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Auckland harness racing fixed odds movers as at 4:30pm Race 1 - Brydon Ideal was late scratched at 11:08am today with a 10% win deduction applied to bets placed prior to the scratching time. The place market has been refunded due to only 4 starters. All the multi money is on the $1.45 favourite No Doctor Needed.     Race 2 - Only two runners wanted here on the win 'book' & they are Juice Brogden $2.90 - $2.40 & The Brooklyn Brawler $9.00 - $4.80 but in multi betting it is all on Juice Brogden.   Race 3 - The Almighty Johnson $2.00 is huge in multi betting with Commander In Paris $10.50 the best backed in win betting.   Race 4 - Star Galleria was late scratched at 10:45am this morning & a win deduction of 50% & place of 26% applies to any bets placed prior to the scratching time.   Killer Queen $13 is best backed on the win 'book' but in multi betting it's no surprise to see Motown $1.50 racing away.    Race 5 - C K Spur $2.10 leads multi betting easily over Sertorius $19 with Gintaras $20 best backed on the win 'book'.    Race 6 - Gupta's Cullen $4.40 - $3.90 leads win betting over Kaitlyn $15.    Race 7 - Poppy Drayton $2.40 - $2.30 leads multi betting easily over Harper Franco $4.60.   Race 8 - Megamind $7.50 - $4.80 easily leads win betting over Valle De La Luna $4.60.   Race 9 - Best backed on the win 'book' is Booming Jet $4.20 over Rocknroll Princess $3.30 with the later easily leading multi betting over Booming Jet.    In the Drivers Challenge Maurice McKendry $6.00 is a huge liability for the 'book'.   Harnesslink Media Courtesy of Stephen Richardson (TAB)    

A pacer who started the year as a seven-year-old maiden could top it by beating Group One performers at Alexandra Park tonight. That is the amazing story of Brydon Ideal, who trainer Jeremy Young believes can give him a shot at the best ever night in his short training career tonight. Young only has a team of six racehorses plus a few babies he is breaking in yet has four at tonight’s meeting and all are at least place chances. “Things are turning the corner. I only have a small team but they are racing well and I am getting interest from some new owners, so it is an exciting time,” says Young. “I am in this for the long haul, it is what I love doing. Especially when you are taking horses to Alexandra Park that are competitive.” Young can definitely place and maybe even win with Harper Franco (race seven) and Circus Boy (race eight) but it is earlier in the night where his brightest hopes lie. American Empress has been racing better than her rivals in race two and is rated good enough to contest some of the elite three-year-old fillies races over the next month. “And she will be improved by her run last week so this could be the week we can drive her aggressive,” says Young. “She has to be a good show.” But the undoubtedly star of his small stable and one of the great stories of the northern pacing year is Brydon Ideal, who was an unheard of old maiden this time last season. Troubled by issues his entire career, Brydon Ideal has thrived with Young’s TLC and has won five times in 2016, including beating talented mares like Arden’s Choice and Aliante. He returned with a sharp third to Walkinshaw last Friday and takes on recent New Zealand Cup starter No Doctor Needed and national record holder Bettor B Amazed, albeit with a handicap start in race one. “I think he can win but the start will be crucial for him,” admits Young. “He hasn’t had a lot of stands but he has been all right and I have given him some more practice this week. “If he can step and hold his position and they go hard he will be hard to beat.” No Doctor Needed and Bettor B Amazed are both returning from the Cup carnival, as is Star Galleria later in the night. He is looking to bounce back in race four after being savaged in the Sires’ Stakes Final. Star Galleria has a new driver tonight in Zac Butcher, with Tony Herlihy committed to one of his own stable. Also coming home from the south is Realmein in tonight’s main trot and if he can trot throughout he will find race three a lot easier than chasing Monbet around Addington in record time. After the Alexandra Park and Addington meetings are finished harness punters have some serious fare in Perth to stay awake for, with the final three heats of the Inter Dominions as well as star four-year-olds Mr Mojito and Piccadilly Princess representing New Zealand in group races. Michael Guerin

It's the ‘calm before the Group and Listed storm’ at Alexandra Park on Friday, but some of the big guns will show their faces at 'Northern Headquarters on Friday night. There will be 11 Group races and one Listed event at the December 9, 16 and 31 meetings. Star Galleria, one of the North island's best 3-year-olds, will have a busy December at Alexandra Park with the Group Two $50,000 Alabar 3YO Classic on December 16, and the Listed $175,000 PGG Wrightson Yearling Sales 3YO Open on New Year's Eve his main targets. The above average son of Art Major will start from gate five (of seven) in Friday night’s $13,500 Teng Tools Mobile for the R69 to R82 rated pacers. Star Galleria is currently ranked R75. Co-trainer, Simon McMullan wants Star Galleria to return to the form he had before finishing sixth in the $160,000 Sires Stakes Final at Addington Raceway on November 8. “We couldn’t be happier with him now. He has travelled back well and thrived since. We spoke to Tony (Herlihy MNZM) after that race and he was a bit disappointed he didn’t kick on and finish in the top four. “He just didn’t stick on like we thought he could. Sure it was a quality field but we were hoping for better,” said McMullan who co-trains Star Galleria with Steven Reid at Pukekohe. Star Galleria set a very solid clip out in front in the 1950m mobile Group One feature on Cup Day and was then mauled by the Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen duo of Ultimate Machete and favourite More The Better. Star Galleria finished just over 10 lengths from the winner and McMullan knew he was better than that. “They went real quick (1:52.6 mile rate) and that day the good draw actually turned out to be a bad one for us because we did all the work in front on a New Zealand record pace,” McMullan said. Star Galleria has won three of his five starts including once over Friday’s 2200m mobile. He won his previous Alexandra Park and Cambridge Raceway starts before heading to Christchurch. ‘We are confident he will go a good race. Even though he’s not quite 100 per cent fit he will be in the next few weeks with all of the rich racing that lies ahead of him at Alexandra Park. “He goes into Friday’s race with a nice workout win behind him,” McMullan said. Star Galleria beat Hug The Wind, Kenrick, Alta Las Vegas, Joanednobettor, Vasari and Franco Cristiano in last Saturday’s 2050m mobile Workout at Pukekohe. Reid settled Star Galleria fourth along the markers before going to sit parked at the 900m before Hug The Wind went around and gave them cover at the 600m. In the lane Star Galleria pounced out of the one-one to win going away by one-and-a-quarter lengths. He stopped the clock in 2:38.2 (mile rate 2:04.1) and home in 57.2 and 27.1. McMullan was rapt with the acceleration the gelding displayed in the final 150m – a trait which stand him in good stead on Friday. “That run was encouraging and if he can repeat that he will be tough to beat. In saying that the Dickie horses do concern me,” McMullan said. By that he meant Bettor Think Quick and Motown who have drawn three and seven respectively. “Bettor Think Quick went real good when finishing third after a spell last start and Motown has won six races and is nearing a $100,000 earner. He has also placed in a Group One race (Emerald 3yo Jewels).. “They are the biggest dangers. Our other fella in the race – Mo Casino – could place if things went his way,” McMullan said. Star Galleria will be driven by Zac Butcher on Friday. Regular pilot Herlihy is committed to his stable runner, Bonnie’s Khaleesi. Meanwhile, December is the Auckland Trotting Club's busiest and biggest month. The big races on offer are: December 9: Group Three $30,000 Summer Cup Group Three $30,000 Caduceus Club Northern Breeders Fillies & Mares Stakes December 16: Group Two $75,000 Peter Breckon Memorial Ladyship 3yo Fillies Stakes Group Two $40,000 Lyell Creek Stakes for the open class trotters Group One $100,000 Rosslands Queen of Hearts Fillies & Mares Pace Group Two $50,000 Alabar 3yo Classic Group Two $40,000 Franklin Cup December 31: Group One $150,00 Alabar Sires Stakes 3yo Fillies Final Group One $80,000 National Trot Listed $175,000 PGG Wrightson Yearling Sales 3yo Open GROUP ONE $250,000 TRILLIAN TRUST AUCKLAND CUP.   Duane Ranger

Southland owner-breeder Brendan Fahy says Rakarazor isn’t he best pacer he’s had but the talented 4-year-old is heading that way. “She has some way to go to beat Raksdeal but she is improving with every run. She has learnt to race in front now which is encouraging. “Simon (Lawson) said when the other horses came up to her the other night she found another gear. That’s very encouraging,” Fahy said. Rakarazor and Lawson proved too tough in last Friday night’s $12,500 NRM Mobile for the R65 to R70 Pacing Fillies & Mares at Alexandra Park. It was Pukekohe trainer, Gareth Dixon’s first win of the season and 349th in a career spanning back to 2002. He’s also had 613 place-getters and banked just over $4 million in purses. Rakarazor and Lawson went around to the lead 300 metres into their 2200m mobile and that’s where they stayed for the remainder. The Rocknroll Hanover mare stopped the clock in 2:41.6 (mile rate 1:58.2) with final 800m and 400m sectionals of 57.3 and 28.8. She was the $2 favourite and had held out Eclipse Me (Sean Grayling) and My Kiwi Lady (Josh Dickie) by three quarters of a length and a length. Rakarazor is owned and was bred by Fahy. She is the seventh of eight foals out of the two-win Son Of Afella mare, Rakarach. “It’s all been a bit sad lately because we lost Rakarach when she was giving birth to a Christian Cullen foal. “Ironically my daughter Rachel, whom the mare was named after, gave birth to Ellie Grace on the same day, so that was a great consolation,” Fahy said. “It’s been both sad and happy times,” he added. He said Rakarazor was closing in on the best two horses he had owned and bred - Raksdeal and Stands Reason. They won five ($121,096) and six races ($161,985) respectively. Raksdeal was 2013-2014 Southland Horse of the year, and Fahy won his only Group One with Stands To Reason in the Nevele R 2yo Sires Stakes Final at Alexandra Park in May 1990. Rakarazor has now won three of her 25 starts and placed 14 times for $52,975 in purses. Fahy’s foray into harness racing started out with his foundation mare Sentimental Belle in the 1970s. “She was a 1978 Lumber Dream and was the most expensive filly at the Yearling Sales. I remember I paid $10,000 for her,” Fahy said. He said he was only drawn into harness racing by his Uncle’s neighbour who raced horses. “Andrew Sellars lived across the road from my Uncle who I used to work part-time for. It all started from there really. I later sent Sentimental Belle’s full sister – Sentimental Reason to Andrew’s stallion, Stampede. “The result was Stands To Reason and it’s all developed from there. A sheep farmer by trade, Fahy now breeds from several mares on his property which is situated just south of the Makarewa River, and 15km south-west of Invercargill. His nickname, which he was bestowed with at the mighty St Kevin’s College in Oamaru, is ‘Rark’. “I watched the race on TV the other night and was pleasantly surprised how the mare won. I hope to get up there (Auckland) in December to watch her go around. “Gareth is pleased with the way she has developed especially from two to three and now three to four. She’s potentially a good racehorse in the making because she has gone the times. She went 1:53.9 when finishing fourth in this year’s Jewels final at Cambridge,” Fahy said. Meanwhile, Dixon said he would be talking to Fahy today (Monday) to plan Rakarazor’s future. “I’ll know more later today when we talk but she will head to Sydney in the next month, and whether she tackles races at Alexandra Park like the (Group One) Queen Of Hearts in December is up to Brendan,” Dixon said. "I'd doubt it though - more likely just the early December meeting," he added. By Duane Ranger

Frustrated, disappointed and now relieved. That’s how Tony Herlihy (MNZM) has felt about his promising 4-year-old pacer Walkinshaw’s last three starts. The master Ardmore horseman was disappointed that he missed away at Kaikoura and then disappointed he didn’t run on when finishing fifth in a $20,000, C3/4 Pace at Addington. “Even though it was a quick time at Addington I still thought he could have run on better. I don’t know what it affected him down there but he wasn’t 100 per cent. Maybe it was the travel but I’m just delighted that he’s getting back to where he should be. “He got a nice trip the other night but 2:39.2 is still a good time. I think he will be a real nice horse in 12 months because the breed seems to take time,” Herlihy said. Walkinshaw notched up his fifth win in 26 starts in last Friday’s $13,999 Generation Homes R67-R99 Pace at Alexandra Park. The son of Mach Three and Monaro bolted in by six-and-three-quarter lengths with a 1:56.4 mile rate for the 2200m mobile. He and Herlihy came home in 57.2 and 28.4. Walkinshaw was the $3.10 second favourite and took his stake earnings to $93,232. “He’s a good little stayer and I think he will mature into a nice horse. I didn’t nominate him for the (Auckland) Cup this year because I think he’s 12 months away from the elite class. “I’ll race him during the Cup Carnival and plan his racing after that. There are some nice four-year-old races for him next year,” Herlihy said. Clients of Herlihy’s (R S Tomlinson, P Morris, P J Hailes, and S W Waters) paid $50,000 to Te Kuiti breeder Bruce Spurdle for Walkinshaw at the 2014 Australasian Classic Yearling Sale at Karaka. Friday’s victory was his biggest to date, but Walkinshaw did place in this year’s Group One Woodlands Northern Derby behind Lazarus and Chase The Dream. “He’s getting stronger all the time and he can stay a bit. I liked the way he resumed from his spell and won well here first up. Then we took him to the South Island. He seemed well at home this week and showed that on Friday,” Herlihy said. The fact that all five of Walkinshaw’s wins have been from behind the mobile doesn’t concern Herlihy. “I think he will take to it okay. He’s an entire and is learning all the time. It’s something we will look at but he gives me the impression he will cope all right,” said Herlihy. Herlihy trained and drove three winners at Alexandra Park last Friday night. He now leads the Alexandra Park Driving Premiership by one win from Zac Butcher, 15-14. He also narrowed the gap on his brother-in-law Barry Purdon in the Training Premiership. Purdon now leads 15-14. The race after Walkinshaw’s win Brent Mangos drove the Herlihy trained Blackguard’s Corner to victory. Herlihy also trained and drove $1.50 favourite Classy Chapel to win the eighth event. His other driving victory came in race four via the Michelle Wallis and Bernie Hackett trained Makarewa Jake. He’s now driven 17 winners in 2016-2017 and 3,404 ($35.4m) in his career. Training-wise Herlihy has bagged 15 victories this season and 827 ($10.2m) all-up. Duane Ranger

When Jim Cole tells you Barefoot Barbie has a nice feel to her and can go through the grades you know the Pukekohe horseman is not talking hogwash. You only had to be at Alexandra Park last night to see that. After talking to him you also realise the experienced Franklin trainer knows a thing or two about squaregaiters. Cole drove the legendary 38-win Canterbury trotter Tussle for the late Derek Jones when she won at Alexandra Park in June 1983. Cole also drove, and co-trained with his late father George, the eight-win 1972 trotter Dione Hanover, the 11-win dual gaited (four trotting) 1976 gelding Milson Gold, and he also drove the nine-win 1967 squaregaiter Slane. So yes Cole does know what it takes to make a good trotter. He insists Barefoot Barbie is not, and may never be half as good asTussle or the others mentioned above, but she is showing the right foundation on which to launch a successful career. The Cole-trained and driven chestnut couldn’t have been more impressive in the $12,400 Winger Motors Handicap for the up to R46-R54 trotters. Even though the Bacardi Lindy mare was startled at the start, and swung sideways, she was still clever enough to switch straight into a trot from the 2200m stand. She even recovered so well that Cole was able to maintain the lead and the markers from the ace draw. The rest was a mere formality. Barefoot Barbie strolled to the line untouched to win by one-and-a-quarter lengths in 2:56.1 (mile rate 2:08.8) with final 800m and 400m sprints of 60.4 and 30.7. She was the $3.80 favourite. The 5-year-old chestnut was only having her second start after finishing a length-second on debut at ‘The Park’ a week earlier. Cole said she showed big improvement in seven days. “That’s what encourages me. Her improvement from race to race has been excellent. Everything I have asked her to do so far she has done with ease. She seems to be fairly laid back and is taking everything in her stride,” Cole said. He said he would now ‘play it by ear’ as to what he does with the promising mare. “Everything is a learning curve for her now. She will probably race at the Auckland Cup Carnival but I’ll just see how she comes through this race. I want to do what’s best for her. “Horses like this don’t come along every day. She certainly makes my job worth getting up for,” said Cole who has just the one racehorse in work. Cole said he would never have come across Barefoot Barbie had it not been for the kindness of his former Pukekohe friend, horseman, and blacksmith, John Amoore. “John and his partner Sheryl retired to Waihi and asked me if Dianne (wife) and I wanted the horse. That was a wonderful gesture. John was a very good horseman himself but is now happily retired down the line. “He took quarter horses to the United States. He was also a very good blacksmith and trained several (eight) winners. I hope the horse can keep winning for them even though Dianne and now own her,” said Cole. Barefoot Barbie was bred by the John Ewing Trust. “She hasn’t put a foot wrong yet but still has a hell of a lot to learn. Not only does she trot okay but she’s just a lovely animal to have around the place,” Cole said. Meanwhile, Tony Herlihy (MNZM) trained and drove three winners at the meeting and now leads the Alexandra Park Driving Premiership by one win from Zac Butcher, 15-14. He also narrowed the gap on his brother-in-law Barry Purdon in the Training Premiership. Purdon now leads 15-14. The Iceman trained and drove $3.10 second favourite Walkinshaw to easily win race five and then a race later Brent Mangos drove the Herlihy trained Blackguard’s Corner to victory. Herlihy also trained and drove $1.50 favourite Classy Chapel to win the eighth event. His other driving victory came in race four via the Michelle Wallis and Bernie Hackett trained Makarewa Jake.   Duane Ranger

Jack MacKinnon has driven some pretty handy types in his four seasons as a junior driver, but when it comes to race-night the best of them will line up in the feature pace at Alexandra Park on Friday. The Pukekohe-based 21-year-old will drive his boss Robert Dunn’s Live Or Die gelding, Robbie Burns, from the outside of the front row in the fifth event – the $14,999 Generation Homes R67-R99 Pace. It will be the first time MacKinnon has driven him. Regular pilot John Dunn is committed to the Addington Raceway meeting, also on Friday night. Robbie Burns, who is an Auckland Cup nominee, will be attempting to win his third race from four starts this campaign. The 5-year-old bay is the highest assessed pacer lining up tonight with a R99 rating. “I’ve driven some real nice horses in training but this fella would be my best race-day drive. He’s lot more tractable than what he used to be. He now gives us options when races. “He has had his fair share of problems though and is still on the way back. He doesn’t hang so much now. I think the owners will line him up in the Auckland Cup if he goes well the next few races,” said MacKinnon who is searching his third winner of 2016-2017, and 27th overall. “A race like that will suit him down to the ground because he’s such a good stayer. The further they go the better he will like it,” he added. Trainer Dunn believed Robbie Burns would make next year’s New Zealand Cup field providing he stayed free from illness and injury. MacKinnon agreed. “He’s going to develop into a very nice racehorse. In six months I think he could be the ‘real deal’. he’s an underrated horse who is yet to show his true potential,” the former Mt Albert Grammar student said. Five of Robbie Burns’ eight career wins have been at Alexandra Park, including three over tonight’s 2200m mobile. MacKinnon said he was only too aware of the pace inside him. “It’s quite a tough race to work out. There’s a lot of speed inside me and although I’m confident I am driving the best horse in the race I’m going to have to see what happens when I leave the gate. “Jo’s dream and Killer Queen can both get away quickly and Jo’s Dream proved that with a nice win last week. “Even though it’s not an easy race to read, Robbie Burns is a tough stayer, and I’m confident the best horse will be in front when it counts,” said MacKinnon. The Franklin driver rated Robbie Burns a win chance and his other two drives at the meeting as each-way and place prospects respectively. “Steve (Telfer) and Chris (Garlick) will have Rocknroll Princess (race one) spot on for this. She’s drawn a bit wide but we got squeezed up on the final bend last start and that cost us. She’s a real good stayer and can get some of it. “Any Old Way (race six) will start from a 15m handicap and I’m driving him for Paul Nairn. He’s a very good horse when right but you can never be sure which Any Old Way will show up. He’s travelled up well and this will be his last race before he goes to Australia,” MacKinnon said. “It would be nice to send him on his way with a win but a place looks best for him in this. Five of his seven wins have been at Alexandra Park though, and he did place at odds on (NZ) Cup Day recently,” he added. The next two Fridays are the ‘Calm before the Group One storm’ at Alexandra Park next month. December is the Auckland Trotting Club's busiest and biggest month. The big races on offer are:   December 9: Group Three $30,000 Summer Cup Group Three $30,000 Caduceus Club Northern Breeders Fillies & Mares Stakes   December 16: Group Two $75,000 Peter Breckon Memorial Ladyship 3yo Fillies Stakes Group Two $40,000 Lyell Creek Stakes for the open class trotters Group One $100,000 Rosslands Queen of Hearts Fillies & mares Pace Group Two $50,000 Alabar 3yo Classic Group Two $40,000 Franklin Cup   December 31: Group One $150,00 Alabar Sires Stakes 3yo Fillies Final Group One $80,000 National Trot Listed $175,000 PGG Wrightson Yearling Sales 3yo Open GROUP ONE $250,000 TRILLIAN TRUST AUCKLAND CUP   Duane Ranger

Robbie Burns and Little Rascal will progress on to next month’s Group 1 $250,000 Auckland Cup, but the future is not so rosy for one Robert Dunn’s other stable stars. Franco Cristiano, who has won more than 57 per cent of his races, has disappointed the Canterbury and Auckland trainer. “He will go to the trials again on Saturday and hopefully he will perform a little bit better than what he has this time in. His programme will be decided after we have a look at him go around on the weekend,” Dunn said. Franco Cristiano finished fifth of six at his first Workout back since finishing eighth, fifth and third in a luckless Australian campaign in August. He was then an eight-length third, of three, behind Hug The Wind and Strike The Gold at his second Workout at Pukekohe last Saturday. “I think he has been a little foot-sore with all the wet weather we have had. I have put flip flops on and he seems a lot happier. Hopefully there will be plenty of good races for him up north, especially during the Auckland Cup Carnival,” Dunn said. “If not the beach back home beckons for him,” he added. The 4-year-old Bettor’s Delight gelding resumed from seven-and-a-half months on the sideline with a hairline fracture of the pastern in June. He then won his next four races before finishing third behind Waikiki Beach and Menin Gate in a $17,000 pace at Melton’s Tabcorp Park. Franco Cristiano has now raced 14 times for eight wins and three thirds. His stake earnings currently sit at $58,514. Meanwhile Dunn believes Friday’s favourite for the feature pace at Alexandra Park – Robbie Burns is progressing nicely towards the Auckland Cup. “It will be interesting to see how he goes in the lead-up races but he’s a very good stayer and seems to be over his problems. The two miles will suit him down to the ground. “He will be a whole new racehorse in six months. I think the way he’s progressing he will be a definite New Zealand Cup starter in just under 12 months,” Dunn said. Dunn has so far trained 21 winners ($261,270) from 147 starters this season. He is currently third on the national training premiership behind Greg & Nina Hope (27) Mark Purdon & Natalie Rasmussen (25). His personal best season came last year when he trained 121 winners ($1.06 million) and finished second 10 wins behind the All Stars pair. All-up Dunn has now trained 1,209 winners from 8,232 starters since 1978. He’s also placed 1,865 times and netted $12.6 million in career stakes for a lifetime UDR strike-rate of 0.2399. “I’m looking forward to the Auckland Cup Carnival. We will have several horses lining up throughout December,” Dunn said. Duane Ranger

After maintaining a stranglehold on the training and driving premierships for more than a decade at Alexandra Park, Tony Herlihy’s (MNZM) success could be stymied by his brother-in-law Barry Purdon, who lives just 10 minutes away. Clevedon-based Hall-Of-Famer, Purdon, leads all three premierships at Alexandra Park. When he was informed of his success he was a tad baffled. “Are you sure that’s right? I’d still love to be a junior driver and I’d love to be on top. Wow what a thought to have might lifetime ahead of me again,” Purdon joked. But it was advice handed down to the North Island’s leading junior driver by Purdon that has ensured Sean Grayling’s success. Grayling had committed to a job at Paul Fitzpatrick’s stable in New South Wales last month but after talking to his mentor and boss, he made a last-minute decision to stay at home. “It’s the best advice I’ve ever had. Barry is a ‘master trainer’ and you never get sick of listening to him. He said my time would come for overseas. Barry has put a lot of faith in me and I’m just rapt I can repay him back with some wins. “Amanda Kiddie has also been kind to me. I just want to thank Barry, Amanda and all the owners who have put me on. Staying home is starting to pay dividends for me,” 20-year-old Grayling said. He’s now won nine races in 2016-2017 – the same as his personal best he achieved last season from 63 drives. He’s had 41 drives in almost five months this season. Eight of them have come at Alexandra Park. Then there’s Purdon’s number one stable driver, Zac Butcher who is ‘The Park’s’ leading open driver with 14 wins – two more than the current Alexandra Park champion, Herlihy. Grayling and Butcher’s wins would never have happened had Purdon’s team not been the strongest it has in decades. Purdon leads the training premiership at Alexandra Park with 15 wins – four more than Herlihy. “I’ve got to win something. Tony’s been winning everything up here. it’s about time he shared it around,” said Purdon, who’s younger sister Suzanne is married to Herlihy. On a serious note Purdon said he owed the success to his hard-working staff and loyal band of owners. “The owners have been more supportive than ever, especially in recent seasons. They have bought about 17 horses from the Sales in the last four years, and some of those youngsters are really starting to show some potential. “You are also nothing without staff and our team have been exceptional. Congratulations go to Zac and Sean because they are very keen and enthusiastic about everything they do,” Purdon said. Purdon has trained 21 winners from 41 starters in 2016-2017 and has an amazing 0.4580 strike rate. He currently sits fourth on the New Zealand training premiership – six behind Greg and Nina Hope. All up he’s trained 2,388 career winners since 1977 – 1,463 with his father Roy (MBE), 122 with Scott Phelan, and 803 in his own name. Grayling sits second on the national junior driving premiership with nine wins – eight behind Otago’s Rory McIlwrick. He’s now saluted the judge times 24 since he started driving in 2013. As for Butcher, he has now driven 21 winners nationally and is 28 behind pace-setter, Dexter Dunn. Career-wise Butcher has driven 532 winners since 2008. Meanwhile, the Auckland Trotting Club’s Racing manager Kevin Smith reminded people that initial nominations for the Auckland Cup and the National Trot close this Friday at 11am. “There is no nomination fee or sustaining payment if nominated by this date. Noms can come through to our racing office line via (09) 631 1163,” Smith said. His Racing Assistant, Regan Cotter, also commented on the Purdon dominance at ‘Northern Headquarters’ in 2016-2017. “Barry is on fire in trainers and Zac is leading Tony in open drivers premiership, while Sean Grayling is ticking along quite nicely for a junior with eight wins already this season. “Well done to all,” Cotter said.   ALEXANDRA PARK’S TOP 10 DRIVERS (as at today, November 21): 1) Zac Butcher 14 wins. 2) Tony Herlihy (MNZM) 12. 3) David Butcher 11. 4) Maurice McKendry 10. 5) Josh Dickie 9. 6) Sean Grayling (j) 8. 7) Phil Butcher and Brent Mangos 5. 9) Todd Mitchell 4. 10) Jay Abernethy, Sailesh Abernathy, Rob Argue, Richard Brosnan, Arna Donnelly, Dylan Ferguson (j), Todd MacFarlane, Jack MacKinnon, Kyle Marshall, Andrew Neal and Scott Phelan - all 2 wins each.   TOP 10 TRAINERS: 1) Barry Purdon 15. 2) Tony Herlihy 11. 3) John & Josh Dickie 10. 4) Steven Reid & Simon McMullan 8. 5) Ray Green 7. 6) Brian Hughes and Michelle Wallis/Bernie Hackett 5. 8) Richard Brosnan, Frank Cooney, Arna Donnelly, Logan Hollis/Shane Robertson and Brent Mangos - all 3 wins each.   JUNIOR DRIVERS: 1) Sean Grayling 8. 2) Rob Argue, Jack MacKinnon and Dylan Ferguson - two wins each. 5) Rest = 0 wins.   Duane Ranger

The North Island’s leading Auckland Cup and National Trot prospects emerged at Alexandra Park last night (Friday).   Last year’s Auckland Cup runner-up Hughie Green was simply too big and strong for his six opponents in the feature pace, while Idle Bones set a New Zealand record in the R70 to R99 Trot.   They won their respective 1700m mobiles by three lengths and three-and-a-half lengths respectively. It was Hughie Green’s 11thcareer win and Idle Bones’ 12th and they paid $2.90 and $1.90.   Idle Bones and her trainer/driver Brent Mangos stopped the clock in 2:03.8 beating Allegro Agitato’s 2007 national record for trotting mares by 0.7 of a second.   The grey Monkey Bones mare trotted a 1:57.2 mile rate and came home in 58 even and 29.5.   And it was a smart drive by Tony Herlihy (MNZM) who got Hughie Green home in the fourth event – the $14,000 Mitavite Mobile for the R83 to R106 rated pacers. Hughie Green was rated 106 prior to the race and that is why he started from the widest front-row draw.   "It was a nice drive by Tony. He got back and then got him into the one-one before securing the lead with just under a lap to go.   "He will stay on the horse now as we head towards the Auckland Cup on New Year's Eve," said Gareth Hughes, who trains the big lump of a horse with his father Bunty at Ardmore.   “If he didn’t win tonight, you wouldn’t think he would be much chop in the Auckland Cup. It was a must-win race and the big fella obliged,” Hughes added.   Herlihy was having his first drive behind Hughie Green because regular pilot Maurice McKendry is now committed to the 4-year-old entire he trains – Shandale.   Herlihy notched up his 3,401st winner when Hughie Green stopped the clock in 2:00.3 (mile rate 1:53.9) and last half and quarter in 56.3 and 28.2.   Win number 3,400 came a race earlier when he trained and drove 5-year-old Monarchy gelding, King of The Roses, to a neck victory in the $14,000 Haras Des Trotteurs Handicap for the R36 to R71 trotters.   Maurice McKendry, who finished third in the race behind Hughie Green and Rocker Band (Samantha Ottley), is second on the New Zealand All-Time Driver’s Premiership with 3,162 wins.   Hughes said Hughie Green had come through the race well and had eaten up everything last night. He will now target the Group Three $30,000 Summer Cup on December 9, the Group Two $40,000 Franklin Cup a week later and then the Group One $250,000 Trillian Trust Auckland Cup on December 31.   Co-owner and breeder John Green termed Hughie Green a disappointment up until last night. Earlier in the week he said if he didn’t measure up in that race and in December the 5-year-old son of Art Major and Alta Serena would do his future racing in Australia.   “John is right in what he says. Even though he ran second in last year’s Auckland Cup (in March) he hasn’t won a Group or Listed race yet, so we can’t get too far ahead of ourselves. Obviously the main target is to go one better in this year’s Auckland Cup and with some of Mark’s (Purdon) nice horses either spelling or at the Interdominions, we might have a chance,” Hughes said.   Hughes said it was a matter of just improving the horse from now until the last day of the year.   “He’s gone okay this time in without getting too excited but I must admit last night’s win brought a few smiles to our faces,” he said.   Meanwhile, Hughie Green’s full sister, 3-year-old bay filly Hughie’s Sister, was expected to make her first public appearance over the mobile mile at the Pukekohe Workouts today.   Hughes said she was a promising type just like the stable’s other winner at Alexandra Park last night – 3-year-old American Ideal – Nicolosa filly, Kaitlyn.   “She’s a nice little racehorse too, whom we have got an a bit of time for. She won her Workouts the week before and we thought she might go a bold race tonight.   “We were delighted with Maurie’s drive and the way she won,” said Hughes.   Kaitlyn, who was the $2.90 favourite, has now raced twice for a win and a third – both over the 2200m mobile at Alexandra Park.   She stopped the clock in 2:46.1 (mile rate 2:01.5 ) and home in 59.7 and 28 flat.   Footnote: There was sad news at Alexandra Park last night when people learnt of the death of Greg Bosma, who was in his 40s.   The jovial and long-time security employee (20-plus years) at ‘The Park’ sadly succumbed to cancer leaving this writer and many, many Alexandra Park patrons absolutely devastated.   Duane Ranger

Alexandra Park chief executive Dominique Dowding has won the Property Council’s ‘Resene Women In Property’ award for her ongoing leadership on the significant urban village development currently under construction at 223 Greenlane West, Epsom. As chief executive Ms Dowding has led the board’s strategic turn-around of the 126-year old iconic Auckland Trotting Club to put it on a more commercial footing, ensuring its long-term financial sustainability and the survival of harness racing in the northern region. The award was part of the New Zealand Property Council’s inaugural Auckland Property People Awards 2016 held recently at the Viaduct Events Centre. The ‘Women In Property’ award criteria sought someone showcasing exceptional skills and dedication and who’s contribution has achieved outstanding things to their organisation and/or the property industry. The winner needed to exude the attributes and achievements that would make them a role model to other women in the industry and respected by industry peers. Ms Dowding says she is truly humbled to win the inaugural Women In Property award but says the credit belongs to others. “This is really a tribute to the Auckland Trotting Club board, our members, and our staff for embarking on this journey and their sheer dedication to deliver a first-class development. I am also incredibly indebted to our project partners including our lead architect RTA Studio, construction companies Canam and Ganellen, international urban designers Civitas, and our extremely capable project managers N-Compass,” says Ms Dowding.  As chief executive Ms Dowding has led the board’s strategic turn-around of the 126-year old iconic Auckland Trotting Club to put it on a more commercial footing, ensuring its long-term financial sustainability and the survival of harness racing in the northern region. A key component of the turn-around has been the decision to build a high-end urban village on part of the club’s car-park on Greenlane West. The mixed-use development will include 246 apartments, a grocer, boutique retail, and some soon to be announced cafes and restaurants. Only four townhouses, two apartments and one penthouse remain for sale with the project dubbed as one of Auckland’s largest brownfield developments and fastest selling.

Auckland harness racing fixed odds movers as at 4:00pm Race 1 - Easily the best backed early is Idle Bones $2.70 - $2.20 with the largest two $1,000 bets at $2.30 and $2.40 while Blackguard's Corner has taken $500 at $2.30. Idle Bones is going 2-1 in multi betting over Blackguard's Corner.   Race 2 - Best backed early is the longshot $25 - $16 Hey Knowchange with Samaritan $3.20 leading multi bets over Booming Jet $4.20.   Race 3 - King Of Roses $2.50 is best backed on the win 'book' with C K Spur $2.20 - $2.00 leading in multi betting.   Race 4 - Hughie Green $2.50 leads win & multi betting over Shandale $4.60.   Race 5 - Bettor Think Quick has been smashed in from $8.60 - $3.00 and we are still selling at $3.00 so the tap may not be turned off just yet on this runner. We don't like getting odds wrong on opening which the early money is saying we definitely did on this runner. Vasari $2.10 - $2.20 is starting to take win money and is a clear leader in multi betting. Killer Queen $7.20 - $6.50 attracted a $1,000 bet at $7.80.    Race 6 - Kaitlyn $2.60 is best backed on the win 'book' & is going 6 - 1 in multi betting over the 2nd favourite Circles $2.80 - $3.00. Mark Of Integrity $12.50 - $9.50 is second best backed on the win 'book' wit punters no doubt thinking he can trail the favourite.   Race 7 - Ideal Roman $3.30 - $3.00 leads win and multi betting and could close the favourite over Van Mara $2.80 judging by the early money. One to watch here Full Speed Ahead backed in from $23 - $14.   Race 8 - Rakarazor $2.40 leads win betting while the $1.95 favourite easily leads multi betting.   Race 9 - Hard to read this market early as to whether we have the first five favourites priced right but at least our $3.10 favourite Sertorius is leading win and multi betting.   Multi runners best backed in order: R8 - Gotta Go Dali Queen $1.95 R5 - Vasari $2.20  R6 - Kaitlyn $2.60  R4 - Hughie Green $2.50  R1 - Idle Bones $2.20 R3 - CK Spur $2.00    Harnesslink Media Courtesy of Stephen Richardson (TAB)

Notice of meeting.   There is a harness racing owners meeting this Sunday 20th November at Alexandra Park commencing at 2:00pm   Harnesslink Media    

There is no shortage of confidence from some of the north’s elite horseman heading to Alexandra Park tonight - you just won’t find it in the biggest race of the night. Because the key players in the $15,000 Mitavite Mobile know just how tricky the 1700m sprint will be, with luck and tempo almost certain to decide the winner. The preferential barrier draw conditions mean the stars of the field like Auckland Cup runner-up Hughie Green and Harness Jewels winner Rocker Band have drawn wide, from where getting handy early will be difficult. So if their rivals go even time and they are trapped back they may struggle to catch them. Or if one of them can make a lightning mid-race move to get parked, chance could favour the brave. Or one of them could blast the gate, wrest the lead and then look a good thing. The reality for punters is, it is impossible to know so you will want each odds for anything to bet with confidence. “They can be tricky races these 1700m mobiles because all these horses can run 55 second halves (800m),” says Maurice McKendry. McKendry is perfectly placed to rate the field, being the usual driver of Hughie Green but having to gift those reins to Tony Herlihy tonight so he can partner his own stable rep Shandale. “I think Hughie has been going well but so much depends on how hard they go early,” he explains. “They don’t go too hard and it suits horses like my fella or Motown. “But they go really hard then they make come back to Hughie and Rocker Band.” If that doesn’t sound very helpful rival driver Josh Dickie feels the same partnering the fresh up Motown. “He is working and trialling well enough to go close to winning but in a race like this anything can happen,” says Dickie. “We get an easy time or a good sit in the trail we can win. But he hasn’t yet raced up to horses like Hughie Green. “So it is not an easy race to predict.” While Hughie Green has the record Rocker Band was so good last start she might be able to stay in front of the big horse and be hard to beat, as she was good enough to sit parked and down several of these last start. The good news is that while Dickie and McKendry are unsure what will unfold in the pacing highlight of the night, both are happy to tip punters into some of their other drives tonight. Dickie and his father John believe they have a Trotting Derby contender in C K Spur so only his lack of standing start experience looks an issue in race three. “He is a good trotter and I think he will be fine from the stand so he has to be hard to beat,” says Dickie.  McKendry believes he can win race eight with Gotta Go Dali Queen. “She was very good winning on debut then last start she burned early but still stuck in very well for fourth,” he offers. “She will improve with that and I think she is a nice filly so she will go close. “And I think Kaitlyn has to be a good chance in race six. She went well on debut and trialled well last weekend.” On the shortened programme, which sees the $40,000 Pick6 begin on race four, one of the mini feature of the night is the opening clash between Scarrymcleary, Blackguards Corner and Idle Bones, the trotters also going over the mobile 1700m. With a wealth of mobile racing experience in Australia under her belt, the sometimes costly Idle Bones gets her chance tonight. Michael Guerin

Tony Herlihy (MNZM) might be the life-line Hughie Green is looking for, otherwise the big hunk of a horse could be on a plane destined for Australia following next month’s Auckland Cup Carnival. The 5-year-old Art Major gelding’s Ardmore-based co-owner and breeder John Green, said he was losing patience with the big pacer who once promised so much. “We haven’t changed his driver purposely. Maurice (McKendry) has Shandale in the race and because they will probably be racing against each other a lot in the future this will be a relatively permanent change until Tony can’t drive him any more. “If the change of driver doesn’t work we will have no option but to send him across the Tasman to race,” said the former top trainer and current Auckland Trotting Club Director. Hughie Green will be attempting to win his 11thrace from 24 starts in the fourth race at Alexandra Park tonight (November 18) – the $14,999 Mitavite Mobile for the R83 to R106 rated pacers.  Hughie Green (R106) is the highest ranked pacer in the seven-horse field with Rocker Band. Seven of his wins have been at Alexandra Park but the distance and draw worries Green. “It’s not going to be easy for him from the widest front row draw over the sprint journey. If they go hard he doesn’t seem to be able to sprint with them like he used to. “He needs a slow pace so he can wind up over the top of him. He’s not the horse I thought he was. To be quite frank he’s been a disappointment and now I wouldn’t even rate him in the top 10 horses I’ve had,” Green said. “His mother (Alta Serena) was certainly better than him and so is The Orange Agent,” he added. Green believed the 2014 Sires Stakes Final at Addington had mentally affected Hughie Green. He was the favourite, led into the straight, and ran inward in finishing a disappointing 11th. “He hasn’t been the same since. In fact if anything he’s been a flop after all the expectation we’ve put in him. He’s a bit of a deceiver and apart from his second in the Auckland Cup last year he’s really done nothing,” a disappointed Green said. In saying that the erratic bay has banked $174,499 in stakes and has won twice from four starts over the 1700m mobile. “Perhaps a new driver might make the difference but we are running out of patience with him. It’s time for him to deliver, especially in small fields like this,” Green said. Toughest for Hughie Green to beat will be Shandale, Rocker Band and the resuming Motown, who lines up for the first time since July 1. He ran third that night behind Shandale and Doubleodeano in a C2 to C4 Pace and Alexandra Park. “’Hughie’ hasn’t even won a listed or Group race here so time is running out for him. He’s going to have to prove to us that he is better than what he is producing, or else it’s Australia for him,” Green said. “It’s all a bit disappointing really because we know he’s got potential. Maybe it’s an Art Major trait? He he is also named after my late father as well, but sadly sentiment doesn’t put food on the table,” Green said.   Duane Ranger

Just four townhouses offering a luxury living experience remain for sale in Alexandra Park’s celebrated urban village development currently under construction on Greenlane West, Epsom. Colliers International’s director of project marketing Jeff Davidson says the three-level townhouses represent incredible value and deliver the ultimate townhouse lifestyle. Of the four townhouses left, three have two-bedrooms and one has three bedrooms.  “We see them as a great opportunity for younger couples or families who will enjoy the level separation between the bedrooms and the generous living spaces. They are enhanced by the large rooftop deck which is an entertainer's dream,” says Mr Davidson. “These are exceptional value given their generous size, the central location, the fact they sit in the Double Grammar Zone, are close to great primary schools, and are just across the road from Auckland’s beautiful Cornwall Park and One Tree Hill.  “Alexandra Park is ideally located with Newmarket down the road, the central city just 15 minutes away and the airport only 20 minutes away. It also has great proximity to the motorways and good public transport connections,” he says.  Chief executive of Alexandra Park Dominique Dowding says the development has fast become known for its high-end apartments, but agrees the townhouses present fantastic value given their ample space and exemplary outdoor living.  Mr Davidson says the three two-bedroom townhouses have 112sqm of internal living spaces over two floors plus a rooftop deck of another 54sqm with outstanding views of Cornwall Park. They are priced between $1,390,000 and $1,450,000 and come with two secure car parks. The three-bedroom townhouse is 137sqm over two floors plus a rooftop deck of 68sqm, and is priced at $1,700,000 with two secure carparks. Of the 246 apartments in total only seven dwellings remain for sale. The other three include one superiorly appointed 279sqm three-bedroom penthouse with a 51sqm west facing balcony which overlooks Cornwall Park and allows for views north over Alexandra Park and to the city skyline beyond. It’s priced at $3,450,000 and comes with three car parks. Just two apartments remain for sale – both are 99sqm have two bedrooms plus a 16sqm balcony with incredible north facing views. They are on the top and second to top floors of the second stage building and are priced at $1,625,000 and $1,750,000. Each comes with two car parks Alexandra Park’s master-planned urban village will also include a grocer, boutique retail and soon to be announced cafes and restaurants. It has been dubbed one of Auckland’s largest and fastest selling developments. RTA Studio is the lead architect and international urban design experts Civitas are overseeing the outside transformation which will include plenty of world-class public spaces and promenades. N-Compass are the project managers. The on-site apartment display suite is open from 12pm to 4pm daily or by appointment by calling 0800-275-484 or visiting For further information contact Jeff Davidson (021) 758-435 or Dominique Dowding: (021) 377-303

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