Day At The Track
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Australian harness racing stewards who disqualified leading trainer Tim Butt dismissed some compelling evidence from one of the world's foremost authority on drugs in racing.

Drug cheats beware - the noose is tightening with New Zealand racing authorities about to launch an unprecedented boost to their testing regime. The Racing Integrity Unit will this week start sending samples to leading labs overseas, a tactic which led to New South Wales officials disqualifying top Canterbury trainer Tim Butt for six months.

The connections of harness racing pinup pacer Carabella will have a new therapy to thank if she makes it back to the racetrack - one which is poised to revolutionise the treatment of damaged tendons and ligaments.

New Zealand-bred superstar Im Themightyquinn overcame a sudden illness the day before the $1 million Interdominion pacing championship at Gloucester Park on Friday night (March 2), producing one of his greatest harness racing performances to come from a seemingly hopeless position to snatch a thrilling victory over 50-1 outsider Mysta Magical Mach.

Leading North Island horseman Todd Mitchell is facing a harness racing disqualification of up to two years if the judicial committee which heard his case is not convinced high bicarbonate levels returned by three of his horses were caused by illness.

New Zealand harness racing representative Steve Phillips will take an eight point lead into the final day of the World Cup of Amateur Driving at Motukarara today - but he will need to be at his very best in the final three races to take the title.

The harness racing amateur driving movement in New Zealand might still be in its infancy by international standards but all the signs are positive, says one of the country's most successful participants.

The look on Brent Mangos' face is priceless. Here in the victory circle at Alexandra Park, one of harness racing's tough men is so choked up with emotion he can hardly speak. Whoever named this race the Queen Of Hearts must have had some divine inspiration because amid rapturous cheering, akin to an Interdominion Final, Mangos and his magnificent mare Bettor Cover Lover have just captured the hearts of everyone on track.

Charges have been laid against Canterbury harness racing trainer Mark Smolenski for injecting three horses on raceday - but vets are mystified by his choice of substance.

New Zealand Trotting Cup winner Terror To Love has missed out on an invitation to run in the $A500,000 Miracle Mile, a snub which the horse's harness racing trainers fear must result in fewer New Zealand horses contesting the race and a resulting drop in the quality of the field.

The harness racing trainer of champion Australian pacer Smoken Up has warned his trip to Christchurch for Tuesday week's New Zealand Trotting Cup could be scrapped, if the NZ Metro club does not hire security guards to protect all runners.

Dylan Ferguson's big day was to have been next Saturday - until dad Peter Ferguson smashed up his thumb in a training accident. Now Fergy junior, 15 next week, has more than just his first workout drive to think about as he takes over the stable work - with the help of a few harness racing friends.

The TAB might have eased the New Zealand Cup odds for Kiwi favourites Monkey King and Auckland Reactor after they were beaten at Addington on Friday night but neither of their harness racing trainers are hitting the panic button.

Auckland Reactor's New Zealand Cup rivals will be running scared when they hear harness racing trainer Mark Purdon marked his scorecard on Friday night as a near perfect 10 out of 10.

When Auckland punter Fred Donovan took a 10-leg multi in May on the harness racing Jewels, for just $5, he couldn't have imagined the ride it would take him on. Incredibly, Donovan managed to link all nine winners on Harness Jewels day at Ashburton into an All Blacks win in the Rugby World Cup final.

The first time the late Wayne Francis laid eyes on Falcon Seelster, the fire-eater knocked him to the ground. But yesterday, when Nevele R Stud put the old horse down at the age of 30, it was with plenty of sadness and memories of one of New Zealand's greatest harness racing sires.

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