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Shadow Play filly Dibaba, named after the Ethiopian middle and long distance runner Genezbe Dibaba who won gold at the 2016 Beijing Olympic; won her own gold at Ascot Park today in the Nevele R/ Macca Lodge Southland Oaks Final. From an outside second line draw driver and co-trainer Terry Chmiel had designs on the lead. He took up the running with two laps to run in the 2700 metre Group Two fillies feature.  Dibaba was not seriously challenged from that point and won easily by three lengths.  "I got away with some cheap quarters but she won it pretty easy and is a really nice filly. After her trip to Nelson she's just got better and better and coming down here helped. She's improved all season and she's grown a lot. Whether she's as good as the good ones we'll see but we'll give it a go" said Chmiel, who trains the filly in partnership with wife Glenys. When Dibaba returned to the birdcage she was in very high spirits and wouldn't stand still for the customary photo but Chmiel said that's fairly typical of her. Winning connections and sponsors                          - Photo Bruce Stewart. "She's a bit of an old madam at home but that's just the way she is."  Dibaba, which was bred by Aidan Johnstone is owned by Ray Seebeck and Colin Tennett both of Canterbury. "It's the first horse I've had for them. I drove a horse they owned called Beat The Monarch that was trained by Coaster Howe." It was the second time that Chmiel has driven the winner of this time honoured race. He drove the Coaster Howe trained Suvarno Hanover to win in 2007. Suvarno Hanover is the dam of Betterthanbrie which finished an unlucky third in today's feature. Returning to the birdcage                             - Photo Bruce Stewart The Chmiels also trained the 2016 winner of the Southland Oaks Nek Time. Glenys's father Bryce Buchanan trained the 1995 Southland Oaks winner Lovers Wish.  The Southland Oaks was started in 1983 and of the 35 finals held, Southland trained horses have won 16. The last Southland winner was the Gordon and Colin Lee trained Royal Counsel which won in 2014. The race was initiated by the inaugural Southland Oaks committee which included officials from each Southland club. That committee was Lew Stone (Winton), Allan Nicolson (Wairio), Murray Campbell (Riverton), Daryl McLellan (Wyndham), Lane Bakker (the initial sponsor), Jack Botting (Wyndham), Ian McPherson (Gore), Wattie Muir (Invercargill), Len Orr (Northern Southland) and Norman Pierce (Invercargill). Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing  

Winton trained harness racing mare Tact Maggie is finally starting to live up to the reputation she had early in her short career. The Lis Mara four year old showed sparkling form at some of her workouts and trials early this season but hasn't been particularly consistent on race days Trainer Trevor Proctor said after today’s (Saturday) win - the second in a row for Tact Maggie - that it wasn’t until regular driver Brent Barclay told him to increase her workload that she improved. “After two or three races Brent made the comment to me that she was short (of work) so I poked a bit more work into her and bang. I also took the Murphy blind off her that was just to keep her straight. She hasn’t missed that. I was surprised she sprinted up the lane as good as she did today. She’s a big beautiful pacing mare. When you bring her out it’s nothing fantastic. She doesn’t have real speed like her mother had,” said Proctor. Her early season workout and trials form has also caught the eye of Australian buyers and normally Proctor is a seller. “I had her for sale. Amanda Turnbull trialed her. She was getting a team together to buy her but I haven’t heard back. At this stage we’re happy enough to race her and breed from her next season.” Returning to the winners enclosure - Photo Bruce Stewart. Out of the ten win mare Tact Lizzie, Tact Maggie was having only her sixth race day start today. “Because she was a big horse it never entered my head to even race her because no-one pays me to do this. I wasn’t in a hurry to race her.” From barrier two driver Sheree Tomlinson took the mare forward early before handing up to Varenna and settling nicely in the trail. “Today Sheree said she relaxed all the way. During the week Chelsea Faithful drove her (in work) and said she was a different horse from the week before.” In some of her previous starts she was tried in front. “The day we tried to pull her back at the workouts she was taking it on. She broke and lost thirty to fifty metres but finished right in behind them running her last mile in two minutes with the last half in fifty six. When Brent said I wasn’t giving her enough, I thought you’ve got to be joking but he was right.” Proctor says Tact Maggie is likely to start on her home track at Winton before running her season out on Diamonds Day at Ascot Park.  Meanwhile evergreen pacer Groomsman won his ninth race in his one hundred and twenty one start career when he held on to beat Vera's Delight in the Regent Car and Commercial 125 North Road Pace.   Bruce Stewart Southland Harness racing Tact Maggie winning at Ascot park

First starter Mighty Conqueror was very impressive when he won at Invercargill yesterday. The three year old gelding was bred by Mark Shirley and his best friend Malcolm Dewe and was broken in by Robbie Holmes. Shirley trains the American Ideal gelding with his wife Debbie. “He came down to me as a two year old. He’s just taken time to mature. He would have been racing before Christmas but he got kicked on the back leg so we put him aside. We’ve just been educating him at the workouts and trials. He’s a very nice horse with a big motor. He’s highly intelligent and he’s a supreme athlete - bottomless. I haven’t seen the bottom of him yet. We might have a bit of fun with this one,” he said. Shirley who's not getting too far ahead of himself, says the final of the latest Nuggets series next week at Winton will be the horse’s next start. “We’ll assess things after that,” he said when asked about starting in the Supremacy. The geldings winning time as an impressive 2-43.1 for the 2200 metre mobile. Mighty Conqueror winning on debut     - Photo Bruce Stewart. Shirley and Dewe have had horses together since they were teenagers including Dewy Boy (twenty one start maiden), Ochiltree Boy (trained by good mate Donny Morrison) and more recently Cullens Avenue (two wins). “To be fair, before we got into the Ballroom Babe family, we didn’t have a lot of luck. Malcolm does the breeding and we’re trying to get into the high end. We bought the mare off Mike O’Brien. Shane (driver Shane Walkinshaw) said he jogged it. The time was good. I don’t like to back them up that quick but I think he’ll be fine.” Mighty Conqueror is a three year old by American Ideal out of the Presidential Ball mare Ballroom Babe. She won seven races and has left Beckinsdale the winner of ten and the Brett Gray trained stayer Young Conqueror which has won five races.  Meanwhile seven year old trotter Splash Cola won her second race this season when she took out the main trotting feature of the day. She beat a game Its Elvis by a neck. It was the Sundon seven year old mares sixth win in just twenty seven starts.  Bruce Stewart Southland Harness racing Mighty Conqueror winning his first start  

Duke Of Wellington continued his progress towards the Alabar Southern Supremacy Stakes on Diamonds Day when he impressively won at Ascot Park yesterday. He's been one of the most progressive three year olds in the province this season but has required plenty of time to mature. “As a yearling he was real gangly so we turned him out and gave him time. As a two year old we brought him back in but he was too gangly so we biffed him back out again. After that he’s come back nice and strong. We waited for him to develop and it’s worked out,” said trainer Lauren Pearson. He also looks to have fined down as a racehorse. “We’ve probably been too fat. Everyone says I have my horses too fat. He’s holding his condition quite well at the moment so that’s good.” The three year old by American Ideal is owned and was bred by Invercargill lawyer Lester Smith. Pearson, who trains Duke Of Wellington at Winton says you can't get a line on the horse at home but he brings his A game to the race track. “He’s a big dummy at home and you can’t go on his work at home because he’s that lazy but on race day...... He’s starting to cotton on a wee bit. The pull down blinds have made a difference with him.” So, with his third win in the can, he's well on target to be in the frame for the Alabar Southern Supremacy Stakes later this month. “Yeah that’s our aim. It’s going to be a real good field.He’s going good enough so you’ve got to have a crack at it. I like his attitude and with him being so laidback at home he doesn’t over exert himself. Then he comes to the races and knows what it’s all about. For a big horse he’s got a good bit of speed.” After the early rush in today's race driver Brent Barclay settled Duke Of Wellington into the one one. That's where he stayed until the 400 when Barclay brought him out to make his run. He cruised to the line to easily win by two lengths from two Brett Gray runners Convair Hustler and Rockaball. “Brent said he was a bit toey behind the gate but once he was on the journey he knows how to relax. That helps when you’re trying to beat the good ones." Pearson said Duke Of Wellington is easy to train and she hasn't done too much with him since his impressive win over a mile in 1-53.9 at Winton at the end of last month. “Since his last race he’s had a couple of hopples and two canters and that’s it.” Duke Of Wellington is out of the one win Christian Cullen mare Galleon Honour which Smith bought in 2010. Galleon Honour is out of Galleons Cheer, a talented Albert Albert mare which won five of her nine starts for Hamish Hunter before injury curtained her career. Back to the birdcage - Photo Bruce Stewart Pearson recently qualified a two year old filly out of Galleons Honour called Rise Above This. She's by Bettor's Delight. “Yeah she’s goes quite nice. I think we’ll take her to Winton for the two year old race. She’s a filly, so it makes it hard. She seems to have stepped up every time she’s gone off the place. She’s got a nice bit of speed.” Galleons Honour has been a great broodmare for Smith with her first four foals all qualifying. Her first foal Dazed and Confused qualified impressively here but was unraced when sold to an Australian interest. Under the name Laszro, he's won nine races in Australia. The mare's second foal Venice Beach by Somebeachsomewhere won three times for Pearson before she was also sold to Aussie where she's gone on to win another four races. The win today elevated Duke Of Wellington up the points table for the Group Two Alabar Southern Supremacy Stakes. One trainer I talked to today said New Zealand Derby winner Sheriff isn't coming down for the Supremacy. It's also highly unlikely that the all conquering All Stars Stable of Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen will have a runner in this years three year old feature. Although Duplicated has started twice in the province he probably won't be high enough on the table (based on stakes won) to get a start.   Meanwhile earlier in the programme business partner and fellow lawyer Murray Little continued his great season when Betterthanbrie won her second race in just four starts. The Betterthancheddar three year old filly made the most of a inside trailing position to beat Jody Direen by half a length.  Bruce Stewart Southland Harness racing Duke Of Wellington winning yesterday

Dean Hunter has only been living in Canterbury for the last month having relocated to the garden city from Blenheim and today's win by Destiny Jones in the Pryde's Easifeeds Southern Lights was his first from his new barn at Russley. In today's trotting feature The Pres mare beat a nice field of squaregaiters, improving on her last start second to quality trotter Bordeax at Addington last week. Hunter has trained Destiny Jones for most of her career but good friend Kevin Townley has also had a stint at training her. “Kevin and I are very good friends and I’ve learnt most of my stuff from him.”  Hunter says Destiny Jones career hasn't been without drama.  “We’ve had our problems with her so it’s nice to have her back. She's had a wee nose bleed because she’s been popping blood vessels in her nose. It looks worse than it is. It isn’t happening further down but we’ve had to scratch her a few times. Hopefully we're on top of it now.” The hot pace set primarily by Splash Cola suited Destiny Jones and driver Blair Orange. With a lap to run they got a drag into the race when Sundons Wish improved. Just before straightening Orange hooked the six year old mare out and she came three wide to make her claim. She trotted nicely to the line beating a late run from Harriet Of Mot. The winning margin was one and a half lengths with another head back to Jen Jaccka. Destiny Jones trotting out to win the Southern Light - Photo Bruce Stewart. The winning time of 3-27.2 was just outside Dark Horse's track record of 3-26.7 but the time is a new race record as this was the first time the Southern Lights has been run over 2700 metres.  Hunter has held a trainers licence since 1988. He's trained twenty nine winners - twenty three of those being trotters. Other good trotters he's had in his stable have been Mo Hahn (by Earl) which won five races and Avon Develd (Gee Whiz II) which also won five. He also trains Dolly Jones a half-sister to Destiny Jones by Monkey Bones which ran third at Westport yesterday.    Bruce Stewart Southland harness racing    

At the start of the season Branxholme harness racing trainer Alister Black rated Kilowatt Kid as his best three year old. But  that was before Lawrence started to hit his straps and looked to have an advantage over his stablemate. However Kilowatt Kid has made a bit of a comeback in recent weeks and today's win in the Caduceus Club of Southland Super Nuggets Final has swayed Black's opinion again. “I don’t know what to put it down to really. I gave him a freshen and I've always thought he goes well fresh. Today he was like that and raced accordingly,” he said. The American Ideal gelding's form has been impeccable this season. He's won three of his eight starts and Black knew during the week that he was in tune for today's feature. “His work on Thursday was nothing short of superb. I woke him up a bit, saying come on son, it’s time to be a race horse.” Black, like all trainers, gets to know his horses and he's discovered how Kilowatt Kid best operates. "I’ve looked after him all the way through because I’ve really really liked him. Maybe I was being a wee bit soft on him.” Kilowatt Kid is owned by Ian and Lindsay Thomson both of whom have been great supporters of the young Branxholme trainer. “Without them I wouldn't be here. Ian and Lindsay have been so good to me. Words can’t describe it. What they’ve put into the game - I hope they get a good horse one day and I hope I’m around to see it and train it.” In today's final driver Blair Orange had Kilowatt Kid in the outside running line. With a lap to run stablemate Lawrence was putting pressure on the leader as well as on the favourite, The Bus. At the 600 Orange improved the gelding, taking him three wide and at the top of the straight he challenged the two leaders. In what was a  real staying test Kilowatt Kid got the better of The Bus just before the post, winning by half a neck.  Ian Thomson, Lindsay Thomson, Alister Black, Shirley Leakie (sister of the Ian and Lindsay), Blair Orange, Riley Black, Sheree Black and McKenzie Black    - Photo Bruce Stewart “He’s got an awesome attitude and a lovely way of going. I thought we had a good chance today even though Trottech completely wrote us off. I wasn’t so sure that we could bet The Bus, but we did.” Kilowatt Kid won't be targeting the New Zealand Derby, with Black preferring to stay close to home and aim at the Alabar Southern Supremacy Stakes on Diamonds Day at the end of next month.   Bruce Stewart Southland harness racing    

Northern Southland harness racing fixed odds movers as at 4:10pm Race 1 - Mighty Flying Art $13.00 - $12.00 is the best backed runner in win betting but in multi betting it's no surprise to see that all the tickets are on the $1.16 favourite Another Masterpiece.            Race 2 - Bettor Be Gold $1.95 - $1.70 has been well backed with the largest win bets $2,105 at $1.95, $2,500 at $1.80 & $1,000 at $1.70.   Race 3 - A huge go in this race for the debut runner Arushi $12.00 - $3.80 & she is easily our worst result on the card in early win betting with the largest bets $909 at $12.00 & $1,200 at $8.00. She also leads multi betting over Tact Maggie $4.20.   Race 4 - Zoey's Gift $3.10 leads multi betting over Jaw D Nancy $2.80.   Race 5 - Dracarys $1.85 leads multi betting easily over the stablemate Kayla Marie $2.30.   Race 6 - The only two runners wanted here are Show Gait $3.80 - $2.80 & Luby Lou $4.00 - $3.60. Largest bets $2,000 & $1,500 at $4.00 Luby Lou & also $714 at $3.80, $800 at $3.50, $1,000 at $3.00 & $500 at $3.00 (X2) Show Gait.    Race 7 - The Bus $2.20 leads win & multi betting but solid win support has also come for Nota Bene Denario $11.50 - $10.00.   Race 8 - Patanjani $9.00 leads win betting with Chitura $2.60 leading multi betting over Envious $7.00.    Race 9 - More The Better $1.70 easily leads multi betting with Young Conqueror $14.00 leading win betting.    Race 10 - Smokey Mac $10.00 leads win betting with Harriet Of Mot $2.20 leading multi betting.   Race 11 - Swamp Major $3.80 - $2.80 is the only runner wanted early in win & multi betting. Largest win bets $714 at $3.80, $1,000 at $3.00 & $1,111 at $2.80.     Harnesslink Media Courtesy of Stephen Richardson (TAB)

Many are saying Saturday's Northern Southland Trotting Club harness racing fields are the best seen in the south for a long time and they're not wrong. The sight of a fresh crop of two year olds; split into fillies and colts and geldings races, is in itself great to see and that's just the start of the story here. The inaugural Haras des Trotteurs Southland Trotting Oaks has carded a field full of depth and is proof of the emergence of Majestic Son as a sire of quality squaregaiters. Six of the eleven starters in Saturday's feature for trotting fillies are by Majestic Son. And there's no doubting that Wintonian Michelle Caig will be on-course just to see Renezmae, a horse she bred and raised. Renezmae, the likely favourite, won the Group One Breeders Crown for two year old fillies in Australia last season. After racing tough at Ashburton in the Hambletonian Classic last month she ran a brave fourth. The trip away and the race at Ascot Park will improve her chances for the New Zealand Trotting Oaks in a fortnight. But a win on Saturday won't surprise either. There is no doubting that trotting is on the climb in this country and this inititive is one of the many good things to come out of the Southland region this season. The New Zealand Standardbred Breeders, led by John Mooney and Brad Reid, have been to the forefront in getting this $20,000 race off the ground and the Australian based Hara des Trotteurs have been quick to support the fillies feature. Another inititive this season in the south has been the Nuggets Series. Starting in August, all heats have been worth $12,000 and all winners and second placegetters have become eligible to race in the $20,000 final at Ascot Park on Saturday. All winners, with the exception of Ardtoo, have fronted up and it a race that looks like a preview for the Southern Supremacy Stakes Final on Diamonds Day at the end of next month. The highest rated horse by a mile is the Mark Jones trained The Bus at R81. He's won six races this season with the next best rated horse being Zealand Star (R70) the winner of three. This for me is the race of the day with favourite horses like Franco Santino drawing wide and The Bus and the highly rated Lawrence having to content with second line draws.  Then we get to the three; Group Three races, on a day where there seems to be no undercard. The Yaldhurst Hotel Northern Southland Trotting Cup has had many great winners over the years including Mossdale Connor, Isaiah, Terror To Love (twice), Stunin Cullen and Bondy. More The Better will probably be the favourite for Saturday distance feature. As a three year old, he really came on late in the season and put together a winning sequence of four while campaigning in Australia. His wins there included the Group Two Queensland Derby. He comes into this 2700 metre race fresh but having won two trials. He's won his only standing start in Australia last season.  The Group Three Southern Lights, sponsored by Pryde's Easifeeds, is another mouth watering affair. The return of Dark Horse, who has been fitted for her return to racing at the Winton Workouts, will bring many to the track.   Harriot Of Mot, who has a few ex- Southlanders as owners, looks to be her main rival. She won this race in 2016. Smokey Mac, who currently leads the four year old ranking for the Harness Jewels also lines up in this feature. Trainer Brett Gray will get a good idea as to where he's at by racing against the better class trotters.  The Caduceus Club of Southland, who sponsor The Super Nuggets Final, also sponsor the two year old fillies feature with Alabar Stud. It also carries Group Three status. This race has been around for sixteen years and some of the early winners were Western Dream and Beaudiene Bad Babe. More recently Joanne's A Delight, Delightful Memphis and Dizzy Miss Lizzy have won. There are some other intriguing battles as well on the day with Hail Christian up against Swamp Major in the last race and quality up-and-coming trotters BD Love, Zoey's Gift and Jaw D Nancy squaring off. The weather forecast looks good so all roads lead to Ascot Park on Saturday for what should be a bumper day of harness racing. See ya there.  Bruce Stewart Southland Harness racing  

Taranaki Racing - Thursday 1 March An eight race twilight meeting starting at 3.34pm. The meeting will also feature the Taranaki Cup. Please note - Free Admission.   Owners Ribbon and Free Race books available at the Office. After the race, owners of all starters are welcome in the Egmont Room for a Complimentary drink and to view the race replay.   Addington Raceway & Events Centre Diamond Creek Farm NZ Pacing Derby Sustaining Fee – Due Wednesday 28 February 3pm Reminder that the sustaining fee of $345 is due in a couple of hours, if you haven’t already paid. RACING FRIDAY 2 MARCH - FREE ENTRY Spectators Open till Late! Delicious pizza and burger options will be available as well as our famous Evolution Friday menu. Every week the kitchen will create half a dozen special dishes which will only be available that Friday. (Gluten free and vegetarian options available). $15 A La Carte Dining – Choose from five of our divine dishes that are available in the Christian Cullen Lounge, located on level 1 of the Metropolitan Stand. (Gluten free and vegetarian options available). Stables BBQ – Enjoy a bite to eat from the Stables BBQ. Whether it is a juicy burger or a pottle of chips, your hunger cravings will be satisfied. The BBQ is located at the stables entrance directly beside the Lindauer Lawn. Crusaders vs Stormers – Saturday 3 March 7.35pm - Pop in to Spectators before the game for our $10 Burger and Beer Game Day Special! Remember, all Spectators Supporters Club Card members have access to free car parking on the Addington Site (entry to the carpark is off Wrights Road). Enjoy your burger and beer with friends then head over to the game. Dream result. If you are not a Supporters Club Card member and you would like to join, visit   Heading to an event at Horncastle Arena or AMI Stadium? - Make sure you pop in to Spectators before the event for a cold drink and delicious food! Spectators has ample free parking as well, you can’t go wrong.  Trackside Dining Options Are you needing to entertain clients or organize staff functions? Add a unique Trackside Dining Experience. You can choose from our fabulous Gold, Silver or Bronze packages. Gold Package – Premier viewing, divine four course buffet dining, premium beverage package and effective & innovative marketing. $93 + GST per person. Silver Package – Premier viewing, divine four course buffet dining and premium beverage package. $80 + GST per person. Bronze Package – Premier viewing and divine four course buffet dining. $54 + GST per person. Upcoming Race Meetings at NZMTC Click here to see the race programmes for our upcoming meetings,  March 16  March  23 (5 Star Meeting)  March 31 (Easter Saturday)  April 6 (5 Star Meeting) Have a great week and we look forward to hosting you at Addington Raceway & Events Centre. To contact us about any of the above please call 03 338 9094 or email   Alexandra Park - Friday 2 March, Oaks Night A glamorous evening the Park. Come one come all to enter MitoQ Best Dressed at the Oaks – an night of fabulous fashion, Harness Racing action, stunning prizes to be won and VIP judges, including New Zealand’s very own style icon Colin Mathura Jeffree. Best Dressed at the Oaks 2018 categories: Best dressed woman, best dressed man, best headwear, best dressed at the Oaks (overall winner). Competition entry is free, and with fantastic prizes up for grabs you should definitely come along and put your best foot forward. However please note you must be over 18 to enter! For more information call 09 630 5660 or book online at  or email Also we have the Pascoes Win a Ring Competition. Entry will be in the race book on the night. 10 people will be randomly drawn and then allocated a horse in race with the chance to win a Pascoes Ring!   Invercargill Grass Harness Racing – Saturday 3 March The last time a harness race meeting was held on the grass track at Ascot Park Raceway in Invercargill was January 1970. Since that time the code has used an all-weather facility that has served the Invercargill Harness Racing Club and other clubs such as the Northern Southland and Riverton Trotting Club’s so well in all conditions. However the Invercargill Harness Racing Club will turn back the clock when they race on the grass track on their Invercargill Licensing Trust/ILT Foundation Race Day on Saturday 3 March. While the all-weather facility is a great asset the March date will give patrons an opportunity to watch the racing close up as harness horses thunder around the grass track once again on the course only used these days for gallops. The day will feature the ILT Foundation Autumn Cup, a heat of the bMAC Sheetmetal Southern Country Cup Series and a Nugget Final with all races, both stands and mobiles, over 2050 metres. President of the Invercargill Harness Racing Club, Mark Shirley, says that the question of racing on grass generally gets raised by someone each year at the club’s AGM. “Grass track meetings are popular with horsemen and crowds. We did look at an option of racing at Cromwell but then thanks to good co-operation from the Southland Racing Club they have been keen to give us a crack after their Christmas At The Races event was over.” Shirley says, “a grass track meeting will give patrons an opportunity to view the action close up. There should be good fields and the starts, whether they are stands or mobiles, will be right in front of the grandstand so the on course public is in for a treat.”   Cheviot at Addington – Sunday 4 March Sunday 4th March see’s the Cheviot Club venture to the city for their annual raceday at Addington. The two feature races being the 51st running of the time honoured Group 3 “Sweet Lou” Leonard Memorial Stakes for 2yr old fillies and The Cheviot Business’s Cheviot Cup. Being one of the few Sunday meetings at Addington presents race goers with the opportunity for “Brunch “ at Spectators followed by a great days racing. A bouncy castle and Mr Whippy are on offer for the kids. The club prides itself on supporting all parts of the industry with good stakes, Kids Karts, Junior Drivers race, Breeders Bonus and we invite all owners to the winning owners bar for a pre-race drink. A great way for Town and Country to spend a Sunday afternoon at the “Home of Harness Racing”.   Stratford Trotting Club - Sunday 4th March - Te Kapua Park Racecourse The Stratford Trotting Club is looking forward to hosting our annual meeting on the Sunday 4th March, and encourage you to come along! The Stratford Farmlands Family Fun Day will sure to delight with the Kidz Kartz as a highlight, along with the main race, Quintin Oakes Builders Stratford Cup. With large spacious grounds bordered by bush and lakes and an extensive lawn area, this classic race day environment is ideal for picnickers. Relax in the grandstand, or in front of the public stand which overlooks the winning post. Admission if fee.  Owners wishing to stay over have ample stalls and paddocks available at the course, and can find accommodation themselves at the New Commercial Hotel Stratford ask for Ian or Judy on (06) 765 6364. A complimentary barbecue is held at the course the evening before the races 3rd March 5.30pm onwards with all owners and their guests, and members of the club are welcome to attend.   Westport Trotting Club Track Update Following the recent Cyclones Fehi and Gita the Westport Trotting Club are thrilled to announce that their racing surface for their meeting on Friday 9 March has bounced back in great order. Following Cyclone Fehi, which hit the West Coast hard in early February, the track was inundated with sea water from a large surge caused by the storm. “It wasn’t the rain so much that hurt us there,” said Club President Dan Moloney. “But the wind that caused the surge and brought sea water on to the racing surface and grounds.” The sea water caused damage to the grass, with a patchy surface appearing after the water subsided. But Moloney was quick to praise the Club’s members and the swift efforts involved to resurrect the track.  “We applied gypsum and ammonium sulfate and are amazed at how well the track has recovered. We are pleased that we are going to have a very good racing surface next week.” “Luckily following Gita we only had a tree fall at the racecourse. But no actual damage to the racing surface itself.” The Club is looking forward to welcoming racing connections back to Patterson Park, and there is one regular in particular that will take sentimental focus. “We understand that Margo Nyhan and Peter Davis will bring Sarah Palin here as part of her farewell tour,” said Moloney. “Sarah Palin her first two races here during March meetings in her career, and we are thrilled that she will be here for one last Westport appearance.” Sarah Palin is in foal and is currently on a ‘farewell tour’ as dubbed by her connections. She recently won her tenth career race, and has remarkably placed a further fifty times during her career.   Alexandra Park – Friday 9 March, Derby Night For the lovers of harness racing action, the Top of the Park and the Tasman will be open with deluxe Derby Night packages and a fantastic view. Derby night at the Top of the Park and Tasman Room Packages include: Delicious gourmet buffet dinner Premium beverage package or cash bar Private betting facilities within the room Race book for each guest Prices from $60 - $120. For more information call 09 630 5660 or book online at www.alexandra or email   Alexandra Park – Friday 20 March, Premier night Our phenomenally popular American Night is back for 2018! We’ll have the stars and stripes rolled back out from the Top of the Park to The Alex, and be serving up the very best of the US with another fantastic US-inspired all-you-can-eat buffet menu sure to satisfy – and of course we’ll be sure to get some top-class entertainment on board once again! Book your American Night table ASAP as this night is sure to sell out fast! American Night in the Tasman Room or Top of the Park  From $60pp | Buffet only From $125pp | Full beverage package including specialty US beer Vintage Cars, Pin up girls and amazing entertainment!!!   Hawera Easter Family Fun Meeting – 31 March, 2 April The Hawera Harness Racing Club invites you to be a part of their Easter Family Fun Meeting to be held on Saturday 31 March and Monday 2 April (Easter Monday). Club President Brendan Towers describes the meeting as a ‘trainer’s weekend away’ and explains that the club are there to make the meeting an enjoyable one for all who attend. “We will be holding dinner and entertainment for connections that are at the meeting on the Friday and Saturday nights, and are also here to assist with anything needed for horses and those connected with them,” said Towers. “We can help you find the right hotel or accommodation option, just get in touch and we will happily help.” The grass track meeting features the Hawera Cup and will be focused on family entertainment too, with free entry on both days and bouncy castles and plenty to keep the kids amused. For more information please get in contact with Brendan Towers 027 236 0016 or email   Methven Owners’ Day and Expo - Sunday 15 April The Methven Trotting Club will hold an Owners Day at their April race meeting to be held at Mt Harding Racecourse on Sunday 15 April. The club warmly invites industry merchants and also fellow club administrators to attend the event and be a part of their owner’s experience and expo at the meeting. This will provide an opportunity to promote products or clubs to owners present on the day. The club wishes to reward owners with a horse in at their meeting by hosting them in the Mt Hutt Lounge oncourse. They will also invite owners from the region to attend and offer special catering options on the day for them, and encourage non owners to come along and find out how they can become a part of the action. Those with ownership opportunities are welcome to contact the club in terms of potential options to promote ownership to potential new clients. For more information on how you can be a part of this special event please contact Nigel Armstrong on 027 328 2206 or email

The last time a harness race meeting was held on the grass track at Ascot Park Raceway in Invercargill was January 1970. Since that time the code has used an all-weather facility that has served the Invercargill Harness Racing Club and other clubs such as the Northern Southland and Riverton Trotting Club’s so well in all conditions. However the Invercargill Harness Racing Club will turn back the clock when they race on the grass track on their Invercargill Licensing Trust/ILT Foundation Race Day on Saturday 3 March. While the all-weather facility is a great asset the March date will give patrons an opportunity to watch the racing close up as harness horses thunder around the grass track once again on the course only used these days for gallops. The day will feature the ILT Foundation Autumn Cup, a heat of the bMAC Sheetmetal Southern Country Cup Series and a Nugget Final with all races, both stands and mobiles, over 2050 metres. President of the Invercargill Harness Racing Club, Mark Shirley, says that the question of racing on grass generally gets raised by someone each year at the club’s AGM. “Grass track meetings are popular with horsemen and crowds. We did look at an option of racing at Cromwell but then thanks to good co-operation from the Southland Racing Club they have been keen to give us a crack after their Christmas At The Races event was over. ” Shirley says, “a grass track meeting will give patrons an opportunity to view the action close up. There should be good fields and the starts, whether they are stands or mobiles, will be right in front of the grandstand so the on course public are in for a treat.” Lindsay Beer Promotions Officer Southern Harness Racing    

The Invercargill Harness Racing Club's early March race day has finally been confirmed as a grass track meeting. All races will be run over 2050 metres on the galloping track either from the stand or mobile, so the public will be able to get close to the action. The card includes the last Nuggets Final worth $12,000 and a heat of the Southern Country Cups series. Records show that the last time a harness meeting was held on the grass at Ascot Park was January 1970. The main race on that day was over a mile and 5 furlongs.Worth $1,550 it was won by Ghandi which was trained and driven by Colin Baynes. The main staying test at the meeting was won by Moody Patch, trained by Adam Hunter and driven by Charlie Franks. The two mile trip was run in 4-29.8.  The all-weather trotting surface was first used the following year at the Invercargill Trotting Club's December meeting. If the weather for the March 3rd meeting is looking like being wet, the club has the option of changing to the all weather surface. This decision will need to be made on the Wednesday. Distances would then be changed to 2200 metres. Grass track meetings have been popular in centres further north - particularly in Canterbury, and the racing public certainly enjoy the chance to view the action from close quarters. With plenty of parking available close to the fence at Ascot Park this is sure to attract a good crowd. Put in the diary now. The tentative programme is available on the HRNZ website. Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing

Kenny and Jo Baynes are having a great season with horses they own either together or in partnership - winning a fair few races, mainly in the trotting gait. Today(Saturday) at Ascot Park in the Arden Lodge Robin Dundee Crown their two runners quinellaed the race with Christian Cullen mare Especial beating Envious her half-sister. Especial is trained by Tony Stratford at Gore while Envious is trained by Jo. Both are out of the Falcon Seelster mare Especial Franco.   “I’d tried to buy some of the mare's progeny but missed out so I bought the mare,” said Kenny. Baynes says as a broodmare Especial Franco has left lots of winners including Elation Franco (8 wins), Equalizer (11 wins), Expressionist (24 New Zealand and Australian wins), and her two local mares Envious (5 wins) and Especial (3 wins). Note: Expressionist won his 24th race at Menangle on Saturday night.  The mare was tragically lost just before Christmas when she was foaling A Rocknroll Dance colt. Both she and the foal died.  “We’ve got a full sister at home to Envious. She’s a two year old but we’re not going to push her.” Especial and Dexter Dunn winning from her stablemate Envious - Photo Bruce Stewart.  Both Envious and Especial were having their first starts this season and Kenny was quick to hand the credit to their trainers. “She’s (Especial) got a huge amount of talent and jogged it. It was a teriffic run from Envious too. She started from gate six and crossed and took the lead. It was a great training effort from Tony with Especial and Jo who works with him with Envious at the Gore track.” Judy and John Stiven from Arden Lodge with Jo and Kenny Baynes - Photo Bruce Stewart. Baynes says as both mares raced well into the winter last season, they were late in coming back into work but that strategy also had another side to it. “We’ve kept them until later in the season so we didn’t have trouble over the summer with seasonal issues. We couldn’t be bothered with that so that’s why we’ve left them until a wee bit later.” Baynes was unsure of where the two mares will go next but there looks to be a bit of travel and fun ahead. “If they’re in form you just push on. Tony rates Especial. You always know when she goes to the front and pins her ears forward that the rest of them are going to be in a power of shit. She’s just got a big motor but she just doesn’t know it. She’s only had six starts.” For most of us looking on, Envious looked to be well above herself. The Crash Crew were unable to get one of her ear plugs in but that didn't bother Baynes. “When Envious is doing that you just know she ready to go. She’s like Jo’s new car. She’s got a new Mustang that wants to eat track,” he said with plenty of Baynes gusto. In today's mares feature Envious lead early before her stablemate took over with a lap to run. Especial held on to beat Envious by three quarters of a length with Tara Tutaia charging home late for third.  Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing   Especial winning at Ascot Park

Archman was a bit of a ‘talk’ horse early in the season and punters have certainly put some good money his way but in the four starts he's had prior to today he had no luck. Today (Saturday) the luck went his way for a change. “With the favourite breaking, everything fell into place,” said co-trainer Jude Knight after the Somebeachsomewhere colt easily won his $10,000 maiden race. From barrier five driver Rory Mcllwrick pushed Archman forward and when favourite Henry Hubert which ran out of barrier one broke, the lead was Mcllwrick's. From that point he dictated the pace and he held out his only challenger I'mallaboutthebase by a length and three quarters. Archman which is owned by Judy Dillon of Ardlussa, is out of her good Camtastic mare Daisy Butler. Daisy Butler's first foal Jimbob Jac won nine races for Dillon.  Knight says he a nice horse to train and one with personality.  “He’s a bit of a character around home. We call him the circus horse. He knows how to open the electric fence gates, he’ll be in the paddock with someone else or munching away at the lucerne stack. He visits everyone and is really hard to keep in.” That personality has made him a stable favourite with staff.  “I have hardly ever driven him to be fair. When Genevieve Crawford worked here he was her favourite and when she left Rory took over and I can’t get near him.” Mcllwrick, since relocating to Roxburgh, has become the stable's main driver and Knight says there are advantages in having last year's Junior Driver Champion helping out. Rory Mcllwrick, Archman, Judy Dillon and Geoff and Jude Knight - Photo Bruce Stewart  “It’s one of the benefits having Rory working for us. He helps me for a couple of hours a day so he really knows the horses. If they’ve got any little idiosyncrities, he knows.” Knight believes Archman's got more wins ahead of him, but the stable will adopt a cautious approach.  “I think there are better and bigger things ahead for him. We’re just looking after him at this stage. He’s still green. I saw him with a 1000 metres to go and his ears were flopping and he was looking at everything and he was just cruising. It’s just so easy for him. Even today Rory hasn’t turned the stick.” It's not the first horse the Knights have trained for Dillon. Other Dillon owned horses in their stable have been Sonia Ellen and Ardlussa Express. Two races later the Knights were in the winning way again when Franco Rebel easily won the Sheet Metalcraft Mobile Pace. Matty Williamson has time to grin when winning with Franco Rebel - Photo Bruce Stewart. Driver Matty Williamson adopted the same tactics as Mcllwrick, taking the four year old McArdle gelding to the front. He won easily by three lengths.   Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing   Archman winning at Ascot park

Matt Anderson, who is a regular visitor to the south as he chases the junior drivers premiership, has a bit of a following. When he returned to the stabling area with Invercargill Cup winner Maverick he received plenty of calls of ‘well done’ from those in the South Stand.  Maverick, who started off the 20 metre mark with favourite Robbie Burn, stayed out of the early action as Hopes And Dreams and Nathan Williamson set the pace in the 3200 metre Group Three feature. Inside the last 800 metres Anderson sped the six year old forward. By the time the horse had reached the 400 he had his head in front of a tiring Hopes And Dreams. He held on tenaciously to beat stablemate My Wee Man and Robbie Burns, who both fought bravely. The winning margin was a length and a quarter.  Maverick (8) and Matt Anderson winning the Invercargill Cup - Photo Bruce Stewart. “We navigated around the handicap and picked our time to move. When we did I asked plenty of him and he delivered,” said Anderson. The winner is trained by Nigel McGrath who won the Invercargill Cup last year with Classie Brigade in a sensational time of 3-23.5. Today's winning time was 4-05.2. It was Anderson's second winning drive in the cup. He won with the Brent Shirley trained Costa Del Magnifico in 2016.  "I owe Brent Shirley a big thanks. He’s worked on my relationship with Nigel McGrath. I’m really grateful.” Maverick has now won ten races and $121,065 for his connections which include HRNZ Chairman Ken Spicer and his wife Anne- Marie who also bred the gelding. He's by Bettor's Delight out of the Auckland Cup winner Kate's First.   Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing  

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  

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