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A new Punters Championship that will give punters the opportunity to win huge cash prizes is about to get underway. Addington are launching the Kiwi Punters Championship – KPC, and it is sure to have enormous appeal to punters throughout New Zealand with a series of heats that will culminate in the KPC Final on Show Day at Addington Raceway, on Friday 14 November. There’s a total of $100,000 to be played for over ten KPC Heats and the KPC Final.  KPC Heats will be held at Addington, Alexandra Park and at the Northern Tavern in Invercargill from 5 September to 31 October. Win your KPC Heat and you’ll not only take home your betting funds but an additional $2,000 in prizemoney as well as an invitation to take part in the KPC Final.  Invitations to the KPC Final are also extended to contestants/teams that finish 2nd and 3rd across the ten heats.  Terms and conditions apply. With a maximum of 30 contestants/teams eligible for the KPC Final and $100,000 up for grabs throughout the Championship, the chances of taking home some serious cash are pretty good. Be sure to secure your spot early in the Kiwi Punters Championship and be in to win a slice of $100,000. Entry forms, a calendar of events, information and full terms and conditions can be viewed at   Ged Mooar Marketing & Commercial Manager Addington

The harness racing nominations for both the Christchurch Casino New Zealand Trotting Cup and the Hellers Dominion Trot closed this afternoon at 3pm. Attached are the full nominations for both races as received by Addington Raceway. There were 37 nominations received for the Cup, with five Australians amongst them, and 38 nominations received for the Dominion, with one Australian being nominated. Owners please note: Cup Week tickets will not be posted out this year. Instead they will be available for collection from the Ticketing office at Horncastle Arena on the Monday afternoon, Tuesday and Friday of Cup Week. 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. ......................................................................................................................................... There has been a total of 37 nominations for the 2014 Christchurch Casino New Zealand Trotting Cup, including five Australian nominees: Abettorpunt (Aus) Adore Me Arden Rooney Averil's Quest Ballindooley Belkmyster Besotted Bit Of A Legend Christen Me Classiesistar Easy On The Eye Fly Like An Eagle For A Reason (Aus) Four Starzzz Flash Franco Harrington Franco Ledger Franco Nelson Hands Christian Jason Rulz Jimmy Johnstone Jivin Cullen Lets Elope Lewy Risk Locharburn Maiden Rome Maximan (Aus) Pass Them By Pemberton Shard Pembrook Benny Pure Power Seel N Print (Aus) Smolda Terror To Love The Wrath Of Robyn Themightyquinn (Aus) Tiger Tara Vice Chairman ........................................................................ There has been a total of 38 nominations for the 2014 Hellers Dominion Trot, including one Australian nominee: Alley Way Armbro Demon Blitzthemcalder (Aus) Boizel Burano Charlemagne Clover Don Cool Cobber Donaldson Dr Hook Habibti Imperial Count Irish Whisper Jaccka Justy Jag's Invasion Kincaslough King Kenny King Of Strathfield Leanne's Boy Lotalov Master Lavros Monnay Peak Phil's Gift Prime Power Rare Opportunity Royal Aspirations Saratoga Sheemon Sol Invictus Springbank Sam Stent Stylish Monarch Superbowlcheerleader The Fiery Ginga Uncas Vulcan Waterloo Sunset By Stacey Markham  

In form intermediate trotter Aile Rouge put his hoof in the cash till big time last Friday night at Addington. The Robbie Holmes trained and driven 5yo gelding took out the Alabar Super Series Open Handicap Trot, registering his fourth win of the season and his fifth overall.  He banked $13,000 for his win and has now earned over $52,000 for his breeder and owner Jenny Becker. But the pay-out from last Friday didn’t stop there. He earned an Addington Met Multiplier for his owner and trainer worth $7,500, and then to top it off put another $500 into Jenny Becker’s bank account by way of the Breeders Bonus that is being offered by the Met and the New Zealand Standardbred Breeders’ Association. Robbie Holmes commented that his trotter had provided a superb night to his connections by not only winning impressively but had added over $20,000 to his earnings in one hit by way of good stakes offered and initiatives that were well worth aiming for at Addington. “This fella has improved immensely this season having being a bit weak last time in but after a spell has really strengthened up with racing under his belt.  The recent initiatives offered at Addington are a great concept and it certainly makes a positive contribution.  It was great to see Jenny being rewarded as she has been a stable client of ours for a long time now and long may it continue.” Full details and conditions of Addington’s Racing Initiatives and Promotions can be found under the Racing - Promotions and Incentives section at or contact Brian, Richard or Colin at the Racing Department on (03) 338 9094. Ged Mooar - Addington Raceway  

“We canvassed standardbred breeders around the country and agreed the harness racing market to sell a broodmare in foal or ready to foal would be greatest in the early spring”.  CSBA Chairman Noel Kennard articulating the main reason for the association's just confirmed 'Broodmare and Mixed Stock Sale' this spring. There are several points of difference with the September 11th event. The first early vendors have been encouraged by is a 0% commission on any transaction. “We aren't a business,we're just providing a platform for breeders to present and sell their product” says Sheldon Murtha, one of six Sales Sub Committee members charged with shaping the new sale. “Any associated costs will be covered by the $125 per entry fee.” Previous mid-winter mixed stock horse sales have often proved uneconomical for most concerned. The racing and yearling sales seasons are over when they're scheduled with no real demand from investors to buy and then carry an animal through the cold months. “The one taking the hit in the pocket,year after year lately,is the breeder. This spring sale will at least give them an opportunity to sell when there is more demand at the start of a breeding season.” says Kennard. Another cost being circumnavigated is that of transporting and parading a horse at the venue. Prior sales knowledge and inspection will be paramount for potential buyers to get comfortable bidding on a broodmare not necessarily being shown in front of them on auction night at Addington Raceway. “In this economic climate it's a dead loss tripping a nice mare from say, Southland, only to have to transport her home again if a buyer hasn't been found on the day” expands Murtha. “This way the only real cost to the vendor is the entry fee, the rest is fielding and answering inquiries about their horses for the month leading to the sales night. By then any buyer or agent will have matched a type with what they want to pay as with any auction really”. The CSBA is confident the sale will appeal to breeders and buyers across New Zealand and even Australia given the quality of stock already nominated. All final entries accepted from across New Zealand will be published by August 17th.A website based catalogue will be available on the NZSBA web pages at followed quickly by an industry wide media campaign. Harnesslink media

Solar Fire was an outstanding two and three year old trotter in the late 1990s, and a harness racing star on both sides of the Tasman. By the time the daughter of Yankee Reb went to stud she had won 14 races and amassed $213,205 in stakes. There was an expectation that her foals would carry on in the footsteps of their dam but in the early days it wasn't to be. From her first seven foals, Solar Fire produced just two winners with Hot Vacation (2 wins) her best performer. And then Sheemon appeared and all her previous foals were forgotten. To date Sheemon has had 36 starts for 12 wins and 19 placings for $249,273 in stakes and looks set to be a major player in all the elite trotting races as a five year old. The next foal from Solar Fire after Sheemon was a filly by CR Commando named Shell Seeker.  Raced extensively at three, she showed glimpses of real ability coupled with a lack of ringcraft. Slowly but surely her trainer Kevin Townley who is a renowned conditioner of trotters, has moulded Shell Seeker into a racehorse. A couple of good thirds in strong fields recently pointed to her being a big chance in the Alabar Super Series Consolation at Addington tonight. ( August 8th) Sent to the lead early by driver Dexter Dunn in the artic like conditions, Shell Seeker was attacked by Innes Boyz and took a trail after 800 meters. Fifty meters later Dexter whipped her out of the trail and back to the front with 1500 meters to run. From their she kept up a steady clip and turning for home it was obvious Shell Seeker had the field in trouble. Dexter just kept her up to the mark in the straight as she held on for a comfortable win.  She trotted the 2600 meters from a stand in terrible conditions in 3:23.8, a mile rate of 2:06.1 with closing sectionals of 62 and 29.5. While there are obviously more wins in store for Shell Seeker before she retires to the broodmare barn, it is there that her real value lies. Not only is Shell Seeker a half sister to Sheemon from a champion racemare in Solar Fire, but her grand dam is a half sister to none other than the champion racehorse and sire in Sundon ( 27 wins) ($264,085). It is a family thats continues to excell and is keenly sought after by breeders in New Zealand. Harnesslink Media  

Harnesslink has become aware of the sudden death of the well known and respected harness racing identity, Ken McDonald at his home in Brisbane, Australia One of the "McDonald clan from Christchurch, Ken was well known in both harness and thoroughbred circles on both sides of the Tasman. His business success in the telecommunications industry let Ken pursue his passion for horse racing in both Australia and New Zealand over several decades. Ken first came to prominence in harness racing with the champion pacer Master Musician 1:54 ($1,926,810) who he raced with his close friend Eugene Stork and Robert Dunn. Over the years he has raced horses with a lot of his friends including Brian West of Studholme Park with whom Ken currently raced a few fillies including Secret Lotion and Art Critic. Ken was at Addington as recently as last Thursday night to see Dongel Jimmy Dave, who he races with family members, win impressively. A longtime friend and client of leading Queensland thoroughbred trainer Alan Bailey, Ken had interest in both codes in Australia. His latest star in the harness racing side of things in Australia was the brilliant For A Reason 1:49.4 ($803,433) Ken was really keen to bring  For a Reason to Addington for this years New Zealand Cup in an effort to stop his brother Terry, owner of champion pacer Terror To Love from claiming his fourth straight cup victory. Ken figured as Terry had won three, maybe it was time for his younger brother to have a turn although as anyone who knows them knew, the brothers were very close. Ken was also known on both sides of the Tasman as a generous warm hearted man of the highest integrity. He will be sorely missed by everyone who knew him. The funeral service for Ken will be held at Silks at Addington Raceway on Thursday August 14th. Harnesslink Media

The 2014-15 season will see an increase in stakes of $700,000 or 10% on the previous season. As announced two weeks ago, the New Zealand Metropolitan Trotting Club (The Met) has  increased their minimum stakes level from $5,000 to $7,000 for the 2014-15 season, a 40%  increase from 2013-14.  And in the new season all runners will be guaranteed a return no matter where they finish with 2% of the total race stake paid to connections of all non-stakes bearing runners.  Also on the increase this season on feature race dates are stakes for C0 horses from $8,000 to $9,000 and C1 to C2 horses from $10,000 to $11,000. The new season will see the running of three individual Alabar Super Series catering for lower graded horses with nine finals programmed to run for $23,500.  There will be eight Premier Meetings carded throughout the season with the minimum stake at these meetings up to $20,000. Group 1 Races including the Christchurch Casino New Zealand Trotting Cup up to $700,000, Hellers Dominion to $250,000, Muscara Standardbreds New Zealand Derby to $200,000 and Canterbury Breeders’ New Zealand Oaks to $150,000 have had stakes increases. Details and information on Addington’s Racing Initiatives and Promotions can be found under the Racing section at or by contacting Brian, Richard or Colin at the Addington Raceway Department on (03) 338 9094. Ged Mooar

A victory by Lord Baltimore has helped talented harness racing horsewoman Michelle Neilson snare a last gasp win in the McMillan Equine Feeds NZ Junior Drivers Championship at Addington. Needing victory in the last race of the three-race series as well as some other results to fall her way, Neilson ensured her side of the equation was complete with a heady drive on the heavily backed Geoff Dunn trained winner. Then it was down to fate, or more importantly the placing of championship leader Dylan Ferguson. The North Island hoop needed to finish in 7th position to ensure himself victory but fell agonisingly short with his 8th placing netting him five points which left him one short of Neilson who closed out the championship on 35 points. I knew I had a wee chance going into the last heat,’’ Neilson said. But I needed others to finish well back too, once I got past the line first I tried to have a look back but gave up because it was too hard to tell where they all were. 24-year-old Neilson is originally from Australia but moved over to New Zealand last year, initially to work in the stable of Mark Purdon and good friend Natalie Rasmussen before she joined the stable of Mark Jones. She admitted to not knowing a lot about the series but took an interest when people started talking about it and realising that she was in with a shot of making the championship. Backed into a $3.40 favourite to win, Neilson finished third in the first heat with Billy The Bus and then fifth with Paint The Moon in the second heat. That left her 11 points behind Ferguson who finished second in the first heat with Cullen’s Mercy and then won the second heat with Summer Vacation. Lord Baltimore was sent out a commanding favourite and Neilson didn’t let favourite punters down, taking full use of the passing lane to snare the win. It's a pretty awesome feeling to win to be honest. People have been telling me all week that I had a good chance, but you still have to get that luck. Ferguson finished in second position – a notable achievement considering this his first season of driving while Robbie Close who won the first heat of the night with Hit The Spot. The North Island versus South Island challenge – a separate contest between the 12 drivers was taken out by the Southerners in commanding fashion. By Matt Markham Harness Racing New Zealand

The successful Met Multiplier introduced by the New Zealand Metropolitan Trotting Club (The Met) in August 2012 has a current honour’s board showing a total of 41 winners and, in what is good news for owners and trainers, will continue in the 2014-15 season.  The “Met Multiplier Honours Roll” shows harness horses right across the classes in both pacing and trotting gaits from a diversity of stables. At the season end, total pay-out is at $307,500 from the initiative with 26 horses earning the bonus this season. Just last night Machs A Flyin, owned by the YOR! Racing with Mark Jones Syndicate, which is managed by premier commentator Mark McNamara, earned the bonus of $7,500 with $5,000 going to the owners and $2,500 to trainer Mark Jones.  The scheme is designed to encourage owners and trainers to support the Met with a lucrative incentive for the connections. To earn a Met Multiplier a horse has to start at a Met meeting a minimum of 15 times over a 12 month rolling period and be placed 1st or dead heat for 1st in one of those qualifying starts. So that means that your horse has 12 months to have the 15 starts and gain one win from when it first starts at a Met meeting. E.g. A horse that has its first start at Addington on 8 August 2014 must have a minimum of 15 starts at Met meetings and be placed first in one of those starts by 7 August 2015. Horses that have had more than 15 starts and are yet to win can still qualify as long as they win a race within their 12 month period, and at the same time satisfy the 15-start criteria within that time period. Addington’s Racing Manager Brian Rabbitt said “that the initiative has proved to be a winning formula for the club, owners and trainers with 41 horses earning the bonus and plenty more getting close. We have seen an increase in horse numbers and our starter numbers continue to track above the national average which is a positive result. The Club will keep the scheme going.”  Full details and conditions of The Met Multiplier Reward can be found under the Racing - Promotions and Incentives section at or contact Brian Rabbitt or Richard Bromley at the Addington Racing Department on (03) 338 9094. Ged Mooar Marketing & Commercial Manager Addington

The McMillan Equine Feeds 2014 NZ Junior Driver Championship is set to be a great spectacle this year with 12 drivers from all over New Zealand once again competing for supremacy. Sailesh Abernethy, Tony Cameron, Andrew Veint, Dylan Ferguson, Shane Butcher and Andre Poutama make up the North Island team. Sam Ottley, Robbie Close, Michelle Neilson, Katie Cox, Craig Ferguson and Brad Williamson make up the South Island team. The championship will be run over three races at Addington Raceway on Thursday night (July 31). These  fields can be seen below. As the highest point scorers, Sailesh Abernethy and Sam Ottley, will captain their respective islands in the Inter-Island Challenge, a competition which was won last year by the North Island team. Sam Ottley, Andrew Veint, Brad Williamson and Andre Poutama all competed in the Championships last  year.  Fixed odds betting for the Championship will open on Thursday morning with the TAB. Unfortunately Katie Cox and Shane Butcher miss drives in the first heat, but they will be accorded 7 points each under the conditions of the series. For the fields on Thursday night  click here

The In The Pocket stallion Changeover continues to enhance his growing reputation with every meeting recently and that continued tonight (July 25th) when he was repersented by winners at both metropolitian harness racing venues, Alexandra Park and Addington Raceway. First up at Alexandra Park was the smart gelding Prince Of Pops who registered his third win for the season with a stylish win over older horses, rating a smart 1:59.8 for the 2200 meters. Just as impressive was the filly Change The Rulz who showed a clean pair of heels to her competition in the A Electrical Ltd Mobile pace over 1950 meters for two and three year old fillies at Addington Raceway. It was the fourth individual filly winner for Changeover in New Zealand in his debut season. Sent straight to the front from barrier six by leading driver Dexter Dunn, Change The Rulz kept up a solid tempo throughout before skipping clear on the home turn and holding out a good finish from  She's Extreme to win by a length and a quarter. It was her first win at her fifth start but Change The Rulz had hinted at an early win with a close third last time to the races. Trained at Woodend by Greg and Nina Hope, Change The Rulz is raced by Greg along with the well known Westport trotting identity, Richard Dellaca. She paced the 1950 meters in the cold conditions in 2:24.1, a mile rate of 1:58.9 with closing sectionals of 58 and 28.4. From the “Rulz” family which has been long associated with Richard Dellaca, Change The Rulz is a half sister to this seasons promising 3 year old Ranfurly Rulz. (3 wins). Her dam Victoria Rulz is a half sister to the brilliant Courage Under Fire gelding Jason Rulz 1:54.6 ($207,985). Like a lot of the Changeover's, Change The Rulz looks just the type to develop into a really smart horse at three. Change The Rulz Harnesslink media    

Two of the biggest spectacles of Cup Week are set to receive a stakes boost, but it’s a decision at the other end of the spectrum which will come as the best news out of Addington Raceway this week. The New Zealand Trotting Cup and Dominion Handicap will both gain a raise of $50,000 for this year with the Cup now worth $700,000 and the Dominion shifting to $250,000. But it’s the decision by Addington officials to raise their minimum stakes in the new season that will draw the most applause after plenty of frustration has been aired in recent months. Currently set at $5,000, the minimum stake will now sit at $7,000 – a 40 per cent rise. Feature race days will also receive a boost in the lower grades with CO races going from $8,000 to $9,000 and C1 graded races jumping from $10,000 to $11,000. Addington have kept the good news coming too with the new season set to also see 2 per cent of each stake paid out to connections of horses who don’t figure in a stakes bearing dividend. Addington Raceway made the stakes increase announcement at the grand opening of a new administration block on top of the stabling complex which will play home to the new drivers room along with JCA members and the main Trackside base on race night. Also announced at the opening was a new look to the popular Show Day Futurity which will see $84,000 worth of stakes paid out during the first half of the season. As well as the $40,000 Final on Show Day, those paid up for the series will also be eligible to compete in a number of other specially programmed races in the lead up to the second week of November as well as a $11,000 race in December which will be open to all those who are paid up with the exception of those who finish in the top three placings in the final. The build up to this year’s New Zealand Trotting will also see a change this year. The Cup will still travel along the same path toward the $700,000 event but the hotly contested Canterbury Classic in October will this year, for the first time, carry an extra incentive. As opposed to the usual automatic entry into the Cup for the winner, the top three place getters will now be invited. The change shouldn’t see too many changes to the norm if previous seasons are anything to go on. By the time the Classic rolls around the pecking order for the Cup is almost done and dusted and those who have finished in the top three in recent years have already qualified, or are well up the order of rankings. By Matt Markham (Harness Racing New Zealand) Important Dates for Cup and Dominion This year nominations for the 2014 Christchurch Casino New Zealand Trotting Cup and Hellers Dominion at Addington will be taken earlier than previous years to increase exposure and to enable fixed odds markets to open mid-August. Nominations for both races will close at 3.00pm on Wednesday 13 August 2014. Christchurch Casino NZ Trotting Cup - $700,000 - Group 1 - 11 November 2014 Initial nomination fee Wednesday 13 August 3pm NZ time $350 First late nomination fee Wednesday 27 August 3pm NZ time $3,500 First withdrawal fee Monday 15 September 3pmNZ time $700 Second withdrawal fee Monday 13 October 3pm NZ time $1,400 Final late nomination fee Wednesday 5 November 11am NZ time $17,500 Starting fee $8,750 All fees are plus GST. Hellers Dominion - $250,000 - Group 1 - 14 November 2014 Initial nomination fee Wednesday 13 August 3pm NZ time $125 First late nomination fee Wednesday 27 August 3pm NZ time $1,250 First withdrawal fee Monday 15 September 3pmNZ time $250 Second withdrawal fee Monday 13 October 3pm NZ time $500 Final late nomination fee Wednesday 5 November 11am NZ time $6,250 Starting fee $3,125 All fees are plus GST. All fees above are included in the total stakes pay out and will contribute to the increase in stakes for both Group 1 races. The Christchurch Casino NZ Trotting Cup will be run for a stake of $700,000 and the Hellers Dominion for $250,000, both up $50,000 on 2013. Please note that horses must be withdrawn on the specified dates above otherwise owners will be liable for payments. For full details including breakdowns of stakes on the above please visit from Friday 25 July. Alternatively, please call Brian Rabbitt or Richard Bromley of Addington’s Racing Department on (03) 338 9094. August Nominations for $84,000 Show Day Futurity Series Tuesday 22 July The Show Day Futurity Series (SDFS) will once again be programmed this spring at Addington Raceway with estimated stakes of $84,000. Addington is also pleased to announce that for the second year running, harness racing enthusiasts Glenys and Philip Kennard are sponsoring and the series will be known as the Glenys & Philip Kennard/Graphite Developments Ltd Futurity Series. Nominations will close on 13 August at 3pm. The well-patronised series will cater for 3-year-old and older pacers assessed at C0 as at 1 July 2014 with the following criteria to be satisfied:  Nomination fee is set at $100 plus GST with all funds received included in the stake for the SDFS Final on 14 November  A horse must have started at least twice in the period from 8 August to 31 October at a NZ Metropolitan Trotting Club meeting In 2014 it is proposed to run up to five races in the SDFS with the following conditions:  5 September – **horses assessed at C0 to C1 2600m - $11,000  17 October – **horses assessed at C0 only 2600m - $11,000  14 November – ***SDFS Final - $40,000  28 November – Horses who were not eligible to and did not contest the Final on 14 November - $11,000  11 December – Open to all SDFS horses excluding those horses who finish 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the Final on 14 November - $11,000 Total estimated stakes $84,000. **Subject to programming. ***Total stake for the SDFS Final is estimated at $40,000 which is subject to total number of nominations. All runners to receive a minimum of $800 for starting in the Final subject to same conditions. Full details can be viewed from Friday 25 July at under Racing – Promotions and Incentives. Alternatively, please phone Brian Rabbitt or Richard Bromley of Addington’s Racing Department on 03 338-9094. Ged Mooar Marketing & Commercial Manager Addington  

If she was to only win one more race this season, Sam Ottley wouldn’t be too concerned as long as that win came in tonight’s Darren DeFilippi Memorial at Addington Raceway. New Zealand’s leading junior driver has achieved almost everything she possibly can in her time in the junior ranks – and has one hand firmly on her first national premiership with a two win lead over Sailesh Abernethy with just weeks remaining in the season. But a win in tonight’s Darren DeFilippi would come with more sentimental value than anything else considering the young horsewoman’s close connection with DeFilippi’s parents, Colin and Julie. “Colin and Julie have been incredible to me since the day I started working for them,’’ Ottley said. “It would be a huge honour to win the race considering how bigger role they have played in my success.’’ DeFilippi was tragically killed in a car accident while on his way home from the Orari races in 1995, leaving the harness racing community reeling at the loss of such a talented young horseman. The race named in his honour is a high priority on every junior driver’s list of goals for a season – and although only a few get the chance to win it – just the chance to drive in a race of such stature is regarded as a true privilege by those afforded the opportunity. “People are talking about it (the race) months in advance, everyone wants to be a part of it and have a chance at winning it.’’ Ottley has picked up the drive on exciting trotter Jayceekay in the event – giving her a royal chance of achieving her goal considering the abundance of ability the John Boylan-trained mare possesses. “I had a drive of her at the workouts last weekend just to get a feel for her. “She’s certainly got plenty of ability and the speed she has is quite incredible. “I only gave her a quiet workout but she really impressed me. “In saying that though it won’t be easy, it’s a big field of trotters and there are plenty of chances.” Phil Williamson holds a strong hand in the race with both Monty Python and The Silver Fox while Aile Rouge was impressive enough winning last week to warrant respect. Jean Sebastien, who will be driven by Jeremy Markham who also has a close association with the DeFilippi family, is another chance in the wide open contest. As she looks to extend her lead on Abernethy, Ottley is grateful for the opportunity given to her by John and Robert Dunn who took her on loan from the DeFilippi’s in an effort to help her cause. “I’ve really enjoy working with them, I had never worked with horses on the beach so I’ve been enjoying that aspect of it. “Just trying something new and seeing another way to training horses has been really beneficial. “And they have been great at giving me drives too.’’ Six of Ottley’s nine drives at tonight’s meeting come from the Dunn stable including realistic winning chances; Billy The Bus, Madiba Magic, Johnny Jet and Nikola.  By Matt Markham (Harness Racing New Zealand)

New Brighton harness racing owner Paul Thomas got the best birthday present that he could have wished for when his ‘pride and joy’ JC Skipper was victorious in a heat of the Young At Heart series at Addington on Friday. “It’s quite ironic really because the final for the series is set to be run on my mother’s birthday,” said an ecstatic Thomas, who turned 59 on Friday. Driven by Colin DeFilippi, JC Skipper worked around the field three wide down the back straight to find the parked position before racing clear on the home bend and narrowly fighting of a late challenge from the fast finishing Mighty Peruvian Franco Revel, who downed JC Skipper in the first heat of the Young At Heart series, finished a further 2 & ¾ lenghts away in third. The five-year-old black son of Julius Caesar paced the 1950 metre journey in a tidy 2:23.7 (1:58.5), with sectionals of 57.5 and 28.1. JC Skipper, who won four races for Templeton trainer Peter Robertson, was transferred to the barn of Peter and Leonne Jones after having a failed campaign in the North Island with Michelle Wallis and Bernie Hackett. “He is a handy enough horse but he has been plagued by some bad luck and bad draws in his racing,” said Thomas. “He seems to suit the shorter races. There is no reason he won’t be competitive in the final,” he added. Thomas, who is a diesel mechanic by trade, is the son of the late Trevor Thomas, who trained numerous good horses in the 70s and 80s including top trotter Stormy Mourn and smart pacer Genesis. JC Skipper, who is also co-owned by his breeder Peter Higinbottom, is the first horse that Thomas has raced as an owner. Higinbottom has previously enjoyed good success with JC Skipper’s older half-brother George Skipper and also owns the smart type Cullect A Guinness, who  was victorious in his debut at Blenheim back in January. JC Skipper will compete in another heat of the Young At Heart Series on Fridau night before preparing for the $11,000 final. By Mitchell Robertson  

The new Breeders’ Bonus scheme that commenced on 17 January this year is proving to be a real winner amongst breeders who have won a race at Addington. Furthermore, and what is good news for Breeders, the initiative will continue for the 2014-15 season. Fifteen New Zealand Metropolitan Trotting Club (NZMTC) race meetings have been held between January and June, with 97 bonuses paid out at a total of $48,500. Kiely Buttell, Executive Manager of the New Zealand Standardbred Breeders’ Association (NZSBA), commented that 35 new members have joined the Association since January and that can be put down to the new bonus scheme. “At only $89.95 for an annual subscription and the chance to earn $500 each time your horse wins, many breeders have taken advantage of the opportunity. Both The Met and the NZSBA have received excellent feedback and jointly we are delighted to reward members’ efforts in breeding winning racehorses.” “Moving forward to the new season and to be eligible for the bonus, you will need to be a fully paid up member by 31 August 2014. That’s the only difference in conditions from last season.” The scheme is open to any member of the NZSBA who breeds the winner of a totalisator race held at an NZMTC meeting at Addington Raceway, subject to conditions. They will be eligible for a $500 bonus payment. Full terms and conditions are available at or Ged Mooar                            Marketing & Commercial Manager Executive Manager    

Not even the thought of having to drive back to Nelson from Christchurch last night could wipe the smile off the face of Dylan Stratford after he was crowned the regional winner of the Primary ITO Cadet of the Year competition yesterday. The 23-year-old horseman fended off the challenge of 12 of his peers from the Canterbury area to claim the first ever regional title in the inaugural running of the competition and will now head to the national final at Addington Raceway next month to contest for the supreme title of national champion. Stratford, who is now based in Nelson and working in a labouring job, drove South on Tuesday night to compete and then jumped back in his car almost instantly to face the drive back home. “It’s going to be a little bit easier than if I hadn’t won that’s for sure,’’ he said. In a three-part competition which pitted the Level 4 cadets against each other in a myriad of challenges which included a driving challenge and being able to correctly name 20 different types of horse feed - Stratford shone. He claimed the outright top score in three of the six different stages of the competition and finished in a tie for first in another – underlining his all-round knowledge. “I really enjoyed the competition, it’s been a really enjoyable day and the team in charge of it need to be applauded for coming up with something like this. “The Cadet scheme has really come along in the last couple of years, what is being offered up to us has been of huge value and a series like this only compliments it I think.’’ Stratford will head to the national final knowing that it will be more than likely be his last chance to win it as he intends on heading overseas later this year. “If I don’t do it now, I’ll never do it. “So I’m working up in Nelson and trying to save up a bit of money and I plan to head to America later in the year.’’ Stratford will be joined in the final by fellow Cantab, Alex Veint. Due to the large number of Level 4 Cadets, two competitors from the Canterbury region will compete in the national final alongside the regional winners from both the Southern and Northern regions. Veint scored the highest mark in the driving challenge with a score of 51 out of a possible 60 in what proved to the most popular discipline of the day. Without a stopwatch the cadets were asked to work a horse over a 2400 metre distance with specific time guidelines set for each of the three 800 metre stages of the workout. 1 point was deducted for each second the driver was out from the set times – but all managed to produce impressive scores considering they weren’t allowed the use of a watch and that a number had never driven around Addington before. Veint claimed top prize in the challenge, while Denis Van Werhooven finished second with 50 points and Todd Quate was third with 49 points. The regional finals now move to Invercargill and the Southern Region on Wednesday, July 2 and then the Northern Region final at the Franklin Trotting Club on Monday, July 7. By Matt Markham (Harness Racing New Zealand)

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