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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

Harness Racing Trainer and Driver Dr Luk Chin wasn’t joking when he thought Djokovic could mature into a Rowe Cup horse next season. “I’ve always believed in him but he’s taken a long time to come to it mentally. I had to do a lot of convincing to the stipes early on. He was a hopeless breaker and I don’t think they ever believed he would make a nice trotter, but I never lost faith in him,” Chin said. The stipes had no need for concern at Alexandra Park last Friday night when Djokovic notched up his eighth victory when easily winning the $14,000 Kevin Wehipehana Memorial for C3 to C6 trotters. He was the second favourite of seven and paid $5.60 to win. “He felt as good as he ever has. I don’t think a Rowe Cup start is out of the question so long as he keeps improving. He’s a completely different horse now that he’s five. He used to be a nutter and break all the time. “But he’s been off the unruly mark for a couple of seasons now and he’s finally got his mind around trotting and what it’s all about. Sundons seem to always take a while to get settled and this fella was certainly know exception,” said Chin, who owns, bred and drove the bay gelding. Unlike years gone by Chin had Djokovic flying from his two draw and they led for the remainder of the 2700m stand stopping the clock in 3:30.8 (mile rate 2:05.6) with final 800m and 400m sprints of 58.8 and 30 even. They won by three quarters of a length and one-and-a-half lengths to spare over place-getters Gintaras (Richard Brosnan) and Princess Mackendon (Michelle Wallis). “He used to beat himself because his brain wasn’t in tune with racing, but he travelled super on Friday. He was always travelling well in front. I hardly moved the stick. He cruised it and seems to be getting stronger with each race,” Chin said, The Tamahere horseman said he only had Djokovic and Tereskova racing at present. “I’ll keep on racing Djokovic until late July or early August and then I’ll spell him and bring him back for Christmas racing. “I’ve got a couple of yearlings in work so when they are ready I’ll probably retire or on-sell him. I haven’t got a lot of spare time to work too many, so when the youngsters come through I’ll concentrate on them,” he said. The 72-year-old is a workaholic. “I've had 40-plus years of 18-hour days, but I wouldn't have it any other way. I love my job and have always been very passionate about horses,” he said. Chin is an anaesthetist, pain management specialist, managing director Anglesea Procedure Centre, and medical director at Anglesea Medical Properties in Hamilton. He works his horses at 5am and is usually cleaned up by 7.30am. “Then after work I feed up and shoe them. My wife Robyn says I’m a bit of a workaholic but I’ve always loved harness racing from a very early age. It has played a big part in my life,” he said. “Friday’s win was especially satisfying after Djokovic showed nothing early on,” he added. So Is Djokovic right up there with the best horses he has had? “No I don’t think so. Fayanni was a special horse and probably my best. She was so honest. She won 10 races and more than $200,000. “She has left a Muscles Yankee filly named Annaskova. That was her first foal and I’m hopeful she can do a good job,” Chin said. By Duane Ranger

Alexandra Park says temperatures may be falling but consumer confidence is up if you base it on the numbers buying tickets for their annual mid-winter Christmas parties set over four consecutive Friday harness racing nights - 24 June and 1, 8 and 15 July. Alexandra Park Sales & Marketing Manager Joel Reichardt says this year’s mid-winter Christmas parties are selling better than ever – helped by a comprehensive marketing campaign and greater numbers enthusiastically buying tickets to secure a fun night out with friends, family and colleagues. The mid-winter Christmas party packages start from just $65 per person, with parties set to be hosted in the Top of the Park, Tasman and Rutherford rooms. “We’re really blown away with how well they’ve been selling. For some nights we only have a couple of tables left in a couple of the rooms. Where we’ve probably got the most availability is on Friday, 1 July,” he says. “So we want to get the message out. 1 July. What a great date! It’s the start of a new financial year for many and it’s exactly half way through the calendar year. With six months down and only six months left of 2016, it’s the perfect night to celebrate.” Mr Reichardt says those who manage to reserve their spot will enjoy generous hospitality, a beautifully themed room, plenty of warm festive treats, great harness racing action, and live entertainment afterwards.” “The dining packages are exceptional with our delicious all-you-can-eat carveries and buffets. What’s more there’s plenty of atmosphere with some prime viewing spots still on offer to sit back and watch some exciting racing under lights.” For further information on its mid-winter Christmas packages visit For all bookings please contact Gabby Garton-Voice on (09) 631-1165 or email While on Friday, 26 August, Thai Night will be back at Alexandra Park. Enjoy an all-you-can-eat Thai Buffet, 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. General admission for the public into Alexandra Park as well as parking remain free and race-books are also complimentary.

Harness Racing Trainer Robert Dunn, who trains in an unofficial partnership with his son John, had 103 wins for the season going into last night’s Forbury Park meeting, 17 behind the Mark Purdon-Natalie Rasmussen stable. Just a week ago the gap was much bigger, but the Dunns had a nine-win week and now Robert says the premiership is still possible. “We basically have three bases going,” he told the Herald. “We have six horses based near Forbury Park, where they race almost every week until the end of the season. “We have a nice team up here in Auckland and a good Canterbury team, which is about to be boosted by the return of Franco Christiano, who we think is the bee’s knees. “Before last week I thought we couldn’t catch them but if we can have another big week before the end of the month we have a shot going into July.”
 Dunn’s hopes of a first premiership win should be boosted by the Purdon-Rasmussen stable powering down to virtually only their Breeders Crown horses after Addington tonight. “We will have the Breeders Crown horses and maybe two others going over the winter,” Purdon confirmed. So Dunn is doing his math. “Mark and Nat will probably win most of the Breeders Crown heats here they contest, although we have Franco Christiano against Heaven Rocks so that will be no gimme for them,” says Dunn. “So they could easily end up on 125 or 126 for the season. That would mean we need to train at least 22 more, maybe even 25 but it is not impossible.”
 Ironically, Dunn’s best winning chance at Alexandra Park tonight is Bevan’s Cullen, who was trained by the All Stars until two starts ago. “He can definitely win again, while Natural and Cherry Bay are racing well and will win again over the winter. “But the one who has really improved is Formula One, who won’t start race this week but can win again soon.”
 Any success at Alexandra Park tonight for Dunn could be cancelled out by G I Joe (race six) and Augusta (race nine) for Purdon-Rasmussen at Addington tonight. While the premiership battle heats up of more immediate interest to punters is the $75,000 jackpot at Alexandra Park tonight. It starts early on race four and brings together three trot races, two paces for grass track performers and a form-packed 2200m for the fillies and mares. There aren’t many, if any, anchors so percentage betting looks the way to go as a small divvy is unlikely. Meanwhile, unbeaten New Zealand pacer Our Waikiki Beach is looking increasingly unlikely to get a start in his Breeders Challenge semi final at Menangle tomorrow night, meaning he will miss the A$150,000 final on Sunday week. Our Waikiki Beach’s connections missed the nomination time by six minutes on Tuesday, forcing him to last in the rankings and being an emergency in the semis. No rivals have been scratched yet. Purdon said no decision will be made on where the glamour colt goes next until Sunday at the earliest. Michael Guerin

Some of New Zealand’s top harness racing trainers have always believed in Jack MacKinnon and now the recently turned 21-year-old is starting to repay their faith in them. When MacKinnon was 17 master Canterbury trainer Paul Nairn entrusted the then Ponsonby teenager with some of his team in the North Island. Since then MacKinnon has also worked for several horsemen and women including Tim Vince, Michelle Wallis & Bernie Hackett, but in 2015 he started to impress top New Zealand trainer, Robert Dunn. “Jack worked part-time for me for about a year while he worked for his father (Jamie) in his Auckland ‘Olympic Swiss Watches’ business. “He came to me very experienced considering he was just 19 or 20. Then in February we took him on full-time in Pukekohe. He gets on well with a lot of my horses and he is a very capable horseman who came to me with a very impressive CV,” Dunn said. “If Paul Nairn can put his faith in him as a teenager, then that’s good enough for me,” Dunn said. Nairn also had high praise for MacKinnon. "Jack has helped me out when I come north and he is a smart young guy and very conscientious. I’ve always believed in his horsemanship, he has a bright future in the game," Nairn said. Going into Friday’s (June 17) meeting at Alexandra Park, MacKinnon was the leading junior driver at ‘Northern Headquarters’. He put that down to experience and a better quality of horse he is now driving. “I really want to win the Alexandra Park premiership. It was my goal last year and I finished in the top five. Coming to Robert’s was one of the best decision’s I’ve ever made. “My driving has improved I think because Robert has a large team and therefore I can get better quality drives. I’m learning all the time. Robert is one of New Zealand’s best trainers. The statistics will tell you that,” MacKinnon said. This was clearly evident last Friday night when MacKinnon drove the Dunn trained Cherry Bay to her first win in four starts. “He gets on very good with that filly and got the best out of her last week. He also had a good rapport with Whitney. He’s a very good wee driver and we have yet to see the best of him. “I’m just happy we are able to provide him with the next stepping stone in his driving career,” Dunn said. Both of MacKinnon’s parents were delighted with the way a city boy was making it in a predominantly rural sport. “It’s not easy for him because he wasn’t born into a prominent harness racing family. But now he’s working for Robert Dunn and he’s a very good friend of mine and he is an exceptional trainer. That can only be good for his career,” said Dad, Jamie. MacKinnon’s mother was equally proud. “I am one of Jacks biggest supporters. He has the whole family backing him and we are absolutely thrilled with his success. His dedication and hard work is paying off and it's great to see his name out there amongst the best of the best,” his Mum, Gayleen said. Auckland-born and Mt Albert Grammar educated MacKinnon is currently experiencing his most successful season in the sulky with nine wins – six of them at Alexandra Park. All up he’s saluted the judge 21 times since 2013. He’s also trained three winners since 2014, including two this season – Kneed The Dough at Thames in January and Any Old Way at Alexandra Park in August. “I just want to keep turning over the winners so other owners and trainers realise I can drive a bit. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do. I am living the dream and am delighted to be working in one of New Zealand’s biggest and most successful stables,” the Northern 2014 Primary ITO Cadet of the Year said. MacKinnon trained his first winner when Ruby Castleton won at Tauranga on January 26, 2014. That came 19 months after MacKinnon won his first race in the sulky behind his mate David Branch’s then 6-year-old pacer, All About Speed (June 11, 2012). MacKinnon, a former star in the Kidz Kartz ranks, paid a tribute to those who taught him during those mini-pony days. "If it wasn't for Kidz Kartz and the people who educated me on how to drive I wouldn't be where I am today. I have always wanted to be a driver and Kidz Kartz made my dream come true," MacKinnon said. “I also want to thank every owner and trainer who has put their faith in me since then,” he added. There have been 19 junior drivers who have lined up at ‘The Park’ this season. The TOP FIVE Junior Drivers at Alexandra Park (as at June 16) are: Junior Driver Starts Wins Seconds Thirds UDR Jack MacKinnon 84 6 14 7 0.1918 Tony Cameron  27 5 1 2 0.2305 Sean Grayling  26 5 1 5 0.2778 Kyle Marshall  53 5 2 7 0.1593 Andre Poutama  39 4 2 1 0.1396 Last season's TOP 5 Juniors at Alexandra Park Junior Driver Starts Wins Seconds Thirds UDR Tony Cameron 41 6 7 6 0.29 Michael Blakemore  27 4 5 4 0.3004 Kim Butt  9 4 0 2 0.5185 Robbie Close  11 4 2 2 0.5253 Jack MacKinnon  59 4 8 5 0.1714

Colliers International’s latest market analysis of who’s buying apartments at the home of harness racing in Auckland,  Alexandra Park shows increasing numbers of local Auckland families and younger people now buying into Auckland’s most significant urban village development - currently under construction on Green Lane West. “In the past apartment living hasn’t really been associated with the leafy suburbs and Auckland families, but that’s all changing and our development and latest buyer statistics prove it,” says chief executive of Alexandra Park Dominique Dowding She says while baby-boomers and empty nesters dominated the buyer’ statistics for stage one of the development, 41% of buyers in stage two are younger than 45 years old. The overall owner-occupier numbers remain high, with only about a quarter of apartment buyers labelling themselves investors. Professional couples make up 34% of the stage two buyers, while young and mature families make up 26%. In just over 12 months unconditional sales of Alexandra Park’s high-end apartments have totalled over $220m in what is one of the biggest brownfield developments in Auckland. Over 80% of apartments for both stages have been sold and beneath the apartments will include a gourmet grocer, cafes, restaurants and boutique retail. Alexandra Park’s stage two will include two integrated buildings dubbed Sightline Green and High Street with 128 one-to-three-bedroom apartments. Australasian construction company Ganellen recently started construction on stage two. While Canam Construction Limited is building stage one which includes 118 apartments. “What these statistics show us is yes we are attracting empty-nesters but we’re also increasingly attracting local families and younger people all seeking a better lifestyle which suits their needs. They are drawn to the apartments’ freehold status, their central location, quality construction and design, the cleverly master-planned village environment and atmosphere, and having everything at their doorstep. “Empty nesters want a real sense of community in a safe and secure environment. They like the fact that the apartments will be low maintenance and can be easily locked up and left to visit family and travel. Whereas younger people and families are busy, so buying here enables them to maximise their time and of course the double grammar zone status is also a big draw card here in Epsom.” Ms Dowding says regardless of age and stage, the buyer statistics show most stage one buyers are already living within five kilometres of Alexandra Park. However, as word has spread about the Alexandra Park development many stage two buyers are currently living slightly further out. “Another aspect of the project is that young people are attracted to the environmental aspects and advantages on offer, including delivering a Smart Energy system and the installation of LED lights meaning energy bill savings. They love the fact that we’re going to extreme lengths when it comes to the urban design and open spaces and in fact are leading other developments in that regard. What’s more no other can boast having Cornwall Park across the road. “Rest assured younger buyers are not buying on a whim. They take their time and do their due diligence. While apartments may offer a more affordable entry point compared to many standalone properties, forecast capital gain is also something they closely assess,” she says. With Auckland apartments building consents well up and so many residential developments underway, Ms Dowding says competition is not hurting. Rather she says all the Auckland-wide apartment activity is only adding choice and fuelling interest.  Celebrated Vancouver urban design expert Joe Hruda is overseeing the transformation at Alexandra Park. While Auckland’s award-winning RTA Studio is the lead architect and N-Compass the project managers. The first residents are set to move in next year and in total about 750 people will live alongside the live trotting track in the one, two and three bedroom apartments which are priced from $675,000. The development also includes terraced houses with rooftop gardens. While just three large penthouses, with expansive Auckland views, remain for sale. 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.

It isn’t easy solo-training from remote parts of New Zealand against horses who have won a lot more races than your own, but Thames conditioner Paul Springall knows if he wants to carry training on he is left with no other option. The only horse he has in work – Sheza Springfield, will take on the tighter assessed pacers in the feature event at the Harness Racing Waikato meeting at Cambridge Raceway on Sunday. Sheza Springfield will start from barrier four in the 10-strong $7,000 Four-Year-Old Emerald Winner Field Marshall Mobile in the C2 to C5 (with conditions) Pace. “It’s not easy bowling around the track on your own here in Thames and that’s why Nicky Chilcott will race her for her next few starts. “It’s also not easy taking on horses who have won seven (Major Change and Thomas McBride) and eight (Princess Kate) races. My girl has only won four races, and she’s also up against Max Phactor who set a track record recently. “It’s not going to be easy, and she can run in the money, but what alternative do we have? I’m sure Nicky will get the best out of her on Sunday,” Springall said. The 69-year-old trainer is experiencing his best season yet thanks to the three wins won this year by the only horse he works. Sheza Springfield won at Manawatu in April, Cambridge Raceway on May 20 and then Alexandra Park last Friday (June 3). “Not many trainers win two of their last three races so I must be doing something right, but I feel now is the time for Nicky to get her more hardened. “She’s four now and done all of her growing, so I’ll probably line her up again next season before I think about the broodmare’s paddock with her,” Springall said. The daughter of Attorney General and the un-raced Soky’s Atom mare Kandy Gloss, has now won four of her 28 starts and three from 19 this season. She paid $8.80 when winning in 2:44.7 (mile rate 2:00.4) in the hands of Chilcott last week. Sunday’s race is also a 2200m mobile - a distance which has seen the brown mare win three times. She’s also two of her 14 starts at Cambridge. “Nicky has been a great help and has driven the mare well. It’s going to be tough on Sunday. Max Phactor, Princess Kate and Thomas McBride look the toughest for my mare to beat,” said Springall, who who also owns Sheza Springfield. Springall, who lives in the southwestern Coromandel Peninsula town, is a Thames Harness Racing committee member, and has won six races and placed 16 times, since he took out his trainer's licence in 2008. When HRNZ contacted him he was sitting in a barber’s chair in Thames. Duane Ranger

Maybe there is one last plot twist in the harness racing national trainers’ premiership after all. A hat-trick of wins at Forbury Park on Thursday night set the ball rolling for the weekend that could make or break Robert Dunn’s chances of winning the national title. Still 23 wins behind the Purdon/Rasmussen stable, Dunn has a bit of ground to make up - but has the luxury of a strong and plentiful winter racing team which will take him deep into July. The All Stars on the other hand are expected to start to slow their operation down, but with a number of Breeders Crown heats to be contested as well as the odd winter racing proposition they will still be out and about. Dunn made the call to push for the premiership earlier in the year when things were close. He’s had to watch as his stable ran a string of unlucky placings over the last month while the All Stars have kicked right into gear. But last night’s treble, including the first driving win for Craig Smith, might have been the boost needed to get things moving and with 14 more chances over the course of the weekend - especially considering one venue is Nelson could really set things alight. The stable has eight runners engaged on the opening day of the Nelson Harness Racing Club’s Winter meeting and there are a number of strong winning chances amongst them. Those who race today at Nelson will also race there again on Sunday giving the stable two bites of the cherry. Leading the charge is promising 3-year-old, Letspendanitetogetha. The Washington VC gelding, who has placed behind; GI Joe, Major Ben and Mr Mojito in his last three starts gets the coveted ace barrier draw against a tidy field of pacers and will give his owners; Reg Storer and Terry McDonald a great shot at the second win of his career. Yukon Cloud, who was a very handy runner-up behind Anny Ivy when last produced also has the one marble and will be hard to beat from there for Ross Houghton. An in-form Highview Freddy and the consistent Joey Maguire look like other leading chances of success for the barn at Richmond Park. In Auckland, five runners will do business - spearheaded by talented trotter, Natural and Bevan’s Cullen was very good last week at Alexandra Park. Matt Markham

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