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By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk    Showy chestnut Leaf Stride kept his undefeated record intact when winning the Haras des Trotteurs Sires’ Stakes Prelude Mobile Trot (1980m) at Addington Raceway on Friday night. The Phil Williamson-trained three-year-old was given a gun run in the trail behind race favourite Bitamuscle and driver Matthew Williamson was able to utilise the passing lane to get the better of his rivals and score by half a head over Son Of Patrick, who was bred by Williamson’s son Nathan. “I was thrilled with how it panned out,” Phil Williamson said. “On paper it looked like it might be run that way, get the trail and have our chance, and it turned out great.” Leaf Stride was victorious on debut at Addington last month, but Williamson admitted he was wary of the handy field he met on Friday. “I was respectful of all the other runners and nice races are never easy to win. It was a pretty star-studded line-up,” he said. “He is a nice horse, we have always known that. It has just been a matter of him delivering on what his potential is.”   Leaf Stride impressed Williamson as a younger horse and he was delighted to welcome him into his barn after he was purchased for $90,000 at the 2019 New Zealand Bloodstock Standardbred National Yearling Sale by Emilio and Maria Rosati. “He was a nice horse, I had seen him a few times from a foal,” Williamson said. “He will now head to the Sires Stakes and the Harness Millions.” Later in the night Williamson was pleased to see stablemate Jimmy Carter finish runner-up in the Clarkson Signs – In House Graphic Design Handicap Trot (2600m). “Jimmy Carter went a nice race. We were really pleased with that and it was good seeing his manners there,” Williamson said. “He has been racing well this time in. In that class at Addington there are a lot of nice horses around and you don’t get anything at Addington cheaply.” Williamson said Jimmy Carter will likely make a return trip to Addington next week. “There is a nice race for him next week, a $20,000 race up to rating 60 and he sits about 59, so he is in the right spot rating wise and with manners he would be a chance again.”

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk     Trotting maestro Paul Nairn will take a trio of square-gaiters to Addington Raceway on Friday and he believes they are all in with a chance. Unbeaten three-year-old Bitamuscle will be out to extend his winning streak to four in the Haras de Trotteurs Sires’s Stakes Prelude Mobile Trot (1980m) “He is nice, good-gaited horse,” Nairn said. “I am very happy with him, everything has gone to plan and he has trained on well since his last race.” The son of Muscle Hill will start from the outside of the front row with Bob Butt in the cart, and Nairn said it will be his biggest test to date. “His draw isn’t ideal, so we won’t be wanting too much bad luck from there. But in saying that, it’s not a big field,” Nairn said. “It’s probably the strongest field he has struck, there are quite a few nice ones in there.” All going to plan Bitamuscle will head towards the Sires Stakes Final before heading to the spelling paddock in preparation for bigger targets later in the season. “He will have a spell most likely after the sires stakes in a few weeks,” Nairn said. “Then he will get ready for the late summer, early autumn type of races.” He will be joined in Friday’s race by stablemate Outamyway who will be driven by Nairn after breaking in his last outing. “He wasn’t getting tired (last start),” Nairn said. “Blair (Orange, driver) said he just got a bit rough and had a gallop on the last bend. “He is a good staying type of horse and is suited more if they went hard the whole way.” Nairn will also do the steering behind Gil Favor in the Clarkson Signs – In House Graphic Design Handicap Trot (2600m). “Gil Favor has been a great wee horse,” Nairn said. “He gets a cheque just about every time he goes to the races. “I would like to think he is a nice chance off the front with his manners.” Gil Favor is one of the few representatives on the track for his sire Waterloo Sunset, who Nairn stands at stud. “Waterloo Sunset has had very limited opportunities, but he is actually leaving nice horses,” Nairn said. “I have got three mares in-foal to him myself and I think he is a good chance to make it as a sire as long as he gets an opportunity.”

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk    A start on New Zealand’s biggest day in harness racing now beckons Need You Now after her impressive win in the Canterbury Standardbred Breeders Association Mobile Pace (1980m) at Addington Raceway on Thursday night. The Robert Dunn-trained mare began well from her wide barrier and was pushed forward by driver Tim Williams to wrestle the early lead off Sweet Mary. The daughter of Bettor’s Delight ultimately proved too classy for her rivals, controlling the pace throughout and running away to a comfortable 2-3/4 length victory over Sweet Mary, with Enchantee a further three lengths back in third. “She just keeps on getting better with time,” Dunn said. “She is learning to relax more and she has always had gate speed. With her getting stronger Tim was able to use that speed she has from that wide draw and once she got to the front she settled nicely. “Once she found the front I think everyone else was running for place money. Once you have got a horse as good as her that finds the front early and is able to dictate from there it makes it very hard for anyone else in the race. “She looked to be travelling beautifully all the way. You had to be confident a long way from home.” It was the seventh career win for the four-year-old mare who is now on a path towards the Gr.1 Nevele R Fillies Series Final at Addington Raceway on New Zealand Cup day in November. “She has got the Nevele R Fillies on Cup Day, that is the main goal. She will then come up north and get ready for the Queen Of Hearts in December.” Earlier on the card Aimee’s First Meddle kicked-off her career in perfect style when winning on debut in the IRT. Your Horse. Our Passion. Mobile Pace (1980m). Dunn was delighted with the win, particularly because of the historical connection with the filly. “It was a good run tonight,” he said. “It was a tough run and she did a bit of work and got attacked quite hard down the back in that wind and stuck on well. I am really pleased with her. “It’s a great home breed that the Sparks (breeder-owners) have got down in Ashburton. We just retired Hayden’s Meddle who was a good winner for them and a tough old campaigner. “There have been a lot of winners from the family over the years. Warwick’s late father and Una’s husband, they started breeding from a mare I gave them quite a few years ago. They have bred a lot of winners from her.” Dunn’s winning streak was not over for the night, with the dual-Island trainer recording a treble when Got You Covered took out the Woodlands Stud Mobile Pace (1980m). “He deserves that win because he has been racing really honestly,” Dunn said. “He got the perfect run tonight, he led then took a trail and came through. He is a nice, honest horse.”

Reigning New Zealand Cup champion Cruz Bromac looks set to be back at Addington on November 10. The pacer is one of just two Australians, along with trotter Tough Monarch, to be included in the nominations for the week's two biggest features, the IRT New Zealand Cup and the Majestic Son Dominion Trot. 34 have been nominated for the Cup and 33 for the Dominion. Addington Raceway Racing Secretary Brian Rabbitt is pleased with the response, especially in a year which has been so adversely affected by COVID-19. The Cup numbers are the same as last year and the Dominion is down a few on last year. Notable absentees in the pacing ranks are recently-crowned Horse of the Year Ultimate Sniper and Chase Auckland (both injured) and Another Masterpiece and Princess Tiffany who are Australia-bound for other features and in the trotting ranks Oscar Bonavena (injured). "Cruz Bromac is likely to go straight to the Purdon/Rasmussen barn as he did last year," says Rabbitt. The only other Australian entry Tough Monarch placed second in the Dominion last year and there are some question marks about his return. "We know Rickie Alchin (trainer) would love to come over here again but he has to factor in travel restrictions so we can only wait and see," says Rabbitt. The first list of Cup rankings will be released next Thursday with many of the top open class contenders, including Cup favourite Self Assured, fronting up in Sunday's Hannon Memorial.     Dave Di Somma HRNZ

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk    Promising filly La Rosa has only missed a placing once in her five career starts and she will be out to rectify that in the Magness Benrow Sires’ Stakes Fillies Heat 3 Mobile Pace (1980m) at Addington Raceway on Thursday. The Mark Jones-trained three-year-old ran home well from the back of the field to finish fifth in Heat 2 of the series a fortnight ago, and Jones was pleased with her efforts. “From the draw (9) it was almost impossible to get any money, but she found the line well,” he said. “She has been racing well all season and has come through her last start run really good.” Jones is looking forward to seeing how La Rosa goes on Thursday, with a couple of big targets ahead of her in the next month, including the Listed NZB Standardbred Harness Million 1 Filles Pace (1980m). “She holds her own out of the gates and she can do work mid-stages if she has to,” Jones said. “Hopefully we can position a lot handier than we did last week. If she does she is going to be a chance. “She is a nice, progressive filly who will keep getting better. She has got big assignments in a couple of weeks so she will want to stand up this week.” Stablemate Orlando Magic will make her raceday return after nearly a year away from the track when she contests the Avon City Ford Mobile Trot (1980m) and Jones said she will be in need of the run. “Orlando Magic has been off a long time and has only had two quiet trials,” he said. “The first one was just fair, but the second one was better. They ran no time in either, so she will definitely benefit from the race. “If she finishes in the top half of the field we will be happy.” Sioux Princess will complete Jones’ trio of runners on Thursday when she lines-up in the Nevele R Stud Mobile Trot (1980m). The daughter of Majestic Son disappointed when finishing unplaced over 1980m last start and Jones is hoping for an improved performance on Thursday. “She was awful last start, but she can do that, so we will put a line through that run,” Jones said. “Nothing seems wrong with her and on her best day she is a strong each-way chance in that field.”

Thursday night’s Magness Benrow Sires’ Stakes Fillies Heat (1980m) at Addington is shaping as a crucial lead in to NZB Standardbred’s lucrative Harness Million Sale Race Series. Up and coming fillies will take on proven two-year-old performers when a classy group of nine graduates from NZB Standardbred’s 2019 National Yearling Sale take to the track. Northern raiders Show Me Heaven (NZ) (Somebeachsomewhere) and Miss Hathaway (NZ) (Bettor's Delight) will be out to continue their fine form and boost their hopes of qualifying for the $150,000 Listed NZB Standardbred Harness Million Fillies Pace (1980m), run as a late two-year-old race on Friday 2 October. Show Me Heaven opened her campaign with a strong win at Addington earlier this month for trainers Steve and Amanda Telfer. Miss Hathaway, who won on debut at Alexandra Park before venturing south, adds to the strong hand the Telfer stable has in Thursday night’s race. Show Me Heaven is set to start as one of the favourites after drawing barrier 2, while Miss Hathaway has a bigger challenge in front of her from barrier 9. The Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen stable line up two strong winning chances, including last season’s Group Three Leonard Memorial Stakes (2000m) winner Town Echo (NZ) (Art Major). She has prepared for her first start as a three-year-old by competing strongly against older horses in a recent Rangiora workout. Avana (NZ) (Bettor’s Delight) also lines up on Thursday night for the All Stars stable after running a good fourth in the previous South Island heat of the Magness Benrow Sires Stakes Fillies Series at Addington earlier this month. La Rosa (NZ) (Bettor’s Delight) ran fifth in the same race when rattling home from the rear. The Mark Jones trained filly started from barrier 9, but is much better situated in barrier 6 on Thursday night. The Robert Dunn stable will hope to boost the Harness Million credentials of two fillies when he starts Off N Gone (NZ) (Somebeachsomewhere) and Passion And Power (NZ) (Art Major). The smart pair have contrasting draws with Off N Gone, a winner of her last two starts, to start from barrier 3. Passion And Power’s chances will be impacted by the early tactics of her fellow NZB Standardbred graduate, Endless Dreams (NZ) (Somebeachsomewhere), whom she starts behind from barrier 1 on the second line. Iksaka (NZ) (Bettor’s Delight), a placegetter in both of her career starts, will start outside Off N Gone in barrier 4.   NZB Standardbred

Welcome to the Harness Analyst series where we take a look at New Zealand's harness racing with free previews,tips and reviews of trials and the previous weeks racing. Harness racing hits Addington today with an eleven race program starting at 5:07pm and in this video we highlight some specials and value runners we think can give you a run for your money on a good day of racing. The content and data on this video is provided for informational purposes only Check below the video for our selections for all of the races today for Addington. Addington  Thursday 17th  September 2020   Race 1 Manhattan has been impressive at trials and top driver booked. Looks the winner in this field.…… Vesnina also good at trials and has a big motor. Good winning chance.… Bizzie Lou going to get a cosy run on the fence and is a first four player from there…….. Aimee's First Meddle trials have been good and stable firing. Tote the guide but has claims Selections:  Manhattan (3),   Vesnina (10),   Bizzie Lou (1),    Aimee's First Meddle (6)   Race 2 Down To The Bone forgive the last start run. Good winning claims here……. Arden's Reality has ability and big swing in draws. Good place chance at big odds in this field…… Koenigsegg running good races and fence draw suits. Good winning claims here if he can clear traffic…… Only In America ok on the track and draw is ideal. Top three player. Selections:  Down To The Bone (6),   Arden's Reality (1),   Koenigsegg (11),   Only In America (3)   Race 3 Five Wise Men he broke on grass at Methven after trialling well. Tote the guide but top winning chance….. Queen Elida good last campaign in strong fields. Has to be a good chance here….. Royal Pride drawn badly but has been running good races on the track. Needs luck but can win…. Queen Of Strathfield gets a tidy draw which should suit here. Form suggests she is a major player. Selections:   Five Wise Men (4),   Queen Elida (8),   Royal Pride (9),   Queen Of Strathfield (5)   Race 4 Need You Now big effort to beat most of this field last start and looks ready to go this week. Top winning chance….. Sugar Loaf better run last start from the good draw and fancied again to lead here. Has to be a good chance in this field….. Spellbound racing well against these mares and should be hard to beat.…. Enchantee tricky draw but in good form. Place claims best in even field. Selections:   Need You Now (9),   Sugar Loaf (3),   Spellbound (5),   Enchantee (6)   Race 5 Town Echo change of stable and will start favourite here. Hard to beat in this field…… La Rosa better draw to work with this week after a late finish from the back at her last start. Can win with a good run in transit… What's Your Secret getting better with racing but tricky draw. Include… Avana draw suits and big on ability. From a strike rate stable and over the odds. Selections:  Town Echo (12),   La Rosa (6),   What's Your Secret (15),   Avana (5)   Race 6 Kahress in top form last campaign and no reason she won’t be in the top three again here after a promising trial. Needed….. Wanna Play With Me getting better with racing and likely leader early. Can run top three…… Orlando Magic ok at trials and stronger now. Could stick on for a place at decent odds.… Sods Law runs some good races in sprint trips and could surprise at decent money here Selections:  Kahress (7),   Wanna Play With Me (3),   Orlando Magic (6),   Sods Law (10)   Race 7 Got You Covered good form and weaker field here. Can win if he can land closer to the speed early.……. Ned Kelly going ok and cosy fence draw. Liked at good money.… Twilight Bromac has not lived up to his first start second. Over the odds with top driver booked and could surprise.….. Major Moose getting fitter and has run some good races recently. Stable respect but place chances look best. Selections:  Got You Covered (5),   Ned Kelly (10),  Major Moose (6),  Twilight Bromac (11)   Race 8 A Bettor Act tidy trials run and should be running top three here. Top selection ……. Heisenberg has performed well here in the past but tricky draw. Good winning chance in this field if he goes forward early.… Mongolian Cavalry strikes a tricky draw but big on ability. Will be finishing over the top of them late….. Stars Tonight can do it tough in his races but this is a top field. One for longer odds Selections:  A Bettor Act (5),   Mongolian Cavalry (7),   Heisenberg (8),  Stars Tonight (9)   Race 9 Rydgemont Son looked the winner here last start but blew out late. Can win with a good run in transit……. Overzealous going well in stronger fields. Draw not the best but can win if she can clear traffic..… Majestic Chevron getting fitter and a top three finish looks on the cards if she goes forward early. Include….. Sioux Princess she looked a run short last start but has ability. Could provide an upset at even from the tricky draw. Selections:  Rydgemont Son (12),   Overzealous (10),   Majestic Chevron (8)    Sioux Princess (11)   Race 10 Champagneandwine easy win last start and change of driver. Should be very hard to roll here if she can get near the lead early……. Terrier decent effort last start and has won here before. Winning claims and opened over the odds.… Flamboyant conditions of the race suit and he is a good beginner. Include in combinations….. Sister's Delight great draw and forgive last start seventh. If she can lead early and then trail she is a place player here at long odds. Selections:  Champagneandwine (7),   Terrier (12),   Flamboyant (2)    Sister's Delight (1)   Race 11 Jawbreaker good win last start and this is no harder. If he can get a good run in transit then he is a big winning chance……. Chubby Checker decent effort last start and getting fitter. Winning claims at good odds.… Zambia racing out of his skin and draw suits. Might start favourite here and can win….. The Falcon running good races and should be there abouts. Needed Selections:  Jawbreaker (4),   Zambia (3),   Chubby Checker (7)    The Falcon (2)     Harnesslink Media

Most interest in the fillies heat of the Sires Stakes on Thursday is likely to centre on Town Echo making her All Stars debut but Natalie warns against reading too much into the fact she has switched from What’s Your Secret to drive the newcomer. “Really it was Mark’s drive but he is in Auckland and when we got the filly we agreed that one of us would drive her in the series. That is the reason Jim Curtin is on What’s Your Secret and I think he will suit her” Town Echo is still getting to know All Stars and vice versa. “She worked well this morning (Tuesday) but she has a tricky draw and it is not as if she is just going to go out and win it. She will need some luck. She won’t want to be out working during the running” Natalie said. “I would have liked if better if we had got her a little earlier and could have run in an earlier heat. It is either qualify or she is out with this race” “Actually of ours I think it will come down to the run they get. What’s Your Secret has done nothing wrong. She doesn’t have a great draw but it might suit her to be held up for a run. And Avana shouldn’t be overlooked. She has had some tough draws and I think she will be a better filly when she gets the opportunity to get on the pace. Her win down south showed she has the ability” Wanna Play With Me and Major Moose are both coming off disappointing runs but expect better this time. “I think there was a bit going on with both of them last start. We had had a bug around at home. Major Moose has to be competitive in a maiden race. He worked good enough this morning. He is a bit of a lazy bugger at home but he should go well. Wanna Play With Me is up against boys again but she is trotting well at home”   Courtesy of All Stars Stables www.allstarsracingstables.com

The punters loss at Addington last Friday will be Oamaru’s gain for the Hannon Memorial this Sunday. Because that is where New Zealand Cup favourite Self Assured heads to test out how he enjoys being off the unruly for the first time. The Auckland Cup winner cost punters a fortune when he galloped away in the Avon City Ford New Brighton Cup at Addington last Friday, losing all chance. It was the third time in a row he had missed away but was far worse than the first two, never getting into the race. Trainer Mark Purdon immediately put the five year-old on the unruly and sees whether he stays there or not for the New Zealand Cup in November will depend on his manners in coming starts. “He really galloped quite badly the other day so I think it is the best thing for now,” said Purdon. “But we don’t need to panic. He has three or four starts before the Cup and we can see how he is going away before we make a decision on whether he stays there.” The first of those will be the Hannon this Sunday, a race Self Assured was initially set to bypass but he will now contest since he didn’t have a race last Friday. That means he will clash with returning stablemate Spankem but one-time favourite Princess Tiffany is less likely to go there and her entire New Zealand Cup campaign could be in doubt. She has been brave but struggling against the boys and looks better off against her own sex than in a hard 3200m on Cup Day. But if Self Assured remains on the unruly that could affect his NZ Cup hopes as he is as good as a 10m handicap he could potentially end up giving away to the likes of Copy That and Spankem. Meanwhile, Purdon is happy with how second favourite It’s All About Faith has travelled north for the Sires’ Stakes Final at Alexandra Park this Friday, with today’s draw crucial for he and Krug because if either drew the second line that would almost certainly hand the other favouritism.   Michael Guerin

Sundees Son shot back to the top of New Zealand’s trotting ranks on a big night for trainer Robert Dunn when bolting in to win his second consecutive Ordeal Trotting Cup on Friday. The multiple group 1 winner unleashed sensational closing sectionals to leave a top class line up strung out all around the Addington track when taking out the group 3 feature for driver John Dunn. Sundees Son’s five and a half-length demolition job ended a frustrating year for the Dunns and owners Colin and Nancy Hair. After establishing himself as the country’s top trotter two seasons ago with a hat-trick of group 1 wins in the Anzac Cup, Rowe Cup and Harness Jewels, things went pear shaped for Sundees Son after his win in last season’s Ordeal Cup. “He has always had a few niggling problems and we have always had to give him small breaks here and there,” Robert Dunn said. “But last season he just wasn’t himself and we put him in the paddock.” “He is a horse that tells us when he really is right.” “When you drive him you can tell he is in the zone and when he is, he is just unreal.” After making a mistake in his first run back this season, the 6yr-old trotter showed he was feeling somewhere near his best with a brilliant Rangiora trial win last week. Robert Dunn said the credit for resurrecting Sundees Son career should go to his son and South Island stable manager, John, together with his father in law Craig Edmonds. “Craig loves the horse and he drives him a lot in his work.” The challenge for the Dunn team now is to keep Sundees Son at his mental and physical best while getting him fit enough for his big target – the Dominion. “We just have to space his races now so he doesn’t have any niggling problems,” Robert Dunn said. “And it will take some work.” “We will have to keep racing him, we can’t wrap him up in cotton wool, the Dominion is over two miles [3200m].” “So, we will put a plan in place to get him 100% right on November the 13th.” Sundees Son scorched his last 800m in 55.9sec, which was the fastest last 800m of all of Friday night’s races bar one. The fastest came when the Dunn trained Classie Brigade reeled off a scintillating 54.6sec split when holding out a late bid from runner-up Di Caprio to win the New Brighton Cup. The 8yr-old’s victory in the 2600m group 3 feature was reward for his three excellent placings behind Self Assured this season. Though he was hardly in doubt of missing a start, the win guaranteed Classie Brigade entry in to New Zealand’s most famed race on the second Tuesday in November. And with that will come a chance for redemption. “It was a great win, he has got great manners and he is a genuine New Zealand Cup chance,” Dunn said. “He could have won it last year, he ran in to a dead end behind Spankem, he had check off his wheels and come back around Cruz Bromac again.” “But, that is the way racing is and he is a cup winning chance this year, for sure.” While Classie Brigade, who led easily after just 100m, has clearly got his standing start manners in check, the New Zealand Cup favourite Self Assured has not. The red hot New Brighton Cup favourite took no part in Friday night’s pacing feature when galloping wildly at the start. Trainer-driver Mark Purdon requested the 5yr-old be put on the unruly for future standing starts after his wayward display. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

Harness racing trainer Robert Dunn has had a great night at the office winning both feature races on the card at Addington tonight. After a close second two weeks ago in the Maurice Holmes Vase, underated pacer Classie Brigade has gone one better and deservedly claimed the Group 3 Avon City Ford New Brighton Cup tonight in the hands of top driver Blair Orange. Orange shot Classie Brigade (Bettor's Delight - Trigirl Brigade) straight to the lead from the standing start 2600m and proceeded to run a 1-58 mile rate off the front with a blistering last half of 54.8 seconds, effectively ending the chances of the horses behind him. Di Caprio and John morrison got closest from the trail, running the winner to a half head at the line.  The race had a sensation at the start when hot favourite Self Assured broke and would not settle, eventually finishing a long and lonely last for driver Mark Purdon. The trotting feature of the night also went to a Robert Dunn trained runner. Sundees Son was back at his brilliant best thrashing a good field of trotters to win the Group 3 Alabar Ordeal Trotting Cup, a race he also won last year in similar fashion. After a good beginning from barrier one, Sundees Son (Majestic Son - Stardon) had a nice run three back on the fence before driver John Dunn moved to the parked position at the 900m mark and from there he ran his opposition into the ground sprinting his last 800m in better than 56 seconds to win by five and a half lengths at the line. John Dunn said after the race the smart trotter was back to near 100%, "He trialled up really good at Rangiora and if he feels 100% then he is a scary horse to drive. "He wanted to go and I let him run down the back. He has got a big motor and wouldn't stop," he said. Sundees Son trotted the 2600m stand in 3-16.0 with a closing 800m in a scintillating 55.63 seconds and a closing 400m in 28 seconds.   Harnesslink Media

By Jonny Turner    Drawing barrier 1 has thrown a curveball at Sundees Sun ahead of the classy squaregaiter attempting to defend his Ordeal Trotting Cup crown at Addington on Friday night. The Robert Dunn trained trotter is clearly feeling fit and ready enough to win the 2600m group 3 feature if his excellent recent trial win at Rangiora is anything to go by. The 6yr-old powered to an impressive victory from a 40m handicap in a faultless display for driver John Dunn. That effort came after the Sundees Son galloped in his first run since last year’s New Zealand Cup Carnival in late July. The task to get things right on Friday night got a little more tricky when the group 1 winner drew the ace barrier. However there is confidence in that Sundees Son can rise to that challenge and finally show how good he really is. “He is generally pretty good from a stand, it could be tricky, but lately he has been really good,” Robert Dunn said. “It can be a tricky draw, it could be good for him or it could go against him big time.” “I have seen trotters that never go away in their lives step really nicely from one, so it is just one of those things.” Aside from any queries about that draw, the Dunn camp could not be happier with Sundees Son. “Johnny is really pleased with him, he thinks he is back to his best,” Dunn said. “He has trialled good and since he has had the time off he has been trotting like he was when he was going good.” Sundees Son will have to beat out two of his stablemates to defend his Ordeal Trotting Cup title in Woodstone and Pres The Belle. Pres The Belle has gone three reasonable races this time in and has upped her fitness levels with each one. “She is getting better all the time, a couple of her first runs were not as good as usual, but I think she is getting fitter all the time,” Dunn said. “And as the season goes on I think she will get back to where she was last campaign when she was very, very good.” Woodstone had to give classy 4yr-old Ultimate Stride a 20m head-start last week when fourth. The 7yr-old has improved from that run after recently relocating from Dunn’s North Island stable. “He has only just got down to the beach – he should improve with his last run and he has come through it very well.” The Dunn trained Classie Brigade was the winner of last month’s Maurice Holmes Vase until Self Assured put up stunning performance to snatch victory short of the post. The 7yr-old has placed in all three of his clashes with his main rival this seasons after his brilliant standing start manners have put him on the speed. Classie Brigade starts on front line in barrier 10 in Friday night’s New Brighton Cup which should give him another opportunity to test Self Assured. “He would have to be the best standing start horse in the country, as far as the open class horses go,” Dunn said. “10 can be a tricky draw, he will have to go away fast enough to cross them, but we think he can.” “And if he can do that it would be ideal because he loves being up on the pace.” Self Assured’s heroics were set up by his blundering start in the Maurice Holmes Vase. Like Sundees Son, drawing an inside barrier (2) has the potential to make stepping away a tricky task. Trainer-driver Mark Purdon has reported that his camp have been giving the New Zealand Cup favourite standing start practice since his big last start win. Self Assured starts alongside his stablemates Princess Tiffany and Another Masterpiece in Friday night’s pacing feature. The Dunn stable also start Henry Hubert in the race. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk    There don’t seem to be enough hours in the day for equine veterinarian Donna Williamson, but she makes sure to have time to train her small team of standardbreds. The South Canterbury trainer is being kept busy running Belmont Park, but she is looking forward to getting off her property on Friday to head to Addington Raceway with Group Three performer The Dominator. The seven-year-old trotter will contest the Gr.3 Alabar Ordeal Trotting Cup (2600m) and Williamson said she is pleased with The Pres gelding after recording a win and a placing in his last two starts. She was particularly impressed with her trotter’s last start efforts when placing behind Heavyweight Hero when he set a 2600m mobile New Zealand record of 3:12.13. “That was fantastic,” Williamson said. “Particularly the time they ran and the level of the company. We were really pleased with that.” Williamson is a little bit wary of The Dominators rivals on Friday night, but she has every confidence he can be competitive once again. “He seems very well, so fingers crossed, but the competition has got a bit rich,” she said. “I am pleased with him. He has been unreliable in the past, but hopefully we have got it right now. We have been on the right track for a couple of starts now.” The Dominator’s main aim for the spring is the Gr.1 Dominion Trot (3200m) for which he would gain automatic entry if victorious on Friday. “He is nominated for the Dominion, which he broke in last year. Hopefully another year of maturity will help settle him and he will trot all the way in that.” While excited about The Dominator’s prospects this season, Williamson is also looking forward to the future with a couple of his stablemates. “I have a three-year-old filly called Belmont Diva, who is a full-sister to Belmont Major. We are hoping to get her to the trials this prep,” she said. “We have also got a three-year-old full-sister to Winterfell and she is just jogging at the moment and will go in the cart in the next 10 days. She will hopefully be exciting, but is a work in progress.” There is plenty to looking forward to with her training, but Williamson’s focus over the next few months will be mostly on the broodmares foaling down at her Timaru property. “We had a foal at 1am on Thursday morning and another one four days ago. That is just the start of another 50-odd to come, so that will keep me busy,” Williamson said. “At this time of year the broodmares come first and the racehorses fit in around whatever else is happening. That is one of the reasons why I only train our own. “But we fit it in, as long as there is daylight you can get something done.”

Welcome to the Harness Analyst series where we take a look at New Zealand's harness racing with free previews,tips and reviews of trials and the previous weeks racing. Harness racing hits Addington today with a ten race program starting at 5:32pm and in this video we highlight some specials and value runners we think can give you a run for your money on a good day of racing. The content and data on this video is provided for informational purposes only Check below the video for our selections for all of the races today for Addington. Addington  Friday 11th  September 2020   Race 1 Fire Fox going to win last start but was green and just missed. Well placed here and should be winning.…… Kerala Star running good races and getting fitter. Can run top three with a cart into the race at the right time.… Ned Kelly has been ok at his last few and over the odds. One to boost exotics... Arden's Ace running on ok last start and decent draw. Can upset with a good run in transit Selections:  Fire Fox (8),   Kerala Star (6),   Ned Kelly (12),    Arden's Ace (3)   Race 2 Cardinal Sin has been good last couple of races but tough draw. Can finish top three again here……. Down To The Bone has ability and will be stronger now. Good winning chance in this field…… Luella goes the odd good race and big money on offer. Likely to be running on. Chance at odds…… Oliver North good win last start but tricky draw. Not the worst and has a place chance with a good run in transit Selections:  Cardinal Sin (9),   Down To The Bone (8),   Luella (6),   Oliver North (7)   Race 3 Rum In The Sun good second on the track last start but wide draw a worry. Major player in this field with no mistakes.….. Jimmy Carter disappointing last start but give another chance. Good upset hope in this ….. Sioux Princess always a chance in these mobile sprint races. Can win if she can stay trotting early….         Far From True coming in fresh but wide draw. Trial was ok but place chances best Selections:  Rum In The Sun (6),   Jimmy Carter (4),   Sioux Princess (11),  Far From True  (7)   Race 4 Beyond Words good win last start and draw the only worry. Can win with a cart into the race before the home turn….. Swell Time good fighting second last week and weaker field here. Needed….. Melody's Mischief form is good and top driver booked. Winning claims if she can land in front early…. Ideal Rule gets a tidy draw which should suit here. Place claims best in this field. Selections:   Beyond Words (9),   Swell Time (8),   Melody's Mischief (6),   Ideal Rule (3)   Race 5 American Pride will start a short favourite but stand start an issue. Should go close if he steps away cleanly …… Madeleine Stowe disappointing run last start but drops in grade here.Top three player and over the odds … Sundons Flyer another who will appreciate the stand and drop back in grade. No surprise to see a good showing here at good money… The Player has been unlucky and should step to the front here. Include Selections:  The Player (6),   Madeleine Stowe (7),   Sundons Flyer (8),   American Pride (5)   Race 6 Bitamuscle running some big races and will be fitter now. Can win again….. Regal Attire a bit disappointing last start but well placed here and has a reputation. Should run top three…… Time Up The Hill has had a freshen up and has a lot of speed. Winning claims in this field… La Reina Del Sur going ok but stablemate looks better. Place chance Selections:  Bitamuscle (5),   Regal Attire (6),   Time Up The Hill (4),    La Reina Del Sur (2)   Race 7 Self Assured huge win last start and don’t see how they can beat him here. Just wins.……. Princess Tiffany going ok but will need to bring her manners. Only running for second place here.… Vintage Cheddar tough draw to overcome but up to placing with a good run in transit.….. Classie Brigade getting fitter and has run some good races recently but place chances look best in this field. Selections:  Self Assured (2),   Princess Tiffany (1),   Vintage Cheddar (8),  Classie Brigade (10)   Race 8 Tango Tara draw an issue but getting fitter and holds his form ok. Winning claims here at longer odds……. Heisenberg building a good formline and will head forward early here. Good winning claims if he can find the front.… Tyron's Bit Of Lemon coming in fresh but strikes a good draw. Winning claims if he can trail all the way….. Burlington taking a while to come back into best form but has ability. Place claims best Selections:  Tango Tara (13),   Heisenberg (8),   Tyron's Bit Of Lemon (1),  Burlington (7)   Race 9 Heavyweight Hero big on ability and drawn to lead early.  Should be hard to beat……. Sundees Son he looked in good form at the trials but draw may not suit. Good chance of running in top three here with manners..… Majestic Man getting fitter and a top three finish looks on the cards here. Include….. Woodstone he looked a run short last start and top driver booked. Could provide an upset at long odds. Selections:  Heavyweight Hero (2),   Majestic Man (7),   Sundees Son (1)    Woodstone (12)   Race 10 Aqua Sancta disappointing last start but change of driver. Should be very hard to roll here if he can get some cover midrace……. The Falcon decent effort last start and freshened up. Winning claims from the draw.… Braeview Kelly forgive last start error and she is big on ability. Tough field but can win….. Star Of Timpany has been freshened up and drawn well. If she can lead early she is a major player here. Selections:  Aqua Sancta (9),   The Falcon (2),   Star Of Timpany (3)    Braeview Kelly (7)   Harnesslink Media

The new sponsors of New Zealand’s greatest trotting race could be forgiven for not being totally impartial as they watch it this November as champion trotting stallion Majestic Son will have plenty of his own representatives in the race that now carries his name. The $270,000 Majestic Son Dominion Trot will be held at Addington on November 13, universally known as Show Day and the second of Addington’s two mammoth Cup Week meetings. Majestic Son could have such superstars as Inter Dominion champion Winterfell, Rowe Cup winner Sundees Son, and current Dominion favourite Majestic Man in this year’s Dominion, and the stallion’s ownership group say they would love him to sire the winner of his own race. “That would be the ultimate for us and given the depth of his progeny hopefully heading for the race this year he’s certainly in with a chance,” says Canada-based owners' spokesman, Dave McDonald. “We are extremely proud of everything Majestic Son has achieved both on and off the race track. His record Down Under where he has been leading stallion multiple times reflects the standing Australasian breeders hold him in.” McDonald says “the sponsorship is a chance for Majestic Son’s ownership group to contribute back to trotting in New Zealand at a difficult time. It’s our opportunity to thank everyone for their great support of the horse. We all know the current Covid-19 situation around the world, so we feel supporting this race is a way of us investing back in the industry when many involved are doing it tough. We are acutely aware of the stature of the Dominion as the premier trotting event in New Zealand and that increased our desire to be involved. Since we joined with Alabar it has taken Majestic Son to a new level. Their professionalism and ability to promote the stallion has been world class.” Addington’s Racing Secretary, Brian Rabbitt said “It’s great to have Majestic Son as the sponsor of our most prestigious trotting race. He has made a huge impact on the sport and this has been recognised by his owners choosing to support their race.” The road to the Majestic Son Dominion Trot starts in earnest at Addington this Friday with the winner of the Alabar Ordeal Trotting Cup exempt for the ballot for the Dominion, as will be the winner of the Stevie Golding – Harcourts Canterbury Park Trotting Cup and the first three place getters in the NZ Trotting Free-For-All on IRT New Zealand Trotting Cup Day, November 10. Winterfell, as the Inter Dominion champion, is already guaranteed a start in the Majestic Son Dominion Trot. Markets for New Zealand’s richest trot are already open at tab.co.nz while tickets for Addington Cup Week go on sale this Thursday at 9.30am. Nominations for Majestic Son Dominion Trot close at 3pm (NZ time) on Wednesday 16 September. For any question on this media release, please contact Brian Rabbitt – brian.rabbitt@addington.co.nz.

Your stable star returning from a big race with a heart complaint, even a minor one, is rarely a laughing matter. But once trainer Greg Hope established A G’s White Socks had taken no harm from an atrial fibrillation in his comeback race at Addington two weeks ago, he admits to seeing the funny side. In a racing stories too odd to make up, A G’s White Socks suffered the relatively common atrial fibrillation in the feature race at Addington and had to be pulled up by driver Ricky May. The reason that was so remarkable is because the last time May had driven A G’s White Socks in a race May all but died from a far more serious and sudden heart issue which left him needing an emergency helicopter ride and an operation. That was at Omakau on January 2 so the last two times the southern pair have joined forces for a race it has been a disaster. Now May and A G’s White Socks are both fine, trainer Hope admits everybody has seen the funny side. “You wouldn’t believe it could happen first to Ricky and then to the horse, even though they are different things,” said Hope. “Once we all go over the shock of it all we have given Ricky a bit of a hard time about it all in good fun. I have been telling him I hope the trainer isn’t next.” Hope says the vets who examined A G’s White Socks after the Addington incident said they are seeing more atrial fibrillations in horses, with plenty of theories as to why, including the new spring grass. A lot of horses have suffered a fibrillation in races and never been affected by it again and Hope expects that to be the case when A G’s White Socks and May unite for third time lucky in the Avon City Ford Cup at Addington this Friday. “I think he will be fine but I can’t see him being at his peak fitness because he was obviously pulled out of that race and then missed three days work while we had him diagnosed,” said Hope. “So he is very much on the way up.” A G’s White Socks meets red hot New Zealand Cup favourite Self Assured on Friday, with the latter again drawing an inside barrier at two, which may be less than ideal considering his standing start manners so far this season. Self Assured is a $1.85 favourite to win the $540,000 IRT NZ Cup at Addington on November 10, with northerner Copy That now $3.40 after his stunning Alexandra Park display last Thursday. The pair are likely to meet for the first time in the Flying Stakes at Ashburton on October 26. Hope and wife Nina also have Matua Tana in a star-studded Alabar Ordeal Cup this Friday and he pleased them at the Methven workouts on the weekend. “He has got the motor to run with these horses but his manners need to keep improving.”   Michael Guerin

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