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Early pressure, or a lack thereof, should decide the first open class pace of the season at Alexandra Park tonight. And that complex puzzle could leave punters wishing they could bet after the first 400m. Most of the north’s New Zealand Cup contenders clash in the $17,500 Dunstan Speedfeed Mobile, with only last week’s Alex Park winner Copy That and On The Cards, who won a July 1 race, having any race fitness. The rest of the big names trialed against each other at Pukekohe last Friday, with Mach Shard winning impressively for new driver Tony Herlihy. His trainer Barry Purdon has four in tonight’s race and opts for Mach Shard as potentially his best chance but the bookies definitely don’t agree, with Belle Of Montana rated a the $2.90 second favourite behind Copy That but Mach Shard a very generous $9.50 in opening markets. Hall of Fame trainer Purdon warns his assessment comes with a caveat. “It is a really hard race to predict,” admits Purdon. “I have three on the front line and they all have gate speed but I will leave their tactics up to the drivers,” said Purdon. “Obviously if a mare like Wainui Creek led and stayed there it would help Belle Of Monatana because she could be trailing her from the second line but there is so much gate speed in the front line, including my other two. “So I really don’t know what to expect. I would rate Mach Shard the best of mine overall starting the season narrowly over Belle Of Montana. “Let’s not forget Mach Shard did finish second in the Inter Dominion Final. “But then you have a horse like Copy That who is a really good horse and likes to go forward too. “So it could be quite an exciting race for this time of the season.” Adding to that early pressure could be the attitude of Steve Telfer, who has three in the race. “Mine have only had one workout so Triple Eight will go back at the start from his wide draw and hope they go hard,” says Telfer. “But my other two, Check In and Dance Time, can’t afford to pull back at the start because they have good draws and there is no point settling worse than midfield. “So they will be holding their place at least.” While Copy That has race fitness on his side this is his first open class test and his $2.10 opening price looks short so Mach Shard probably represents the value.   Michael Guerin

The clock is ticking for Star Galleria when the open class pacers make their earliest northern return in decades at Alexandra Park this Thursday. The open class elite stars starting down the road to the New Zealand Cup in August was common 30 years ago but in recent years many haven’t been seen until late September and with the north’s struggling for consistent open class numbers the pre-Cup racing has been spasmodic at best. But lock down and the loss of autumn harness racing has everybody ready to rumble a lot earlier and here we are five days into the new racing season with a serious open class race full of genuine New Zealand Cup hopes. That is great for Alexandra Park on a night where they have been able to programme 12 races, including some of the better trotters also returning. One missing from the latter race will be Inter Dominion champ Winterfell who faced a 55m handicap over 2200m after the 1700m mobile originally programmed didn't hold up. On the pacing front the new-found early season depth to the open class ranks may not help Star Galleria admits trainer Steven Reid, who now prepares him in partnership with Simon McMullan. Star Galleria has been something of a measuring stick for other northern open class pacers in the last two years, running second in an Auckland Cup and winning the first feature race of the season in 2018. But now seven and with plenty of miles in the clock, Reid is trying something different. “Some times I wonder whether his best days are behind him,” says Reid. “So we done something different and given him two quiet workouts the last two weeks, just tucked him in and let him do his thing. “I think he has enjoyed that and to me he feels like he is flying and he could win this week without surprising me. “But the new, younger horses come through like Copy That and then you have all Mark’s (Purdon) horses down south so you realise how tough it is going to be. “The New Zealand Cup is still going to be the aim but he will show is whether he can get there.” Reid says one positive about the far earlier return of the top horses to the track this season is it gives their trainers options on the way to the Cup. “In recent years starting back in September if something went wrong and you missed a lead-up race the Cup campaign could be over. “But now I think we all have more room to move.” Reid and McMullen will also bring their high-class three-year-olds Mr Fantastic and Shes No Lady back on Thursday night.   By Michael Guerin

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk   Exciting pacer Copy That may not have had the chance to contest the New Zealand Pacing Derby this year, but he made sure he finished his three-year-old season in style at Alexandra Park on Wednesday night. The Ray Green-trained colt was taken straight to the front by driver Maurice McKendry in the Shane ‘Interterestrial’ Primrose Mobile Pace (2200m) where they were able to dictate terms throughout and ran away to a comfortable four length victory over Smooth Deal, with a further head back to LL Cool J in third. Green was pleased to see Copy That back to his best after he was pulled up last start as a result of hitting the foot rests and wheels of the sulky. “He is a class act,” Green said. “He is a very good horse and he showed that tonight, that was easy for him. “Last start wasn’t even a race. He had an issue of hitting the wheels and Maurice did the right thing and pulled him up. “You just have to disregard that last start completely. Tonight you saw the real deal.” The son of American Ideal posted an impressive tally in his three-year-old term, winning seven of his 12 starts, including the Gr.2 3YO Classic (2200m) and Gr.2 Flying Stakes (1980m), and placing in four others, including finishing runner-up in the Gr.1 Sires’ Stakes Final (1980m) and Gr.1 Northern Derby (2700m). Green is excited about the prospects of Copy That heading into the new season and he is aiming him towards the Gr.1 New Zealand Cup (3200m) at Addington Raceway in November. “We will just trundle around up here,” Green said. “There will be a few of Barry Purdon’s nice horses come through next week, so we should get another start next week. “There’s the Spring Cup and those sort of races up here for him and I will put in a nomination for the New Zealand Cup. “When we send him south will depend on how many starts we can get up here and what the competition is. “Hopefully he will get a few races up here that will prepare him for some of those better races down in Christchurch.” Fittingly Green recorded his 26th and final win of the season with Tommy Lincoln in the Lincoln Farms Mobile Pace (2200m) and stablemate Man Of Action finished off strong to secure the quinella. “Tommy Lincoln was always going to be the one to beat from the way he has been trialling,” Green said. “He is probably a notch below those top ones, but he is still a nice horse. “Man Of Action went well too. We are pretty happy with that result.” Green is pleased with the way his stable has performed this season and he is looking forward to next season with several rising two-year-olds. “I am happy with the way the season has gone, we have won a bit of money,” Green said. “If COVID-19 hadn’t come along we would probably have won a lot more, we were favourite for the Derby, but that is horse racing as they say. “We spent more than $1 million on yearling purchases, so hopefully we have got something good there for next season, I will be disappointed if we didn’t. “They have broken in well and they all look good, but it is early days yet.”

It was the same season but a different world the last time Copy That and Winterfell both graced Alexandra Park. The two pin-up horses find themselves at the headquarters of Auckland harness racing tonight for the last meeting of the season in the middle of winter, something their connections couldn’t have dreamed off the last time they were both there. That was December 14, the night Winterfell became the Inter Dominion Trotting champion and Copy That suggested he was the best three-year-old pacer in the country with a remarkable recovery from an early break to win the Alabar Classic. On that warm summer’s night we were all more worried about Christmas than Covid and both Winterfell and Hard Copy could have been expected to win any number of major races. Instead they find themselves at Alexandra Park in the middle of winter and both face interesting challenges. Hard Copy meets just four rivals in race one but they include some talented race fit ones as well as the enigmatic Smooth Deal, who starts the Purdon-Rasmussen assault on tonight’s meeting. About the only certainty is that Copy That has to go better than last start, when he was pulled up mid-race leaving punters with a bleeding nose. “He was hitting the sulky wheels with his hind legs that night and started to really over-race and Maurice pulled him up for his own safety,” explains trainer Ray Green. “But he took no harm from it and we are placing his sulky further back this time. “He went to the workouts last weekend and beat Barry Purdon’s open class horses so I think he is ready to win this week even though he will improve with some racing.” Winterfell’s challenge in race five is extremely tricky as he is off a 55m handicap and fresh up, not the time to be launching mid-race raids that take bad luck out of play. “It is going to be a hard race and we are dictated by what sort of time they go,” says trainer-driver Mark Purdon. “He could be chasing for a long way but hopefully we can get on the back of one who carts us into the race.” The best version of Winterfell would probably still win and it is hard make a case to back one of his rivals but the reality is the front line horses could trot 3:30 for the 2700m and that would mean Winterfell had to break 3:26 coming wide in his first race for four months. So don’t be rushing to take short odds about him even though his Alexandra Park record is superb. Purdon brings a big team north and opts for Yea Baby (race 11) as maybe his best chance tonight as she doesn’t meet a deep field whereas Green is keen on the chances of Tommy Lincoln in race six. “He is a better horse out and rolling and he gets barrier one tonight so it will take a good performance to beat him,” suggests Green.   Michael Guerin

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 Alexandra Park again tonight with an eleven race program starting at 5:27pm and in this video 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 and data on this video is provided for informational purposes only Check below the video for our selections for all of the races today for Alexandra Park.   Alexandra Park Wednesday 29th July 2020   Race 1 Copy That class horse of the field who should be winning this race. Top selection…… L L Cool J winning form but big step up in grade. Place chances best……. Smooth Deal good draw to work with and winning claims fresh out of a strike rate stable….. Parker up in grade for this and running for place only here. Selections:  Copy That (5),   Smooth Deal (3),   L L Cool J (1),    Parker (2)   Race 2 Captain Nemo good win last start and likely to go on with it now. Good winning claims……. Tommy Tukaa finally lands a decent draw and should be a major player in this field. Needed…… Johnny Mac   tricky draw but has plenty of ability. One for longer odds in this field…… Romanee should get a good run through from the draw. Not the worst and can run top three here. Selections:  Captain Nemo (6),   Tommy Tukaa (5),   Johnny Mac   (7),    Romanee (10)   Race 3 Kimkar Dash  easy win last start and a similar effort would take him close. One of the leading chances…… Peakz Luck getting better with racing and running on well late last start. Needed…. Expensive Crumpet disappointing last start but better than that. Gear changes this week and can improve…… Red Castleton racing well in stronger fields and drops back here. Is getting fitter and can win. Selections:  Kimkar Dash  (10),   Red Castleton (9),   Expensive Crumpet (3),    Peakz Luck (4)   Race 4 Sunset Red form is good and draw ok. Has a good winning chance from the draw….. Sheffield Sparky easy winner last start and tricky draw the only concern. Should be hard to beat….. Russley Rush racing well but tricky draw. Top three player with luck….. Cee Whatadelight draw might work out ok. Needs to bring his a-game but can win with a soft trip. Selections:  Sunset Red (1),   Sheffield Sparky (11),   Russley Rush (8),    Cee Whatadelight (9)   Race 5 Vatican Hill ran them ragged last start and from the handicap can do so again. Include….. Winterfell good from a stand and class horse of the field. Might struggle if they go hard up front…… Tailored Elegance racing well at trials without being pushed. Tote the guide but can win….. Resonate another who has been racing ok at trials and workouts. Top three claims with manners. Selections:  Vatican Hill (4),   Winterfell (8),   Tailored Elegance (1),    Resonate (3)   Race 6 Tommy Lincoln gets a draw he has been crying out for. Should be hard to beat from there…… Hugo George good maiden win last start but this is harder. Place claims at longer odds….. Christianshavtime racing well without a lot of luck. Needs the right trip but can win….. Man Of Action drawn to get a run through early and he has been getting better with racing. Winning claims. Selections:  Tommy Lincoln (1),  Hugo George (5),   Christianshavtime (6),    Man Of Action (10) Race 7 First Class raced well in top fields last campaign. Best draw and should run first or second here….. American Dealer good win last start and only danger to the fav in this race.…… Franco Riot was a bit disappointing last start but cops a decent draw. Place claims…… Princess Jessie ok last start and getting better with racing. Include Selections:  First Class (1),   American Dealer (4),   Franco Riot (9),    Princess Jessie (3)   Race 8 Bettor Call Me Unlucky second last start in a strong field. One of the leading chances here.……. Franco Nandor good second last start and getting better with racing. Place hopes in this field…… Gopati has the draw to be handy in the race. Can run a place….. Nevada coming in fresh from a top stable. Should get a cosy run and winning claims here. Selections:  Bettor Call Me (8),   Gopati (4),   Nevada (9),    Franco Nandor (10)   Race 9 Kuyomi disappointing last start but give another chance. One of the leading chances here.……. Major Rage change of stable and ran some tidy races last campaign. Winning claims…… Royal Essence has the draw to be handy in the race. Can run a place….. Aurora Stride had a tough trip last start and will improve. Can place here Selections:  Kuyomi (7),   Major Rage (5),   Royal Essence (1),    Aurora Stride (3)   Race 10 Constellation ok at workouts and looks stronger this time in. One of the leading chances here.……. Asteria Lavra serial breaker with ability. Winning claims if she can get away on terms with the rest of the field…… Cepheus running on late last start Needs manners but can run a place….. Gaz Man looks to have quite a bit of ability and workouts have been good. Can win. Selections:  Constellation (2),   Gaz Man (3),   Cepheus (8),    Asteria Lavra (10)     Race 11 Yea Baby ok at trials and looks the winner in this field from the strike rate stable.……. Smokinhotcheddar has the draw to give some cheek to the favourite. Place only here…… Little Suzie another with ok workout form who can run a place….. Cloudy Bay looks to have quite a bit of ability and workouts have been ok. Place claims Selections:  Yea Baby (5),   Smokinhotcheddar (1),   Little Suzie (6),    Cloudy Bay (3)   Harnesslink Media

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk    The blue army of Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen’s stable will begin its northern assault at Alexandra Park on Wednesday, but Purdon’s brother-in-law Tony Herlihy will be out to lead the northern resistance. The South Auckland horseman will line-up five runners at the Auckland track and he is hoping to finish the season in winning fashion. Inter Dominion Trotting Champion Winterfell will lead the charge for the Purdon-Rasmussen team when he contests the Lonestar Alexandra Park Now Open Handicap Trot (2700m) where he will be met by Herlihy’s in-form trotter Kenny’s Dream. The Group Three performer has placed in her two starts this preparation off a 45m handicap, and while Herlihy said she will face a stiffer task on Wednesday, he is confident of a good showing from the rising six-year-old. “The fields are getting a bit stronger and 40m is hard enough for her,” Herlihy said. “She is always a chance of getting a bit of money because she is such a good beginner and races pretty honestly. “She has had a couple of nice runs so far with a bit of luck from those back rows, so hopefully we can get it once more.” Earlier in the card LL Cool J will be looking to make it three wins on-end for Herlihy in the Shane ‘Interterestrial’ Primrose Mobile Pace (2200m), however, he will meet a small but select field which includes Group One performer Copy That. “It’s a big step up for him,” Herlihy said. “There are only five in it, so he is just going to have a run around. “There are a couple in there who are just better than him, but he is pretty honest and is racing well.” Stablemate Russley Rush has been in consistent form this preparation, placing in all four starts, and junior driver Taitlyn Hanara will be aiming to get that elusive win this campaign in the Phil Whitcombe 50+ Years A Legend Mobile Pace (2200m). “He gets another awkward draw (8) in a junior drivers race,” Herlihy said. “He will need a bit of luck from out there but he raced well last start and probably needed the run. “He should be thereabouts again, but he just needs that bit of luck.” Herlihy has reserved expectations with last start winner Hugo George, who will meet a competitive field in the Lincoln Farms Mobile Pace (2200m). “He got a lovely trip in behind the leader last start,” Herlihy said. “He is getting a bit stronger so I can see him being competitive again. He could be in the first four.” Debutant Last Tango In Heaven will round out the season for Herlihy in the Fresher Foods Mobile Pace (2200m). The juvenile pacer will be met by some promising two-year-olds in the race, including the Purdon-Rasmussen-trained Bettor Call Me and Nevada. “He would have been quite competitive if Mark (Purdon) hadn’t come up,” Herlihy quipped. “He’s a nice enough horse, but probably in six months’ time he will be a better prospect.” Reflecting on the season, Herlihy said he was happy enough with the stable’s tally of 33 wins, but was a bit disappointed he was not able to contest some of the bigger three-year-old trot races with talented square-gaiter Bolt For Brilliance. “We have ticked away pretty well,” he said. “Like everybody else we lost a good chance of winning some of the nicer races with the likes of Bolt For Brilliance. “Whether he would have been good enough to beat Cracker Hill and Ultimate Stride I am not sure, but he was trotting well. “We will find out in the spring how he has come up again.”

By Josh Smith - Harness News Desk   South Auckland horseman Brent Mangos is hoping he will go home from Alexandra Park on Wednesday night with a couple of wins to his name courtesy of a pair of debutants. Mangos’ first debutant, three-year-old filly Elegant Peak, joined his barn earlier this year and she has done nothing but impress him in that time. She has had three workouts this preparation for two wins and a placing and Mangos said he wouldn’t be surprised if she broke her maiden at the first time of asking when she contests the Garrards Horse & Hound Pukekohe Trot (2200m). “She is a very nice filly and I think she will go through the grades eventually, but whether she is winning on Wednesday night or not we will just wait and see, but she certainly has the ability to,” Mangos said. “A first-up maiden trotter you would have to take a little bit on chance, but she is a nice filly and will go a wee way I think.” Mangos also has a lot of time for fellow first time starter Chris Kyle. The three-year-old son of He’s Watching pleased Mangos with his two recent workouts, however, he said the gelding will definitely improve with the run in the Dunstan Speedfeed Mobile Pace (2200m). “I think he is a pretty nice horse and he will certainly win three or four races in time,” Mangos said. “I personally think he is a run short, but he is a very good maiden. “If they go really hard he might just be found wanting the last little bit, just fitness-wise, but he is a nice horse and will be very competitive.” Mangos is confident both runners will acquit themselves well on debut and will be visiting the winner’s circle at short notice. “I couldn’t split the two maidens,” he said. “If they both did everything right and got the right run I can see them both winning. “If they weren’t winning this week they would be winning in the next couple of starts.” Mangos is also looking forward to lining up last start winner Double Up in the Always B Miki At Alabar Mobile Pace (2200m). “He went well last start, he hadn’t had a trial prior to that and I wasn’t expecting him to go as good as he did, but he went well and I expect him to go a similar sort of race on Wednesday,” Mangos said. “He’s drawn good in barrier three and he should get his chance to settle handy enough in the small field. If he is handy throughout I couldn’t see any reason why he couldn’t be right in the finish.” Mangos’ stable will also be represented by Liaison in the Breckon Farms Trot (2200m) and Reckon Im Smart in the Lonestar AP Open Now Mobile Pace (1700m). Liaison finished runner-up first-up last month before missing away in his subsequent two starts, and Mangos thinks he will be in the finish if he comes with the right manners on Wednesday night. “His first start was good and he has missed away the last couple, but I thought the other night over 2700m he didn’t go too bad,” Mangos said. “He pulled a little bit throughout the run, but back to 2200m on Wednesday, if he does everything right he is a place chance.” Reckon Im Smart will start from one on the second line in the amateur drivers race and Mangos is confident of a good run from that alley. “I have only had him a little while, but his work was way better than he raced last start,” he said. “He did cop a race I thought was too good for him. He has drawn the right alley to get a soft spot and I would like to think he can run in the first three or four in that kind of with Christianshavtime after what he showed at the Auckland track a fortnight ago.

By Josh Smith - Harness News Desk   Trainers Logan Hollis and Shane Robertson are itching to get back to Alexandra Park on Wednesday night with Christianshavtime after what he showed at the Auckland track a fortnight ago. The Auckland Trotting Club 2019 Syndicate-owned gelding was driven cold by Tony Herlihy at the rear of the field and when asked to accelerate five-wide turning for home he was able to show a blistering turn of foot and just came up a head short of victory in the 2200m contest. His connections were delighted with his runner-up effort, which extended his solid form line. “We were really happy with his run last start,” Hollis said. “He had trialled really well before and we were confident of running in the first five, but he raced a bit better than that. “We have always thought he was a nice horse and with a bit of time he has just improved a lot. “He has never really gone a bad race, he just has not had a lot of luck in the running and has struck some nice fields.” The son of American Ideal has pleased Hollis with his work since that run and he is expecting another good showing from the gelding when he contests the Hydroflow Mobile Pace (2200m). “It’s a really nice rated race for him, he’s the highest rated horse,” Hollis said. “His work has been good, so we are fairly confident heading into the race.” Christianshavtime has been installed a $4 second-favourite by TAB bookmakers behind the Ray Green-trained Tommy Lincoln at $1.70. Christianshavtime is not the only horse that is exciting Hollis heading into the new season, he is also looking forward to the return of stablemate Luke John. The rising three-year-old finished eighth last start in the Gr.1 Cardigan Bay Stakes (1700m) and Hollis has been happy with the way he has returned to his South Auckland barn. “I have got a little maiden called Luke John who raced four times this year and raced in the Young Guns series,” Hollis said. “He is trialling again on Friday and is going to Cambridge on Thursday (next week). “He is the next one to show a bit of form hopefully.

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 Alexandra Park again today with a nine race program starting at 5:26pm and in this video we highlight some specials and value runners we think can give you a run for your money on a good day of racing. The content and data on this video is provided for informational purposes only Check below the video for our selections for all of the races today for Alexandra Park. Alexandra Park Wednesday 15th July 2020   Race 1 Express Play drawn to lead and should be thereabouts over the 1700m sprint trip…… Reckon Im Smart could end up with a nice trip here and driver has a good record in amateur races, include here……Quick As Fire has been racing in better fields than he meets here and can win with luck in the running…….Lynton Creek draw not great but always a place chance in these types of races. Selections:  Express Play (1),   Quick As Fire (6),   Reckon Im Smart (9),    Lynton Creek (8)   Race 2 Kuyomi much better run for second last start and comes up with the best draw. Should run top three here….. Chablis  on debut from a smart stable and could surprise fresh, needed……..Santa Maria trial form has been ok and one of the better chances in this field……. Spirited Belle has been getting better with racing and draw the only concern. Place chances best. Selections:  Kuyomi (1),   Chablis (3),   Santa Maria (2),    Spirited Belle (8)   Race 3 Asteria Lavra has been breaking in her races and losing her chance. If she brings her manners she can win at good odds……. Uncle Louis let down by his manners last start when well supported. Give another chance .…. Cepheus improved showing last start running on late. Is stronger and can win…. Elegant Peak good at workouts and up from Canterbury. Include in combinations Selections:  Asteria Lavra (9),   Uncle Louis (2),   Cepheus (8),    Elegant Peak (12)   Race 4 Silk in winning form and could be the leader again here. Good winning claims….. Sheffield Sparky  his form is very good and decent draw to work with. Should be a major player in this field….. Happy Place top draw and he will get a good run on the fence. Can win but place chances best….. All Yours second row draw but he will be running on late. Winning claims Selections:  Silk (6),   Sheffield Sparky  (2),   Happy Place (1),    All Yours (10)   Race 5 Captain Nemo will be fitter for his fresh up 4th. One of the leading chances in this race and our top selection….. Franco Nandor has the draw and will start favourite.Needed….. Military Man ok in stronger fields and can place in this race. …Blair Boy ok last campaign and can run a place fresh at decent odds. Selections:  Captain Nemo (5),   Franco Nandor (2),   Military Man (8),    Blair Boy (3)   Race 6 Peakz Luck Fresh up and workout form is ok. Should be hard to beat with manners…… Kristofferson has been threatening for the last couple and gets his chance here. One of the better chances in this field….. Magnafique ok at his last start and is at good money. Could sneak a place here….. Fira normally a good beginner and she has been getting better with racing. Place claims in this field. Selections:  Peakz Luck (5),  Kristofferson (9),   Magnafique  (4),    Fira  (10)   Race 7 Tommy Lincoln has been super at workouts. tricky draw here but can win and will start favourite….. Whisky Neat not the worst in this field from the draw. Good place chance at longer odds…… Kerri Maguire drawn to go forward early and getting fitter. One of the better chances in this field….. Christianshavtime  good second last start running on well from back in the field. Good winning chance here. Selections:  Tommy Lincoln (9)   Whisky Neat (1),   Kerri Maguire (5),    Christianshavtime (6)   Race 8 Tricky Ric two good wins this campaign and one of the leading chances in this field. Needed……. Kenny's Dream good finish for second last start and will be fitter. Can win…… Credit Master manners a concern but can place if he trots all the way.….. Red Castleton goes ok on the track and will be fitter. Place hopes best here. Selections:  Tricky Ric (5),   Kenny's Dream (7),   Credit Master (8),    Red Castleton (2)   Race 9 American Dealer good wi last start and the draw the only worry. Should run first or second….. Man Of Action looked home for the money before a gallop in the straight cost him last start. Drawn to lead and will be hard to beat….. Mister Slick gate speed will see him close to the pace. Place chance at longer odds….. Double Up up in grade for this but good win last start. Not the worst here Selections:  American Dealer (8),   Man Of Action  (1),   Mister Slick (5),    Double Up (3)   Race 10 Red Reactor nice win last start but this is tougher. Winning claims again….. Callie's Delight chance here to lead all the way one of the better chances in this field…. Parker going well winning his last race but stronger field here. Has winning claims…. Yorkshire he goes ok with a strong pace and drawn ok. Not the worst at good place value… Selections:  Red Reactor (6),   Callie's Delight (4),  Parker (5),    Yorkshire (2)     Harnesslink Media

In-form trainer Steve Telfer is bringing in some family help as he gets set to take his stable nationwide next year. Telfer has trained seven winners in as many weeks since racing returned in late May and has Silk (R4, No.6) looking for her fourth win on end at Alexandra Park tonight. Telfer would already have set a new personal best for the season had it not been for harness racing’s two-and-a-half month Covid-19 break, having trained 48 winners this term chasing his PB of 50 in 2018. While he has still get to the 50 this term he should set an even more impressive record next season as he goes into a training partnership with his sister Amanda Telfer with a view to opening a Canterbury satellite stable. “Amanda has been our traveling foreperson for a long time now and has also driven in amateur races,” says Telfer. “But we will be in partnership next season because we will be expanding a bit.” Telfer is the trainer for Stonewall Stud who have purchased the Canterbury property owned by late training legend Jack Smolenski. “We won’t be taking it over until November next year but the idea will be to have a race team of maybe eight or so down there with the majority up here,” says Telfer. That comes about as the Telfer barn and Stonewall Stud continue to grow through not only through the latter’s breeding programme and consistent sales purchases but a successful syndication side to the business which has proved hugely popular for those who want to get into racing a pacer without great expense. “It has gone very well and we have 52 horses in work here at the moment,” says Telfer. “But that means for the Alex Park meeting in two weeks we have seven fillies to take to the races in the same grade. “So eventually having a South Island base will enable us to break those types of numbers up as well as race horses at their best carnivals.” Telfer thinks Silk can win again tonight with talented Alicia Harrison an asset in the junior driver’s ranks. “She (Silk) always had ability down south before we got her but she was a bit of a victim of circumstances and lost her form,” says Telfer. “But back up here she is has confidence back and she likes to roll along so I think she will go close again. “Ultimately I think she will end up in North America where the racing will suit her perfectly. She would run some great miles up there.” Telfer has nothing but love for intermediate grade trier Parker (R10, No.5) who rates as an each way chance in the last race again but his biggest hand tonight is in an admittedly strong race seven with Jack Ryan (3) and Kerri Maguire (5). “Jack Ryan is a horse I have always liked but he has been green. But I think he will win a few races this time in though as he gains more experience. “And Kerri Maguire is a lovely big filly. She has gate speed and a better draw tonight so she will got forward and be hard to beat.” As has been the case since racing resumed the John and Josh Dickie team are worth following tonight with Kuyomi, Kristofferson, Tricky Ric and Callie’s Dream all winning chances while punters can expect improvement from the Ray Green stable tonight after their fresh-up runs two weeks ago.   Michael Guerin

By Josh Smith - Harness News Desk    Pukekohe trainer Ray Green was dealt a mixed hand at Alexandra Park on Wednesday night. While promising colt American Dealer won the Dawson Harford Mobile Pace (2200m), two of his runners went amiss. American Dealer’s stablemate and race rival Man Of Action looked to have the race sewn up when he kicked clear by a length at the top of the straight, however, he lost all chance when breaking with 200m to go. Later on the card Group One performer Copy That over-raced during the McMurty Farms Handicap Pace (2700m) and was eventually pulled up by driver Maurice McKendry. Trainer Barry Purdon took out the quinella in the race with back marker On The Cards and promising pacer Major Jellis. Green was philosophical about the night and said both Copy That and Man Of Action took no ill-effects from their runs. “Man Of Action should have won, he was well clear, but he just lost concentration halfway up the straight and had a gallop,” he said. “Copy That started hitting the wheels and foot rests with his back feet when he (Maurice McKendry, driver) tried to get him back in behind. “He flipped out and he was off. He did the big bolt and Maurice did the right thing and pulled him up. “There is nothing wrong with the horse, he is 100 percent and pulled up beautifully.” Green was pleased with American Dealer’s winning efforts, with the son of American Ideal now boasting a record of two wins from just three starts. His only unplaced run came in the Gr.1 Cardigan Bay Stakes (1700m) in March where he finished fourth behind Krug. “It was very good considering it was his first run for quite a while,” Green said. “I was pretty happy with him, he is a little tradesman. “I thought he was probably our best chance of winning the race. “It is our first run in a while and the trials were good, but a trial is a trial, and a race is a race. “You really don’t know where you are at until you put them out there. He went quite well.”

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 Alexandra Park again tonight with a nine race program starting at 6:11pm and in this video 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 and data on this video is provided for informational purposes only Check below the video for our selections for all of the races today for Alexandra Park Alexandra Park Wednesday 1st July 2020   Race 1 Franco Nandor he ran some tidy races last campaign and has been good at workouts, Include……Captain Nemo another of the strong Ray Green stable. He was ok last start and can win with the right trip, needed…..Doubtless Bay good draw and running on ok last start. Not the worst in this field and over the odds……Marathon Man beaten by a good horse fresh up from a terrible draw. Best draw here and can go one better in this field. Selections:  Franco Nandor (6),   Captain Nemo (5),   Doubtless Bay (2),    Marathon Man (1)   Race 2 Milner good finish last start and well placed in this field. Top selection……Silk going great guns now winning his last two. Will head forward and can win again…..Sheffield Sparky unlucky not to win last campaign and has a good draw. Needed…..Accelere he might get a cosy run from the draw and is a player if he can clear traffic. Selections:  Milner (10),   Silk (4),   Sheffield Sparky (3),    Accelere (9)   Race 3 Asteria Lavra Has been losing her chance at the start in her previous two runs. Can trot and only needs manners to go close here…..Rastusburn up from Canterbury and a trotter with a bit of ability. Trainer does well with ex South Island horses and has winning claims…..Hill of Peace another horse with ability who would be a major threat if he brought his a-game, can win…..Miss Slippers ok second last start and no surprise to see her put in a good effort again here. Selections:  Asteria Lavra (10),   Hill of Peace (5),   Rastusburn (11),    Miss Slippers (3)   Race 4 Hot And Treacherous he looked to have a bit left in the tank when winning fresh up. Good draw and winning claims again…..American Dealer big run to win fresh up at his last campaign. Has to right in the fight in this race……Larry Lincoln tricky draw but good winner first up. Can place here…….Kerri Maquire good run for second here last start. Draw ok if she can get some room in the run home. Selections:  Hot And Treacherous  (3),   American Dealer (6),   Larry Lincoln (7),    Kerri Maquire (10)   Race 5 Credit Master of a decent handicap and fresh up. Top pick on ability and can win….Tricky Ric nice effort to win last start and should be thereabouts again with a head start on his favoured rivals……Xebec blew it with a midrace gallop last start but easy winner prior.Needed here……Sertorius has good form on the track and should go close to a place again with manners. Selections:  Credit Master (9),   Tricky Ric (4),   Xebec (3),    Sertorius (7)   Race 6 Cee Whatadelight has good form on the board and nice draw. Should run top three….Weren’t Watching good finish last start for third and form in the south prior was good. Tough draw but needed here…..Kuyomi fresh up third was tidy and this field is in her range. Can win at good odds….Spirited Belle gate speed from out wide last start and stuck on ok in the straight. Can place. Selections:  Cee Whatadelight (4),   Kuyom (8),   Weren’t Watching (7),    Spirited Belle (9)   Race 7 Copy That serious talent coming in fresh. Should win this if he can step away with them at the start….Major Jellis steps up in grade but gets a good headstart on the favoured runners, Can place……Yorkshire stand start manners a concern but ok last start. One for longer odds in this…….On The Cards good beginner who will suit the staying distance of this race. Can win. Selections:  Copy That (6),   On The Cards (7),   Major Jellis (2),    Yorkshire (3)   Race 8 Edamfast ok here two starts ago and draw suits. Not the worst at good odds…..Rainbow Wiri beat a similar field here last start but draw not great. Getting good odds again……Happy Place should get a good run through from the draw and will probably start favourite in this. Needed…..Lynton Creek top effort for third last start and always a place chance in these amateur driver races. Selections:  Edamfast (4),   Rainbow Wiri (7),   Happy Place (10),    Lynton Creek (11)   Race 9 Tears Of Joy upset winner here last start beating Daisy Hill. Might be the quinella again here…….Daisy Hill the class horse here and will start favourite. Winning claims with manners…..Kristofferson good effort for third last start and similar field. Could be hard to beat if he found the front…..Bro Fawkes S probably not a winner here but he steps well and is a place chance fresh… Selections:  Tears Of Joy  (8),   Daisy Hill (9),   Kristofferson (2),    Bro Fawkes S (1)   Harnesslink Media

By Josh Smith - Harness News Desk    The Gr.1 New Zealand Cup (3200m) is the pinnacle for many trainers in New Zealand and South Auckland horseman Ray Green believes he has the horse that could be a major contender in the time-honoured race this year. His exciting colt Copy That has had a standout three-year-old term winning six of his 10 starts and placing in the remaining four. The season was highlighted by victories in the Gr.2 Three-Year-Old Classic (2200m) and Gr.2 Flying Stakes (1980m), while he also finished runner-up in the Gr.1 Sires’ Stakes Final (1980m) and Gr.1 Northern Derby (2700m). “You couldn’t fault what he did (this season), he stamped himself as one of the best,” Green said. “The last start (Flying Stakes) was the most impressive for me.” Green labelled Copy That has one of the best horses he has trained and he is excited about what lies ahead for the son of American Ideal. “He’s as good a horse as we have ever had, we are pretty fired up about him,” Green said. “We will put a nomination in for the New Zealand Cup and we will see where we are at at the time.” The classy colt has some big targets in front of him and he will kick-off his campaign in the McMurty Farms Handicap Pace (2700m) at Alexandra Park on Wednesday night. Green has been pleased with the way his charge has been progressing in his work, however, he cited his 45m handicap as a major concern in his first-up assignment. “He is really thriving,” Green said. “His work has been good and he has trialled well. I think it will probably take him a couple of runs to get back to where he was the last time he raced. “I think he is classy enough to still win it in spite of the 45m handicap, but I wouldn’t want to label him as a sure thing. “He will be vulnerable because of his lack of race fitness, but he is a classy individual.” TAB bookmakers have installed Copy That as a $2.90 second favourite behind On The Cards at $2.30. Copy That won’t be the only stable representative having his first-up run on Wednesday night, with Green also lining up half a dozen fresh hopefuls. American Dealer, Larry Lincoln, and Man Of Action have all pleased Green in their recent trials and he believes they will all put in a good showing in the Dawson Harford Mobile Pace (2200m). “Larry Lincoln is having his second lifetime start,” Green said. “He had a few little issues early on, but he seems fine now and is trialling well. “Man Of Action trialled particularly well, and so did American Dealer, so I am confident all three of them will go a good race.” Green will also line-up a trio of runners in the PGG Wrightson Mobile Pace (2200m) and he believes debutant Apieceoflou is one to watch for the future. “Franco Nandor and Captain Nemo are probably better prospects at this stage,” Green said. “Apieceoflou is still on the way up and the experience won’t hurt him. He looks like a nice horse for the future.”

By Dave Di Somma - Harness News Desk     It’s taken a while but Logan Darby says his breakthrough victory with Rainbow Wiri was worth the wait. It was his first win in 15 drives in what was the first amateur drivers race at Alexandra Park since July 2015.   “It was my first drive under the lights at Alexandra Park,” he said, “I was quite surprised at how well he went.” In the last at the Park on Thursday night Rainbow Wiri, trained by his father Ray Darby, was 9/10 in the betting and had to do it tough,  racing three wide and then parked before proving too strong. “I half expected him to stop… I thought Edamfast was going to swamp him.” But the six year old just kept trucking to the line to give Rainbow Wiri his third win from 54 starts. Ray Darby hasn’t had the horse long, it was only transferred to him in March. “Dad is 80 in January,” said Logan, “he still trains the horse and me and my brother (Jeff) work him, Dad just tells us what to do. But if we are not around he’ll still jump in the cart.” After the early morning duties at the stables in Patumahoe Logan Darby’s day job  is all about ice cream. He works as a purchasing and supply manager for Emerald Foods, the makers of NZ Natural and Killinchy Gold. “I’ve been there for 20 years.” And he won’t have to wait long to get another go – another amateur drivers race is scheduled for July 1.

It is never easy to get Brian Hughes to look too far ahead with a horse. But Hot And Treacherous has been so impressive every time he steps out on the track the man they call Bunty admits he has to start thinking about some bigger targets. One of the north’s most hyped maidens made a winning debut at Alexandra Park on Thursday night, beating his recent workouts adversary and another horse with a maiden win just around the corner in Marathon Man. There was nothing special about their time on a cold and wet winter night and Hot And Treacherous had actually been reeling off faster sectionals in his recent Pukekohe workout wins. But there is a stamp on class about the two-year-old son of Captaintreacherous that is hard to miss, his win aptly coming on the day it was announced another of his sire’s sons, Captain Crunch is coming here to join Nevele R and Alabar. So impressive has Hot And Treacherous been the usually reserved Hughes, who trains the gelding with his son Gareth, admits he might have to steer him toward the rescheduled Sires’ Stakes and Sales Series races to be run in September and October. “That might be the aim if he keeps going well,” said Hughes as he awaited his last young prospect to return after the debut win. Gareth might have been doing the leading back but laughs and points to Dad when asked who does the majority of day to day work on this one, always a good indication of where a horse stands in the pecking order of the stable’s maidens. Hughes paid $60,000 for Hot And Treacherous at the Karaka sales last year, buying him off Breckon Farms as the second foal from lightly-raced mare Hothooves. While he has looked a natural in all his workouts the delay and then rescheduling of the key juvenile races from this season to being early next season probably aids Hot And Treacherous and like many in that situation he could have a busy spring and early summer. It is rare a maiden race provides the star turn at Alexandra Park but he was the horse who had everybody buzzing but closer to the top of the rankings system it was the Dickie team who continued their sensational form since lock down. They won two races again with Callie’s Delight and Tricky Ric taking out the night’s feature pace and trot respectively. Callie’s Delight beat On The Cards was manners and speed, working to the lead early and controlling the race and then licking home her last 800m in 55.3 seconds which meant that On The Card, sitting last in his comeback race was left an impossible mission to catch her. “She is racing so well and these wins are great for her future broodmare career,” said co-trainer John Dickie. Tricky Ric got his manners right while stablemate Kay Cee didn’t, with the latter galloping late in the race when challenging the eventual winner. Team Dickie still quinellaed the race, with Tricky Ric leading home Sertorius while Kay Cee was disqualified, a rare combination of result for any stable with three horses in a race. The win won’t be Tricky Ric’s last as it was penalty free because of driver Craig Smith’s junior exempt claim and while the former Jewels runner-up won’t rush through to open class he should well and truly be there by the end of this year if not sooner.   Michael Guerin

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 today with a nine race program starting at 5:59pm, and today we highlight our selections we think can give you a run for your money on a night of racing. The content and data on this page is provided for informational purposes only.   Auckland Harness 18th June 2020 Race 1 Yorkshire has his first start in the North since moving from Canterbury and is a strong chance off the front.... On The Cards proven form in top grade and the small field will help negate the tricky handicap. Top Selection.....Callie’s Delight match fit and has a good chance if she can find the front at some stage... Selections:  On The Cards (4),   Yorkshire (1),   Callie’s Delight (2),    Red Reactor (3)   Race 2 Silk Likely to go forward at the start and has strong claims with an in-form junior driver in the bike...Adieu Flirt goes well on the track and shorter distance will suit good chance here...Vespa Good win last start can repeat with luck in the running. Sunset Red first up winner in the North but this is harder. Place chances Selections:  Silk (5),   Adieu Flirt (8),   Vespa (7),   Sunset Red (2)   Race 3 Asteria Lavra Out of contention early last start but can redeem herself here. Top pick...Bright And Shiney Good at trials and from an in form stable. Can win with manners...Hill Of Peace another with tidy trial and workout form. Tote will tell the story...Just Ricky  Early leader who could stick on for a place if there are too many mistake makers. Selections:  Asteria Lavra (7),   Bright And Shiney (5),   Hill Of Peace (3),   Just Ricky (1)   Race 4 Doubtless Bay good draw to contend with and ok last start. Can win...Romanee Top performance fresh and will be in the fight again here....Hot And Treacherous Has been winning at trials and workouts but strongest test to date here. Should be close to favourite for this....Marathon Man Stable has them ready to run fresh. Watch the tote on this one from the wide draw. Selections:  Doubtless Bay (1),   Romanee (3),   Hot And Treacherous (2),    Marathon Man (8)   Race 5 Daisy Hill Manners a concern but should be right in the fight if she trots all the way....Kristofferson Another who can be tardy early. A big chance if he can lead early and tidy win last start....Magnafique always a place chance in these 2200m stands. Stable going well....Leesa Castleton big run last start and a repeat would take her close. First run the Auckland way around. Selections:  Kristofferson (2),   Magnafique (10),   Daisy Hill (13),    Leesa Castleton (6)   Race 6 Johnny Mac nice draw and a good chance to run top three in this field....Nurburgring looks the early leader and should be thereabouts with minimal attackers...Texas Tiger  has been performing well in classy fields. Should start favourite and can win...Double Up tricky draw to contend with but has ability. Chance at nice odds if he can get handy in the running. Selections:  Texas Tiger (6),   Nurburgring (2),   Johnny Mac (1),    Double Up (7)   Race 7 She Reigns big run after breaking last start. Normally a good beginner and nice each way chance here....Tricky Ric good pipe-opener last start and will be improved. Might be too good for them if he can find the lead....Kay Cee easy win last start but tough handicap. Can still finish amongst the placings....Sertorious looked the winner until late last start. Manners a query but good enough to overcome the 30m handicap. Selections:  She Reigns (6),   Tricky Ric (3),   Kay Cee (7),    Sertorious(8)   Race 8 Major Jellis beaten favourite last start but had excuses. Should be improved and will start a hot favourite...Mister Slick good gate speed and will probably trail the favourite. Can run a place here....The Blue Beat winner last start but draw not so great. A chance to run into the placings if she can clear traffic....Milner Racing well but first look at the course. Chance to run in the money with a cosy run in transit. Selections:  Major Jellis (4),   Mister Slick (3),   Milner (2),    The Blue Beat (9)   Race 9 Edamfast he races well on the track and could get home at value in the last. Each way claims....The Batmobile will probably start favourite here and is overdue a win. Good chance...Romanite out of form but has beaten similar fields in the past. No surprise to see him figure in the placings....Rainbow Wiri tidy after a break last start. Well drawn and has place claims here. Selections:  Edamfast (9),   Romanite (8),   The Batmobile (5),   Rainbow Wiri (3)   Harnesslink Media

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