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Invercargill fixed odds movers as at 11:25am Race 1 - Stun Gun $2.10 easily leads win betting with the largest bet $2,000 at $2.10 with Garta $2.50 just leading multi betting over the favourite.   Race 2 - Ideal Draw $2.30 leads multi betting in what is a quiet early win 'book'.   Race 3 - The only runner wanted here is the last start winner War Admiral $2.50.   Race 4 - Henry Hubert is a short priced favourite at $1.30 but is running through most multi bets at the meeting.   Race 5 - Lawrence $6.50 - $5.00 is the best backed runner in win betting with the $2.50 favourite Tuapeka Trick slightly ahead in multi betting.    Race 6 - Lilac Flash $4.20 just leads multi betting over Mach's back $4.20 - $3.60 with that runner best backed in win betting over Franco Rebel $13.00.   Race 7 - Bontz $20.00 - $14.00 is best backed on the win 'book' with Especial $2.70 leading multi betting over Goodlookin Chick $4.00.   Race 8 - War Machine $2.90 is easily the only runner wanted in multi betting with Monty Python $3.90 leading win betting.      Race 9 - Robbie Burns $2.20 leads win & multi betting. Royal Bengal the opening 4th favourite at $4.50 was late scratched at 8:48am with 18% win & 18% place deductions applying to any bets placed prior to the scratching time.   Race 10 - Sheriff $1.85 - $1.60 is easily the best backed runner on the win 'book' early with the largest bets $2,352 at $1.85, $2,800 at $1.75 & $2,857 at $1.70. A $500 bet on Ana Malak at $5.50 has also been taken.   Race 11 - Cast A Shadow $7.00 is best backed in win & multi betting over Nightmarch $4.80.     Harnesslink Media Courtesy of Stephen Richardson (TAB)  

Consistent mare Annie Fitz provided Whiterig trainer Ross Wilson with his ninety seventh winner at Ascot Park today (Monday). It was the Bettor's Delight mare's eighty eight race start and her second win but over the four seasons she has raced she's banked close to $33,000 for Wilson who also bred and owns the mare. She's run second nine times and third eight times. "She's always been an honest race horse - just a bit small. She used to tie up badly so we've changed her diet. We've cut back on the oats and are giving her more sweet feed," said stable spokesperson Chris Wilson.   The win also provided junior driver Charlotte Purvis with her first winning double. She'd won earlier on her employer Phil Williamson's trotter Springbank Ella.  The pre-race plan from barrier one was to sit behind the leader and it worked perfectly with Chinook Winds taking up the pacemaking role with Purvis and Annie Fitz dropping in to get the trail. Once the field straightened, Annie Fitz sprinted up the passing lane to beat Hot Off The Press by half a length. Returning with a happy driver                                         - Photo Bruce Stewart. "Charlotte did a great job and was driven a treat. She's not a leader and has to hand up. She's starting to come up the lane better in the second half of her career than the first."  The Wilson team have been relatively quiet over the Christmas New Year period with the team being affected by a bad virus. "They've all had a turn in the paddock, but they're on the way up now. She's been working super this week and we weren't completely surprised that she won. It was a free win today being a junior drivers event so she's still in the same grade. With the right draw she'll be competitive in the right races."  With owner - trainer Ross Wilson and son Chris Wilson           - Photo Bruce Stewart. Ross Wilson has been a great supporter of junior drivers. Since he's been training, the majority of his winners have been driven by junior drivers including; Robin Swain, Mark Jones, Nathan Williamson, Dexter Dunn, Matthew Williamson, Jamie Campbell, Adam Sanderson, Cameron Jones and now Charlotte Purvis.   Wilson, who is a member of the Drive With Five tipping competition on this website, selected Annie Fitz to win, placing the "Shu Bet" ($100 each way) on the mare for a return of $2,770. The highest return in the competition ever. Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing Annie Fitz winning yesterday  

Well Said gelding Son Of Lana gave a big group of owners a thrill at Ascot Park today(Monday) when he easily won his first race on his home track. The Murray Brown trained three year old is owned by the Kiwi Connection Syndicate, Fairsay Syndicate and a handful of other individual owners including regular stable clients Murray Heath, Bevan Brown and Barry Croft. "He had a start as a two year old and broke a couple of times. In his last two starts we've got him. He was perfect last week and good again today. Scotty Ramsay (stable foreman) got the Onslow Street Squash Club involved while Arty (Arty Shirley) got together members of the Waikiwi Rugby Club," said Brown. In today's race Son Of Lana settled back for driver Brent Barclay. He improved wide with just over a lap to run to sit parked. He took the lead just before turning in and beat a late charging Archman by a length and three quarters.   Returning to the birdcage with driver Brent Barclay                   - Photo Bruce Stewart He is out of the In The Pocket mare Long Live Lana which won twice for Paul Burrows. As a broodmare her first foal Delightful Lana won seven races in New Zealand and also campaigned in Australia where she had a number of group placings. Her best performance was running third in the Group One NSW Oaks won by Southland owned filly Fight For Glory which ran a World Record time of 2-50.3 for the 2400 metre mobile. Son Of Lana is Long Live Lana's third foal.  "He seems quite sensible from the stand so a one win stand may suit him."  Winning owners    -     Photo Bruce Stewart Son Of Lana was purchased by Dave and Catrina Gordon for $27,000 at the 2016 Sale of the Stars sale. His name then was Marlboroman. The Gordon's have both since passed away and Catrina offered the horse for lease to the large group of owners last season. Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing   Son Of Lana winning at Ascot Park  

Ana Malak, owned by Gaby Maghzal, added to the Southern Supremacy puzzle when he impressively won the seventh race at the Invercargill Harness Racing Club's meeting at Ascot Park today. "He's qualified now and we're going to take a little step up on Saturday and line him up again, just to see where we're at against the better ones. He'll be nominated for the Derby but the Supremacy is his number one aim at this stage," said co-trainer Tony Barron. The imposing Bettor's Delight colt sat parked for the entire journey taking over the lead when pacemaker Leah Mac broke with broken gear with 600 metres to run. He went down to the line easily with driver Blair Orange not having to turn the stick. His winning margin was two and a quarter lengths from Mr Woodlea. The time for the 2200 metres was 2-43.3.  "He's a very laid back colt. He's been in his box sleeping all afternoon. It was never ever going to worry him sitting out there. His work on Saturday was absolutely sensational so we expected a pretty big run. We've looked after him and he hasn't had too many starts. He just keeps developing every start and hopefully he'll continue to do so."  Ana Malak was driven by stable driver Blair Orange. Returning to scale                                          - Photo Bruce Stewart. "He's (Orange) pretty happy and left the ear plug in. He just jogged it really. It was a nice run without having a gut buster for Saturday," said Barron. Ana Malak is out of the Tinted Cloud mare Anna Livia which was bred by John and Karen Parsons. Anna Livia won nine races for Gaby Maghzal and is a half sister to Artiface which won ten. Anna Livia was trained by Davey and Catherine Butt.  Barron moved to Canterbury at the start of the 2016 season after training successfully in Southland for most of his career. He's now into his second full season of training with brother Ken.  "We're ticking over and getting wins every week. Love the move, but love getting back here and catching up with everyone."  Winning connections with Tony Barron (centre)                  - Photo Bruce Stewart. Horses already qualified for the $45,000 Group Two Southern Supremacy Stakes on Diamonds Day in April include The  Bus, Kilowatt Kid and Franco Santino. Maghzal would dearly love to win the Supremacy. His horse Malak Uswaad ran second to Ohoka Texas in 2011 Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing   Ana Malak winning today

On paper it may have looked as if Somejoy was slightly disappointing at her last start when she ran seventh at Winton (at the end of last month), but trainer Clark Barron says after reviewing the mare's performance he was prepared to just walk away from the result. "It was a very biased track at Winton the other day so I decided to come away from that run and forget about it. If it's wet, it's a different track. On the day anything that did work stopped, and all the favourites got beaten," he said.  That all changed yesterday (Thursday) when Somejoy easily won a heat of the Southern Belle Speed Series at the Northern Southland Trotting Club's meeting at Ascot Park. Barron took the Somebeachsomewhere mare forward from gate seven and ensured the race was run at a very fast pace. Her winning margin at the end of the 1700 metres mobile event was two lengths. Goodlookin Chick was second and there was another length and a quarter back to Hopes And Dreams in third place. The fourth runner was a further seven and a quarter lengths back.   The winning time of 2-01.5 was only 0.1 of a second outside of the All Comers Track, Mares and Southland record of 2-01.4 jointly held by Betta Go Fernco (2017) and another trained Barron mare Raksdeal (2014). The final 800 metres was run in 56.9 seconds with the last 400 timed in a smart 26.8. Somejoy beating Goodlookin Chick and Hopes And Dreams           - Photo Bruce Stewart. Barron says Somejoy has got stronger this season and is better equipped to stand up to the rigours of hard racing. "Last season as a three year old they were running 57 mile rates for 2700 metres and she was running fifth or sixth. She's got a high cruising speed."   Barron said after yesterday's run that he doesn't have any long term plans for the four year old mare other than the Southern Belle Speed Series Final. There are a couple of Group events at Addington for mares at the beginning of next month.    "The main target is the series down here. The Robin Dundee Crown ($14,000 over 1700 metres) on Invercargill Cup Day is another race we'll look at. We'll see how we go in that and then we might look a bit higher. I don't know." Yesterday's win was Somejoy's fifth in just fourteen starts and it continues the remarkable run of wins Barron has had with mares from this family. However he's reluctant to compare Somejoy with her dam and granddam at this point.   "She's probably got a way to go yet. Her mother (Jumpforjoy) was pretty special and her mother (Joyfulbelle) was very good." Barron also trained Giftofjoy, an Art Major filly out of Pride N Joy, to win her first race. The three year old was having her third start after finishing second and fourth respectively in her previous two races. She's out of Mach Three mare Pride N Joy who is also out of Joyfulbelle. Giftofjoy winning in the hands of Blair Orange                - Photo Bruce Stewart. "Very pleasing and once again the family stepped up. It was great to get a win and a mile time. I've got a full brother in the sales."   Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing Somejoy winning in 1-55.0

  Northern Southland harness racing fixed odds movers as at 1:30pm Race 1 - I've Got This $5.00 easily leads win & multi betting over War Admiral $3.10.   Race 2 - Star Ruler $3.90 leads multi betting over Ripsnorter $6.00 with Franco Rebel $5.20- leading win betting.   Race 3 - American Magic $4.20 leads multi betting over Martin McGuinness $12.50 who leads win betting.   Race 4 - Firstjoy $5.00 leads win betting with High Line leading multi betting over Giftofjoy $5.20.   Race 5 - Kilowatt $3.00 & Triroyale Brigade $4.20 equally lead multi betting.  Triroyale Brigade leads win betting.   Race 6 - Smoke N Reactor $3.40 is the only runner wanted in multi betting.   Race 7 - Argyle Beach $6.50 leads win betting over Gore Bay $4.00 with Santanna's Rocket $4.50 leading multi betting.   Race 8 - Aloka $1.35 is racing away in multi betting with Bevan's Cullen $18.00 leading win betting over The Big Boss $12.00.   Race 9 - Somejoy $2.30 easily leads multi betting with Hopes And Dreams $3.40 leading win betting.    Race 10 - Vigoroso $8.50 - $8.00 leads win betting with Poldark $4.20 a clear leader in multi betting.     Harnesslink Media Courtesy of Stephen Richardson (TAB)

Although there are a few things to finalised the decision has been made that the Invercargill Harness Racing Club will race on grass on Saturday 3rd March. One of the main issues yet to be sorted is the distance of all the races. They will either be 2000 or 2100 metres. Course caretaker Warren Broad and local Stipe Liam Tidmarsh will look at dispatch points and talk about safety limits before distances are confirmed. Southern Harness General Manager Jason Broad says if the weather's wet the meeting will be transferred to the all-weather surface as early as Wednesday of that week. If this is necessary, the distances raced will be 2200 metres. The last time the Invercargill grass track was used for harness racing was in 1971.  The March meeting feature races will include a heat of the Country Cups ($12,000) for R60 and faster pacers, and a $12,000 Nugget Final. All other races will be raced for either $8,000 or $9,000. Broad says some thought has been given to running a Grass Track Series with Oamaru, Gore and Waikouaiti. Meanwhile a new race named The Southland Trotting Oaks, worth $20,000 is likely to be confirmed in the few weeks. Broad says final confirmation of sponsorship just needs to be signed off. He says Haras des Trottuers have expressed an interest in supporting the race and the NZSB Association is very supportive and will help publicise it to the industry. “It’s down to be raced at the Northern Southland Meeting in March which is two weeks before the New Zealand Trotting Oaks at Addington,” Broad says. A total of $195,000 in stakes will be up for grabs on the day. The club will be holding the Group Three Yardhurst Hotel Northern Southland Cup, Group Three Southern Lights Trotting Handicap, Caduceus Club of Southland Fillies Pace and a $20,000 Super Nuggets Final. Broad says it's the second biggest day on the Southern racing calendar behind Diamonds Day in April. All horses that finish first or second in any Nuggets race during the season are eligible for the Super Nugget Final. Further Nugget heats have been programmed for Winton (31st December), Northern Southland (11th January), Wyndham (4th February) and Invercargill on the grass (3rd March). The next heat of the Gold Chip trotting series will be held on Saturday 23rd December at the Wairio meeting at Winton. Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing

Oreti Beach trainer Paul 'Tank' Ellis has put the disappointment of Shezacullegirl's poor run at Alexandra Park on Friday behind him and the win at Ascot Park today by Machjagger certainly helped. "It's taken ages to get her looking good again. She's looking good now and has gone good," said Ellis after the Justa Tiger mare won narrowly. Ellis has had the mare at his stable for a while now, having transferred out to the beach while still under Ryal Bush trainer Brett Gray's name. The mare has officially raced under Ellis's name twice, and he's been able to try different training methods with her.  "This week Hilly (stable foreman Paul Hillis) has been riding her. Dexter (Dunn) was happy with her last week. He said that she just got outsprinted. This week he drove her more aggressively and he wasn't going to get outsprinted. She gets down on her bumpers but when she's looking good and she's all muscled up over her behind she doesn't get down on them." Machjagger (15) beating Wayward Roc (1) by a half a head - Photo Bruce Stewart. Machjagger has now won four races including on the grass at Waikouaiti. The Wyndham Meeting at Cromwell early in the New Year is one of her targets.  "She's got a real good group of owners. There'll be a few drinks over Christmas hopefully for them. The boys have got a crib up in Cromwell so that's where she'll be."  Meanwhile Ellis's quality mare Shezacullengirl which finished last in the Northern Breeders Stakes in Auckland on Friday night is coming home. "She chaffed up real bad on one side. She never chaffs up. It was caused by going that way round. She's in a real happy spot down here so I'll bring her back. Mango (driver Brent Mangos) said she just didn't feel right the whole way. We'll get her back. There are plenty of races after Christmas for her." Bruce Stewart Southland Harness racing   Machjagger winning yesterday.  

Well Said colt Nota Bene Denario showed his versatility when he won at Ascot Park today (Saturday). The three year old, which had led all the way at Wyndham on November 19th, came off a nice early sit before driver Brent Barclay took him round to the front with a lap to run. "I think he can race from pretty much anywhere. They backed off the pace so I thought because they were going that slow that I'd better get around them. I think he probably knocks off a bit in front," said Barclay. Nota Bene Denario stayed down in the south at Brett Gray'sstable after his win at Wyndham and went to the Winton Workouts last Friday where he was driven from behind. He won his heat impressively running his last 800 metres in better that 54 seconds.  "He's a very very fast horse if you saw his run at the Winton Workouts. He's got wheels," said Gray. Flying - Nota Bene Denario and Brent Barclay        - Photo Bruce Stewart. The colt, which was bought by Robert and Sharyn Symon and placed in Terry and Glenys Chmiel's stable, has now won two of his three starts and Gray presumes he will return home to the Chmiel's Leeston stable.  Meanwhile junior driver Ellie Barron knocked off another of her early season targets when she won on her grandfather's horse Mass Invasion today. She had her first win on Somejoy, part-owned and trained by her father Clark, and this is another win for the family. Ellie Barron and Mass Invasion                           - Photo Bruce Stewart. The seven year old Muscle Mass mare owned by Owen Crooks ran down pacemaker Grace O'Malley. Bruce Stewart Southland Harness racing

Invercargill harness driver Shane Walkinshaw is at home recuperating after a nasty accident at Ascot Park last Friday. The incident happened shortly after the horses left the mobile arm from the 2200 metre start point and headed into the first bend. Walkinshaw's drive Jennys Rose, went down on her nose and he was thrown onto the track. He suffered fractures to the skull, eye socket, cheek bone and a sinus fracture around the nose area.     "I don't remember when the mobile left, the crash or being in the ambulance. The next memory I've got is waking up in hospital," said Walkinshaw who was discharged from Kew Hospitial yesterday. He says the specialists are recommending at least a month off work.  "Definitely a month off work and a month off driving. I'm not too stressed about rushing back to it. Once you get a head injury it wakes you up a wee bit and you think about things a bit more. I did my spleen about ten years ago at Rangiora and I was meant to have six weeks off but I was back driving in four weeks. This is a wee bit different." Meanwhile Jennys Rose has been retired from racing.  "Wayne (trainer Wayne Adams) and the owner have pulled the pin on her now. I said to Wayne when he came into hospital 'did I chase her (out of the gate) or do something wrong?' He said no, she just slotted over good. You can see it on the video, she just dropped for no reason really. Apparently Blair Orange reckons she crossed her legs. When they start doing that they're pretty dangerous." The other two drivers caught up in the fallout - Craig Ferguson and Dexter Dunn were uninjured. Craig Ferguson going over the top, with Shane Walkinshaw underneath his own horse Number 6. Dexter Dunn holding on tight to his charge Number 10. Bruce Stewart Southern Harness Racing

Shezacullengirl showed plenty of determination to hold out all challenges in the John Devlin Memorial Invited Drivers Mobile Pace. She was seriously taken on mid-race by Delishka before holding onto her lead. Hot favourite Franco Tai was waiting in the trail to challenge but wasn't good enough to beat Shezacullengirl who held on under the urgings of driver Gavin Smith. It was the Tank Ellis trained mare's fifth win in eleven starts.  Kirk Larsen doesn't train many trotters so when Prince George won at Ascot Park today it was the first time he'd trained a squaregaiter since Yaldy Boyz won at Winton in 2011. Prince George comes up the inside to win - Photo Bruce Stewart. He's only had the trotter since October after he was left down here by his previous trainer David McCormick. Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing  

Age proved no barrier at Ascot Park today. Previous Southland Harness Racing Secretary Peter Burns and his wife Rewa share in the ownership of Ever Ready with their daughter Julie Kilkelly and today the Falcon Seelster gelding rocked punters in the first race winning at odds of 52-1. From eight starts the horse's best placing prior to yesterday had been a fourth for Tisbury trainer Kirstin Barclay. The four year old is out of Abba Bromac which Julie raced with her husband Tom. Abba Bromac was bred by Bob McArdle of Bromac Lodge.   “Bob was a friend of Peter's from years ago and he came down and sold them Ever Ready. We raced his half-sister (Ashira Bromac). He’s a one speed type of horse and Kirstin did the job today. Peter was shaking (with excitement),” said Tom. Ever Ready and Kirstin Barclay beating a game Razcal Alley - Photo Bruce Stewart.  Later in the day Night March, a seven year old by Courage Under Fire, won his third race for veteran Gore trainer Maurice Kerr. It was the horse's seventy fifth start and he's been a consistent pacer all through his five seasons of racing.  “He’s been a good little horse. We bred him and he’s been here all his life. I do it just as a hobby now. I could have sold him but decided not to,“ said Kerr who drove the horse for three starts prior to retiring at the end of the 2014 season.  “I’ve always stuck to the local drivers like Robin Swain and Brent Barclay," he said. Night March (11) and Brad Williamson winning at Ascot Park today - Photo Bruce Stewart Kerr began driving in the late 1960s for his father Davey Kerr, then started training in his own right in 1978. He's trained over 200 winners in that time but has scaled down over the years.  “I’m working four horses. There’s a couple of three year olds that might be alright next year. They haven’t been off the place yet. It’s enough to keep me going.” Lyndon Bond, son of Jimmy Bond who was Maurice Kerr's old driving buddy, also produced a winner on the Invercargill card today when Martin McGuinness, another son of Falcon Seelster, won the second Invitation Drivers race in the hands of Sam Ottley. Bred by the Grice brothers, he's been a model of consistency throughout his sixty starts and todays win was his fifth. “He’s an awesome wee horse to have. He’s nothing brilliant but if he gets the right run he does the job," said Bond. The six year old is raced by a group of mates and their wives who go by the In Touch Syndicate. All are from Mataura where Bond trains. When asked who makes up the syndicate Bond said "Snow Swain - he’s the supervisor on the Mutton Slaughter chain. He’s a bit of a hard case and follows the horses everywhere. He’ll be at the Mataura pub – The Zoo. Others in the group are my wife, Peter Hazlemore and Mike Cain and their wives. The Cains were the only ones here today.” From barrier two on the second row Ottley placed Martin McGuinness fifth early as McKenzie Mara and Canardly Remember went to war up front. "They were going hard which was his go."  Martin McGuinness ended up five back on the inside. Ottley managed to get him off the running line before the 600 metres but had plenty of work to do with most of the field in front of her. He was starting to run on, got a nice drag into the run home on the back of Lorretta Franco before charging through late to beat Grace Burns by a neck.  Martin McGuinness and Sam Ottley - Photo Bruce Stewart. “It was penalty free today. He’s won five races so he’s been a neat wee horse for the syndicate.” The win capped off a great day for the Bond and Kerr families with both horses travelling to the track in the same truck. “Maurice and Dad were masters and they’ve been together all the way through. The horses travelled to the races together today. There were only two horses on the truck and they both won. My horse can get a bit cantankerous on the float and he’ll kick with another horse in beside him. Maurice will be smiling and Dad will be sitting at home with a grin and a half on.” Although not on track Lyndon said his father would be at home getting a thrill out of both horses winning. Bond retired from race driving in 2014 after a bad smash at Wyndham. “He has his ups and downs but he’s getting out of bed and bouncing around doing the yards in the morning and the jog team so he’s still full on. He does a great job.” Lyndon says Martin McGuinness's next start will be at Oamaru on the grass. "He loves the grass."  Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing

Invercargill harness racing fixed odds movers as at 11:00am Race 1 - Betstars Blue Jean $2.70 easily leads win & multi betting over Bella Sara $4.00. Race 2 - Jennys Rose $2.50 leads multi betting with Kansas City Jim $17.00 - $13.00 leading win betting. Race 3 - Ellnbac $3.80 leads win & multi betting. Race 4 - Grace Burns at $15.00 is the early multi leader with Loretta Franco $9.80 - $9.00 leading win betting. Race 5 - Danielle Amore $3.30 leads multi betting over Moniburns $6.50. The win 'book' is quiet early. Race 6 - Triple VC $6.00 leads win & multi betting over Delight My Soul $5.50. Race 7 - Delishka $2.50 is best backed in win & multi betting over Shezacullengirl $6.50. Race 8 - Thatswhatisaid the $3.70 favourite leads win & multi betting.    Harnesslink Media Courtesy of Stephen Richardson (TAB)  

Cup week is over and now grass track harness racing gets cranked up in earnest. Both Canterbury grass track meetings this weekend have drawn big even fields and the weather forecast looks perfect for Saturday and Sunday.  It was another good week for the ringaround last week with several winners selected. Brad Williamson had the highest dividend when Two Ply won at Wyndham and paid $15.80 and $3.60 on the tote. This week there are five meetings with two in the north and three in the south.   Manawatu on Thursday night Blair Orange - Blair thinks his best drive would be Santana Mach this week at Manawatu in Race 1 Jay Abernethy - Jay thinks that R Gee Bee would be his best drive this week in Race 5 Jim Curtin - Jimmy is going for Captain Kirk as his best drive this week at Manawatu in Race 7   Invercargill on Friday afternoon Shane Walkinshaw - Shane says his best chance this week is Bella Sara at Ascot Park in Race 1 Andrew Suddaby - Andrew is going for Kansas City Jim as his best drive this week at Ascot Park in Race 2 Nathan Williamson - Nathan says his best chance today could be Wayward Rock in Race 3 Rory Mcllwrick - Rory thinks his best chance this week is Foo Fighter at Ascot Park in Race 6 Sheree Tomlinson - Sheree thinks her best drive this week is Deliska at Invercargill in Race 7 Brent Barclay - Brent is going for Rakarover as his best chance this week also in Race 7 Brad Williamson - Brad thinks his best drive this week is​ Bettor Option at Invercargill in Race 8   For more tips for Invercargill click here!   Alexandra Park on Friday night Stephen Richardson - Steve thinks Lovely Bundy can win at Alexandra Park in Race 1 Todd Macfarlane - Todd says his best chance would be Sweet N Fast at Auckland in Race 2 Andre Poutama - Andre is going for Will Take Charge as his best chance this week also in Race 2 John Curtin - John thinks Culpeka will go close to winning at Alexandra Park in Race 4 Maurice McKendry - Maurice is going for Shandance as his best chance this week in Race 5   Geraldine on Saturday Harnesslink Reporter - thinks The Dominator can go close to winning at Geraldine in Race 5 Ricky May - Ricky is going for Saving Grace as his best drive this week at Orari in Race 6 Terry Chmiel - Terry says his best drive this week is Betterthanspraying in Race 7 Matthew Williamson - Matthew is opting for Monty Python as his best drive this week in Race 10   Banks Peninsular on Sunday Gerard O'Reilly - Gerard is going for Cole Porter as his best drive this week at Motukarara in Race 9 Mark Jones - Mark thinks that Belle Of Brooklyn would be his best chance at Motukarara in Race 11 Racechat - Lance agrees and thinks that Belle Of Brooklyn is a good winning chance in Race 11 Gavin Smith - Gavin is opting for Friend as his best chance this week at Motukarara also in Race 11   Harnesslink Media

Hurricane Banner provided Gore trainer Shane Matheson and stable helper Jane Orr with a big thrill on Sunday when he easily won the Ryder Plumbing and Roofing Mobile Pace by three and a quarter lengths in the hands of Brad Williamson. Orr, who is married to Northern Southland trotting identity Noddy Orr, has rekindled her love of horses by helping Matheson out in his stables.  "I had a lovely standardbred when I was a teenager called Patanga Park but it wasn't until I got involved with Noddy that I got involved again," she said. The five year old by Real Desire started his career with Gavin Smith before stints with Nathan Williamson and Ray Faithful. Matheson has had him since July this year.  "He's paddock trained. He loves the life in Northern Southland and is happy out on the grass. He loves tearing around the paddock after he's done his training." Hurricane Banner is raced by the Bluff Bowling Club Syndicate which includes Noddy Orr. Meanwhile young junior driver Chelsea Faithful won her third race as a driver when Maidonthebeach got up to beat Ellnbac by three quarters of a length in the junior drivers race at Ascot Park on Sunday. "At her first run she needed a bit of a blow out. In her second run she ran on well and at home she's been working better than ever so we were reasonably confident," said Faithful. Maidonthebeach was positioned nicely by Faithful in the outside running line. At the top of the straight the pair had collared leader Foo Fighter and had to ward off a late challenge from Ellnbac who came up the passing lane.  Maidonthebeach and Chelsea Faithful winning at Riverton on Sunday - Photo Bruce Stewart. "She was getting a bit woobly with about 70 metres to run. I was hoping she'd keep going and I was hoping I didn't go over the ten (whips). The whole one eye thing (Maidonthebeach only has one eye) probably doesn't help." Faithful says like her dam Nursemaid, Maidonthebeach is getting better with age. "She's better this season than she was last season."  The royally bred mare by Somebeachsomewhere is raced by Graham and Jill Cooney, Vin Nally and the Centaurus Syndicate.   Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing

Mach Three filly Machitelli showed she could be a Southland Oaks filly later in the season when she impressively won on debut at the Riverton Trotting Club's meeting at Ascot Park on Sunday. The three year old owned by Temuka couple Ivan and Ann Behrnes and trained by close neighbour Brent White was taken straight to the lead from gate one by driver Stephen McNally. He handed up to longshot Evangeline Franco before going round that runner to take the lead again.   Behrnes and his wife Ann raced Machitelli's third dam Assisi - a Vance Hanover mare which won four of her nineteen starts. "We wanted to get back into the family. Working with Alabar (Stud) we heard from Graham Henley that Sassi Bella (Presidential Ball - Assisi) was available to buy," Ivan Behrnes said. They've also recently purchased Big Jim mare Nga Mihi Nui which is out of Sabine who's by Christian Cullen out of Assisi and a full-sister to Roman Gladiator.   "So we've really invested in the family. We'd like to thank Peter Smith and Winky Foley who gave us the opportunity to buy Nga Mihi Nui who has just returned a positive to Sportswriter."  All the way through her preparations as a two and three year old there has been a bit of talk around Machitelli's ability.  "Brent is a neighbour to ours and he's been working her right the way through. He always had a high opinion of her and has a bit going for her. We just took faith because he's a very good judge and educator of a horse. Ann and I took the plunge and thought we might race this one ourselves. We knew she was commercial enough to get up and sell. She could have had a crack as a two year old but Brent sees her more as an end of season three year old in a race like the Southland Oaks if she improves."  Sassi Bella has left three foals - Machitelli, Ranieri (Art Major colt) and Bolzano (Sunshine Beach colt) and is currently in foal to Sportswriter.   "Machitelli is more like Assisi. The Art Major has an Art Major head but more of the family body while the Sunshine Beach has thrown more to the sire's side. He's got more length and strength about him." Prior to Sunday's debut Machitelli had had four workouts and three trials.  "She had a few workouts to get her confidence. She had a few steering issues which has been work in progress. She went to Ashburton and qualified and blasted from eight at the barrier, led and won by two lengths. We saw the ability she had then. She can sustain good pace and has stamina."  Winning connections                                  - Photo Bruce Stewart. Behrens also manages the Alabar Syndicate which races unbeaten Auckland Reactor colt Chase Auckland, one of the likely favourites for this Tuesday's $170,000 Group One NRM Sires Stakes Final at Addington.  "One of the guys in the syndicate calls him the excitement machine. There are trainers, people in their eighties and some very experienced horse people and to see the joy he brings is amazing. Press the accelerator and he just goes. He's not a grinding type of horse. He's just getting better and better and Natalie is still teaching him how to race."  Later in the programme White won with Xmas Joyella which was reined by junior driver Mikayla Lewis.  Mikayla Lewis and Xmas Joyella beating Eagle Galleon (11)    - Photo Bruce Stewart    Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing

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