early in multi betting (Let It Ride $3.80 is the 3rd favourite).   Race 8 - Elle Mac $1.60 is huge in multi betting but in win betting Shenandoah $4.50 is easily the best backed runner.   Race 9 - Spankem $1.95 just leads win betting over Alta Maestro $2.70 but the favourite is going 8 to 1 in multi ticket sales over the 2nd favourite.   Race 10 - Habibiti Ivy $3.20 just leads win & multi betting over Wilma's Mate $3.80.   Race 11 - Bonnie Joan $2.40 leads win betting but a clear multi leader early is the $2.20 favourite Spanish Armada $2.20.   Race 12 - Moonrock $3.90 has been easily the best backed runner early & also leads multi betting easily.   Best backed multi runners in order: R8 -   Elle Mac $1.60  R9 -   Spankem $1.95 R3 -   Enghien $1.17  R11 - Spanish Armada $2.20  R5 -   One Muscle Hill $2.40  R6 -   Cash N Flow $1.70  R7 -   Thefixer $3.20    6 of the above 7 multi favourites are trained by the All Star Stable. A $10 multi on the above 7 runners will return you $1,048 at the current odds.   Harnesslink Media Courtesy of Stephen Richardson (TAB)

There’s everything to gain and everything to lose for plenty on a big night of harness racing tonight at Addington. With the Harness Jewels meeting creeping ever closer as each day passess, the potential permutations who head into harness headquarters this evening, chasing big stake money and any form of advantage that might fall their way ahead of big meeting. From a punter’s perspective the most attention will come, not in the two or three major races of the night, but more courtesy of some of the lower profile events on the card. In particular, Four-Year-Old Ruby joint-favourite, Marcoola. The rising star hasn’t raced this year and is unlikely to race again before the Jewels, so a good run under the belt tonight will be paramount to justify his $2.60 quote that is on offer with bookmakers now. From the outside of the front line from behind the mobile, we won’t expect too many fireworks from Clint Ford, but if the speed is lacking during the middle stages, he’ll be moving and Marcoola will find himself up on the speed. Defeat tonight may result in a drifting of his current Jewels quote, so punters would be best served to take the wait and see approach with the multiple Derby winner. Of all the horses going around tonight though, the pressure is the most on Piccadilly Princess. She needs stake money to work her way into the Jewels. Currently she sits in the 13th spot on the order of entry for the Four-Year-Old Diamond, but with Rockstar Angel looking likely to fill the Australian invite spot in that race, 13th won’t be good enough to give her the chance to go for back-to-back Jewels successes. Should she only fill a minor placing tonight, the potential is still there for her spot to be taken from over the course of the weekend with both Hopes And Dreams and Idealistic Lass within striking distance if they can pick up easy kills at both Invercargill and Oamaru respectively. The former particularly looks a really strong winning chance which will see her rise up and into the top 12 for Graeme Anderson. Piccadilly Princess has the arduous task of contending with her high class stablemates, Waikiki Beach and Cash N Flow tonight which will just make her task all that much harder. Cash N Flow was given a very strong push by Natalie Rasmussen on the All Stars website this week. The four-year-old has slipped under the guard for much of his career, but compiled a rather impressive record and isn’t without a show in the Four-Year-Old Emerald next month against some quality opposition.   Matt Markham’s Addington Selections Race 1: #6 Pirate Bay, #7 Delight My Soul, #11 Hilarious Magic, #9 Late Mail Race 2: #12 Needle, #13 Lavros Jack, #3 Habibi Inta, #2 Regal Love Race 3: #5 Enghien, #6 President Roydon, #8 Kissmeimloaded, #3 Di’z Luck Race 4: #8 Don Domingo, #3 Mac Almighty, #11 Patanjali, #5 Franco Tai Race 5: #8 Sundee’s Son, #4 Paramount King, #3 One Muscle Hill, #14 Majestic Man Race 6: #3 Cash N Flow, #10 Waikiki Beach, #9 Classie Brigade, #8 Piccadilly Princess Race 7: #8 Let It Ride, #9 Eamon Maguire, #5 The Fixer, #4 Star Galleria Race 8: #8 Elle Mac, #3 Shenandoah, #4 Dizzy Miss Lizzy, #7 Bettor Joy Race 9: #3 Alta Maestro, #4 Spankem, #8 The Devil’s Own, #1 Aloka Race 10: #7 Wilma’s Mate, #9 Marcoola, #8 Habibti Ivy, #1 Missandei Race 11: #12 Spanish Armada, #6 Bonnie Joan, #9 Partyon, #5 Juice Brogden Race 12: #8 Moonrock, #4 Sparkling Delight, #13 Mongolian Hero, #1 Donegal Carrickfinn Best Bet: Don Domingo (Race 4) Value: Needle (Race 2)

Steven Reid knows he’s taking a gamble but an impressive workout at Pukekohe last Saturday has convinced the Franklin conditioner to take Star Galleria south and try and qualify him for the Harness Jewels Final. Star Galleria and Tony Herlihy (MNZM) will start from gate four in tonight's Garrards New Zealand Sires Stakes Sophomore Classic for the 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings. The Listed 1950m mobile is worth $40,000 and Reid knows he is going to have to finish in the first two to qualify for the Group One $150,000 3yo Emerald at Ashburton Raceway on June 3. Star Galleria is currently ranked 21 and has earned $23,675 this season. He needs another $8,711 to make the 12-strong final. “It’s a bit of a punt. He went so well at the workouts on Saturday I just had to give him his chance to line up against the best. I honestly think he’s a very good 3-year-old and at his best would hold his own against the guns,” Reid said. Six months ago Reid would have given him little chance of heading south. The Art Major gelding kicked out at a gate and suffered serious leg injuries. “He suffered a massive hole in his leg and I actually thought that might be his career all over before it hardly started. The vet told me if the hole had been three or four inches lower on the hock that would have been the end of him ever racing again. “He left last night (Monday) and I’ll go down later in the week. Simon (McMullan) is looking after him,” Reid said. Star Galleria and Reid trailed Alta Intrigue for most of Saturday's left handed R64 to R77 Workout. In the lane they strolled passed the pace-maker to win by half a length under a huge hold. The gifted bay paced the 2500m mobile in 3:12.9 (mile rate 2:04 even) and home in 57.7 and 27.1. “I actually timed him to go 26.8. I never let him go. That was a pretty nice win and showed me that he’s back. He was once exceptional in work but it’s taken him a long time after his injury to get back to where he should be. “He’s starting to show signs of his old self and if he keeps improving like I think he can win on Friday. It won’t be easier but he is one of the better 3-year-olds I have ever put a bridle on and he feels like the old Star Galleria again,” Reid said. Reid said he regretted throwing Star Galleria into the deep end and then backed him up when he resumed from his spell at Alexandra Park on April 21 and 28. “They went 2:39 in his first run back for almost five months and then the following week they went 2:36.9. That’s a hell of a big ask after what he went through. You can’t change history but looking back now I shouldn’t have backed him up,” said Reid. Star Galleria was fifth in both of those races finishing two-and-a-half lengths and six lengths from the winners respectively. If he doesn’t finish in the first two on Friday Reid said he would bring the gelding home and then possibly look at the Queensland Derby in Brisbane in July. He is not paid up for the Breeders’ Crown. Star Galleria has raced six times this season for two wins. All-up his career record stands at seven starts, three wins, no placings and $34,44 in stakes. Reid owns him with his breeder Reg Caldow and John Screen and Terese Screen. Duane Ranger

The 2017 version of the Kiwi Punting Championship (KPC) has just got a whole lot better with the addition of automatic qualification for the winner of the KPC Final into the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC) to be held in Las Vegas in February 2018. The most recent NHC offered prize money and rewards totalling more than US$2.9m and was limited to approximately 660 entrants. So, the winner of this year’s KPC Final, to be held at Addington on Show Day November 17, will not only take home $50,000 cash but will also win an all-expenses paid trip for two to Las Vegas to be New Zealand’s rep to compete for a prize pool in the vicinity of US$2.9m. In conjunction with the New Zealand Racing Board (NZRB), Addington Raceway see this as a natural extension to the $100,000 KPC prize pool that has been up for grabs since inception in 2014. Addington Raceway CEO Dean McKenzie commented, “The chance to go to Las Vegas, all expenses paid and have an approximate 1 in 660 chance of taking home a piece of US$2.9m makes this year’s KPC the most exciting contest yet. The NHC is a fabulous event hosted right on the strip in Las Vegas and is a once in a lifetime chance to compete for a huge pot of gold with realistic odds on offer. We would like to thank the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) in North America for all their assistance in making this announcement possible”. “The continued involvement and support of the NZRB is also critical for the KPC to reach its true potential and together we are working on even bigger and better innovations. We acknowledge our sincere appreciation of this on-going partnership”.  Finalised 2017 KPC information and registration details will be announced in the near future.   HRNZ  

The warning light is blinking above the head of talented trotter Marcoola as he prepares for his belated return at Addington tomorrow night. Because trainer-driver Clint Ford says while the four-year-old is good enough to win only his second start of the year he may not find himself into a position to do so. Marcoola is using tomorrow night’s $20,000 trot as his lead-up to the Jewels at Ashburton on June 3 and goes into the race without only one trial in the last three months. Complicating that is the fact he has drawn the outside of the front line over the mobile 1950m, with some serious speedsters in Lemond, Wilma’s Mate and Habibti Ivy drawn inside him. At his best this season Marcoola has been stunning -- winning the Flying Mile at Cambridge by 12 lengths and pushing Monbet to a half-head in the NZ Free-For-All. But he has also proved expensive for punters, finishing unplaced in three of his last four, with Ford admitting his driving tactics have not helped on occasion. “I drove him too hard in a couple of races but I don’t think that will be the case this week,” he warns. “Sure, I’d love to win but with all that speed inside me he is more likely to be driven in the field for at least the first half of the race. “I think that will be good for him and if the tempo doesn’t suit he might not be able to win.”Marcoola is in the strange position of being joined by Dark Horse, who has never even raced in a major trot, as favourite for the four-year-old Jewels trot, incredible considering Marcoola’s open class achievements. Ford believes the free-going stallion can peak for Jewels day and he won’t make the mistake of bypassing the Jewels trials, as he did last year. “That was my mistake and he was too fresh last season. “But this year he will go to the Jewels trials and if he draws well I will be very surprised if he can’t trot 1:55 (for a mile) around Ashburton at the Jewels.” Meanwhile, northern pacer Rhythm N Blues could win his way into the Jewels in a mere $7500 race at Cambridge tonight. The speedster sits 14th in the entry of order so winning race five tonight would all but guarantee him his spot in the three-year-old Emerald on June 3. His divisions has an added question mark over it with trainer Cran Dalgety informing HRNZ that Northern Derby winner Raukapuka Ruler has been under a slight health cloud this week and could be doubtful for the Jewels, although more will be known tomorrow.   Michael Guerin

A second line draw for the likely pre-post favourite and an outside of the front line draw for her high class stable mate has done enough just to throw some murky cloud over Friday night’s Group One New Zealand Oaks at Addington. Last Friday night’s Nevele R Fillies Final winner, Spanish Armada was handed the outside of the second line as she shoot for a second Group One victory in seven days while Partyon has been given the much despised barrier of nine from behind the mobile arm. While a step up to 2600 metres should negate many of the issues for Spanish Armada, who has shown she is good enough to do work in her races and still find the required at the business end of a race, it does leave the door slightly ajar for her rivals. In particular Bonnie Joan, who showed she’s as good as anything else going around at the moment with her bold dead-heat effort for second with Delightful Memphis last Friday night behind Spanish Armada. With high early speed the Cran Dalgety trained filly should be able to get across and find the markers before any of her rivals in the $150,000 event. Delightful Memphis hasn’t been quite as well served in the draw as what she was a week ago, despite picking up the same marble. The Mark Jones trained filly will start from the inside of the second row for the second time in a week, but doesn’t have the luxury of following a favoured runner through on Friday night. Northern Oaks runner-up, Juice Brogden will bring fresh legs to the party after missing the Nevele R Final for her trainer Nicky Chilcott and will have the advantage of drawing inside Bonnie Joan with the potential to follow her across. With more than $750,000 worth of stake money up for grabs on Friday night there will be plenty of attention on Addington. Trotting star Enghien will make an appearance, and start a short priced favourite in the $80,000 NZ Yearling Sales Series Final for the three-year-old trotters while Alta Maestro and Spankem look well drawn to dominate the $170,000 Sires Stakes final for the two-year-old male pacers. Elle Mac, the unbeaten two-year-old filly will have to overcome an outside of the front line draw if she is to keep her winning record intact and win the NZ Yearling Sales 2YO Fillies Final. The night’s open class feature, the Winter Cup will see a number of those pointing towards next month’s Harness Jewels having another hit out with Piccadilly Princess needing a top three finish if she is to make her way into the Top 12 for the Four-Year-Old Diamond category. Matt Markham

Addington Raceway’s newest initiative, Stridemaster, is providing punters, owners and trainers with more statistical information than has ever been made able to them before. The tracking system, which was designed to specifically measure a horse’s performance through GPS tracking and precision sensor data. The system has been in place for almost a month now and after a few early teething problems, things are now fully operational with up to date data released both during and after race meetings for each horse that steps onto the Addington surface. Sorted out over 200 metre intervals, the system provides timing, positional data and horse performance data for each horse through the use of a recording device located on the saddlecloth. That data is fed back to the central system before the results are compiled and made available for public consumption. What the system does is gives people access to data that has never been truly available to them before, other than through their own time-keeping methods. They can now analyse each horse’s performance and see exactly how their race breaks down. This should, in theory, give punters an inside edge with the data showing, quite clearly, the horses who have run the fastest sectionals in the race which is ideal when searching for a horse who might not have been in the top half a dozen, but has made up a lot of ground. There have been some mixed reviews around the country for the system, but the majority have seemed to find its services more than useful. All results from each night of racing are posted on the Addington Raceway website with full access to all data made available for free to anyone who wishes to access it.   Matt Markham   Stridemaster can be accessed here!

NZ Metro harness racing fixed odds movers as at 3:30pm   Race 1 - The only runner wanted here is the $1.35 favourite Heaven Rocks, he has 395 multi bets going through him with just 10 on the next best which is Franco Nelson $8.00   Race 2 - Paramount King $2.30 leads multi betting over Springbank Lachie $2.60 & One Muscle Hill $3.80.    Race 3 - Mighty Santana $3.90 leads win & multi betting over Rocknroll Magic $4.80.   Race 4 - Sails $10.50 leads multi betting over Warloch $4.00 and Zimfandel $22 - $18.   Race 5 - Wilma's Mate $1.85 is the only runner wanted here.    Race 6 - Lemond $2.40 easily leads multi betting and is also best backed in win betting.   Race 7 - Stars Align $3.20 - $2.80 is best backed over Forgotten Highway $3.00.   Race 8 - Spanish Armada $2.60 - $2.20 is best backed in win betting with the largest bet $5,000 at $2.60 but the $1.65 - $1.90 favourite Partyon is going 2 -1 in multi tickets over her stablemate.   Race 9 - Red Hot Poker $5.00 leads multi betting over War Spirit $4.00.   Race 10 - Alta Maestro $2.20 leads win betting and is on the same number of multi tickets as the $2.50 second favourite Spankem.    Race 11 - Rocknroll Princess $4.20 leads win & multi betting over Don Domingo $3.80.   Harnesslink Media Courtesy of Stephen Richardson (TAB)    

Tonight’s Group One Nevele R Fillies Final at Addington is more about opportunities than it is chances for Delightful Memphis. The outstanding daughter of Bettor’s Delight will get her chance to finally crack a big race in the $140,000 feature tonight, but even her trainer Mark Jones knows there’s going to need to be quite a few things falling her way if she is to get past the might of Spanish Armada and Partyon in the first of two three-year-old filly features over the next two weeks. “You could say we have had our opportunity to beat them in the past, particularly Spanish Armada,” Jones said. “And we haven’t been able to do it which makes it quite tough to say that we might be able to do it this week. “But it looks like we are going to have the right draw to give ourselves a chance and I think if I’m being realistic a top two finish would see us over the moon.” Unsighted since finishing second to Bonnie Joan in the Southland Oaks a fortnight ago, Delightful Memphis has been ticking over at home and her trainer can’t fault her preparation, despite being disappointed in the Southland Oaks performance. “I thought she probably should have won it from the trail, but it wasn’t to be. “She’s trained on really well since and we are going into this week pretty much exactly where we want to be so the rest is up to the horse on the night really.” From one on the second row, following out Spanish Armada, the path looks clear for Blair Orange to throw out the tow-rope and hope for the best. At worst he should settle three-back the fence with it being hard to imagine that Natalie Rasmussen, who is driving Spanish Armada, handing up to anyone other than her stablemate, and hot favourite Partyon. “That’s the way it looks like it should pan out, we just probably have to hope that Natalie decides to stay in front. “That will give us our best chance.” Rasmussen may be keen to make a statement with Spanish Armada ahead of next week’s Oaks and then the Harness Jewels, and over the 1950 metres she gets the perfect opportunity to do that. In her 16 start career, Spanish Armada has never been beaten when she’s turned for the judge in front with four of her five defeats coming from when she’s raced off, or outside the speed. With mobile flyer, Bonnie Joan drawn up on the outside of the second row, it makes it hard to see anything else throwing a cat among the pigeons and trying to cross the All Stars pair early so the first leg of a three-year-old filly triple crown should run pretty much to script. Jones has a chance in tonight’s other feature, the $200,000 NZ Yearling Sales Series Final with recent stable acquisition, Major Lucky. Purchased out of the All Stars stable by Greg Brodie and set to head to Australia the half-brother to More The Better isn’t that far behind the top four-year-olds but will need plenty of luck from his second row barrier draw tonight.   Matt Markham’s Addington Selections Race 1: Heaven Rocks, Classie Brigade, Piccadilly Princess, Buster Brady Race 2: Springbank Lachie, Paramount King, One Muscle Hill, Stress Factor Race 3: Mighty Santana, Dancing In The Dark, Rocknroll Magic, Vera’s Delight Race 4: Hilarious Magic, Bushido, Warloch, Sails Race 5: Wilma’s Mate, Gee Up Neddy, Habibi Inta, Tornado Valley Race 6: Lemond, Destiny Jones, Gershwin, Springbank Eden Race 7: Jack’s Legend, Donegal Carrickfinn, Sparkling Delight, Mongolian Hero Race 8: Spanish Armada, Partyon, Delightful Memphis, Bonnie Joan Race 9: War Spirit, Redwood Invasion, Muscles Galore, All Settled Down Race 10: Alta Maestro, Spankem, Aloka, Star Commander Race 11: Don Domingo, Whittaker, Rocknroll Princess, Late Mail Best Bet: Heaven Rocks (Race 1) Value: Don Domingo (Race 11

Waimate (South Canterbury) owner- breeders Lex and Heather Williams have prospects in feature trotting races on both sides of the Tasman this week. They have Petite One in the  $40,000 Sires Stakes Aged Trotters Championship at Addington tonight (Friday) and One Over Da Moon in the  $A20,000 Cranbourne Trotters Cup at Cranbourne tomorrow night. Both trotters are having their first starts from new stables with new drivers. Petite One, who has not raced  for 17 months, is now trained at Woodend Beach by Greg and Nina Hope. A workout win at Rangiora on May 3 indicated the 5-year-old Angus Hall – Petite Sunset mare was forward. Blair Orange has the drive. “Petite One’s knee caved in and we treated her and took an embryo Love You filly from her when she was out,’’ said Lex Williams. Petite One won six races when trained by Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen. She won over 3200m in 4.04.9 (a record for a mare) at the 2015 New Zealand Cup meeting and won a Super Series race at Addington. Over Da Moon, the winner of 21 races. including five in Australia, is now trained by Lance Justice in Victoria. One Over Da Moon has to be rated under free-for-all conditions tomorrow night. The  Majestic Son – One Over Kenny entire had his most recent win at Alexandra Park in September when prepared by Tony Herlihy.  One Over Da Moon won eight for Herlihy and eight (including Harness Jewels and NZ Trotting Stakes at two) for Paul Nairn. He won four, including The Holmfield at Melton and a heat of the Breeders Crown at Maryborough for  Chris Lang and a heat of the 2016 Australia Trotters Championship at Ballarat for Chris Alford. One Over Da Moon has sired two foals, colts out of Anna Castleton and Landora’s Pearl for the Williams. Both are rising 2-year-olds. Tayler Strong

Last week on the harness racing ringaround the tipsters were right on the mark with more than 10 winners along with several placegetters. At Addington 5 out of the 6 selections won, with the biggest dividend going to Gavin Smith when All Settled Down won and paid $10.60 and $2.20 on the tote. This week there are are five meetings with one in the North and four in the South   Note: We will keep adding to this page if more tips come in, so check back often   Forbury on Thursday night Rory Mcllwrick - Rory says his best drive this week would be Belmont Invasion  in Race 5 Geoff Knight - Geoff is going for Silver Dale as his best chance this week in Race 7 Nathan Williamson - is opting for Poppymalda at Forbury as his best chance in Race 8 Craig Ferguson - Craig thinks Playboy Prince would be his best drive in Race 10 Matthew Williamson - Matthew is going for Sweet Mary as his best drive also in Race 10   Auckland on Friday night Maurice Mckendry - Maurice says his best drive could be Churchill Downs in Race 4 John Curtin - John says Kenrick can go close to winning at Alexandra Park in Race 5 Andre Poutama - Andre thinks his best drive would be Bet Out of Ell in Race 7 Tony Herlihy - Tony is going for Regal Love as his best chance this week in Race 8   Addington on Friday night Bob Butt - likes the chances of Paramount King this week at Addington in Race 4 Gerard O'Reilly - Gerard is picking Tornado Valley as his best drive in Race 5 Stephen Richardson (TAB) - thinks Gershwin can go close to winning in Race 6   Winton on Saturday Brent Barclay - Brent thinks his best drive would be Too Cool at Winton in Race 1 Brad Williamson - Brad thinks Get Real would be his best drive this week in Race 4 Shane Walkinshaw - Shane says Fern Lea would be his best drive this week in Race 6 Mark Jones says his best chance this week is Eyre I Come at Winton in Race 8 Blair Orange - Blair agrees and thinks his best drive is is Eyre I Come at Winton in Race 8 Andrew Suddaby - thinks Larch would be his best chance this week in Race 10   Timaru on Sunday Terry Chmiel - Terry is opting for Man Of Steel as his best chance this week in Race 5 Racechat - Lance thinks Classie Margaret is a good chance at Rangiora also in Race 5 Harnesslink Reporter -says that first starter Samskara can go close to winning in Race 6 Jimmy Curtin - Jimmy thinks Mega Watt would be his best chance at Timaru in Race 7 Gavin Smith -  Gavin has selected Chevrons Reward as his best chance this week in Race 10 John Morrison - John thinks his best drive this week is Sky City King at Timaru also in Race 10   Harnesslink Media

From a maiden pace on a Sunday afternoon to a $200,000 event on a premier Friday night might seem like worlds apart, but Nigel McGrath is hoping his latest find, Star Commander, is up to the challenge. The imposing son of Art Major has been long touted by his trainer as being a little bit better than average and showed with a rather effortless victory on Sunday at Rangiora that he’s got the necessary to mix it with the best two-year-old’s in the land. “I’ve always liked him, he’s got all the right signs of being a good horse,” McGrath said. “The improvement in him from his first run to Sunday was quite noticeable and hopefully he can improve again for this week.” This week’s assignment is the $200,000 is the PGG Wrightson NZ Yearling Sales Open Final at Listed level where he will have to square up with the well credentialed pacers Spankem, All You Need Is Faith, The Devil’s Own, Alta Maestro, Mach Shard and his talented stablemate, Aloka. “It’s a big jump up in class, but I think he’s good enough to be competitive,” McGrath said. A $56,000 purchase at the Christchurch Yearling Sales last year, Star Commander is the fourth foal of Group One winning mare, Susie Maguire. A daughter of Presidential Ball, she won the Caduceus Club Classic and the NZ Sires’ Stakes 2YO Fillies Championship at two and then won the Ladyship Stakes as a three-year-old and ran second to Lizzie Maguire in the 2YO Emerald at the inaugural running of the Harness Jewels at Ashburton in 2007. Third on debut behind Aloka and Ashley Locaz on Diamonds Day at Invercargill 10 days ago, a much more tractable and kind Star Commander showed up to Rangiora. “He got pretty keen down South, and in the end it might have taken it out of him and cost him finishing closer. “He didn’t really lose any ground on the two good ones, but more held his own. “So we made some changes to his gear during the week and they seemed to work.” Ricky May produced a confident drive on the favourite and put him into the race before taking cover and unleashing at the top of the straight where he cleared away to win by a comfortable one and half lengths. Star Commander stopped the clock in a slick 2.26.6 for the 2000 metres. “He was knocking off a bit there at the finish, so he had a bit in store which is always a good sign.” McGrath got mixed news when the draws were released for Friday night’s $200,000 event with Aloka drawing up well on the front line and Star Commander set to start from four on the second line, but with the added advantage of speed horses in front of him in Alta Maestro and Mach Shard as well as Aloka. Matt Markham

They say that a change is as good as a holiday and in the case of Buster Brady it’s worked the oracle. After a frustrating period of a lack of form, the talented pacer got things back on track with an impressive performance to beat a high quality field at Addington on Friday night in his first start since spending some time out at the Woodend Beach stable of Regan Todd. Still officially trained by his initial trainer, Kyle Austin, the four-year-old pacer picked himself up off the canvas to run past some talented competition in the final stages of Friday night’s assignment, shocking both Austin and Todd in the process. “We were heading a bit into the unknown with him really,” Todd said. “From working him on the beach you could tell that he was a pretty nice horse, but you never really know until you get into the race environment exactly what they are going to be like. “But it seems the change of scenery has helped him a lot because he showed a lot of fight.” It was a big call for Austin to make to send the best horse he has ever trained to someone else to try and reinvigorate his star, but he said that at the end of the day it was the best decision to make by the horse. “I’ve had a few concerns that he’s got a couple of niggly little issues for a while now and that was why I don’t think he was showing his best form. “So, we decided that it was best to see if the beach would help him and it would appear it has. “I thought his effort on Friday night was great, he looked dead and buried on the home turn but really dug deep to find the line. “It was a lot more like him.” With some good stake money in the bank this season, Buster Brady currently now sits 12th on the order of entry for the Four-Year-Old Emerald at next month’s Harness Jewels meeting in Ashburton. While accepting it would be nice to start there, Austin said it wasn’t something they would chase. “If he does enough to get in the field then that will be great we will head there and have a crack against some really top horses. “But there are other options for him, there’s also the Sires’ Stakes race a couple weeks after that so if he doesn’t make the Jewels we can just have a look at the race instead.” Todd and Austin plan to return to Addington this Friday night to try and make it back-to-back victories. The challenge will be slightly more difficult for the camp with some strong nominations for the $20,000 event including Heaven Rock’s, Classie Brigade, Piccadilly Princess and Moonrock. Matt Markham  

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