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Harness racing followers in New Zealand will tell you that when it comes to Premier night racing you back the All Stars barn come what may. Thats how it was tonight in the first race on Premier night at Addington Raceway with the All Stars runner Benicio the warmest of favourites with the punters. Benicio found the death seat a fair way out and when he grabbed the front 200 metres out he looked to have the race in safe keeping until Easy Rider and Bob Butt swooped late and nailed the hot favourite right on the line. Bob Butt was a bit shocked that he had picked up the All Star runner. " On Premier night it is not often that you run down one of the All Stars runners" " When I came out I thought I might get second but it did surprise me that we got up." " However he did impress me last week and he seems to be getting better every start," Bob said. It has been far from plain sailing with the son of Art Official who has shown plenty right from his trials as a two year old. " He ran second to the smart Field Marshal when he qualified but was put aside to strengthen up." " However he was never settled at three and we put him aside again." " This time in he is finally starting to fulfill the promise he showed at two." " He has always had high speed, right from his two year old days," Bob said. The future for Easy Rider is pretty well set in stone with the horse owned in Australia by the long time client of the David and Catherine Butt stable in Tony McGrath. " He has got a few more wins in him here in New Zealand but when he reaches his mark here he will go to Australia so Tony can see him race. " The immediate aim for the four year old is the Futurity final on Show Day," Bob said. The All Star barn are rarely beaten on Premier night but as Easy Rider showed it is not impossible. Harnesslink Media

Watching star trotter Sheemon jog home dead last was disheartening for Kevin Townley but he is confident there will be no repeat at the harness racing meeting at Addington Raceway on Friday night. The Russley trainer was as puzzled as punters were when Sheemon was last to see the post in the DG Jones Trotting Cup on a boggy track at Motukarara on September 27. "I don't think it took that much out of him," Townley said. He is putting the run down to the boggy grass track and doing plenty of work in the running but is happy to put it behind him when Sheemon contests Friday's Group III Canterbury Park Trotting Cup over 2600m at Addington. "The way he has worked this week I think he will be back to his best," Townley said. Sheemon's third in a workout behind Alley Way and Majestic Time back at Motukarara on the grit six days later on October 3 did not set the world on fire but Townley believes in hindsight he was probably too easy on the 6-year-old son of Monarchy between the runs. Sheemon won his first two starts back but did not strike any of his fellow big guns in those fields. He starts from the 20m line along with Master Lavros and Habibti. Habibti hit the line strongly last week in her first run back in 11 months to remind everyone of her class but may need one more run. Master Lavros went straight to the front last week but that will be much more difficult from 20m with four runners off the front and another four off 10m. Colin and Julie DeFilippi have opted not to start last week's impressive winner Stent off a 30m handicap but they have subbed in Alley Way for his first run for their stable. Owner and breeder Neville Skinner has trained the 7-year-old son of Monarchy for all of his previous 25 starts but moved him north from his Winton base in the leadup to the Dominion Handicap. Kincaslough will get her chance to impress second up with a 10m head start on her main rivals from the 10m tape. Mat Kermeen Reproduced with permission of Stuff NZ   -   Check site here

There was no one more surprised than North Canterbury harness racing trainer Bob Butt at Addington Raceway on Friday night by the manner in which Hall Of Fame dealt to his rivals on his raceday debut. Not that Bob didn't have a good opinion of the son of Rocknroll Hanover but the ease of the win and in near New Zealand record time left him with a big smile on his face. " He is still very green and really doesn't know anything about racing." " There is so much upside to this horse it is scary." " We have had to wait for him as it is no use chasing the Chase The Dream and company when they are not ready for it." " Time will be his biggest friend and he is probably twelve months away from being the finished product," Bob said. Bred by Robin and Jackie Butt who are Bob's grandparents, Hall Of Fame has been in Bob's care all the way through. " I was a bit concerned initially because the dam Special Rose never raced due to her poor gait and all the Rocknroll Hanovers I have had anything to do with have had plenty of ability but also gait issues. " So I was holding my breath a bit when I broke Hall Of Fame in but he is just a beautiful pacer with a great attitude so it has worked out fine," Bob said. Win or lose on debut, Hall Of Fame was going for a four week break after Friday night. " If I look after him now, we should reap the rewards later down the road with him." " I am looking at taking him to Auckland at Christmas time for some grade racing." " The trip away and the experience will do him the world of good." " If he keeps on improving like I think he will, then I will probably target something like the Southern Supremacy Series later in the season," Bob said. As to be expected when a horse wins like that on debut, the bloodstock agents have been very active over the weekend trying to buying Hall Of Fame. " Robin has put up the " Not For Sale" sign at this stage which I really appreciate as it is big plus to have a horse of his quality in the barn," Bob said. Bob Butt has been going from strength to strength in the last few months and in Hall Of Fame he looks to have a horse to help him raise his profile even more. Harnesslink Media  

When leading harness racing trainer Greg Hope was looking for a close relative of his star trotter Monbet to purchase as a broodmare, he never for one moment envisaged that she would win back her purchase price before going to stud. But that is exactly what happened when Greg purchased the talented Monarchy mare The Earth Moved for $12,000. " I had a serious look at another mare from the family but she had suffered a broken knee earlier in her life and I was worried about how that may play out down the line." "When I sent her home, they offered me The Earth Moved who had just been sent back by the people who had her on lease."  " I really liked her straight away and brought her soon after," Greg told Harnesslink this week. Not that the decision to buy The Earth Moved was unanimous in the Hope household. " Nina wasn't exactly that keen initially but I think she has come round now," Greg said. Greg purchased The Earth Moved near the end of August and in four starts since she has won three on the grit plus a fourth on the grass at Methven where she wasn't entirely happy on the puggy wet track. Since her purchase The Earth Moved has put $16,271 into the kitty and her latest win at Addington on Friday night was undoubtedly her best. Several lengths off the leader going past the 400 metres mark, The Earth Moved swooped down the outside for an emphatic victory in the hands of Ricky May. " She was always going to pick Young Stranger up in the straight before he had a late gallop, so I just eased her down the last bit ." " She has really high speed when saved for one run," Ricky said. Greg was rapt that The Earth Moved had grabbed that elusive sub two minute mile rate with her 1:59.3 rating in Friday nights win over 1950 metres. " It certainly doesn't hurt if you are selling them at the sales to have a bit of black print beside their name,  Greg said. And that is where the future of The Earth Moved lies, in the broodmare paddock. " I have booked her in to Love You" "Love You is available here this year through Dave Sanders which is great after he has missed the last two years." "The resulting foal will be a 3/4 brother or sister in blood to Monbet," Greg pointed out. With this years Australasian Breeders Crown two year old colts/geldings winner Conon Bridge being another close relative excelling on the track and Monbet looking to have come back even better at four, The Earth Moved is certainly looking one very valuable broodmare. Harnesslink Media 

New harness racing season, same Stent. Colin DeFilippi and last season's trotter of the year, picked up where they left off with their usual military procession at Addington on Friday night. In his first race day start as he heads to the Group I Dominion Handicap, Stent was a convincing one and three quarter length winner over arch rival Master Lavros. For a $12,000 trot, the race carried plenty of interest with classy mares Habibti and Kincaslough also making their first starts for the season. Many of the top trotters will be back next Friday night for the Group III Canterbury Park Trotting Cup over 2600m. Stent looked to be carrying plenty of condition and DeFilippi believed he would strip fitter next week if he returns for the Canterbury Park Trotting Cup. He worked Stent into a charmed one-one sit and when he asked him to go he sprinted past Master Lavros. DeFilippi, who trains in partnership with wife Julie, said he would need see what handicap Stent would start from before he committed to it. On the back of the win, TAB bookmakers moved Stent into Dominion Handicap at $3.40 from his $3.80 while Master Lavros holds firm at $3.60. Trainer-driver Mark Jones was not concerned with Master Lavros's effort first up and probably relieved he stepped away, albeit a little slowly. Jones said the giant 7-year-old son of Sundon would likely be back next week. Stent trotted the 2600m in 3-18.6 and ran home in 56.6 and 27.6. The Craig and Aimee Edmonds trained Kincaslough hit the line nicely from near the back. Aimee Edmonds confirmed she was happy with the Love You mare who would be back next Friday. David Butt gave comeback trotter Habibti his tick of approval in her first run back since suffering a suspensory ligament after her last race day start in October 2014. Mat Kermeen Reproduced with permission of Stuff NZ   -   Check site here  

Harness racing trainer Stephen Hale had a look at the draw for his grey mare Lilly Jones at Addington tonight and his head dropped. Barrier nine over 1950 metres with some smart fillies drawn inside him was the last thing he had hoped for and he was unsure weather to go forward or back. Stephen, who works his horses at Cran Dalgety's Kentuckiana Lodge was having morning tea at the stables this morning when he mentioned his dilemma. Cran is never one to hold back when asked his opinion as Stephen related to Harnesslink tonight. " Cran pointed out the only thing you win pulling back is a tug of war contest."  " So I told my driver Peter Davis to go forward and press on," Stephen said. Which is exactly what Peter Davis did, leading after 300 metres with Lilly Jones and then he continued to run them along at a steady clip and come the finishing line was still in front. Peter Davis was suitably impressed with the good looking daughter of Klondike Kid. " That was a really good effort from the outside of the gate." " She never looked like giving it away," Peter said. Stephen was more than happy with the outcome. " She works on her own most of the time and I think she would have won at Motukarara last Sunday but she got a bit lost the last little bit." " She needs to be out and rolling in her races as she hasn't got a real sharp sprint on her." " We will probably head to Methven now with a fair bit of confidence" Stephen said. Lilly Jones looks to have a fair bit of upside to her judging by tonights win. Harnesslink Media

Tonight at the harness racing meeting at Addington Raceway, we will see the debut performance of the very smart three year old, Freedom Fighter. A son of Courage Under Fire, Freedom Fighter went through the 2014 New Zealand Premier Sale at Christchurch where he changed hands for $48,000 The vendor Brian West of Studholme Park had a lot of time for the colt and arranged to be part of the syndicate that was formed to race the horse by the purchaser Robert Dunn. Freedom Fighter had half a dozen starts at trials and workouts at two against some of the best two year olds around and was always competitive but was put aside to mature Now a three year old, Freedom Fighter has been burning up the trial tracks in Canterbury lately with his last effort at Rangiora especially noteworthy when he came home in 56 and 26.5 for an easy 6 1/2 length win. Tonight on his debut he will face some really nice horses such as Articulight, Imola and Linton Shard but he looks to have all the attributes to make a winning debut.  Driver John Dunn has a good opinion of Freedom Fighter. " He is a really nice horse and I think he will be hard to beat tonight." " His run at the last workouts was very good and I'm going in pretty confident," John said. Any good horse that is running sectionals like Freedom Fighter has at the trials recently always attracts the attention of the bloodstock agents and it is no different here. " There has been quite a bit of interest in him but he hasn't been sold at this stage." " The agents are keen to watch him run tonight and then make a decision," John said. With the aid of barrier one, Freedom Fighter looks very hard to beat here in what is shaping as his only start for the Dunn barn Harnesslink Media  

A heart rate monitor has given Kiwi trainer Mark Jones all the confidence he needs to drive Master Lavros like a winner in his comeback race at Addington tonight. The 2014 NZ Trotter of the Year clashes with the horse who took that title from him in Stent as both resume in a star-studded 2600m standing start tonight. Both Stent and Master Lavros will, like all elite level horses returning at this stage of the season, be below their best and set to improve with their outing. Which is why the attitude of their drivers and how they approach the race can be a good pointer for punters and Jones is full of confidence. “Obviously Stent is a very good horse and he might have more speed than us,” admits Jones. “But like my horse he is still very much on the way up and the one who gets the better run out of the pair might win. And I think that could be me.” While Master Lavros has drawn the inside of the 30m mark that could prove advantageous because there are only two horses on the front line and Escapee, the sole 20m starter, is unruly so has to start wide on the track, meaning Master Lavros could have very little traffic in front of him early. “While being off 30m doesn’t sound great if he begins well we could be up to fourth pretty quickly,” says Jones. “And if that happens I won’t be scared to do some work with him because he is so tough. “Even though this is his first run back I think he is ready to do the work and still win. “He has only had one trial but I have been checking his heart rate after his work at home and it tells me he is pretty fit. “So I think we can beat Stent." The one word of warning for punters though is Master Lavros did miss away badly in his only public outing this season, at the Addington trials on September 14, but he should be more settled for that outing. Stent has usurped Master Lavros as NZ’s premier trotter on last season’s form, culminating in a clean sweep of Victoria’s group ones through last February and March, including his heat and final of the Great Southern Star. Stent has a comparable standing start and fresh up record to his arch rival so where the pair settle soon after the start could decide the race, even allowing for the class of their rivals. Trainers Colin and Julie De Filippi have battled a corn problem with Stent early in this preparation but believe they are on top of that now and he has looked forward enough to win at his two recent workouts. The difference between the pair is that Stent is good enough to sit behind Master Lavros and usually outsprint him, but Master Lavros might have more natural stamina so can take up a better field position. With so little between them Master Lavros might provide better value as he should be around $3.80 to $4, whereas Stent is always short in early markets and will attract the bulk of the co-mingled money from Australia on the tote, so even if he does win the returns may not be worth the risk. Former group one star Habibti is the other multiple group one winning trotter in tonight’s race but even after winning at the Ashburton trials on Tuesday co-trainer David Butt is adamant she will need a few raceday starts to beat the big boys. by Michael Guerin Harness Racing Australia

Smolda  is on track to resume at Addington next week without a public trial going into the race. "There doesn't seem to be much point in waiting for a trial." "You could end up with three other horses of lesser grade and get no more out of it than you would get at home" Mark Purdon said. Smolda will be following -at least initially-the same path as Adore Me in winning last year's Cup going on to the Flying Stakes at Ashburton before a decision is made whether he needs another race. While he had quite a long spell after it, Smolda was kept up to the collar with a winter campaign in Sydney and Brisbane and should bounce back fairly quickly. Meanwhile other stars from the barn are getting ready for a return to racing Chase the Dream Was further back than he has ever been in a trial when fourth in a 3.02.4 2400m heat at Ashburton Tuesday but there was no cause for concern. "We probably had the hopples a bit short for one thing, he was looking to stretch out more but he was fine in terms of condition" Natalie Rasmussen said. All the team save perhaps Snakes n Ladders got the big tick and five are likely to be racing at Addington on Friday week. Snakes and Ladders finished well back but no real cause for concern at this stage. Superfecta is the All Stars only Futurity nominee at the Cup meeting and he won his qualifying heat (3:02: 56.6/27.5 in style) Cash n Flow  who looked so promising last term won in 3.04.8 (56.3: 26.5) and is poised for a Sires heat next week. Stroke of Luck  was beaten a half head in 3.04.6 (57.7/26.7)  and is ready to race now. All Star Angus  carried on from the promise of last season running second in 3.16 (58.4/28.7)  and will trial again soon. David McCarthy - All Stars Racing Stable  -  Check site here    

If Master Lavros can get the first 30 metres right, the next 2570 should be no problem. The 2013 Dominion Handicap winner starts his campaign at the harness racing meeting at Addington on Friday night as he heads towards the 2015 edition of the Group I. A $12,000 trot is hardly the glitz and glamour of the $250,000 Dominion but with Stent, Habibti and Kincaslough in, it shapes as an interesting leadup. Trainer Mark Jones has hardly had the perfect build up after Master Lavros missed a trial last week due to a minor illness, but Jones knows the giant 7-year-old son of Sundon is in much better shape than last year when was plagued by issues early in the season. Those issues made for frustrating times for Jones and his owner Kypros Kotzikas as manners continually blew his chances in races that should have been easy kills. In his only trial this preparation, Master Lavros skipped away from the tapes to give the field a 100m head start, something he cannot afford to do on Friday night. Master Lavros stepped perfectly in his final three stands last season and Jones puts the trial blemish down to being a bit fresh. "There's always a small question mark with him fresh up but I'm pretty confident he will step away this week, he seems very settled," Jones said. All the big bangers start off 30m with Habibti and Kincaslough off the unruly. "Because he's off 30m there isn't much in front of him and that's when he usually steps away best," Jones said. Jones is happy with Master Lavros' fitness despite missing the Rangiora trial and believes he could be fit enough to win. "Missing the trial could have been a blessing because the track was slushy," Jones said. "He's been trotting super so I'm pretty happy with him." Bookmakers currently have Master Lavros a $3.60 favourite to win the Dominion, with Stent at $3.80 and Sheemon at $5.50. Meanwhile, the New Zealand Metropolitan Trotting Club has increased its minimum stake to $7500 from November 1. Club chairman Barry Dent said stakes and bonuses have risen 20 per cent at Addington since 2012. Mat Kermeen Reproduced with permission of Stuff NZ  -  Check site here

The New Zealand Metropolitan Trotting Club is delighted to announce an increase in its minimum stake level to $7,500 effective from 1 November. Club Chairman Barry Dent commented “Due to a solid 2014-15 financial performance and a strong start to this season, the Club was eager to continue to increase returns to stakeholders who choose to support us.” “The substantial increases in stakes and bonuses in recent years at the Raceway have been funded entirely from non-racing revenue and in particular from the success enjoyed by the Club’s Events Centre and property related initiatives. This was further endorsed with the recent announcement of Addington Raceway and Events Centre as a winner of the Medium/Large Retail/Hospitality category at the prestigious Champion Canterbury Business Awards.” “Our continued focus is ensuring any increases in stakes and bonuses here at the Raceway are sustainable and stakeholders can rely on these to be continued into the future. We are all trying to build a stronger harness racing industry in New Zealand and the foundation for that objective must come from sustainable increases in returns to all stakeholders.” “With stakes and bonuses up 20% here at Addington since 2012, we are certainly trying our best to play a key role in building this base and this further increase in the minimum stake to $7,500 will, I am sure, be well received by all industry participants.” Ged Mooar Marketing & Commercial Manager Addington

There was a hiccup in the Hannon Memorial but Christen Me is back. Last season's harness racing horse of the year made amends for an unlikely loss to stablemate Mighty Flying Mac in the Hannon last start to get back on track with a pleasing win for punters who stuck with the early favourite for the New Zealand Trotting Cup. The Cran Dalgety trained pacer, who won five Group I races across Australasia last season, was much more like his old self at Addington Raceway on Friday night when he won the Group III Avon City Ford Cup at a $1.60 quote. The $25,000 race was Christen Me's second Group III win in just three runs back this season after he won the Maurice Holmes Vase on September 4. Dexter Dunn worked Christen Me into a one-one sit after a lap and with the speed on everything played into the star attraction's hands. Tiger Tara was massive in defeat in his first start since the Harness Jewels and gave Dunn a real scare in the final 200m before finishing second, just a head behind the winner. The Geoff Dunn trained 5-year-old was super impressive and shapes as a genuine winning chance on November 10. Dalgety will be just as pleased with Christen Me's stablemate Bit Of A Legend who was much improved when running into third, albeit three and a quarter lengths behind Tiger Tara. No Doctor Needed made his first appearance since April and his first true test in free-for-all company was encouraging despite dropping back to fourth after leading most of the way. Christen Me paced the 2600m in 3-14.60 with closing sectionals of 56.4 and 27.5. Earlier in the night, Brilliant Strike enhanced his prospects for a start in the cup with a three and a half length win in a C3 faster 2600m pace. The Shadow Play 4-year-old, in the hands of Jonny Cox, set sail on the home bend when he gapped the field and never looked back. Trainer Paul Court knows what it takes to win the cup with a 4-year-old, he co-trained Terror To Love to win the first of his three cup victories at the same age. Brilliant Strike's time of 3-15.1 was less than second slower than Christen Me's. Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen brought up the first two of what is assured to be many winners this season with comeback pacer Alta Ronaldo and 3-year-old debutant Benicio scoring wins. Mat Kermeen Reproduced with the permission of Stuff NZ  -  Check site here    

Harness racing trainers Geoff and Jude Knight have always been keen supporters of the syndication of horses to race. They have many syndicates in operation but the Central Courage syndicate is the jewel in the crown. Established ten years ago, the syndicate has thirty wins on the board todate and the way their latest acquisition Zenmach is going, there are a few more wins in store yet. Geoff Knight is thrilled with the run they have had. " They are a great bunch of people to train for and they have had a great ride todate. " Tonight actually we are having a tenth anniversary dinner to celebrate our success and hopefully there is plenty more still to come," Geoff said. The old saying about one door shutting and another one opening is never better exemplified by this syndicate. Hot on the heels of selling the well performed Al Raza to North America, the syndicate purchased Zenmach off Mark Smolenski and Lew Driver. Geoff was thrilled with the purchase. " Mark Smolenski has done such a great job educating him and teaching him the ropes." " He is a lovely horse to do anything with and a credit to Mark," Geoff said. A handy first up fourth at Addington was quickly followed by a very smart four length win over some handy two year olds at the same venue a week later. Zenmach franked that form with a last to first performance at Winton in early September and will look to carry on his winning ways at Invercargill this Sunday. Safely through that run, Zenmach will again head back to Addington. " There is a nice $11,000 C1 race for him on October 2nd and then a week later he has qualified for one of those $23,000 Alabar Super Series finals so he will start in that as well." " While he is a very nice three year old, I am not sure I want to take on the All Stars team at this stage of his career so we will just play it by ear in the meantime." " His main aim at this stage is the Southern Supremacy series and his program will be around that series," Geoff said. With the luck the Central Courage syndicate has had in the last ten years, Zenmach may just measure up to the big boys by the end of the season. Harnesslink Media

Addington Raceway & Events Centre is thrilled to announce that last night at the 2015 Champion Canterbury Business Awards Ceremony held at the Horncastle Arena in Christchurch it was announced that we took out the Award in the Retail/Hospitality Category for Medium to Large Enterprises. Addington’s Chief Executive Dean McKenzie commented “Although our business has been part of the fabric of our city for over 100 years, it would be fair to say that it has changed dramatically, particularly in the last few years. Receiving this award certainly makes it feel like all that hard work has not gone unnoticed, which is always nice.” “I am sure our Board will join with me in thanking all our customers, members, suppliers and key partners who have all played a massive role in the transformation of our business. Without them we would simply not be where we are today. But above all, we would like to thank and acknowledge our team for their hard ongoing work, enthusiasm and dedication to the organisation. Amongst some tough competition we fought out the final with Black Betty and High Country Salmon. Thank you to all staff concerned at the Champion and Canterbury Business Awards and at the Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce and to all sponsors and supporters of the Awards. Ged Mooar – 

Harness racing driver Mike Stratford is free to drive on Thursday night despite admitting possession of a modified whip containing a metal rod. The Judicial Control Authority's (JCA) decision confirms Stratford was found to be carrying a whip on track that had been modified to include a metal rod before the amateur drivers race at Addington last Friday night. In the document, co-chief stipendiary steward Nigel McIntyre revealed stewards "came across" Stratford's whip and removed it from him prior to the race start. Black insulation tape concealed a length of number 8 wire about 330 millimetres long. McIntyre said the addition of the wire on the end of the whip would obviously inflict "undue suffering" on a horse and could be seen as animal cruelty. The strengthened whip would be capable of inflicting a great deal more pain on a horse than a standard whip, McIntyre said. It was an "unbroken whip with a rod on it", he said. In his 12-year career as a steward, he could not recall a similar case. The JCA committee at the hearing were appalled any horseman would take such a whip onto the track. Stratford said he intended to carry the whip in the race but did not intend to use it. He was allowed to start the race with the Bruce Negus-trained Alexy and will be back in the sulky at Addington on Thursday night to drive a horse he trains himself, Oncewerechristians, in an amateur drivers race. The JCA issued Stratford with a $1000 fine but no suspension. At a hearing on Friday night, Stratford admitted the charge but denied knowing the whip was modified when he took it to the races. During the hearing, he acknowledged it felt heavier than a standard whip. The tape and rod was removed at the hearing and the whip appeared to be in good condition. Stratford said a former licensed driver, who had been working his horses, noticed that there was something wrong with the whip so he "strengthened it up" by putting a bit of wire in it and taping it up. He relied on the former horseman to know whether the modification was acceptable. McIntyre said Stratford could easily have replaced the whip, even on race night, rather than attempt to add a piece of wire to it and cover it with black tape to avoid detection by the stewards. Stratford has no prior charges for similar offending but the JCA said there was an aggravating factor of the whip being modified for no apparent reason. It also said it was difficult to accept Stratford's statement that he did not intend to use it. There was no suggestion Negus was aware of the modified whip and the JCA decision said Negus had told Stratford not to use a whip as the gelding, who has had 107 starts, did not benefit from being hit with the whip.  Mat Kermeen Reproduced with the permission of Stuff NZ    Check site here

Harness racing is really onto a winner with amateur driving races which have become a more regular feature of the local harness racing scene in New Zealand. It has allowed a lot of people who don't rely on harness racing for their main source of income to experience the thrill of driving on raceday and has also helped some working in the industry to show off their driving skills on a bigger stage. One person who has grabbed the opportunity with both hands is Amanda Tidswell who works for Stonewall Stud at Ardmore in South Auckland. Since coming home from Australia about eighteen months ago, Amanda has started to carve out a name for herself amongst the northern amateur driving ranks. " I only really took it up because the stud had a horse or two they thought would suit the amateur races and they wanted a regular driver." " I have only had five drives but have managed a win, 2 seconds, 1 third and a fifth so its all worked out good so far." This week Amanda is set to make her Addington debut when she drives Ashton K in the amateur drivers race and Amanda is thrilled to have the drive. " Ashton K is a really nice horse and I'm rapt to have the drive." " We had to scratch him last week due to a wee foot issue but he is well over it now and has worked really good this week." " He was a promising two year old but he got hurt and had twelve months on the sidelines." " We have given him a long slow buildup and he won nicely first up." " He is down here to qualify for the futurity final during  Cup Week so that is his main aim at the moment," Amanda said. Southern racegoers might not recognize the name on Friday night but with a UDR of .4889 Amanda Tidswell has shown she has what it takes to win races in the amateur ranks. Harnesslink Media

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