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Seven days after he drove his first winner from his first Alexandra Park start, harness racing driver Andrew Fitzgerald now has his eyes firmly set on his second training victory on his home track at Addington Raceway this Friday. The 21-year-old Cantabrian drove the Lew Driver trained Smackwater Jack to win the $14,791 Rosslands R40 to R55 Junior Driver's Pace at Northern headquarters. They got up by a head and were the $20 eighth favorite in the 13-horse field. That victory came a couple of years after Fitzgerald reined his first winner behind the Peter Robertson trained Real Life Hero, who paid a whopping $84.40 to win at Rangiora on February 26, 2015. His only other winner came behind his former boss's (Brent White's) gelding, Extreme Guest, who paid $17.40 at Phar Lap raceway on January 6 this year. "It was a great feeling winning first up at Alexandra Park. I really enjoyed driving up there and I got to meet a lot of new people which was part of the reason I made the trip. I’ll look to head up there a bit more especially with Regan Cotter (Racing Manager @ Alexandra Park) making use of junior concessions and holding plenty of junior races. Fitzgerald is now looking to build on a successful start to his syndication path when Black Art lines up in the Junior Driver’s race at Addington on Friday night. St Andrews College educated Fitzgerald, who is an independent contractor at Harness Racing New Zealand, recently took out his trainer’s license and has trained one winner. That was when John Dunn drove Black Art to victory in an up to R51 rated pace at Addington Raceway on August 18, just gone. It gave instant success to the newly formed Off N Racing Syndicate. “Black Art has put in four massive runs since and is set to be right in the fight on Friday. He turned up fit and ready to go when we brought him off Tim Trathen, and I think he’s thrived on a change of environment and being on the beach.” “His win first-up didn't’t come as too much of a surprise as he had only been beaten a nose a few starts before that for Tim, and his work at home is really good so I was quietly confident he could win,” Fitzgerald said. “I have some flexibility with my job so I have the time to train one in the mornings, but eventually the busier I get and the more I move into the administration side of the industry I will probably have to give up the training and driving. But at the moment the owners are very supportive of me having a crack to drive a winner that I train,” he added. He said he got his white and black colours made up just to get his brand out there. “They had some instant success when Living Glory won at Addington a few months back so hopefully people are starting to associate the brand with me and my syndicates. “Syndication is the way our industry is going. You only have to look at the Australia thoroughbreds to see Syndicates make up a huge part of their ownerships. “Owning a horse by yourself isn’t possible for the mums, dads and youth people of NZ. Syndication opens up horse ownership to a much larger percentage of the horse population,” said Fitzgerald. He said Stephen Hunt of Australia was his major supporter early on. “I’ve actually only met Stephen once at the Miracle Mile, but he showed interest through Twitter one day and organised a group of owners in Australia to take a major share in Extreme Guest and then again when I found Black Art. Without his support it would not have got off the ground. “There has been interest in Black Art from Australia so no doubt he will end up over there, either for new owners or we may send him ourselves which will be great as Stephen and his group will be able to see them race in person,” Fitzgerald said. So who is Andrew Fitzgerald, who started out in the game helping out his uncle Wayne Higgs during the school holidays? Here are a few facts: Born and raised: Christchurch Achievements outside of racing - World Pipeband Champion with the St Andrew’s College Juvenile Pipeband in Glasgow Scotland in 2013. - Left school and worked for Christchurch trainer, Peter Robertson. - Headed over to David Aiken’s in Melbourne in 2015 for a 3 month stint, drove a winner, Yankee Sister at Ballarat. - After returning from Australia, Andrew did some odd jobs before linking up with Rosedale Farm, run by Ken and Anne Marie Spicer for the 2016 Yearling Sales. “Yearling prep and sales was another part of the industry I hadn’t had anything to do with before and the sales gave me the chance to make a lot of contacts from around NZ/Aus. “After the yearling sales Andrew also worked for three months at Harnesslink. “You could say I was experiencing the industry from every angle, but I probably was not ready nor had the experience to be successful in that game at a young age” “Shortly after Brent White rung needing a worker for a month as one of his workers had been injured. I went for a month and ended up staying for seven months” “Brent was really good to work for, he is a great trainer and whenever he lines one up it is ready to win. I still ring Whitey for tips or advice and him and his partner Alanna helped me a lot when I worked for them and they continue to even now. “When I was at Brent’s I had been doing a bit of syndication and form for races and really enjoyed it and I wanted to pursue it as a full time gig. “I took a proposal to HRNZ to hopefully drive turnover and hopefully attract young people to the races and to be part of the industry. The HRNZ board liked it and the NZ Racing board with their recently funding announcements has put their support behind the youth of all racing codes with substantial funding which really helps get some of the ideas of the Youth council off the ground,” Fitzgerald said. He is also part of the HRNZ Youth Council which includes David Branch, Regan Cotter, and Stevie Golding as well as a range of others. “It’s a great group of people and I’m pretty excited about some of the ideas that have come out of it which will be rolling out soon. We have been going around trying to talk to as many young people and get their thoughts on what we need to do to attract their friends to the races.” “None of my school friends have any interest in racing. They see it as an older persons sport and that disappoints me because as an industry we can offer so much more than a night drinking in town can. It was a common theme around the table and hopefully we can sit down in the years to come and be able to say that we have made a difference. “I live and breathe the industry and I have probably upset some people along the road with my opinions, but I don’t set out to do that. I’ve got some goals that some people would say are too ambitious but I don’t mind aiming for the top and failing,” he said. by Duane Ranger   

Hamish Hunter became the first Southland based Harness Racing trainer to join the elite 500 club when I Try won at Forbury Park last night (Thursday 23rd). I Try is owned by  Hunter and loyal clients of the stable The What Ever Syndicate. Together, they also own the stable's biggest winner, Franco Ledger. I Try is a Mach Three four year old. Tonight he raced three back on the rails and found room in the straight to get up and nab Pembrook Harry.  "It was pretty good for a middle of the road trainer as I describe myself. I was aware I was getting close as my family informed me," said Hunter.  Hamish Hunters best season was in 2014 when star pacer Franco Ledger was a leading stake earner. That season he racked up 33 wins from 339 starters and $347,376 in stakes. "He's back in work (Franco Ledger). He's a 100 percent sound and all going well we'll have one more go at the cup. It's probably be his last chance."  In 1989 he recorded his best UDR ranking when he started horses 174 times for 23 wins, 18 seconds and 14 thirds for a UDR .2165. Horses racing that season included Betonim, Benachie Lad and Admiral Luca. He's won the Southland trainers premiership 6 times; 1985, 1986, 2007 (jointly with Brendon McLellan and Kirk Larsen), 2008 (jointly with Murray Brown), 2011 and 2014. Out of his 500 training successes he's driven 374 himself. His first winner was Karen's Pride at Waikouaiti in October 1976. He won five races on the mare between October and June of that season. In the following two season's he had the services of half brothers Good Too and Model Hardcraft. Model Hardcraft won his first three races as a two year old including the 1979 New Zealand Kindergarten Stakes at Wyndham. Good Too won eight races for Hunter. Hunter has trained three winners in one day three times; Forbury Park October 1984 (Heiden, Sissy Bogart and Tapado Time), Invercargill September 2001 (Catalina Dreaming, Galleons Treasure and Grenadier) and Northern Southland October 2005 (Grenadier, Rockie's Dream and Mainstay).  Of all the Southern Harness feature races it's the Wairio Cup that he's won the most: Josephine Bret (1984), Yandoon (1992), Grenadier (2004), Franco Ledger (2013) and Canardly Lover (2014).  List of major winners: Franco Ledger (25 wins) Malaz (15 wins)  Nursemaid (14 wins) Devil May Care (11 wins) Canardly Lover (10 wins) Good Too  (8 wins) Grenadier (8 wins)  Cornell (8 wins) Betonim (8 wins) Model Hardcraft (7 wins) Holmezy (7 wins) Galleons Treasure (7 wins) Southern Boy (6 wins) Christian Ruler (6 wins) Stand Asquire (6 wins) Galleons Cheer ( 5 wins from just nine starts) Nordette (5 wins) Blueberry Hill (5 wins)  Benachie Lad (5 wins)  Admiral Luca (5 wins)  Congratulations Hamish - great effort. Meanwhile, Dexter Dunn got win number 199 for the season behind Lightning Mach for trainer Cran Dalgety. Four Starzzz Shiraz won heat 4 of the Claimers series for new trainer Brian Norman & driver Blair Orange, and Run To Hide was claimed by Canterbury Junior Driver Andrew Fitzgerald. Bruce Stewart - Southland Harness.

The rain kept coming and so did the winners for Kaiapoi based Harness Racing Driver/Trainer Gavin Smith. For the past few days Smith has watched his good mates Robert and John Dunn's team dominate. The Dunn's picked up trebles at Forbury on Thursday, Nelson on Friday and Auckland on Friday night. Not to be out done, Smith also picked up a double on the first day of Nelson Harness Racing Club's annual two day winter meeting with his own runner Alison Stokke and the Bruce Hutton trained Ideal Arden. And by the end on of racing on Sunday, there was only one person people on course were talking about, and that was Smith. After dominating the 9 card meeting with 4 driving win's which included 2 training wins. Alison Stokke, a 3yo Bettor's Delight filly, put the writing on the wall for Friday's maiden victory with a strong 2nd at Ashburton 5 days earlier. Making a flying from the tapes, Smith had the filly who is owned by his wife Sara and J Chin, out front and running along nicely before handing up to Sam Ottley and 2nd favourite Glenferrie Classic with 1400m to run. It all nearly turned to disaster though when Glenferrie Classic galloped in front, causing Alison Stokke to break for several strides before Smith was able to get her back down into a pace. With the galloper safely negotiated, Gavin asked his charge for a full effort and cleared out to win by 1 ½ lengths over Bobby M (Robbie Close) and Cullen's Bardon (Stephen McNally). Although it was the drives on Ideal Arden in the Nelson Winter Cup Prelude and Cup that had most people impressed. Using the American Ideal gelding's stand start speed to lead out on both occasions, Smith then handed up to the Robert Dunn trained Highview Freddy, who is well known as a front runner. From there on it was just a matter of Smith extracting the Bruce Hutton trained 6yo to either the inside or the outside of the leading and zipping away. Ideal Arden was the only runner to record a win on both days of the meeting. Smith started off his Sunday morning with a well deserved win aboard It's How You Use It who is trained by former stable employee Lawrence McCormick. The 5yo mare by Diedre Don recorded her maiden victory at start number 18 for owners, J T Morrison, A J Morrison, M J Gallagher, A Palmer, Mrs J E Lowe and Lawrence himself. Smith also recorded wins with pacer Melanie Ohara, who galloped on the first day but thanks to a change in bit was a strong maiden winner. While He's Like The Wind put up a improved performance after galloping late on day one to record win number three of his career. Andrew Fitzgerald

Harness Racing Trainer Cran Dalgety has a big chance to pick up another Nelson Pine Industries Nelson Winter Cup with his runner Fifth Edition. The 6yo Mach Three gelding won the 2014 edition and is having just his 3rd run back from close to 18 months off the race track. Starting off the back mark of 40m in the prelude on Friday, Fifth Edition made a quick beginning for driver Dexter Dunn and had soon caught up with the pack. Dunn made a smart move to sneak up the pegs with a lap to run, finding himself four back coming to the 800, he was able to push his way out to a spot 3 wide with cover. angled to the outside of the track at the top of the straight, Fifth Edition only went down by ½ a neck to eventual winner Ideal Arden. The 3000m trip today wouldn't hold any concerns for the Dalgety trained gelding, and even off his 40m back mark, he looks a massive chance to go one better. Dalgety rates his runners on this website each week and said the following about Fifth Edition. “I was rapt with him the first day. It was a big run off 40m behind over 2400m and he's backed up good in the past. He won his race a couple of years ago so we're looking to fulfill again” First day winner Joey Maguire is a new edition to the cup field and has drawn well in barrier 2 for co owner and driver Ross Houghton. He was a dominate winner of a C2 event on Friday and also finished 2nd in last year's cup, so the distance won't affect the Robert Dunn trained gelding. While the Greg & Nina Hope trained Bettor Buy It, who started a short price in the prelude will be better for his first up run. Andrew Fitzgerald

Sound the alarm. Harness Racing Champion Lennytheshark is back. Resuming in the Group 3 Tabcorp Golden Mile at Tabcorp Park Menangle tonight for trainer David Aiken and regular driver Chris Alford, the reining TABtouch inter Dominion champion was sensational in his first up run from a spell. Starting from barrier 10, Alford was forced to park outside speedster Bettor Bet Black who burned out of the gate in 26.4. Sitting in the death set, Alford controlled the tempo with the 2nd quarter being cut out in 30.5. Darren McCall starting to up the tempo with 800 to run and was obviously hoping that with Lenny missing a trial and working early, that he would be able to outstay his opponent with a third quarter in 28.7. But that was put to bed when Lenny and Alford powered on past at the 200m mark to finish off with a sizzling 26.6 last quarter. The overall time was 1.52.2 and Lennytheshark looks well on his way to victory in the Len Smith Mile before heading for another spell to prepare for this years running of the TABtouch inter Dominion at Gloucester Park. Andrew Fitzgerald

Harness Racing Driver Sam Ottley is enjoying the best week of her career at the moment. After her win with Rocker Band in the 4yo Diamond on Jewels day last Saturday, Ottley hasn't looked back and went on to record a treble at today's Nelson Harness Racing Club's meeting. It was three wins in the space of four races for the Woodend based reins women, which included a double for her employer Mark Jones. Although it all started with the upset of the day in Race 4, when Ottley reined home Feel Real for Kaiapoi trainer Glenn Scott paying a whopping $44.40 and $7.00. With the favourite galloping early, Sam had the 3yo Real Desire filly straight into the trail, behind the Jones driven, Southbrook. From there on it was just a small matter of having to get past Southbrook and first starter Regal Grin, who was ultra brave on debut for Ken Barron and the goHarness Buy, Race and Sell Syndicate. In the next it was Kowhai Monarch who got the chocolates for Ottley and Jones. The 4yo gelding by Monarchy is owned by J G & Mrs D J Hartnell and recorded his 3rd career victory when winning by 1 ¾ lengths over Clifden Clowers (John Morrison) and ¾ lengths to Yankee Commando (Murray Edmonds) in 3rd. Ottley left the best for last with her drive on Croft Bay, who was drawn awkwardly on the back row. Sitting near last with a lap to run, Ottley was off and gone to sit parked before being able to out toughen the rest of the field and recording a neck victory over Ardent Lustre (Blair Orange). All three runners will back up tomorrow for the 2nd day of the meeting, with Kowhai Monarch looking Sam's best chance to double up. Andrew Fitzgerald

Canterbury Harness Racing participants are starting to talk. *Can we have faith in the Racing Integrity Unit? *Will a racecourse investigator turn up on my home doorstep? Those are just some of the questions being asked by drivers, stable hands and trainers. Those with little faith in the RIU will now have almost none, after it was revealed that Racing Investigator Ms Kylie Williams turned up on Woodend based driver/trainer Bob Butt's door step and demanded that Butt travel to the Rangiora Racetrack to take a urine and saliva test for prohibitive substances. That was after Butt had called in sick after being struck down with illness, meaning he was unable to take up his drive on Easy Rider at Rangiora. Easy Rider is trained by his parents, David and Catherine Butt at their Woodend training establishment. With the Racing Investigator testing a large range of drivers and stable hands at the Rangiora meeting, and Butt calling in sick, it appears as though they thought Butt had been tipped off and had called in sick to dodge being tested. After arriving at the Woodend stables and repeatedly knocking on the door, the Racing Investigator was unable to raise Butt from a deep sleep, so continued to walk around the Butt's training centre until they found another license holder in Robbie Close, who works for Mark Jones. Jones lease's a section of the Butt's establishment. With the Racing Investigator demanding that Close enter the household and wake Butt up, they then requested that Butt travel to the Rangiora Course to undergo a drug test. With Butt refusing to leave his home due to his obvious illness, Racing Investigator Ms Kylie Williams then arranged for the testing equipment to be transported to Butt's house in Woodend. "I'm not a big fan of them coming to home to do it because I was just sick and only had one drive so didn't bother going. "But I also know why they test for it. So I'm moving on." said Butt, when spoken to by the NZ Herald. With the Racing Investigator also wanting samples from Junior Driver Matthew Anderson, he was forced to travel from his Rolleston base to Woodend after already having left the racecourse after his driving engagement in Race 5. It took over a hour to get the two tests they were after, which both returned negative readings for drugs and alcohol. What were they looking for? David and Catherine Butt were reportedly upset by the events and wrote a letter to RIU general manager Mike Godber and was talked about at a recent HRNZ board meeting last week. The RIU sent Butt a letter yesterday outlining that legal opinion. When spoken to by Michael Guerin from the NZ Herald - RIU's Chief Investigator Neil Grimstone had the following to say:  "When Mr Butt didn't attend the meeting, and only pulled out after it may have become obvious there was testing going on, that may have raised some suspicions," "But his test showed nothing irregular and he has no case to answer, we want to be very clear about that. "We are not looking to catch people inside the racing industry who want to drink, even if they choose to do so to excess. "We are about providing a safe environment at race and trials meetings and that can extend to all licenced racing people, but most importantly trainers and drivers. "But this is not the start of some random, out of race or trials day testing of everybody in the racing industry for alcohol or drugs. "Obviously drugs are illegal but alcohol isn't and what racing people do, within limits of course, away from race and trials days is their business." Other questions that need to be answered: How can Peter Lamb be a “Racing Investigator, Stipendiary Steward and a Starter? Take a look at our recent article on the conflict of interest... Why aren't the other three Racing Investigator's doing their jobs and testing for alcohol and drugs in their areas? Why can't it become policy that each driver must sign in when they arrive on course and while they are doing that, then process to do a alcohol test? Would this not be the best way to show the public that our drivers are free of any alcohol prior to their driving engagements. Harnesslink Media

It was business as usual for Team Dunn at the Nelson Harness Racing Meeting today. Backing up from a treble at last nights Forbury Park Trotting Meeting, the Dunn team started their late season charge towards closing the premiership gap between themselves and the All Stars team. Sitting on 97 wins coming into todays meeting, that was soon 98 when maiden trotter Bourbon And Dry won the first of the day. Purchased at the late Carl Middleton's dispersal sale by the Neumann family, Bourbon And Dry was having his 2nd run from a spell when he beat 40 start maiden South Coaster, trained by Brad Mowbray at Yaldhurst, was will be forced to come back on Sunday to try and break his maiden status. Fast forward to race 6 and smart 3yo pacer Letspendanighttogetha was a dominate winner and brought up win number 99 for the season for trainer Robert Dunn and also win 99 for driver John Dunn. Away well from barrier one, the Washington VC gelding was shuffled back along the fence, before storming up the passing lane to win by ½ length to a super brave Ultimate Fella in 2nd. It took until the last race in the day for Team Dunn to bring up season win 100 and what a way to do it. Driver Ross Houghton, who is John Dunn's right hand man at their Woodend operation, was successful on Joey Maguire who he also part owns. It was a masterful drive by Houghton, who also brought up his 50th Career driving win, to find the front early on after drawing badly on the second row. After being allowed to dictate the race in front, Ross was off and gone at the top of the straight with 29.2 final quarter on a slushy Nelson track. Houghton was obviously stoked with the win, shown by his large salute to the crowd as he went over the line. Todays treble closed the gap in the premiership down to just 20 wins with a little over 6 weeks left to go in the season. John will look to pick up his 100th Season driving win on Sunday. Bourban And Dry Letspendanighttogetha Joey Maguire Andrew Fitzgerald

Any change to the current Harness Jewels format has been shut down by Harness Racing New Zealand (HRNZ) CEO Edward Rennell. As reported by Stuff's Matt Kermeen, Rennell was quick to make it clear that the mile starts and standard barrier draws were to remain, although a debrief will be held by HRNZ in the coming weeks. Many trainers and drivers have called for the distance to be moved from 1609m to 1700m to increase the run into the first bend at both, Ashburton and Cambridge. Cran Dalgety, who was successful with Donegal Bettergretch on the weekend, was a firm backer of the change in distance to allow those drawn wider, more distance to cross before booming into the first bend. An extra 91m run in to the first bend could make all the difference for those that draw the outside of the front row, or even those that draw on the back row. It's no secret that draws are a major factor in any group race, but especially for the two tracks we hold the Jewels on, that extra run in could be the difference for some runners. Preferential barrier draws, as well as not allowing Group 1 winners were other suggestions thrown around, but the Jewels is supposed to be the day where the stars of each age group clash. Both would take away from the day. Thanks to the abandonment of several meetings in Australia on Saturday, all nine races were shown on Sky 1 in Australia. While turnover numbers are yet to be known, there is no doubt that being able to showcase our top product on Sky 1 will have helped turn over, and helped the overall image of New Zealand Harness Racing in Australia. While there were complaints from some people about the late notification of the change in race times, this was a small price to pay, compared to the exposure for our industry. Cambridge Raceway and all the organizers should be congratulated for a smoothly run day and a outstanding night in the Club House. Having that venue available to gather a wide range of racing people from the lower South Island to Auckland is defiantly the highlight of the Cambridge Jewels. Personally, this years Jewels was the best Jewels event I have been to and I can't wait to go back. Andrew Fitzgerald.

What a day for champion harness racing sire Bettor's Delight, not only has he sired the winner of three pacing jewels winners, he is also the sire of Donegal Bettorgretch who was victorious in the Harness Jewels $100,000 Group 1 Sovereignty 3YO Ruby Trot. “Even with the favourite galloping, I still felt this fella was travelling better than him and would have won anyway. It's a great result for Murray Boyd and Cran.” said Dexter Dunn. Those comments from our leading driver, Dexter Dunn, say it all, after the Cran Dalgety trained trotter recorded her first Group 1 victory. “If you had said to me 10 or so years ago when I started out that I would be training trotters I would have scoffed and laughed at you. Bloody things I thought! I once said, if you ever see me racing or breeding trotters, shoot me – and now look at me, I've got one of the favourites for the Jewels” Boyd said. Donegal Bettorgretch took her earnings to just over $80,000, from 13 starts. Winning Time & Margin: 1-57.00MR, with a ¾ lengths back to Wilma's Mate in 2nd and 3 ½ lengths back to Conon Bridge in 3rd. Donegal Bettorgretch Andrew Fitzgerald  

The Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen harness racing team finished off their Harness Jewels day that they dominated with an extra special 4 ¾ length victory by Heaven Rocks in the $150,000 Group 1 Sweet Lou at Woodlands 3YO Emerald. The Rock N Roll Heaven gelding put his best foot forward today, as he boomed to the front to make it 5 wins from 6 races contested. Heaven Rocks gave part owners Phil and Glennis Kennard their first victory of the day. “This horse has a massive future, he 's a big horse and a big striding fella, he covers the ground so easily” said Mark Purdon. With a last half of 56.5 he never looked like getting beat as he kept up quickly sectionals. For the first time the stable has won every two and Group One pacing event in the 2016 running of the Jewels. “That's an amazing feat and I owe it all to my staff. I came here today thinking three wins would be a pass mark, but to win five of the nine is incredible. “You are nothing without staff, and this is an All Stars day. I'm absolutely delighted” said Purdon. Winning Time & Margin: 1-52.4 MR, with a 4¾ lengths back to Major Ben in 2nd and a nose back to Motown in 3rd. Heaven Rocks Andrew Fitzgerald  

Partyon, remember the name, because by the way Harness Racing trainer and driver Mark Purdon talked about her, means that this filly could be something special. It's well known that the Purdon/Rasmussen team have a team full of stars, but they usually have a potential superstar that they save to either, start as a late 2yo, or as a 3yo. In the RA & JV Yarndley $150,000 2YO Diamond at Cambridge Raceway the 2yo Bettor's Delight filly boomed off the gate to find the lead, and from there on, Purdon was always in control cutting out the first 800m in a steady 58.9. “I've known about this horse's talent for some time now, and today everyone else got to witness just how good she is” said Mark Purdon. Owned by the Breckon Farms-The Top Ten Syndicate run by Ken & Karen Breckon who was stoked with todays victory. “We have had plenty of success with these syndicate's, including a bunch of first time owners. Another syndicate of ours owns, High Gait, who won the Group 1 Victorian Trotters Oaks last night at Melton. So it's been a great 24 hours for everyone involved in our Syndicate. A full brother to Partyon was sold for $44,000 to Ken Breckon at yesterday's Weanling and All Age Sale. He was a standout type, and his price could have doubled with his big sisters win today. Winning Time & Margin: 1-55.58MR, , with 2 ½ lengths back to Delightful Memphis (Blair Orange) in 2nd and ½ a length back to favourite Spanshis Armada in 3rd. Andrew Fitzgerald

The salute said it all as Rocker Band and harness racing driver Sam Ottley came flying down the outside to take the $100,000 NRM Evolve 4yo Diamond. For her first Harness Jewels drive, Ottley produced an absolute special to manoeuvre the Rocknroll Hanover mare off the pegs coming into the back straight. It was that move that would secure Ottley her biggest victory to date. “This is right up there with the greatest day of my life, infact I think it is the greatest day of my life” said Sam Ottley Owned by Greg Brodie of Australia, Rocker Band took her record to a handy 9 wins and 5 minor placings from just the 24 starts. Early speed from Miss Daisy (John Dunn) and Lusty Mac (Phil Butcher) is exactly what the Mark Jones trained mare asked for. Todays win was Mark's first Jewels training victory. Mark Jones said “I've trained horses for Greg for years, but i've never actually met him before. It was a great drive from Sam, she deserved a shot at it and she delieved". Winning Time & Margin: 1-53.39MR, with a neck back to Expressive Victor (Blair Orange) in 2nd and ½ length back to favourite Democrat Party (Nathan Williamson) in 3rd. Rocker Band Andrew Fitzgerald

There are plenty of previews floating around for the Jewels so let’s make this quick. Andrew Fitzgerald looks through the Jewels card including selections from Matt Cross and Cambridge based Junior Driver Dylan Ferguson Race 1 [11:45am] NRM EVOLVE 4YO DIAMOND Obviously this race has opened up a lot with the removal of Arms Of An Angel several weeks ago. That scratching saw jewels leader Democrat Party tumble into favourite from an opening quote of around $10, the 4yo American Ideal mare is now a $2.70 chance with the NZ TAB. Lusty Mac has enough gate speed to put herself into contention, she should receive a handy trip and with her great course stats she is worth an each way bet at $10 FF & $3 FF. Selections: Andrew Fitzgerald 5-2-1-12 Matt Cross 5-9-2-1 Dylan Ferguson 9-5-2-1 Suggested bet: Democrat Party WIN / Lusty Mac PLACE   Race 2 [12:20pm] MITRE 10 MEGA CAMBRIDGE 2YO RUBY A clear cut top pick in the 2yo trot, with Enghien a well backed favourite. He did get as short as $1.14 at one stage, but with a mistake behind the mobile arm at the recent workouts, his quote has got out to a nice enough $1.40 FF. Custodian is the horse I can see providing the upset to Enghien. The All Stars team have only had him for a short time, but you can no doubt expect a wee bit of improvement, with his top line gate speed I expect to see him strolling along in front. The $4.80 FF and $1.25 FF are juicy enough for me to have a crack at. Selections: Andrew Fitzgerald 5-3-1-4 Matt Cross 3-5-4-1 Dylan Ferguson 5-3-8-7 Suggested Bet: Trifecta/First4 – 3,5/3,5/1,4/1,4 Race 3 [12:55pm] RA & JV YARNDLEY 2YO DIAMOND   Only three runners you need in this for me, Spanish Armada, Partyon and Delightful Memphis. I can’t split these 3 fillies, and I think it will definitely come down to whoever gets the best run. Partyon looks like she is the one who is drawn to receive the trip and with Mark Purdon in the cart you would expect her to roll forward and lead up. Her recent Cambridge workout was good, with her rolling along nicely in front. Currently $3.40 $1.20 FF Spanish Armada $1.65 / $1.07 FF have both been super in the feature races of late, dominating most of them. She has a tricky draw to work with, but she has the class to overcome it, while it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Delightful Memphis $4.00 / $1.25 FF run straight by them if she was able to get a good drag into it. Selections: Andrew Fitzgerald 7-4-10-3 Matt Cross 4-7-10-3 Dylan Ferguson 4-10-3-7 Suggested bet: Trifecta 4,7/4,7,10/4,7,10   Race 4 [1:28pm] STALLIONS AUSTRALASIA 4YO RUBY One of the battles of the day this one, and the draws have thrown just a wee bit of doubt into everyone’s minds. No doubt in my mind that Monbet will once again show that he is the best trotter in Australasia. Drawn the outside, Ricky May will have no choice but to press forward and park himself outside his main rival Sunny Ruby. Monbet has great staying power and if May does decide to drive him like that and drill Ruby down the back then it will be game over and punters will run to the tote to collect their $1.16 FF price. The $1.25 looked to be to be an absolute steal for Sunny Ruby to run a place, but if it pans out how I think it will then that offers no value at all. With the draw Bob Butt has to work with, it’s possible that Le Reveur $2.80 Fixed Place could lob the one by one spot in behind Monbet. Selections: Andrew Fitzgerald 8-3-2-10 Matt Cross 8-2-9-11 Dylan Ferguson 2-8-9-10 Suggested bet: Le Reveur PLACE   Race 5 [2:03pm] DUNSTAN FEEDS 3YO DIAMOND The three All Star runners once again have the field covered. These fillies are classes above the rest and you would expect them to fill the Trifecta once again. Piccadilly Princess on top for me, if Tim Williams is able to slot her into the trail behind Golden Goddess, I feel she might just be able to sneak up the pegs and cause an upset of some sorts. Dream About Me has a terrible draw to work with, but we all know how good of a driver Mark Purdon is and I can see him getting away from the fence into a handy position. Golden Goddess should lead up and I wouldn’t expect Natalie to be handing up over the mile trip. Selections: Andrew Fitzgerald 2-9-3-1 Matt Cross 9-3-2-4 Dylan Ferguson 9-2-3-4 Suggested bet: First4 2,3,9/2,3,9/2,3,9/1,4   Race 6 [2:38pm] NRM EQUI-JEWEL 2YO EMERALD     Another Jewels race dominated by the Purdon/Rasmussen team, although this race has extra interest, with their two favoured runners drawn badly in barriers 9 and 12. While it shouldn’t get in the way of them still grabbing another victory, there are a couple worth place bets in the field. Mitch Maguire $3.00 FF Place and The Lone Ranger $3.80 FF Place are the two I think are worth a bet. The former showed great gate speed and put up a great fight to finish 4th against the Purdon team last start. With the use of the ace barrier draw, he will be able to boom along and hopefully he can sneak into a top 3 spot. While The Lone Ranger made an early mistake in the same race but put in a handy effort after that. With a good trip in transit, he can pop up into a first 4 spot. Selections: Andrew Fitzgerald 9-12-1-2 Matt Cross 12-9-1-4 Dylan Ferguson 12-9-1-4 Suggested bet: Trifecta 9,12/9,12/1,2,4,10 Race 7 [3:13pm] SOVEREIGNTY 3YO RUBY TROT It should just be a turn up and win job here for a top line trotter in the making, Marcoola, trained by West Melton trainer Ken Ford and driven by son Clint. The son of Sundon has been dominate in the 3yo trotting ranks this season, with connections even turning down large, life changing offers. The TAB have him $1.15 FF and from the barrier draw of 5, you would expect Clint to roll forward and find the front. No one will be silly enough to try and park him out and Clint will be able to cruise to the front. When he lets this stunning colt go at the top of the straight, all the rest of this field will see is the back of Clint Ford’s helmet. Selections: Andrew Fitzgerald 5-1-3-6 Matt Cross 5-3-6-13 Dylan Ferguson 5-6-1-10 Suggested bet: First 4 -    5/1,3,6/1,3,6,13/1,3,6,9,10,13   Race 8 [3:48pm] NRM ASSET 4YO EMERALD What a field of 4yo colt's and gelding's we have here, given extra interest with the only Australian invitee My Kiwi Mate. Titan Banner on top for me, he opened a staggering $26 in the futures market opened by the NZ TAB. After a defeat and a victory over Christen Me, his quote is now $2.90 FF, even after he was throw barrier 8 to work from. Even though he will have to do a stack of work, I won’t be surprised to see him out toughing most of the field and winning. Field Marshal is the obvious inclusion after drawing beautifully in barrier 1, with the services of Dexter Dunn; he will look to continue on his picket fence line form with another feature win. $1.65 FF Selections: Andrew Fitzgerald 8-1-5-2 Matt Cross 1-8-5-2 Dylan Ferguson 1-10-8-5 Suggested bet: First 4 – 1,8/1,5,8/1,2,5,8,10/1,2,3,5,8,9,10   Race 9 [4:28pm] SWEET LOU AT WOODLANDS 3YO EMERALD What a way to finish the day off, with a hugely talented bunch of 3yo colts and geldings. Classie Brigade finds himself at the top of my list, I expect him to improve off his last run even from a tricky draw. The draw might work out okay if he can follow Heaven Rocks across and then receive some cover then I think he offers great value. We have seen Heaven Rocks beat most of this field before, but his manners are a huge problem and I just can’t consider taking the $1.95 on offer for a horse who could either gallop behind the gate or into the first bend. Selections Andrew Fitzgerald 6-7-4-1 Matt Cross 7-5-4-6 Dylan Ferguson 5-6-9-7 Suggested bet: Classie Brigade Each way/ Trifecta – 6,7/4,5,6,7/1,4,5,6,7   Andrew Fitzgerald

Franco Saxon. Add him to your 'Race Tracker' and remember the name, because the way the Jonny Cox-trained runner won his maiden at Addington Raceway last Friday night was spectacular and certainly won't be his last time visiting the winner's circle.                             Owned by the recently-launched goHarness 'Staxofun' Syndicate, the performance from the 3yo Live Or Die gelding even impressed commentator Mark McNamara. "There's a debut win," said McNamara as Franco Saxon crossed the line to win by a half-head over West Point (Ken Barron), with a length back to Junior (David & Catherine Butt) in third. Starting from barrier 9 in the 1950m mobile, Franco Saxon was always going to have to do plenty of work to win - and that's exactly what he did. Away well, Cox soon had him marching forward to find the parked spot. With the three-wide train still coming, Cox was determined to keep the parked spot for the remaining 800 metres. "It was a tricky draw to work with, but we got a good drag up behind Sam (Ottley) to land outside the leader," said Jonny. "He turned up in great condition from previous trainer Steven McRae and trialled nicely at Ashburton when he won. He's a nice horse, but that performance showed us he has got the ability to go through the grades." Despite being under pressure and looking gone at the 400m point, Franco Saxon showed great tenacity to rally past the leader Dancinginthedark and hit the front. With the heavily-backed West Point and Blair Orange darting up the lane, it appeared as if the goHarness team would have to settle for a brave second but 'Sax' had other ideas and stuck his head out to grab the victory. "It's a dream start for the Staxofun Syndicate," said Co-Manager Johnny Robinson. "We've had a lot of members of our previous syndicates coming into Saxon, as well as another large group of first-time owners - which is not only great for us, but it promotes harness racing for the fun that can be had for very little outlay."" Robinson said there are still shares available in this latest syndicate launched by goHarness, priced at $730 each which is the equivalent of just a dollar a day. "The one-off fee gets you a share in Franco Saxon for two whole years, with no other payments needed, and if the horse is still performing well enough at the end of our two years with him there's also the possibility of the syndicate being extended. "He's a decent-sized fella, and we expect him to improve with more racing and as he grows into his frame," Robinson added. Friday's win by Franco Saxon was the first for Cox since he began training from his new base at Fred & Joy Morris's Yaldhurst property, called Yaldy Farm. "It's a wonderful property, with great paddocks and boxes as well as a nice track. They also have a pool, which is a great asset for the training programmes of some of my horses," Cox said. Shifting north from Dunedin 18 months ago, Cox originally worked for Ken Barron before switching to the Michael House stable in the mornings while doing his own team in the afternoons. "It was time to branch out and concentrate on having a team of my own. I've got eight in work at the moment and there's room for a few more," Cox said. Cox trained 52 winners in the 2013/14 and 2014/15 seasons when in partnership with Amber Hoffman at Westwood Beach, just out of Dunedin. The pair trained Jaccka Justy to win the 2014 Dominion Handicap, providing Cox with his biggest training and driving success to date. An accomplished driver, Jonny is currently on 460 career victories and has saluted the judge on 28 occasions so far this season, while he has trained 26 winners from just the 282 starters on his own. Cox was also a dual winner of the Junior Drivers' Premiership in 2005 and 2006. Andrew Fitzgerald                

You won’t miss John McDermott’s smile over the next few weeks, because it’s one of the largest anyone in Harness Racing has at the moment. The past few weeks have been some of the best for the Prebbleton based trainer and amateur driver. It all started with the win of She’sa Tricky Bridge, on Premier day at Addington back on the 14th of May. The 3yo Stonebridge Regal filly cracked her maiden victory and gave McDermott one of his biggest victories’s to date. A week later and McDermott was down to drive Sheza Springfield and Shantahlia Knight in the first two heats of The Dexion New Zealand Amateur Drivers Championship. That night saw John salute the judge on both occasions and head to Rangiora leading the pack on maximum points. Luck continued when John was drawn to drive Franco Exeter in the third heat. “I could never have dreamed of picking up two wins at Cambridge, I drew a couple of nice horses and the luck went our way on the night” said John Apart from a failure at Forbury Park back at the end of April, the 5yo Lis Mara gelding hasn’t missed a top two finish for Burnham trainer Mark Jones. Sent forward from a wide draw, Franco Exeter took up his customary leading role and McDermott let the Wayne Higgs owned gelding roll along at a steady tempo. “The Dominator John McDermott” as commentator Mark McNamara called him, was off and gone at the 500m and had most of the field off their feet. Franco Exeter managed to hold on and win by ½ length over a fast finishing As Kiwi As (Gavin Cook), with 2 ¼ lengths back to Going Going Gone (Sheryl Wigg). “The connections weren’t that confident after his last start failure, but his previous form had been so good” said McDermott. One punter was that confident that John would go 3/3 that they placed a whopping $3,500.00 to win on Franco Exeter. Somehow even with maximum points from the first 3 heats, there was a chance that John could be pipped at the post, but that was put to bed when he took inside runs on outsider Midfrew Tarpediem to finish strongly for 5th and secure a maiden NZ amateur title. “They told me coming into the last I had to either beat Sheryl home or if she won, it would turn into having to beat four home to win, and three home to win on a count back." "It’s been a wonderful competition; having four heats this year has been great. Last year they only managed to get the 3 heats and some drivers only got to have two drives, but thanks to all the trainers and connections at Cambridge and Canterbury, we had full fields and several of those trainers backed their horses up from Friday night which really helped.” Sheryl placed 3 times and won the last heat, usually that sort of form would win most drivers series in New Zealand but nobody could begrudge McDermott’s victory, nor the smile on his face after achieving his career highlight (to date). She’sa Tricky Bridge Sheza Springfield Shantahlia Knight Franco Exeter Andrew Fitzgerald

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