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Sky Major's fortunes have plummeted from prince to pauper in less than three weeks. Nineteen short days ago he was being touted as the new star of the open class pacing ranks when a hot favourite in the New Zealand Trotting Cup but trainer Barry Purdon says he is now in doubt for the Group I Auckland Cup on New Years Eve. The five time Group I winner was bitterly disappointing when running a flat fifth behind upset winner No Doctor Needed over 1700m at Alexandra Park on Friday night. Purdon removed regular driver Zac Butcher to drive Sky Major himself in an attempt to see where he was at after two disappointing runs over cup week but was left scratching his head with more questions than answers. "I thought he was very average," he said. Sky Major went back of the gate and found the one-one easily but despite doing no work was flat to the boards when they turned for home. "He was probably more colty than he has ever been so maybe that was part of it, it's really hard to know but he didn't feel himself." Twenty three nominations have been received for the cup but Sky Major could be the first casualty if he cannot find form quickly. "He will need to show a marked improvement from what he did last night," Purdon said. "I won't be lining him up just for the sake of it." Blood tests have been taken and Sky Major will have his lung examination on Monday. A winner of 15 races for more than $770,000 in stakes, Sky Major became the first horse to win the Harness Jewels at two, three and four back in May, but is yet to win in open class company. Also in the nominations is last season's 3-year-old filly of the year The Orange Agent who went down to No Doctor Needed by a nose on Friday in her first start back since winning her Breeders Crown final on August 30. Her second was enough to break Ideal Belle's national 1700m record for a filly or mare of 2.00.4 when she clocked 1-59.5 in slushy conditions. Trainer Bunty Hughes could elect to send The Orange Agent to the mares races and avoid a clash with stablemate Hughie Green in the cup. Meanwhile, Inter Dominion favourite Lennytheshark has enhanced his credentials with a 2.1m victory in the second of the three heats in Perth On Friday night. The David Aiken trained runner was three wide for most of the final lap but was still too good in an ominous sign for the A$1.3m final on December 13. James Rattray was not tipped to play much of a role in the series after defending champion Beautide was scratched but that could change if stablemate and heat one winner Devendra holds his form. Former Kiwi Jason Rulz hit the line strongly to finish third. Philadelphia Man was a comfortable winner of the third and final heat but the Kiwi owned Franco Ledger had no luck in the running to finish sixth. He will get a chance to atone in the second round of heats on Tuesday when he starts from the ace in the opening heat. Jason Rulz is the first emergency for the second heat. There are no Kiwi trained horses in the series. Auckland Cup nominations: Besotted, Bettor Dream, Beyond The Silence, Franco Nelson, Have Faith In Me, Hughie Green, Ideal Belle, Ideal Success, Lancewood Lizzie, Lets Elope, Lewy Risk, Master Charlie, Mighty Flying Mac, Mossdale Conner, No Doctor Needed, Ohoka Punter, Sky Major, Smolda, Spirit And Desire, Te Kawau, The Orange Agent, Tiger Tara, Wesley Silcox. Mat Kermeen Reproduced with permission of  Stuff NZ   -   Check site here

A new grocery concept for Auckland will be opening in 2017 as part of Alexandra Park's ambitious high-end urban village redevelopment. Wholesale Distributors Ltd (WDL) have announced that a unique FreshChoice supermarket will be built in Alexandra Park near Green Lane West, which will deliver world-class products as well as exemplary service. "The FreshChoice offer reflects the aspirations of our exciting urban village development. FreshChoice is focused on catering for locals' specific needs, sourcing quality local and international products and employing local staff. It's a great match for us," says chief executive of Alexandra Park, Dominique Dowding. "It's particularly exciting for our future apartment residents as it will offer some very personal touches including a delivery service and delicious ready-to-go-meals for those who want a night off cooking. You'll even be able to telephone through and order a platter if you're entertaining. "It's going to be very much a fusion of a delicatessen, café, and a fresh foods market. FreshChoice has taken on our brief and shown great flexibility to deliver something new and exciting to the Auckland market," says Ms Dowding. She describes FreshChoice's lease as a long-term commitment to the site, with the supermarket taking 1,800sqm, or about two thirds, of the first building's ground floor area. Lease negotiations for the balance of building are well advanced. She expects FreshChoice to be open around mid-2017 when the first residents start moving in. Mark Brosnan, GM for FreshChoice franchisor, Wholsesale Distributors Limited says "Dominique Dowding challenged us to bring something very special to Alexandra Park, and she blew us away with her vision for the quality of food and service she wanted. With that in mind we're pleased to announce this will be a very unique store with a great contemporary design and competitive pricing to boot. It's set to be hugely successful." The store will be owned and operated by Aucklanders Chris Harris and Juliet Monaghan who have successfully owned the popular FreshChoice at the Half Moon Bay marina for the past three years. The store is set to be a key commercial element in the Auckland Trotting Club's urban village redevelopment project, with major earthworks in the club's former carpark currently underway. Ms Dowding says the announcement is a significant early milestone for the entire project. "Having such a quality grocery product as a cornerstone tenant helps sets the tone. This announcement reaffirms that this development will be a quality one showcasing not only the best in apartment living, but the best in boutique retailing and fresh food and beverage," she says. Beneath the residential living, the club is fielding a lot of interest and making great progress in its negotiation of leases for the prime ground floor retail, hospitality and commercial space in the development. Ash Hira of Bayleys Real Estate says locking in Wholesale Distributors Ltd is significant and will lead to other lease announcements with a total of over 5,500sqm of ground-floor space available for lease, split beneath three apartment buildings. He says it's all about delivering on the high quality vision of Alexandra Park and its ambition to also become Auckland's next restaurant and cafe destination with plenty of opportunity of alfresco dining in and around attractive promenades and public spaces. Hira says they're also working to secure boutique lifestyle retailers offering the likes of giftware, homeware and beauty. "Without a doubt this whole development will create a new heart for Epsom, which is long overdue. Given the very attractive catchment we're able to pick the best operators and those who can offer consumers something different. It's going to be a real destination," says Mr Hira. Alexandra Park chief executive Dominique Dowding agrees that this latest announcement by Wholesale Distributors Ltd only adds momentum to the project, with the freehold apartments selling extremely well in recent months. With the majority of apartments in stage one now sold, stages two and three of the development have now come on the market known as Sightline Green and High Street. Alexandra's on-site display apartment is open from 12pm to 4pm daily or by appointment by calling the Colliers team on 0800-275-484 or visiting  

Pukekohe harness racing trainer Ray Green is always active at the yearling sales each year but is never a buyer of big numbers. This year he brought just seven yearlings at both of the sales but the small numbers he bought hasn't stopped Ray having three of them line up in the first two year old race of the season at Alexandra Park tonight. Ray has had a great run in the last few years with his sales purchasers and is probably the only trainer in New Zealand  to have a strike rate similar to Mark Purdon with his yearlings. The three that are lining up tonight have impressed Ray right from the start and when we talked to Ray over three months ago, he signaled that these three that are starting tonight were his most likely starters in the Young Guns series that begins shortly. Ray finds it very difficult to rate his juveniles in any particular order. " The three of them are all lovely two year olds and all have big futures in front of them." " At this stage they are all on the improve and which one ends up the best is anyone's guess." "Spring Campaign is the most natural two year old of the three racing tonight." " As soon as he steps onto the track he is all business and knows what he is there for." " The other two still have a few rough edges but lack nothing in ability and all three are equally capable of winning tonight," Ray said. Ray has more two year olds not that far away from the track as well. " I have a fair bit of time for an American Ideal half brother to Sky Major called Sky Diamond who goes really well." "A couple of the homebred two year old fillies have also shown plenty to date including the full sister to Sir Lincoln in Lincolns Superstar," Ray said. With the way Ray season after season produces those elite level two year olds, it would be no surprise if he trifected the two year old race tonight. Harnesslink Media

Fight For Glory is on target to resume last season's battle with The Orange Agent. The pair dominated the Group I races for 3-year-old fillies last season and look likely to be major players in the Group I Queen of Hearts and Group III Breeders Stakes for mares at Alexandra Park next month. Mark Purdon, who co-trains Fight For Glory with Natalie Rasmussen, confirmed the two races will be the main aim after an impressive showing at the North Canterbury workouts where she ran second to Venus Serena by a neck on Wednesday. A decision on when the winner of more than $580,000 will travel to Auckland and her likely leadup races will come on Thursday, Purdon said after giving the Art Major mare's second hitout his tick of approval.  Fight For Glory was named Australian 3-year-old pacing filly of the year but was unanimously dumped out of that accolade on this side of the Tasman by The Orange Agent. Fight For Glory was a magnet for bad barrier draws in New Zealand last season which did not help her cause.  In her first trial back this season at Ashburton on November 17 she failed to finish off for third behind Here We Go Again. It was a much improved effort at Rangiora as Venus Serena clocked a 2:02.3 mile rate for the 2000m with the last quarter mile in 28.2. Fight For Glory is far from screwed down and is still carrying plenty of condition. The All Stars stable of Purdon and Rasmussen have suffered a blow with 3-year-old gelding Cash N Flow suffering a fracture in his near hind pastern that Purdon said would likely end his season. Geoff Dunn was much happier with Venus Serena from behind the mobile arm after her standing start manners put an end to her failed New Zealand Trotting Cup campaign. "She looked a lot more enthusiastic today," Dunn said. A decision on exactly what races the multiple Group I winner has left in her career will come on Thursday when connections hope to gain confirmation that she is in foal after being served by Art Major. Rocker Band flashed home late for third but trainer Mark Jones said she would stay in the South Island for the foreseeable future. Meanwhile, David Butt who trains with wife Catherine, has confirmed Habibti will likely stay across the Tasman for three to four months. The Butts hold a share in the classy mare, who has bounced back from serious injury last season to run third in the Group I Dominion Handicap. She is now in the care of Victorian trainer Adam Kelly and will be driven by Gavin Lang. Mat Kermeen Reproduced with permission of Stuff NZ   -   Check site here

With the Sires Stakes Final for 3 year old fillies looming large on the horizon, a lot of fillies are staking a claim for inclusion in the $150,000 final at Alexandra Park on December 31st. Last night at Alexandra Park, the Mark Jones trained Real Torque won her third race at just her seventh career start and gave notice that she will be competitive in the $22,000 Sires Stakes heat at Alexandra Park on December 11th. Bought out of the 2014 Australasian Classic yearling sale for the princely sum of $10,000, Real Torque has plenty going for her pedigree wise with her being a half sister to four winners including the very smart Statesman 1:50.2 who has recently passed the $500,000 mark in career earnings. The daughter of Real Desire has shown a liking for the Alexandra Park track which is a plus going forward and she is building nicely for her Sires Stakes heat. Last night Mark Jones worked her to the front early and dictated the tempo before brushing home in 57.6 and 28.5 for a comfortable victory. Mark Jones thought Real Torque would be hard to beat last night. " She was a two win horse in a maiden field so she was always going to be hard to beat. " If anything she should have won that a lot easier than she did but she had a couple of coughs during the week so she had an excuse." " She will have one more run before the Sires Stakes heat on December 11th and then hopefully into the final." " She is going to have to step up to be competitive but she is paid up so we are going to have a go," Mark said. Mark Jones is no stranger to bringing horses north and getting the money and with further progression, Real Torque is more than capable of picking up some of the spoils in the Sires Stakes Series. Harnesslink Media  

Twelve months ago Hughie Green was burning up the tracks on his way to the NZ Sires Stakes final at Addington and went into that race a hot favourite. However it all unraveled a bit on Cup Day for the huge son of Art Major when after being repeatedly attacked in front throughout the race, Hughie Green veered to the inside of the track in the home straight when tried with the whip. Although Hughie Green came back to race with distinction at Alexandra Park after that, he just didn't quite seem the same horse he had been earlier in the season. So instead of chasing the NZ Derby and the Harness Jewels, 'Bunty Hughes' put Hughie Green aside for the season after he  finished third in the Great Northern Derby. Reappearing at trials in the last few weeks, Hughie Green has looked much more like his old self with several impressive performances and was sent out a warm favourite in his first race back at Alexandra Park last night. Away well for regular pilot,Maurice McKendry, Hughie Green circled the field mid race and once he found the front it was race over. Allowed to stretch out a bit from the 800 metres, Hughie Green dashed home in 55.9 and 26.8 to win by an ever increasing 5 3/4 lengths with Maurice sitting quietly in the cart. The run certainly impressed Maurice who is never one to get carried away about a horse. " He did that so well without much urging from me." " He is such a lovely horse to drive and gives you a great feel." " Once I got the front I was pretty confident as those back markers had to do a lot of work to get handy," Maurice said. Hughie Green has filled out between seasons into his massive 17 hand frame and looks to have strengthened up appreciably as well. " He has certainly filled out since last year and feels a lot stronger as well this time in." " If he keeps improving over the next month, then they may have to have a look at a race like the Auckland Cup," Maurice said. With the open grade in New Zealand going through a transition phase at the moment, Hughie Green is more than capable of winning a race like this years Auckland Cup. Harnesslink Media

Pukekohe harness racing trainer James Stormont is looking forward to this Friday night at Alexandra Park when he will have his star trotter Mum's Pride back at the races. One of the finds of last season in the trotting ranks, Mum's Pride has had a couple of workouts this time in to fit him for Friday night. " The first workout was against maidens so you can't read too much into it but his second workout was against some nice trotters and he won it easily so I am happy where he is at fitness wise heading into his first race." " He is probably only 80-85% going into the race but he will be very competitive still," James said. The last run of Mums Pride last season was in the Harness Jewels at Ashburton and James takes some of the blame for him only finishing sixth. " I just didn't have him 100% on the day and it was his first trip away from home so it all got to him a bit." " He is still a very inexperienced horse having only raced fourteen times so there is plenty of improvement in him yet" James said. This season James plans to take a leaf out of Colin De Filippi's book with Stent and look after his young trotter as he makes his way in the top grade. " I was having a talk to Frank, (Weaver) the owner the other day and we agreed that if look after him this season then we will reap the rewards further down the track. " Colin did it with Stent and Kevin Townley did the same with Sheemon so it is a proven way to go," James said. This season to date has been a bit quiet for James but he can see things turning around in the next few weeks. " With Mums Pride back on the track this week and a couple more from the team not that far away, things should be a lot busier in the next few weeks." "Having said that, there is always room in the barn for a couple more," James said. Mums Pride looked an exciting trotter in the making last season and he will be a welcome addition to the open class ranks in the north this season. Harnesslink Media

The Auckland Trotting Club is delighted to win the 'Excellence in Strategy & Planning' category at the Westpac Auckland Business Awards 2015 - Central, topping off an outstanding 125th anniversary year for Alexandra Park. The award partly reflects the Auckland Trotting Club's huge success in securing a stronger financial future which includes significant progress made on Alexandra Park's ambitious high-end urban village redevelopment. "Recognition at the Westpac Business Awards is an important milestone for a business like ours that is transforming so comprehensively." "Winning is a huge endorsement of our vision, innovation and the culture and future we collectively believe in," says Alexandra Park chief executive Dominique Dowding. "As a membership-based club having our efforts recognised in a largely corporate arena is a great compliment." "This is a tremendous achievement that the entire team at Alexandra Park can be proud of!" "Strategy and planning is a critical component of any business." "A successful company or organisation has to continuously evolve and innovate." "As a club we've worked really hard to develop a long-term business strategy and then systematically and successfully roll it out." "The board of directors have big goals and a clear ambition for the business which we as management and staff have been charged to deliver." In today's climate of sport and entertainment we need to keep relevant and sustainable. The economic transformation and diversification of Alexandra Park's business is critical to that." Ms Dowding says the fact that the diggers have started earthworks on the urban village in the Green Lane East carpark and The Blues new rugby base is set to open in the coming weeks are two good examples of Alexandra Park's strategy and planning in action. "I would like to congratulate all the other finalists and winners as well as thank the sponsors involved in this great journey that is the Westpac Business Awards," she says. Ms Dowding reports that apartment sales in Alexandra Park's urban village remain strong. With the majority of apartments in stage one now sold, stages two and three of the development have now come on the market known as Sightline Green and High Street. Alexandra's on-site apartment display is open from 12pm to 4pm daily or by appointment by calling the Colliers team on 0800-275-484 or visiting For more on the winners and finalists of the 2015 Westpac Business Awards visit: For further information contact Dominique Dowding: (021) 377-303 or (09) 630-9700

It is not often that Pukekohe harness racing trainer Brent Mangos doesn't have a smart youngster in his stable and his latest trainee Touch Of Success is no exception. The three year old son of Mach Three was brought by Brent from the 2014 New Zealand Premier sale at Christchurch for $40,000. As you would expect for a colt costing that much, Touch Of Success has a very strong maternal family. He is a son of the smart racemare Millwood Touche 1:56 ($81,879) who has already produced the talented Ohoka Texas 1:50.2 ($301,234) while his grand dam is the former high class racemare Quiet Touch 1:57.7 ($119,400). Not really a natural two year old, Touch Of Success won at Manawatu before taking on the All Stars barn in the Sales race at Addington Raceway. "I thought he went really good for such an inexperienced horse." " He drew the outside of the second line and still beat half of them home," Brent said. After a couple of trials at three, he lined up at Alexandra Park a fortnight ago and after sitting parked for the last lap, he was beaten half a neck. Brent is very happy with him heading into tonights race at Alexandra Park. " That first race has tightened him up good." " He is still very green and I think he will just continue to improve with racing but he should be very hard to beat tonight even though it is a strong maiden field he is in," Brent said. Brent has an immediate program worked out for Touch Of Success if he continues to improve as he thinks he will. " The immediate aim is the sales race just before New Year at Alexandra Park." " He still needs to improve but I think he will," Brent said. However Brent is looking long term with Touch Of Success. "He is a big horse for a Mach Three and I really think he is still six months away from being the finished product." " The whole family gets better with age and I think he will be like the rest of them," Brent said. In the meantime Touch Of Success is more than capable of  winning a race or three and punters would be wise to keep a wary eye on his progress. Harnesslink Media 

Members of the Auckland Trotting Club formally received and signed off their 2015 Annual Report at the harness racing organisation’s Annual General Meeting last night. A watershed and positive time for the club is how the past financial year has been described by chief executive of Alexandra Park, Dominique Dowding. Reviewing the year, Ms Dowding highlighted overall growth within the business, members’ approval of the Auckland Trotting Club’s amalgamation with Franklin Trotting Club, and the club’s investment in two developments now under construction - The Blues new base and the urban village redevelopment at 223 Green Lane West. With the harness racing industry struggling, amalgamating with the Franklin Trotting Club was all about offering the industry an affordable training centre to help attract and retain trainers which was paying early dividends, reported Ms Dowding. “We have seen an increase in numbers at Franklin Park Training Centre from 160 horses in training to 235 in training and this bodes well to bolstering the numbers that race at Alexandra Park,” she says. With industry funding static and on-course and off-course betting declining, Ms Dowding stressed that the critical importance of lifting and developing the club’s other revenue opportunities – the crux of club’s entire long-term business plan. The club reported a net profit for the year of over $17m helped by a substantial increase in the revaluation of its investment property portfolio. The club’s operating profit was reported at $89,614 - significantly better than the budgeted loss of $748,680. Its overall trading operations improved for the third year running – up 17% on last year’s performance, noting the club’s function centre hosted 873 events up 12% on last year’s 780 events. Revenue from property rentals was up 15%. Both 223 Green Lane West and The Blues training centre were both reported as “on track and under budget”. Funding arrangements, apartment sales and commercial leases were so far meeting or exceeding expectations for the urban village development, with the project described as being in “great shape”. On The Blues, the Super 15 rugby franchise is expected to occupy their new base at Campbell Crescent by the end of this year. The Annual Report reviewed and reconfirmed the club’s three strategic priority pillars: Revitalise and Reposition Harness Racing; Grow the Business; Grow the Value and the Returns within the Property Portfolio. The report noted many strategic objectives were met or exceeded. The racing report highlighted that stakes continued to increase in the 2014/15 season for the Auckland Trotting Club on the previous financial year to ensure a better return for owners. From 2015/16 all meetings will be run as ATC meetings - outside Premier Meetings. Such a move will ensure better balance of both metropolitan and country type races, better utilisation of the available horse pool, and will help maximise returns for both owners and trainers. Formally announced last night was that the trotting club’s Auckland Cup will be moved from March and return to its traditional date of 31 December, with a March Carnival of races continuing.  Overshadowing the AGM was this month’s untimely death of Auckland Trotting Club president Kerry Hoggard with much tribute paid to his exemplary leadership of the club and within the New Zealand harness racing industry. “Kerry commercially challenged, debated and tested everything we put to him and our board this year thus adding tremendous value to the club and its future. Kerry will be missed tremendously but we are forever grateful for him helping drive the club’s strategic objectives which I’ve been charged to deliver. “We can all take much from the fact that the our business-focused board of directors remain absolutely committed to delivering our collective vision of building a strong and financially sustainable future for Alexandra Park – in this our 125thanniversary year of racing in Auckland,” said Dominique Dowding after the meeting. The new president of the Auckland Trotting Club is former vice president Bruce Carter. Dominique Dowding

The Auckland apartment market has come of age with baby-boomers increasingly attracted to, and are prepared to pay for, well-designed and spacious apartments in a master-planned community, says Pete Evans, national director of residential property marketing at Colliers International. Mr Evans' comments follows the publication of Colliers' latest analysis of who is buying apartments at Alexandra Park's proposed mixed-use urban village and why. Earthworks have begun for the construction of the first building in the Auckland Trotting Club's former carpark on Green Lane West. Over two thirds of the apartments for stage one have been sold in recent months. Responses by buyers to Colliers market survey show that 82% will be owner/occupiers, with just 18% investors so far. This bucks recent numbers and allegations floating around the media that certain investors made up 40% of residential sales in the Auckland housing market. What's more, overwhelmingly most buyers are currently living within five kilometres of Alexandra Park. Another result that may surprise some is that 79% of buyers were 45 years of age or older - made up of 37% older than 60 and 42% between the ages of 45 and 59. Just 21% were 44 years old or younger. "I think a lot of people still presume those buying apartments are investors wanting to put the likes of students in them or young people who can't afford their own standalone house. Well these numbers blow those out-of-date perceptions out of the water. What we're seeing with Alexandra Park is more mature Aucklanders increasingly and deliberately opting for apartments and in many cases selling up the family home to do so," says Mr Evans. When questioned on what aspects of the Alexandra Park urban village development they rated the highest, the fact that it sits in the sought-after double grammar zone was not a leading aspect. Rather respondents rated 'design/layout/size of apartment' the highest, followed by its location, and thirdly the overall design of project. "Another presumption many would have with this Epsom project is that people are buying up to be in the grammar zone. Well while that's been an important consideration for some, for most buyers it's more about the fact the apartments are beautifully designed, on freehold titles in a great location with much attention paid to ensuring attractive outdoor urban design, and delivering a real sense of community in a safe and secure environment." Mr Evans says buyers have also been attracted to environmental aspects and advantages on offer, including delivering a Smart Energy system, the installation of LED lights and roof-top solar panels which will also mean energy bill savings for residences. "Twenty years ago many thought apartments were the domain of the young, central city, and were too small and not a good option for the average middle-class middle-aged Aucklander. Well 20 years on and it's the baby-boomers who are the largest growth market, seeking spacious, well designed, quality apartments in well-planned environments which will deliver a strong capital gain over time," says Pete Evans. Chief executive of Alexandra Park Dominique Dowding says with the majority of stage one now sold, stages two and three of the development have now come on the market known as Sightline Green and High Street. "Our development is a very solid and attractive proposition for a wide range of ages and stages. However what we've seen so far is mostly locals and long-time Aucklanders buying up. As well as all the space, design features, views and location, many say to me they love the idea of having great coffee, alfresco dining options, and a gourmet grocer just downstairs," she says. "Lifestyle and community is increasingly important to many people. What's more our new urban village will create a real heart and focal point for the Epsom area," says Ms Dowding. Another thing that is proving popular with buyers is the stunning on-site apartment display suite. It is open from 12pm to 4pm daily or by appointment by calling 0800-275-484 or visiting For further information contact Dominique Dowding: (021) 377-303 or (09) 630-9700 or Pete Evans: (027) 433 5402 or (09) 359 1104.

The following is a review of the Robert Dunn Racing Stables runners over the three meetings last weekend. Auckland - Friday night While there was only a small team engaged at Auckland Friday, they still produced a winner from the three starters, in Culinary Delight. In what appeared to be a handy line-up, the daughter of Lis Mara and Culinary Affair dominated from the start for driver Tony Herlihy. After having them all of the bit at the 400m the 5yr old ran out a convincing winner by 4 lengths in 2.43 for the 2200m, coming home in 800m 56.8  and 400m 28.5 for owners the Forrests. This was her third win from 31 starts and she has now banked $28,390 in stakes. Based on Friday's performance this won't be the last winning run. Later in the night it was the turn of the trotters, with Whitney and All Royal Gal lining up. Unfortunately All Royal Gal did as she did last week, blowing it at the start. Whitney however stepped like a toff for driver Jack MacKinnon and enjoyed a perfect run three back before being asked for her best effort from the 400m. After looming up on the turn and then hitting the lead at the 200m she was run down over the last 100m by a very impressive One Ova Da Moon in what turned out to be a sprint home. Whitney is racing in top form and is another stable runner set to deliver at short notice. Addington - Friday night The first runner for the night was Art Critic for Matt in the boys' race. Having drawn poorly, she was obliged to race back in the field. While she made some real ground with purpose in the straight, she was never going to figure on the back of a run home in 800m 54.3 and 400m 26.2. She will certainly keep for another week and looks in for a good campaign. Cullect A Guinness always looked the best chance for the night and did his best to justify the strong support. From his inside barrier he had the pace to hold the lead, but did have to work hard over the first 200m. Once in front he was able to dictate the pace, running some strong sectionals to have most of the opposition battling turning for home. He appeared to have the race in the bag at the 150m, but succumbed over the past 50m to the finish of 165-1 outsider Northview Gambler and Stevie Golding. He is certainly "Mr Consistency" this guy and surely his turn will come. Uncas was at long odds in the feature trot and after adding to his handicap with an early break was obliged to do a lot of chasing to catch the pack. He eventually worked home well to finish about nine lengths off winner Quite A Moment. Sires Stakes hopeful Alta Las Vegas stepped out for the first time this season in what was a very handy field of 3yr olds. From his bad draw he raced back in the field early before working to the breeze from the 1300m outside He Can Fly. After eyeballing that runner from the 400m he was able to take a shotlived lead at the 200m. However, favourite Wannabet had enjoyed a perfect trailling run throughout and once able to take the passing lane went on to a convincing victory. Alta Las Vegas battled hard for his second placing and will be a lot better for the run going into next week. The final hope of a win on the night rested with Littke Rascal and Living Legend in the last. Living Legend had a dig for the lead at the 1300m and nearly crossed. However, pacemaker Webb  Ellis was able to kick back underneath leaving Living Legend breezing and then one-one. Little Rascal however, was well back from his awkward second line draw. At the 400m Living Legend began to lose contact while Little Rascal was gambling on inside runs. After finally finding some room at the 150m he stormed home for the most unlucky of 4th placings beaten just over one length. He was certainly the most unlucky of all stable runners on the night.  Methven - Sunday Afternoon There were just the two stable runners that headed to Methven today and both delivered very creditable placings.  Bourbon And Dry contested the maiden trot, a trot that is picked to deliver many maiden winners over the next few weeks. Today Bourbon And Dry never put a foot wrong, stepping well and running to the lead, before handing up and trailling eventual winner Majestic Ali. He travelled well throughout and coming to the passing lane momentarily looked a real winning hope. However, he just battled over the last 100m, sticking on strongly for a very good third placing. No Doctor Needed was backed in strongly on the day and went out as third favourite in the day's feature the Methven Cup. He began well from his 10m handicap and drove to the lead after 500m before trailling Mach Gladiator which would lead throughout.  Coming to the turn No Doctor Needed looked to be travelling well behind a hard driven Mach Gladiator. However, once in the straight it was the sweeper out wide in favouirte Messini that came with an undeniable claim to run out a convincing winner by a half length from strong finisher Quick As A Trick that outfinished No Doctor Needed for second. John and Robert will no doubt look at their plans for the next couple of weeks, but it is most likely that we will see No Doctor Needed at Ashburton for the Flying Stakes in 8 days time. The other performnace of note from a stable point of view was Music in the boys' race. Given a chance at a "change of scenery" by trainer Bruce Negus, Music had been with the Woodend stable for just two weeks. While the formline made grim reading and he appeared unwanted on the tote, going out at 40-1 odds, driver Matt Purvis said he was, "very bullish" on the Lis Mara 5yr old's chances today. After getting a nice trip throughout he loomed up to challenge on the turn before cruising to the lead at the 200m. From there it was a all plain sailing as Purvis and Music bolted in by nearly three lengths. "Nice horse and jogged it," was the after race summation. Today's win was Music's 4th from 41 starts, while for driver Matt, it was his second win for the season from just 24 drives.  Courtesy of Robert Dunn Racing Stables    -    Check site here

American Flybye has created a really good impression in her short career todate but faces her biggest challenge so far when she lines up in race one at the harness racing meeting at Alexandra Park tonight. Trained by Steve Telfer and Chris Garlick, the daughter of Tintin In America has racked up three wins from her first three starts in the hands of stable driver Scott Phelan. Tonight she has had the misfortune to draw five on the second line but Scott has not written her off due to the draw. " She is a really nice filly and even from the draw I think she is a winning chance tonight." "She is going to need a bit of luck but if things went her way, she could roll over the top of them," Scott said. American Flybye has been part of the Telfer and Garlic barn since an early two year old and they have always had a bit of a wrap on the filly. " Like a lot of good fillies she can be a bit headstrong every now and again but in the main she is lovely to do anything with." " She shows real dash coming off a horses back but due to the good draws we have had so far, she has always led in her races." " We have always thought that she would be better coming off a horses back in her races so I guess we are going to find out if we were right in tonights race, Scott said. Regardless of what she does tonight, Scott thinks the best may be in front of her. " She continues to improve all the time." " We will just stick to grade racing at the moment but it wouldn't surprise me if she found her way into some of the better fillies races later on," Scott said.  The run of American Flybye certainly hasn't hurt her young sire Tintin In America, whose oldest crop are only three and are doing a good job on both sides of the Tasman. Harnesslink Media

Ray Green has been around harness racing long enough to know you have to really enjoy the good times in this industry as disappointment is usually just around the corner. So Ray will be really enjoying the fantastic start his team has made to the current season,winning races left right and centre and they show no signs of slowing down at present. The star of the show is undoubtedly Besotted who looks to have come back from a 14 month injury enforced layoff in great style. His win last Friday night at Alexandra Park was all class and he looms as a definite threat in the Auckland Cup after Christmas. Before then he has another assignment looming and it is not the New Zealand Cup “I think the way the New Zealand Cup is usually run can really get to the bottom of some horses and I think Besotted would be one of those."  “I think it can set horses back and we have finally got  Besotted back where we want him so I’d rather aim him at the New Zealand Free For All  on the Friday." “So the New Zealand Cup is definitely not in our plans," Ray said. The support cast to Besotted has been every bit as good so far this season with the Lincoln Farm barn already having ten wins on the board,  lying first equal on the New Zealand premiership as of today. Horses such as Zach Maguire, Beaudiene Beaufighta and Lincolns Keepsake have all been racing in great form and the locker is not empty yet. One of the real focuses of the Lincoln Farms team led by Ray is the two year olds and not many seasons go by where Lincoln Farms don't have a high quality two year old racing in the classics. This year looks to be no different with Ray quite keen on a handful of juveniles. " At this stage we still have six on track to race this season." " It takes a lot of work to get to this point as these six have been in work off and on for the last six to eight months. " You have got to put that kind of time into them or I find they don't stay up very long," Ray said. The six juveniles are not that far away from the workouts and trials. They include sales purchases and some homebreds as well * Alta Intrigue  -  Colt by Mach Three from Samantha Q by Real Artist * Sky Diamond  -  Colt by American ideal from Sky Beauty by In The Pocket * Spring Campaign - Colt by Courage Under Fire from Spring Thaw by Falcon Seelster * Vasari  -  Colt by Art Major from The Bestamancanget by Mach Three * Lincolns Delight  -  Filly by American Ideal from Crush by Bettors Delight * Lincolns Superstar  -  Filly by Mach Three from Clare De Lune by Beach Towel Ray was reluctant to single any one of them out at this stage but the time was rapidly approaching where they would be asked some serious questions. " They will start going to trials and workouts from the middle of November through to early December and we will know a lot more once they have been there." " In saying that I couldn't be happier with their progress to date and would be surprised if a few of them don't take the step up," Ray said. The way that Lincoln Farms consistently produce quality juveniles, the debut trials and workout runs of their six babies is eagerly awaited. Harnesslink Media

“Kerry Hoggard’s sad and sudden passing is a huge loss for the New Zealand harness industry, the country’s business community, and his beloved Auckland Trotting Club,” says Dominique Dowding, chief executive of Alexandra Park today. Ms Dowding’s comments follow news that Mr Hoggard passed away yesterday. He was the current president of the Auckland Trotting Club – a role he’d held since 2013, and was vice-president from 2010. He had been on the club’s board since 2004 and was a member for 16 years. “He was a visionary and a commercial genius. He was absolutely loyal to the club and completely committed to harness racing in New Zealand. Kerry’s work and focus was all about helping the families involved in harness racing get ahead and achieve their dreams.” She says as a long-time harness racing administrator, Mr Hoggard understood the need for club consolidation in New Zealand and was at the forefront of driving positive change for the industry. At Alexandra Park he was also hugely successful at lifting stake levels to some of the highest in the country. “We are so incredibly sad. Kerry backed his board and they completely backed him. He commanded respect from the members, our patrons, owners and breeders because he was literally one of them.” Ms Dowding says Mr Hoggard was at the forefront of the collective vision to make the Auckland Trotting Club completely financially self-sustainable so it could rely less on income derived from racing. “He was committed to securing a strong financial future for Auckland Trotting Club Inc to ensure it would continue racing throughout this century– something it has been doing since 1890 with the club celebrating 125 years of harness racing in Auckland this year.” A key part of that vision is the development of a comprehensive new urban village in part of the club’s carpark on Green Lane West. Earthworks ahead of construction have just begun, with residents set to move in from 2017. Another component of the club’s vision currently under construction is a new training centre and headquarters for Super 15 rugby franchise, The Blues. “As well as all the governance and management changes he’s overseen to improve how we operate as a commercial business and sector leader, the fact that so much construction is currently underway at Alexandra Park is testament to Kerry’s view that if harness racing was to survive and grow in New Zealand’s largest city, we needed to change. At Alexandra Park, these fundamental changes will be his ongoing legacy.” Kerry Hoggard was also one of New Zealand’s most successful businessmen. For half a century he was involved in FERNZ later to be known as Nufarm - a company he helped grow from a small local fertiliser firm to a publicly-listed entity with hundreds of millions of dollars in annual sales. Ms Dowding says the Auckland Trotting Club’s AGM on 29 October will be dedicated to Kerry Hoggard and all that he has achieved for our club and harness racing across New Zealand, as well as the club reaffirming its determination to deliver the vision that Mr Hoggard drove. “Our thoughts and love are with his wife Marilyn, son Andrew, and family at this time,” says Ms Dowding.     

The first of October traditionally marks the start of the earthworks season for the New Zealand construction and development sectors, and no more apparent is this than at Auckland’s iconic Alexandra Park the home of harness racing in the North Island of New Zealand. Those travelling along Auckland’s busy Green Lane West will see diggers and mountains of dirt in part of the Auckland Trotting Club’s former car-park. This work marks the beginning of construction on the first apartment building for Alexandra Park’s ambitious new urban village development, with residents moving in from 2017. Alexandra Park chief executive Dominique Dowding says over the coming three months Canam Construction diggers will move approximately 30,000m3 (cubic metres) of dirt and about 2,500m3 of basalt rock to make way for piling, underground car-parking and residential storage. As well as containing 118 beautifully-appointed apartments, the first building will have 2,500 sqm of ground-floor retail including a new gourmet supermarket concept for Auckland which will soon to be announced. “For Alexandra Park having the diggers move in is a great milestone given this year we’re also celebrating 125 years of being Auckland’s home of harness racing. This exciting transformation and new urban village will sustain and secure the Auckland Trotting Club’s future. We can’t wait,” says Ms Dowding. The on-site apartment display suite is open from 12pm to 4pm daily or by appointment by calling 0800-275-484 or visiting

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