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On paper, it looked like the Robert Dunn team number of chances at last nights harness racing meeting at Addington and so it proved. Overall there were three winning performances - Sheer Classs, Nikola and Maximum Power, while there were placings also with Little Lion Man (2nd to Nikola) and K C Monet. Sheer Class started the night on a positive note with a win in the amateurs for Ray Reekie. A bad draw and and a tough run wide for the last lap proved no problem for the 5yr old Live Or Die mare, that was registering win three of her career. The toughness she showed is a positive pointer to her prospects in the coming weeks.  Sheer Class registering the third win of her career driven by Ray Reekie  It was a stable quinella in the 5th of the night as the less favoured Nikola held a game The Lion Man. Nikola has been the subject of frustration for some time and the confidence levels were hardly very high. However, the even pace that was set throughout suited him on the night and after charging to the lead at the 200m he held out stablemate The Lion Man by a length in 3.20.7 for the 2600m stand. This win was no doubt very satisfying for his very loyal and patient band of owners. Nikola toughs it out for win 3 from 29 starts. Of the three winners for the night, it was the third of these Maximum Power that could not have been more impressive. In what was a pretty smart field for the junior drivers, he did a power of work over the last lap before surging to the lead at the 200m. In a driving finish, driver Matt Purvis got the best out of the the big Bettor's Delight gelding, coming home in impressive sections of 800m 56.7 and 400m 28.1. He certainly is a horse on the rise and with the toughness that he exhibited last night is sure to kick on to better company. Of note for driver Matt was that the win is the 15th of his career and he now has earned the right to drive on premier night programmes, a testament to the progress he has made as a driver this season. Its two from two for impressive winner Maximum Power Courtesy of Robert Dunn Racing Stables  

David McCarthy does a great job at the All Stars Racing Stables with his previews of all of their runners each weekend and this week is no exception with his preview for the big weekend of harness racing ahead. With the kind permission of the All Stars team we have reprinted the preview below. Auckland - Friday night Race 2 Chase The Dream (8) Natalie Form: Impressive late run to win the Sapling Stakes on debut. Ability not in question. Comment: "First time that way round but he has high speed and he is also pretty tough. The sort of hors e you can use a bit and he will still kick on. Doing well up there too" Race 3 Wanna Play (3) Natalie Form: Broke last week after good racing in south Comment:  "One I am not too confident about. Standing starts are not really her thing and she is not quite as good right-handed. On ability she would win it but I have reservations" Race 4 Arden's Choice (6) Natalie    Form:  Strong second to stablemate at Timaru mile rate1.57 plus and home in fast time. Comment:  "There's not much between our fillies and I don't know a lot about some of the others. outside the two favoured ones. I will go with Dream About Me in spite of the draw but my drive Arden's Choice is up there with her and the run of the race will decide  the best of our pair. They haven't had a lot of practice raceday but should be ready.  Dream About Me (11) Tim Form: Won debut at Timaru. Hard form to fault. Comment: see above Race 6 Change Stride (10) Brent Mangos Form: Consistent form over the summer and again last week. Draw no help. Comment: Yes working ok up there and will go a good race but maybe just a little below our other two at this level. Kept Under Wraps (6) Natalie Form: Eye catching trial and then eye catching first upper last week. Danger here. Comment: "The boys up north are very pleased with him and he will improve a lot with that last run after one trial. He will improve again with this but is competitive.  Follow The Stars (13) Tim Form: Brave in Victoria Derby beaten by the draw. Not a good one here either. Comment: "Doing really well up there and I expect him to win even from that draw with any luck at all" Race 8 Classical Art (1) Natalie Form: Progressed nicely from quiet trial to bold run last week. Poised. Comment: "Nothing will beat her out of the gate but the decisions are not easy after that. If I don't go out of the gate she could end up pulling three back on the fence and that is no way to go about it. Its a question whether I hand up to one of the top ones and risk her tugging in the trail or just try and win it from the front which is  hard to do but she is capable of doing it. The tactics will be interesting but I expect her to lead early at least. Linda Lovegrace (5) Ricky May Form: Missed a race last week but flashed home strongly at Ashburton previously. Comment: "I am not too worried about her missing that race last week. She hasn't missed any work. Also she always seems to go really well when she is freshened. Her best races have sometimes been like that. So she is a contender though not my top one. Supersonic Miss (10) Tim Form: Showed her class as false odds last week. Super on best day. Comment:  "I think she is the best chance of the three actually. From that draw she will be out of the early rush and will have options after that. She thrives on racing and should only  have improved with that race.  She gets top billing. Race 9 Border Control (2) Tim Form: Did some work to lead last week from a handicap and beaten by passing lane. Ran fastest time. Still on up.   Comment: "Another good run from a handicap last week and he can still get better. Each way chance and a good one. Smolda (5) Natalie Form:  Outstanding first up last week from a long handicap and should only be improved Comment: "I think he can win. That is based on his first up run last week  which was great and his work this week has them really happy up north. He has stepped up they feel so he should be competitive in this field. " Menangle - Sunday Afternoon Race 3  Fight For Glory (11) Natalie  Form:  Easy winner of her heat and one of the hardest to beat here. Comment: "She doesn't need bad luck but she doesn't need good luck if you get what I mean. Even from that draw  if she gets a reasonable run she should be very hard to beat. Her heat run was most impressive. She is at the top of her game and I think unless I do something stupid or somebody else does she is the one to beat. Race 4 Adore Me ( 12) Natalie Form: Went 1.51 last week but has a woeful draw. Comment: " Mark was happy to just do the training for the day as I am driving the others and if anything comes up he has the time to deal with it. It is all good news on the training front from Sydney. I don't know about that draw, whether to go straight out of the gate or wait a few seconds and see what happens. There is a bit of speed on the front line so it will be interesting. I notice that while Ruby did it hardly any horses win at Menangle  when parked so we will have to see.  She is the best horse in  the race so unless I stuff it up she should still be the horse to beat. We would decide on an Auckland Cup run after seeing how hard a race she has " Race 5 Hug The Wind (1) Natalie Form: Devastating heat win makes him favourite. Draw might be tricky. Comment: "As I said I would actually have preferred a gate one or two out. You need gatespeed from one and fortunately he has it  What unfolds from there is not so easy to predict.  You run the risk of getting trapped if you hand up to the wrong horses. He is really well and probably the one to beat" Race 6 Isaiah (5) Natalie  Form: Outstanding leadup over a mile last week and improved with that Comment: Well he has stepped up all season really but this will be his biggest test. Sky Major in particular looked very impressive last week and Bling It On is highly rated so from 5 I will just have to see what develops. It was a great leadup last week and he will improve with that so I am very hopeful he can pull it off" Cheviot - Sunday Afternoon Race9 Sophisticated Lady (3) Jim Curtin Emeli Maguire (4) Ricky May Northern Velocity (10) Matt Comment : "Northern Velocity would be the pick of them but she has that woeful draw which will not help.She hopped out of her gear last week but it was just that she lost concentration. She is still a bit  dumb when it comes to racing. The other two are sort of in the same boat. Emeli Maguire might have a break after this. We will see how she goes. She is a lanky filly and has some growing to do. Sophisticated Lady had a run just good enough to qualify at the trials with a race coming up. She might also need a little break after this we will see. Northern Velocity wouldn't want to be giving the other two too much ground turning for home but if all goes well she will be the best of them" Courtesy of All Star Racing Stables - Check Site here                                                                                                                                                                             

Tonight harness racing followers at Addington Raceway were witness to an outstanding run from last seasons dual derby winner in King Denny. After galloping away from the ten metres mark, King Denny with co-trainer Mark Purdon in the bike settled a long way off the pace early which was set by Monty Python. With 1600 metres to run, Mark eased King Denny into the running line from the rear and slowly worked his way forward. By this time Clover Don had taken over and King Denny ended up on his wheel passing the 600 metres mark.  Just when the run should have been taking its toll as they turned for home, King Denny just went up a gear and went to the line a comfortable winner. Credited with an official time of 3:21.3 for the 2600 metres from a stand, King Denny was privately timed to run his last 2400 metres in a very quick 2:59.6 after his early gallop. What made the run even more meritorious was King Denny ran into a strong easterly in the home straight. Mark Purdon was rapt with the run " He has gone huge really" " To sit parked and run into that strong breeze and still win like he did was a top effort," Mark said. Mark is not to concerned with his tardy beginnings at his last two starts. " He never got any experience of stands as a three year old as most of his races were mobiles." " He is getting better but just needs a bit more practice on raceday," Mark said. Future plans for the four year old son of Majestic Son are based around a trip to Auckland. " We will keep him close to home over Easter and just race him at Addington. " The long term aim is to have at his peak for the Rowe Cup at Auckland," Mark said. The manner in which King Denny has won his last two starts would suggest he is a huge chance to take home the silverware in Auckland. Harnesslink Media  

All the harness racing pundits thought tonights $20,000 yearling sales graduette was a gift for the All Stars barn runner Northern Velocity. The big strapping daughter of Mach Three had been in great form at trials in Canterbury recently and the punters made her a short priced favourite. Away well, driver Mark Purdon settled her in the one by one early before moving up to the death seat outside the leader Flyingretna with 800 metres to go Passing the 400 metres mark Northern Velocity suddenly went into a wild gallop losing all chance in the process. Just when it looked  like the other All Star runner Emeli Maguire would get home, Sem's Delight with John Dunn in the bike swooped down the outside to nab the win right on the line. The daughter of Bettor's Delight had disgraced herself on debut at Timaru when galloping but showed the benefit of having had a raceday run tonight. John Dunn has a good opinion of the filly. " I have always really liked her but I didn't think she had the ringcraft to win the race with the Purdon duo in there." " Last week wasn't really her fault as it was only her third time off the place in her life." "She is very green still and just needs a bit more experience," John said. Sem's Delight, a $44,000 purchase at last years Australasian Classic sale by Robert Dunn on behalf of long time clients Clive, Rona and Shona McKay is providing some consolation to Clive and Rona who have had a hard luck run recently with their star pacer Franco Nelson. John was of a mind to back off a bit now. " She has come a long way in a short time and with two runs in a week it may pay to back off her now." " There is a really good race for her next week (Leonard Memorial) but it may pay to miss that with all that she has done recently, "John said. Mark Purdon was at a loss to explain why Northern Velocity galloped. " She was travelling really well at the time but just seemed to lose her concentration at the 400 metre mark." "I am at a loss to explain why she did that," Mark said.  Tonights win by Sem's Delight highlights once again that there is no such thing as a certainty in racing. Harnesslink Media  

North America's leading harness racing driver Tim Tetrick conducted the first of two public meetings in New Zealand at Alexandra Park last night and for those lucky enough to be present it was a night to remember. Tim covered a lot of topics and gave the audience an insight to how he got to where he is today. Tim started driving at a very early age. "I drove my first horse when I was just three or four." " My dad was a trainer and we helped out from an early age." " I can remember coming home from school in the fifth grade and doing boxes and work round the stable and then I  would still be jogging horses two hours after it was dark ,"Tim said. Driving his first winner at fourteen, Tim was unable to drive in Parimutual races until he was eighteen even though he drove over 200 winners at fairs when he was sixteen and seventeen. Punters in North America are never afraid to tell you when they think you haven't perfrormed. "I remember one time at Maywood where I drove six winners on a fourteen race card." " When I went to the carpark at the end of the night, they had put my car up on blocks and taken the wheels."  "Someone had written on the windscreen to drive better," Tim told the crowd last night. As Tim explained last night there are no driving fees in North America and drivers are only paid five per cent of all stakes won. The year Tim won 1189 races was full on from start to finish. " I had Xmas day and Super Bowl Sunday off but drove every other day of the year so you earn your money." "The rules vary from state to state which can make it tricky at times," Tim said. Tim was very clear on the most important factor in his continuing success. "I wouldn't be where I am or had the success I've had without Ashley's support.' " We are are a team and that's what lets me do what I do." "She understands what I'm doing which makes things so much easier," Tim said. One of the highlights of the night was the interaction between Tim and Hall Of Fame Thoroughbred trainer Jim Gibbs. Jim was effusive in his praise of the presentation given by Tim and thought a recording of it would make a great instruction tool for young galloping apprentices in New Zealand. With that in mind it is now planned to record Tuesday nights presentation in Christchurch. Special thanks must go to Noel Kennard who has organised both the public meetings and has taken a week off to be a tour guide for Tim and Ashley during their time in New Zealand. Tim conducts his second public meeting tomorrow night at the Spectators Bar at Addington Raceway and we highly recommend that if you can get there, you do. Its well worth it. For those wanting to keep up with Tim you can do so at Harnesslink Media

3rd February 2015 - Over the last 12 months Addington has contributed significantly to a number of local charities and been involved in the community to make a positive difference. Throughout 2014 a huge contribution was made to “The Breakfast Club”, supporting Aranui High School and Linwood College by supplying breakfast twice a week for approximately 600 students. This ensured that a large number of under privileged students were guaranteed a hearty and healthy breakfast that many would have normally gone without. As a result, students were fuelled up and focussed on their schooling and education. “The Breakfast Club” will continue into 2015. In October last year Addington took part in an initiative with the Canterbury Rugby Football Union whereby we gave away 7,500 tickets to the Canterbury versus Tasman ITM rugby match to local community organisations including schools, charities and retirement homes. This initiative extended to members of The Met, owners, trainers, drivers and to our business partners. Later this year we will be undertaking the initiative again. During Cup Week in November we partnered with St John and Ronald McDonald South Island. Volunteers from St John sold our race books on Cup and Show Day and Ronald McDonald South Island volunteers sold Cup Day pins with both organisations receiving a significant donation. Late last year our bar and bistro Spectators got behind the Christchurch City Mission through our “Can for a Coffee” promotion. By bringing in a can of food, customers were given a free coffee. Hundreds of cans were bought in and donated to the Christchurch City Mission just before Christmas. We have also donated recently to Heart Kids NZ, Fostering Kids Family Fun Day, The Kids Foundation, Going Bananas Show – Brain Injured Children, Lions Club of Christchurch South and Rotary Club of Avonhead Charitable Trust. It it.s important to Addington that we reach out to our local community and support many charitable and not for profit organisations. Our support by way of sponsorship or donations plays a vital part to many community organisations ensuring they continue to operate within a positive environment. Ged Mooar Marketing & Commercial Manager Addington

Absent owners were a feature of All Stars night out at Addington but their horses didn't mind-and Natalie certainly coped well. Diane Cournane, breeder and part-owner of Fight For Glory was on her last day of business  in the deep south and couldn't  really be away from that. Ann Gibbs has had a leg injury which put her out of contention in the same race. Phil and Glenys Kennard along with Neil Pilcher are also co-owners of Follow The Stars and headed off early to Melbourne leaving Phil Creighton to carry the flag. And Willow and King Denny,  are raced by Australians Jean Feiss and Merv and Meg Butterworth respectively who will also be tending to races and sales on the home front this weekend. Border Control ended a period of frustration for his owners winning the Summer Cup after another quality drive from Natalie. He had had only one start since last May when wear and tear of a testing career took its toll. Because of his lack of racing perhaps, Natalie allowed him to settle off the pace early. "They went real quick for him anyway but I was happy to let him settle" Natalie said. "Actually the race worked out good for us." "I had to go when I did which meant being parked but they went some easy sectionals in the middle there and that suited us." "He will head to Auckland now, he is up with the best when he is right." "They ran a 26.5 quarter and he handled that well" The mile record holder (1.50.5) is just under $500,000 in earnings and has won virtually half of his 37 race starts. Fight For Glory was driven a treat by Natalie -and these days we expect nothing less !  She sent Fight for Glory early then let "filly to beat" Delightful Lana take over giving her the passing lane. Fight for Glory, which had raced so well in Auckland with little luck, snuck through easily and nailed the rich $85,000 first prize Willow  was a trifle unfortunate taking some time to work into the clear in the Mares Special and was beaten a neck.  "We had had a good run but she just had to go around a couple of horses  at the turn and the winner had a lovely trip in the trail so that was the difference" King Denny just showed sheer class winning the final event. Admittedly on what he had shown in the past he would be expected to beat a field like this but he had blotted his copybook in the south. Mark put that down to freshness and was proven right. Natalie drove him confidently sitting out the back until the 1100m then circling the field, going clear and never being under pressure. The results meant that at the end of January Natalie's sensational driving record at Addington means she has only been further back than fourth three times in 27 drives Courtesy Of All Stars Racing Stables - Check site here  

Southern harness racing trainers are use to Canterbury raiders coming down south and plundering there races on a regular basis. Tonight in the $24,500 Alabar Super Series Final at Addington, the southerners got a bit of their own back when they trifected the race and shut out the Canterbury locals. The race was won at the start by the diminutive American Ideal three year old Tas Man Bromac when he made a brilliant beginning off ten metres and was up second after 200 metres. Trainer/Driver Nathan Williamson slowly worked him to the front before handing up to the Tony Barron trained Delightful Dash with Dexter Dunn in the bike. Tas Man Bromac got a lovely trip in the trail on Delightful Dash's back after that and sprinted  up the passing lane for a comfortable victory by 1 1/4 lengths over a game Delightful Dash. Al Raza, trained at Roxburgh by Geoff and Jude Knight looped the field with a lap to go and landed in the one by one . Out on the turn in plenty of time, she fought on gamely for third to round out the trifecta for the southerners. Nathan thought the brilliant beginning by Tas Man Bromac was what won him the race. " He has got such great manners and landing the trail from the 10 metres mark is what won him the race." " Delightful Dash has gone super as well but the great beginning we made has told in the end," Nathan said.  Tonights win was the three year olds sixth  win from just ten starts but Nathan is not entertaining thoughts of a Derby start. " He is just a length below the top ones so we will stick to the original plan. " Our aim all season has been the Southern Supremacy Final and thats we we are aiming him, " Nathan said. The fact that the trifecta was made up of southern trained runners hadn't escaped the young trainer either. " Don't forget to mention that the first three home were all southerners" was Nathan's last comment tonight as he headed off to the swabbing box. Harnesslink Media.    

A couple of harness racing trainers who were happier than most to hear of Adore Me's attack on the Victoria and Hunter Cups were Greg and Nina Hope. It has been quite frustrating for the Woodend based couple to repeatedly line their star mare Helena Jet up against Adore Me over the last 12 months and know deep down that Adore Me had the wood on them. Helena Jet's last three runs against Adore Me have resulted in a second in the $150,000 Harness Jewels at Cambridge, a second in the $30,000 Northern Breeders Stakes at Alexandra Park and a second in the $100,000 Queen Of Hearts at Alexandra Park so to not have to face Adore Me in the $40,000 Garrards Premier Championship at the end of the month brought a smile to co-trainer Greg Hope's face when he spoke to Harnesslink today. "Adore Me is just a champion and arguably the best horse in the country so for her to be in Australia gives us a real chance." "Helena Jet has been going great races lately but Adore Me is a champion," Greg said. Sent south to contest the Oaks and Nevele R final as a three year old by her northern owners, Helena Jet failed to impress Greg when he first worked her. " She works like an average maiden at home and even now her work is not that flash." "I wasn't that confident when I first took her to the races at Addington." "Ricky May (driver) told me afterwards that she warmed up poorly as well but soon as she turned to get on the gate in the score up she was all business." "She went 1:54.9 that night and I knew then that she was everything her owners said she was," Greg said. Greg is confident that the daughter of Jeremes Jet is ready to step up in the the absence of Adore Me. "She is a ferocious competitor when she gets out on the track." "She can get really keen so we use a colt bit on her to make her a bit easier to control," Greg said. While several other runners such as Lancewood Lizzie and Venus Serena will have their admirers, the performances of Helena Jet behind Adore Me over the last few months means she is the one they all have to beat on January 30th at Addington. Harnesslink Media

If you thought New Year’s Jay was no hope of winning turning for home at Addington last night, don’t worry, you’re not alone - Jonny Cox was thinking exactly the same thing. Stone mother-less upon straightening in with a wall of horses in front of them, Cox and New Year’s Jay’s chances looked forlorn, but somehow they found clear air and the speed the seven-year-old mare showed to run past a tidy field of pacing mares was incredible. “We had no hope on the bend,’’ Cox said. “But when I pulled the plugs and asked her to run, she literally took off. “It was scary how quickly she grabbed the bit and ran past them.’’ The performance left a fair few heads shaking but while initially surprised in the manner in which she did it, Cox wasn’t surprised that she did and it’s forced him and his training partner, Amber Hoffman, into pushing their star pacer into the deep end. That means taking on the best mares going round in the Premiers Mares’ Championship at Addington on January 30, well almost all of the best mares in the country. The race will be missing champion mare Adore Me, and while her omission is a shame for the race itself – it does leave a very even field of talented mares to tackle the Group One feature with Venus Serena, Helena Jet, Here We Go Again and Pemberton Shard as well as others. “With Adore Me not there is seems the perfect time to give her a shot at taking on the best. “We will get a good line on where we are at then. “She’s going to draw well with the preferential barrier draw system and the speed she showed tonight will help without doubt.’’ Following the Premier Mares’ Championship, New Year’s Jay will now be eligible to compete in the Prodigal Seelster Summer of Speed Final at Ashburton on February 7. “We have a few options up our sleeve which is great. “The final of that series looks right up her alley.’’ Incredibly the win of New Year’s Jay was the first for Cox and Hoffman since the start of December and it took their tally for the season to 12. Matt Markham - Courtesy Of Harness Racing New Zealand  

Harness racing enthusiasts in Australasia who have been around a wee while will have no trouble remembering the champion racemare Pride Of Petite. The pint size mare by Royal Prestige was a major player in all the big trotting races during the mid 1990s and by the time of her retirement had won 35 races in Australasia from Dominion Handicaps to Inter - Dominion Finals and even qualified for the Elitloop final in Sweden. Herself a daughter of a champion racemare in Petite Evander who won 48 races in New Zealand and North America, Pride Of Petite has done a fine job at stud without being able to leave one as good as herself. The best of her progeny was undoubtedly Petite Sunset who ran second in the Trotting Oaks and earned $115,070 on the track. Purchased by well known and successful breeders Lex and Heather Williams from Waimate in South Canterbury, Petite Sunset first produced a Monarchy filly which as Petite Royal has already won a race from the Robbie Holmes barn. It was while foaling her second foal to Angus Hall that Petite Sunset died and Heather  Williams thought they might lose the foal as well. "We lost the mare and we thought we would lose her"  "She was bottle reared and we called her Lucky-lucky to be alive" Heather said. Retained by the Williams, the aptly named Petite One was placed with the powerful Purdon/ Rasmussen barn and she didn't take long to display a touch of class. Debuting at Addington in July last year as a late 2 year old, Petite One did plenty of work but was still too strong for her maiden rivals. Put aside straight afterwards, Petite One reappeared at Auckland in early December and in four starts at Alexandra Park during last month she has clocked up two wins and two placings and looked better with every run. Her latest run on New Years Eve was evidence that this is a filly of real class. Racing over 2700 metres for the first time, Petite One was a touch slow early and settled three back on the inner early before angling into the one out one back position with 1600 metres to go. There she stayed until the 500 metres mark where driver Mark Purdon sent her after the pacemaking Al Bundy and she grabbed him late in the race for an impressive win. Petite One trotted the 2700 metres in 3:29.5 from a stand which was a new New Zealand record for a 3 year old trotting filly. Just as impressive were her closing sectionals of 58.4 and 27.9 Mark Purdon was more than pleased by the performance of the daughter of  Angus Hall.. "She will go home now. She has done a wonderful job up here" Mark said. While it is early in her career to be making comparisons with her illustrious close relation Pride Of Petite, Petite One is very similar in many respects and her progress will be closely followed by many enthusiasts who remember her grand - dam. Harnesslink Media  

Canterbury harness racing trainer Steve Dolan has been going through a bit of a quiet patch lately by his own high standards but a couple of recent acquisitions to the stable look capable of turning that around. The Badlands Hanover gelding Cimarron had his first start for the stable yesterday at Motukarara and didn't disappoint with a nice run for a close up second to the smart Big Texas and it was a run that suggested that he won't be a maiden for long. Steve brought the horse for a syndicate of a dozen people as a low cost entry into harness racing for the group. " He was a cheapie I brought for a syndicate of new owners to let them experience the thrill of racing a horse." "He is no star but he will pick up a race or two and hopefully convert a few of the new owners into long term owners," Steve told Harnesslink today. Cimarron is from the Astreos mare Samantha B who is a half sister to the smart Blackjacky ($54,104) while the grand dam Rare Vintage is a half sister to the former outstanding pacer Impressionist 1:57.9 ($427,005)  The other recent purchase for stable clients was the 4 year old Man Around Town gelding Nui Toc Tien who after an unlucky third at Addington first up for the stable had won his next start with a fair degree of authority at Rangiora last week. That win qualified Nui Toc Tien for the $12,000 Wakefield and Williams Grass Track Championship final at Motukarara yesterday but he had the misfortune to draw the outside of the second row for the mobile 2000 metres race. Driver Dexter Dunn sent him forward early and he worked to the front at the 1200 metres mark. Although hotly challenged early in the run home, Nui Toc Tien really dug deep  when Dexter asked him and he went strongly to the line for another authorative victory. Purchased off breeder/trainer Neil Ure after a smart run for second at Ashburton during Cup Week, Steve thinks that Nui Toc Tien has a bright future. " He was recommended to one of my owners Mark Wooton by Mitchell Kerr as a horse with a future." "We purchased him off Neil Ure and he had done a great job with him and it was a pleasure to buy such a well educated and conditioned horse." "He is a lovely type with both a great gait and speed and has a super attitude as well" "Dexter really likes him and said his win yesterday was a lot easier than it looked," Steve said. Steve has decided a short break of three weeks is in order now and then he will map out a programme for Nui Toc Tien. "I think he has a big future and could go a wee way," Steve said. Although you wouldn't call Nui Toc Tien a "blue blood" being by Man Around Town from a Falcon's Icon mare, his maternal family is littered with outstanding horses. Champion racemares in Arania and Hurrania are close up in his maternal line and his dam Nui Thi Vai is closely related to such smart types as Smooth Trickster 1:54.3 ($156,874), Pulse 1:50 ($196,551) and Glenroydon 1:51.3 ($119,791) to mention just a few. Steve Dolan has developed a reputation as an astute trainer with an eye for a promising horse and his two recent purchases have only further built on that reputation. Harnesslink Media   

The ever decreasing numbers of harness racing  mares being bred makes it essential that we get the best use of those horses we do have racing and there can be little doubt that the drop back system is helping in that regard. Available to all horses 4 years + older who have not won in their last ten starts, the drop back provision has meant a new lease of life for a lot of horses and kept a lot of horses racing when otherwise they would have been retired or sold. One of the latest examples to take advantage of the system is Friday nights winner at Addington Raceway in Dixie Commando.  A six win mare, Dixie Commando last raced before Friday night in May against the likes of Kincaslough, Jaccka Justy and Dr Hook and she finished a tidy fourth on that occasion. With the drop back to a nine rating Dixie Commando sneaked into the C2-C4 trot over 1950 metres and co - trainer and driver James Geddes thought she would be hard to beat. " It was a big drop back in class to what she had been racing and even though she drew barrier nine I thought she would be very hard to beat." " She has always gone good fresh in the past so she had a lot in her favour on Friday night," James told Harnesslink yesterday. James has always had a lot of time for the daughter of CR Commando. " She is such a beautifully gaited mare and lovely to do anything with." "High speed is her other biggest attribute so the mobile sprints suit her," James said. Badly injured as a 5 year old, Dixie Commando had a pastern screwed together but the injury has had no long term affects on the mare. " She doesn't do much at home at all to be honest" "She is quite an athletic type and we just keep her ticking over," James said. On Friday night James and Dixie Commando made a flyer from barrier 9 and were able to slip into the trail behind the tearaway early leader The Bog. With The Bog setting a quick tempo in front, James never had to leave the trail until 150 metres from the finish and quickly claimed The Bog for a comfortable victory with the best of the rest being Astrapi who was 2 3/4 lengths away in third. Dixie Commando trotted the 1950 metres in 2:25.7, a mile rate of 2:00.2 It was Dixie Commando's 7th career victory and along with 22 placings she has now earned $76,139. James said serious consideration was given to sending Dixie Commando to the breeding barn earlier in the season. " We did give it serious consideration but with the drop back system in play we thought their might be a win or two in her yet," James said. When Dixie Commando does retire to the breeding barn, she has plenty to recommend her for that role. Dixie Commando is a daughter of the Sundon mare Galleons Tribute who is a half sister to the outstanding broodmare Rob The Nest who has left such standouts as Galleons Assassin 1:55.4 ($327,286) and King Of Strathfield 1:56.8 ($253,950) amongst a plethora of talented trotters. The way Dixie Commando won on Friday night however means that may not happen any time soon. Harnesslink Media  

Three hundred Catholics converged on Addington Metropolitan Raceway in Christchurch in November for an evening of harness racing celebrities, dining, and the inaugural John Paul II Centre for Life, “Parish Priest Punter of the Year”. Sponsored races such as the J. Butler & Co & Mairehau Catholic Parish Pace, and John Paul II Centre for Life Handicap Trot, created an evangelistic atmosphere for the meeting. The evening brought parishioners together, and raised awareness of and funds for the John Paul II Centre for Life. Fairy money of $100 a race was allocated for each priest’s betting. As competition intensified, Fr Paulo Filoali-i hurried down the stairs, past the birdcage, and onto the track. He was seen racing down the course in the mobile barrier starter truck, no doubt to gain a closer assessment of racing form, tinged with a taste for speed. This same ploy was used by Fr Anthony Prendergast, from St Theresa’s parish, Riccarton. Race six saw Fr Bill Middleton’s horse, Donaldson, cheered on with great fervour. Faces pushed up to the glass window of the Silks Lounge. All eyes were on Donaldson as the horses raced for the finish line. Well, almost all. It is said Fr Dan Doyle, parish priest of Ferrymead-Lyttelton, had his fairy money on Dr Hook, who won by a nose. Fr Doyle’s smile grew with every race and by race 10 the evidence was clear. He became the first John Paul II Centre for Life “Parish Priest Punter of the Year”, receiving the trophy, a beautiful bronze harness horse in a glass case. The initiator of the evening, diocese programme director Phil Gourdie, has had more than 40 winners in harness racing. MC Jack O’Donnell spent 30 years as race commentator in the Wairarapa, Nelson-Marlborough area and on the West Coast. He was president of the Greymouth Jockey Club and the New Zealand Racing Conference. He raced gallopers and harness horses. Bishop Barry Jones spoke of the centre’s work as being close to his heart, supporting the Gospel of Life so powerfully preached by St John Paul II, who knew the culture of death threatens society in many ways. The centre, which is available to the whole community, he said, puts time, effort and resources into honouring the dignity of persons when they are under threat. Bishop Jones, who is patron of the centre, established a trust in 2011. In one year the centre fielded 1217 phone calls, 75 pregnancy consultations and 59 after hours calls. It distributed 95 packets of nappies, 11 high chairs, 12 bassinets, 25 cots and 14 prams. One hundred and fifty five donations of baby clothes were given out, and 127 layettes. The centre facilitated the Catholic family camp, with a theme of raising kids Catholic, giving them roots and wings. by Jenny McPhee Reprinted with permission of the NZ Catholic

Nominations closed on Wednesday 17 December with the Met for the running of the 2015 Muscara Standardbreds New Zealand Derby at Addington on Friday 27 March.   At the time of closing, 44 three year old pacers had been nominated for the prestigious event, that this year carries a total stake of $200,000, an increase of $25,000 from 2014.   Nominations included 12 from leading Canterbury trainers Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen.    Addington’s Racing Manager Brian Rabbitt was happy with the number of nominations. “It is very pleasing to receive such a high level of nominations for this time honoured event. Our three year old crop this year is of extremely high quality and we’ll be looking forward to hopefully carding a full field on 27 March.”   Any horse not nominated, may upon making the first late entry fee of $1,000 plus GST per horse become eligible. This fee is due no later than 3pm NZ time on Wednesday 14 January.   A fixed odds book on the nominations will be released by the TAB at noon on Monday 22 December..   Nominations   1 Art Union 2 Better Scoot 3 Bettor Spirits 4 Bracken Ridge 5 Brilliant Strike 6 Chachingchaching 7 Change Stride 8 Classical Art 9 Costa Del Magnifico 10 Cullect The Gold 11 Downunder Stride 12 Duke Of Albany 13 Express Stride 14 Field Marshal 15 Fight For Glory 16 Follow The Stars 17 Have Faith In Me 18 Highview Freddy 19 Hughie Green 20 Hug The Wind 21 Itz Bettor To Win 22 Jay Dub 23 Jonny B Good 24 Kept Under Wraps 25 Kiwi Legend 26 Linda Lovegrace 27 Major Stare 28 Major Stride 29 McArdle Star 30 Mighty Flying Major 31 My Kiwi Mate 32 Nero Star 33 Prince Of Pops 34 Pulp Fiction 35 Rakarolla 36 Robbie Burns 37 Say My Name 38 Sluggem 39 Smithy 40 Strike The Gold 41 Supersonic Miss 42 The Lion's Roar 43 Titan Banner 44 Zin Zan   Ged Mooar

19 December. This is a totally new concept for the harness racing industry. Harness 5000 is a race limited to the progeny of sire’s who stood at an advertised fee of $5,000 or less (see guideline list below of eligible Pacing Sires). Eligibility is for those 3YO pacers who were nominated for the NZ Sires’ Stakes #31 as foals or the NZ Yearling Sales Series #23. Where any horse was not nominated, if their sire was nominated for Sires’ Stakes a late entry fee of $1,000 plus GST may be payable. If the sire wasn’t nominated either the late entry fee is $2,000 plus GST. Artificial insemination and transport of chilled semen allow our leading Sires to serve large books of mares. While this is great for them commercially it makes it harder for others to break into that domain. This race is about an opportunity for the progeny of those other stallions. We are greatly indebted to The Met, HRNZ and the NZ Sires’ Stakes Board for seeing the need and jointly funding this new initiative. Stallions (Sires’ Stakes eligible) Artiscape                           Major In Art Attorney General             Ohoka Arizona Auckland Reactor           Pacific Fella Badlands Hanover          Panpacificflight Changeover                     P Forty Seven Charles Bronson             Pay Me Christian Christian Fire                    Red River Hanover Elsu                                    Righteous Hanover Extreme Three                  Riverboat King Flashing Red                    Royal Mattjesty Four Starzzz Shark          Safari Gotta Go Cullect               Sands A Flyin Gotta Go Cullen               Santanna Blue Chip Holmes Hanover             Shadow Play Julius Caesar                   Stonebridge Regal Justa Tiger Klondike Kid Washington VC Live Or Die Bruce Barlass                              Ged Mooar PGG Wrightson                            Addington

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