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The Auckland Trotting Club has been named a double finalist in the Westpac Auckland Business Awards 2016 - Central. It is a finalist in both the ‘Excellence in Customer Service Delivery’ category and for ‘Excellence in Marketing’. Alexandra Park chief executive Dominique Dowding says the fact that the harness racing club is a double finalist in this year’s Westpac business awards is a huge credit to the club’s board, management team, and staff. “We’re rolling out a bold strategic business plan to build a stronger financial future for the club and Auckland harness racing. Both marketing and customer service are key to achieving that. Getting into the finals is a huge endorsement of the many steps we are now taking to deliver on our collective vision,” says Mrs Dowding. Sales & Marketing manager Joel Reichardt says Alexandra Park is a multi-faceted business that’s marketing planning and activity and customer service drive is varied and complex – making the double finalist news even more satisfying. “We don’t just have one business and one brand to promote. We’ve got to simultaneously market our harness racing activity, our significant conference and functions business, and more recently our high-end residential and retail urban village now under construction on Green Lane West. Our customer service also has to deliver across our very broad business and customer base,” says Mr Reichardt.  Ms Dowding says for a membership-based sporting organisation to receive this business acknowledgement in a largely corporate arena shows just how comprehensively and successfully the club is commercially transforming. “Given all the choices out there today when it comes to sport, entertainment, venues and residential living we need to keep highly competitive through exemplary marketing and first-class customer service. This latest nod reinforces we’re making some really solid gains that others are now formally recognising,” she says. Alexandra Park congratulates all of the category finalists and looks forward to the gala dinner on 10 November for the Westpac Auckland Business Awards 2016 - Central. For a full list of the Westpac Business Award finalists link here. For further information contact Dominique Dowding: (021) 377-303 or (09) 630-9700

As reported by the NZ Herald, Tony Herlihy admits his rivals may hold the fate of One Over Da Moon in their hooves when the standout trotter returns to harness racing at Alexandra Park tonight. And that means the champion horseman wouldn’t be surprised if the best horse at the meeting won by two lengths, or finished a gallant placegetter. “It he could do either and be equally good runs,” says Herlihy. One Over Da Moon returns to Auckland, where he dominated the trot scene last winter, for a three-race programme while usual trainer Paul Nairn is campaigning a team in Australia. So Herlihy hasn’t had much time to reacquaint himself with the speedy stallion, only having driven him a handful of times since he arrived. “He hasn’t had a trial and only arrived up last week so it is hard to get an exact line on him,” explains Herlihy. “He looks great, as you would expect coming from Paul’s place, and when I spoke to Paul on Sunday he said he was trotting great at home before he left him. “But winning any race at Alexandra Park off 45m fresh up is tough. “A lot will depend on how quick they go. If a mare like Sunset Peak steps and trots 3:30 off the front then we have to trot 3:27 to win and that would be hard without a lead-up race. “But if they go a bit slower and he has to trot 3:30 to win and gets a cart into it it becomes a bit easier. “So the tempo will play a big role.”
 Sunset Peak has been the surprise package of the northern winter for John and Butcher, going from unheralded maiden to looking open class material in a handful of starts. Ben Butcher takes the drive tonight so the mare can claim a concession and start on the front line, where she seems happiest and most likely to be able to reach her favoured pacemaking role. “Ben drove her at the workouts on Saturday and if she trots away she might take some catching,” enthused co-trainer John Butcher. For a small field the race is a winter gem, also boasting Cool Cobber, who was excellent in his comeback race last start and Harrysul, who is chasing a hat-trick for Dave and Clare McGowan. Harrysul only fell into win last start after trotting roughly by McGowan says the gelding has worked much better this week and he is confident even though he is not happy to be starting off the same handicap as One Over Da Moon. “I think he has been harshly handicapped but he is going great and the owners are coming up so he will start,” says McGowan. Earlier in the night the Pukekohe stable have exciting trotter Inkyroe in race four. Inkyroe lived up to her huge reputation by bolting in on debut and has a new driver tonight, with Andre Poutama replacing Todd MacFarlane for this race as the latter has his own horse George in the race. “Andre came and drove her on Wednesday and was smiling after,” said McGowan. “It is a big jump from maidens to one-win but I think she will handle it. Her manners early will be the key.”   Michael Guerin

Early harness racing fixed odds action tonight at Alexandra Park. Race 1 – All the early money is for the smart recent workout winner Spring Campaign $2.80 - $2.40 with the largest bets $1,111 and $480 at $2.80 and $789 at $2.60. Race 2 – Best backed early is Killer Queen $3.70 - $3.30 and she also easily leads multi bet numbers on the race. Race 3 – With two bets $700 at $3.50 now ($2.90) Mo Casino is the best backed followed by Stunning Shadow $6.50 - $6.00. Race 4 – George is the best backed and is into $8.50 following a bet of $1,125 at $11.50. The $3.20 favourite Inkyroe leads multi bets. Race 5 – A quiet market in the win ‘book’ but Aliante is huge in multi bets. Race 6 – Best backed is Sunset Peak at $5.00 with the $2.90 favourite Harrysul best backed in multi bets. Race 7 – Largest bets in this race are $1,000 at $4.80 Bronze Over and $1,000 at $4.00 Mr Euroman. Race 8 -  Not a lot of early money but best backed is the $2.90 shot Acougarsun. Race 9 – Another quiet market but best backed is Kellanda Babe at $4.80 Race 10 – This is the quietest race on the card but the only runner taking any decent multi tickets is the $2.70 favourite Chevrons Sweetheart.   In order best backed in multi bets as at noon raceday: Race 5 – Aliante Race 1 – Spring Campaign Race 2 – Killer Queen   Stephen Richardson 

Alexandra Park’s chief executive Dominique Dowding says the most surprising aspect from buyer feedback on their urban village development is just how many people have made storage a big part of their final decision. Her observation comes as the latest August/September HOME magazine focused on ‘Density Done Well’ has placed Alexandra Park at top of the list of ‘Model Citizens – thoughtful higher-density developments that are livening up their neighbourhoods’. Mrs Dowding says such esteemed acknowledgement is a huge credit to all the project partners involved especially Richard Naish and Ben Hayes of RTA Studio which was recognised in the achievement. Alexandra Park’s urban village, currently under construction on Green Lane West, includes apartments, multi-level town houses and luxurious penthouses, with over 80% of stage one and two now sold. It has been dubbed the fastest selling development in Auckland. “People doing the rounds of the many Auckland display suites often come back to Alexandra Park because of the ample storage we can offer. Buyers feel like they’re getting real value for money when they see all the storage and space built into our designs. So we’ve won the storage war and that is literally helping us win over buyers,” says Ms Dowding.   “Traditionally, apartments have been notoriously bad when it comes to allowing for storage. So we wanted to rectify that, particularly when we knew we would attract a lot of empty nesters moving out of the family home but still wanting to hold onto a lot of their treasures. Buyers also love the fact we have high ceilings with our studs 2.7m for our apartments and 3.0m for our penthouses.” In addition to the basement storage, inside storage and plentiful living space, Alexandra Park has invested significant design effort into the balconies. Recently it was revealed that one of the penthouses comes not only with fabulous views but a staggering 140 square metres of external balconies – almost the same size as an entire average New Zealand house! Lead architect Richard Naish of Auckland’s award-winning RTA Studio says Auckland apartment buyers are increasingly wanting more usable but also private outdoor space. Subsequently, Alexandra Park has come up with the concept of the garden room. “We knew we’d be attracting a lot of people who were worried about leaving their garden or outdoor lifestyle behind. So we were the first to really develop these ‘garden rooms’ which are much more generous than the traditional apartment balcony. They come with adjustable sun and privacy screens and so people can completely customise their ultimate outdoor space, and just sit back and enjoy their garden in the sky,” says Mr Naish. In addition to ample storage and space, Ms Dowding says the apartments, townhouses, and penthouses come with some unprecedented amenity. The village beneath will include a grocer, boutique retail and some soon to be announced cafes and restaurants. Not to mention Lido Cinema and historic Cornwall Park both just across the road. Other factors that are helping to sway buyers are the freehold titles, the central Epsom location, and the double grammar zone status. The first of the 750 residents are set to move in from late next year to what is viewed as one of the biggest brownfield developments in the city. “People are buying at Alexandra Park because we are focused on delivering quality and that includes ensuring plenty of storage and great spaces, as well as delivering a world-class urban village and entire community. Collectively that adds up to delivering a great Kiwi lifestyle but in a modern and urban context – something the market has been yearning,” says Ms Dowding. While RTA Studio is the lead architect, celebrated Vancouver urban design expert Joe Hruda is overseeing the outside transformation which will include plenty of 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 Dominique Dowding: (021) 377-303 or (09) 630-9700

Race 1 – The winner ‘Bronze Over’ opened at $3.30 & closed the favourite at $2.50 (tote $3.00) and was the worst result for the ‘book’.  The only other runner that took some heavy action was ‘Whitecliffe Chapel’ (8th)  $2.70 - $2.90. Largest bet on the winner was $2,000 at $2.90.   Race 2 – ‘No Way Else’ $4.00 - $4.50 (tote $4.70) was a good result for us with the worst result ‘Vibhuti’ (6th) $3.40 - $3.10 and he closed as our only losing result with the largest bet $3,000 at $3.30.      Race 3 – ‘Temporale’ was the only runner punter’s wanted to be on with the largest bet $5,000 at $1.40, he opened at $1.60 and closed $1.40 (tote $1.50). ‘Hot Chocolate Tart’ $8.00 - $10 was the only other runner to attract some support. The winner closed a small losing result.   Race 4 – ‘The winner ‘Janet Guthrie’ $8.50 - $9.50 (tote $10.70) was a good result beating our worst result ‘Shieldmaiden’  $2.80 - $2.10 by a half head. ‘Shieldmaiden’ was our only losing result so we were happy the photo go the ‘book’s’ way this time. A bet $5,000 at $2.20 was the largest taken on the favourite.   Race 5 – ‘Arden’s Choice’ $2.00 - $1.85 (tote $1.80) was all punters wanted to be on in this race & this time the half head margin went against us. The largest bet taken was $5,000 at $2.00.   Race 6 – ‘Harrysul’ prevailed by a head to keep most multi punters happy but he was sent out a very short favourite and we closed the ‘book’ breaking even on him.   Race 7 – The winner ‘ New Years Jay’ was all the talk and she was backed in from $2.30 - $1.65 (tote $1.90) but thankfully for us the largest bets on her were taken at the lower odds of $1.70. We were winning on all other runners except the favourite but on the final turn we knew this one was well & truly home.   Race 8 -  ‘Chevrons Easy’ $3.40 - $2.90 (tote $2.60) easily closed as our worst result and in the final few minutes of trading it was hard to sell any other runner. Largest bet on the winner was $3,000 at $3.40.   Race 9 – ‘Zach Maguire’ $2.60 - $2.80 (tote $3.20) didn’t take much early money but once again close to post time this was the only runner most wanted to be on and he closed as our worst result. One runner that did take some heavy support throughout the day was ‘Stunning Shadow’ (6th) $31 - $12. The largest bet taken was $5,000 at $2.80 on the winner.   Race 10 – One of the best backed during early trading was the winner ‘Franco Nadal’ $7.00 - $6.00 (tote $5.90) but he closed as a good result for the ‘book’ with the largest bet on him $300 at $6.50. The second favourite ‘George’ (disqualified 4th) at $3.20 closed as our only losing result on the race.   With 6/10 races won by the closing favourites it was always going to be tough going for the ‘book’ and punters came out well ahead of us on the night especially with 7/10 of the winners opening up on ‘Fixed Odds Betting’ over what they closed at on the tote.   Stephen Richardson

After short break in the harnesslink bets of the week ringaround along with some staffing changes, we will be back in the new season with an even bigger and better account of the drivers best chances for the coming weeks racing. From next week we will endeavor to have this page out and published before 10am each Thursday. Note: We will keep adding to this page if more tips come in after the deadline, so check back often. This week there are three harness racing meetings in New Zealand and we will have the drivers best selections for them available on Friday afternoon. Alexandra Park – Friday night Peter Scaife - Says that Vibhuti will be hard to beat in Race 2 Maurice McKendry - Says the the well bred 2yo filly Shieldmaiden will be hard to beat in Race 4 John Curtin - Thinks Ultimate Angel will improve this week and is a real danger in Race 4 Tony Herlihy - Says that his best chance this week is Bonnie Khaleesi in Race 5 Todd Mitchell - Believes that Doudleodeano can beat Tony's pick in Race 5 Todd MacFarlane - Bullish on the chances of Harrysul in Race 6 Sean McCaffrey - Really likes Norvic Ruby in Race 8 Geoff Small - Hopes that Everlasting Grace (as lease is expiring) can win this week in Race 8 Scott Phelan - Just back from a holiday and says Trilogy will win Race 9 Steve Richardson (TAB) – Thinks George can win after being freshened in Race 10    NZ Metro at Addington on Friday night Ricky May - Says that Cruzy Dude will be hard to beat in Race 1 Blair Orange - Holidaying in Fiji but thinks with a drop down in class Ranfurly Rulz will win Race 4 Tim Williams - Gives a chance to his only drive tonight in Northview Betta in Race 7 Harnesslink workout reporter -- Gives Franco Tristan a good chance of winning his first start in Race 9 Nathan Williamson - Has no drives this week but says he cannot see Stars Align getting beaten in Race 10   NZ Metro at Addington on Sunday Robbie Holmes - Says that Fulham Royale will be hard to beat in Race 1 Gavin Smith - Even from the second row Gavin thinks that he can win with Donegal Jimmy Dave in Race 4 Bob Butt - Says that Easy Rider can win Race 5 Gerard O'Reilly - Thinks that Tornado Valley will win if he steps in Race 6 Mark Jones - Mark says that his pick of the week this week is Glenferrie Classic in Race 7 Harnesslink video reviewer – Thinks Dreamy Damian is a great each way chance in Race 8   Harnesslink Media

FRIDAY 29 JULY $50,000 Terminating harness racing turbo Pick6 Leg 1 at 8:06pm: Addington Harness, Race 6 Leg 2 at 8:16pm: Alexandra Park Harness, Race 6  Leg 3 at 8:06pm: Addington Harness, Race 7 Leg 4 at 8:46pm: Alexandra Park Harness, Race 7 Leg 5 at 8:06pm: Addington Harness, Race 8 Leg 6 at 9:17pm: Alexandra Park Harness, Race 8   Leg 1 Mr Mojito looks the anchor of the night if he can step away from the stand. He seems a sensible type but most of his racing has been from the mobiles.He will be too good for the rest if he can step and race handy.   Leg 2 The two open class trotters Mum’s Pride and Harrysul look to have a strangle hold on this race starting off even marks from behind the mobile against the lower class trotters.   Leg 3 Luciano has won his last three starts and the last two against similar opposition to this field. He could prove to be too tough again, but it is a tricky field and it is worth throwing in a couple of backups. Soapbox almost beat Luciano two starts ago and has a better draw to contend with so needs to be included. The other two Brendon McLellan trained horses Mr Handleman and Vera’s Delight were both good last start and the extra distance of this race will suit so both need to be included here.   Leg 4 The sprint trip of 1700m will suit the two Barry Purdon trained runners of New Years Jay and Hug The Wind and we think you only need those two horses in this leg.   Leg 5 Another tricky leg over the sprint for the C1 trotters from behind the mobile.  Cuddly Jess has the draw and flashed home late last start so possibly the pick of them here. Also include Craddock who won easily like a horse going places last start. Blood And Whisky from the powerful Robert Dunn stable and My Amour from the Greg and Nina Hope stable also need to be included and can win. Total Exposure with Colin DeFilippi driving is also a runner’s chance in this field.   Leg Six We have gone shorter in a few of the earlier legs so can afford to put in a few extra’s in this leg. Include Will Desire coming in fresh for the Geoff Small stable, Turnbulls who won well at the trials last week, Chevrons Easy who was in devastating form sitting parked and winning easily last week, Norvic Ruby looks to be coming back into form and is a good mare when right and Everlasting Grace also in good form and worth putting in here.   $20.00 for 10%            CONFIDENCE RATING 75% Leg 1      1 Leg 2      6,8 Leg 3      1,4,7,8 Leg 4      3,5 Leg 5      1,7,8,12,14 Leg 6      2,3,6,7,8   Harnesslink Media

Alexandra Park says record attendance at its recent annual mid-winter Christmas parties is a great precursor to its Christmas At The Races hospitality evenings with the harness racing dates now confirmed for November and December.  “We were blown away by how quickly and how many tickets we sold to our recent mid-winter Christmas parties. Subsequently we’re telling people to book early if they want to secure one of our very popular Christmas At The Races evenings, says Alexandra Park Sales & Marketing Manager Joel Reichardt. The Christmas At The Races evenings will take place on Fridays 11, 18, 25 November and 2, 9, 16 December as well as Thursday 22 December. The sought after dining packages are renowned for delivering delicious food, electric atmosphere, classic harness racing, and live entertainment after the last race. In the interim, plenty of action is scheduled on and off the track at Alexandra Park On Friday 16 September Thai Night will be back at Alexandra Park. Enjoy an all-you-can-eat Thai Buffet, a fully themed room, a drink on arrival and of course all the excitement of live racing action. The Thai Night package is only $55 per person. Also on 16 September sports team, schools, social clubs and other groups have a great opportunity to raise money for an upcoming event or trip at Your Fundraising At The Park. All they have to do is sell tickets and Alexandra Park will provide the hospitality with part of the proceeds from every ticket sold going towards each group’s fundraising goals. Then on Friday 7 and 14 October Alexandra Park is hosting its Tropical Race Nights, with dining packages starting from just $60 per person and a trip for two to Vanuatu to be won thanks to Air Vanuatu and Mangoes Resort. Also on Friday 14 October enjoy the fabulous Spring/Summer collections of top New Zealand designers Hailwood, Carlson, Yvonne Bennetti, Trish Peng and Knuefermann for Fashion At The Park. Wine and dine in glamourous style with a three course dining package for $99 per person, whilst watching fashion that will turn your head between races. “Our dining packages are always exceptional with our delicious all-you-can-eat carveries and buffets. What’s more there’s plenty of atmosphere with some prime viewing spots on offer to sit back and watch some exciting racing under lights,” says Mr Reichardt.  For further information on the dining packages for Christmas At The Races, Thai Night, Your Fundraising At The Park, Tropical Race Nights or Fashion At The Park 2016 click on this link..  For all bookings please or call (09) 631-1165 or email On all nights general admission for the public into Alexandra Park as well as parking remain free and race-books are also complimentary.

Alexandra Park has revealed its biggest penthouse for sale comes with a staggering 140 square metres of external balconies – almost the same size as an entire average New Zealand house! The three remaining penthouses come with significant living space inside and out – 279sqm, 234sqm and 349sqm plus large external balconies of 51sqm, 64sqm and 140sqm. They are priced between $2.95m and $4.75m and form part of Alexandra Park’s significant urban village development on Green Lane West currently under construction.  Lead architect Richard Naish of Auckland’s award-winning RTA Studio says Auckland apartment buyers are increasingly wanting more usable but also private outdoor space. He says responding to that market desire has ensured a key point of design difference in the Alexandra Park apartments and penthouses. “We have developed the concept of the garden room, rather than the usual open balcony. With our design, people have operable sun and privacy screens as well as plenty of additional space which they can customise to ensure the ultimate outdoor space,” he says. When it’s wet the electronic louvre roof coverings with rain activated sensors will ensure all year round use. Eight levels up the penthouse balconies also come with some expansive views including the volcanic cones of Mt Hobson, Mt St John, Mt Eden, One Tree Hill, as well as the central city’s skyline, Rangitoto, Waitemata Harbour, and the Hauraki Gulf. “What’s more we’ve also delivered contextual relevance, paying homage to the neighbouring Epsom residential architecture and horse racing. Hence the side screens are inspired by the fretwork of grandstands and Victorian villas of the surrounding area,” says Mr Naish. Inside, the living areas of the penthouses are spacious and include a gas fireplace as well as double-glazed floor to ceiling glass. What’s more the stud height is a very generous at three metres. Two of the three penthouses get three carparks, and each will house beautiful Gaggenau kitchen appliances. “Alexandra Park’s penthouses are second to none with their dramatic views of the cones, city, sea, Cornwall Park and One Tree Hill coupled with the spacious living ranging in total size from 298sqm to 489sqm. This includes 51sqm to 140sqm of balconies which create exemplary indoor-outdoor living,” says Alexandra Park chief executive Dominique Dowding. “The interiors have been designed by RTA to be elegant, sophisticated, spacious with highly appointed inclusions, fits-outs and fireplaces. They boast three bedrooms and multiple living areas. What’s more there are only three of these left for sale,” she says. As well as their superior specifications and finish, Ms Dowding says the penthouses come with some unprecedented amenity. The village beneath will include a grocer, boutique retail and some soon to be announced cafes and restaurants. Not to mention Lido Cinema and historic Cornwall Park both just across the road. “Another point of difference for Alexandra Park is the fact that all apartments and penthouses come with freehold titles and of course our central Epsom location also puts you right in the double grammar zone. While there’s plenty of Auckland apartments in the zone, I can’t think of any other penthouses of this size and quality that are,” says Ms Dowding. Construction has now begun in the Auckland Trotting Club’s former car park on Green Lane West for what is one of the biggest brownfield developments in the city. Over 80% of the 246 apartments have now sold unconditionally, with the first of the 750 residents set to move in from late next year. “People can see and really appreciate the efforts we’re going to, not only to design and build quality apartments and penthouses, but a world-class urban village and entire community,” says Ms Dowding. While RTA Studio is the lead architect, celebrated Vancouver urban design expert Joe Hruda is 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 Link to watch the latest two-minute CGI video of Alexandra Park’s urban village:  For further information contact Dominique Dowding: (021) 377-303 or (09) 630-9700

A new weekly harness racing segement on, Around the Traps will, each Tuesday, put together happenings from around New Zealand and Australia over the weekend just been. NEK TIME TRIALS IMPRESSIVELY Speedy Canterbury 3-year-old filly, Nek Time, was an impressive winner of a trial at Albion Park on Friday night as she readies herself for the Gold Coast and Queensland Oaks. The Terry and Glenys Chmiel trainer filly, who is based at the stable of Ian Gurney, paced her 1660 metre trial in 1:58.9 which equates to a 1.55 mile rate. The Southland Oaks winner, will kick off her campaign in the Gold Coast Oaks this weekend before tackling the Queensland Oaks a week later. Dexter Dunn has been booked to drive the filly during her Australian campaign. TELFER/GARLICK TEAM DRAW LEVEL North Island trainers, Steve Telfer and Chris Garlick drew level with their best ever season tally of 37 with a winning double at Alexandra Park on Friday night. The Papkura Stable won on Friday with River Emperor and First Home to take them to 37 and continue what has been a great season. Just inside the Top 10 trainers on the national premiership, the partnership have produced 16 individual winners this season with Better B Amazed (5 wins), Prince Of Pops and Ashton K (4 wins) and Superimposed, No Doctor Needed, American Flybye and Ideal Flybye (3 wins) their best performers. MAINLAND BANNER’S PERFECT RECORD The win of Glenferrie Classic on Friday at Blenheim kept former New Zealand Trotting Cup winning mare, Mainland Banner’s strike rate perfect. Of the five foals the daughter of Christian Cullen has produced, all five have now been winners with Glenferrie Classic the latest. Aside from Stunin Banner (13 wins) her other four foals; Peruvian Banner (1 win), Return To Sender (8 wins), Rocker Band (9 wins) and Glenferrie Classic (1 win) have all been embryo transfer foals. Incidentally, Stunin Banner will race this weekend at Alexandra Park in a claimers event carrying a price tag of $9,000. He is currently domiciled with Todd Mitchell. GILL SUSPENDED Marlborough horsewoman, Kendra Gill has her licence suspended until the middle of August on the opening, and only, day of the Marlborough Harness Racing Club’s meeting on Friday. Gill, the daughter of local trainer, Mark, was suspended for careless driving after her charge, Gotta Ticket was shifted into a position in which there is was insufficient room to allow it to happen. Gill’s suspension ends on the 14th of August. OUR WAIKIKI BEACH TRIALS TODAY Embattled 3-year-old pacer, (Our) Waikiki Beach will trial today (Tuesday) at Menangle as he continues his preparations for the rich Australasian Breeders Crown. In the care of leading Australian stable, Belinda McCarthy, the unbeaten pacer, who has won all 20 of his career starts, is earmarked to return to the race next Tuesday in a C3-C5 pace before tackling a heat of the Breeders Crown seven days later. VOTING CLOSED Voting for the annual Harness Racing New Zealand Awards, which are to be held in the Mashina Lounge at Christchurch Casino on Saturday, July 30, closed on Friday. There has been plenty of speculation around the Awards this year - in particular the battle for Horse of the Year between freakish pacer Have Faith In Me and superstar trotter, Monbet. 29 votes are allocated for each of the categories, which this year include the return of the 5-year-old and older categories. The voting panel is made up largely of members of the harness racing media in New Zealand which also includes commentators and Trackside presenters. BREEDERS CROWN HEATS KICK OFF The first round of heats for the rich Australasian Breeders Crown will be held this week. Addington plays host to heats for the 3YO Trotting Colts and Geldings as well as the 3YO Trotting fillies. Three horses will go around in the male event; Blood And Whiskey, Conon Bridge and My Armour while the fillies race will be contested by Oona and Wilma’s Mate. Further heats will be held at Addington on the 8th, the 15th and the 22nd of July and at Cambridge on July 10 and 21. By Matt Markham

One of the greats of New Zealand harness racing doesn’t get to see his newest Alexandra Park winner very often. But you can rest assured, John Butcher is watching when Sunset Peak is winning. The former Canterbury trotting mare made it two wins from four starts in the north at Alexandra Park on Friday night, leading throughout as she did two starts ago. She is trained by John and his son David, although truth be known John doesn’t get down to the stables much anymore. The 80-year-old patriarch of one of New Zealand’s great racing families is suffering from lung problems which restrict how much physical activity he can undertake. But it doesn’t stop him watching races on television or keeping up with the industry going-ons via the computer. “He knows everything that goes on in the game, he is the one who tells me,” says David. “But with the lung problem he has got he doesn’t leave the house much. He is a lot better if he doesn’t over exert himself.”
 The father and son have been training in partnership for years but rarely have they had a trotter able to win twice so quickly at Alexandra Park. It helped that Sunset Peak came north well educated by owner Paul McDonald, a Canterbury builder who was training her himself. “I think Paul thought with winter coming and all the work he had on she was better off up here,” explains David. “So Craig Thornley, who had been driving her, put him on to us and she is a lovely horse to get hold of. “To win two so quickly at The Park doesn’t happen very often and you would think she will get down to being a 3:30 trotter (for 2700m stand). “And that is probably good enough to get her at least five wins because when they trot 3:30 off the front they are hard to catch. “The other night she trotted her last three quarters (1200ms) in about even time so the ability is there.”
 The Butchers have never been huge trainers of trotters but have two recent winners in that gait, the other being Larch, among the 9-10 horses they are training. “Soon half the horses at Alexandra Park will be trotters,” jokes Butcher about the new-found depth of the gait in the north. “And they are ideal for up here, races every week and for good money. “So to have a nice one right now is a real bonus.”
 Sunset Peak’s win capped a good night for the family as earlier David’s son Zac drove Atomic Betty to break her maiden and he can probably claim an unofficial training success with Hug The Wind in the $20,000 Smith And Partners Winter Cup. Zac has been in charge of the Barry Purdon stable while the boss has taken a small holiday and had Hug The Wind well enough for driver Brent Mangos to launch him as only Mangos does in the main pace. Aided by a brilliant beginning which gave him field position, Hug The Wind worked forward to get the lead and was way too good in a race where new stablemate New Years Jay also caught the eye when third, promoted from fourth. The favourite Shandale was given a good trip by trainer-driver Maurice McKendry but disappointed, suggesting his season may soon be over. Earlier in the night McKendry partnered the McCaffrey-Paynter trained Ideal Flipflop to a good win in a tough c1 race, the three-year-old pacing 2:40.3 for the 2200m on a chilly night, indicating there is plenty more in store for him. Michael Guerin

Harness Racing Driver Maurice McKendry is a legend of our sport and is a driver you can back with confidence every time he gets in the cart. On Friday night at Alexandra Park he has 7 drives, of which the standout will be the horse he also trains in top 3-year-old colt Shandale who will once again be taking on the older pacers in the Smith & Partners Lawyers $20,000 Winter Cup. Here's what he had to say about all of his drives: Race 1 - (4) Mysistersastar - "She went an improved race last time out and is getting better with every look at the track. With further improvement she could feature in a race like this." Race 2 - (2) Ideal Flipflop - "He is a nice wee 3-year-old who will be having his first run at The Park. From the nice draw of 2 he would rate an each way chance in this." Race 3 - (3) Laugh And Cry - "This will be my first drive on her so I really don't know too much about her at this stage. She is another having her first look around here so will definitely be better for the experience." Race 4 - (3) Armed Angel - "She ran an improved race last time out in her first look at The Park. She is on the improve but it's hard to see her beating Aymar all the same." Race 7 - (4) Shandale - "It is his first start from a stand so there is a watch there but in saying that he is a sensible type so I am expecting him to step ok. He definitely has the ability to win a race like this and if he steps I am expecting a big performance from him." Race 8 - (7) Eclipse Me - "She went well last start after dropping back early and making up plenty of ground late for fourth. I would be disappointed if she didn't feature in the first 3 here." Race 12 - (7) Steady Reign - "He qualified nicely and is improving every time he steps out on the track. This will be his first race under racenight conditions and again will be another that will improve with the first look at the track but he definitely has the ability to feature if he can put it all together on the night." ...................................................................................................................................................................................... The Papakura training partnership of Steve Telfer & Chris Garlick have four runners in this Friday night at Alexandra Park and all four look to be in with a good chance of grabbing some of the money. The Alexandra Park newsdesk caught up with training parnter Chris Garlick to assess each of their four runners chances, of which he rated First Home their best on the night. Here's what he had to say about each of their team's chances: Race 1 - (7) River Emperor - "He went real good last week working to find the lead and doing all the work out in front. With his good gate speed we will be looking to make use of that again and be in a prominent position throughout. It is a very similar field to the one he placed in last week so we are expecting another competitive effort in this" Race 4 - (2) Dazzle N Daze - "She was a touch disappointing after leading fairly easily last week but we feel that she is probably better with a sit so we'll look to drive her that way in this. She will need to improve but is a type that has shown some promise. She would still be needing some luck to get into three this week though." Race 9 - (2) Rocknroll Princess - "She has a good gate to work with this week and has good early speed off the arm. Her run was better than it looked last time out and if she can get a nice sit in behind them she would rate a good place chance." Race 10 - (7) First Home - "This bloke is our best chance of the night and we are expecting a big run from him. He is well placed in a field like this and if he can live up to the potential we know he has, he would go real close to taking this out." Alexandra Park Newsdesk

A bizarre judder bar may not halt Waikiki Beach’s path to the rarest number in New Zealand Harness Racing. Because the three-year-old pacing star could still hunt down Courage Under Fire’s record of 24 consecutive wins by season’s end. Waikiki Beach, who races with the Our prefix in Australia, missed last Saturday’s Breeders Challenge semi final in Sydney after his connections didn’t nominate him until too late because of a miscommunication. He would have been red hot to win both his semi and probably this Sunday’s A$150,000 Breeders Challenge Final, which could have taken him to 21 straight victories to start his career. He was then scheduled to embark on the defence of his Australasian Breeders Crown title, which will comprise three more races, so a clean sweep could have drawn him level with Courage Under Fire with the most consecutive victories by any New Zealand-trained horse to start his career. The connections of Waikiki Beach met last week and toyed with the idea of a Queensland Derby campaign or even bringing him home to New Zealand to prepare for the Breeders Crown. But he will now stay in Sydney instead and that puts the record back on the table for the superstar, who is unbeaten in 19 starts. Waikiki Beach will trial next week and possibly race in a minor race the following week before his Breeders Crown heat at Menangle on July 12. “That is the plan at this stage so he is definitely staying here,” says top Sydney horseman Luke McCarthy, with whom Waikiki Beach is stabled in Australia. That means he could have two seemingly effortless races to take him to 21 wins but with five weeks until the Breeders Crown semis in Victoria and three-year-olds so well treated in the Australian handicapping system, he could easily have another tune-up race in early August. That brings the 24-win record back into play, although the Breeders Crown is looking the toughest test of Waikiki Beach’s career. While leading Victoria rival Shadow Sax has been sidelined, Waikiki Beach’s stablemate and Jewels winner Heaven Rocks is being set for the series, as is the exciting Franco Christiano. “He is a hell of a horse and what happened last week was unfortunate but he is well and has plenty of opportunities to get ready over here,” says McCarthy. The Waikiki Beach stuff up leaves his stablemate My MacKenzie, who was surprisingly beaten in her Breeders Challenge semi last weekend, as the only New Zealand-trained starter at Sunday’s huge Menangle meeting. Lennytheshark warmed up Sunday’s A$100,000 Len Smith Mile with a sparkling 1:51.5 trial win at Menangle on Monday and sometime Auckland pacer Ohoka Punter looks his biggest danger after he bolted in at Menangle last Saturday. But Lennytheshark is red hot after drawing barrier two in the group one, with Ohoka Punter at barrier five. Meanwhile, Alexandra Park fans are in for rare mid-winter dash of pacing class tomorrow night with a stronger than expected line-up for the $20,000 Smith And Partners Lawyers Winter Cup. Not only do Derby and Jewels placegetters Shandale and Motown (respectively) return for the standing start 2700m but they are joined by Messenger placegetter Hug The Wind, Bettor Spirits, Spring Cup and Holmes D G winner Beyond The Silence and a newcomer to the northern scene in New Years Jay. The former Otago mare fashioned a huge reputation with her killer sprints in the south and has now joined the Barry Purdon stable. The Winter Cup is the highlight of a 12-race programme, featuring 120 horses, which shows the benefits of Alexandra Park, or Cambridge, racing as the sole northern club at the end of the week, especially in winter. Tomorrow’s big programme also comes during harness racing’s golden month for turnovers, with pools always larger on the Friday nights before the All Black’s June tests because there is no live rugby to draw punters away from Trackside. Michael Guerin

Everything you need to know for race meetings at Alexandra Park is just one click away! This Friday night at Alexandra Park kicks off the first of their ‘Mid-Winter Christmas at the races’ and they have a very competitive 12 race card kicking off at 5.27pm that will include the $20,000 Smith & Partners Lawyer Winter Cup featuring the likes of Shandale, Hug The Wind, Bettor Spirits and Beyond The Silence. For all your news, trainer/driver interviews, tips and race previews for this meeting and all of their other meetings head to the Alex Park website for the inside scoop click here

Calls to toughen school enrolment zone rules by targeting the likes of families living in newly built apartments would be grossly unfair, says chief executive of Alexandra Park Dominique Dowding. Ms Dowding is overseeing the construction of a significant mixed-use urban village at the Auckland Trotting Club and inside the sought-after Double Grammar Zone. It has been touted as one of the biggest brownfield developments currently underway in the city and one of the best-selling. “I accept the nearby grammar schools are under huge enrolment pressure, but the suggestion to target families living in newly-built apartments is grossly unfair at best and discriminatory at worst. Families living in apartments are equally part of the community and hence should have equal access to everything everybody else has. “To single out families opting for apartment living and penalise them accordingly would send the wrong message just when the Government and Auckland Council are promoting the absolute need for greater residential intensification in Auckland.” Ms Dowding says while families make up about 20% Alexandra Park apartment buyers, most people buying cite the central location, quality nature of the master-planned development, the apartments’ freehold titles, and the easy access to key amenities as the main reasons for purchasing an apartment in the urban village development. “Empty nesters and professional couples are a big part of our market, but stage two is attracting more local families and younger people. However, the families we are attracting are motivated by a number of things well beyond school zoning.” She says the fact that the development sits in the Double Grammar Zone is sure an added bonus for most, but it has only been seen as a deciding factor by a few of Alexandra Park’s buyers – and that’s according to Colliers International buyer statistics. “The impression given is that families are rushing out to buy apartments in the likes of Epsom just to get their kids into a grammar school. But our experience is most families are turning to apartment living for lifestyle reasons, to get the space without the prohibitive extra land cost, plus good capital gain,” says Ms Dowding. In just over 12 months’ unconditional sales of Alexandra Park’s high-end apartments have totalled over $220m. Over 80% of apartments for both stages have been sold while just three large penthouses remain for sale. Beneath the apartments will be a gourmet grocer, cafes, restaurants and boutique retail. The first of the 750 residents are set to move into Alexandra Park from next year.

Updated 8am Friday Morning Todd Macfarlane produced the top tip for last week with his winning tip, Mr Natural winning at Alexandra Park, paying a nice $5.10 & $2.00. John Dunn deserves a honorably mention with his tip Katgotstyle who raced twice last week and was successful on Sunday at Rangiora paying $9.10. Others to tip winners were Andrew Fitzgerald, Kyle Marshall and Matt Cross. This week we have a few additions to the ring around - "Short priced special" will hopefully be one you can anchor in all bets. While a new mystery tipster will try to bump up our winning %. This week we cover 3 meetings, including Blenheim which is a dual meeting so make sure to follow the tips through to the second day. Forbury Park Thursday Night Brad Williamson – Madison Jane, Race 1. (2nd, $3.40 tote) Nathan Williamson – Gangnam Style, Race 2. (1st, $1.70, 1.40 tote) Rory Mcllwrick – Golden Gate, Race 6 (1st, $4.70 $2.30 tote) Craig Ferguson – Van Eva, Race 7. (2nd, $2.80 tote) Mystery Tipster - Hudson Sally, Race 8.  (7th) Matt Cross - Highview Illusion, Race 8. (2nd, $1.60 tote) John Dunn - Donegal Jimmy Dave, Race 11. (2nd, $1.50 tote) Blenheim - Friday Afternoon/Sunday Afternoon Blair Orange - Wot Up, Race 1. John Curtin - Glenferrie Classic, Race 2. Andrew Fitzgerald - Dancing In The Dark, Race 3. Ricky May - Pradas Ideal Dahling, Race 3. Jonny Cox - Thisgirlisonfire, Race 5. Peter Scaife - Also likes - Thisgirlisonfire, Race 5. Robbie Holmes - Gabby's Star, Race 7. Short priced special - Franco Cristiano, Race 7. Alexandra Park - Friday Night Todd Macfarlance - Stunning Shadow, Race 2. Mark Jones - Aymar, Race 4. Kyle Marshall - No Way Else, Race 6. Jay Abernethy - Elliot Daniel, Race 6. Dylan Ferguson - On The Razzle, Race 6. Scott Phelan - Rocknroll Princess, Race 9. Andre Poutama - Norvic Ruby, Race 10. Gavin Smith - Di'z Luck, Race 11. Andrew Fitzgerald

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