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By Jonny Turner    Rangiora trainer Andrew Stuart has four runners at Addington on Sunday that will be out to continue his brilliant run of recent form. Stuart has scored a win with his small team in three of the four wins since harness racing resumed after lockdown with Crackabrie, Galleons Connoisseur and Ohoka Matty. Stuart will be in a unique position when Galleons Connoisseur seeks another victory in race 12. The 5yr-old will have to beat out two other horses the trainer also has a share in. Stuart races both the Ken Barron trained Plutonium and the Regan Todd trained Hells Shadow. Galleons Connoisseur goes in to the race in winning form after cleaning up a rating 40-45 feild at Addington last weekend. Stuart is hoping driver Ricky May can get his colours in to the winner’s circle. “It is a jump in class, he probably beat an average maiden field last time,” the trainer said. “But, he is definitely going well and he tries hard.” “He might just lack a bit of high speed, but he has the man on to get a bit of luck – Ricky May.” Galleons Connoisseur opened the roughest of Stuart’s trio in fixed odds betting at $21. Plutonium was rated the $4.60 equal favourite with Bossmaro, ahead of Hells Shadow ($8.50). Guido Da Sienna looks the horse to beat when he starts from Stuart’s barn in race 11. The 4yr-old ran home strongly for second behind Hidden Delight at Addington, last weekend. Guido Da Sienna may need luck from barrier 1 on the second row of the mobile, but Stuart has full confidence in driver Blair Orange finding a run for his horse. “Having Blair on makes a difference, he is a freak.” “On his run last week he should be hard to beat.” Guido Da Sienna was rated the $3.30 fixed odds win favourite for race 11 on market opening. It's A Shawthing was a beaten favourite after galloping early then failing to run on at Addington three weeks ago following an eye catching trial run. The 5yr-old has been freshened and is ready to show his best if he can bring his manners on Sunday. “He has definitely got the ability, he just hasn’t put it all together.” “He missed away in that trial, so that might have flattened him a little bit.” “But he seems all good now.” It's A Shawthing opened at a $10 price to win race 2, behind the $3.50 favourite, For Today. Cheddar Made Beta failed to fire in his first run since lockdown at Addington a fortnight ago. Though the 5yr-old may struggle to beat the favourite Tom Martin, Stuart expects an improved effort. “He trialled well before his first race back.” “He was a bit disappointing there, but then you look at the form out of the race with Team Kiwi and Ohoka Matty winning.” “He also might have needed that race a bit, he had been out for a while.” “He is definitely a place chance, but I don’t think he can beat Tom Martin.” Ohoka Matty started the weekend off well for the Stuart stable. The 7yr-old reeled off a sizzling 55.4sec last 800m to win on Friday night. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

As reported by Stuff, one of harness racing's brightest young prospects is one of seven people charged after a long-running inquiry into alleged race-fixing and drugs in the industry.  Police confirmed they have charged seven people in relation to Operation Inca, which culminated in raids on 10 harness racing stables in Canterbury, ManawatÅ« and Invercargill on Tuesday. More raids are understood to be happening on Wednesday.    Read the full story here   Martin van Beynen and Mat Kermeen  

As reported by Stuff a wealthy Christchurch punter whose home was raided in a high-level police investigation into corruption in harness racing says police will come up empty-handed.  Harness racing identities have been interviewed by police following morning raids on 10 stables throughout the country, following a long-running inquiry into alleged race-fixing, corruption and drugs in the sport.  Police executed search warrants on stables in Canterbury, Invercargill and ManawatÅ«. Figures interviewed included Natalie Rasmussen, John Dunn, Blair Orange, Nigel McGrath and Andrew Stuart.  Christchurch car industry king pin, racehorse owner and major punter Graham Beirne, speaking to Stuff from Bali where he is on holiday, said he had heard about the raids on Canterbury trainers and knew police wanted to interview him. "I'm a suspect put it that way. The police have been to our place this morning but I'm not there. All I have to say is one word: nonsense. Read the full Stuff story here   Martin van Beynen and Mat Kermeen Stuff Website

The middle night of the 2018 Brisbane winter carnival belonged to the interstate visitors. On the opening night last weekend, the local stables of Grant Dixon stood tall and claimed the bulk of the features but tonight (Saturday), the riches headed over the state border. And even across the Tasman Sea. The Gr.2 $75,540 AQWA Constructions Queensland Oaks was taken out by New Zealand filly Sociable who finished strongly defeating Major Occasion and Miss Hooligan in the 2138m feature. Prepared by Rangiora horseman Andrew Stuart, the Buy Kiwi Made filly was expertly handled by champion reinsman Luke McCarthy after sitting three backs on the pegs throughout. Working clear at the top of the straight, the filly charged to the line to beat the game Major Occasion. The victory provided McCarthy with back to back triumphs in the Oaks after scoring last year with Shartin. New Zealand bred fillies have won the past seven editions of the Oaks classic. In the Gr.2 $50,540 Garrards Sunshine Sprint, speedy Bathurst trained pacer Tact Tate surged to victory along the passing lane to beat Celestial Arden and Ohoka Punter in a time of 1:53.0. Trained and driven by Amanda Turnbull, the McArdle gelding led from the outside post before taking cover on Ohoka Punter by the end of the opening split. While heavy favourite Soho Tribeca got caught in bad traffic, Tact Tate was ready to pounce and shot through along the inside for a deserving victory. Soho Tribeca finished 10th while My Field Marshal finished at the rear of the field after racing three-wide throughout. Tact Tate has provided his connections a chance of picking up a $50,000 cash bonus if successful in next week’s UBET Blacks A Fake Queensland Championship. The Gr.2 $30,540 Seelite Windows & Doors Queensland Trotters Cup went to Victorian performer Our Dreamlover who finished best to win the 2647m standing start feature. Trained and driven by Mattie Craven, the Love You gelding worked home from a long way back to defeat Gee Up Neddy and Our Overanova in a time of 2:02.2. Starting at massive odds, Our Dreamlover scored his first victory in over twelve months. The Gr.3 $30,540 Egmont Park Stud South East Derby went the way of the Victorian trained Duplicated who led throughout and sprinted well clear of local star Colt Thirty One and The Bus to claim an easy victory in the 2138m feature. Unbeaten in five starts for Dean Braun, Duplicated stamped himself as the horse to beat in next week’s Queensland Derby. The Somebeachsomewhere gelding rated a stunning 1:54.6 while covering his final half in 54.6 seconds. Trainer Dean Braun snared himself a feature race double after scoring in the Listed $25,540 Egmont Park Stud Fleur De Lil Ladyship Stakes with Carlas Pixel scoring in emphatic style defeating Come Cullect and Elle Yeah in a time of 1:53.5 for the 1660m feature. Having her first local start, the Ladyship Mile scored easily despite racing over the concluding stages. Connections will now focus on next week’s UBET Blacks A Fake Queensland Championship. Next Saturday night, the final night of the Albion Park winter carnival, features will include the Gr.1 $200,540 UBET Blacks A Fake Queensland Championship, the Gr.1 $100,540 QBRED Triad Finals for 2yo pacers, the Gr.2 $75,540 Queensland Derby, the Gr.3 $30,540 4yo Championship and the Gr.3 $20,630 Trotters Marathon.   Racing Queensland

New Zealand filly Sociable is chasing back to back feature race victories. Fresh from her success last start in the Redcliffe Oaks on June 8, the Andrew Stuart trained three-year-old is the favourite to win Saturday night’s Gr.3 $30,540 Egmont Park Stud South East Oaks at Albion Park. The fillies feature is the final lead-up to next week’s classic, the Gr.2 $75,540 AQWA Constructions Queensland Oaks. Sociable will start from gate two this weekend and Stuart is confident of another forward showing but is mindful she will be at her absolute peak the following week. “We’ve had a month between runs and I haven’t given her a trial but the draw is a major plus, so far so good with draws in Brisbane and it makes a big difference. After Redcliffe, she got a little sick but has bounced back well in the past fortnight and her work this week has been solid.” Stuart said. While punters could walk with caution given the break between runs and a slight setback, it hasn’t dinted their confidence given the good draw. Sociable is listed as the punters elect at $2.10 with UBET. Ace reinsman Luke McCarthy replaces regular pilot John Caldow owing to the rich Vicbred Finals in Melbourne this weekend and Stuart believes his filly is the horse to beat. “When John advised he was staying in Melbourne this weekend, I jumped at the opportunity to engage Luke and I’m confident she can repeat what she did at Redcliffe. Being on the fresh side doesn’t concern me because she’s a naturally athletic filly who takes good care of herself. “The barrier is a massive win because she looks the leader and she’s capable of running a good final half so that it makes it tough for her rivals, the Grant Dixon trained fillies loom as the biggest threat, they’re all classy types with great records. “Whatever my filly does this weekend, I know there is more improvement to come for next week and this run will top her off nicely. Our plan all along was to win an Oaks feature and gain some black type, so far so good but the job is not complete yet.” Last season, the New Zealand trained Partyon proved successful in the South East Provincial Oaks. Since 2010, New Zealand bred fillies have won this feature. And the last six Queensland Oaks winners have been New Zealand bred fillies. Chris Barsby

Some of the biggest names in Australian harness step-out at the Melton trials on Tuesday.  Leading the way is sidelined superstar Hectorjayjay, who hasn’t raced since winning the Group 1 Blacks A Fake at Albion Park almost 11 months ago.  Hectorjayjay looked sharp winning a Geelong trial last Monday and could head back to the races if he impresses new trainer-driver Gavin Lang on Tuesday.  Some of the other big names set to trial on Tuesday include WA Cup winner Soho Tribeca, NSW Derby winner Poster Boy, Australian Gold 2YO winner Centenario and former Grad Circuit star Philadelphia Man. ______________________________________________________________________________________   The already lucrative Queensland Winter Carnival just became even more attractive for Kiwi raiders.  There are four Group 1 races across 10 weeks and more than $1.1 million up for grabs.  Now you can throw in another $120,000 in bonuses across the biggest races thanks for Ubet (the Queensland TAB).  The Ubet bonuses are: $50,000 Ubet Grand Slam bonus – for any horse who can win the Sunshine Sprint (July 14) and Blacks A Fake (July 21) double $15,000 Ubet Slam bonus – to the connections of any horse who can place in both the Blacks A Fake and Sunshine Sprint … or win one and place in the other. $20,000 Ubet Trainers’ Slam Bonus – available to any trainer who wins two or more of the following feature races: Queensland Derby, Blacks A Fake, Queensland Oaks, Queensland Trotters’ Cup ______________________________________________________________________________________   Kiwi filly Sociable looks set to be a key player in that Queensland Carnival after her easy all-the-way Redcliffe Oaks win last Friday night.  John Caldow took the reins for trainer Andrew Stuart and buzzed Sociable out of gate four to find the front, dictate the terms and win easily by 5.1m from local glamour pair Fame Assured and Aqua Miss in a 1min59.5sec mile rate for 2040m.  Aqua Miss was the run of the race after coming from the back to sit parked around the tight Redcliffe track.  Driver Gary Whittaker and trainer Bill Crosby teamed-up with six-year-old Constantly Sideways to win the $30,540 Group 3 Redcliffe Cup from former Kiwi pacer Alleluia. ______________________________________________________________________________________   There was some nice symmetry to the fact WA juvenile Bletchley Park brilliant won two races in the space of three days last week.  Bletchley Park is a brother to Bling It On – by Americal Ideal out of Alldatglittersisgold – and the Gloucester Park wins last Tuesday and Friday nights came in the week Bling It On was retired after racing at Menangle last night.  Trainer Mike Reed declared Bletchley Park “a bit special” before he raced and his four starts for three wins and a second suggest he’s on the money.  Last Friday night the colt sparkled with a 1min53.6sec mile rate for 1730m to win by 12.2m and dash home in splits of 56.7 and 28.5sec. ______________________________________________________________________________________ Emma Stewart’s feature race dominance continued at Melton last Friday night when she snared the quinella in the Group 3 Alabar Silver Chalice.  With nominal favourite Carlas Pixel scratched, buzz mare Tell Me Tales started and hot favourite and was simply too good for her improving stablemate Flying Moth in a 1min55.3sec mile rate for 2240m.  Chris Alford drove Tell Me Tales, one of his staggering five wins on the card. He also teamed with trainer Chris Svanosio and Anywhere Hugo to win the Group 2 Holmfield 3YO Trot.  Former Kiwi pair Sonya Smith and Anthony Butt combined to win the free-for-all with the emerging Moonrock, who led throughout in a 1min54.6sec mile rate for 2240m.  Australia’s best mare Ameretto could only manage fourth after trying to outsprint them from last in a leader dominated affair. ______________________________________________________________________________________   Gavin Lang’s re-emergence as a training force continued when improving trotter Save Our Pennys upstaged a good field to win the Group 3 Bendigo Trotters’ Cup last night.  Lang opted to trail the leader Any Old Way while favourite Tough Monarch sat parked and Save Our Pennys zipped home too quickly to win well.  Lang is up to 15 horses in training, headed by comeback superstar Hectorjayjay.  The other buzz winner at Bendigo was the untapped three-year-old Bonus Play, who is trained by Bruce Morgan and John Caldow took the reins.  Bonus Play galloped on debut and lost all chance, but could not have been more impressive winning all three runs since and looks feature race material. ______________________________________________________________________________________   Former Kiwi pacer Celestial Arden snared his biggest win so far when he thrashed a good open-class field in the Group 3 JD Watts Memorial at Menangle last night.  And, just for good measure, he blazed a scorching 1min53.9sec mile rate for 2300m to win by 12m over rejuvenated veteran Ultimate Art with the in-form Match In Heaven third.  The biggest talking point of the race was the below par run of former Hunter Cup winner Bling It On, who ran ninth and was subsequently retired from racing to resume his stud duties.  Also at Menangle, owner-breeders Emilio and Mary Rosati landed another feature win when their two-year-old trotting filly Emerald Stride gapped her rivals in the Group 3 Foundation final.  She won by 38m and trotted the 2300m in a 2min2.5sec mile rate.   Adam Hamitlon

Kiwi filly Sociable is drawn to strike early. The Andrew Stuart trained three-year-old has drawn ideally in tomorrow night’s (Friday) $20,450 Redcliffe Oaks while main dangers face awkward second-line draws. Sociable will start from gate three (with emergency coming out) and will be handled by ace Victorian reinsman John Caldow in her Queensland debut. Connections are targeting the Gr.2 $75,540 Queensland Oaks at Albion Park on July 14. The Buy Kiwi Made filly went unbeaten in her first two starts in her homeland before crossing the Tasman earlier this year with connections tackling the Victoria Oaks at TABCORP Park, Melton in April. Sociable finished fifth behind the freakish filly Shez All Rock. “We think she’s a pretty good filly and we came to Melbourne hoping to avoid the All Stars and we end up running into a filly that’s even better than what they have so it didn’t quite go to plan but we were more than happy with her efforts.” The Rangiora based Stuart said. In six Victorian starts, Sociable scored an easy victory at Shepparton on April 6 while missing the place only twice, in the Victoria Oaks Final and in her most recent start, the Argent Classic on May 11. Despite being fresh, Stuart is confident his filly is ready to showcase her talent. “We’ve had the filly up in Sydney with Luke McCarthy for the past couple of weeks and her recent fast work has been really pleasing, she’s close to the mark. “Drawing well was always going to be really important on this track and I was thrilled with the front-line draw, even more thrilled when the Dixon fillies landed the second-line. I raced against Aqua Miss in the Victoria Oaks and she looks a pretty handy type but I believe my filly can beat her. “I was happy when John (Caldow) said he would come up and drive her, I think that is a nice confidence booster. He knows the filly well now and I think an all the way victory is our best shot of winning this race.” And punters have reacted; UBET offered as much as $5 when markets opened on Wednesday. Sociable is now the $2.20 favourite. And Stuart has celebrations plans in place. “I enjoy a day at the races and I’ll be heading along to the Stradbroke Day festivities at Doomben the following day, hopefully having some celebratory drinks.” The Redcliffe Oaks is race 3, start time is 7.54pm. Chris Barsby

It’s taken a bit of time to get to this point, but Andrew Stuart is pretty excited about what the future might hold for Sportscaster. The three-year-old son of Mister Big made it two wins from three starts at Addington on Friday night, after an extended period on the sideline that curtailed most of his three-year-old year. “He got a really bad quarter crack,” Stuart said, “Which was a shame because he could have picked up a few wins along the way, and a few free ones too with the old handicapping system. “But we just gave him as long as he needed to get over it, and it looks like it it’s going to be worth the wait.” Confidently driven on Friday night by the red hot Blair Orange, Sportscaster held off all the challenges to win by a head. It was a good return to form after he blotted his copybook with a wild gallop at Ashburton fresh up. “I hoped that wouldn’t knock his confidence and it appears like it hasn’t which is great.” The intention going forward is strike while the iron is hot with the gelding, and that means you’ll see plenty more of him over the winter months. “He’s good and healthy and fit so it makes sense to press right on with him. “I’ve got a lot of time for him and think he will do a really good job.” Sportscaster was bred by the late Lynair O’Connell and is the third foal from the Bettor’s Delight mare, Maddison Lee who has also left the talented Jeanie Pops who raced from the Nigel McGrath stable. Stuart purchased the horse as a yearling and is joined in the ownership by good mates, Brent Wall, Jason Everest and Tony Smart. Stuart was another who joined the growing chorus of horseman, particularly from Canterbury, who are starting to see the positive nature of the new handicapping system, despite the fact Sportcaster is one of those who was given a raw deal. “He should have had a free win, but that doesn’t really matter - he would have got to where he is anyway. “I can honestly say though, particularly at this time of the year when the racing is a little light, that it’s doing a good job for the horse numbers.” Sportscaster was one of four winning drives for Orange on Friday night who continued a grand run of form. He won the first non-tote, Breeders Crown heat with the promising Angel Of Harlem for Barry Ward in what was a pick up drive, with Matty Williamson having transport difficulties due to the weather. Then on the normal card he won with the promising Idle Moose for Roger Austin and then also won the last of the night with Reaza Grunter for Ken and Tony Barron. That takes him to 191 wins for the season, and will leave him short of the magical 200 mark by the time the end of the season rolls around, most likely, but his tally, as it sits, is the ninth highest season tally for a driver in a season ever. Matt Markham

Rangiora trainer Andrew Stuart believes his Wellington Cup winner (yesterday), Pay Me Visa, can back up and win tomorrow’s (Sunday) Otaki Cup as well. The 5-year-old McArdle gelding was an easy winner of the Kapiti Coast Harness Racing Club’s feature from 10 metres behind at Otaki yesterday (Friday), and will start from the same handicap in the Otaki Cup. Both races were worth $10,000 but tomorrow’s Otaki Cup is a 3000m stand compared to the 2200m stand he won yesterday. “I’ve always believed in him. In fact when the previous owners pulled out of the ownership when he was three I took over.  “I have no doubts that he can back up. He proved that at Nelson earlier this month when finishing a good third on the first day and then winning two days later on the same track,” Stuart said. “I have a lot of faith in him, and he has proved me right. Not too many horses win seven races,” he added. Stuart has claimed several Country Cups in the South Island but the Wellington Trotting Cup was his first in the North Island. “I’m proud of him. Any Cup is a good Cup to win. He’s an honest wee horse who can sometimes hit his knee, but lately he’s been putting his legs in the right places. “I was rapt with his run yesterday. The 3000m stand won’t bother him on Sunday. He’s won five races from the stand now. The big roomy tracks suit his racing style and I think people forget he has gone a 1.56 mile at Rangiora,” Stuart said. Kyle Marshall drove Pay me Visa splendidly on Friday. They never really looked like losing, pacing the 2200m stand in 2:53.3 (mile rate 2:06.7) and home in 60.9 and 31.5.  Pay me Visa was the $3.80 favourite and had three-and-a-quarter lengths and a neck to spare over roughie Extra Guinness (Brent Weaver) and Fleeting Grin (Peter Ferguson). Stuart never made the trip north. Instead leaving the bay gelding in the hands of Pat and Mike O’Brien in Blenheim. “I left him in Blenheim and Mike took him north. Mike has done an awesome job with him and young Kyle has done equally as well. I couldn’t be happier. he’s the only horse I sent north,” Stuart said. Stuart said he also got one over his good thoroughbred training mate, Gary Vile. “He trained Jacksstar (Cameron Lammas) to finish second in the recent Wellington (galloping) Cup, and I went one better. I might have him on about it. “I know the Wellington Cup is no longer raced at Hutt Park, but there’s a lot of history about the race, and it’s an honour to win the second Cup back after a recess. It means a lot,” Stuart said. The North Canterbury conditioner said Pay Me Visa would continue to race in all the Country Cup races in the North island, starting with the Tauranga Grass Cup on February 5. Meanwhile, the other highlight of the meeting came from South Auckland reinsman, Sailesh Abernethy, who drove three of the eight winners on Friday’s card. He won behind the Keith Chittenden trained Above The Rest in the first race; the Murray Gibbs trained Cerberus in race three; and the Doug Gale trained P Tomado in the fourth event. Older brother Jay, also won behind the Todd Macfarlane trained Millview Sienna in race two. The toughest for Pay Me Visa to beat in tomorrow's Boundary/Deans & Associates Otaki Cup will be the Arna Donnelly trained Eldolar (Mark Johnson) and the Andrew & Lyn Neal trained back-marker (30m) Beyond The Silence. Duane Ranger

A little bit like the man himself, Andrew Stuart’s 200thtraining success was a rather elusive affair.  Not many knew that the North Canterbury horseman was knocking on the door of a double ton but when Woosh Factor out-toughed his rivals in the amateur drivers event at Timaru on Wednesday, it was mission accomplished.  “I knew I was getting close and then when Pay Me Visa won last week, Matt Cross said that was 199,” Stuart said.  “It’s an achievement to be proud of, but hopefully I’m not finished yet.” Stuart is enjoying a good season with eight winners on the board already and the promise of plenty more.  Woosh Factor’s victory on Wednesday was his second for the month after he won at Cromwell early in the New Year as well – although his future might now lie away from Stuart’s stable.  “He’s definitely for sale, so hopefully there is someone out there who is on the lookout for a horse like him.  “He’s going super at the moment and will continue to do a really good job I reckon.” Driven on Wednesday by Adam White, Woosh Factor was forced to do plenty of work during the running but he was simply too tough for his opponents as he cleared out down the straight to win the fourth race of his career.  Stuart is in the process of relocating his training business after deciding to call time on his stay at the Rangiora Racecourse. He is having a track put down on his own property and is for the meantime working his horses at Ken Odger’s property.  “It’s going to be good to have everything at home on the back door step.  “The track isn’t far away from being sorted so we will be in there soon.” There are currently 20 horses in his stable.  Later on in the day on Wednesday, Peter Bagrie picked up his first and second winners of the season when Smooth Mara and Dana Duke won in an almost carbon copy of each other.  Both were sent to the front by Dexter Dunn early on and dictated terms before sprinting away at the top of the straight to win comfortably.  For Dana Duke it was a massive drop back in grade after contesting some Country Cup races in recent weeks.  The big pacer by Mach Three from Ciccio Star has now won four races and close to $50,000 in stakes. Matt Markham

Ears Burning not only surprised a few people on course but also his trainer Nigel McGrath with the ease of his victory is today’s Kotare Downs Rangiora 3yo Stakes. A half brother to talented types in Fuoco, El Fuego and Burning, the 3yo Grinfromeartoear colt was bred Rankin Bloodstock Limited and I J Rule who still share in the ownership today. “The Rankin family have been big supporters of mine, they have had some nice horses before but it’s good to see them with another nice one in this guy (Ears Burning)” said trainer/driver Nigel McGrath. “Apart from a wee problem last start, he’s basically unbeaten and doing a really good job in all his races. He’s behind those good ones, but I think if he can qualify for the jewels, he would acquit himself well” Ears Burning currently sits 23rd on the jewels ladder after today’s victory, with just over $5,000.00 between him and the 12th placed Swamp Major. Away nicely from barrier 5, McGrath soon found himself parked, but soon cover arrived in the form of Wannabet (Blair Orange). That was the only move of the race and with everyone else happy to sit back as John Dunn and Bite The Bullet strolled along in front, McGrath found himself in a lovely 1x1 spot. When extricated to the outside with 400m, Ears Burning quickly found himself in front and burning away to win by 3 ¼ lengths back to another McGrath runner in Kashana. “He surprised me how easily he’s done that, we got a lovely run but it was a handy field and he won that comfortably” said Nigel. McGrath's star Classie Brigade has been sent for a freshen up. "Those runs behind Lazarus took it out of him, and Ricky said he just didn't feel as sharp as usual down south, he was a very tired horse last week, so he can have a freshen up and have a trial or two before the jewels"  _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Christen Me’s return to the grand circuit took a huge leap today, when he won the Group 3 Dawe Contracting Ltd Rangiora Classic. Up against arch rival Locharburn, Christen Me was having his first race day run for the best part of 7 months, which saw him miss the 2015 NZ Cup. Driver Dexter Dunn fired the 7 year old Christian Cullen gelding across to lead early, but Mighty Flying Mac was quickly around to take over with Dunn happy to take a sit. Meanwhile main rival Locharburn was having a tough run sitting parked before receiving the 1x1 at the bell, it appeared early on that Christen Me was the likely winner. With Blair Orange launching Locharburn out from his spot at the 600m to deal it up to the leader, D Dunn was able to push out of the trail and follow Locharburn into it before these two top class horses went to war, with Christen Me sticking his head in front at the line to beat a super brave and tough Locharburn. The official margin was a head, with 10 ½ lengths back to early leader Mighty Flying Mac, who set up a NZ record equalling time, 3-06.5. Funny enough Christen Me now holds that record with today’s rival Locharburn who only set the record back in February’s summer cup at Addington. “He was super today, as he had to be to beat a brave Locharburn. It’s great to have him back” said trainer Cran Dalgety. “The Len Mile is a possibly target, all the big guns will be there and there isn’t much here for him.  The long term aim is the NZ cup but the inter dominions is also at the back of my mind. I’ll see how he comes through today’s run, but Sydney does look a great option” Check out our story on former New Zealander and Dalgety trained runner Bit Of  A Legend's win in America this morning on our New Zealand home page. _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Meanwhile Rangiora driver Robbie Close saluted the judge twice today, winning on Claus for Stan Moore and Pay Me Visa for Andrew Stuart; both trainers are also based in Rangiora. Claus, a 3yo Tintin in America gelding, put the writing on the wall with a handy 3rd at Addington just 3days ago. Sent out as a $26.00 chance by punters, Robbie Close or “Goose” as he’s called around the stables, had Claus in front early but soon found himself 3 back the pegs and looking for a bit of luck. “He came out really well from the ace draw and got a lovely trip from then on. He hit the gap at the top of the straight nicely and was still trucking at the line, he will be a handy horse in 6months time” said Close. “It’s always nice to get a winner for the Moore’s, they are lovely people and Stan’s breed has produced some nice horses, it’s great to see them getting some success” Stan won the Rangiora Classic back in 2009 with his star Fake Chance, a winner of 12 from 127 starts including 27 placings; the Fake Left gelding was a regular in free for all races. While Claus isn’t at those heights yet, it’s always nice to see small trainers getting success on a large day. Robbie’s second winner came in the last race of the day for Rangiora Racecourse based trainer Andrew Stuart. Pay Me Visa, now a winner of 5 from 25 starts was having his first start on the all weather track today. “Being his first start on the grit, it was a question mark on how he would handle it. We got a decent trip and he was bolting on the turn, when he found some room he hit the line really nicely” said Close. A 4yo McArdle gelding owned by Andrew himself, rated the 2000m in 2-25 flat, a mile rate of 1.56.6 57.2 28.4. He paid $11.60 & $2.10 on the tote. By the look of today’s win, it certainly won’t be Pay Me Visa’s last. Andrew Fitzgerald  

Blair Orange finished at the All Stars stable in July after a decade associated with the best stable in the country- and he has plenty to show for it. He finished on a high breaking into the "100 club" for the first time, the latest in a string of records he has established over the years. "My target was 50 at the start of the season. I thought I was doing well when I got to 75 and then I thought, well I might as well go for the 100. I might not get a chance to get that close again" With help from the Mark Jones stable he achieved his target -well ahead of any previous season. The stimulus All Stars gave his young driving career speak for itself. He had of course helped make his own luck, making marked improvement to rein 37 winners in the 2002 season mostly for smaller trainers like Trevor Craddock, Mike Austin, Craig Buchan, Kevin Townley, Andrew Stuart, Brian Kerr, John Parsons, Michael House and Peter Cowan. It is significant that his 100th winner for this  season was for Austin and his last driving night under the All Stars banner features a drive for Buchan. But the chance to work with Mark Purdon was going to another level and Blair has always aspired to go to the next level. "Mark rang me out of the blue. I had never driven for him. We talked, he made me an offer and I accepted. " Ohoka Atom was his first winner for the stable but one of his biggest thrills came a month later when Waihemo Hanger won at the Cup meeting. "I had never driven a winner on Cup Day so that was special ." Ironically one of his earlier regular drives for Mike Austin, Ado's Invasion, was second handled by Mark Jones. Blair's career had started nearly seven years earlier when he was with Tim Butt and drove Whizza Nova to win at Reefton in 1996. He won 18 races in his first season for All Stars but by 2007 topped $1m in stakes won thanks chiefly to Ohoka Arizona, Fiery Falcon and Steve McQueen. In only one season since have his stakes won been less than seven figures. His best season for the stable in  terms of wins was 2012 when he won 46 for All Stars from a season driving  total of 81. However even in his final season with Mark and Natalie driving many of the A graders he won 39 races for the stable.  Altogether he has won $12.6m in stakes for owners over the years. His biggest month for All Stars was in March of 2009 when he drove 11 winners for the stable going close with 10 in the same month this season. So as he heads for his own training career -though with plenty of free lance driving still part of the package-what has he learned. Naturally the answer is "a lot". "Obviously the overall organisation is something you don't work with often. I have worked in other top stables such as Tim and Anthony's but there is always something different they do, something you can pick up on. The handling of the two year olds has been one of the great experiences for me. How they are brought along and managed and each one assessed for what they can handle as youngsters. Then how they are managed during their campaigns. There was a lot in that'' "But the overall routines and stable management was just as important. So much to learn and adapt when I go out on my own training. Mark is a master at planning a programme so the horses peak for the big days. Not many can do it like he and Natalie can'' " From a driving viewpoint the horses at All Stars give you confidence in what you are going. That is a hell of an advantage and it carries over to your other drives " If it was so good why leave ? "I would have been quite happy to stay to be honest if an offer like Ken's (Barron) had not come along. But I was going to have to strike out a bit more on my own sooner or later and this was a deal I thought too good to let pass. It could open the way for me to have my own training operation which is the long term aim. In the meantime I will still be doing a lot of free lance driving and some of that for Mark Jones who has been such a boost to me this season." Blair is aware there are plenty with doubts he is doing the right thing but that is of no concern to him. "While I was mulling over the offer I had a few doubts myself but once I made the decision I was confident it was the right one and what anybody else thinks is not important to me.  It would be fair to say Blair Orange came to All Stars still an apprentice and left as graduate with honours on the driving track. So what were his five most memorable experiences at the stable ? In no particular order: LENNON "I won a lot of races with Lennon in my first season with Mark and races like the Kindergarten, Welcome, Sapling and the Sires Stakes. He was a class horse and he gave me a lot of confidence that I could measure up in the big stuff" WAIHEMO HANGER  "He have me my first winner at the Cup meeting and that was a huge thrill for me at the time. You don't forget things like that" AUCKLAND REACTOR- "I won the Taylor Mile behind him. He was just a terrific horse. He had that something extra you never forget " ADORE ME -"Winning the Easter Cup gave a thrill like Auckland Reactor had. A special horse to drive" HIGHVIEW TOMMY " He might have only run second in the Cup but second in the Cup was a big thing for me. It is the race everyone wants to win and we went close. He gave me a lot of other big moments too and Tommy could be full of surprises so you never knew quite what was going to happen" (Blair set some sort of record with Highview Tommy too driving him to win in five successive seasons. Maybe not even Mark has done that with one of the team in Blair's era). Courtesy Of All Stars Racing

Top squaregaiter Master Lavros resumed with a win against the maiden pacers at the Rangiora workouts on Saturday, January 19, in preparation for the $25,000 Seelite Windows & Doors Summer Trotting Free-For-All (1950m) at Addington on January 31. “He still needs a bit of practise behind the mobile gate so thats why he’s here,” said trainer Mark Jones. Master Lavros travels strongly with a lap to run at the Rangiora workouts for trainer Mark Jones. Mark didn’t hurry the Dominion Handicap winner off the gate at the workouts, settling third, then moving up in the open at the 600m. He was too good in the run home, striding clear by three-quarters of a length over A Boy Named Rosie in 2:35.2 for the mobile 2000m. Mark timed him over his last 800m in around 56s and his final 400m in 26.9s. “He went pretty good. He’s still a year away but you’ve got keep lining up and get better trotting from the gate.” “I’d be keen to take him over for the Glenferrie Challenge ($A200,000, Menangle, NSW on March 2) but he hasn’t been invited yet.” “If we get invited there, then we’ll think about Melbourne,” he said. Mark also reined the Andrew Stuart-trained Stagger Lee to a front-running win in the 2YO colts and geldings pace over 2000m in 2:36.3. The Major In Art-Lets Go Cullen colt was untroubled to quicken over his last 800m in 57.9s and final 400m in 28.1s, holding trailer Tenacious Bromac by half a neck. SAVEAPATROL TAKING ON “TERROR” Meanwhile Mark’s top 4YO Saveapatrol is confirmed to take on triple NZ Cup winner Terror To Love in next Saturday’s $40,000 Ascot Park Hotel Invercargill Cup. “He’ll definitely go south. You can’t be scared of them and you’ve got to race,” Mark said. “There’s still pay for running in the first four. He’s going to have to step up but you can’t hide them all the time. Its good money and if you run second or third or to him (Terror To Love) you’re going to be happy.” “I’d rather race for the good money and I’ve tried to run him in the right races so far.” Mark was again pleased with the way Saveapatrol found the line when taking out the Marlborough Cup. “He was probably a run short the first day but you can’t have them right all the time,” he said. By Jeff Scott (Courtesy of MARK JONES RACING)

Champion five-year-old Im Victorious remained unbeaten in his current campaign when he sped over the final 800m in 56sec. to defeat bold frontrunner Sneakyn Down Under in the $35,000 Cowden Ltd James Brennan Memorial at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Pinjarra trainer Michael Brennan, no relation to James Brennan, the founding president of the West Australian Trotting Association, after whom the Brennan Memorial is named, has high hopes that Im Victorious will continue on his winning ways when he contests the $35,000 Members Sprint over 1730m next Friday week and the $35,000 Navy Cup over 2536m a fortnight later. Im Victorious is unbeaten at four starts at Gloucester Park since resuming from a spell and he looks set to be a star in group 1 feature events later this season. Starting favourite at 5/2 on, Im Victorious began from the outside of the back line in Friday night’s 2130m event and Justin Prentice was quite content to settle the New Zealand-bred gelding at the rear while Please Release Me began speedily from the No. 2 barrier, got to a length lead over the polemarker Lord Lombo, but was unable to cross to the pegs. Brad Stampalia allowed 7/1 second fancy Sneakyn Down Under time to settle before sending the veteran to the front after 650m. Im Victorious was seventh in the one-wide line at the bell and Prentice waited until 650m from home before sending Im Victorious forward, three wide. Sneakyn Down Under dashed over the third 400m section of the final mile in 28.1sec. before Im Victorious got to a narrow lead with 130m to travel. Sneakyn Down Under fought back with great determination and was beaten by only one metre, with Lord Lombo 5m away in third place. Leda McNally maintained her splendid form by running on from ninth at the bell to be fourth. Im Victorious rated 1.55.8 in notching his 11th win from only 16 starts at Gloucester Park. Im Victorious, who is still on target for a trip to Melbourne to contest the Victoria later this year, boosted his earnings to $428,460 from 17 wins and two second placings from 24 starts. A jubilant Brennan was full of praise for Prentice and Im Victorious, saying: “To the owners of Im Victorious, the ride continues, boys, JP, you’re a champion, and the horse was again very, very good tonight, and we’ll just keep moving forward.” YOUR GOOD FORTUNE EMERGING AS A STRONG SUMMER CARNIVAL PROSPECT The recent prediction of part-owner and co-trainer Greg Bond that Your Good Fortune would go right through the classes and develop into a serious contender for the rich summer carnival feature events gained further impetus when the New Zealand-bred five-year-old scored a fighting victory in the $25,000 final of the Warwick Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Hot favourite at 3/1 on, Your Good Fortune was driven aggressively by Colin Brown and burst to the front 220m after the start before setting a solid pace and then revealing grand fighting qualities to stave off a spirited late challenge from the 10/1 second fancy the Ragpickers Dream. The Ragpickers Dream started from the outside of the back line and he settled at the rear before Gary Hall jun. set him alight with a three-wide burst 450m after the start which took him to the breeze after a lap had been completed. The Ragpickers Dream challenged the pacemaker approaching the home turn and got his nose in front about 80m from the post. But Your Good Fortune refused to surrender and he fought back tenaciously to win by a nose, with polemarker Artesian Boy 13m farther back in third place after enjoying the run of the race behind the leader. The final 800m was covered in 57.1sec. and Your Good Fortune rated 1.56.8m over the 2130m. The son of Bettors Delight won at three of his seven starts in New Zealand and has raced superbly for trainers Greg and Skye Bond in WA where his 23 starts have produced 11 wins and seven placings. He has earned $175,804. Brown and the Bond team have made a solid start to the 2013-14 season. Brown has had 35 drives for 14 wins and four placings and shares top spot on the Statewide reinsmen’s premiership table with Shannon Suvaljko, who has had 59 drives for 14 wins and 15 placings. The Bond team shows the way on the Statewide trainers’ premiership table, with 17 winners and 15 placings from 65 starters. Gary Hall sen. is in second spot with 12 winners and 13 placings from 54 runners. SWIMMING DOES THE TRICK FOR LUCIE BOSHIER Early this year Lucie Boshier’s racing career was in doubt when she had spurs on a back hock and front knee. It was too late in her career to operate and trainer Chris Brew was having problems in keeping her sound. Then her New Zealand part-owners Andrew Stuart and Rebecca Sutorius suggested that the mare change stables to be prepared by a trainer who had a swimming pool on his property. So it was then decided to send Lucie Boshier to the Boyanup stables of Dennis Roche where Roche was able to give the mare plenty of swimming exercise in his pool. The change had an immediate effect, with Roche gaining a first-up win with Lucie Boshier when Brew drove her to a fast-finishing victory at Gloucester Park in the final week of July. Then followed five unplaced runs before Lucie Boshier returned to top form with a narrow win over her former stablemate, the Chris Brew-trained and driven mare Kotare Ash in the 2130m Freo, Onetogo Mares Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Lucie Boshier, who started from the outside of the front line and at 23/1, was driven for the first time by Matt White, who replaced Brew, who was committed to driving his own nomination, Kotare Ash, the 9/1 equal second favourite in an event in which polemarker Chloe Vargarita was favourite at 3/1 on. Shane Butcher was able to send Chloe Vargarita through the lead time in a modest 38.4sec. when Lucie Boshier was trapped five wide before being restrained by White. But when Chris Lewis dashed Hermattjesty Mulan forward after 250m, White decided to urge Lucie Boshier forward, three wide. Kotare Ash was in last place after 450m and Lucie Boshier moved to the breeze 150m later. Kotare Ash then sprinted fast and Brew issued a strong challenge after a lap had been completed. Kotare Ash got a length in front, but was unable to cross to the pegs as Butcher drove Chloe Vargarita hard to retain the lead. It was then that White had Lucie Boshier in the box seat, one-out and one-back. Kotare Ash got the upper hand and got past Chloe Vargarita about 90m from the post. But Lucie Boshier sprinted fast to get up and snatch victory by a nose, rating 1.57.7 over the 2130m. A winner at three of her 36 starts in New Zealand, Lucie Boshier has had 18 starts in WA for eight wins and a head second from 18 starts. She now has earned $107,969. It was an exciting climax to an interesting race on Friday night which gave Brew’s wife Kalina a quinella result. She is the principal owner of Lucie Boshier, who she races in partnership with Stuart, Sutorius, Jason Payne, Brad Hallows, Mark Pink, Barry Starcevich and K. J. Cameron. Kalina Brew is the sole owner of Kotare Ash. Brew said that maintaining Lucie Boshier’s fitness had been a balancing act for Roche, who had the task of having the mare fit enough and sharp enough to race competitively with a program of swimming and restricted work on the track. “She requires a lot of work and Dennis has got to know the horse and this was her best run for him.” Lucie Boshier, a six-year-old by Elsu, is now going to stud and Brew said that if she got into foal quickly she would be able to resume training and racing. “If she gets in foal we can race her for another hundred days and she could be a player in the feature events for mares over the summer carnival,” he said. Brew said he was setting Kotare Ash for the feature events for mares, including the Nepean Conveyors Mares Classic in December. “First, she will have a short freshen-up before being prepared for the races for mares,” he said. “Kotare Ash is a nice mare, but I think she is a notch below Leda McNally and Bettor Cover Lover. But the track here is a great leveller, so she is a chance for some sort of prizemoney, perhaps, down the track.” ROJEN CRUZ GIVES Chris Voak THE LAST LAUGH Some of Chris Voak’s mates could hardly conceal their mirth when the young reinsman outlaid $3000 to claim Rojen Cruz last March when the veteran pacer had a losing sequence of 29 stretched over a barren period of three years and two months. But the 25-year-old Voak is enjoying the last laugh. The ten-year-old Rojen Cruz took his prizemoney in six months for his new owner to $34,612 when he scored an effortless win in the 2130m Chris Carr Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. These handy and well-deserved proceeds have come from four wins and five placings from 18 starts. The Victorian-bred gelding now has earned $85,405 from 15 wins and 23 placings from 94 starts. Rojen Cruz is trained at Oakford by Ross Olivieri and Voak drove him to wins at Northam and Gloucester Park, while Chris Lewis was successful with him at Bunbury in July and was again in the sulky for Friday night’s victory at 11/1. Voak had driven Rojen Cruz the previous Friday night when he finished gamely to be second to El Machine. But he opted to take the drive behind the Bob Mellsop-trained Chaldea in Friday night’s race in which that gelding also started at 11/1 and enjoyed an ideal passage, one-out and one-back, before finishing on to be third. Noted frontrunner Blissfull Boy set the pace and Lewis had no hesitation in dashing Rojen Cruz forward from barrier four to work hard in the breeze. Rojen Cruz got his head in front 570m from home before he powered away to win by three and a half lengths from 50/1 chance Takeabow, who was eighth at the bell before finishing fast. Heez Orl Black, favourite at 3/1 on, settled in sixth position in the one-wide line before Gary Hall jun. sent him forward, three wide in the middle stages. Heez Orl Black moved to third at the bell, but was kept out wide for the next 500m by Rojen Cruz. Heez Orl Black got to second passing the 400m mark before wilting and dropping back to finish seventh. Rojen Cruz, by the American stallion Sports Town, is the fifth of ten foals out of unraced mare Vera Cruz, whose only other winners have been Exotic Cruz (one win, at Gawler in November 2004, from three starts) and Cruzin A Falcon (one win, at Echuca in September 2011, from 35 starts). This all goes to show that Voak must be a pretty good judge of horseflesh. REJUVENATED WHERE AND WHEN GIVES Kiara Davies HER FIRST CITY-CLASS SUCCESS A nine-year-old pacer with a losing sequence of 25 (since scoring his only win in WA, by a nose at 53/1 at Northam 14 months ago) was sent out a hot favourite at 7/4 on in a full field of 12 in a Metropolitan-class event at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The veteran gelding Where And When has been despised by punters throughout his career in WA since arriving from South Australia in the winter of 2011. His average starting price on the tote in his 33 WA starts (for one win and three placings) before Friday night’s event was $58. In his previous 13 starts he went out at long odds, including $141, $86, $51.10, $108.20, $144.20, $118.90, $108.60, $68.50 and $130.80. This remarkable turnabout resulted in Where And When, taking full advantage of the prized No. 1 barrier, scoring an effortless victory. He set the pace and sprinted over the final 800m in a sparkling 28.4sec. to win by three lengths from 7/1 chance Three Quarter Drive at a 1.59.4 rate over 2130m. And his wonderful win gave 23-year-old Kiara Davies her first Metropolitan-class training success. She is a talented driver who is in splendid form in the sulky and is leading the Garrard’s Junior Concession Drivers’ Challenge series. Davies has worked as a full-time stablehand for Wanneroo trainer Debbie Padberg since last March where she trains Where And When (who is owned by her father Graeme) and Arts Gangsta, a handy pacer she has driven to wins at Kellerberrin, Narrogin and Pinjarra. “Dad bought Where And When from Adelaide and he gave him to me to train earlier this year, just for a bit of fun,” Davies said. “Where And When is a gentle giant and beautiful horse to work. He had a throat operation about 18 months ago to cure an epiglottis entrapment and is not troubled by that problem now.” Where And When, who won 11 times at Globe Derby Park before arriving in WA, is not fashionably bred. But he does have one claim to fame. He is the first foal and only winner out of Misty Wings, who failed to be placed at her only three starts, in New South Wales in late 2002. Misty Wings is out of Luscious Lady, a full-sister to Scientific, who raced 41 times for 21 wins, eight placings and stakes of $173,273. Scientific won a 1609m heat of the 1986 interdominion championship at Brisbane’s Albion Park, beating Bag Limit by a nose, before finishing second in a 2100m heat to the mighty Village Kid. SPEEDY BEGINNING PAVES THE WAY FOR OUR BOY SU’S WIN New Zealand-bred seven-year-old Our Boy Su relishes racing in September. He notched his fifth win in the month of September when he gave a splendid frontrunning exhibition to beat Cheeryrose and Four Grinners in the 2130m TABtouch Pathway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. His first two wins were at Alexandra Park in Auckland in September 2010 and he was successful at Cambridge in September 2011. He resumed racing after a brief spell when he led and won over 2100m at Bunbury on September 21 this year. Our Boy Su, trained at Waroona by Bob Mellsop, was a solidly-supported second favourite at 2/1 on Friday night in a race in which former Victorian performer Ima Grumpy Jasper was favourite at 7/4 for his West Australian debut. Mellsop gained an important advantage over the opposition when he got Our Boy Su away speedily from the No. 2 barrier, easily beating out noted frontrunner Ima Grumpy Jasper from barrier three. Mellsop was able to give Our Boy Su an easy time in front with the gelding coasting through the first two 400m sections of the final mile in 31.3sec. and 30.4sec. before dashing over the final two quarters in 29.1sec. and 28.6sec. He rated 1.58.8 in beating Cheeryrose, who ran on well after trailing the pacemaker throughout. Four Grinners fought on well to be third after racing without cover for most of the way. Ima Grumpy Jasper raced in sixth place in the one-wide line before starting a three-wide move approaching the bell. He faded badly to finish last and the stewards reported that the gelding had pulled up sore in the off foreleg. Our Boy Su looks certain to prove to be hard to beat when he contests an M0-class event. He has earned $81,943 from ten wins and 15 placings from 52 starts. He raced 37 times in New Zealand for six wins and 11 placings and his 15 WA starts for Mellsop have produced four wins and four placings. He is by Elsu and is the sixth foal out of Star Fleet, who won once from 14 starts and has produced Our First Lad (ten wins and $63,830), Fleeting Imagery (six wins and $28,746) and Star of the Ball (eight wins and $68,331). BANANA DANA REMAINS UNBEATEN FROM THE No. 1 BARRIER Smart eight-year-old Banana Dana has drawn the coveted No. 1 barrier only four times in his 53-start career for Woodvale trainer Darren Duffy and he has set the pace and won at each of those four races. He maintained his perfect record from the inside barrier when Brad Stampalia drove him to an easy all-the-way win over Benjamin Banneker and Me Old Mate in the 1730m Trevor Itzstein Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. It was a carbon copy of a 2130m event the previous Friday night when Stampalia was in the sulky for the gelding’s win over Wrongly Accused and Sir Swanky. Banana Dana, favourite at 7/4 on, had a comfortable time in front in the early stages and coasted through the first two 400m sections of the final mile in 30sec. and 29.8sec. with Wrongly Accused in the breeze. He sped over the final two quarters in 28.7sec. and 28.2sec. and rated 1.56.1. Bred in New Zealand, but having all his 53 starts in Western Australia, Banana Dana has earned $139,949 from 14 wins and 13 placings. He is the seventh foal out of unraced Holmes Hanover mare Samantha Franco, whose dam Smarty Pants had 51 starts for ten wins, seven placings and $54,715. Smarty Pants produced Smart Son, who raced in New Zealand, Australia and America, earning $347,805 from 41 wins and 59 placings from 226 starts. Another of Smarty Pants’ progeny, Vanderel had 87 starts for 14 wins, 23 placings and $164,163. Vanderel finished third to Il Vicolo in a group 1 classic for two-year-olds at Addington in May 1994 and won a group 2 four-year-old championship at Forbury Park in January 1996. THIS TIME DYLAN ERUPTS TO SNATCH LAST-STRIDE VICTORY Improving eight-year-old New Zealand-bred gelding This Time Dylan charged home to dead-heat for first with Demon Possessed at Gloucester Park last Friday week and he went one better on Friday night when he erupted from sixth at the 100m mark to snatch a last-stride victory by a nose over Turnpike Cruiser in the 2503m Colin Cowden Handicap. Trained by Gary Hall sen. and driven by his son Gary, This Time Dylan started off the 10m mark and was at 9/2 with frontmarker Turnpike Cruiser and 30m backmarker Shardons Rocket at 7/2. Four runners galloped at the start and Chris Lewis sent Turpike Cruiser to the front after 550m. This Time Dylan raced wide early and Hall dashed him into the breeze in the first circuit before having him in the box seat, one-out and one-back, behind Shardons Rocket. Shardons Rocket gained a narrow lead by a head 570m from home, but Turpike Cruiser fought back to regain the lead. He just failed to hold on and beat the fast-finishing This Time Dylan. This Time Dylan has been lightly raced. He had eight starts in New Zealand for three wins and he now has won five times from 19 WA starts. He has earned $54,735 from his eight wins and five placings. EL MACHINE PROVES FAR TOO GOOD Bargain pacer El Machine maintained his sparkling form when he annihilated his 11 rivals in the 2130m final of the Frank Fuller Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Trainer Kade Howson gave El Machine, the 3/1 on favourite, time to settle before dashing him past Atomic Chip and Soho Aintree and into the lead 450m after the start. From then on it was a procession and El Machine sped over the final 800m in 56.9sec. to win by six lengths from Atomic Chip (16/1), with 60/1 outsider Mister Roberto running home strongly from eighth at the bell to be third. The winner rated 1.57.1. El Machine, an Elsu five-year-old, was bred in WA and was purchased as a yearling for just $5000 by Howson and fellow-reinsman Michael George. The gelding has now earned $105,954 from 14 wins and 12 placings from 38 starts. OLD AGE IS NO BARRIER FOR CONQUER ALL Eleven-year-old Conquer All proved conclusively that age is no barrier when he outclassed his younger rivals in the 2503m Brian Atkin Trotters Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Conquer All, trained at Pinjarra by David Young and driven by his brother Shane, was a 7/1 chance who began like a flash from the 20m mark, and taking advantage of the early erratic behaviour of three of his eight rivals, charged to the front after 350m. From then on it was easy going for Conquer All, who trotted through the first 400m section of the final mile in a leisurely 32.3sec. Then followed a 30.7sec. quarter before the old gelding trotted faultlessly over the final 800m in 59.6sec. to win by just over three lengths from 7/2 second favourite Hot Holiday, who plugged on doggedly after working hard without cover. Sandakan Lombo, aiming to complete a winning hat-trick, galloped badly at the start and raced at the rear with Idle Maple (who also galloped at the start). Heez Speedy Gonzalez (11/2) led for the first 350m before breaking badly 50m later. Conquer All has been a good moneyspinner and he has earned $150,846 from 16 wins and 20 placings from 98 starts. by Ken Casellas  

Last night was a night of salutes. The first of them came from John Dunn, who notched up win number 100 for the season aboard the Robert Dunn trained Kotare Mahal in the first race at Addington. In winning 100 races for the season, John has joined a very elite group in New Zealand harness racing, and one that he has been declined from until now. His previous best tally was 75 wins in the 2010 season. So what exactly has been the difference this season? Well, that answer is simple; he has taken responsibility for running the new beach stable out at Woodend. This has been a phenomenal success for the stable (89 wins), and has been the catalyst behind John driving so many winners. Ofcourse, John is the first person to play down his success, saying that he couldn’t have achieved what he has, had it not been for his staff. “I would also like to thank people like Andrew Stuart and Cran Dalgety who helped me out along the way by giving me walkover wins in heats of the Breeders Crown.” But, this season hasn’t just been good to John win wise; he has also had his most successful season on the feature race stage, courtesy of Uncle Geoff and his sensational filly Venus Serena. With the Harness Racing Awards on tonight, Robert & Rose Dunn look a strong chance of picking up stallion and broodmare of the year, having produced the first set of brothers to rein one hundred winners in the same season. One thing that won’t be decided at the Harness Racing Awards is the trainers’ premiership, as Mark Purdon and Cran Dalgety are in deadlock, with Sunday’s meeting at Rangiora the decider. The other salute came via Jamie Keast, who won the Golden Girls Final in emphatic style with Wally’s Girl, who set a new New Zealand record for four- year-old & older trotting mares by running 2-29.8 for the 2000m journey. But, there was more to the salute than the big win. Back on the 7th of July, Wally’s Girl returned a high TCO2 reading when winning a heat of the Golden Girls. A reading both Keast and his training partner Henriette Westrum are adamant they did nothing to bring on. “She reads high naturally, due to her excessive urinating, dehydration, and stress levels” said Westrum.  “If we were guilty we would have run and hid, we certainly wouldn’t be here winning the final by nine lenghts.” “We have been putting salts in her feed to try balance her salts levels and a big tub of warm molasses water out in her paddock to get her drinking better. Both methods seem to have been effective in getting her levels down.” “All our other horses read between 28 and 30. Why would we give her something and not give it to any of the others? Usually when there is a drug scare the people in question stop winning races, but our team has been going just as good as it was before we got the high reading, if not better. “We would have to be absolute idiots to give a horse something after getting a positive, so it is obvious that what she did tonight was on natural ability alone.” Meanwhile, up north at Alexandra Park, David Butcher showed no sign of jet lag when bringing up his fourth consecutive season century on Rare Opportunity, while Roydon Downey took out the Junior Drivers Invitational after a third with Hezadoo Early and wins with both Silence Is Golden and Ergo. by Mitchell Robertson              

Carey Hobbs (Chief Executive of Taranaki Harness Racing), as well as everybody else involved in harness racing in New Zealand, knows that the industry isn't exactly thriving at the moment.

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