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THE Addington Harness Racing New Zealand Ranking Committee had a busy time yesterday dealing to two sets of rankings for the first time at its initial meeting for 2015. In a rare situation, a marked increase in Australian and international nominations made comparing the various merits of horses more difficult, but it is exciting to see so many varied form-lines coming together for races like the $750,000 Christchurch Casino NZ Trotting Cup and the $250,000 Hellers Dominion. The NZ Trotting Cup rankings are headed by last season's 'Horse of the Year' Christen Me, with Australian nomination and Hunter Cup winner Arden Rooney at two being the top ranked visitor. While the NZ Cup is missing stars such as Adore Me and Terror To Love, a new guard is set to take their place. The committee was impressed with the overall depth and quality of those nominated, which suggests an intriguing spring build-up is in store. There is the potential to have a large group of quality up-and-comers clambering spots in the lead-up to harness racing's great race. In the Dominion, defending champion Jaccka Justy heads the list, just ahead of Trotter of the Year, Stent and the ever-present Sheemon. An exciting aspect is the addition of two well-performed European trotters. This is sure to add a significant edge to the Dominion and its lead-up. Ranking the Hellers Dominion proved to be an interesting process for the committee. Addington Racing Manager Brian Rabbit explains; "It's tremendous having the international flavour adding to the Dominion.: "The Australian nominations are well credentialed, which is great for the potential depth of the race but that also gave us some headaches." "The trickiest part for the committee was weighing up the two European horses, Used To Me and Daryl Boko." "Both have competed very well in the hotbed of European trotting." "Used To Me is a proven top-level type performer in France, while Daryl Boko ran third when favourite in the Finnish Derby last year, a Group 1 race worth 221,000 Euros and brings over solid Swedish form." "We had to exercise discretion for the European pair, as they clearly fall outside of what the ranking criteria was introduced to cover." The connections of smart trotter Boizel have made a Late Payment to nominate and he now takes the total number of Hellers Dominion nominations to 39. The next set of rankings will be released following a committee meeting on Tuesday 8 September after the Maurice Holmes Vase on September 4. If you require any further information on this, please do not hesitate to contact the Racing Department at HRNZ on 03) 964 1200 or Brian Rabbitt at Addington Raceway on 03) 338 9094. Courtney Clarke New Zealand Cup Rankings 1) Christen Me 2) Arden Rooney 3) Smolda 4) Franco Nelson 5) Franco Ledger 6) Sky Major 7) Ohoka Punter 8) Tiger Tara 9) Corzin Terror 10) Easy On The Eye 11) Venus Serena 12) Lancewood Lizzie 13) Mossdale Conner 14) Forever Gold 15) Jason Rulz 16) Belkmyster 17) Te Kawau 18) Dalton Bromac 19) Alleluia 20) Messini 21) Bit Of A Legend 22) Saveapatrol 23) Choise Achiever 24) Mach Beauty 25) Chancellor Cullen 26) Brilliant Strike 27) Quick As A Trick 28) Lewy Risk 29) Jivin Cullen 30) Ideal Success 31) Mighty Flying Mac 32) Mach’s Gladiator 33) Ballindooley 34) Bettor Dream 35) No Doctor Needed 36) Major Bubbles 37) Delightful Dash 38) Major Star 39) Provocative Prince 40) Zakspatrol   Dominion Handicap Rankings 1) Jaccka Justy 2) Stent 3) Sheemon 4) Master Lavros 5) Used To Me 6) Kincaslough 7) Alley Way 8) Vincennes 9) One Over Da Moon 10) Jag’s Invasion 11) King Denny 12) Habibti 13) Daryl Boko 14) Clover Don 15) Prime Power 16) Realmein 17) Kyvalley Blur 18) Maori Time  19) Springbank Sam 20) Speeding Spur 21) Royal Aspirations 22) Overanova 23) Boizel 24) Valmagne 25) Cool Cobber 26) Uncas 27) Monbet 28) Majestic Time 29) Quite A Moment 30) Escapee 31) Harrysul 32) Live The Dream 33) Sol Invictus 34) Al Bundy 35) Leanne’s Boy 36) Monty Python 37) Waterloo Sunset 38) Wingsonhai 39) Prestine  

Every week, Harnesslink produces the harness racing ringaround where a group of twenty odd of our leading drivers give us their best tips for the weekend racing. Results in the main have been good with the odd shocker thrown in but last night at Addington Raceway the tipsters had a night to remember. The drivers selected horses in seven races last night at Addington and bagged five winners which is a great strike rate. In started in the first when Gavin Smith selected Paris Princess who led form go to whoa and returned a healthy dividend of $6:60 Blair Orange was the next tipster to see the winners circle with the very talented Southern GNP who was backed in very short but never gave his supporters any cause for concern with an effortless victory. Onto race 6 and Mark Jones was very bullish around the chances of Franco Harrington and the way he cruised to the front and ran away and hid in the home straight showed that his confidence was not misplaced. In race 8, North Canterbury trainer/driver Robbie Holmes had two horses involved in the race and he was very keen on the chances of Clean Break with Gavin Smith in the bike even from the outside of the gate, with Robbie taking the reins on the stablemate Tehoro Holly. The win dividend of $8:70 for Clean Break was a great return for the inform trotter. As happens, the best was saved for last. Three of our tipsters chose their best drives of the week in race 9 last night. Ricky May, John Dunn and Bob Butt were all keen on the chances of their runners and as it turned out none of them were far off the mark. John Dunn worked to the lead on Mr Meddle with Bob Butt settling in the trail with Justalittlebettor and Ricky May and Change The Rulz snookered away four back on the inner. John got away with a couple of cheap quarters in front with Mr Meddle which left enough in the tank to fight off all the challengers in the home straight. Ricky May and Change The Rulz flashed late for an unlucky second just in front of Justalittlebettor and Bob Butt who held third. Mr Meddle paid $10:90 for the win with the quinella paying $15:30 and the trifecta a healthy $185:20 Throw in the double result of Clean Break and Mr Meddle of $49:50 and followers of the ringaround should have made plenty last night. Harnesslink Media

Harness racing trainer Sam Smolenski is a newcomer to the training ranks in New Zealand but it hasn't taken him long to chalk up his first training win. Last night in the maiden 1950 mobile trot at Addington Raceway, Sam had two runners and both were well supported in the market. Paris Princess and Gleneleven were both given a big rap by Sam when he spoke to Harnesslink earlier on Friday. Sam thought they were both in the right shape to win if things went their way but found it hard to favour one over the other. As the gate went, Gavin Smith sent Paris Princess forward with purpose but it took him nearly 400 metres to grab the lead from Dragon Sun. Gleneleven in the meantime had gone off stride out wide and took little further part in proceedings. After the early burn, Gavin was able to button off the speed with Paris Princess and got away with a couple of cheap quarters. The warm favourite Cuddly Jess with Jonny Cox in the bike had worked forward to the death seat outside Paris Princess with a lap to travel and it was clear a long way from home that these two would fight out the finish. Paris Princess started to really up  the tempo from the 500 metres mark and although Cuddly Jess stayed with her, Paris Princess had her covered in the home straight. Paris Princess trotted the 1950 metres in 2:30.5 with closing sectionals of 60 and 28.8. One group who were more than happy with the result was the TAB who had taken several large four figure bets on Cuddly Jess. Training trotters is a specialized part of harness racing but Sam's mentor Fred Fletcher has long been recognized as one of the best exponents at it in New Zealand and Sam seems set to follow in his footsteps. Harnesslink Media  

One of the newest harness racing trainers on the New Zealand scene is Sam Smolenski who to date has only lined up three runners since taking out  a trainers license late last season. On Friday night at  Addington Raceway, Sam has two runners engaged in the maiden mobile trot over 1950 metres. Paris Princess, to be driven by Gavin Smith has drawn nicely at barrier five and although the form line may look a bit bleak, there is no doubting the ability. The daughter of Diedre Don won a recent trial at Ashburton over 2400 metres in a smart 3:08.9 with terrific closing sectionals of 57.7 and 27.7 and if she was to bring that form to Addington tonight she would be incredibly hard to hold out. Sams other runner is Gleneleven who has drawn barrier seven and is to be driven by Blair Orange. A smart second on debut, Gleneleven looked out of sorts at his next start at Rangiora in the slush last Sunday, breaking early and again in the home straight which ended up in him being disqualified. With the aid of the mobile the son of Monkey Bones rates as a big winning chance tonight. Sam found it hard to separate the pair when speaking to Harnesslink earlier today. " I am expecting a big run from both of them tonight and there is not that much between them at this stage." " Paris Princess will really appreciate the mobile." " She just doesn't concentrate when in standing starts but she will be fine behind the mobile and I would be surprised if she galloped tonight." " Gleneleven had an issue in his neck at Rangiora, getting on one rein the whole way and that is why he broke." " I have had him treated post race and his work this week has been great so I am expecting him to go a big race tonight." "Long term I think Gleneleven will be the better of the two horses and I think he will go a fair way," Sam said. With any kind of luck, Sam looks a big chance to have his first winner as a trainer in race 1 at Addington tonight. Harnesslink Media

Although his owners have been the beneficiary of some Addington Met Multiplier bonus rewards over the last 12 months, Overport Lodge harness racing trainer Mark Jones believes Addington need to do more with basic stake levels. After a successful winter north campaign, Mark netted just over $77,000 for his owners with eight horses. All, apart from Zakspatrol, have returned to Canterbury to freshen for spring racing. Zakspatrol is under offer to North American interests and is likely to head Stateside later this month. “Addington really need to lift their stakes,” Mark concluded after reviewing the results. “Kowhai Monarch earned $6300 winning a maiden trot the same night Expresso Martini got just over $4k for winning a strong one-win race at Addington,” he said. “Perissa went a 1:56 mile rate and earned less than a $4k winning stake at Addington.” Intermediate-grade trotter Sunoflindenny and maiden trotter Landora’s Girl were the only two of his team unable to crack north wins, but the former earned early $9000 in place money in seven starts. “Zakspatrol was a big winner, earning near $20k when he could have hardly found a suitable race in Canterbury,” he said. The big Art Major gelding notched his third junior drivers race win on the trip at Cambridge last week, and his second on end in the hands of northern junior Michael Blakemore. He gets another chance to add to his bankroll in a $13,500 C2-4 pace at Auckland this Friday night. “Pomme Roy got more for winning in Auckland than the whole stake of a race in Canterbury!,” he said. The breakdown of his north winter earners was: Rocker Band (five starts, Cambridge win, $4800). Zakspatrol (seven starts, three wins, $17,844). Kowhai Monarch (seven starts, one win, $7586). Sunoflindenny (seven starts, $8700). Real Torque (five starts, two wins, $12,272 Pomme Roy (six starts, two wins, $14,903). Saveapatrol (two starts, Thames Cup win, $10,750). Landora’s Girl (five maiden starts, $1287). “It was a very successful trip for my owners and the club were very helpful,” Mark said. “They put the horses in the right race and the club use the junior concessions well.” Mark had his northern race team based at Pukekohe through late June until early August. “A big thanks to Ray Green, and John and Lynne Street, for letting us stable at the first class Lincoln Farms,” he said. Courtesy of Mark Jones Racing Stables

Following eight successful running’s of the harness racing Seasonal Super Series held at Addington, the New Zealand Metropolitan Trotting Club (Met) will stage a ninth Alabar Super Series on Friday 9 October 2015. As well as some prominent trainers including Robert Dunn, Terry and Glenys Chmiel, Ken Barron, Tim Butt, Jamie Gameson, Nigel McGrath, Brendon McLellan, Cran Dalgety, Robbie Holmes, Brendon Hill, Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen, Nathan Williamson and Phil Williamson cashing in, wins have been achieved by Peter Bagrie, Brian Fahey, Gavin Cook, Craig Edmonds, Alex Hastie, Barry Ford, Don Ross, Noel Taylor and Kevin Townley. The ninth Series, to be staged also at Addington, will once again cater for lower grade horses with projected stakes totalling greater than $70,000 over three events. There will be opportunities for:  C0 pacers at 8 August 2015 – Stake $23,500  C1 to C2 pacers at 8 August 2015 – Stake $23,500  C0 to C2 trotters at 8 August 2015 – Stake $23,500 All starters in these races are to receive a minimum stake of $500. There is no enrolment fee payable. Field selection will be based on a points system. To qualify to start in these races on 9 October 2015, a horse must have started at least once at a Met meeting between 21 August 2015 and 2 October 2015. With five Met meetings at Addington during this period there is ample opportunity for owners and trainers to prepare their horses for the series. It is the intention of the NZMTC that a similar series will take place on 12 February 2016 under like conditions. Full details and conditions are to follow and can be viewed www.addington.co.nz. Alternatively, please call Brian, Richard or Colin at Addington’s Racing Department on (03) 338 9094. Ged Mooar Marketing & Commercial Manager Addington

Last month saw the running of the South of the Waitaki River Harness Racing Series held over three heats and culminating in a final at Addington Raceway on 31 July. The series catered for three year old and older pacers assessed at C1 at the closing of nominations for heat one, whilst being registered in the name of a trainer(s) based south of the Waitaki River as at 10 April. Held for the first time in July the series was well supported with 32 starters over the heats and final. The Trevor Proctor trained Tact Tate took out the $12,000 final and was also a heat winner. The Brendon “Snow” McLellan trained Wick was the winner of two heats. Snow commented “It gave me the opportunity to race some talented horses in races for good stakes at a quiet time of the year for us and we’ll be back up next year if the series returns.” The series saw a good level of tote turnovers with strong results showing support on and off the track from punters. The second heat on 16 July recorded $81,000 in total turnover, 25% above the average race figure for that meeting. It is the New Zealand Metropolitan Trotting Club’s intention to run the series again in July next year given the positive feedback received and the support from those involved. The South of the Waitaki River race held for the first time on Show Day during Cup Week last year when won by the Tony Barron trained Phoenix Warrior, will once again take place in 2015. This year will see a new sponsor with Brent and Sheree McIntyre’s Macca Lodge located in Riversdale, Northern Southland supporting the $20,000 race. To add further flavour from the south well known southern commentator Dave McDonald will be venturing north to call the race. Details about the “Macca Lodge South of the Waitaki River” will be posted shortly  on  www.addington.co.nz Ged Mooar Addington Raceway

It was almost fitting that trainer Cran Dalgety and driver Dexter Dunn were 19,000km away when Christen Me was honoured as the Harness Horse of the Year at the annual harness racing awards ceremony in Christchurch on Saturday night. Because for the last few weeks the stresses of long-distance travel have been challenging Dalgety as he's mapped out an ambitious early-season plan for the champion pacer. Dalgety joined pin-up driver Dunn in Ireland on Thursday where they are taking part in the Vincent Delaney Memorial weekend celebrations at Portmarnock Raceway in Dublin. It will be a welcome sojourn for Dalgety before the pending storm of racing which he admits will test even the country's most travelled campaigner in his seven-year-old season. Monday's trials at Addington will mark the beginning of the road for Christen Me which, if all goes to plan, will see the horse tilt at the New Zealand Cup on November 10 before flying 5000km to Perth for the gruelling  Interdominion series which starts just 17 days later. It's a challenging double but one which bookmakers have already signalled they believe he can achieve by posting him $3 favourite for the $750,000 Cup and $5.50 co-favourite for the $1.3 million Interdom Final on December 13. "I feel it's doable and I'm up for the challenge," said Dalgety who admitted it wasn't until he investigated all the travel options that the bold double was elevated from pipe-dream to reality. With West Australian officials keen to promote a tri-code carnival, flights from Melbourne had been laid on to transport horses inter-state, he said. "The only scary thing is they can't give us a 100 per cent guarantee on the exact dates but we still think we can do it. Getting a horse from the South Island to Perth is a big mission but he's had quite a bit of experience travelling now and I feel he has improved a little bit." Dalgety admitted it was a bit like "going into the unknown" tackling two feature carnivals so close together and so far apart but he is a dab hand at campaigning horses at a true Interdominion, and says he is excited by the return to the traditional format of three heats in a week and the final a week later. He last did it with top pacer Desperate Comment, who went into the 1996 Perth final as top points-scorer before running sixth to Young Mister Charles. And he repeated the dose the following year in Adelaide when Desperate Comment won two heats before running fifth to Our Sir Vancelot in the final. Everything Dalgety does in the next three months will be designed to have Christen Me primed for the dual assault – he's even planning on restricting him to only three lead-up races before the cup, compared with last year's four runs.  The first will be at Addington on September 5, when he will run in the $25,000 Holmes Vase (2600m), a race Christen Me could easily win given how pleased Dalgety is with how the horse looks. "I'm really excited and bushy-tailed where I am with him at the moment. He's been in work for more than three months and had seven weeks of fast work. "In his general  well-being, he's a touch ahead of last year and, physically, he's the bulkiest he's been. He's a touch overweight but that's what I've planned, I want 10 per cent extra to play with." Dalgety said sometimes people were brainwashed by the idea that once pacers reached the age of seven they were on the way down. "But he didn't have a hard time as a two and three-year-old and I think that's standing by him now. "And, while he's just had a great season, he had only 14 starts. If he'd been trained in Australia he would have had double that." Christen Me, raced by veteran Charlie Roberts and Vicky Purdon, won six of his nine starts in New Zealand, including the Group I NZ Free-for-all, Auckland Cup and Easter Cup. And he won three of his five starts in Australia, simply sublime in taking the Group I Miracle Mile and Victoria Cup.  His earnings of $1,187,443 clearly topped those of his close relation Adore Me ($796,563), who captured six votes in the Horse of the Year race. But the now retired Adore Me won the race Dalgety really wants, the NZ Cup. "Charlie was lucky enough to win the Cup with Adore Me last year and, if  I can win it for him this year with Christen Me, I'd feel like I'd really kicked a goal in my career. And my enthusiasm about him is as high as ever." It came as no surprise that Adore Me's sire Bettor's Delight won the stallion of the year award for the fifth time in a row, and her dam Scuse Me was named the broodmare of the year, also having produced the champion three-year-old Have Faith In Me. Roberts, naturally, got the gong for breeder of the year. Barry Lichter Reproduced with permission of Stuff NZ - Check site here

There is a fine line in harness racing between being a racehorse one day and a broodmare the next and that is the fine line that last nights Addington winner Justalittlebettor is walking at the moment. The six year old daughter of Bettors Delight is on her last campaign and will more than likely be served in the spring. Last night she was fresh up after a break of three and a half months from the track, but it was at her pet distance of 1950 metres. Drawing wide at barrier seven, driver Kimberly Butt dropped Justalittlebettor back early and she was still well back passing the 600 metres. But there had been plenty of speed on up front and as the front runners came back to the pack off the back straight there were moves galore out wide. Justalittlebettor got shunted five and then six wide as the field turned for home but kept coming and with a beautifully timed drive from Kimberly got her nose in front right on the line in a very tight finish with the first six home only separated by one tenth of a second. Justalittlebettor paced the 1950 metres on a cold wintry night in 2:23.2, a mile rate of 1:58.1 It was Justalittlebettor's fifth win and along with fifteen placings took her stake earnings over the $55,000 mark. Trainer and part owner Bob Butt was full of praise for Kimberly's drive. "She drove her perfectly." " She is a mare that needs the speed on up front and then just have one run at them and Kimberly timed her run to perfection." " However I am not sure that Justalittlebettor will be racing that much longer as she plenty to offer as a broodmare." " She has won five with a best mile time of 1:54.6pl and her dam Wipe The Floor won five so she has a bit going for her." " She is bred on similar lines to Waikiki Beach's dam being by Bettor's Delight with Windshield Wiper on the bottom line so we are leaning towards Somebeachsomewhere for her first mating,"  Bob said. Harnesslink Media  

Wyndham harness racing trainer Brendon McLellan is no stranger to having a good horse in his barn and in Wick he has another one to carry his blue and red colours with distinction. Brought up to Canterbury for the South Of the Waitaki series at Addington during July, Wick has just got better and bettor and even though he was badly drawn at barrier eight over the 1950 metres tonight in the $23,500 C0 and faster Alabar Super Series Final, he was made a warm favourite. Away well but not super quick from out wide, driver John Dunn had Wick in the three wide line early before working to the front with 1200 metres to go with Lucky Luciano and Gavin Smith taking a trail and Western Art and Ricky May facing the breeze. Nearing the turn John Dunn upped the ante and shot clear and although Lucky Luciano took some ground off him late, Wick won with a lot in hand. John Dunn was full of praise for the son of Panspacificflight post race. "He did that really easily and could have won have won by a lot more but I let him coast the last 100 metres tonight." " Every start he just gets better and has become a much more rounded racehorse." " He has got real speed and a bit of bottom to him and I think there is a fair bit of improvement in him yet," John said. Brendon McLellan was all smiles in the birdcage. " The South of Waitaki series has made this horse and he has come a long way in a short time." "He was always a bit of a big dummy but he has come of age up here." " He can have a wee break now and should come back better again," Brendon said. The South of Waitaki series was a great concept from the New Zealand Metropolitan Trotting Club over the winter and lets hope it becomes a permanent fixture on the racing calendar. Harnesslink Media  

The former harness racing trotting queen Escapee is back in full work. The former age group trotting queen was retired to stud in 2013 but she is now to attempt a comeback aimed principally at the Group 1 Dominion Handicap in November at Addington Raceway. She has been in work for some time at Rolleston under the direct eye of the All Star foreman Duane Marfisi who has taken a keen interest in her comeback which is a strong sign she can regain her peak form for owner Trevor Casey. Escapee had a filly foal in her absence to Muscle Hill but she is still only seven and at her best would be a match for nearly any open trotter about. Escapee was first or second in 20 of her 34 starts to date (11 wins) and has already won over $270,000. "It seemed worthwhile when you considered everything."  "She had a suspensory problem when I retired her but she is well over that and much more settled than she used to be now as an older mare as well." "She is still the only trotter around who has beaten Stent more times than he has beaten her." She has not been overraced and is still quite young as trotters go." " She is not that far away from the trials but if we have any problems with her I won't risk her, she can go straight back in the broodmare paddock," Trevor said Trevor's star trotter Stent is keeping his passport in the draw this year as far as North America goes. Invited to an  US$1,000,000 International trot at Yonkers on October 10th, Trevor has had to decline the invitation this year. " Stent has had a good break and there is just not enough time to get him ready for such a challenging race." "We would be taking on the best in the world and you can't do that on a rushed preparation." " I told the North Americans that if he continues this season to race as well as he did last season then we would love to come up and match him with the best next year," Trevor said Harnesslink Media

Leading harness racing trainer Cran Dalgety is never without some sire stakes contenders in his barn and tonight at Addington he lines up a three year old who looks a sire stakes horse in the making. Linton Shard is a big upstanding son of Changeover who is a half brother to both Smiling Shard 1:53.7 ($1,178,793) and Pemberton Shard 1:55.2 ($229.578) while his dam Sly Shard (4 wins) is a half sister to Sly Flyin 1:53.6 ($911,689) so he lacks nothing on the score of breeding. First produced in January - February of this year, Linton Shard raced and was competitive with Waikiki Beach and Chase The Dream at trials and workouts around Canterbury but looked the type that needed time and he was put aside and given a good break. Reappearing in mid July, Linton Shard impressed with an effortless win at the Rangiora workouts ten days ago, running home in 58 flat without being seriously asked. Tonight he faces a nice field of maidens with several handy runners but drawn at barrier two, Linton Shard should really be winning this if he has any sires stakes aspirations. Trainer Cran Dalgety has a bit of time for Linton Shard. " He did really well to qualify in the time he did back in February but he needed another six months to fill out into his frame." " He's come up really good and won at the workouts for "Red" last week so we'll have a go." " A race over 1950 metres might have been better for him first up but this was the only race for him," Cran said. Whatever he does tonight, it may pay to follow Linton Shard in his next few assignments as he looks a horse with a lot of upside. Harnesslink Media  

We are thrilled to announce that we are a finalist in the 2015 Champion Canterbury Business Awards, Retail/Hospitality category for a medium to large enterprise. One of three finalists we’re competing with Black Betty and High Country Salmon. New Zealand Metropolitan Trotting Club Chairman Barry Dent commented “this is a fantastic achievement for the organisation and staff and is one we will celebrate. The award is a culmination of a lot of hard work and effort from a lot of people across the business. There were a record number of entries this year and as Chairman I’m proud of the success.” The Awards ceremony where the winner will be announced is at Horncastle Arena on Wednesday 16 September. Ged Mooar  

Well known Canterbury breeder and owner Graham "Pup" Hulston has bred and raced a lot of smart racehorses over the years, some at group level. However Graham has never lost his passion for harness racing and a maiden trotting racing is still more than enough incentive to get him on track in the middle of winter. The horse in question tonight was The God Botherer who was having his eleventh lifetime start at Addington tonight. The son of Thanksgiving was away well from barrier three early for Chris McDowell   who had The God Botherer running along in front until 500 metres from home when Topnotch Titan swept to the lead for Craig Thornley. Chris didn't panic on The God Botherer though and once the passing lane became available he slowly but surely wore Topnotch Titan down. The margin at the line was only a neck but The God Botherer was going the best of anything on the line. The God Botherer trotted the 1950 metres from the mobile in the cool winter conditions in 2:31.3, a mile rate of 2:04.8 with closing sectionals of 61.1 and 29.9 Graham was all smiles in the birdcage post race. " Dave Senior brought the dam Lady Of The House from Maurice O'Leary when he had a despersal sale a few years ago." " A few of us came in and raced her with Dave and when she was finished racing we all stayed in and bred from her. " The God Botherer is her first foal and Neil (Munro) thinks he is another twelve months away from being at his best so we should have a bit of fun with him," Graham said. Graham has invested heavily in the harness racing industry over the years and deserves every bit of success that comes his way. Harnesslink Media

It is not unusual for leading harness racing trainer Phil Williamson to have multiple entries in trotting races but tonight at Addington, Phil has three two year olds entered in the maiden trot which is not something that happens that often. All three young trotters have shown ability at trials and workouts so to get a better line on the pecking order we spoke to Phil on how he rates his three runners. " Well there is not a lot between them to be honest." " They all go near enough without looking like being anything special." They are  all handy enough and it wouldn't surprise me if one of them won tonight. " You won't miss Blazing Under Fire as he has heaps of white on him." " He is qualified at both pacing and trotting but is a much nicer trotter so thats what we will race him as." " To be honest he would have to be the smallest horse racing in New Zealand." " Winners Shout is a nice horse who is bred to go all right on his dam's side but I think his sire might be holding him back a bit." " His manners are good and that will take you a fair way in maiden trot races." "Astral Ruler has had a run at the races so that is an advantage and he is probably the most reliable of them all." "Ricky May has the drive so he would have to be a real chance." " At home there is very little between them to be honest so I will be a lot wiser about them after tonight's race, Phil said. Phil Williamson is never short of a handy trotter and it wouldn't be a surprise to see one of his three two year olds take out the maiden trot tonight at Addington. Harnesslink Media

Not a bad week overall as our selectors added some value with their picks. As I have been reminded all week, the "Boss" topped the tipsters last week, throwing out Squaw ($12:80) at Rangiora. Other tipsters to join him in the winners circle were Maurice McKendry, Geoff Small, Tony Herlihy and Matthew Williamson while we had another four placegetters as well. This week we have four meetings and we have selections for them all. Kumeu - Thursday night Mark Jones - Gives Zakspatrol from barrier one a big chance of winning race 3 Todd MacFarlane - Thought Vulcan was a big chance to go one better this week and win race 6   Auckland - Friday night Steve Richardson - Keen on the chances of Djokovic in race 3 Peter Scaife - Very bullish about the chances of the recently gelded Vibhuti in race 4 Tony Herlihy - Rates Vice Consul as well overdue and a big winning chance, also in race 4 Steven Reid - Thinks Unforgiving can make it four in a row in a very crowded race 4 John Dunn - Reckons Joey Maguire is ready to strike and again it is in race 4 Maurice McKendry - Predictably he thought The Orange Agent could win again in race 6 Todd Mitchell - Gives Risk a big push to win race 7 Scott Phelan - Thinks from the draw Rocknroll Princess could win race 8   Addington - Friday night John Curtin - Thought Astral Ruler looked hard to beat in race 1 Brendon McLellan - Reckons Wick can make it three in a row in race 2 Gerard O'Reilly - Rates Goshawk a chance to upset them at odds in race 3 Tim Williams - Gives Eilish Aimee a real show of taking out race 5 Jim Curtin - Thought Gunpowder was going great at the moment and could win race 6 Blair Orange - Thinks McClinchie will be very hard to beat in race 8 Bob Butt - Gives Easy Rider a huge chance of clearing maidens in race 10   Kurow - Sunday afternoon Gavin Smith - Gives Paris Princess a good chance of leaving maidens in race1 Matthew Williamson - Thinks Snow Raker can cement his good form lately with a wine in race 4 Nathan Williamson - Rates Sun's Invasion a chance to win again in race 6 Brad Williamson - Reckons Princess Arts from the nice draw will be very hard to beat in race 7 Ricky May - Gives course specialist Live The Dream a big chance of winning race 9   Harnesslink Media  

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