CHILLI PALMER HAS GOLDEN NUGGET AT HIS MERCY AFTER DAZZLING VICTORY Inexperienced New Zealand-bred gelding Chilli Palmer appears to have the $175,000 Lancaster Park Golden Nugget at his mercy after producing an electrifying burst of dazzling speed to come from last at the 600m to score a superb record-breaking victory in the $125,000 McInerney Ford Classic at Gloucester Park on Friday night. “This was only his third run back from a spell and so, in two weeks’ time, hopefully he’ll be even better,” said master reinsman Chris Alford after Chilli Palmer swamped his 11 rivals and careered away to win by just under a length from the pacemaker Condrieu. The Golden Nugget will be decided over 2536m at Gloucester Park next Friday week and regardless of what barrier Chilli Palmer draws he is sure to be a firm favourite. Chilli Palmer’s victory gave leading Victorian trainer Dean Braun his third win in three years in the group 1 McInerney Ford Classic for four-year-olds. He was successful with Mustang Mach in 2011 and Chancellor Cullen 12 months ago. Chill Palmer, making his first appearance in Western Australia, drew unfavourably on the outside of the back line, but many astute punters were confident that he would stretch his winning sequence to six and the Elsu gelding was sent out equal favourite at 5/2 with Northview Punter, with New Zealand star Bit Of A Legend at 4/1. The first surprise in an up-tempo race of many moves came when Colin Brown got 16/1 chance Condrieu away brilliantly from barrier five on the front line. Condrieu burst past the polemarker My Hard Copy (9/1) and into the lead after 120m. Northview Punter also began speedily from the No. 4 barrier and he raced wide early before Gary Hall jun. got him across to race three back on the pegs soon after the start. Hall then eased Northview Punter off the pegs and into the breeze after 700m. Bit Of A Legend, from barrier six, and Nowitzki (barrier seven) were restrained to the rear in the field of 12 and Daniel Jack was the first to make a decisive move when he urged Nowitzki (14/1) forward and into the breeze with 1400m to travel. His run was followed by Bit Of A Legend, who got to the breeze 1250m from home. Robyns C C surged forward to be third at the bell and her three-wide burst was followed by Mexicano and Heez On Fire. But the ice-cool Alford was quite content to keep Chilli Palmer at the rear. Chilli Palmer was 12th and last in the one-wide line 600m from home before Alford made his move. Chilli Palmer sprinted fast down the back straight and he was forced five wide 300m from home as he sustained his blistering burst of speed. Chilli Palmer charged home down the outside and got the measure of Condrieu about 75m from the post. He drew away and won convincingly, with the conservative Alford showing a rare moment of exultation with a subdued wave of the whip. The final 800m was covered (off the front) in 57.9sec. and the last 400m in 28.8sec., with Chilli Palmer rating 1.57.2 over the 2536m journey. This smashed the track record for a four-year-old of 1.58.1 set by Northview Punter when he led and defeated Bettors Fire on October 1. My Hard Copy fought on determinedly to be third, a length in front of 20/1 chance Rocky Marciano, who had enjoyed an ideal trail three back on the pegs. Chilli Palmer, owned by Victorians Karlos Farah, Aziz Kheir, Mara Scarpino, Joe Pezzimenti, Sharyn Parkinson, Adam Mathews, Clint and Alex Badcock and Braun. The son of former star pacer Elsu has raced only nine times for seven wins, a second and a seventh placings for earnings of $121,450. Alford, who achieved the tremendous milestone of 5000 winners when successful with the Braun-trained Macho Comacho at Kilmore on October 27 this year, said that Braun had always had a “super opinion” of Chilli Palmer. “When they all went in front of me at the bell I was a little bit worried because the one in front of me couldn’t quite keep up that well,” he said. “But my horse was travelling so well down the back and when I went to pull the ear plugs he nearly ran up the tail of the horse I was tracking up. So I had to ease him out four wide and he just went around the corner like a greyhound and he sprinted like a jet. “He gets a little bit lost when he gets to the front. He probably hit the front about 100m out and he has a tendency to knock off. So I thought I had better give him a couple of cracks. I didn’t get the time to pull the plugs. I always thought I had Condrieu covered.” VOAK TARGETS LEDA McNALLY FOR RICH LADYSHIP MILE Young reinsman Chris Voak sang the praises of Leda McNally after driving the Victorian-bred five-year-old to an impressive narrow victory in the $40,000 Norm’s Daughter Classic at Gloucester Park on Friday night, declaring her one of the fastest mares in Australia and New Zealand. And Voak is extremely keen for Leda McNally to challenge the best mares in the country by contesting the $200,000 Ladyship Mile at Menangle on March 2. “She deserves to be invited to run in the Ladyship Mile,” he said. “She has the quickest turn of foot of any filly or mare in Australia. And I think she is one of the quickest mares in Australasia. She is a real good miler and a mile is her pet distance. “But it will not be a problem for her in the 2130m group 1 $100,000 Mares Classic next Friday night. Horses with her speed are always dangerous.” Leda McNally, trained at Pinjarra by Chris King for Victorian owner Greg Stubbs, was a 6/1 chance from the No. 4 barrier on the front line in the Norm’s Daughter Classic and Voak quickly had her in sixth position, one-out, two-back, with polemarker Askmenow (5/1) setting a brisk pace, with the heavily-supported 10/9 on favourite Bettor Cover Lover in the breeze, Famous Alchemist (8/1) trailing the pacemaker and Sensational Gabby (11/2) in the one-out, one-back position. Askmenow raced roughly when the mobile barrier sent the field on its way and Brent Mangos had Bettor Cover Lover (from the No. 2 barrier) a full length in front. But Askmenow (Gary Hall jun.) kicked up on the inside to hold out Bettor Cover Lover. After a quick first 400m section of the final mile in 28.6sec., Askmenow relaxed and went through the next section in 29.7sec. before she sprinted over the third quarter in 28sec. Bettor Cover Lover took a narrow lead 300m from home and then Famous Alchemist was being hailed the winner when Clint Hall dashed her to the front with about 130m to travel. However, Leda McNally flew home, out wide, to snatch victory by a head from Famous Alchemist, with Bettor Cover Lover almost two lengths farther back in third place. Askmenow finished fourth and, after a final quarter in 28.4sec., the winner rated 1.54.3 for the 1730m to improve her record to 43 starts for 17 wins, eight placings and $191,308 in prizemoney. HOKONUI BEN WARMS UP FOR SUMMER FEATURE EVENTS IN STYLE New Zealand-bred seven-year-old Hokonui Ben enhanced his prospects in the rich summer carnival feature events when he gave a dashing frontrunning display to win the 2130m McInerney Ford Falcon Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Making his second appearance after a spell for leading trainer Gary Hall sen., Hokonui Ben further illustrated the great advantage of the No. 1 barrier by winning the start from the speedy David Hercules (barrier two), setting the pace and scoring by 2m from the gallant David Hercules. A week earlier David Hercules, resuming after a spell, started from the No. 1 barrier, made all the running and won by six lengths over 1730m. Hoknui Ben, also racing first-up, started from barrier three and finished fifth. This week, most punters declared for Hokonui Ben from the prized No. 1 barrier and he started favourite at 7/4 on, with David Hercules at 5/2. After a moderate lead time of 37.8sec., Hokonui Ben dawdled through the first 400m section of the final mile in 31.4sec. before sprinting over the next quarters in 28.9sec., 27sec. and 27.8sec. to make the task of David Hercules (in the breeze) virtually impossible. David Hercules fought on grandly to be a 2m second, with 9/1 chance Ima Rocket Star three lengths farther back in third place after trailing the leader all the way. Hokonui Ben rated a slick 1.55.5 and took his record to 15 wins and 11 placings from 44 starts for stakes of $230,399. He has had 20 starts in WA for the Hall camp for nine wins and six placings. “In this sort of company barrier draws are very important,” said reinsman Gary Hall jun. “Until the big guns come out for the bigger money these races turn into a bit of a walk in the middle stages and then a sprint home. We were very happy with the draw tonight and we are happy with the way Hokonui Ben is going, too.” THE PARADE STRENGTHENS HER CLAIMS FOR THE WA OAKS New Zealand-bred filly The Parade maintained her unbeaten record as a three-year-old and gave further proof that she is developing into a leading candidate for the WA Oaks next year when she overcame the disadvantage of an unfavourable barrier to win the 2130m McInerney Ford Belmont Service Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Boyanup trainer-reinsman Justin Prentice has brought The Parade back after a spell in tremendous shape and the filly is going from strength to strength. After one minor placing from three starts as a two-year-old The Parade has scored decisive victories at her first four starts as a three-year-old. Her win on Friday night completed a training and driving double for the 25-year-old Prentice, who was successful earlier in the night with Braemoor. The Parade, second favourite at 5/2, started from the outside of the back line and Prentice settled her in seventh place in the one-wide line as Shane Butcher sent 13/2 chance Lipizzaner to an early lead from polemarker Artistic Copper, with the 11/8 favourite The Prodigy in the breeze. A slow lead time followed by a dawdling first 400m section of the final mile in 31.8sec. sparked Prentice into action and he dashed The Parade forward to move into the breeze 1200m from home. Prentice was content to keep The Parade outside of the pacemaker until he sent her to the front with 250m to travel. The Parade dashed over the final 400m in 28.3sec. and won by 4m from Then Prodigy, with 11m back to the third placegetter, the 55/1 outsider Flicka Whitby, a stablemate of the winner who was driven by Prentice’s father Kim. Flicka Whitby finished solidly from tenth at the bell. The winner rated 1.59.8. The Parade, whose maternal granddam Atomic Lass produced former star pacer Auckland Reactor (53 starts for 32 wins, four placings and $1,759,374 in prizemoney), has won at four of her seven starts for earnings of $37,080. SOHO REDFORD MAKES THE MOST OF THE No. 1 BARRIER The two youngest runners in the 2536m McInerney Ford Focus Westbred Pathway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night dominated betting, with Soho Redford favourite at 10/9 and Extreme Dreams at 6/4. The four-year-olds dominated proceedings, with Soho Redford taking full advantage of the prized No. 1 barrier to set the pace and win easily from Extreme Dreams, who started from the inside of the back line and raced without cover for most of the way. Back in third place, three lengths behind Extreme Dreams, was 20/1 chance Atomic Chip, who ran home nicely from eighth at the bell. “When he’s in front he’s a different horse,” said Vance Stampalia, who drove the son of Mach Three for his sister, Wanneroo trainer Tonia Stampalia. “He is going pretty good and in the past when he has led he has either won or been beaten by some pretty smart horses.” Soho Redford, bred and owned by Rob Watson, has earned $37,152 from six wins and seven placings from 30 starts and he looks set for further successes in the city. He is out of the unraced Dream Away mare Dream Bet and is a full-brother to five-year-old Soho Indianapolis, who has had 58 starts for ten wins, 15 placings and $58,270 in stakes. JAR ZINYO CAUSES AN UPSET AND ENDS 23-MONTH DROUGHT South Australian-bred seven-year-old Jar Zinyo ended a 23-month drought and broke a losing sequence of 20 when he started at 15/1 and caused a major upset when he flashed home to snatch victory from the 10/1 on favourite Dredlock Rockstar in the 1730m McInerney Ford Falcon Ute Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Dredlock Rockstar, stylish all-the-way winner of the 2130m Parliamentarians Cup at his previous outing, was considered a certainty by most punters. But he played the pivotal role in his defeat by a half-head when, after starting from the No. 1 barrier and being smartest into stride, he broke into a gallop for about two strides on the first bend, shortly after the start. This prompted Shannon Suvaljko to dash 62/1 outsider Xupan Three forward in a determined bid for the lead. However, the move was unsuccessful as Kaiden Hayter quickly got Dredlock Rockstar back into a smooth pacing action. But this early action placed considerable pressure on Dredlock Rockstar, who sped through the first 400m section of the final mile in 28.8sec. Then after resisting the early challenge from Xupan Three, Dredlock Rockstar was kept under pressure from Kiss Chasey and Wrongly Accused (three wide). After the second and third quarters in 29.6sec. and 29.2sec. Dredlock Rockstar sprinted fast in the final quarter which took just 28.7sec. However, he was beaten in the final stride by Jar Zinyo, who started from the inside of the back line and trailed the pacemaker throughout. “It looked as though Jar Zinyo would be guaranteed second money, starting from the inside of the back line and behind the favourite,” said reinsman Gary Hall jun. “You probably would have thought that if he did get a crack at the leader late he would definitely struggle to pick him up. I didn’t think that Jar Zinyo had that point-to-poi8nt speed in him, but he really crunched the line when he found it.” “On that run he should win a few more city races. He’s had his fair share of leg problems since he has been here (in WA) and this is probably the first time we have got him up and running without any problem.” Jar Zinyo, who gave Hall and his father, trainer Gary Hall sen., the first leg of a double, had been unsuccessful at his first ten WA starts. His previous win was in a 2240m stand at Melton in December 2011. A smart juvenile performer, Jar Zinyo, owned by Douglas Webster, has earned $126,874 from 18 wins and 25 placings from 81 starts. He is the last foal out of the WA-bred mare Whitby Heritage, who amassed $201,758 from 22 wins and 18 placings from 66 starts. OUR MAJOR MARK DEFIES THE ODDS AND BOOSTS HIS EARNINGS TO $634,370 Our Major Mark provides a perfect example that breeding is not everything in horse racing. He is the sixth and last foal out of the unraced Live Or Die mare Gucci Franco and he boosted his earnings to $634,370 from 22 wins and 17 placings from 65 starts when he scored an easy victory in the third heat of the 2130m McInerney Ford FPV The Kersley Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The only other winner out of Gucci Franco is Supersonic Cullen, who raced 23 times for three wins in minor events and six placings for stakes of $15,913. He won once at Yarra Valley in 2006 and twice at Cranbourne in 2008. Our Major Mark’s win by a length over Toretto on Friday night was his tenth from 20 starts in Western Australia and gave trainers Greg and Skye Bond the second leg of a double after Lunar Tide’s easy win in the previous event. Veteran pacer Rojen Cruz set the pace and Ryan Warwick was happy to rate Our Major Mark in the breeze until sending the New Zealand-bred six-year-old to the front 480m from home. Our Major Mark, who started at $3.10 on the tote, dashed over the final 800m in 56.3sec. and the last 400m in 27.8sec. and won comfortably from Toretto, who started tote favourite at $3.The winner rated 1.57.3. Toretto, aiming at his third win in a row, started out wide at barrier six and he raced in sixth place in the one-wide line in the field of seven. Gary Hall jun. switched him three wide with 750m to travel and he ran home determinedly. Hez The Bart Man ran home solidly from last at the bell to be third. “He probably should run to his ability more often,” said Warwick. “He has a mind of his own. Tonight he felt good in the preliminary and came off the arm very well. I really wasn’t bothered being in the breeze in the small field. It didn’t matter where we were, as long as we didn’t do anything silly and became a sitting shot. “He felt really good in the run and still had a bit up his sleeve. When he wants to he can do really good things.” BLACK PONTIAC CONTINUES TO EXCEL AS A FRONTRUNNER “Barrier one around here really helps,” said trainer Donald Harper after driving 9/1 chance Black Pontiac to an all-the-way win over Mighty Flying Thomas and Sanjaya in the 1730m McInerney Ford Fiesta Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Harper also had made full use of the No. 1 barrier by guiding Black Pontiac to his two previous victories, both over 1730m at Gloucester Park, in August and October this year. “Obviously it gets a lot harder from now (with Black Pontiac graduating to an M3 classification), but with good barriers and in short races I think he will still earn money.” A noted frontrunner, Black Pontiac easily resisted an early challenge from the 2/1 on favourite Ohoka Samson and after a 28.9sec. quarter of the final mile, he had a breather with a 30.2sec. section before sprinting over the final quarters in 28.6sec. and 28.1sec. to score by 4m at a 1.55.2 rate from 22/1 chance Mighty Flying Thomas, who raced four back on the pegs before surging home along the inside. Ohoka Samson, racing first-up after a brief let-up, wilted after working hard in the breeze and finished last in the field of nine. Black Pontiac, bred in Victoria, has earned $105,097 from 17 wins and 11 placings from 83 starts. BRAEMOOR OVERCOMES A SLOW START TO UPSET THE FAVOURITE A tardy beginning from the 10m mark saw Braemoor well back in 11th position in the middle stages of the 2503m McInerney Ford Ranger Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night. But considerable mid-race pressure applied to the pacemaker and 2/1 favourite Lord Coburn played into the hands of Braemoor, who dashed forward, three wide, from 11th at the 880m mark to move into the breeze 400m from home and then get to the front in the final 25m to win by a metre from Lord Coburn, with Erris Lad finishing with a late burst, a close third. Lord Coburn had an easy time in front until Adda Paternal Suit dashed forward to move into the breeze after a lap. Adda Paternal Suit then began to overrace badly, leaving the 30m backmarker Shardons Rocket out on a limb, three wide. This pressure on Coburn Bay led to that gelding sprinting over the first 400m section of the final mile in 28.1sec., leaving him susceptible to late challenges. Braemoor accelerated quickly and Justin Prentice had him outside the pacemaker just before the turn out of the back straight. Prentice said that the fast pace had helped Braemoor. “I was a bit worried about Courageous Ned getting off the fence (from behind the leader) when I got to the breeze,” he said. “So when Braemoor got there I took a hold of him --- and he switched off and didn’t want to get going.” However, Braemoor responded to Prentice’s urgings and he overhauled Lord Coburn in the final stages. This was the New Zealand-bred Braemoor’s seventh win from 23 WA starts and it took his overall record to ten wins and 12 placings from 54 starts for stakes of $93,606. LUNAR TIDE MAKES AMENDS FOR HIS SURPRISE DEFEAT New Zealand-bred five-year-old Lunar Tide made amends for his defeat at 5/1 on at Gloucester Park last Friday week when he started at 3/1 on and proved far too good for his nine rivals in the 2536m McInerney Ford Morley Service Pathway Pace on Friday night. Driven by Colin Brown for trainers Greg and Skye Bond, Lunar Tide mustered plenty of early pace from barrier four and surged to the front 150m after the start. He set a solid pace and sprinted over the final 800m in 57.8sec. to win by 10m from 12/1 chance Zurbaran, who trailed him all the way. Lunar Tide rated 1.58.9. The previous week Lunar Tide led in a 2130m event before finishing second to Soho Highroller, who rated a slick 1.56.7. “He copped a fair bit of attention last week and they went 1.56, which is a bit beyond him at this stage,” Brown explained. “Getting the comfortable lead time tonight and an easy first quarter really set it up for him. “He just keeps improving. I didn’t think much of him when I first sat behind him. He has gone out and had a spell and has come back far better. He’s the type of horse who could continue to improve.” by Ken Casellas
Alan Galloway and Graeme Henley of Alabar are pleased to report that Alabar sires will serve a near record number of mares this season. “Between New Zealand and Australia , Alabar will breed over 3000 mares this season,” reports Galloway. New Zealand’s Graeme Henley is also very pleased with how this breeding season is going. “It has been a very good year,” said Henley. “We are well up on last year, that is for sure,” he added. Henley said that newcomers Auckland Reactor and Majestic Son had proven hugely popular, which had added greatly to their numbers this season. “Shadow Play, Courage Under Fire, Mach Three and Art Major also have full books,” he enthused. This is great news for not only Alabar but the entire industry, as the last few seasons have raised huge concerns over the lack of foals being bred in New Zealand. “I am not saying everything is rosy again, but it certainly is looking up,” stressed Henley. “We have had a lot of feedback from other studs saying they are also having a good season, so it is not just us,” he added. Henley said that he couldn’t point to anything in particular that has caused the rise in breeding numbers. “I think it comes down to a range of things really. Both the Auckland Trotting Club and Addington (NZ Metropolitan) are making plenty of positive moves at the moment, so as long as they keep heading in the right direction so will the breeding numbers,” he concluded. By Mitchell Robertson
New Zealand Cup runner up Fly Like An Eagle has soared into Sydney and will attempt to qualify for the Miracle Mile by winning Saturday night's Cordina Sprint at Tabcorp Park Menangle. Trainer Paul Fitzpatrick welcomed the Kaikoura Cup winner into his stable on Tuesday and is hoping for a strong showing this weekend. "I can't really do much in such a short time, I have had a good chat with former trainer Mark Purdon and he has given me a good idea of what I am dealing with, he has joined my stable in peak form," Fitzpatrick said. "Something similar happened with Auckland Reactor during his career, unfortunately not everything went to plan with him but after Fly Like An Eagle drew so well on Saturday night I'm expecting a pretty big effort." Fitzpatrick confirmed that he knew for nearly a fortnight that Fly Like An Eagle would be joining his stable for a shot at the Miracle Mile. "The horse has been bought to send to America and John Curtin is the agent for the sale, he spoke with me a couple of weeks ago and mentioned there was a possibility that Fly Like An Eagle would be coming across, I'm not too sure how long he will stay here for but I think they might be keen to target some of the bigger Victorian races as well." Meanwhile Fitzpatrick is hoping Lous Lad can continue on his winning way this weekend after scoring back to back victories since resuming from a break. "I hadn't really planned on a Miracle Mile campaign with him because he has always just been below the very best ones but I'm really pleased with how he has come back since the spell and in the back of my mind has always been the Bohemia Crystal Free For All on Miracle Mile night." "He hasn't taken any harm from the run on Saturday night on the wet track, his recovery was very good but it is going to mean that he will have four runs in the space of four weeks." Courtesy of Harness Racing New South Wales
Despite not measuring up to the best three-year-olds in the country in the Sires’ Stakes final last Tuesday, the Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen trained Nota Lada was able to set a track record on Sunday. The Mach Three gelding produced a brilliant all-of-the-way win to record a time of 2minutes 56.2seconds (2400m mobile) in the Muscara Loyalty Payback 3-Year-Old Pace. The time carved 0.1sec off the 3-year-old colts and geldings' record, set previously by Classic Cullen in 2005. Nota Lada, who up until two starts ago was trained by Tony Herlihy, is owned by Neil Piltcher, Trevor Casey, and Tony and Anne Parker of Auckland Reactor fame. Nota Lada, who is out of good mare Hi Ho Silver Lining, was headed by Jango Fett in the home stretch before fighting doggedly to regain the front with 50 metres to go. Stablemate Vice Consul, who was recently purchased for big money out of the south, finished strongly for third. The full-brother to the recent Futurity winner Vice Chairman should pick one up at very short notice. Meanwhile, the C3-7 win Hunter Family Special turned out to be exactly that with Hamish (Hunter) training the winner, Peter (Hunter) driving it, and Greg (Hunter) training the second and third placegetters. To view the full results click here. By Mitchell Robertson
Impressive individual Hughie Green backed up some stout trial form with an effortless win in today’s Auckland Reactor @ Alabar Morrinsville Juvenile Stakes at Cambridge. Trained by Brian Hughes, Hughie Green was sent forward to the lead early by driver Maurice McKendry before holding rivals Brookies Jet (Jeremes Jet) and Controversial (Changeover) at bay in the home stretch. Owned by Mrs M E Green, J P Green and Mrs P C Green, Hughie Green is named after the late Hugh Green, who was a very successful Auckland philanthropist and father of Hughes’s former training partner John. Hughie Green is by Art Major and out of superstar mare Alta Serena, who won 593,618 and finished second in the 2005 New Zealand Cup. He paced the 1700m journey in 2-09.1, with sectionals of 59.5 and 28.2 Hughie Green is now likely to target the Young Guns series in December. By Mitchell Robertson
With Cup Day on the horizon I thought we would test our readers ‘Cup Day’ knowledge and give one lucky Harnesslink.com reader the chance to win a $50 Final Field each-way bet on Cup Day courtesy of Steve Richardson and the New Zealand T.A.B – Who said they weren’t generous? The winner of the quiz, and therefore the $50 Final Field each-way bet will be the first person to answer 10 or more of the 15 questions correctly. So, here goes.... Q1: What horse won the New Zealand Cup as a 4yo and then came back and won it again as an 8yo? Q2: Name the horse that was a promoted winner of the 2006 Sires’ Stakes Final? Who crossed the line in first place? Q3: Two trotters have won the New Zealand Cup. Name them? Q4: Who was the last horse to win a New Zealand Cup from a handicap? Q5: How many times has Anthony Butt won the New Zealand Trotting-Free-For-All? Q6: In the Sires Stakes Final that Auckland Reactor won Mark Purdon and Grant Payne lined up six horses in the race. Name the other five? Q7: Who was the original trainer of the 2008 Sires Stakes winner Stunin Cullen? Q8: Who is the only free-legged pacer to win the New Zealand Trotting Cup to date? Q9: Who was disqualified from the New Zealand Cup that Spry was a promoted winner of? Q10: Name the only mare to win the New Zealand Cup as a four-year-old? Q11: Name the last six mares to win the New Zealand Cup? Q12: What horse started favourite twice in the New Zealand Cup during the 2000’s but never won one? Q13: New Zealand Cup winners Gold Bar and Haughty crossed to leave what open class pacer? Q14: Who is the only horse to win the Junior Free-For-All twice? Q15: Who is the only three-year-old to finish in the money in a New Zealand Cup? *To enter – comment below. By Mitchell Robertson
The problem with producing miracles is after a while people start to expect them. But training genius Tim Butt says there will be no miracle from Mah Sish in tomorrow’s $650,000 New Zealand Trotting Cup at Addington. Mah Sish started the season one of the favourites for the great race after a rampaging Australian campaign last term in which he won the Hunter and Ballarat Cups and finished second in the Interdominion. With natural improvement, great manners and huge stamina, he looked the perfect New Zealand Cup contender. The only problem is, Mah Sish has barely run past a horse in four starts this campaign, his best result being a sixth of 10 two starts ago. His fall from grace has left master trainer Butt stumped. “To my eye, he looks perfect. Apart from what he is doing on the track,” says Butt. “His blood is great, his coat looks spot on and he is working well. “But he simply isn’t the same horse as he was last season. Not so far, at least.” Being Tim Butt comes with its big-race pressures though because all season punters have been waiting for him to pull the rabbit out of the hat. Most harness racing fans remember him doing just that in 2007 when Flashing Red went into the Cup well down on his best form but almost unfathomably overcame a 15m handicap to beat Monkey King. After having earlier weaned champion trotter Lyell Creek off Lasix after his US career and taken him back to the top again, Butt is routinely expected to do what other trainers can’t. “I know there are people out there who think we can turn them around for the big races but I just don’t see it happening,” says Butt. “With Flashing Red it was different. He had little issues and we eliminated them one by one right up till Cup day. "But Mah Sish seems and looks fine. We have been taking him to the beach but really, there is not a lot more we can do.” Mah Sish could well return to his best in Australia later this season but Butt admits maybe he went right to the bottom of the well with the gelding last season. “He had a long busy season and it was the right thing to do because he won nearly $800,000 last season without having to take on Terror To Love or Christen Me much.” And therein could lie the problem as Mah Sish is a son of Mach Three, whose best stock are world class when right but are prone to hitting the wall after hard campaigns --- just think of Auckland Reactor or Captain Joy. Butt’s frustration with Mah Sish is mirrored by his other Australian star of last season Vulcan, who has won 10 group ones but is racing like a lower grade battler. “He is a very funny horse because when he is right, which is usually in Australia, he is a machine,” explains Butt. “But when any little thing goes wrong he can completely lose form. “I think he is on the way back up but Peak is our better chance in the big trots this week.” Peak is the Swedish import who won fresh up for the Butt brothers at Ashburton two weeks ago so impressively driver Anthony has chosen him over Vulcan, who will be partnered by Ricky May this week. “Peak has improved since Ashburton and will keep getting better,” says Butt. “He is very close to being the real deal and while he has a great chance on Tuesday he is a super stayer so the race which will really suit him in the Dominion on Friday.” By Michael Guerin (Courtesy of Harness Racing New Zealand)
Fans of glamour pacing mare Adore Me can feel a lot better about her comeback disaster than those who backed her on Monday. Last season’s champion pacing filly completely blew the standing start of her Ashburton return and finished tailed off, costing punters a fortune. But trainer Mark Purdon says while it was a less than ideal start to the season Adore Me has taken no harm from the debacle. The four-year-old pacing sensation surprisingly finished further from the leaders than the 30m she settled after her wild early gallop, raising concerns she may have hurt herself in the incident, as her former stablemate Auckland Reactor once did during one of his crazed gallops. “The reason she finished so far back was because I didn’t chase them,” explains Mark Purdon. “Once she galloped and lost that much and they were going so hard I knew she had no chance of running in the money so I let her pace around under her own steam. “While she finished a long way from them she pulled up fine, with no injuries from the gallop and she wasn’t distressed at all. “But I won’t be looking at a standing start again with her for a while.” Adore Me’s main aim is now the two mobile mare’s races at Alexandra Park in December. She wasn’t the only expensive galloper in a pacing feature on Monday, with Christen Me’s rodeo act in the Flying Stakes costing him New Zealand Cup favouritism with the New Zealand TAB. In what seems like an odds over-reaction, the TAB moved Flying Stakes winner Terror To Love in from $2.80 to $1.80 favouritism for the Cup, whereas Christen Me drifted from $1.80 pre-race to $2.60. Australian bookmakers still have the opposite to those odds, meaning punters who think the Cup is a two-horse race can back both pacers with a guaranteed profit of 35 per cent should either win. Who starts favourite in the Cup in 13 days is likely to come down to which draws better, with either of the two big guns certain to drift if they draw the second line while the other draws the front. Meanwhile, the Australian challenge for the Cup moved a step closer to doubling in size when Caribbean Blaster won at the Melton trials yesterday. He now heads to Menangle on Saturday night for a high-class mobile mile in which he clashes with Pukekohe speedster Gold Ace. Safely through that Caribbean Blaster, who is now fourth favourite for the Cup, will fly to Christchurch with trotting stablemate Elegant Image. Northern contenders Besotted and Pembrook Benny will square off at Alexandra Park on Friday night, with Besotted needing a win and possibly some defections to earn a Cup spot. Courtesy of Michael Guerin and the New Zealand Herald
IM VICTORIOUS SIMPLY AWESOME, DECLARES Justin Prentice Justin Prentice declared that Im Victorious felt “simply awesome” and that his effortless triumph in the $35,000 J. P. Stratton Cup at Gloucester Park on Friday night was the best performance of his sensational 26-start career. And Prentice predicted that the five-year-old would “give them a big shake over there” if he gained a start in the $750,000 Miracle Mile at Menangle on November 30. Unbeaten at his six starts since resuming from a spell, Im Victorious moved another giant step forward to receiving an invitation to contest the Miracle Mile with his record-breaking victory, by three lengths over Ima Rocket Star in the 2130m Stratton Cup. “He could have won by a bigger margin,” said Prentice who sat quietly in the sulky and did not drive out the gelding over the final 250m. “This was probably his best win. He showed that he can do the work and still win easily and proved to those doubters who considered him just a one-trick pony. Tonight he just wanted to go and normally he switches off at the end of his races. But not tonight. “Down the back I was trying to go easy on him, but he was hard on the bit and just wanting to go. He hasn’t done that for a while and it was good for him to show that spirit in this class.” Trainer Michael Brennan and the band of ten owners will now wait anxiously to see whether the New South Wales harness racing officials offer an invitation for Im Victorious to contest the Miracle Mile. Im Victorious, favourite at 2/1 on, started from the back line and settled in eighth position in the one-wide line as Passion Stride set the early pace from Sneakyn Down Under (breeze), Crombie (pegs) and Ima Rocket Star in the one-out, one-back position. Im Victorious has been driven as a sit-sprinter in most of his races, but Prentice showed his confidence in the gelding when he switched him three-wide and urged him forward at the 1000m mark. He cruised to the front with 400m to travel and coasted to victory from Ima Rocket Star, second fancy at 5/1 who finished solidly. Outsider Shardons Rocket followed the three-wide run of the winner and fought on strongly to be third. Im Victorious, winner of the WA Derby and Golden Nugget last year, rated 1.55.9 (after final quarters in 28.8sec. and 29.2sec.) which is the fastest rate recorded in the 65 runnings of the Stratton Cup which has been decided over various distances and from a stand many times. Im Victorious has now amassed $474,660 in prizemoney from 19 wins and two placings from 26 starts. HALL FATHER-AND-SON COMBINATION DOMINATES WITH SIX WINNERS The all-conquering combination of leading trainer Gary Hall sen. and his son, leading reinsman Gary Hall jun., dominated the ten-event program at Gloucester Park on Friday night and they brought up their sixth victory when the disappointing Northview Cardle snapped a losing sequence of 11 by setting a brisk pace and scoring an easy win in the 2130m Yes Loans Pathway Pace. With the 2013-14 season only in its second month, the Halls have already established substantial leads on the premiership tables, with Hall sen. the leading Metropolitan trainer with 25 wins and 25 placings from 97 starters and Hall jun. the top reinsman with 20 wins and 19 placings from 69 drives. Hall sen. leads from Greg and Skye Bond, who have had 50 city starters for eight wins and eight placings. In second spot on the reinsmen’s premiership is Colin Brown with ten wins and ten placings from 52 drives. The New Zealand-bred Northview Cardle, purchased for a high figure by New South Wales breeder John Starr, raced 21 times in NSW for six wins and seven placings in country-class events before being sent to Hall sen. Northview Cardle disappointed at his first 11 WA starts, managing only four minor placings. But the five-year-old was ideally drawn at barrier two on the front line against modest opposition in Friday night’s event in which he was well supported and started third favourite at 7/2 behind Lord Coburn (5/2) and At Princeton (3/1). Hall jun. decided that aggressive tactics would be the best way for Northview Cardle to break the drought. He dashed the gelding straight to the front and set a solid pace before getting the opposing runners out of their comfort zone with a 28.9sec. third quarter of the final mile. At Princeton, who had raced without cover, began to fade and so, too, did polemarker Alta Onassis, who had enjoyed the run of the race behind the pacemaker. Zurbaran also began to feel the pinch from the favourable one-out, one-back position. Northview Cardle then dashed away to score by two lengths from 10/1 chance Mister Roberto, who finished solidly from eighth at the bell. Lord Coburn, who started a three-wide move at the bell, plugged on to finish third. Northview Cardle rated 1.r58.7 and took his record to 33 starts for seven wins and 11 placings for earnings of $33,370. His dam Bonnie Beaudiene (by Nero’s B B) managed just one placing from 12 starts in New Zealand. But she has produced eight winners, including Beaudiene Vicolo (nine wins and $48,404), Beaudiene Lightning (five wins and $16,492) and Beaudiene Terminator (four wins and $41,914). THE PARADE EVOKES MEMORIES OF Auckland Reactor Lightly-raced New Zealand-bred three-year-old The Parade showed that she has a bright future when she outclassed her rivals in the 2130m Retravision Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. And it is little wonder that she has a good share of ability. She is closely related to champion New Zealand pacer Auckland Reactor, who impressed local fans when he won three heats of the interdominion championship at Gloucester Park in February 2012 before he started from the outside barrier and worked hard in the breeze from the 1200m and faded to seventh behind Im Themightyquinn in the final. There is certainly little likelihood that The Parade will reach the heights of Auckland Reactor, who has earned $1,759,374 from 32 wins and four placings from 53 starts. He has won seven group 1, eight group 2 and three group 3 events and was a nose second to Choise Achiever in the 2012 Hunter Cup. His group 1 victories include the 2008 New Zealand Derby, the 2009 Auckland Cup and the 2009 Emerald for four-year-old horses and geldings. The Parade, by American stallion Real Desire, is the first foal out of Hearty Lass, an unraced Badlands Hanover mare whose dam Atomic Lass (by Soky’s Atom) managed two wins in minor country events in New Zealand in October 1990 before producing seven winners, including Auckland Reactor and former West Australian performers Taihape Tickler (113 starts for 19 wins, 19 placings and $183,919) and Riffle Dragon (125 starts for eight wins, 18 placings and $58,112). It was a good effort by The Parade to defeat six geldings and one other filly (Art Force) on Friday night after she had scored a three-length first-up victory over several colts and geldings at Pinjarra 11 days earlier. The Parade, driven by her trainer Justin Prentice, was favourite at 10/9 on from barrier two on the back line on Friday night and she settled in sixth position in the field of eight before Prentice sent her forward, there wide, at the 1250m. She moved to the breeze with 1050m to travel and cruised past the pacemaker Organized Chaos 500m from home before winning by 8m from Our Mandingo (9/1), with Soho Cash 4/1) a battling third after trailing the pacemaker. The Parade impressed in sprinting over the final 400m in 28.7sec. and Prentice is hopeful she will continue her improvement and develop into a candidate for the WA Oaks next year. “She has come back better than her two-year-old campaign (when placed once from three starts) and at the moment I’m aiming her for some races for fillies at Gloucester Park in the next couple of months,” he said. Two 2130m $17,000 events for three-year-old fillies have been programmed in the coming weeks, on November 22 and December 20. “She’s definitely got the speed,” Prentice said. “And if she keeps improving she will be an Oaks candidate. I was hoping to sit her in tonight’s race, but I was flushed out a lot earlier than I had hoped. And then she showed that she can do it both ways.” EXTREMELY GOOD STAKES HIS CLAIM FOR A START IN THE GOLDEN NUGGET Talented New Zealand-bred pacer Extremely Good lived up to his name when he made a wonderful return to racing at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Driven confidently by his part-owner and trainer Chris Butt, Extremely Good crushed his rivals in the 2130m Del Basso Smallgoods Pathway Pace when he gave a sample of his undoubted ability. Though the opposition of older and more experienced rivals was not outstanding, Extremely Good was most impressive and showed that he has the potential to develop into a candidate for the upcoming rich features for four-year-olds, including the $175,000 Golden Nugget on December 6. Extremely Good, making his first appearance for three months, was sent out at the lucrative odds of 13/2 in a race in which ultra-consistent five-year-old In The Perfect Storm dominated betting and was favourite at 7/4 on. In The Perfect Storm was beaten out from barrier three and Gary Hall jun. had to race without cover as 12/1 chance Franco Nasser (barrier two) set a dawdling early pace. Butt restrained Extremely Good back to last. Hall applied mid-race pressure on Franco Nasser and the second 400m section of the final mile whizzed by in 28.6sec. In The Perfect Storm then got his nose in front at the bell, but was unable to cross Franco Nasser. Extremely Good was seventh at the bell and Butt finally urged the gelding forward turning into the back straight. Extremely Good sprinted fast, out four wide, from the 520m to burst to the front 360m from home. He then raced away to win by four lengths from In The Perfect Storm, with Ya Dreamin running on from sixth at the bell to be third. The final two quarters each took just 28.8sec. and the winner rated 1.58.6 to improve his record to five wins and 14 placings from 26 starts for stakes of $43,235. It was his second win from 12 WA starts after winning twice from ten starts in New South Wales and once from four Victorian starts. Extremely Good is the fourth foal out of Beach Towel mare Dollys Daughter and is a half-brother to Bruce Almighty, who has had 70 starts for 11 wins (ten in WA), 20 placings and $82,290. THIS TIME DYLAN IS RELISHING A SWITCH TO STANDING STARTS A switch from mobile racing to standing-start events has helped New Zealand-bred eight-year-old This Time Dylan turn the corner and produce the best form of his brief career. This Time Dylan, favourite at 7/4 from the 10m mark, relished his sit-sprint capacity to sustain a spirited three-wide burst from the rear to get up in the final stride to snatch a nose victory from Gday Mate (5/1) in the 2503m TABtouch Western Bonanza Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Gary Hall jun. was content to have This Time Dylan in tenth position before he followed the three-wide burst of Gday Mate from the 1200m mark. Justin Prentice sent Gday Mate to the front 400m from home and the gelding rounded the final bend with what appeared to be a winning advantage. But he just failed to hold out This Time Dylan, who fought on determinedly under the urgings from Hall, wielding the whip in his left hand. “He loses his way a bit on the last bend when he wants to get in a bit,” Hall explained. “I thought we had a good shot, but when Justin kicked away I thought we would run second at best. But he’s a little horse with a big heart. He digs deep and definitely knows where the line is. It’s a great advantage having as horse like him who gets away (from a stand) so well.” Trainer Gary Hall sen. started This Time Dylan in mobiles at his first 16 starts in Western Australia for three wins and two placings. Then he switched the gelding to stands and he has started in a stand at each of his past six starts for three wins and a third placing. He has now earned $68,855 from nine wins and six placings from 30 starts. Evergreen nine-year-old Courageous Ned (16/1) maintained his wonderful consistency in stands by running on to finish third after trailing the pacemaker To Transcend, who finished fourth. No. 1 BARRIER MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE FOR BLACK PONTIAC Victorian-bred seven-year-old Black Pontiac further illustrated the considerable advantage of the No. 1 barrier at Gloucester Park when Orange Grove trainer Donald Harper drove him to an all-the-way victory in the 1730m West Australian pace on Friday night. Black Pontiac had started at double figure odds at his five previous starts, including odds of 53/1, 71/1 and 56/1 at his three previous outings when he finished seventh, ninth and eleventh from less favourable draws. But from the No. 1 barrier on Friday night he was all the rage and started at 5/2 on. He set the pace and was kept honest by False Promise in the breeze, with the final four quarters going by in 29.2sec, 30.4sec., 28.9sec. and 29.2sec. He fought on grimly to defeat the fast-finishing Asian Courage (97/1) by a nose, with a length to 160/1 chance Franco Torres in third place. Asian Courage flew home from tenth in the middle stages and Franco Torres ran on from third-last at the bell. Black Pontiac’s previous win was when he led from the No. 1 barrier and beat Imtheguy over 1730m on August 16. The noted frontrunner now has earned $91,237 from 16 wins and 11 placings from 80 starts. He has had 69 starts in Western Australia for 11 wins and eight placings after winning at five of his 11 Victorian starts. By Grinfromeartoear, he is the second (and last) foal out of the Safely Kept mare Short And Black, who had 47 starts in Victoria for ten wins, 11 placings and $53,619 in prizemoney. Short And Black’s first foal Falcons Legend has had 118 starts in Queensland for 14 wins, 24 placings and $63,860. ASKMENOW REMAINS ON TARGET FOR RICH EVENTS FOR MARES Up-and-coming four-year-old Askmenow remained unbeaten this season when she proved far too good for her rivals in the 2130m McInerney Ford Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Her decisive victory by one and a half lengths over stablemate Chloe Vargarita enhanced her prospects in the rich feature events for mares next month, the Norm’s Daughter Classic and the group 1 Nepean Conveyors Mares Classic. Askmenow, trained by Gary Hall sen., was favourite at 5/1 on and she gave her supporters little cause for concern. She started from out wide on the back line and Gary Hall jun. took her three wide in the first circuit to move into the breeze after a lap. Polemarker Luck Has It set the pace and Hall was content to leave Askmenow in the breeze until he sent her to the front 220m from home. She then raced away to score easily from Chloe Vargarita, a 25/1 chance driven by visiting Victorian horseman Daniel Jack who rattled home from last in the middle stages and seventh at the bell. Arousing (23/1) did well to run home strongly tenth at the bell to be third. Askmenow, by Washington V C, has been outstanding since arriving in WA where her ten starts for the Hall camp have produced eight wins. She now has a record of 29 starts for ten wins, nine placings and stakes of $99,125. THE RAGPICKERS DREAM IS A GENTLEMAN, SAYS HALL Leading reinsman Gary Hall jun. praised The Ragpickers Dream’s gentlemanly manners after driving the New Zealand-bred six-year-old to victory in the 2130m TABtouch Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. “He got a little bit tired late, but the quarters he had run suggested that he would,” Hall said after The Ragpickers Dream had set the pace from the prized No. 1 barrier and had fought on tenaciously to beat Hez The Bart Man by just under a length, with Mighty Flying Thomas an unlucky third. “He’s probably won the race by being such a gentleman to drive,” Hall said. “He was happy to let Wrongly Accused to race a half-length in front of him and drop the bit and allow me to rate him. “Hez The Bart Man is a very good horse who never stops and that probably helped me because he was able to keep Mighty Flying Thomas In The Pocket. The Ragpickers Dream was definitely getting very tired late and I was just glad that he was able to hold on.” The Ragpickers Dream, favourite at 5/1 on, led from barrier one and was joined soon after the start by 25/1 chance Wrongly Accused, who got to a narrow lead in the middle stages. Mighty Flying Thomas (10/1) trailed the leader throughout and was unable to obtain a clear passage in the home straight before finishing a head behind Hez The Bart Man. The Ragpickers Dream covered the final 800m in 57.2sec. and rated 1.56.9. A winner of 13 races in Victoria, including six in a row in late 2011, he has raced five times in WA for two wins and two seconds. He has earned $110,598 from 15 wins and 11 placings from 45 starts. PROBLEM PACER TORETTO TAKES A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION “He’s got a lot of problems, but he’s got a lot of bottom to him,” said Gary Hall jun. after driving 5/4 favourite Toretto to an easy victory in the third heat of the Preux Chevalier Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Toretto started from the back line and Hall wasted little time in sending him forward, three wide, to race outside the pacemaker Imtheguy. Finally, Toretto got to a clear lead 100m from the post and then drew away to beat 97/1 outsider Trents Courage by one and a half lengths, with 1m to Imtheguy. Toretto sprinted over the final 400m in 28.7sec. and rated 1.58 over the 2130m. It was his third start after an absence of 11 months and it took his record to seven starts for five wins, one third and $30,745 in prizemoney. “Dad has been persistent with him,” said Hall jun. “Toretto is not the easiest horse to get around the circuit, and that’s why I put the pressure on because I didn’t really want a fast last half because he’s a nightmare on the last bend. He was pretty good tonight and it was a step in the right direction. “He has had a leg problem as well along the way which has set him back for almost a year. The ability has always been there, but getting it out of him has always been the hard thing. We have tried probably every bit that has ever been made, and none of them seemed to work. But he’s worth persisting with.” GOOD DRAW ENABLES HEAVENS DELIGHT TO RETURN TO THE WINNING LIST Heavens Delight, unplaced at his previous six starts, made the most of an ideal draw when Gary Hall jun. jumped him straight to the front from the No. 2 barrier and landed him a smart all-the-way winner in the 1730m Nepean Conveyors Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Favourite at 6/4, the New Zealand-bred six-year-old trained by Gary Hall sen., dashed over the first 400m section of the final mile in 29.7sec. before coasting through the next quarter in 31.3sec. He then had plenty in reserve as he sprinted over the final two sections in 29.8sec. and 28.5sec. He rated 1.58.1 and beat 4/1 second fancy Bet Your Life by just under a length. Polemarker Lombo Air Express ran on to be third after trailing the leader all the way. Heavens Delight has had 33 starts in WA for ten wins and nine placings to take his overall record to 41 starts for 12 wins, nine placings and $80,281. “He put the writing on the wall at his previous start (when he started out wide on the back line and covered a lot of extra ground before finishing sixth behind Arnoux),” said Hall jun. “That’s not the way he likes to race and I thought he boxed on very well. “He has been racing well, but hasn’t been able to get a win on the board because of bad draws. He’s a few lengths better on the rail, but he’s probably limited to one or two more wins in town. He does have good sit-sprint capacity, but with the way races are run at Gloucester Park he’d end up nearer last than first if he was driven like that (as a sit-sprinter).” by Ken Casellas
Harness Racing Victoria is pleased to announce that major industry supporter Alabar have once again signed on to be a part of the Victorian trotting family this season. The leading Australasian Stud is home to some of the world’s best stallions including Art Major and Mach Three along with up and coming stars like Auckland Reactor. The entire roster is littered with exciting stallions such as rising squaregaiting hero Majestic Son along with Courage Under Fire, Shadow Play and Grinfromeartoear. This week’s sponsorship agreement will see Alabar join the Pegasus Club and receive back straight signage at Victoria’s trotting Mecca, Tabcorp Park. Alabar will also share sponsorship of the Harness Racing Victoria calendar and be front and centre on all winning owner and trainer DVD’s that are purchased. The renewed association continues to prove that Alabar’s support of the breeding and racing industry is second to none in Australia according to Harness Racing Victoria’s CEO John Anderson. “This new deal is a win for both Alabar and Harness Racing Victoria,” Anderson said. “Alabar will continue to be exposed to our many thousands of owners through the various channels they sponsor but it is also a win for HRV to have such a loyal supporter of the industry back for another season. “Victoria is very fortunate to be the home of so many great stallions.” The agreement will also see a number of Victorian race names using the ‘Alabar’ moniker in order to promote the industry leader. For more information on Alabar, or any of their stallions, simply visit the website by clicking here. HRV Media
Christen Me is as good as his trainer Cran Dalgety can have him going into his first assignment in almost four months – the $25,000 Avon City Ford Cup at Addington Raceway on Friday (September 27). Dalgety is going for his fourth win in the Group 3 Free-For-All, also known as the New Brighton Cup. He believes Christen Me is as good as ever and can finish in the first three – at least. If victorious it will be his seventh win in a row and 17th from 22nd all up. “My fella is as good as I can get him after a couple of public runs. If he had one race under his belt I’d say he’d be very hard to beat, so whatever happens on Friday he will be primed for the Canterbury Classic in a fortnight,” Dalgety said. “Last year’s winner of this race, Terror To Love is always tough to beat and Franco Ledger went big at Oamaru last start. I think they will provide Christen Me with his toughest competition,” he added. Christen Me has drawn five (of nine) in Friday’s 2600m stand, three outside New Zealand Cup champ, Terror To Love. The 5-year-old Christian Cullen gelding had two workouts on September 14 and 17 at Rangiora and Ashburton respectively, where he was just given a run both times. At Ashburton he won a three-horse 2600m stand from 30m in 3:21.7 (mile rate: 2:04.8). He sprinted his last 800m and 400m in 55.3 and 28.1. Then three days later he finished a nose, nose, three quarters of a length, and neck fifth (of five) behind Pass Them By, Fly Like An Eagle, and Jimmy Johnstone and Terror To Love. Dalgety said the last start Jewels winner had developed into an even more refined athlete this time in. “He has bigger hind quarters. He’s no Arnold Schwarzenegger, but has a very athletic body. He puts his food away and never seems to be full. “He has a controlled diet of course but his food intake is high and to be honest I don’t know where it all goes. He’s all muscle,” his West Melton trainer said. Christen Me will have three races before the New Zealand Cup on November 12. “The Canterbury Classic (October 11) and the Ashburton Flying Stakes (October 28) and the will be all that he needs,” Dalgety said. If successful on Friday Christen Me’s stake earnings will rest at $500,000 – not bad for a horse who won his first race just 15 months ago. For the record Dalgety has won Friday’s race three times with Desperate Comment (1994 and 1995), and Scorching (2004). If Christen Me does win it will also be Dexter Dunn’s first triumph in the time-honoured event, which goes back to Beckleigh’s win in 1950. Previous New Brighton Cup winners (with drivers and times) have been: 2012: Terror To Love (Ricky May) 3:17.1; 2011: Auckland Reactor (Mark Purdon) 3:15.9; 2010: Stunin Cullen (Anthony Butt) 3:13.9; 2009: Bondy (David Butt) 3:13.5; 2008: Zenad (David Butcher) 3:14.4; 2007: Baileys Dream (Ricky May) 3:11.7; 2006: Tribute (David Earnshaw) 3:13.1; 2005: Harnetts Creek (Anthony Butt) 3:14.4; 2004: Scorching (Mark Jones) 3:15.9; 2003: Cool Hand Luke (Anthony Butt) 3:12.6; 2002: Cool Hand Luke (Mark Purdon) 3:12.0; 2001: Makati Galahad (John Hay) 3:15.3; 2000: The Tough Nut (Ricky May) 3:14.7. By Duane Ranger (Courtesy of Harness Racing New Zealand)
New Zealand based HRTV is outta the blocks this down under spring! Can New Zealand breeders 'Meet The Market' this season? HRTV's September Feature canvasses opinion from arguably Australasia's leading standardbred stud and the manager of champion racehorse 'Auckland Reactor' as he hits the stallion barn. http://bcove.me/ga8plaba How long's it been since a bonafide Southlander won it? Back Up the truck on the 'Road to the NZ Cup' to this week last year and remember New Zealand's greatest ever reinsman as well. http://bcove.me/18jciz6q An Australian NZ Cup contender was quickest out of the blocks as nominations and early betting markets are opened on down under's greatest harness race. http://bcove.me/1gltzfx2
On July 5 John Devlin was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Fifty-seven days later (Saturday August 31) the 70-year-old stole the limelight at the annual North Island Harness Racing Awards at Alexandra Park. Devlin termed his ‘Outstanding Contribution to Harness Racing Award’ as the pinnacle of a 40-plus harness racing career. “Winning the Great Northern Derby and the recent Breeders Crown with Ideal Scott was my career highlight up until Saturday night. “This award beats them all. It means so much to be recognised by your peers. This is the pinnacle of everything I have achieved in harness racing,” Devlin said. Devlin had no idea that he was being presented an award but he did think it unusual that his son Bradley attended the Alabar Auckland Reactor-sponsored function. “He doesn’t usually come to things like this. Actually I wasn’t going to come either but my boys said it would be a great chance to see my all of my trotting mates one last time. “It meant a lot to me having both sons and my grandson Josh with me. I was overwhelmed,” Papatoetoe-based Devlin said. Devlin said he didn’t want to the doctor to tell him how long he had to live when told he had incurable cancer of the pancreas and liver. “I’d rather not know. I just want to carry on and live each day to the fullest. I’m a man of faith and I have a ninth grandchild on the way. I still have plenty to live for,” Devlin, a practising Catholic said. “I would have been at Mass on Saturday night had it not been for the Awards. I never miss. That’s what keeps me going,” he added. Devlin is a true Anzac. He was born in Brisbane and attended St St Laurence’s College. He came to New Zealand in 1963, and even though he still supports Australia in sport, most of his family are Kiwis. He has two sons – Bradley a Kiwi, and Shane an Australian. “I came to New Zealand with a few mates from the Gold Coast who were on a working holiday. When I got here night trotting was relatively new and I took to it immediately. “Four years after getting here I married a Kiwi and have remained here since,” Devlin said. Devlin got a job writing for Ron Bisman and the Star. A renowned journalist Devlin later started South Auckland Bloodstock before being employed by Woodlands Stud. “I still work for Woodlands Stud and really enjoy doing all their promotions work,” he said. Devlin has owned a couple of Group Two galloping winners but Ideal Scott is the best horse he has owned. “The first nice horse I had was Sir Vance. I bought him for $1,500 and sold him for $100,000. Riley was a nice horse too. He started in the Auckland Cup and lost 30 metres. “You can’t afford to lose that sort of ground against a champion like Delightful Lady,” Devlin said. He said he was both humbled by the award and the amount of support he had received since his diagnosis. “The support from the harness racing people in both Islands has been absolutely tremendous. They have been so wonderful. “It is a fantastic industry to be involved in. To you all: I thank you so much for your kind words and gestures,” Devlin said. Meanwhile one of the organisers of the Awards function Raelene Balle said Devlin was a more than worthy recipient of the major awards. “John acknowledged the support he has received from both the North and South Island racing community over the last couple of months. As usual he was still quick witted and hasn't lost his sense of humour, and had MC Michael Guerin at a loss for a cheeky response for a change,” Balle said. Results from the 2013 Alabar Auckland Reactor North Island Harness Racing Awards were: Glen Elgin Farm North Island Groom of the Year: Leon Adams. Graeme Blackburn Memorial Amateur Driver: Michelle Northcott. Magness Video Ltd-Vid-Com Ltd Licence to Train/Owner Trainer: David Cambie; Mitavite Junior Driver: Zac Butcher; PGG Wrightson 2 year old Colt or Gelding: Sky Major; PGG Wrightson 2 year old Filly: Angelina Jolie; Breckon Bloodstock Ltd 2 year old Trotter: Hot Chocolate Tart; Breckon Bloodstock Ltd 3 year old Trotter: Prime Power. Crombie Lockwood Bloodstock 3 year old Colt or Gelding: Cyamach; Crombie Lockwood Bloodstock 3 year old Filly: Adore Me; Garrards Horse and Hound Owner: Charles Roberts; Caduceus Club Filly / Mare: Adore Me; Nevele R Stud North Island Breeder: Charles Roberts. IRT Driver: Tony Herlihy; Veterinary Associates Equine and Farm Trainer: Barry Purdon; Equine Veterinary Services Broodmare: Scuse Me; Woodlands Stud Stallion: Bettor’s Delight; Harness Racing New Zealand Trotter: I Can Doosit; Auckland Trotting Club Aged Pacer of the Year: Bettor Cover Lover; Sir Lincoln at Lincoln Farms Racing Achievement: Colin Butler Alabar Auckland Reactor Outstanding Contribution to Harness Racing: John Devlin. By Duane Ranger Harness Racing New Zealand
Pukekohe harness racing trainer Steven Reid has a two in five chance of claiming this year’s North Island Pacer of the Year award. Both Gold Ace and Easy On The Eye have been nominated for the premier pacing prize at the annual awards ceremony which will be held again in the Tasman Room at Alexandra Park on August 31. The awards are being sponsored by Alabar/Auckland Reactor. The three other pacing nominees are the Brent Mangos trained Bettor Cover Lover, the Michelle Wallis and Bernie Hackett trained Pass Them By, and the Barry Purdon trained Pembrook Benny. The Awards committee comprises Raelene Balle, Suzanne Herlihy, Janene Cole and Karen Blanchard. Balle said the committee had been granted ‘charitable trust status’ and are now known as the North Island Harness Racing Awards Trust. “We are an official fundraising umbrella for the non-profit Kindred Bodies who are the foundation of the awards ceremony, and an integral part of the Harness Racing industry – Auckland Trotting Owners Association, North Island Standardbred Breeders Association Inc and the NZ Harness Racing Trainers and Drivers Association (Northern Branch) Inc,” Balle said. The full list of nominees are: PACER (ATC): Bettor Cover Lover, Easy On The Eye, Gold Ace, Pass Them By, Pembrook Benny. TROTTER (HRNZ): Charlemagne, I Can Doosit, Realmein, Sovereignty. DRIVER (IRT): David Butcher, Tony Herlihy, Brent Mangos, Maurice McKendry, Scott Phelan. TRAINER (Vet Associates Equine and Farm): Tony Herlihy, Barry Purdon, Steven Reid, Geoff Small, Steve Telfer and Chris Garlick. JUNIOR DRIVER (Mitavite): Zac Butcher, Josh Dickie, Simon Lawson, Andre Poutama. AMATEUR (Graeme Blackburn Memorial): Jeff Darby, Michelle Northcott, Steve Phillips. GROOM (Glen Elgin Farm): Leon Adams, Michael Blakemore, Dylan Ferguson, Sean Grayling, Jacob Wallace. OWNER (Garrards Horse and Hound) Breckon Bloodstock, Lincoln Farms, Charlie Roberts, Stonewall Stud. BREEDER (Nevele R Stud): Alabar NZ, Alta Breeding, Breckon Bloodstock, Charlie Roberts. TRAINER-OWNER (Magness Video): David Cambie, Matthew Collins, Matthew Pemberton, Rob Lawson. 2YO COLT/GELDING (PGG Wrightson): Cyclone Prince, Maxim, Racer, Sky Major. 2YO FILLY (PGG Wrightson): Angelina Jolie, Priscillas Girl, Rockn Ruby, Snooki. 2YO TROTTER (Breckon Bloodstock): Bad Habbott, Hot Chocolate Tart, Schleck, Tereskova. 3YO TROTTER (Breckon Bloodstock): Mollyz Luck, Prime Power, Saffron Castleton, Wingsonhai. 3YO COLT/GELDING (Crombie Lockwood): Cyamach, Mista Mara, Norvic Nightowl, The Bucket List. 3YO FILLY (Crombie Lockwood): Adore Me, Delightful Christian, Georgia’s Jury, Rozelski, Splendour. FILLY-MARE OF THE YEAR (Caduceus Club) Adore Me, Bettor Cover Lover, Delightful Christian, Splendour. BROODMARE (Equine Vet Services): Hill Of Gold, Scuse Me, Sheezadoosie, Splendid Dreams. STALLION: American Ideal, Bettor’s Delight, Elsu, Mach Three. TO BE ANNOUNCED (on the night) – RACING ACHIEVEMENT (Lincoln Farms) and OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION (Alabar Auckland Reactor) AWARDS. Footnote: Tickets are on sale now for $125 per head from Suzanne Herlihy – phone her on 09 2981757. Ticket price includes a 3 course plated dinner with beer, wine, juices and spirits and dancing to live band “Off The Wall” after the formalities. Dress is formal and once again, Junior Drivers and Cadets are very gratefully sponsored by the Auckland Trotting Club. MCs will be Michael Guerin and Greg O’Connor. By Duane Ranger (Harness Racing New Zealand)
Champion harness racing trainer Mark Purdon recently topped the 2 million dollar mark for the sixth consecutive season, and according to the All Stars Website, he will have trained the winners of $30 million dollars in stakes before the end of the season.
Nigel McGrath is going into the Harness Jewels with plenty of confidence. After all, his horse did just break the 2600m New Zealand three-year-old record of none other than Auckland Reactor.