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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 nine race program starting at 12:35pm and we highlight some specials and value runners we think can give you a run for your money on a good day of racing. Check out our selections below for all of the races today for Addington. Addington selections 29th November 2020   Race 1 Jenabella in great form and overdue a win. Should be hard to beat and top selection here.…… Rake been racing better fields and driver has a good record in amateur race. One of the leading chances here..… Dreaminsover last couple have been disappointing but better placed in this field off the front row draw. Include…… Senorita Margarita racing herself into form and on her best day would be hard to beat here. Can run top three here Selections:  Rake (7),   Jenabella (6),   Senorita Margarita (4)   Dreaminsover (2)   Race 2 Two Menny Muscles  nice draw here and from a strike rate stable. Hard to beat with manners.……. Shiffty plenty of ability but manners a question mark. Mobile will help and can win…… Maui good second last start and well drawn. Can run top three at a decent price if she brings her a-game…… Spot The Gamble runs the odd good race but wide draw. Place chances best. Selections:  Two Menny Muscles  (3),  Shiffty (6),   Maui (5),   Spot The Gamble (8)   Race 3 Get It On good draw to work with and will head forward early. Last run ok and can place at good odds ….. Frank The Tank good draw and probably the leader in the race. Can run top three in this field….. Diamond Edition has the game to beat a field like this and has been racing better fields. Freshened and can win….. Royal Jester running on last start and weak field. Place claims Selections:   Diamond Edition (4),   Get It On (2),   Frank The Tank (3),   Royal Jester (8)   Race 4 Nadira Franco good beginner who needs a run in the trail not in the open. Good chance at odds with the right trip….. Mark Dunnett tricky draw but in good form at workouts prior to last start failure. One for longer odds….. Captain Confetti has theability to beat a field like this but will need to bring better manners. Back to grit surface will help and can win….. Megarock good at Tuesday workouts and stand start no issues. Winning claims Selections:   Captain Confetti (7),   Megarock (6),   Mark Dunnett (10),   Nadira Franco (2)   Race 5 Delightful GNP conditions suit here and she should get a good run from the draw. Good winning claims.…. Reflectionsofmylife good second last start and this no harder. Terrible draw but needed…… Art Courage out of form but has ability. Could upset at big money..… Smooth Debate a bit in or out with form but has the ability and drawn to get a run in the trail. Needed Selections:  Delightful GNP (6),   Smooth Debate (1),   Reflectionsofmylife (9),   Art Courage (8)   Race 6 Jaffa Josh burns up the trial track but disappoints on raceday. Give another chance and hope he can bring his trial form to the races….. Be Mine Tonight running on ok last start but tricky draw. Will need luck but can run top three here  …..       Shillelagh wide draw but getting fitter with racing. Look for him to be running on late and can run top three…. Good On Ya Kiwi racing ok and will go forward early. Winning claims….. Selections:   Good On Ya Kiwi (7),  Shillelagh (9),   Be Mine Tonight (10),  Jaffa Josh (4)   Race 7 Jerry Garcia has been running some big races with no luck and this race suits. Can win with a run close to the leaders and can win…. Tehoro Dazzle looks the early leader and ok last start. Hard to beat with a soft lead  ….. Kowhai Sundown coming in fresh and has ability. Good winning chance if they go hard up front…. Foreigner racing into form and conditions suit here. One of the leading chances in the race at longer odds…. Selections:   Jerry Garcia (12),  Tehoro Dazzle (1),   Kowhai Sundown (15),  Foreigner (8)   Race 8 Not Over likely to head for the front and will catching with no mid race attacks. Can run top three here….. Rocknroll Mama last start was a good second from the new stable. Place claims here ….. Kerala Star good staying type suited to a fast run race which he will get here. He will be finishing on if the pace is on all the way. Include…. Le Tissier out of form but track and distance suit. Good winning claims….. Selections:   Not Over (3),   Le Tissier (2),   Kerala Star (15),   Rocknroll Mama (8)   Race 9 Woodlea Explorer good draw to work with and will head forward early. Last trial run ok and can place at good odds ….. Eastwood Isabella tricky draw but in good form and back to grit surface will help. Can run top three in this field ….. Tombelina fast beginner who has the ability to compete well in a field like this. One for longer odds…..Jeremy Wells good maiden win last start and drawn to get a cosy run handy. Winning claims Selections:   Woodlea Explorer (5),   Eastwood Isabella (13),   Jeremy Wells (4),   Tombelina (9)   Harnesslink Media

Welcome to the Harness Analyst segment where we preview all the harness meetings with tips and selections for all races. Harness racing hits Addington today with an eight race program starting at 5:36pm and 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 page is provided for informational purposes only Check below for all of the races today for Addington    Addington selections 25th November 2020 Best Bet: R8 Fire Fox Best Value:  R3 Bettor Grunter Race 1 Swell Time  looks the early leader in this field and should be hard to beat. Top selection here.…… Majorca disappointing last start out last start but driver change here and possible trailer early. Place claims best..… Longview Lady  last couple have been disappointing but better placed in this field. Include…… Folklore on her best day would be hard to beat here. Can run top three at good odds Selections:  Swell Time  (6),   Folklore (9),   Longview Lady  (8)   Majorca (5)   Race 2 Idle Stuartia in top form and this field is within his range. Another top three finish looks on the cards here.……. I Dream Of Jeannie plenty of ability and good win last start. Manners the only concern and winning claims here again…… Bright Glow disappointing last start but well drawn and can run top three at a decent price…… Puzzled maiden win was good but up in grade. Has winning claims. Selections:  Idle Stuartia (6),  I Dream Of Jeannie (8),   Bright Glow  (1),   Puzzled (3)   Race 3 Bettor Grunter good draw to work with and will head forward early. Last run ok and can win ….. Gayle Force tricky draw but in good form. Can run top three in this field….. Lady Matara has the game to beat a field like this but up slightly in grade. Needed….. Betterwithbling running on last start and drawn to get a cosy run on the fence. Winning claims Selections:   Bettor Grunter  (3),   Lady Matara (5),   Betterwithbling (2),   Gayle Force (7)   Race 4 What's Your Secret good draw to work with and should get a good run in transit. One of the leading chances here….. Braeview Kelly tricky draw but in good form and beat most of these last start. Can run win again with a cart into the race at the right time….. Avana has the game to beat a field like this but will need a good run in transit. Needed….. La Rosa run down after leading last start, but might go forward to lead again and be hard to beat. Winning claims Selections:   Braeview Kelly (8),   La Rosa (5),   What's Your Secret (1),   Avana (4)   Race 5 Spellbound conditions suit here and he should get a good run from the draw. Good winning claims.…. Arden's Reality disappointing last start but give another chance. Better than the form suggests and drawn well. Include…… I'm Tough running on ok last start and will be fitter. Tricky draw but can win..… Tyron's Bit Of Lemon a bit in or out with form but has the ability and drawn to get a run through from the second row draw. Needed Selections:  Spellbound (6),   I'm Tough (8),   Tyron's Bit Of Lemon (11),   Arden's Reality (1)   Race 6 Angus worked hard but stuck on last start. Hard to beat in this field if close enough turning for home….. Bad Hombre running on ok last start and should appreciate being back at Addington. Will need luck but can run top three here  ….. Lancewood Louie second row draw but getting fitter with racing. And money on last start  Look for him to be running on late and can run top three…. Tasman Tempest racing well and likely to go forward early. Winning claims if close to the speed all the way….. Selections:   Bad Hombre (7),  Tasman Tempest (5),   Lancewood Louie (10),  Angus (9)   Race 7 Count Eyre has been running some ok races with no luck and this race suits. Could upset with a run close to the leaders…. Majestic Sunset looks the early leader and ok last start. Can place if no midrace attackers  ….. Smokin Bandar good win last start but wider draw. Mobile will suit and can run top three with manners…. Majestic Chick racing into form and conditions suit here. One of the leading chances in the race…. Selections:   Majestic Chick (6),  Majestic Sunset (2),   Smokin Bandar (7),  Count Eyre (5)   Race 8 Fire Fox likely to head for the front and will run time. Should be top three here….. Jawbreaker(AUS) last start was massive in a strong field but wide draw a concern. Can win again ….. Star Watch good staying type suited to a fast run race which he will get here. He will be finishing on if the pace is on all the way. Include…. Carlos Bromac out of form but likely to get a good run on the fence. Can place at nice odds….. Selections:   Fire Fox (4),   Jawbreaker (6),   Star Watch (1),   Carlos Bromac (10)   Harnesslink Media

QHR, Quick Horse Racing is excited to again bring you Fast10 Horse Racing being held at Addington Raceway on the last Friday afternoon before Christmas, 18th December 2020.  Fast10 Horse Racing debuted December 2019 as an exciting and innovative new concept to horse racing in NZ.  “We were overwhelmed by how those involved loved and welcomed the new concept. There was a real buzz in the stabling area and everyone worked together to ensure the racing ran to time. It was a thrill to see the crowd enjoying the excitement and we all had a lot of fun”, said Glenn Hames part owner and Director of Fast10 Horse Racing. QHR deliver Fast10 Horse Racing as a new and innovative concept of racing, with a new look to attract horse racing enthusiasts and engage new “fun loving fans” to this action packed event. The goal is to re-ignite the interest of fans, and bring new fans to horse racing similar to other sports like T20 Cricket.  Fast10 Horse Racing is run over sprint mobiles with ten races and ten horses in each race. It is faster and quicker than ever before, meaning half the time and twice the fun. Coloured saddlecloths and drivers’ caps make the horses easily identifiable and there are new betting options so you can purchase betting packs to see you through the afternoon.  Make sure you are part of the fun Fast10 Horse Racing - ideal for corporate Christmas break up’s and for all of you who are looking for an awesome fun packed Friday afternoon to wind down before Christmas. A grazing lunch starts from 1.30pm and live entertainment follows the last race. Fast10 Horse Racing where you can bet by form, or colours - faster and quicker than ever before in half the time, twice the fun. Corporate and individual packages available online - or phone Addington Raceway on 03 338 9094.   For more information contact: Glenn Hames: or phone 027 203 2746 Tony Russell: or phone 027 432 6522 Pure racing, Pure excitement, Pure fun

By Dave Di Somma, Harness News Desk    It wasn’t just winning the Kidz Kartz New Zealand Cup at Addington that made Caitlin Schneider happy. It was the fact she won with Mr Darcy, a pony she took on as a “project”. Three years ago the Auckland teenager bought the purebred Welsh pony off Trade Me for $1500. “I saved up and saved up. He was an unbroken two-year-old and I did all the work with him. It’s very satisfying to win it – I was very proud.” Named after Mr Darcy from Pride and Prejudice, the now five-year-old had an all-the-way win in the New Zealand Cup in front of a big Show day crowd though he was very nearly run down by the fast finishing Chaos and Kate Coppins and Seth Hill and Gizmo. “I was pretty nervous because in the parade he galloped and I thought ‘oh no’ – but he flew. Sometimes when he races at the front he looks around and waits for the other horses.” But she quickly adds , “he’s improving all the time”. After starting out in Kidz Kartz as a six-year-old, this was Caitlin’s first New Zealand Cup win after finishing second in her only other appearance in 2018. It will also be her last as she’s reached the 16 year age limit. The year 11 student at Rosehill College is now en route to Auckland with her first exams on Friday. She’s hoping the return won’t be as eventful as the jouney south, which was fraught by delayed ferry crossings because of bad weather, and then their truck running out of diesel near Kaikoura. A career as a lawyer is part of her longer term plan though Caitlin says she’ll always be around horses. “I’ve grown up with them, and while I ride horses too, I click more with driving.” Already the holder of a stablehand license, Caitlin says in the years ahead training and driving winners is very much on the radar. Her next big race will be the Kidz Kartz Auckland Cup on December 31 - and then at the end of the season in April she’ll say farewell to a sport that’s been a big part of her life for a decade.

After today’s impressive win in the Macca Lodge South of the Waitaki Mobile Pace co-trainer and driver Kirstin Barclay had no hesitation in rating Watch Me Now as the best mare she’s driven. “I’ve been lucky to drive some nice horses but she’d be by far the best mare,” she said. Into today’s $30,000 feature for horses trained south of the Waitaki River, Barclay said she was unsure what her raceday plan was but she felt she had options from a wide draw. “She’s more than a one trick pony. She can do a bit of work, sit parked or lead.” From gate seven Barclay pushed the mare forward early. “Once she scored up behind the gate she was pretty keen, came out well and we got across quite easily.” Once in front she settled into a nice rhythm. “She’s a funny mare. She switches off easily and relaxes. She just enjoys rolling along and that’s what she did.” At the 600 metres Watch Me Now was just cruising. “I thought I’d gone a lap too soon. I expected them to come at her at the bend but they didn’t.  She did it very easy in the end.” At the finish she was six and a half lengths clear of second place getter Sentry. “I didn’t think it was going to be easy by any means. Primarily she’s been racing against fillies and mares so it was quite a step up. I was confident of a good showing but I wasn’t dead set confident she would come out and win like she did.” The winning time for the 2600 metre mobile was 3-10.0 – a mile rate of 1-57.5. The last half was cut out in 56.0 with the last 400 run in 26.8. Today’s win was Watch Me Now’s sixth from just ten starts. “That’s a credit to Tank. He’s spaced her races out really well and looked after her. That’s one of his talents – plotting a path with horses and he’s done it to perfection with her.” Watch Me Now is out of the Mach Three mare Mach N Elle which is owned by Steve and Claire Sloan and Macca Lodge Stud master Brent McIntyre who sponsored today’s race. As a broodmare Mach N Elle has left Darcee the winner of eight races in New Zealand, and she was also successful in America. Barclay and Ellis have had Watch Me Now from day one, Ellis having had success with her half-sister Machjagger. “Right from day one we liked her.v She’s always been a beautiful gaited horse who felt like she had a bit of a motor.” So are there any bigger plans for the mare? “No. I’ll leave that to Tank. He does all the planning. My job is to drive these sorts of horses in work and on race day.” Watch Me Now is owned by Steve Sloan, Claire Sloan, Brad Sloan, Mrs J Sloan and Hayley Gibb. Meanwhile other stable star U May Cullect has come home to Southland after an unsuccessful campaign running in some of the big races leading into the New Zealand Cup for which he held a nomination. “He’s home having a month off on good grass. He lost a bit of condition and he had a couple of joint issues which we thought we were on top of.  His dicky leg is really good. Everything that could go wrong did go wrong but the good thing is that he’s sound. When you’re racing at that level you just have to be one hundred percent right. We were just on the back foot all the way through. We just have to get him right and happy again.”   by Bruce Stewart

By Jonny Turner    Sundees Son shone brightly at Addington on Friday, leaving his rivals chasing his shadow when he won the fastest ever running of the Dominion with perfect poise. The Robert Dunn trained trotter produced one of the most polished performances of his career to show New Zealand Cup week fans exactly how good he is when bolting away with the 3200m feature by nearly four lengths. The scare Sundees Son put into his legion of backers and that camp that prepares when galloping in his last start at Kaikoura him looked a distant memory when the six-year-old trotted off the mark to take up a handy early position. From there, driver John Dunn’s intentions looked clear – to keep his horse relaxed and out of trouble – and the reinsman was rewarded with New Zealand Trotting’s ultimate trophy. “After Kaikoura Johnny and I had a talk and we decided we had to take bad luck out of the equation,” Robert Dun said.  “Pres The Belle was keen and had to come off the fence, but it wasn’t long until Johnny decided to get around to sit parked.” “He is just such a beautifully relaxed horse outside the leader, he goes to sleep.” Sundees Son’s Dominion win was made possible by a family effort led by the Dunn’s father and son combination. John Dunn’s father-in-law Craig Edmonds also played a huge role in the horse’s record-breaking victory with his dedication. “Craig does all the shoeing with him and he takes him down to the beach all the time,” Dunn said. “We can show up at 5.30 in the morning and Craig is already gone with him, taking him down for a paddle in the water on his jog days.” “He loves the horse and Johnny obviously has a wonderful combination with him, too.” Sundees Son will now head to Auckland where he is set to take part in one of the biggest clashes in open class trotting in recent history. Trotting purists are set to be treated to a clash of two trotters with raw ability like few others in the past decade when Sundees Son will almost certainly take on speed machine Bolt For Brilliance in the Lyell Creek Stakes and National Trot at Alexandra Park. “He will go to Auckland next, he handles the Auckland way of going as good as he does going the Addington way,” Dunn said. Sundees Son’s Dominion victory topped an outstanding past 12 months for Robert Dunn and his team. The trainer notched both his 1500th career win in New Zealand and his first national premiership in the past year. During that time, Sundees Son has provided a few headaches for the Dunn camp and his breeder-owners, Colin and Nancy Hair. The squaregaiter went 12 months without trotting throughout an entire race and his tilt at last year’s Dominion had to be abandoned. “He tells us when he is not right and though he made a break at Kaikoura, it was because he had to take a slight bit of evasive action,” Dunn said. “And it doesn’t take much with him.” “The key to him is his soundness and when he is sound he is such a pleasure to have around the place.” Clearly, nothing was bothering Sundees Son on Friday as he trotted to victory in 4-00.5, taking 0.2sec off Monbet’s national 3200m record, set in his 2016 Dominion win. Sundees Son’s performance meant runner-up Majestic Man had to settle for yet another big race placing. Despite that trainer Phil Williamson was proud of his six-year-old “He gave it all he could, the winner is just a great, great horse.” “I am proud of him.” “He would have to be the best one I have had that hasn’t won a group 1.” Aussie raider Tough Monarch turned around two disappointing efforts in New Zealand when running into third, half a length behind Majestic Man. 

Spankem too good in Free-For-All Spankem improved on his second in the New Zealand Cup on Tuesday with a dominant win in today’s Free For All at Addington. Natalie Rasmussen rated the star pacer to perfection to wrestle the lead and then hold on for win number 18 from start 44. His earnings now surpass $1.5m. In a blanket finish for the minors Thefixer ($3.20) and Ashley Locaz ($2.30) just edged out Classie Brigade. Amazing Dream , who was drawn behind Classie Brigade, had no chance after being trapped three back on the fence. Sundees Son a star   Hot favourite Sundees Son has eased to victory in the Dominion Handicap trot at Addington. Driven expertly by John Dunn Sundees Son cleared out to win the country’s most prestigious trotting race in a new record of 4:00.5, lowering the old mark of 4:00.7 set by Monbet in 2016.  Fittingly for a race sponsored by Majestic Son it was a Majestic Son quinella, with Majestic Man finishing second. Australian visitor Tough Monarch was third. Sundees Son started soundly and took his time to settle before Dunn slid into the one-one and then into the parked position outside the pace-setting Majestic Lavros. From there it looked like no-one was going to get close to the six-year-old, who cleared out to win by three lengths. It confirmed Sundees Son as the country’s best trotter, with win number 17 in 45 starts.   Missalyssa also in record breaking form  Earlier well-performed trotter Missalyssa also produced a record-breaking run.  Driven by Blair Orange, the Andrew Faulks-trained square-gaiter waltzed away with race 7 (R56-69) in 2:24.70. It was a new New Zealand record for the mares over 1980 metres, eclipsing the 2:25.1 set by Splash Cola at Addington in February. Missalyssa has now won four from 35, and a clearly delighted group of owners were on course to enjoy the moment. She paid $11.60 and $3.50.  The win continues a good run of form for the Monarch six-year-old. She was second to Andy Hall on Tuesday and has been a good money spinner in recent months.   Beyond Words all the way winner in mares' feature Favourite Beyond Words has lead from go to whoa in the $40,000 Nevele R Sires' Stakes Southern Mares Classic Mobile pace. It was the Art Major four-year-old's fourth win in six starts. Spellbound was second with Sagano getting home late for third.    HRNZ

Spankem looms as the best bet in today’s $180,000 New Zealand Free-For-All because he has two ways to win the race. And one of those might make him a certainty. The Cup runner-up for the second year on Tuesday, Spankem will be the second favourite for today’s pacing group one at Addington with bookies and many punters thinking Amazing Dream deserves to be favourite with the very real chance she might trail potential leader Classie Brigade. But Spankem may actually be the better bet because he has two ways to win the race. Driver Natalie Rasmussen will undoubtedly push the button early with Spankem who was fast enough off the gate to lead and win a Miracle Mile last year. She is probably 50-50 to cross Classie Brigade in a replica of the start of last year’s race when they pair went at it head to head early with Classie Brigade holding the front and Spankem eventually having to sit parked, fading late as Chase Auckland used the passing lane to win. Of course Spankem doesn’t have to lead to win but if he gets the front it is hard to see him beaten. But punters willing to take the short odds about him also have the other option that if he can’t cross early it only takes one rival to also go forward and he gets the one-one, from where he is probably flip of the coin against Amazing Dream anyway. Whereas punters taking the $1.85 on offer for Amazing Dream are going to feel sick if, and it is a big IF, Classie Brigade does get crossed because she could be three back the inner in what is her open class debut in this country. So as good as the little mare with the low head carry is, Spankem might be the better percentage option for punters today. The Dunn vs Purdon-Rasmussen theme could also play out in today’s $40,000 Southern Mares Classic with Beyond Words drawn the ace but Dunn on Need You Now drawn barrier nine. Need You Now went within inches of not being eligible for today’s race when she pushed Amazing Dream close in the Nevele R Mares Final on Tuesday and while that was run in national record time Dunn says Need You Now have taken no harm from the run. “She was bouncing around the paddock like a mad thing on Wednesday so she is fine,” says Dunn. “I don’t think we need to blast across them from that wide and try and lead straight away but we will be going forward and she can win.”   by Michael Guerin

By Jonny Turner    Oamaru trotter Cracker Hill has raised more questions than he has answered leading in his final lead up event into Friday’s group 1 Dominion at Addington. Trainer-driver Brad Williamson handed his four-year-old a perfect run in the trial in Tuesday’s New Zealand Trotting Free-For-All, which had his backers waiting eagerly for him to let down with a winning finish. But Cracker Hill’s finish peaked well short of expectations and he was caught and easily passed by Heavyweight Hero. Williamson does not want to take anything away from the winner’s effort but has been left disappointed in his stable star. “I was a little bit disappointed in him, but in saying that he did run second in a group 1 race.” “He was bolting in the trail and then when I came out at the top of the straight he just didn’t fire like he does.” “He ran past the other horses then he just didn’t change up his gear like he can.” “And I am not sure why that was.” “But in saying that the winner won well and was the best horse on the day.” Williamson has been left scratching his head as to exactly why Cracker Hill had an off day on Tuesday. Having such a fit and healthy horse in front of him has meant the trainer-driver has not found anything concrete. So, he is pressing on to the Dominion in the hope trotting fans can see the real Cracker Hill on Friday. “He potentially could have blown out the last bit, but I am not sure, to be honest.” “He is so healthy and well.” “So, we are heading into Friday hoping for an improved performance.” “He has got a good draw, so if he gets a good run hopefully he performs a little bit better.” Cracker Hill’s speed has never been questioned and he showed his explosiveness when reeling off brilliant sectionals in his two recent second placings behind Bolt For Brilliance. However, the four-year-old has not had much of a chance to display his staying qualities. Cracker Hill has had just one start past 2600m, finishing second to Matua Tana, who was in red hot form at the time. Williamson will go into the Dominion confident his horse can handle 3200m. “He is quite a laid back horse, he is obviously very fast.” “But he doesn’t let too much worry him, so I think he will settle and get the distance.” Williamson will compete against his father Phil and brothers Matthew and Nathan in the Dominion. Nathan trains and drives Dark Horse, while Phil and Matthew combine with Majestic Man. Like Cracker Hill, the favourite Sundees Son comes into the Dominion after disappointing in his last start. But for entirely different and much more obvious reasons. After stringing together two breath-taking wins at Addington, the Robert Dunn trained trotter again galloped in the South Bay Trotters Cup at Kaikoura. Sundees Son’s driver John Dunn told HRNZ it was not a case of his horse simply rolling into a gallop like he has done in the past. Dunn put the incident to a combination of factors, including having to check off the back of a galloping Matua Tana. “We will turn the page and move on, he has come through that great.” “He worked really good [on Wednesday] – no ill-effect from it – so that is good.” The Dunn stable also start Woodstone and Pres The Belle in Friday’s $270,000 event.

TAB NZ has confirmed that New Zealand’s largest domestic racing day, the IRT NZ Trotting Cup Day, has once again maintained its position as New Zealand’s most popular domestic race day with record betting in 2020. The day saw $11.3M wagered across all races, 7 percent above last year and the highest NZ Trotting Cup day turnover ever for the TAB. It was 5 percent higher than the previous record which was set in 2018. More than $6.6M was placed by punters throughout the day at Addington Raceway, the highest since 2014 ($6.71M) and fourth highest in the last 20 years. Champion driver Mark Purdon and co-trainer Natalie Rasmussen took the coveted NZ Trotting Cup title this year on Self Assured. More than $1.60M was placed on the race, 5 percent above last year. Executive Chair, Dean McKenzie said Cup Day continued to appeal to TAB customers and race goers. “Over 40,000 (account) customers placed a bet on Tuesday, 8 percent higher than last year's total and exceeding the previous highest for the day in 2018. “Despite a reduced but sold out capacity crowd because of COVID-19, the NZ Trotting Cup has again proved hugely popular, with betting on the TAB putting it next best to the Melbourne Cup Day as the second biggest race day of the year." Cup Day in Christchurch followed hot on the heels of a huge Melbourne Cup last week, when $26.6 million was bet with the TAB in a single day, up 14 percent on last year and a record result. “The success of the IRT NZ Trotting Cup Day continues the strong growth in revenue through the first quarter of the year and supports the TAB’s goal of maximising its profits for the long-term benefit of New Zealand racing,” said McKenzie.

A quick trip to the stables to check on his latest New Zealand Cup winner on Wednesday afternoon was enough to convince Mark Purdon to scratch Self Assured from Friday’s $180,000 NZ Free-For-All. The Cup hero didn’t eat up as well as usual on either Tuesday night or Wednesday and while Purdon knows the horse is fine he is happy to miss tomorrow’s race from barrier nine. “He is tired all right and knows he has had a race,” says Purdon. “He had a hard week leading in, I gave him plenty of standing start practice after the Cup trial so he has been busy. With Self Assured coming out of the race stablemate Amazing Dream was the new $1.85 favourite over Spankem at $2.40 in a race also shorn of Cup favourite Copy That. So who would win out of the pair? “A lot will depend on the start,” says Purdon. “If Classie Brigade (1) can hold the lead and Amazing Dream trails him then she will be very hard to beat but Spankem is obviously the more hardened open class horse. “So it will probably come down to the run.” Self Assured will head to Auckland next month to defend his Auckland Cup title and then be aimed at the Miracle Mile carnival which Purdon says is now very much on his radar even if there are still one-way travel restrictions in play. “We will be keen on that carnival and obviously I hope the travel restrictions coming back into New Zealand are lifted by then, but if they are still in place and I have to quarantine for two weeks coming back that will be ok. “I might have struggled a bit more with going if the quarantine was both ways.” Even after the greatest training career in New Zealand harness racing history Purdon took deep personal pride in training the trifecta in Tuesday’s Cup, his sixth win in seven years. “I don’t know if the trifecta has ever been done and definitely not in the modern era so now I think about it more it is very special.” And he, like everybody, has heard the talk around the controversial start and the disadvantage to Copy That but hopes it does not detract from the winner’s performance. “He was still very, very good and deserves to be recognised as a very good Cup winner.”   by Michael Guerin

They have done it again. The might of the All Stars has confirmed its reputation as the best big race stable in the southern hemisphere after claiming another Gr.1 $572,400 IRT New Zealand Trotting Cup at Addington today (Tuesday). Headed up by the dynamic duo of Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen, the leading conditioners provided a perfect result in the 3200m stand start feature with Self Assured (Mark Purdon) defeating stablemates Spankem (Natalie Rasmussen) and Ashley Locaz (Tim Williams) in a time of 3:55.2. While the stable continues to rewrite the record books, a 1-2-3 result in the country’s biggest event simply underlines their sublime skill and amazing focus on producing nothing but the best results. Last year, the All Stars team produced four of the first five placegetters while they have now won 6 of the past 7 editions of the Cup since forming back in 2013. Their haul includes Adore Me, Lazarus (x 2), Thefixer, Cruz Bromac and now Self Assured. Purdon has now driven the Cup winner six times which equals the effort of the late Cecil Devine while he is one behind Ricky May who has the record with seven victories. With so much hinging on the start, race favourite Copy That ended up second last on settling down after starting from the inside draw while Self Assured nailed his beginning which effectively flipped the pre-race script. His faultless display came after Purdon and Rasmussen took a calculated gamble by taking the Jean Feiss owned five-year-old off the unruly starting position after some mixed efforts in lead-up to the Cup. Most, if not all, were surprised to see Self Assured so close to the lead so quickly after the start which spelt disaster for his rivals. But punters were fuming with the official start to the race. The All Stars runners made the most of their luck and took forward positions in running. With a lap remaining, the All Stars trio occupied the top three spots in running while Copy That was forced to work hard mid-race for driver Blair Orange. Approaching the home turn, Spankem led the way while Self Assured angled to his outside and launched his finishing burst with Ashley Locaz sticking to the inside. At the line, Self Assured scored by a widening margin of three and half lengths over Spankem who bobbed in front of Ashley Locaz to hold second spot. The Ray Green prepared Copy That faded over the latter stages to finish in 8th placing. With the winning time of 3:55.2 – which equates to a mile rate of 1:58.2, it is well outside of the race record of 3:53.1 set by Lazarus back in 2016. “He picked a good day to get it right, I was nervous about the start but I thought we gave him enough practice after the Cup trial and he would be better so it worked out great,” Purdon said. “Winning races like this is why we do this for a living, and I’m thrilled for Jean, a fantastic and passionate supporter of our stable.” He added. The top three finish of the All Stars runners also provided Woodlands Stud with a massive result with super sire Bettors Delight providing the top four finishes after Henry Hubert filled fourth spot.   Chris Barsby

NZB Standardbred graduates dominated yet another Group One event when It’s All About Faith (NZ) (Captaintreacherous) scored a deserved victory in the $138,000 Woodlands Stud Sires Stakes Final (1980m) on New Zealand Cup Day at Addington.  After having to settle for two Group One placings and finishing runner-up in the recent $200,000 Listed NZB Standardbred Harness Million 2YO Colts & Geldings Final (2200m), the Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen trained colt broke through for his maiden Group One crown with a late burst to claim runner-up B D Joe (NZ) (Roll With Joe) in an exciting finish. Although NZB Standardbred graduates didn’t just quinella the Woodlands Stud Sires Stakes Final, they claimed total domination over the race. Purchases at NZB Standardbred’s 2019 National Yearling Sale filled the first 13 placings in the 14-horse feature. It’s All About Faith not only snared a deserved Group One victory, but the classy colt also took an important step forward in his career when he thrived under the pressure of a sold-out Addington Raceway on New Zealand Cup Day. The three-year-old’s class and brilliant speed have never been questioned under Purdon’s driving leading in to the event, but his tractability had. It’s All About Faith brushed those concerns aside in the first 400m of Tuesday’s race when settling beautifully in to the trail behind B D Joe, who speared to an early lead. “I am trying to teach him to take a trail,” said Purdon. “And today he settled and just drifted a length or a length and a half off the leader’s back.” It’s All About Faith’s polished run was important to Purdon, who was delighted with his performance in this season’s classic races. “Today I was just so pleased with him.” B D Joe gave the favourite plenty to chase when rolling along at a strong tempo in the lead. When the field turned for home, the Steve and Amanda Telfer trained three-year-old kicked strongly, setting up an epic home-straight battle with It’s All About Faith. “We were thrilled,” Steve Telfer said. “We were pleased he was able to take advantage of his good draw and he fought all of the way up the straight.” Aladdin (NZ) (Sweet Lou) completed a trifecta of NZB Standardbred graduates with his big effort for third. The All Stars pacer was tenacious after sitting parked outside B D Joe for all of Tuesday’s 1980m feature. Aladdin held out dual Group One winner and fellow National Yearling Sales graduate, Krug (NZ) (Bettor’s Delight) by a nose on the line.   Vendor Breckon Farms Purchaser All Stars Racing Stables Breeding Captaintreacherous x Veste Sale Lot 122, $130,000, 2019 National Standardbred Yearling Sale Auckland Bred by Hardwood Breeding Syndicate     NZB Standardbred

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk    Canterbury horseman Bob Butt continued his family’s legacy in the Gr.1 Livamol NZ Trotting Free-For-All Mobile Trot (1980m) at Addington Raceway on Tuesday when winning the feature trot with Heavyweight Hero. Butt became the third generation of his family to win the race after his father David Butt drove Call Me Now to back-to-back titles in 1994 and 1995, and again in 2008 with Stig. While Butt’s grandfather, Robin Butt, won the race in 1971 with Tony Bear. Fittingly Butt, who also trains Heavyweight Hero, carried his grandfather’s green and white colours to victory on Friday, and he was duly rapt with the win. “It is great,” he said. “If you can’t be happy with that I don’t know what is wrong with you.” After an initial false start in which The Dominator broke from the ace barrier, he galloped once again on take two, which allowed Butt to find the perfect running position three back on the markers. Heavyweight Hero did no work when trailing race favourite Majestic Man and Cracker Hill throughout and Butt was able to utilise the passing lane to slingshot the leaders and win by three-quarters of a length over Cracker Hill with a further three-quarters of a length back to Muscle Mountain in third. “When The Dominator galloped early I thought I would try and get Nathan’s (Williamson, driver) back (on Majestic Man) but Cracker Hill was punting through and with those two in front of me, three back on the fence was the place to be because I wouldn’t have to go around one and it worked out well,” Butt said. “I got a slingshot through (when Brad Williamson elected not to take the passing lane with Cracker Hill) and he is a great old horse and is so genuine.” Heavyweight Hero shaved almost one second off the 1980m national record to go alongside his other national record over 2600m. Heavyweight Hero headed into Tuesday off the back of four consecutive runner-up results and Butt was delighted to get that elusive Group One victory with his consistent trotter. “He hasn’t gone a bad race so he deserves it,” Butt said. “He seemed as good as ever ahead of today, he just needed a run. He is thereabouts always so we just needed a bit of luck and we got it.

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk    Amazing Dream may have been backed into $1.40 favouritism for the Gr.1 Nevele R Fillies Series Final Mobile Pace (1980m) at Addington on Tuesday, but she had to call on all of her class to nab her sixth Group One victory. The Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen-trained mare was three-wide for the majority of the trip behind On A Roll, but was forced to improve four-wide at the 1000m mark when her opponent began to tire. Pacemaker Need You Now continued to set a solid tempo up front, making Amazing Dream work to find the parked position 600m from home. Need You Now turned for home with a two-length advantage, however, Amazing Dream showed her willpower to slowly eek into that lead and eventually overcome Need You Now to win by a neck in a new New Zealand record of 2:20.3. Rasmussen was thrilled with the win and was full of praise for her charge. “It was never going to be easy from the barrier draw (9) and just the way it panned out with that one that got caught three-wide (On A Roll) in front of me made it even harder when she had to go four-wide around her,” she said. “But just credit to her, she is just a real little winner. She was tired at the top of the straight but she just really wanted to win.” It was almost déjà vu for her connections, with Amazing Dream overcoming a similar run to win on Cup Day last year. “She has just got so many attributes,” Rasmussen said. “She is so quick and so strong. You have just got to love her, she just wants to win.” Amazing Dream was purchased at the 2018 PGG Wrightson National Yearling Sale for $77,5000 by Victoria-based owner Jean Feiss who was unable to be on course at Addington on Tuesday as a result of COVID-19 enforced travel restrictions. “Poor Jean will be tearing her hair out over in Melbourne,” Rasmussen quipped. Rasmussen and Purdon are now turning their attention towards the Gr.1 NZ Pacing Free-For-All (1980m) at Addington on Friday with the daughter of Bettor’s Delight. “She does seem to bounce back really well, but we will just wait until we get home and see how she pulls up,” Rasmussen said. “If she is great then I don’t see any reason why we wouldn’t run her on Friday.”

By Jonny Turner    Southland trainer Alister Black enjoyed one of the biggest thrills of his career when Vintage Cheddar powered past his rivals in a hectic running of the Junior Free For All on New Zealand Cup Day. The six-year-old handed his breeder-owners Lindsay and Ian Thomson consolation for missing out on the New Zealand Cup by just one spot when he outstayed his rivals in the Group 3 feature for driver Brad Williamson. What the victory meant to Black was clear for all to see when he greeted Vintage Cheddar with a beaming smile when the pacer returned to the winner’s circle. “That would be right up there with Get Lucky winning the sales race (PGG Yearling Sales Final) race here.” “To win a race on Cup Day is awesome.” Vintage Cheddar sealed Black’s first group race victory on the sport’s biggest stage after butting heads with the country’s best pacers in the lead up to the New Zealand Cup. Though the Southern stayer could not quite break through for placings in races like the New Brighton Cup, Hannon Memorial and Ashburton Flying Stakes, Black was proud of his efforts. “Because of his rating we have never been able to take the easy option, he has always had to race the best horses,” Black said.  “But he has never given up.” “He may not have the speed of some of the others, but he has never quit on me.” “And his turn had to come, to get a speed like that in a big race.” Vintage Cheddar had to be good to win when stuck at the rear of the field with a lap to go. Some brilliant manoeuvring from Brad Williamson secured his run through the field as the 2600m feature’s hot speed started to take its toll on some of his rivals. “They rolled along up front and we were able to come in and come out and have the last shot at them,” Williamson said. “He did pace roughly around some of the bends, but once we straightened up he was right.” “He has been going well in the lead-up races to the Cup, he just doesn’t have high speed and he can lose a length or two when they run those really fast quarters.” Vintage Cheddar’s victory handed brothers Lindsay and Ian Thomson with one of the biggest achievements in their involvement in the sport.   The pair are big supporters of Southern harness racing, racing a stable filled mainly with yearling sales purchases that Black has developed. But Vintage Cheddar is a little different, having been bred by the Thomsons from their Grinfromeartoear mare Howfarnow. “It is great for Ian and Lindsay,” Black said. “They’ve had a bad run with breeding them, but now they have bred an open class horse.” Vintage Cheddar cleared out to win by a length and three-quarters at the line over On The Cards, who also ran on from the rare. Outsider That’s Alexander Guy clinched third after racing three-back on the inner. 

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