Day At The Track
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One of the fastest horses in Australasia made a surprise appearance at the Motukarara workouts yesterday. You'd never have known it by the way he looked, but one time superstar Pay Me Christian had not seen a racetrack for two years and seven months.

One of racing's oldest stars stole the headlines from two of its youngest heroes as the season wound to a close this weekend. The end of the racing year in New Zealand is the 31st of July. All horses are a year older on the 1st of August.

Harness racing owner Robert Famularo was as surprised as anyone when Carabella was named Harness Horse of the Year last night, only the second time in 43 years that a three-year-old filly has taken the top award. On a vintage night in Christchurch, to end a vintage season, Famularo, his family and trainer Benny Hill wore a groove in the carpet up to the stage, accepting five awards.

Racing Integrity Unit chief Cameron George has issued a warning to all codes that trainers infringing the drug rules can expect harsher penalties in future, after the 11th positive swab in the last five months was revealed yesterday. Harness racing trainer Todd Mitchell and Skip Bo the latest.

Dexter Dunn fans can follow the fortunes of the record-breaking Kiwi harness racing driver live today on www.thebigm.com. Dunn has seven drives at the Meadowlands, New Jersey, starting with 3-1 chance Lord Terror in the second race, timed for about 11.20am.

What should have been a $4100 walkover for all-conquering harness racing trotter Paramount Geegee turned into a mini-disaster, when he came out of the one-horse race with a badly cut fetlock, costing him a tilt at next month's $A75,000 Victoria Trotters' Derby.

Dexter Dunn is set to round off his record-breaking harness racing season with a flourish at Blenheim today - a number of good drives likely to see him extend his remarkable season's tally of 220. On the eve of his departure to the US, Dunn clocked in with one of his best weeks, driving nine winners from Forbury Park in the south to Auckland.

The Dexter Dunn - James McDonald travelling roadshow has only one more week to run, with the surprise advancement of our harness racing top reinsman's trip to the United States. In an unprecedented week for the racing industry, when two of its brightest stars in years in both codes broke the record number of winners in a season, the marketing gurus were just starting to make hay.

New Zealand's TAB harness racing bookmaker, Steve Richardson cheered home Franco Emirate in the last race of the 2011 Harness Jewels Finals at Ashburton as the pacer saved him from another bloodbath in multi bets.

Jonathan Hope doesn't mind being ribbed as being dual-gaited by his mates. The prominent Cambridge thoroughbred vet, best known in the north as vet for leading thoroughbred nursery Cambridge Stud, was among a happy group of harness racing owners who greeted Two-Year-Old Ruby winner Flying Isa after his easy all-the-way win at Ashburton yesterday.

Courage Under Fire mare Lancome's fairytale swansong in yesterday's Four-year-old Jewels Diamond at Ashburton heralded a new start, not an ending, for harness racing entrepreneurial Canterbury breeder Brian West.

When Derek Moore bought a mare and foal for $3500 at a lowly harness racing sale at Karaka, he never dreamed that 20 years later it would result in his accepting a trophy at the Harness Jewels. But those were the meagre beginnings that Moore recalled, after Gold Ace outstayed gallant outsider Hands Christian and Terror To Love in one of the most anticipated clashes at Ashburton.

Punters had a heart attack and Carabella's owners thought their worst fears were about to be realised but, incredibly, the man in the cart was never worried. The hottest favourite to go round on a racetrack in New Zealand, backed down to just money back for a win, looked to be only seconds away from defeat on harness racing's biggest day, the Harness Jewels at Ashburton.

Cowgirls N Indians gave Ross Johnson and Janene Cole their greatest moment as harness racing owners when she came with a blistering late burst to photo finish Dancing Diamonds and O Baby in the Two-Year-Old Diamond.

Looking forward to the next few weeks are the harness racing connections of Fly Like An Eagle, who clocked a terrific 1:54.61 in taking the Two-Year-Old Emerald in a Mark Purdon whitewash.

You knew it was special when harness racing driver Jim Curtin flourished his whip in a rare display of emotion as Franco Emirate passed the finishing post, a brilliant winner of yesterday's Four-Year-Old Emerald. Curtin, renowned for his coolness in the sulky, declared before the match race of big guns that he couldn't see how he could win from the outside of the gate.

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