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Krug (NZ) (Bettor’s Delight) confirmed his star status and made history at Alexandra Park on Friday night when producing an explosive sprint to win the first-ever running of an NZB Standardbred Harness Million event. Driver Blair Orange’s early decision to hand the lead to main rival It’s All About Faith (NZ) (Captaintreacherous) and Mark Purdon, proved a masterstroke when Krug outsprinted the pacemaker to win the $200,000 Listed NZB Standardbred Harness Million 2YO Colts & Geldings Final (2200m). Chrissie Dalgety etched her name in to NZB Standardbred’s history books as both the trainer and part-owner of the inaugural winner of a NZB Standardbred Harness Million Final. Dalgety, who trains in partnership with Nathan Purdon, went in to the race hopeful Krug would get the chance to show his best. And she got her wish thanks to Orange’s bold tactics. “It was very, very exciting,” Dalgety said. “Going in to the race I was just hoping he wouldn’t have any bad luck. In most big races that can happen – you can go sensationally and still not win, you just don’t know until you’re out there.” Krug was knocked down to Dalgety and her husband Cran’s Kentuckiana Lodge Ltd for $155,000 at NZB Standardbred’s National Yearling Sale in Christchurch in 2019. Though his speed and stamina suggest he is clearly an impeccable physical specimen, it is not just Krug’s athletic physique that makes him so good. “Cran eyed him up at the sales, he has impeccable breeding and he is a beautiful horse,” Dalgety said. “His personality is just outstanding, I kind of feel like he is half human sometimes.” Krug’s brilliant manners and calm demeanour helped him relax perfectly in to the trail after It’s All About Faith’s early burst to take the front. The star pacer came in to the Listed NZB Standardbred Harness Million 2YO Colts & Geldings Final when going down narrowly as the hot favourite to race rival American Dealer (NZ) (American Ideal) in last week’s $128,000 Group One Garrard’s Sires’ Stakes Final (1700m) at Alexandra Park. Rather than the defeat denting the Dalgety-Purdon camp’s confidence, the trainers made the most of the situation. “Everyone just expected him to come out and win last week,” Dalgety said. “It doesn’t matter how good you are, everyone is beatable. So, I think it took a bit of pressure of us, really.” Krug cleared out to win by three and three-quarter lengths over Its All About Faith. Stonewall Stud’s B D Joe (NZ) (Roll With Joe) ran a game third after working around the field to sit parked for the last lap of the race. Last week’s Group One winner American Dealer (NZ) (American Ideal) produced another strong performance when running on strongly in to fourth placing. Krug’s victory gave the honour of being crowned vendor of the first ever win in Harness Million history to Canterbury horseman Mark Smolenski’s Smolenski Stables. The Bettor’s Delight colt, from former top class racemare Champagne Princess (NZ) (Soky’s Atom), was bred and sold by the estate of Smolenski’s father, the late leading trainer and driver, Jack Smolenski. Attention now turns to next Friday's meeting at Addington where the running of both the NZB Standardbred Harness Million for 2YO Fillies and for 2YO Trotters will be contested.    NZB Standardbred

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk    Trainer Ray Green Is expecting much of the same from his gun pacer Copy That when he contests the Franklin Long Roofing 2020 Spring Cup (2200m) at Alexandra Park on Friday night. The American Ideal entire has strung together four wins from as many starts this preparation and Green can’t see that picket fence form line ending this week, despite his wide draw. “You can’t fault what he has done,” Green said. “He has done some spectacular stuff and long may it continue, I don’t see why it won’t. “He has drawn the outside (9) but as long as he steps well, which he has been doing, and doesn’t get inconvenienced by anybody, he should race as good as he has been racing which makes him hard to beat.” Copy That is currently the $2.50 favourite in the TAB’s futures market for the Gr.1 New Zealand Trotting Cup (3200m) in November and Green has yet to decide when he will launch his southern assault. “We will just see how he goes on Friday,” he said. “He may stay for the Holmes DG a week later or we may just head south. It depends how he pulls up after Friday night.” One stablemate that could join him on that trip south is last start Gr.1 Sires’ Stakes Final (1700m) winner American Dealer. The son of American Ideal finally got the better of favourite Krug after three prior meetings, including finishing runner-up to the Nathan Purdon and Chrissie Dalgety-trained three-year-old a fortnight prior. “It was a great win,” Green said. “He’s come through it well. He has got a good system and recovers pretty quickly. “He’s a hard horse to beat is Krug, he did it tough but we bested him last week, I don’t know about this week though.” Krug has drawn the ace barrier in the Listed NZB Standardbred Harness Million Colt and Gelding Final (2200m) on Friday, while American Dealer has drawn fourth on the second line. “I think we might be pushing it a bit with the draw,” Green said. “But that’s horse racing, you have got to take the rough with the smooth. “He will go a good race, he always does, but he is up against it with the draw.” American Dealer will be joined in the race by stablemate Captain Nemo, who finished eighth in the Sires’ Stakes Final. “Captain Nemo is a work in progress,” Green said. “He is a very nice horse, but I don’t think we will see the best of him until we get up around the Derby distances around the New Year. “That is when he will come to the fore.”

Welcome to the Harness Analyst series where we take a look at New Zealand's harness racing with free previews,tips and reviews of trials and the previous weeks racing. Harness racing hits Auckland again tonight with a ten race program starting at 5:56pm and we highlight some specials and value runners we think can give you a run for your money on a good night of racing. The content is provided for informational purposes only Auckland Friday 25th September 2020 Race 1 Luke John easy win here last start and small field will help. Top selection.…… General Montana tidy second last start but second could be his lot again this week ..… Alta Wiseguy  out of form but racing top fields and a drop back here.…….. Cya Art some here might be too strong and minor place chances look best Selections:  Luke John (5),   Alta Wiseguy  (1),   General Montana (4),    Cya Art (3)   Race 2 One Majic Kenny generally a good beginner and has a big motor. Good winning claims if he can get handy early on……. Peakz Luck running on well on most of her races. Strong field but a place chance with a good run in transit…… Natty Pagger can not fault the formline and getting fitter. Place claims here are best again…… Havehorsewilltravel good fourth last start and a weaker field here. Great chance to run in the top three. Needed Selections:  One Majic Kenny (10),   Peakz Luck (4),   Havehorsewilltravel (9),   Natty Pagger (7)   Race 3 Jack Ryan good draw and his runs on the track this campaign have been good. Looks a good winning chance at nice odds ….. Texas Tiger been racing ok in strong fields but tricky draw here. Still a good chance at nice odds….. Ferritts Sister better when saved for one run at them. Could surprise at nice odds with the right trip…. Shes No Lady tidy draw and will probably start favourite here. Winning claims Selections:   Jack Ryan (4),   Texas Tiger (8),   Ferritts Sister (11),   Shes No Lady (3)   Race 4 Miss Slippers narrowly beaten by a consistant type last start and stand suits here. Can win at decent odds with luck in the running….. Take The Monarch could get a cosy trip from the draw and was finishing ok after a break last start. Good winning claims….. Uncle Louis running good sectionals but manners a concern. Not the worst and has winning claims with a clean getaway …. Majestic Harry decent draw but a bit of a grinder. Can run top three if they go hard up front Selections:   Miss Slippers (3),   Take The Monarch (2),   Uncle Louis (13),   Majestic Harry (6)   Race 5 Krug big run to just miss last start and drawn to lead and run. Top selection here…… Bettor Call Me big run here last week and tidy sectionals. Paying good money and should be in or near the top three  from the draw… It's All About Faith drawn to be a good winning chance and one of the major threats to the favourite. Include … American Dealer beat this field last start from a better draw and now drawn second line. Is over the odds but place chances best. Selections:  Krug (1),   Bettor Call Me (9),   It's All About Faith (6),   American Dealer (13)   Race 6 Christianshavtime in top form and getting fitter. No reason he won’t be in the top three again here from the draw. Top selection….. Mimi E Coco getting better with racing and drawn to be a major player here. Can run top three at good odds…… Tommy Lincoln only fair at last start but stronger now and coming out of strong form races.  Possible leader and a chance at nice money.… Fabrizio form does not reflect his true ability. Can run top three with his mind on the job Selections:  Christianshavtime (3),   Mimi E Coco (5),   Fabrizio (12),   Tommy Lincoln (8)   Race 7 Copy That keeps on winning and this race should be no different. Looks the one to beat and likely leader……. Mach Shard gets in off the front and these are his favourite conditions. Needed ….. Gambit another with a good finishing burst. A top three finish looks on the cards at big odds if he can have one last run at them off a strong pace….. Triple Eight good second last start and stand no issue. Place chances best here Selections:  Copy That (9),   Mach Shard (6),   Gambit (4)    Triple Eight (10)   Race 8 Bolt For Brilliance  big effort to win here last start and should keep improving. Will be hard to beat here……. Midnight Dash  likely to get a good run on the fence. One of the better chances in the race from the draw..… Temporale has been solid in similar races and distance suits. Has claims if he goes forward early….. Vatican Hill has been ok from better draws. Could upset at big money with the right run Selections:  Bolt For Brilliance  (4),   Temporale (2),   Midnight Dash  (1)    Vatican Hill (7)   Race 9 Apieceoflou has been racing top fields and this is easier. Should be very hard to roll and getting fitter now. Top selection here……. Bondi Shake running ok races and small field helps. One for longer odds in this race...… Bettor Listen coming in fresh but workouts have been ok. Good winning claims here….. Raven Banner respect the stable first starters and this is a winnable race. Include Selections:  Apieceoflou (4),   Bondi Shake (7),   Bettor Listen (8)    Raven Banner (9)   Race 10 Smokinhotcheddar big on ability and draw the only concern here. Should be hard to beat and top selection……. Commander Cathy good finish last start and she looks a good winning chance in a weaker field..… Spirited Belle has performed well in similar fields in the past. Include in combinations….. Polka Delight galloping ruined her chances last start but well placed here. Win chance with a good run in transit Selections:  Smokinhotcheddar (9),   Commander Cathy (6),   Polka Delight (2)    Spirited Belle (5)     Harnesslink Media

Harness racing fans can expect early fireworks when a star-studded field attempt to make history by winning NZB Standardbred’s first ever lucrative Harness Million Race Series event at Alexandra Park on Friday night.  The barrier draws for the inaugural running of the $200,000 Listed NZB Standardbred Harness Million 2YO Colts & Geldings Final (2200m) are set to see the favourites Krug (NZ) (Bettor’s Delight) and It’s All About Faith (NZ) (Captaintreacherous) in an enthralling battle that will be crucial in deciding the first name initiating the Harness Million legacy.  Krug, who was recently crowned the New Zealand 2YO Pacing Colt Or Gelding of the Year at the NZB Standardbred New Zealand Harness Racing Awards, will start as the hot favourite for the race after securing the prized ace draw in barrier one. Krug will clash again with American Dealer (NZ) (American Ideal) after running second to him in last week’s $128,000 Group One Garrard’s Sires’ Stakes Final (1700m) at Alexandra Park. American Dealer faces a bigger challenge to lead, as he did in his standout victory, after drawing barrier four on the second row this week. It’s All About Faith, who nosed out last week’s fourth placegetter B D Joe (NZ) (Roll With Joe), will see a turnaround in circumstances when moving to the front row this week in barrier six. That gives driver Mark Purdon the option to challenge Krug for the lead in the early stages. How that early challenge plays out and what kind of run It’s All About Faith, Krug, American Dealer and B D Joe can secure after that should decide the race winner. “The top four are very good horses and it is going to be the run that separates them,” Purdon said. “It’s All About Faith is possibly going to be racing outside Krug this week, so he is going to have to be on his game.” Purdon takes confidence in to the NZB Standardbred Harness Million 2YO Colts & Geldings Final after It’s All About Faith’s strong effort to work around the field and run third in last week’s Group One Sires’ Stakes Final. “He did more work than the two that beat him home and he wasn’t far from them,” Purdon said. “So, I was pleased with him.” Purdon and Rasmussen start a stellar line up of five horses in Friday night’s history making feature. Aladdin (NZ) (Sweet Lou) looks a big player for the trainers after his eye-catching performance to flash home from last on the home turn to run fifth behind American Dealer last week. Aladdin will track through B D Joe at the start from barrier two on the second row. The All Stars stable also start Delightful Dude (NZ) (Bettor’s Delight), Bettor Call Me (NZ) (Bettor’s Delight) and Nevada (NZ) (Bettor’s Delight) in the NZB Standardbred Harness Million 2YO Colts & Geldings Final. The inaugural event is set down as Race 4 starting at 7.53pm on Friday night at Alexandra Park.     Horse Draw Comments Trainer Driver Krug 1 The well-performed Krug (NZ) (Bettor's Delight) has won seven of his 10 starts with two second placings and $136,000 in stakes. Krug will attempt to continue his brilliant form after recently being crowned New Zealand 2YO Pacing Colt or Gelding of the Year. Krug was purchased by Kentuckiana Lodge for $155,000 from Smolenski Stables at the 2019 National Yearling Sale.  Nathan Purdon & Chrissie Dalgety Blair Orange B D Joe 2 Up-and-coming B D Joe (NZ) (Roll With Joe) is another serious contender for the Listed Harness Million Series race. The Steve and Amanda Telfer trained gelding won his second start and placed fourth in last weekend’s Group One Garrard’s Sires’ Stakes Final (1700m), in his third start. B D Joe was secured for $65,000 from Brent Smith by Stonewall Stud.   Steve & Amanda Telfer  Tony Herlihy Meetmeinsorrento   3 Meetmeinsorrento (NZ) (Bettor's Delight) won his last start for trainer Graeme Rogerson, tallying up two wins and a second placing from four starts in total. He was picked up for $32,000 by Rogerson Bloodstock from the draft of Breckon Farms at the 2019 National Yearling Sale.    Graeme Rogerson  Dylan Ferguson (J) Luke John  4 Last start winner Luke John (NZ) (Mach Three) could continue his form this Friday and take out the Listed NZB Standardbred Harness Million for 2YO Colts & Geldings (2200m) at Alexandra Park. Trained by Logan Hollis and Shane Robertson, the Mach Three colt was purchased for $21,000 from White Stables at the 2019 National Yearling Sale. He has now earned $12,350 in prizomoney.  Logan Hollis & Shane Robertson   Delightful Dude   5 Delightful Dude (NZ) (Bettor's Delight) has now claimed one first, two seconds and a third placing from eight starts, winning $17,245 in prizemoney. Flying the flag for All Stars Racing, the gelding cost $80,000 as a yearling and was secured from Belmont Park's draft.  Mark Purdon & Natalie Rasmussen Scott Phelan It's All About Faith 6 Impressive performer It’s All About Faith (NZ) (Captaintreacherous) is a star graduate who has now claimed four wins, two second placings and one third from just eight starts. A main season rival of Krug, It’s All About Faith was also a finalist for New Zealand’s 2019-20 2YO Pacing Colt or Gelding of the Year. He has now earned $66,104 in prizemoney and was secured for $130,000 from Breckon Farms in 2019.  Mark Purdon & Natalie Rasmussen Mark Purdon Mr Fantastic 7 Trained in partnership by Steven Reid and Simon McMullan, Mr Fantasic (NZ) (Bettor’s Delight) was purchased for $62,500 from Woodlands Stud at the 2019 National Yearling Sale. The exciting Harness Million prospect has had two wins and one second placing from just five starts.  Steven Reid & Simon McMullan Zachary Butcher Captain Nemo 8 Captain Nemo (NZ) (Captaintreacherous) was bought for $110,000 by Lincoln Farms from Price Bloodstock. He has won one of his 10 starts, placing third on another two occasions and earning just over $13,000 to date. Ray Green Andre Poutama  ------- Second Line ------- Bettor Call Me   9 By titan sire Bettor's Delight, the promising Bettor Call Me NZ) has picked up one win, two seconds and one third from his six starts to date. He was secured for $50,000 by All Stars Racing from the draft of Breckon Farms.  Mark Purdon & Natalie Rasmussen Brent Mangos Aladdin 10 Jean Feiss owned Aladdin (NZ) (Sweet Lou) has claimed one first, a second and a third placing earning more than $12,000 in stakes. He was a close fifth in the Group One Garrard’s Sires Stakes Final (1700m) last weekend. Aladdin was bought for $140,000 from Woodlands Stud at the 2019 National Yearling Sale.  Mark Purdon & Natalie Rasmussen Olivia Thornley (J) Nevada 11 Racing in the Vela white and blue hoops, promising gelding Nevada (NZ) (Bettor's Delight) is compiling a good race record, having claimed one first placing, a second as well as a third from six starts and $12,965 in prizemoney to date. He was bred by the late Charles Roberts and was purchased for $40,000 by Sir Peter Vela as a yearling.  Mark Purdon & Natalie Rasmussen Joshua Dickie Rock Legend 12 Scratched     American Dealer 13 Group One-winning graduate American Dealer (NZ) (American Ideal) will be looking to secure back-to-back victories in the Listed NZB Standardbred Harness Million for 2YO Colts & Geldings (2200m) on Friday night. The Ray Green trained pacer showed himself to be a complete racehorse when taking out the Group One Garrard’s Sires Stakes Final (1700m) for driver David Butcher last week. His win became the latest in a lengthy list of Group One performers bred by leviathan breeder, the late Charles Roberts. Ray Green David Butcher Hot and Treacherous 14 Trained by Brian and Gareth Hughes, Hot And Treacherous (NZ) (Captaintreacherous) will be fighting for the $200,000 Listed NZB Standardbred Harness Million for 2YO Colts & Geldings (2200m), set to be held at Alexandra Park this weekend. The gelding has had two wins from five starts and earned $15,678 in stakes. He was purchased for $60,000 from Brackon farms at the 2019 National Yearling Sale. Brian & Gareth Hughes Maurice McKendry Romanee 15 Romanee (NZ) (Bettor's Delight) comes into this race with promising form, securing two wins, one second placing and one third from just seven starts. He was bought by trainer Graeme Rogerson for $34,000 from Woodlands Stud in 2019.  Graeme Rogerson Peter Ferguson     NZB Standardbred

By Dave Di Somma, Harness News Desk     If hotpot Krug wins the first ever Harness Million Colts and Geldings Final at Alexandra Park tomorrow night it will have shades of 2012. Back then it was Bit of A Legend, driven by Dexter Dunn, and trained by Cran Dalgety,who won what was then called the PGG Wrightson Yearling Sales 2YO Open. Tomorrow’s race is for NZB Standardbred yearling sales graduates, and has attracted 14 starters, including five from the all-powerful All Stars stable. Like Bit of a Legend, Krug was initially trained by Cran Dalgety (and Nathan Purdon),until Chrissie Dalgety officially replaced her husband in the partnership this season. The recently-crowned two-year-old of the year is currently at $1.45 to make it career win number eight from just 11 starts. Coincidentally it’s Purdon’s father Mark who has been involved in every victory in the race since 2012, that’s seven wins in a row for the All Stars stable, with horses such as One Change last year and Lazarus (2015). Purdon has driven the winner six times while training partner Natalie Rasmussen has won it twice (The Devils Own 2017 and Alta Orlando 2014).This Friday they will line up five horses. Blair Orange has also won it three times (Western Cullen 2011, Steve McQueen 2007, and Lennon 2003). Friday’s race is like a re-run of last week’s Garrard’s Sires Stakes Final for the 3YO Colts and Geldings over 1700 metres at Alexandra Park.Paying $11.70 American Dealer made the most of his handy draw (4) to beat Krug and It’s All About faith. This week the draws have many picking the result will be very different. Krug has drawn one and has been installed the sharpest of favourites, with It’s All About Faith ($3.20), the All Stars’ top chance, drawing six, and American Dealer ($18) at 13. The $200,000 final – the first ever Harness Million Final for 3YO Colts and Geldings - will be raced over the slightly longer distance of 2200 metres. Champions over the years have included such superstars as Changeover (2006) and Courage Under Fire (1998) and Christian Cullen (1997). For a list of previous winners and to watch previous editions of the race click here :

For the third time in just a few days one of the country’s pacing elite has been surprisingly scratched from a major race but in the case of Princess Tiffany there is nothing to worry about. And punters can feel just as relaxed about New Zealand Cup big guns Self Assured and Spankem after they started the race-missing trend. Princess Tiffany was in the field to take on Copy That and the northern stars in the Spring Cup at Alexandra Park on Friday night but a longer than expected float trip north will see her miss the race. “She took a day longer to get up there than we hoped and she missed some work,” said trainer Mark Purdon. “She is totally fine but you can’t go into those sort of races after missing a hoppled run so I’d rather be cautious.” The start was to have been Princess Tiffany’s last in New Zealand for a while as she flies out to Victoria next week to be aimed at the mares Triple Crown there culminating in the Queen of the Pacific at Melton. Stablemate Another Masterpiece will be on the same plane to Victoria next week but he will start in the Spring Cup on Friday, a race which is shaping as the toughest test of Copy That’s season so far. The four-year-old has been spectacular this campaign and is now the $2.50 favourite for the New Zealand Cup and while he has beaten most of those be meets this Friday all season he has drawn barrier nine this week, coming into the outside of the front line. That means possibly giving many of the open class stars he has been getting starts from an advantage which, along with the possibility of traffic concerns, means the 2200m standing start may be anything but the walk in the park Copy That’s form would suggest. His place at the head of the New Zealand Cup market comes not only because of his supersonic form but after setbacks to long-time Cup favourite Self Assured and to a lesser extent last season’s runner-up Spankem. Both were supposed to start in the Hannon Memorial at Oamaru on Sunday yet missed the race after having sore hooves from working on a track which has got unseasonably hard at the All Stars’s property. That comes on top of Self Assured galloping so badly at his last start he tailed off and has been put on the unruly, which means he will in all likelihood be giving Copy That, and everybody else, a start in the $540,000 Cup at Addington on November 10. Future punters are a jittery bunch and the fact Self Assured and Spankem were scratched will have tongues wagging as there is nothing punters like more than a good rumour. But any long-term concerns about the pair should be allayed by the fact they are both in at the Rangiora trials today. “They have had some farrier work done and are good to go so they can trial here and then race at Addington next week,” says Purdon. “So this won’t affect their NZ Cup build-up at all, not this far out from the race.” Friday night’s Alex Park meeting also features the richest New Zealand harness race since Covid bullied its way into our lives, with the $200,000 Harness Million, the first running of New Zealand Bloodstock Standardbred’s new sales final. While hot favourite Krug had his coloured lowered by American Dealer in the Sires’ Stakes Final last Friday he will still be be red hot to win this week’s 2200m return match after drawing the ace, with American Dealer on the second line and the horse probably rated the only other winning chance It’s All About Faith drawn barrier five. The meeting also see exciting four-year-old trotter Bolt For Brilliance taking on former stablemate Temporale in the main trot in the greatest test of his career so far after being quite stunning winning last Friday.   by Michael Guerin

By Jonny Turner    Junior driver Olivia Thornley is keeping a cool head as her drive in one of the country’s richest age-group races of the season looms. The twenty-year-old has been entrusted with the drive behind Aladdin, a genuine contender in the inaugural running of the listed $200,000 Harness Million Two-Year-Old Colts And Geldings Final at Alexandra Park on Friday night. Thornley took the drive behind Aladdin when he caught the eye when flashing home for fifth placing behind American Dealer in last week’s Group 1 Sires Stakes Final at the same track. With even more cash on the line this week, trainer Mark Purdon is more than happy having the rookie reinswoman in the sulky behind his pacer. “Olivia has really stepped up for us over the last six months and she is worthy of the opportunity.” Thornley is naturally thrilled to get the opportunity to drive Aladdin in two on the country’s biggest age group races in the space of a week. The reinswoman said her Sires Stakes Final outing has eased her nerves leading in to the Harness Million. “I probably got rid of the nerves last week because that was a group 1, so now I am focussing on the race.” Aladdin was second last on the home turn before unleashing a powerful finish in last week’s race. Thornley admitted she did not think her pacer would flash home quite as well as he did. “He went very good.” “When we were turning for home I thought we could run in the top six, but I didn’t expect him to finish off the way he did.” Aladdin has not drawn ideally again this week, but is slightly better off in the Harness Million with barrier 2 on the second row. “As long as we get a little bit of luck we should get a good run and hopefully we should be there abouts at the finish,” Thornley said. Thornley drives Aladdin with the support of Purdon and Rasmussen, as well as the horse’s owner Jean Feiss. The prominent owner has backed the reinswoman in the past by giving her the drive on her former classy racemare, Elle Mac. Repaying that faith would make victory in the Harness Million a extra special, Thornley said. “It would be a huge thrill, especially to do it for Jean, she has been such a great supporter of mine throughout my All Stars career.” “To get a win like that for Mark and Nat would be great, too.” Aladdin disappointed in his first look at Alexandra Park in Krug’s win in the last heat of the Sires Stakes Series. But now that the horse has a better feel for the track Purdon can not see why the pacer will not go a big race in Friday night’s history making race. “I think his first up run helped him a bit – it sometimes does going the Auckland way for the first time,” the trainer said. “His run last week showed more of the ability I thought he had.” “He is going to be handy in the run given the horse he follows out [B D Joe].” “With a better run than he got last week you would think he could feature in the finish.” Aladdin opened the equal fourth favourite for the Harness Million Two-Year-Old Colts And Geldings with his stablemate Bettor Call Me at $34 odds. Krug headed the market at $1.55 ahead of It’s All About Faith ($3.10) and American Dealer ($18). Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

While punters might have struggled to believe American Dealer beat both Krug and It’s All About Faith in the first group one of the season at Alexandra Park last night, the really unbelievable story of the race was the driver. Because quite incredibly American Dealer’s win in the $140,000 Sires’ Stakes Final was David Butcher’s first group one driving success in New Zealand in nine years. Let that sink in. Butcher, one of the greats of the sulky, a member of the elite 2000 win club and on anybody’s list for being in top five reinspeople in the country, hadn’t won a group one here since Cowgirls N Indians in the Harness Jewels in June 2011. He had won one in the meantime in Australia, reigning King Of Swing to win a Breeders Crown in 2017 for American Dealer’s trainer Ray Green, who deserves most of the credit for Friday’s win. But to think Butcher hasn’t been in the group one winners circle in this country in almost a decade is truly remarkable. Butcher didn’t actually know that exact stat when reflecting after the race, but he knew it had been a while. “I reckon the last time I was driving group one winners back here was when Geoffrey (Small, trainer) was flying,” said Butcher. “So it is nice to get this one and behind a horse who tries so hard. He is a really good little professional,” says Butcher. That fact it had been so long between drinks for Butcher shows just how hard winning group ones is in New Zealand these days, with a reduced number of dominant stables, while Butcher has also had to battle back from a couple of serious injuries. “The body is good now, I am just getting old,” he laughs. His courage under fire early helped win the 1700m event as many would have been tempted to hand the lead to hot favourite Krug, especially when It’s All About Faith came charging mid race and the pressure really went on. But Butcher suits driving for Green because the Lincolns Farms team are never scared to be aggressive and roll the dice and this time it worked. Recently sold to US owners Marc Hanover and Gordon Banks, American Dealer has just kept improving and after this week’s Harness Millions will chase a unique Sires’ Stakes double inside two months by contesting the three-year-old series against basically the same horses. “I am very proud of him,” says Green. “He is a real little racehorse and he has a big season ahead of him.” While the draw may have won American Dealer the race his improvement curve and courage still suggest he is a Derby horse but whether he ever makes it to Australia this season will be interesting with Covid restrictions making hit and run missions on the Derbys there so much less palatable. While disappointed at being beaten driver Blair Orange was proud of Krug, who had to work hard enough early and then came three wide that he probably lost a winning advantage but he still had his chance to beat the leader. Its All About Faith was brave from the second line and can win the Millions with a draw to lead while the big improver in the race was B D Joe, who showed good gate speed to trail and stuck on well for fourth. Later in the night Bolt For Brilliance sent out out a reminder to southern stars Cracker Hill and Ultimate Stride that he will take a power of beating in next month’s delayed three-year-old trots at Alexandra Park. He recovered from getting into a horror spot with a lap to go to win the main trot with a 56.4 second last 800m three and four wide on the track, setting up some stunning age group races for the trotters next month. And Brent Mangos pulled off the training performance of the night in The Box Seat Returns Pace when South Coast Arden led throughout to beat Auckland Cup placegetter Triple Eight in the winner’s first start since March. He looks a bigger and stronger horse than last campaign and an open class horse in the making.   Michael Guerin

Nathan Purdon has some bad news for his Dad. But that same news that should make favourite punters feels far more comfortable heading into the first group one of the New Zealand season at Alexandra Park tonight. Nathan co-trains red hot favourite Krug in the $140,000 Sires’ Stakes Final, which is actually the two-year-old final carried over from last season when it was postponed in May because of lockdown. Krug’s grip in the race has only improved since as he has gone from strength to strength and has drawn the front line in tonight’s 1700m sprint in which he meets a remarkable seven horses trained by Nathan’s father Mark. While champion trainer Mark has the numbers on his side, Nathan has the firepower to fight them off and says Krug is the best he has been all campaign, daunting for his rivals considering he is unbeaten in four starts since returning. The most telling of those wins came at Addington two starts ago when Krug crossed a recalcitrant It’s All About Faith, the best of the Purdon-Rasmussen youngsters, at the start and easily held him out to win a heat of this series. As good as that was, Nathan says his stable star is better now. Much better. “I wasn’t that confident that night because he had had some issues,” he admits. “And even when he won up here (Alex Park) last start he wasn’t screwed down because he had travelled up that week and was still settling in. “But he is right at his peak now. He has settled in and that has allowed me to train him how I want and his work on Wednesday was very good.” Krug has such high gate speed he is expected to lead from barrier six but the biggest concern may be how hard those inside him fight for the treasured spot on his back, with a hot early tempo potentially leaving them vulnerable to It’s All About Faith, who is by far the best of the All Star’s seven reps. But it would take something special and a new career high from It’s All About Faith to beat Krug unless things get really silly at the front end of the field. American Dealer looks the value place option as he has the gate speed and respect to potentially secure an early lead he would most likely gift to Krug while Nevada has been solid with no luck in his last three starts and appeals as the one most likely to add value to the trifecta. While Krug has been push button for Nathan Purdon, stablemate Fabrizio has been anything but yet the young trainer thinks a trick he learned watching the gallops on television recently might help. Fabrizio burned punters by refusing to go away last start and has a penchant for rearing when not in the mood so Purdon has placed a shadow roll above the four-year-old’s eyes, rather than where they are usually placed further down the nose. “I saw a galloper with it like that on TV recently and they explained it was to stop him rearing up because it can’t see what is above it,” he explains. “We have fitted one to his bridle and he hasn’t reared up since so I am hoping that helps him behave this week.” The best version of Fabrizio can beat former Auckland Cup placegetters Triple Eight and Star Galleria as the latter pair face 35m handicaps in the open pace, their backmarks meaning mid-race moves to drag them into the race will be crucial.   By Michael Guerin

NZB Standardbred graduate Krug (NZ) (Bettor’s Delight) will be out to claim his second title belt for the week when he starts as the hot favourite in the Group One Garrard’s Sires Stakes Final (1700m) at Alexandra Park on Friday 18 October.  The Nathan Purdon and Chrissie Dalgety trained star will attempt to continue his brilliant form by winning the $140,000 feature just days after being crowned New Zealand 2YO Pacing Colt Or Gelding Of The Year. Krug goes in to the event after producing a powerful victory in the last heat of the Sires Stakes Series at Alexandra Park earlier this month. Purdon has reported that his star pacer has thrived since that tough effort. “He has come through the run pretty good and he has trimmed up with it,” the trainer said. “He is generally pretty round, but he looks pretty screwed down now. “It is fair to say he is in the best shape he has been.” Krug faces stiff competition, as Friday night’s classy field of confirmed starters are all graduates of NZB Standardbred’s 2019 National Yearling Sale. Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen start a powerful line up of seven runners, including Krug’s arch-nemesis It’s All About Faith (NZ) (Captaintreacherous). It's All About Faith has prepared for his Group One assignment by impressively beating a field of older horses after Krug got the better of him in their last meeting. Stag Party (NZ) (Bettor’s Delight) is set to be another key player from the Purdon-Rasmussen camp after securing the ace draw in barrier 1. The All Stars trainers also start Nevada (NZ) (Bettor’s Delight), Aladdin (NZ) (Sweet Lou), Rock Legend (NZ) (Roll With Joe), Delightful Dude (NZ) (Bettor’s Delight) and Bettor Call Me (NZ) (Bettor’s Delight) in Friday night’s feature. American Dealer (NZ) (American Ideal), Captain Nemo (NZ) (Captain Treacherous), and Hot And Treacherous (NZ) (Captaintreacherous) each look serious contenders after their good runs behind Krug in the final heat of the series. American Dealer and Hot And Treacherous have clinched crucial front row draws alongside Steve and Amanda Telfer’s stablemates B D Joe (NZ) (Roll With Joe) and Alta Wise Guy (NZ) (Mach Three),   NZB Standardbred

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk    Pukekohe trainers Steven Reid and Simon McMullen had a virus hit a couple of their runners recently, but they have since recuperated and will resume at Alexandra Park on Friday night. Open-class pacer Star Galleria was one of the team who contracted the bug after his pleasing second-up third-placing behind quality pacer Copy That last month. “I was so happy with his third-placing,” Reid said. “He didn’t go bad in his very first start, but he ran last. They got home in 54 off the front, so it wasn’t terrible. He just didn’t pace that well. “When he ran third he paced so much better and I think he hit the line really well. I was really happy with the run. “I came off that thinking we are definitely on the go forward plan for the Cup, but then we ran into that little hiccup a couple of weeks ago where he had a bit of a temperature and we had to scratch him, but he has recovered from it fine.” The son of Art Major will start from the back mark of 35m and Reid believes he will be much better for his run on Friday. “He is going to improve with the run and the 35m behind is probably going to be a bit of a mountain for him to climb,” he said. “From a betting point of view he will probably be better following come Spring Cup time a week later.” Reid is still planning on campaigning Star Galleria in the south this spring, but he said the Gr.1 New Zealand Trotting Cup (3200m) may not be their major target. “He is now seven-years-old and he has had a few niggly issues over the last two or three years,” Reid said. “We don’t have to go to the Cup, we may just go to the Junior Free-For-All and then the Free-For-All on the Friday.” Reid also encountered similar issues with Mr Fantastic after his first-up win last month. “I was really happy with him (when winning first-up), but once again it has been three weeks between races. He also had a bug, which is why he was scratched last start.” Reid believes his charge will be competitive from his ace draw in the Auckland Co-op Taxis 300-3000 Mobile Pace (2200m), but said he will also improve with the run. “He has come through it well and trialled very impressively last Friday, so he is on target,” Reid said. “He has got Harness Millions next week, so I think he will be better for the run. I am expecting him to go very close to winning, but I think he will strip a better horse on the 25th.” Stablemate Commander Cathy will complete Reid’s racing team on Friday night and he is expecting a good showing from the filly in the Pascoes The Jewellers F&M Mobile Pace (2200m). “Commander Cathy has been unlucky,” Reid said. “I have been happy with all three runs, but she can’t get a draw and once again we have drawn the second line (10), so luck is going to play a factor. “But if she has luck I would be very disappointed if she didn’t finish in the top three.”

The All Stars' massive team for the upcoming age group features at Alexandra Park has lost a few members. But that could still see them with seven reps in the $140,000 Sires’ Stakes Final to take on Krug on Friday week. The race is actually the two-year-old final delayed from last May because of Covid-19 ,as it the first running of a Harness Millions to be run with much the same field the following week. The All Stars attack is headlined by second favourite It’s All About Faith, who could even start favourite if he draws the front line and Krug is forced to start off the second line. But stablemates Pace N Pride, Shan Noble and First Class are among those who won’t be there. “First Class had a few issues but we got them checked out and he seemed fine then today (Wednesday) we think he had a minor colic attack,” said Mark Purdon. “So he definitely won’t be there next week while Shan Noble has had 10 days off and will be set for the three-year-old Sires’ Stakes heats down here.” But joining It’s All About Faith in the truck north today was Rock Legend and that pair will join Bettor Call Me, Nevada, Stag Party , Delightful Dude and possibly even Aladdin in the Sires’ Stakes, with several of those ranked highly now confirmed not to start. Meanwhile the stable’s forgotten superstar Spankem pleased Purdon at the Rangiora workouts on Wednesday pacing 2:28.6 for the 2000m mobile and his last 800m in 56.5 in his second workout back since a suspected hairline fracture in a leg ruled him out of last season after he finished second in the New Zealand Cup. “He has come up really well and having been on the water walker at Matamata for much of the winter he is quite forward,” said Purdon. “So he will head to Oamaru fresh up next Sunday for the Hannon.” Purdon has re-affirmed the fact Inter Dominion champion Ultimate Sniper won’t be heading to the IRT New Zealand Cup and won’t even be nominated.   Michael Guerin

Brilliant wins from star three-year-olds Krug (NZ) (Bettor’s Delight) and It’s All About Faith (NZ) (Captaintreacherous) sent the anticipation ahead of their clash in the inaugural running of NZB Standardbred’s Harness Million Sale Race Series to a new level over the weekend.  Krug fired first with a tough win on Thursday 3 September in scintillating time at Alexandra Park in heat two of the Garrard's Sires Stakes Series (1700m). The Nathan Purdon and Chrissie Dalgety trained pacer worked hard from barrier 12, before finding the front at the 500m and fighting strongly in the straight to hold out fellow NZB Standardbred Yearling Sales graduate American Dealer (NZ) (American Ideal). Purdon admitted after the win he thought drawing wide on the second row could have been enough to see Krug taste defeat for just the third time in his career. “It was pretty impressive - I didn’t really expect him to win tonight,” the trainer told HRNZ. “Starting from the outside of the backline over a shorter trip and to overcome an obstacle like that was a pretty good effort.” Krug, a son of Bettor’s Delight from two time Group Two-winning mare Champagne Princess (NZ) (Soky’s Atom), stopped the clock in fast 2.00.9 and produced a slick 1-54.4 mile-rate for the 1700m event. The Ray Green trained American Dealer showed he would be a threat to Krug in the $200,000 Listed NZB Standardbred Harness Million for 2YO Colts & Geldings (2200m) at Alexandra Park on 25 September when getting within a head of the winner in an exciting finish. The runner-up’s stablemate Captain Nemo (NZ) (Captaintreacherous) held third ahead of another Harness Million aspirant in Hot And Treacherous (NZ) (Captaintreacherous). Though they finished out of the placings, the next trio of Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen trained pacers hit the line impressively to show they could figure in the series final. Stag Party (NZ) (Bettor’s Delight), Nevada (NZ) (Bettor’s Delight) and Aladdin (NZ) (Sweet Lou) each ran on strongly with eye-catching finishes in the quickly run affair. Thursday’s night’s Garrard's Sires Stakes Series (1700m) heat was always going to be a strong reference for the $200,000 Listed NZB Standardbred Harness Million for 2YO Colts & Geldings (2200m), with 11 of its 12 runners graduates of the NZB Standardbred National Yearling Sales. On the Alexandra Park undercard, B D Joe (NZ) (Roll With Joe) also boosted his Harness Million stocks with a maiden victory over 2200m. It’s All About Faith maintained his position as the number one challenger to Krug with a powerful win for trainers Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen at Addington on Friday 4 September. The three-year-old beat a field of more experienced and race hardened opposition over 1980m in style when producing a smart winning time of 2.22.2 and mile rate of 1.55.5. Purdon, who drove the sire Captaintreacherous and Group One-winning mare Veste (NZ) (Christian Cullen), said the race was just what his colt needed ahead of the Harness Million final at Alexandra Park later this month. “He pleased me – he ran it out right to the line in a good time, a good mile rate, so I’m quite happy.” Purdon and Rasmussen have three more contenders for the NZB Standardbred Harness Million for 2YO Colts & Geldings (2200m), who did not step out this weekend. Rock Legend (NZ) (Roll With Joe), Pace N Pride (NZ) and Shan Noble (NZ) (Bettor’s Delight) have all shown they are on track for the $200,000 Listed event by producing excellent form for the All Stars Stable this season. At Addington on Sunday 6 September, Show Me Heaven (NZ) (Somebeachsomewhere) burst into reckoning for the $150,000 Listed NZB Standardbred Harness Million for 2YO Fillies (1980m) at Addington on Friday 2 October. The Steve and Amanda Telfer-trained filly led throughout to record a smart maiden win over 1980m. Fellow Harness Million aspirant Shanika (NZ) (Bettor’s Delight) was third. Two of favourites for the 2YO Fillies final, Avana (NZ) (Bettor’s Delight) and La Rosa (NZ) (Bettor’s Delight) showed they were in good form leading in to next month’s race with third and fourth placings respectively in heat two of the Magness Benrow NZ Sires’ Stakes Series Series for 3YO Fillies (1980m) at Addington on Friday 4 September.   NZB Standardbred

Trainer Ray Green has some good news about his great horse. Because southern fans may not have to wait as long as they thought to see the first clash of pacing two excitement machines Copy That and Self Assured. Copy That was even more dazzling winning at Alexandra Park on Thursday night than he has been so far this campaign, overcoming being roughed up early to zoom clear of some serious horses at the top of the straight. The four-year-old looked certain to be vulnerable after an early burn with Inter Dominion runner-up Mach Shard saw them record one of the fastest opening 600m of a 2200m mobile at Alexandra Park. But while Mach Shard dropped out, Copy That exploded clear to win in a stunningly fast 2:36.4, a 1:54.5 mile rate with a 27.8 last quarter and driver Maurice McKendry certain he could have gone faster. “Maurice said if he had given him a tap with the whip he could have won by two or three lengths more,” said trainer Green. Copy That still put two and a half lengths on Check In and Dance Time, both of who were good and definitely better than their higher-rated stablemate Triple Eight. “I was happy with two of my three but I still think Triple Eight can go better,” said trainer Steve Telfer. But while a lot can change on the road to the New Zealand Cup it is getting harder and harder to see how any of Copy That’s northern opponents will be coming from behind him to beat him any time soon. He has developed real toughness to go with his massive motor and looks an all-round pacer now with just some more distances races needed to prove his credentials. The son of American Ideal will now have nearly three weeks away from the races before the Spring Cup and then Green says he could head south to aim at the Ashburton Flying Stakes it what would, all going well, be his first clash with Cup favourite Self Assured. “I’d like to get him to Ashburton then the Cup trial,” says Green. The possibility of the two stars, unbeaten this season, clashing in the Flying Stakes would put the race back to what has been for much of the last 20 years, the race that decides favouritism for the New Zealand Cup. Self Assured undoubtedly deserves that honour at the moment but if Copy That can get in front of him in any race, even the New Zealand Cup, he is going to take an enormous amount of running down. Meanwhile, Thursday night was a successful one for Green with American Dealer and Captain Nemo into the Sires’ Stakes Final on September 18 while Tommy Lincoln recorded a career best 2:38.4 to down some talented intermediate grade rivals.   Michael Guerin

NZB Standardbred’s class of 2019 will take important steps towards the inaugural running of the lucrative Harness Million Sale Race Series when they take to the track across New Zealand this weekend.  All eyes will be on star colt Krug (NZ) (Bettor’s Delight) when he steps out, alongside a host of his fellow National Yearling Sale graduates in a heat of the Garrard's Sires Stakes Series (1700m) at Alexandra Park on Thursday night. The $155,000 Christchurch purchase swept all before him before the national lockdown hit and has continued that brilliant form with three sensational wins for trainers Nathan Purdon and Chrissie Dalgety since racing resumed in June. The Bettor’s Delight pacer, from former star racemare Champagne Princess (NZ) (Soky’s Atom), goes in to Thursday night’s race after confirming his star status by downing his arch rival It’s All About Faith (NZ) (Captaintreacherous) at Addington. Purdon told media this week Krug should strip a fitter horse for that outing when he starts on Thursday night. Krug’s tricky barrier 12 draw gives his key rivals American Dealer (NZ) (American Ideal) and Hot And Treacherous (NZ) (Captaintreacherous) an excellent chance to test him and boost their prospects ahead of the $200,000 Listed NZB Standardbred Harness Million 2YO Colts & Geldings (2200m) for last season’s two-year-olds held at Alexandra Park on 25 September. The Ray Green trained American Dealer comes in to Thursday night’s race after ducking and diving his way to a good win over older horses at Alexandra Park last month. The Brian and Gareth Hughes trained Hot And Treacherous, who starts from barrier 6, comes in to Friday night’s race after running strong wins in two of just three career starts. The All Stars quartet of NZB Standardbred National Yearling Sale graduates in Delightful Dude (Bettor’s Delight), Nevada (NZ) (Bettor’s Delight), Stag Party (NZ) (Bettor’s Delight), and Aladdin (NZ) (Sweet Lou) add depth to Thursday night’s exciting race. It’s All About Faith will also continue his build up towards the NZB Standardbred Harness Million in a minor event at Addington on Friday night. Though beaten, the Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen trained pacer was far from disgraced in his last meeting with Krug when running scintillating sectionals in his second placing. The three-year-old should dispatch a lower grade field with ease on Friday night. Despite her brilliant deeds before lockdown, Passion And Power (NZ) (Art Major) has not yet been rated the favourite in betting for the inaugural $150,000 Listed NZB Standardbred Harness Million for (last season’s) 2YO Fillies (1980m) at Addington on October 12. That could quickly change when the Robert Dunn trained pacer lines up in heat two of the Magness Benrow NZ Sires’ Stakes Series (1980m) for 3YO Fillies Pace at the same track on Friday night. Dunn told media this week the filly was fit and ready for her first post-lockdown assignment after having three workouts. Starting from barrier 2, Passion And Power has a major draw advantage over the current favourite for the NZB Standardbred Harness Million fillies race in La Rosa (NZ) (Bettor’s Delight). The speedy Mark Jones trained filly must overcome starting from the outside of the front line comes in Friday night’s race. La Rosa comes in to the event after running third to a serious contender for the 2YO colts and gelding’s division of the Harness Million series in Shan Noble (NZ) (Bettor’s Delight). La Rosa has made her way to the top of early betting for the Harness Million 2YO Fillies’ event by showing plenty of high speed in four placings from just four starts. Passion And Power and La Rosa will clash with several Harness Million aspirants in Braeview Kelly (NZ) (Bettor’s Delight), Get Back (NZ) (Bettor’s Delight) and Avana (NZ) (Bettor’s Delight). Harness Million Series 1 eligible graduates will also have the opportunity to contest their three-year-old races set to be ran in the new year. The incentive scheme incorporates an easy one-time qualifying fee and one-off entry fee, with a total combined purse of $1 million to be raced for.   Garrard's Sires Stakes Heat 3 Pace for 3YO Colts & Geldings Pace (1700m) Thursday 3 September HORSE DRAW DRIVER TRAINER American Dealer   1 David Butcher Ray Green Captain Nemo   2 Andre Poutama Ray Green Delightful Dude   3 Brent Mangos Mark Purdon & Natalie Rasmussen General Montana   4 Zachary Butcher Barry Purdon & Scott Phelan Cya Art   5 Shane Butcher Steve & Amanda Telfer Hot And Treacherous   6 Maurice McKendry Brian & Gareth Hughes Alta Wiseguy   7 Benjamin Butcher Steve & Amanda Telfer Nevada   8 Joshua Dickie Mark Purdon & Natalie Rasmussen Stag Party   9 Natalie Rasmussen Mark Purdon & Natalie Rasmussen Wavethebill   10 Todd Mitchell Derek Balle Aladdin   11 Mark Purdon Mark Purdon & Natalie Rasmussen Krug   12 Blair Orange Nathan Purdon & Chrissie Dalgety   Magness Benrow NZ Sires Stakes Series for 3YO Fillies Pace (1980m) Friday 4 September HORSE DRAW DRIVER TRAINER Lifes A Beach   1 Sheree Tomlinson (J) Tony Barron Passion And Power   2 John Dunn Robert Dunn Darling Me   3 Mark Purdon Mark Purdon & Natalie Rasmussen Bettor Twist   4 Tim Williams Mark Purdon & Natalie Rasmussen Itz To The Macs   5     Braeview Kelly   6 Blair Orange Tony Stratford Ariella   7 Robbie Close Dean Taylor What's Your Secret   8 Natalie Rasmussen Mark Purdon & Natalie Rasmussen La Rosa   9 Samantha Ottley Mark Jones Get Back   10 Jim Curtin Murray Edmonds Avana   11 Olivia Thornley (J) Mark Purdon & Natalie Rasmussen   NZB Standardbred

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk    Group One winner Temporale will be back to his happy place on Thursday night, behind the mobile at Alexandra Park. The Michelle Wallis and Bernie Hackett-trained eight-year-old has won 11 of his 17 careers starts from behind the gates, all at the Auckland track, and he will look to add to that tally on Thursday night. The son of Monarchy showed he was back to his best in his first-up effort at Alexandra Park a fortnight ago where he put in a herculean effort off his 50m handicap to beat all but Resonate home over the 2200m trip. “It was a really good run, we didn’t expect him to get that close, but he just stepped away so well and got handy early, which was the making of the race for him,” Wallis said. Rated 34 points higher than his nearest rival, Wallis is expecting a good result from her charge on Thursday, especially from the mobile. “He is so good off the mobile, he is going to be tough to beat,” she said. Temporale will head to Christchurch in November on a two race mission, but his trainers are electing to keep him in Auckland for as long as possible in the lead-up. “We will stay up here as long as we can, but if the numbers drop off then we will have to head down south,” Wallis said. “The Dominion (Gr.1, 3200m) will be his main target, but we will probably go down for the Free-For-All (Gr.1, 1980) as well.” Wallis and Hackett will also line-up six other square-gaiters at Alexandra Park on Thursday. Rain Mist And Muscle, Magnafique, and Hill Of Peace will contest the Lonestar Alex Park Performance Of The Night Handicap Trot (2700m). “Rain Mist And Muscle just missed away at her first start for us. She had been trialling really well. If she can get away and get handy she should run home well,” Wallis said. “Hill Of Peace is the best one of our three in there, but she is also very inexperienced. She has only had two starts for the one win. She is good enough if she trots all the way. “While Magnafique is near the end of it.” The Waiuku trainers will also line-up a trio of runners in the Speeding Spur Tender Closes 23 Oct Handicap Trot (2700m). “Invictus is a lovely horse,” Wallis said. “He went well first-up, we were happy with him. He just got squeezed going into the first bend and had a gallop. He came home really well for second. Off the front, if he steps well and gets handy he shouldn’t be far away. “Red Castleton is probably a notch below the other two and Vatican Hill is quite a smart horse in the making, but his manners aren’t 100 percent yet. He has got speed, so he can sit off them and if he does everything right he can run over the top of them.”

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