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It was supposed to be the return of the big hitters, but no one bothered to tell Franco Nelson.  Then again, perhaps the born again pacer, who finished second in the 2014 edition of the New Zealand Trotting Cup is no longer a member of the chasing bunch either…his victory last night a prime example.  There was an air of confidence around the Robert Dunn team prior to the Avon City Ford New Brighton Cup despite the fact that the likes of Have Faith In Me, Christen Me, Lazarus and Smolda were all joining the fray for the first time in this Cup build up.  And the confidence proved to be right on the money.  And John Dunn, who got to view the victory from the best seat in the house, put the rejuvenation and grand run of form down to one simple formula.  “We keep the horse happy and in turn he’s happy to be out there racing,” Dunn said. “He’s really sound at the moment and is just in a good space and it’s showing with how well he is going.  “We needed to get a run like we got out there tonight to bring us into it and luckily everything fell into place.” The major asset in the weaponry of Franco Nelson so far this season has been his stand start manners.  They worked the oracle again last night after Dunn was able to lead early before handing up to an intent Christen Me – resulting in a dream run in the trail throughout.  “The manners are a big help, it means we can get in the best possible position early on.”  Raced by the estate of Sharon McKay, Clive and Rona McKay, Jenna Dunn and Mitzi Taylor, Franco Nelson will head towards the Canterbury Classic in a fortnight with the Ashburton Flying Stakes, at this stage, not on the radar.  “He’s got a horrible record at Ashburton. It’s not really his sort of track so we will probably miss there.  “Kaikoura is a possibility though.” Of the beaten brigade last night Christen Me was fantastic in his first up run after working hard.  Dexter Dunn said it was never his intention to lead but the gelding began that well he felt he had no choice.  “He’s gone great, I didn’t want to lead but it just sort of happened. He fought really strongly to the line so it’s a good start.” Cran Dalgety will make a decision in the next 48 hours on what he does next with Christen Me – but the Canterbury Classic is back on the radar.  A little further down the Addington stabling block, Mark Purdon could hardly contain his enthusiasm after the performance of Lazarus to finish third.  The four-year-old made up a stack of ground along the markers after being slow away – leaving Purdon, often the harshest of critics, suitably impressed.  “He’s gone fantastic. It really was a truly great run. I had him a little too close to the tape at the start and he just panicked but it’s something I’m confident we can get sorted.  “But as far as starting points go, I’m really happy.” TAB Bookmakers reacted to the run by installing Lazarus an incredible $2.70 favourite for the New Zealand Trotting Cup with a few decent bets coming in straight away.  Natalie Rasmussen, Purdon’s training partner was equally as happy with her drive, Have Faith In Me who finished fourth.  The Miracle Mile winner was slow away as well and then worked four wide from the 800 metre mark – fighting strongly to the line.  “He’s gone good we were four wide and I didn’t really want to push him too hard first up.” Life wasn’t quite so rosy for Locharburn who made a hash of the start and then worked hard to get outside Christen Me before tiring from the top of the straight.    Matt Markham

Early fixed odds movers for harness racing at Addington tonight   Race 1 - Even at $1.55 the favourite is best backed early and in multi bets with 95% on him.   Outside the favourite the best backed is Arden's Endeavour $21.     Race 2 - A very even spread of early money here with the best backed Destiny Jones $6.80 over Hey Yo the $2.80 favourite who easily leads early multi bets.   Race 3 - Easily best backed early is Afterdinnerspeaker $11 - $7.50 with solid money also coming for You Gotta Have Faith $5.60 - $4.80.   The long shot Tiger Thompson has surprisingly also been well backed (3rd best) and is now into $31 from $47.   Betor For Gold does lead early multi bets holding double the amount on the next best in On The Rantan $3.30 - $3.50.   Race 4 - A very quiet race here with no runner holding any serious money. Brilliant Strike $2.20 favourite leads multi bets over Idealindiamonds $4.80.   Race 5 - Bordeaux is best backed $10.50 - $9.00 over Harrysul $17. Sunny Ruby the $2.30 favourite easily leads multi bets.   Race 6 - Another quiet race with Happy Styx the best backed $16 - $14. Willedu $3.10 does lead multi bets but they are quiet as well.   Race 7 - One of the best races we have seen for a long time with one punter describing to us "I haven't seen five top horses in one race for ten years" and we agree as it was a tough race to price.   Have Faith In Me did open the $3.00 favourite but has drifted slightly to $3.30. Best backed is Lazarus $4.60 - $4.20 over Locharburn $8.00 - $6.50, Have Faith In Me and Christen Me $3.30 - $3.70. Lazarus does lead multi bets over  Have Faith In Me.   Race 8 - The only two taking any money here are Ranfurly Rulz $3.60 and Johnny Eyre $8.50 - $8.00. Sails $6.80 does lead multi bets over Black Regal Princess $4.20.     Race 9 - Very quiet on the win 'book' here but in multi betting it is all one way traffic on Kingdom Come $4.20 - $4.00.   Race 10 - All the early money has come for Gunpowder $3.70 - $3.40 and Ultimate Fella $3.40, these two are all they want in multi betting.     Harnesslink Media Courtesy of Stephen Richardson

Hall-of-Fame horseman Barry Purdon isn’t afraid to label Start Dreaming as the best mare he has trained. He’s also not afraid to put his hand up to drive the gifted 5-year-old this season. “She’s the best pacer in our (25-strong) stable and would have to be the best mare I’ve had. I’ll probably drive her in the Spring Cup (September 30) and then we will plan it from there. Zac is currently in the United States but I wanted to drive her last week to see where she is at. “You could see me driving a bit more this season. I’ve always loved competing and winning out on the track, but I’ve also believed in giving the young ones a fair go. They are our future,” Purdon said Purdon only had 19 drives last season for three wins and seven placings. That equated to a healthy 0.3275 UDR strike-rate. All-up since his junior driving days in 1974 Purdon has driven 604 winners from 2,156 drives. He’s also placed 839 times for $6.3 million in career stakes. His best year in the sulky came in 1990-1991 when he drove 44 winners for a 0.3050 strike rate. “I will be talking to Brian about the horse’s future, but you could see me out there a bit more this season. I’m still hungry for it,” Purdon hinted. Brian is Brian West of Studholme Bloodstock, who bred and owns Start Dreaming. Purdon said the American Ideal mare would bypass the New Zealand Cup Carnival at Addington in November. “We targeted last Friday’s race to see exactly where she was at and she has proven to us that she is certainly good enough to start in the Spring Cup. She’s up to that grade, in fact any grade. “After the Spring Cup we will build towards the Queen Of Hearts at Alexandra Park in December and then possibly the Ladyship Mile. But she has only had one race back this campaign and we are getting a wee bit ahead of ourselves - but that’s our long-term plan, all going well,” said Purdon. Last Friday Start Dreaming had her first race since February 28. That’s when she finished an unlucky fifth in the Ladyship Mile at Tabcorp Park, Menangle. She went into the Sims Pacific Metals R76-R106 Pace with a win and a second behind Hughie Green at the Workouts. Purdon sat in the one-one and when he stepped off the track his new stable star had reeled off one of the the fastest ever last 800m times recorded in New Zealand. She paced the 2700m mobile 3:28.5 (mile rate 2:04.2) with final 800m and 400m sectionals of 53.7 and 27 flat. “That was a pretty amazing last quarter and she felt real nice doing it. I don’t want to get too carried away but she is a very exciting race horse. She’s top of the pile in our barn, ahead of Hug The Wind and Ideal Belle,” said Purdon. Start Dreaming has now won seven of her 18 starts and placed in six others for $173,282. Her biggest win came on February 20 this year when she nailed the Group Two Robin Dundee Classic at Tabcorp Park Menangle. Her best performances in New Zealand came last year in the Northern Oaks and Harness Jewels 3yo Diamond, where she ran second and third respectively. Start Dreaming is the second of five foals out of the 14-year-old In the Pocket mare, Simply Devine. Her bolder brother, My Style (by McArdle) has won four races in Australia. Simply Devine has also left a 4-year-old Art Official mare named I’m A Dreamer, who has won one of his three starts for Leeston trainer, Hayden Galway. She also has a 3-year-old Art Official colt named I’m A Dreamer, and a yearling Sportswriter colt named Power Dreaming. She is currently in foal to Bettor’s Delight. Purdon has never won the Queen Of Hearts but his good mare Lancewood Lizzie won the Harness Jewels 4yo Ruby Final last year. Duane Ranger

If the second Tuesday in November is the main course, then this Friday night surely must be the entree. Eight of the leading contenders for this year’s New Zealand Trotting Cup in November will be in action at Addington this week for the New Brighton Cup - offering a real taste test of what is to come in the next month and a half as the lead up really intensifies. In a coup for Addington Raceway officials, it’s rare to see all the major contenders in action together this early in proceedings with Ashburton’s Flying Stakes late in October the more traditional shadow Cup field. Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen made the shock announcement last week that all three of their stars; Lazarus, Have Faith In Me and Smolda would be in attendance, after indicating only one or two would be racing this week. “We are happy with how they are all progressing,” Purdon said last week. “It makes sense to get the first run under their belt now and then see where we are really at because you can only get so much out of trials and workouts.” The All Stars will head to the meeting some trepidations though, particularly around the stand start manners of current Cup favourite, Have Faith In Me. The Miracle Mile winner of last season stepped cleanly last Tuesday at the Ashburton workouts, but was aided by a flying walk up start which he is unlikely to get on Friday night. Natalie Rasmussen, who will drive the five-year-old, intends on giving the gelding as much time and room as he needs. “It’s got to be a case of just giving him every chance we can and hoping for the best really,” Rasmussen said. “He’ll get there eventually.” With Rasmussen doing the driving of Have Faith In Me and Purdon sticking with Lazarus, stable pinch-hitter Tim Williams will handle the duties on last year’s Cup runner-up, Smolda. In another shock driving announcement, it was confirmed early this week that North Island horseman, Josh Dickie will be the driver of Locharburn this week and going forward if Dexter Dunn elects to remain driving Christen Me, who is also in action this week. Many expected Blair Orange to handed the drive, but Dickie’s association with the stable of Kevin Chapman and also the fact he has driven Locarburn before when he campaigned in Auckland has let to his booking. Dickie will drive with the knowledge that if after this week Dunn elects to get off Christen Me that he will be given the opportunity to then drive Locharburn. Christen Me looked well forward last week when he beat the All Stars trio at Ashburton. Cran Dalgety has signalled his intention to race Christen Me this week and then give him a short spell before returning him late in the Cup build up. Hannon Memorial winner, Franco Nelson and runner-up Tiger Tara are both also in action this week while Mossdale Conner and Quick As A Trick make up the remainder of the field. Matt Markim

Rory McIlwrick could have won more races last season but he is glad he pulled short of the 75 career wins that would have seen him automatically become an open horseman. After 12 meetings in the South Island so far this season McIlwrick has shot to the top of the Junior Drivers’ premiership with six wins – twice as many as second placed Matt Anderson, Sean Grayling and Sheree Tomlinson. The 24-year-old Otago horseman has now reined home 80 winners from 895 starters since 2011. He’s also placed 128 times and won just under $500,000 in stakes. “It was a good decision to remain a junior. I’m glad I stopped on 74 last season. It’s important to me to make an impression in the juniors because I know the open ranks will be a whole lot harder. “I want to win the Junior premiership more than I do the New Zealand and Australasian Championships. That’s how much it means to me,” McIlwrick said. McIlwrick, who works for Graeme Anderson at Mosgiel, finished fifth on the junior driving premiership last year with 26 wins – 44 less than national champion Brad Williamson, of Oamaru. “It won’t be easy because there are some good juniors out there who work for good stables and have good connection with owners. It also hasn’t been easy living down south and trying to get drives for Championships. “You have to travel to Canterbury to get the drives and points. The only time I have been selected for a Championship event was in my second year when I won just eight races and then finished midfield in Championship. I didn’t even got close to qualifying those other years,” said McIlwrick. “I’m just so happy that it has all changed this year. I’m rapt to be getting better quality drives now,” he added. His 26 wins in 2015-2016 were a personal best – one more than the previous season. He also took 97 less drives to achieve his milestone. So far this season McIlwrick has landed six wins, five seconds, and a third from 23 drives. He’s banked $35,060 and he already looks almost certain to crack $100,000 in stakes for the third consecutive season. McIlwrick’s half dozen victories have come via the Greg and Nina Hope trained Bettor Buy It at Oamaru on August 7; the Hope trained Burn Off at Addington on September 2; the Alan Paisley trained Sweet As at Gore on August 26; the Graeme Anderson trained Hopes And Dreams at Oamaru on August 28; the Anderson trained Arden’s Concord who also won at Oamaru on August 28 and then repeated the dose on the same track last Sunday. McIlwrick’s ‘six’ have come on three tracks and from just five meetings - but there’s one drive that he rates above all others. “Winning behind Burn Off is my career highlight to date. It was my first Addington win and it meant so much for me to crack my duck there. It’s the premier race track we all want to win at. I was over the moon. It was even better than my first winning drive,” McIlwrick said. Incidentally that came career drive number 15 behind the Ron and Julie McEwan trained Fatal Attraction at Invercargill on December 13, 2011. “Looking back I’d rather not talk about that first win because it took more than two years to get my second. I think my (2014) Cromwell Cup win behind Devil May Care was pretty special too. “But my first Addington win is now my best moment in the sport, but if I can win the Junior title this season that will beat everything. I know there’s a long way to go but I’m driving better horses now thanks to good trainers like Graeme, Alan and the Hopes,” McIlwrick said. “Actually I’m grateful to every one who puts me on. I always want to win for them - but I never take the drives for granted,” he added. He said he got to drive for the Hopes because he kept asking them for the drive behind Bettor Buy It. “After my win on Burn Off they were kind enough kind enough to let me drive Bettor Buy It. I just want to keep doing a good job for them because they are up there with the best trainers in New Zealand,” he said. McIlwrick said he drives 90 per cent of Anderson’s team and Dexter Dunn was the regular pilot of the smart four-win (from five races) pacer Sovereign Banner. “Sovereign Banner and the unbeaten (one from one) Art Major gelding Eamon Maguire would be the best two horses in Graeme’s stable. We work between eight and 12,” McIlwrick said. Thee Christchurch born and educated at Hornby High School educated reinsman said as well as winning the junior driving premiership he also wanted to notch up 100 career wins this season. “That would be great. It would also be a personal best and go a long way to winning the premiership. I’d also like to drive a winner at tracks north of Oamaru that I haven’t won on yet like Methven, Motukarara, Nelson, Rangiora and Blenheim.” Duane Ranger

They’ve been pretty quiet in recent months but expect to see a bit more of the old firm of Cran Dalgety and Dexter Dunn in the coming weeks. It’s been steady as she goes over the winter months for one of the most dominant trainer and driver combinations in New Zealand harness racing, but a promising team of newcomers, mixed in with some new blood, should see them back to the fore. That could start tonight at Addington where they combine with four strong winning chances across the night’s racing. And that coupled with the return of Christen Me and On The Rantan should makes for happy times. “There’s a nice team there,” Dalgety said during the week. “They all look capable of winning a race or two, but it’s always really nice to have a few of the good ones back in the action too.” The team tonight, spearheaded by the return of the talented Alpha Rock looks ominous. The Rock N Roll Heaven gelding, out of the super broodmare Spark’s A Flyin has only once been outside of the top three in his 10 career starts and looked strong winning a recent trial. Spark’s A Flyin is yet to miss as a broodmare, with her five foals prior to Alpha Rock all having won more than 10 races and he looks capable of doing the same. Drawn out wide in his resumption with a strong field inside and around him the task won’t be easy, especially over the 1950 metres, but his talent is undeniable. First starters Fatima Siad and Beautiful Mind are also in action tonight. Beautiful Mind is a three-year-old filly by the little known stallion Dali and has some strong trial and workout form - including a recent trial victory over race rival tonight, Crackared. Fatima Siad, a Bettor’s Delight three-year-old filly, has also been impressive around the traps at workouts and trials and she looked strong in a recent trial at Rangiora when she finished third behind quality three-year-old Mongolian Storm and the promising Titanium who also lines up in the last race tonight. After missing almost the first month of racing, Dunn has made a steady start to defending his national drivers’ crown with seven winners from his 36 drives. He kicks off a busy weekend tonight with eight drives before heading south to Invercargill for close to a full book before returning to Canterbury to drive at Methven on Sunday. Super Selector - By Matt Markham  Race 1: C’est L’heure, Aveross Brachole, Imola, Don Pierre  Race 2: Gotta Go Ya Hu, Afterdinnerspeaker, Gunpowder, Rum Delight Race 3: Royal Jester, Rocki Warrior, Flyingretna, Jay Jayz Boy Race 4: Jean Sebastien, Cuddly Jess, Gee Gees Invasion, Ruthless Success Race 5: Dana Duke, Alpha Rock, Ranfurly Rulz, Gimmegold Race 6: Beautiful Mind, Kitura, Fire One, Crackared Race 7: Lewy Risk, Beyond Belief, Delightful Dash, Kotare Yael Race 8: Ask Me Art, Linton Shard, Audi Hare, Going To California Race 9: Jayceekay, The God Botherer, Little Mo, Donsmedad Race 10: Franco Hampton, Titanium, Fatima Siad, The Bachelor Best Bet: Jayceekay (Race 9) Value: Ask Me Art (Race 8)

A week is a long time in racing, sometimes for the better and often for the worst. Luckily for David and Catherine Butt though it was a case of the former and not the latter on Friday night when their promising pacer Idealindiamonds showed his true worth to salute at Addington. Seven days prior to Friday night’s effort, the Woodend Beach trainers had taken the five-year-old to the races with high expectations, but left a little disheartened when he failed to perform. But on Friday night he was impressive, coming from off the speed to run past his rivals with ease. “He just got too keen last week,” David Butt said. “The false start didn’t help him either I think, he got a bit worked up. “But that was more like him tonight, he’s gone very good.” Paid up for the initial nominations for this year’s New Zealand Trotting Cup, Butt said there were some decisions to be made on whether they would continue toward the big race. “I’m not really sure to be honest, it’s costing a lot of money to keep him in the nominations and if you don’t make the field you don’t get any of that back. “Realistically we can’t beat the really good ones, so there’s a lot of money being paid for probably a very small shot at the prize. “It makes it pretty tough and I’ve got no problems in saying that either.” Despite his concerns, Butt said they would still progress down the Road to the Cup path with Idealindiamonds due to a lack of other suitable races meaning the Canterbury Classic is next up on the radar. Post that the Methven Cup looks ideal for the son of American Ideal. “He goes well on the grass, so that’s our big shot. “But we will have to keep pressing on in the other races before then because there isn’t anything else for him really.” Handled on Friday night by the Butt’s son, Bob, Idealindiamonds settled mid-field and launched at the 400 metre mark to run past his opposition with a real impressive show of speed. “When I first pulled him out, he didn’t want to go and I had to work him a bit to get him running, but once he hooked into it we were sweet he really sprinted. “He relaxed tonight too which is a big bonus.” Life’s quiet at the Woodend Beach barn of the Butts’ these days. Their total number of horses in work totals just seven, a far cry from the huge numbers they used to train when they were premiership contenders each season. “It’s a good number for us, we’re enjoying it,” David said. “Back when we were in full swing it was around 50 I guess.” Butt said there were a couple of nice young horses in the barn who, although the might not make two-year-olds, were showing enough promise for the future. Matt Markim

Sheree Tomlinson’s race to Cup Week, and the Dominion Handicap, holds a little more pressure than most.   The talented young horsewoman requires three more wins to reach 15 career wins which makes her eligible to drive in black type races. And when the promise of the drive on Amaretto Sun is the carrot dangling at the end of the piece of string, you can see why she’s so keen to get there.   The pair combined last night at Addington to produce a stunning effort in the Ordeal Trotting Cup – beating some likely big race contenders with consummate ease in the process.   And Tomlinson, who had the best view in the house sitting behind the imposing trotter poured a little salt into the wounds of those behind them after the race.   “He did it so easy, I couldn’t believe how well he was travelling the whole way,” she said.   “He’s pretty exciting to sit behind. He gives you such a wonderful feel. When I asked him for a little of effort he just grabbed the bit and hooked into it.”   After an impressive effort last week when fourth behind Sunny Ruby after making a mistake at the start, Amaretto Sun was slightly let go by punters and Tomlinson made them pay by sending the gelding forward to find the front early and never looking back.   Sunny Ruby was forced to race parked for the majority of the last lap, which is well against her preferred racing style, and when Tomlinson clicked her charge up at the 600 metre mark the result was instant.   “I could see Sunny Ruby was parked and I thought our best chance was to make her work a bit harder so I ran a bit down the back and then really poured it on round the bend.   “He just did it in his stride though, I’m pretty lucky to get to sit behind a good horse like him – especially this early in my career.”   In winning last night Amaretto Sun is now guaranteed a start in the Dominion Handicap and will be officially ranked second in the rankings when the next round are released next week.   The D G Jones Memorial Banks Peninsula Trotting Cup is the first black type target for Amaretto Sun in the lead up to the Dominion Handicap which gives Tomlinson a month to get her required three wins.   “Hopefully I can get there, that’s three more to go now but as long as I’m there by Cup Week I’ll be happy.”   With four drives tomorrow at Oamaru, Tomlinson has a good chance to go one or two steps closer to that goal.   Amaretto Sun is trained by her grandfather, Ken Ford who continued his grand 12 months in feature trotting races with another victory and with Zachary Binx close to resuming and Marcoola still waiting in the wings, along with Amaretto Sun, there’s a whole lot more to get excited about too.   Matt Markham

Harness racing at Addington tonight sees the second night of the "Kiwi punters championship" to be run on course during the evening. Along with the usual $25,000 pick six there is also a $40,000 guaranteed quaddie on the last four races at the meeting.  We preview the quaddie tonight starting in Race 7 at 8:17pm.  Race 7  The first leg is the Ordeal Trotting Cup where Sunny Ruby will start a short priced favorite on the back of a good win last start. The mobile and small field will suit and her speed should see her get home with any sort of luck in the running. Others with chances are Amareto Sun who did well after an early gallop last weeek and the mobile should assist him too. Sheemon was running on last start and is a threat and Daryl Boko coming in fresh but has the ability to compete here. Race 8 Dreamy Damian was good last start running home late in the piece and the TAB bookies have him favorite at $2.70 on the fixed odds. Easy Rider is a danger to the favorite and has drawn well to be near the lead most of the way. Double Shot has drawn in behind Easy Rider and should also get a good soft run on the fence. Race 9 A lot of depth in this field and a few needed. Cmeerock was good winning at the recent Rangiora workouts and will start favorite here. Others needed here are Real Ready, Jay Jayz Boy, Blade, Paddington Central, Thisismylastflight, Selling The Dream, Benji Mara and Daylight Robbery. Race 10 An even field to finish and three horses locked in battle for favoritism. Vanhalem won well in a similar field last start and Dexter on again so possibly the best of them. Four Starzzz Shirazz drops in class for this race and has gate speed. he might be the probable early leader and can win. Cullen's Lady is racing well and include also. Our suggested Quaddie $25.00 gives you 30% Leg 1     6 Leg 2     1,3,10 Leg 3     3,4,5,6,8,9,11,14,16 Leg 4     3,4,5   Harnesslink Addington Selections Race 1 Highland Reign, Thats Bettor, Aveross Bracehole, Eja Patron Race 2 Kotare Yarra, Shineonucrazydiamond, Kitura, Carter Micheal Race 3 Living legend, Gotta Del, Gunpowder, C'est L 'heure Race 4 Floreta, Imola, Sems Delight, Kashana  Race 5 Craddock, The God Botherer, My Amour, The Fox Race 6 Brilliant Strike, Delightful Dash, Kotare Yael, Eva Sophnally Race 7 Sunny Ruby, Amereto Sun, Sheemon, Daryl Boko Race 8 Dreamy Damian, Easy Rider, Double Shot, Gimmegold Race 9 Cmeerock, Thisismylastflight, Blade, Selling The Dream Race 10 Vanhalem, Cullens Lady, Four Starzzz Shirazz, Real South Best Bet : Brilliant Strike Value Bet: Thisismylastflight   Harnesslink Media

The second round of Official Rankings has seen only minimal movement within both the Christchurch Casino NZ Trotting Cup and Haras des Trotteurs Dominion. Within The Cup, Locharburn, for his automatic qualifying win in the Maurice Holmes Vase jumps to a mandatory No. 2. The only other change for The Cup saw Franco Nelson edge ahead of Philadelphia Man to No. 9. The Dominion rankings saw several small changes. Kyvalley Blur’s win at Melton last week moved him to 12th. (Our) Overanova broke a track record at Albion Park last week when winning so he moved up to one place 19th ahead of Australian counterpart Sun Of Anarchy. Realmein’s solid second behind One Over Da Moon earned him a jump of four spots to 30, while Tornado Valley pulled herself off the bottom of the rankings by virtue of a strong showing behind the inform Sunny Ruby on Friday night. To date there have been three defections from the two features. Itz Bettor To Win and Expresso Martini have come out of The Cup. Foray has been withdrawn from The Dominion. This week there are two key races in the ‘Road to The Cup’. Friday’s Ordeal Trotting Cup at Addington provides a free ticket into the Dominion and on Sunday the time-honoured Hannon Memorial will be contested for the 79th time at Oamaru. Though not an automatic qualifying race, it provides some lower in the rankings with a potential springboard into the great race.   Click here for the New Zealand Trotting Cup Rankings Click here for the Dominion Rankings   HRNZ Media release    

Top harness racing pacer Locharburn has justified his favoritism in winning last nights 'Allied Security Maurice Holmes Vase' at Addington. The 6yo Christian Cullen entire was well driven by top reinsman Dexter Dunn. He made the lead mid race and held off a game Tiger Tara over the final stages to record an impressive victory.  The race was run in a quick time of 3:14.6 for the standing start 2600m, and Locharburn sped over his last 800m in a sizzling 55.1 seconds. Tiger Tara was just as good running second after having to sit parked for most of the race. He looked half a chance to head off Locharburn in the straight but went down narrowly by a neck at the finish. Locharburn was guaranteed an automatic entry to the New Zealand in November by winning last nights race and the TAB bookies have responded by bringing his price from $9.00 in to $7.50. Have Faith In Me remains the cup favorite at $3.20 with Lazarus second favorite at $3.70. Two races after Locharburn won his race, Hey Yo was a popular winner for young trainer Jack Harrington. Hey Yo is raced by Harrington’s father, Dave - a New Zealand Darts representative, the Gold Star Racing No.1 Syndicate and Harrington’s partner, successful Ashburton thoroughbred trainer and jockey, Ashley McKay. Dave Harrington had double reason to celebrate as he also won the first heat of the New Zealand punters championship held during the evening.   Harnesslink Media

Early TAB fixed odds action for tonights harness racing at Addington   Race 1: The $3.50 favourite Forgotten Highway is the best backed early over Bakari $5.50.   Race 2: The longshot Natural Courage $21 is the best backed over Handlebar Hank $12. Multi betting on this race is very quiet.   Race 3: Blade at $9.00 is best backed but the debut runner Rocknroll Magic out of the class mare ‘Foreal’ is all they want in early multi bets.   Race 4: The $2.90 favourite Mrs Brown’s Boy is the best backed and early on the rest are not attracting much interest.   Race 5: All they want early is Idealindiamonds $4.70 - $4.50 with a little interest for Croft Bay. Ranfurly Rulz the $4.50 equal favourite is best backed in multi bets.   Race 6: A very quiet win ‘book’ but the $2.20 favourite Sunny Ruby clearly leads multi bets over Sheemon $4.00.   Race 7: No win money yet on the $1.25 favourite Lochaburn but multi bets are saying this race is over and the $1.25 might be the best price you get. Best backed is Seel The Deal at $9.50 over Tiger Tara at $7.00.   Race 8: All the early win money is on the debut winner last week in Afterdinerspeaker and he is into $4.00 from the opening odds of $4.50. Multi wise the $1.85 favourite Gotta Go Ya Hu leads over Major Rocket $2.80 and Afterdinnerspeaker but there isn’t a big gap between them all number wise.   Race 9: Punter’s are leaving this race right alone both in the win and multi ‘book’. Even multi bets are not going through the race which would tell you this is going to be the evenest race on the card tonight.   Race 10: Best backed is the Mark Jones debut runner Ammisaduga $5.20 but she isn’t attracting much multi interest as all the action early is for the $2.20 favourite C’est L’heure.   Best backed runner: Race 5: Idealindiamonds $4.50 Best backed multi bet runners in order: Race 7: Lochaburn $1.25 Race 3: Rocknroll Magic $2.30 Race 10:C’est L’heure $2.20

Addington harness racing  'Fixed Odds' early money as at 10:00am raceday.   Race 1- The best backed runner at the meeting is McClinchie $1.65 - $1.50 with $2,200 at $1.65 the largest bet so far. McClinchie is also the best backed horse "number wise" in multi betting. The rest of the field in race 1 is struggling to attract any early money which would suggest that the favourite McClinchie could close at around $1.40.    Race 2- Very little action early in the win 'book' and in multi bets in this race. Just A Dude $7.00, Family Knight $28 and Shay Scott $8.00 are the best backed early.    Race 3- Only two runners they want in multi bets with Shineonucrazydiamond $2.10 leading over Never Say Never $3.00. In the win 'book' Afterdinnerspeaker $13 - $9.00 is the best backed.    Race 4- She'sa Tricky Bridge $19 - $13 is best backed but in multi bets the best backed easily is Omar Shariff $2.05 over Rummage $2.10.   Race 5- This is the quietest race in the win 'book' early with the $2.00 favourite Perissa slightly leading multi bets over Vanhalem at $5.50.   Race 6- The only runner they want to be on early is Dana Duke $7.60 - $6.00 and he does lead multi bets over the last start unlucky runner in Croft Bay $4.20. Dexter Dunn is back on Dana Duke and he has won on two of his three wins so doubt that's what is driving the early support.   Race 7- Solid early support on Twelve Monkeys has seen her odds move into $6.50 from $7.00 and she is the only runner attracting any early money. Best backed number wise in multi bets is Shpeedy $18 over Jean Sebastian $5.50.    Race 8- The second best backed runner at the meeting is Major Rocket $3.50 - $2.60 and she is the only runner wanted in multi bets. Her current odds of $2.60 do look short but the early weight of win and multi money verse her rivals would suggest she could close at around $1.80 - $2.00.    Race 9- An even spread of win money but there isn't enough action to get a good line early as to where late money will come. The favourite The Publisher $2.30 is dominant in multi betting over Benji Mara $5.60.   In early multi betting number wise and in order:   McClinchie race 1 Major Rocket race 8 Omar Shariff race 4 Shineonyoucrazydiamond race 3    Stephen Richardson - TAB

Two additional harness racing nominations have been received for this year’s New Zealand Trotting Cup at Addington on November 8. Addington Raceway bosses elected to leave the nominations open for an extra week for the Cup, the Dominion Handicap and their Show Day Futurity Series after they officially closed last week. Harness Jewels placed mare Expressive Victor, has been added to the list for Paul Court - joining stablemate Brilliant Strike. The other runner is now Australian pacer, Itz Bettor To Win.  The gelding who was trained by Mark Purdon​ and Natalie Rasmussen for the first part of his career and won a Kindergarten Stakes as a two-year-old is owned by Merv and Meg Butterworth.  The popular Australian couple were the successful owners of last year's Cup winner, Arden Rooney and will be shooting for back-to-back victories this year.  In the Dominion Handicap, Australian trotter Glenferrie Tycoon has joined the fray for Andy Gath. Glenferrie Tycoon joins;  Kyvalley Blur, Sun Of Anarchy, Overanova, Keystone Del, Vincennes and My Tribeca as the Australian nominations. NZ Cup: Moonrock, Alleluia, Brilliant Strike, Hughie Green, Idealindiamonds, Lewy Risk, Seel The Deal, Didjamakem Bolt, Expresso Martini, Costa Del Magnifico, Maverick, Quick As A Trick, Cullect A Guinness, Franco Nelson, Hug The Wind, Titan Banner, Franco Ledger, No Doctor Needed, Christen Me, Have Faith In Me, Lazarus, Locharburn, Messini, Mighty Flying Mac, Smolda, Tiger Tara, Philadelphia Man, Mossdale Conner, Itz Bettor To Win, Expressive Victor. Dominion Handicap: Kyvalley Blur, Sun Of Anarchy, Overanova, Quevert, Sunset Peak, Tornado Valley, Bordeaux, Le Reveur, Springbank Eden, Alley Way, Arran Chief, Golden Gate, Harriet Of Mot, Jag's Invasion, Monty Python, Paramount Dream, Realmein, Waterloo Sunset, Zachary Binx, Amaretto Sun, Belles Son, Daryl Broko, Scarrymcleary, Arya, Cool Cobber, Foray, Habibti, Harrysul, Keystone Del, King Denny, Master Lavros, Monbet, One Over Da Moon, Quite A Moment, Sheemon, Stent, Sunny Ruby, Valmagne, Vincennes, My Tribeca, Glenferrie Tycoon.   HRNZ News

Last week’s Alabar Super Series events, which have become a real feature on Addington Raceway’s harness racing calendar, was the 12th occasion these races have been conducted over the last four years. Designed to reward those horses and connections that support Addington Raceway on a regular basis, the success of these $23,500 events can be seen in the quality of the fields that contest them and a look at past results makes for interesting reading. Average tote win dividend is approximately $7.50 Largest win dividend was $36.30 when now course mile record holder Vice Chairman was victorious in 2013 Shortest win dividend was last week when Stars Align saluted at $1.20 22 individual trainer(s) have won the 36 Alabar Super Series events held Purdon/Rasmussen with 9 and Terry/Glenys Chimiel with 4 head the multiple wins category Horses trained (or co-trained) by Craig Edmonds, Nigel McGrath and Cran Dalgety have all scored on more than one occasion Southland domiciled horses have an impressive strike rate when taking home 3 victories from very few starters (Tas Man Bromac, Wick and Costa Del Magnifico) Every starter presently earns at least $500 just for starting The next Alabar Super Series night has been scheduled for October 7. KERYN MCELROY  

Fixed odds report from Addington harness racing on Friday. With 5 first favorites and 3 second favourites winning from the 10 races it was tough going for the ‘book’ but the game changer for us was the hot favourite in race 6 ‘Luisanabelle Midfrew’ ($1.55 – $1.40) finishing 2nd to ‘Aquickone’. Overall punter’s came out slightly ahead of the ‘book’ on the night.   Race 1-  The late money came for our opening favourite ‘Waihemo Art’ once he got out from $4.40 - $5.00 ($4.80 tote) and he closed as our worst result over the winner ‘Go Fella Go’. The late money also came for the winner $8.50 - $7.00 (tote $7.40) and he also closed as a bad result for the ‘book’ so it didn’t really matter which way the head winning margin went, it was always going to favour the punters. We didn’t take any large bets on the winner with $285 at $7.80 the largest but a lot around $100 - $200. The largest bet on the race was $2,000 at $5.00 on ‘Waihemo Art’.   Race 2-  Our worst result on the night was ‘Dreamy Damien’ $3.90 – $3.50 (tote $3.40) with the largest bet taken on him being $5,000 at $3.50. The 2nd horse ‘Pass The Speights’ $6.50 - $8.00 was a great result for us but to be fair every runner was, due to the late money that came for the favourite. The winner was heavily backed also in multi bets and at a lay price of $3.51 he was a runner at that price that could do some serious damage.   Race 3 – The favourite ‘Stars Align’ $1.35 - $1.20 (tote $1.20) was the only one they wanted with the largest bet $15,000 at $1.20 returning a $3,000 profit but luckily for us this punter didn’t take the $1.35 on opening and saved us paying out another $2,250. With 84% of the money on the favourite it was hard work selling any other runner. If the money taken on the favourite was placed on the tote due to no fixed odds market he would have closed at $1.00 so that opening $1.35 even though short was surprisingly good money. This was 3 out of 3 winners to open above the closing fixed and tote odds. It’s a swings and roundabout scenario on opening odds value compared to fixed odds and tote odds. If you put $10 on the first 3 winners on the opening fixed odds your return would have been$447.50 against closing fixed odds of $294 and tote odds of $301.90.              Race 4- Finally a result went the right way for the ‘book’ with ‘Sunny Bill’ $3.90 - $5.00 (tote $4.00) a great result and the only losing result was the favourite ‘Kash Valley’ $2.40 - $2.50 (tote $2.60) who finished 2nd. Largest bets on the race were $4,500 at $2.40 and $2,000 at $2.50 ‘Kash Valley’.   Race 5- The winner ‘Mr Mojito’ $1.25 – $1.23 (tote $1.30) was a small winning result for the ‘book’ with some late money taken on the winner’s stablemate ‘Superfecta’ once we got him out from $4.60 - $6.50 (tote $6.70).   Race 6- The favourite ‘ Luisanabelle Midfrew’ $1.55 – $1.40 (tote $1.30) was a shocking result for the ‘book’ multi and single win wise but luckily for us she couldn’t withstand the challenge of ‘Aquickone’ $7.50 - $8.00 (tote $7.30)  and she did save the night for the ‘book’. $4,000 and $2,400 at $1.40 were the two largest bets on the favourite.     Race 7- The winner ‘Nicky’s Logic’ $6.00 - $5.00 (tote $4.40) did close a small losing result for us with $700 at $5.00 the largest bet taken on her.  ‘Millies Creek’ (13th) $4.60 - $4.20 easily closed as the worst result. Some large bets came for ‘Millies Creek’ with $5,000 at $4.60 the largest.   Race 8 – ‘Hey Yo’ $6.00 - $6.00 (tote $5.10) closed a slight losing result but ‘Brads Kenny” $7.00 - $6.50 was easily the worst result for the ‘book’ so even though the winner was a losing result we were happy to take it. When pricing this market it was on paper an even field but punter’s were right on the mark with the first two home. A $2,000 bet at $6.50 on ‘Brad’s Kenny’ was the largest bet taken on the race.   Race 9-  The winner ‘Sans Le Sou’ $7.50 - $10 (tote $10.50) was a drifter and closed as  a good result for us. The huge mover was the favourite ‘Mach’s Terminator’ $3.60 - $2.70 (tote $2.40) with the largest bet taken $1,600 at $2.70 and he closed as our only losing result. . Race 10- The winner ‘Michelangelo’ $4.80 - $4.00 (tote $ $3.60) closed a good result for the ‘book’ with the 3rd placed runner ‘Bakari’ $10 - $3.80 easily closing the worst. The opening $2.90 favourite ‘Cullenz Diamond’ was late scratched which resulted in around a 33% deduction on any bets placed prior to her scratching time of 9:10pm racenight.   Stephen Richardson

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