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The Justin Prentice trained and driven 4yo Bettor Reward brought up his seventh win at just his eighth start when he led all the way to win the Group Two 4yo Championship at Gloucester Park last night. Bettor Reward beat the $1.70 favourite Beaudiene Boaz with Kiwi Legend in third place, reeling off a last half in 55.2 seconds and rating 1:56.6 for the 2536 metres. The 2015 Australian 3yo Pacer of the Year Menin Gate was back in fifth place. Bettor Reward was purchased at the 2014 Gloucester Standardbreds WA Yearling Sale for $24,000 and last night’s win took the son of Bettor’s Delight  earnings to $119,520. Bettor Reward commenced racing on 30th May 2015 and won each of his four starts last season culminating in a win in the Group One $100,000 Westbred Classic on 3rd July. The blanket finish of that race earned for photographer Jodie Hallows the 2015 Joseph Coulter Award for Best Photograph. Bettor Reward, the second foal and first colt from his dam Chemical Romance, was bred by well-known Western Australian breeder Steve Johnson who also bred the recently retired David Hercules 1:52.7 $1,259,019. Chemical Romance had just three starts without winning but is a half-sister to WA Derby winner Trunkey Maseratti and her dam Ferrari Trunkey included a WA Oaks among her 22 wins. Johnson has four yearlings entered for the 2016 Gloucester Standardbreds WA Yearling Sale which will be held at the Belmont Park Sales Complex on February 21st. The 128 lot catalogue for the 2016 Sale will go to the printers on Monday and be available on-line next week. Catalogues can be ordered by contacting Gloucester Standardbreds General Manager Dot Parker on 0416 280 392. Alan Parker

Injury may have denied star Tasmanian pacer Beautide the chance to win three successive Inter Dominions but his Tasmanian replacement Devendra might have what it takes to take out this latest edition of the series in Perth, Western Australia. At Gloucester Park in Perth tonight (Friday) Devendra signalled a warning to his 30 rivals that he will be a serious contender for the title with a brilliant all-the-way win in the opening heat over 2130 metres. With his trainer James Rattray in the sulky, Devendra showed brilliant gate speed to lead and after travelling 400 metres he had the odds-on favourite Waylade ($1.40) breathing down his neck facing the breeze. But those who invested in Devendra backing him in from $8 to start the $5.60 second elect were rubbing their hands with glee when the Bettor's Delight gelding slipped clear in the home straight. Devendra went on to score by about six metres from Waylade with Shannonsblast a distant third. "He is a really good racehorse that is going to handle this track and he is in great order as he showed tonight," Rattray said. "Having won the past two Inter Dominions with Beautide it's nice to have the chance to win another one, albeit with a different horse." "We've won the first heat and that was our objective now we just have to hope for some more luck with the draws (barrier) throughout the series and we could have another crack at a final," he said. The next round of heats will be run at Bunbury on Tuesday with the final round of heats at Gloucester Park next Friday night. The Inter Dominion final will be made up of the top 10 point scorers from the three rounds of heats and it will be run at Gloucester Park on December 13 carrying prizemoney of $1.3 million. Peter Staples

A leg injury has kept dual Inter Dominion champion Beautide out of the latest harness racing series but another of Barrie Rattray's home grown pacers Devendra will be attempting to give Tasmania another win in Australasia's most prestigious event. Trainer James Rattray is pinning his hopes on Devendra that scraped into the series in WA by the skin of his teeth. It wasn't until he won a race at Menangle about a week out from final acceptances for the series that the gelded so-ne of Bettor's Delight crept into the top 30 that made it to the series that comprises three heats and a final. Devendra has earned his place in the final as his carer record of 23 wins and 24 minor placings from 57 starts for over $220,000 in stakes is testament to his ability. Devendra has drawn gate four in the first of three heats at Gloucester Park tonight and Rattray is quietly confident he can make an impact. Two rounds of heats will be held at Gloucester Park (1st and 3rd) with the middle round held at Bunbury and the 10 horses that accrue the most number of points will make it into the final that carries prizemoney of $1.3 million. Devendra has been in WA for over a week and from all reports the gelding has thrived. Peter Staples

The best chance for a southern hemisphere bred son of the champion sire Bettors Delight to make it at stud down under would appear to Harnesslink to be Gold Ace. A great looking entire who was able to mix it with the best in the age group classics in New Zealand, Gold Ace went on to win the Golden Nugget in Perth at four before winning the $150,000 New Zealand Free For All as an older horse He then went back to Australia where he won the Cranbourne and Shepparton Cups and was placed behind Christen Me in a Hunter Cup before finishing a great second to Adore Me back in New Zealand in 1:51.8 as he wound down a wonderful career. Purchased out of the 2009 Australasian Classic Yearling Sale for $27,000 by the Graeme Rogerson - Steven Reid training partnership, Gold Ace is bred on the hugely successful Bettors Delight - In The Pocket cross which has had so much success in Australasia. Gold Ace's dam was Hill Of Gold  and she has certainly been that for her owner A handy race mare for Geoff Small, Hill of Gold has excelled in the broodmare paddock. Apart from Gold Ace she has also produced the very smart race mare Gold Elite 1:57.3 ($70,037) and Strike The Gold 1:55.8 ($63,721) who raced in the classics last year against Have Faith In Me and Follow The Stars. Her last yearling to go through the sales ring in 2014 was Dark Energy, a full brother to Gold Ace who made $75,000. Hill Of Gold is closely related to the brilliant juvenile Smiling Shard 1:53.7 ($1,178,793), Sly Flyin 1:53.6 ($911,689) and Kiwi Ingenuity 1:52.1 ($523,200) so the family has been having a great run in the last twenty years. Gold Ace made his race track debut at Forbury Park in March 2010 as a two year old and while not dominant at that age, he did produce several smart performances. We think his best run was when he won the  $30,000 Sires Stakes Consolation at Addington. All up at two, Gold Ace won $23,740 but when he reappeared at three he was a different horse. Now trained solely by Steven Reid,  Gold Ace was at his best at three,winning 10 races including the $253,000 PGG Sales Race, $200,000 NZ Derby, $165,000 NZ Sires Stakes Final and the $150,000 Harness Jewels. All up he won over $500,000 at three in a season which was notable for his clashes with another rising star,Terror To Love. The pair met six times at three with Gold Ace winning four and dead-heating in another so even though there was not much in it on the track, Gold Ace was too strong in most of their meetings and was named three year old of the year. Never one to miss a challenge, Steven Reid set Gold Ace for the A$175,000 Golden Nugget final at Perth early in his four year old season in which he duly obliged. Staying with the Halls in Perth, Gold Ace so impressed Gary Hall sen that he made a A$1,000,000 offer for the entire but the owners said no. For the rest of his four year old season, Gold Ace had the appearance of a horse that just hadn't got over that big trip to Perth. He won the $40,000 Superstars final at Addington over Terror To Love and was placed in both the Noel Taylor Mile and the NZ Messenger but just seemed half a length down on what he had been previously. At five the highlight of the season was the win in the $150,000 NZ FFA at Addington over Terror To Love and a great second to Christen Me in the $100,00 Noel Taylor Mile. From there Steven and the owners moved Gold Ace to the McCarthy barn in Sydney where over the next 14 months he won over $250,000 with his best wins coming in the $100,000 Cranbourne Cup and $50,000 Shepparton Cup while he was also a great third to Christen Me in the $400,000 AG Hunter Cup. Brought back to New Zealand as a seven year old as he wound down before heading to the stallion barn, Gold Ace produced one of career best runs at the 1000 metres Cambridge Raceway. Sent forward from the gate by driver Todd Mitchell, Gold Ace tried to run them off their feet over the mile and it took the champion mare Adore Me to grab him late in a new track record to defeat him. Gold Ace was timed in 1:51.8 which is his best recorded time and he did it at start 67. So when you look at Gold Ace you see a horse who is by a champion sire in Bettors Delight from a top maternal family, who raced for six seasons, earned just under one and a quarter million dollars and was still trucking as good at the end of his career as he was at the start. The bonus is when you look at the individual in the flesh as Gold Ace is letting down into one magnificent looking entire. Standing at the outstanding Nevele R Stud in Christchurch, Gold Ace will be given every opportunity to prove that he can make it as a sire and it would surprise us if he didn't make his mark.  Harnesslink Media

Vernon, N.Y. -- Taking full advantage of a soft second quarter, The Triple C Stables, LLC's Sweet Bettor ($6.80) blitzed to the fore, passing all five of her harness racing rivals before reaching the far turn and subsequently winning Friday (November 20) evening's featured $6600 distaff pace at Vernon Downs.   Trainer-driver Chris Lems settled at the back of the pack with the 6-year-old Bettor's Delight mare, not involved at all with the early pace. After Table Games (John MacDonald) and Crucial Moment (Jimmy Whittemore) dueled through a :27.2 initial quarter, MacDonald tried to pull the pace back with 2-1 favourite Table Games--but to no avail. After Table Games rated a :57.2 half, she was overpowered by Sweet Bettor, who seized command just upon reaching the far turn. Not only would the 13-time winner ultimately stave off Table Games, but also a late bid up the pegs from Aritzia Hanover (Claude Huckabone, III) who narrowly captured second. Sweet Bettor ultimately prevailed by 1-1/4 lengths in 1:53.4.   The win was the third for Lems on the card; he swept the early double aboard Muscles N Luck ($10.40, 1:58.4) and My Lucky Word ($6.00, 1:55.4). MacDonald and Truman Gale each notched two driving wins on the nine-race card   The 2015 meet at Vernon Downs comes to a close Saturday (November 21) evening, with a long-sleeve shirt giveaway (while supplies last), a $350 handicapping contest, and a fireworks spectacular on tap in addition to a nine-race program. Post time is 6:45 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

Memories of former New Zealand superstar pacer Christian Cullen will be revived when Chevrons Champion clashes with other talented fillies, including the brilliant Dodolicious, in the 2130m Clipsal Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Chevrons Champion, part-owned, trained and driven by Nathan Turvey, will start from barrier four in a highly-competitive field of just five runners. After winning twice from nine starts in New Zealand for Cran Dalgety, Chevrons Champion has impressed greatly in Western Australia where her four starts have produced three wins and a second placing. She is by outstanding stallion Bettors Delight out of the unraced In The Pocket mare Dreamsaregold, a full sister to Christian Cullen, who amassed $1,249,150 in stakes from 22 wins and four placings from 31 starts in the 1990s. In 1998 his victories included the New Zealand Cup, Auckland Cup and Miracle Mile at Harold Park.         Dreamsaregold also is a half-sister to Kates First, who earned $624,023 from 19 wins and 19 placings from 65 starts. Dodolicious, trained by Greg and Skye Bond, is on the doorstep of a wonderful career after her first nine starts produced five wins and four seconds. She resumed after a spell  and made her first appearance as a three-year-old at Pinjarra on Monday of last week when she raced three wide early and then in the breeze before getting to the front 120m from the post and finishing second to Scoobys Delight (1.53.5) over 1684m. That was her first outing since she set the pace and finished second to the fast-finishing gelding Sprinter in the Golden Slipper at Gloucester Park in mid-July. She is sure to appreciate competing against her own sex this week. Baby She Rocks, trained and driven by Kaiden Hayter, and the Sonia Zucchiatti-trained The Spinster also have plenty of ability. They are excellent frontrunners.  Baby She Rocks has led and won at Gloucester Park and Pinjarra in her five-start career and The Spinster was a smart all-the-way Pinjarra winner two starts ago before setting the pace and finishing third behind Scoobys Delight and Dodolicious on the same track a week later. Ken Casellas

Ryal Bush harness racing trainer - driver Shane Walkinshaw has had an eventful few weeks lately with his own team and his outside drives going great guns but it has all been over shadowed by a positive swab he received during the same period.   " I have received a positive with one of my team but I have done nothing wrong so I will just work through the process with Harness Racing New Zealand." " Keeping busy helps you retain a positive outlook," Shane told Harnesslink this week. And it certainly doesn't seem to be affecting his driving with Shane bagging a double at last weekends Wyndham meeting. First up was the Bettor's Delight four year old Bettor Pay Me who was a recent addition to the Brett Gray barn at Ryal Bush. Shane was impressed with the first up effort on Sunday. " He felt tremendous the whole way but I just looked after him and only asked him the last little bit." " He gives you the impression he could loop them with ease but he had a history of not finishing the job when driven like that so thats why we drove him cold," Shane said. The other winner Shane drove last Sunday was Double Rainbow and he also trains the son of Knight Rainbow Shane got him across from barrier eight into the one by one and he never had to pull out until the home straight and just did enough to claim his second career win. " You couldn't have wished for a better run than what Double Rainbow got." " He never covered an inch of ground the whole way and that counted in the straight." " Saying that he had been knocking on the door in his last couple so he deserved the win," Shane said. Shane at present is just one win short of bringing up 250 wins as a driver and the way he is driving at  the moment  he won't be long reaching that mark. Harnesslink Media

It's a breeders lifetime dream and the Stiven family of Tapanui in West Otago achieved that dream on Tuesday afternoon at Addington Raceway when Arden Rooney lead all the way to win the 2015 New Zealand Cup.   Bred by the late Noreen Stiven, the family was immensly proud of their little warrior today after his gutsy win in the Group One feature.    Although the Stivens don't own the six year old gelding they had a bit to do with his upbringing.   The story began in 2007 when Tosca Hanover was bought at the Christchurch Autumn Broodmare and All Age Sale for $8,500 by Noreen. The mare had been empty for three years but the Stivens liked her on pedigree being by Walton Hanover out of the much revered Black Watch family.   As a racehorse Tosca Hanover qualified at Addington in 2002, then owned by Gavin Cook and trained by Dean Taylor. She never made it to the race track.    Cook bred Ashman from her before he sold her at the sale.   The Stivens sent her to Bettor's Delight and the resulting foal was named Arden Torres (after Spanish footballer Fernando Torres). He was offered at the 2010 Sale of the Stars and was bought by Mark Purdon for $70,000. He was then raced by Charlton Enterprises - (Pat Kubula - Gore), C.R. Knowler and Mark Purdon; winning just once from his eleven starts before he was exported to Australia where he had moderate success.   Arden Rooney, named after footballer Wayne Rooney, was the mare's next foal and he was sent to the sales in 2011. However he didn't receive a bid and was bought back by the Stivens.   He was then send to the All Stars barn with co-trainer Grant Payne taking a half share with breeder Noreen Stiven. "Mum wasn't that well at the time and Grant qualified her and made sure he told her how good he thought the horse was. He won his first start just after mum died," said John Stiven who was on-course today with wife Judy.   Arden Rooney then went on to qualify for the 2012 Sires Stakes Final and a half share in the horse was bought by Australians Merv and Meg Butterworth just before that race. After running second to Franco Nelson in the final, the Butterworths bought the remaining half share. He continued to race out of the Purdon/Payne barn before the Butterworths sent him to Australia to be trained by Kerryn Manning.   After a slow start his Australian form has been stunning. From twelve starts he has won eight races - seven in a row. His wins there include the Group One Hunter Cup, Group Two Mildura Cup and Group Three Swan Hill Pacing Cup.   With a New Zealand Cup tilt on his racing radar this season Manning and Arden Rooney returned to New Zealand in late October and in his first start back in the country he narrowly won the Kaikoura Cup earlier this month.    In today's cup he stepped well and was taken to the front by Manning. Running his last 800 metres in 55 seconds he held on to win by a head from Smolda. The overall time for the 3200 metres was 3-57.4.   In winning this years cup - the 112th running, Manning became the first woman driver to win our biggest harness race. The win mirrors Michelle Payne's win in this years Melbourne Cup on Prince of Penzance. She was the first female rider to claim the great thoroughbred race.    After seeing Arden Rooney in the flesh today prior to the cup John Stiven had good reason to be confident.    "His skin today just looked like silk. He looked great going out onto the track and he raced accordingly."    Today's win also makes the son of Bettor's Delight a millionaire. He has now won $1,089,519.   The last Southern Bred winner of the New Zealand Cup was Bee Bee Cee in 1994 - 21 years ago.    As breeders the Stivens have got close to breeding the winner of the New Zealand Cup before, when Bettor's Strike ran second to Monkey King in 2009.   The cup win caps off a stunning few days for the Stivens. Another one of their mares Winter Rose was awarded the NZSBA/PGG Broodmare Excellence Award at the New Zealand Standardbred Breeder Association's Awards Night.   'It's been unbelievably special."   She joins the likes of Vain Franco (2014) dam of Under Cover Lover (21 wins) and Scuse Me (2013) the mother of Adore Me (26 wins).   Despite not being involved in racing Arden Rooney anymore the Stivens haven't been left empty handed. They continue to race the progeny of Tosca Hanover. Her Somebeachsomewhere mare Maritime Arden won three races last season for Mark Jones while her next foal a two year old filly by Well Said (Articulate Arden) is having a break after being in work at the Purdon/Rasmussen barn. "She due to foal to Panspacificflight in three weeks and she's been booked to Bettor's Delight."    Another victory for Southern Bred, Southern Reared.   Bruce Stewart Reproduced with permission of Southland Harness Racing   -   Check site here  

Twelve months ago, he was eating the dust of his stablemate Adore Me. Today, Arden Rooney claimed the country’s greatest prize in winning the Gr.1 $750,000 Christchurch Casino New Zealand Cup at Addington, Christchurch. Now prepared by leading Australian horseperson Kerryn Manning, Arden Rooney led throughout to defeat a game Smolda and Mossdale Conner in the 3200m stand start feature in a time of 3:57.4. And the triumph now elevates her into rare air because a female reinsperson has never driven a Cup winner prior to today. “This is my greatest achievement in the sport and I’m so thrilled to win this race, it’s a race that everyone involved in the sport appreciates and to win is just unbelieveable. I’ve got to make special mention of my husband Grant (Campbell) for all of his work with this horse and to Merv and Meg (Butterworth – owners) for showing the faith in me to train this horse.” A jubilant Manning stated. The transformation over the last twelve months has been extraordinary, leaving the all-conquering All Stars stables of Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen and switching to Manning's Great Western stables in country Victoria has proven to be an absolute masterstroke. Under the care of Manning, Arden Rooney has added the Hunter, Geelong, Mildura, Terang and Swan Hill Cups before winning the greatest staying contest staged in the southern hemisphere today. And plenty more beckons for the six-year-old Bettor's Delight – Tosca Hanover gelding. The victory provided Manning with her 41st Group One winner while adding to her tally of more than 3500 lifetime winners to date. Following a brilliant beginning, the stand start specialist dictated terms in front while his rivals jostled for early positions. And while rival drivers were plotting and planning their moves to bring about the undoing of the Australian visitor, Manning continued to march to the beat of the drum of Arden Rooney. With a moderate speed being set in front, many of her rivals became fierce and agitated. At the top of the straight, Arden Rooney and Smolda edged clear of their rivals and staged a great stretch duel but the Australian trained star was superior on the line lasting by a head margin while another 4 lengths back to Mossdale Conner, Franco Nelson and Messini. “I was really confident once we landed in front and then we copped no pressure which suited me just nicely, I knew he was fit enough and I was happy to have them chasing me over the final mile. “Merv always promised me a good horse and he’s delivered with Rooney, it’s just unbelievable what he achieved in the timeframe he’s been with me. Both Merv and Meg really deserve a horse like this because they put so much in through ownership and sponsorship, and Mark (Purdon) was the first to congratulate me after the race which was really great.” The next obvious major target for Arden Rooney is another shot at defending his Hunter Crown crown next February. The victory of Arden Rooney provided champion sire Bettors Delight with back to back victories in the New Zealand following the success of Adore Me last year. by Chris Barsby

One of the givens about racing at the elite level in harness racing is you need ring-craft to go with your ability. On Cup day at Addington today, Have Faith In Me blew that right out the window with a display more in keeping with a horse having his first start.   Away well for driver Tim Williams, Have Faith In Me went to the front with 1600 metres to go but then started at various stages to race most ungenerously.   Appearing to all but break at the 400 metres mark, Tim got the Bettor's Delight brother to champion mare Adore Me balanced again and he went clear for a comfortable 1 3/4 length win.   Tim Williams was a bit non plussed by the performance.   " He tried to jump a shadow in his preliminary and did it again with 400 metres to go."   "It was a difficult drive at times and I don't really know why."   "Maybe it was because he was in front because he hasn't raced there much in his career."   "He was really full of himself today but he really shouldn't do that," Tim said.   After taking all that in, you then find that Have Faith In Me has run the 2600 metres in a super quick 3:07.6 with closing sectionals of 55.5 and 28.   The run just epitomises the huge potential of Have Faith In Me and he looks a potential champion in the making.     Harnesslink Media

The all conquering All Stars barn brought its first batch of juveniles to the trials this season when half a dozen made their debut at Addington Raceway last Wednesday. Several looked very promising but the one that stood out for us was the colt More The Better. A son of Bettor's Delight, More The Better debuted in an open qualifying heat over 2000 metres against older horses and was allowed to settle second last early in the eight horse field by driver Mark Purdon. Mark improved the colt on the inner passing the 800 and switched him wider on track from the 400 metres where he finished strongly late to run third, beaten a nose and three quarters of a length. At no stage of the run home did Mark ask More The Better for a really serious effort. More The Better was timed to run the 2000 metres in 2:31.6, a mile rate of 2:01.9. We privately timed him to run his last mile in 2:00.2, with closing sectionals of 57.7 and 27.8 and he did it comfortably. And remember it was his first run off the place last Wednesday. More The Better was purchased by Mark at this years New Zealand Premier Yearling Sale for $62,500 and is raced by Mark with his father Roy and longtime family friend David Levine. Bred on the very successful Bettor's Delight - In The Pocket cross, More The Better's dam Lucky Pocket is a full sister to the champion racehorse and sire in Christian Cullen and a half sister to the brilliant racemare Kates First. More The Better looked a natural two year old and with the All Star polish being applied we feel we are going to hear a lot more about him as the two year olds look towards the Young Guns series. The other two year old from the All Star barn to impress us on Wednesday was Ultimate Machete who was in the same heat as More The Better. With Tim Williams in the bike, he followed More The Better everywhere but was very green in the run and looks to have a lot of improvement in him, especially when he gets a bit of ringcraft to go with his ability. We privately timed Ultimate Machete to run his last mile in 2:00.5 with closing sectionals of 58 and 28.1 so the motor is definitely there. Ultimate Machete was purchased out of this years New Zealand Premier Sale at Christchurch by the long time All Stars clients Phil + Glenys Kennard and cost the princely sum of $84,000. Another son of Bettors Delight, Ultimate Machete's dam is the former high class two and three year old filly in Reality Check ($137,737) who is already the dam of the very smart two and three year old filly in Perth, Major Reality 1:54.7 ($176,137) who has won seven from fourteen to date. The grand dam of Ultimate Machete is the broodmare excellence award winner Maureens Dream whose daughters and grand daughters have done a huge job so Ultimate Machete has a very strong maternal family. Every year the All Star barn produce some outstanding juveniles and this years crop looks just as promising as the ones that have gone before them. Harnesslink Media 

Gore Real Estate agent and President of the Northern Southland Trotting Club Bill McDonald trained his first winner at the Riverton Trotting Club meeting at Ascot Park yesterday.   Six year old Bettor’s Delight gelding Machinegun Kelly at odds of 41 to 1 and expertly driven by junior driver Craig Ferguson lead and held on to beat the trailing Smiling Armada by three quarters of a length.    Machinegun Kelly was named after the James Taylor song inspired from attending a James Taylor concert.    The win was special because McDonald's mother Iona who recently died at the age of ninety, was part of the ownership and is still named in the racebook.   “Mum and I have been breeding for years and looking for that New Zealand Cup winner,” said McDonald. His children Bridget and Angus are also involved.    Machinegun Kelly qualified at McDonald’s home track Balfour, in December 2012 and has had a number of trainers over the four seasons he’s been racing.   “He was a bit of a lunatic as a young horse. He was seeing things that didn’t exist. We sent his up to Geoff Hill in Canterbury to ride and then to Geoff and Jude Knight’s for him to be in a bigger stable. They got two quick wins out of him. I then sent him up to Stewart Ashworth’s in Auckland and he won with him at his second start. Then he went off, so we brought him home and gave him three weeks off.”   This was the gelding’s pipe opener for his six year old season and he was given just one workout by McDonald finishing third behind the tightly assessed Pulp Fiction and Char Do Neigh on 24th October.   He’s by Bettor’s Delight out of the Holmes Hanover mare Sound Track which won one race for farrier and trainer Murray Jones.   “She goes back to a mare called Rosehaven. Dad raced her in the 60’s and vet Cliff Irvine suggested that we should give her away. She ended up with the Yardleys and they bred Black Watch out of her.”   Black Watch left Tay Bridge (9 wins), Remarkable (11 wins) and the unraced Aberfeldy the dam of Reba Lord (17 wins) and Megaera (8 wins).   The pedigree extends back to the mighty Mountbatten.   McDonald was very complimentary of Craig Ferguson’s drive saying that his charge can run “58 halves” all day long but is not suited to slowly run races that end up with a sprint home.   “I wish clubs would programme two mile events for some of the lower grade horses. It would suit a few.”   You have the power Bill!! Bruce Stewart Reproduced with permission of Southland Harness Racing   -   Check site here    

Mid-Canterbury harness racing trainer Gerard O'Reilly is never one to praise a horse unless it well and truly deserves it. So when he tells you that one of his runners will be hard to beat it pays to take note. This was the situation on Friday when Harnesslink was asking Gerard about how Sparkling Delight had come back at three after looking above average at two last season. Gerard felt Sparkling Delight had come back a lot stronger and even though he was in a very strong maiden field on Friday night at Addington Raceway, he expected him to be hard to beat. Which is exactly as it played out on Friday night. Settled in the running line early, Gerard sent Sparkling Delight to the front with a lap to go and and never relented from then on, holding off a strong challenge from the highly regarded Alta Las Vegas. Not an overly tall horse, Sparkling Delight is built like a bull and looks to now have the strength to go with his ability. " I was a bit disappointed at times during his two year old season as I thought he would be competitive with the best." " He was just a bit weak and immature at two but has come back so much stronger at three and I think he is in for a good season," Gerard said. Not that Gerard is in any hurry to throw Sparkling Delight in the deep end against the best at this stage as he thinks he will be at his best later in the season. "At this stage we will head to the C1 on Cup Day as he will be more than competitive there." " He is such a good gaited horse and is great winded as well." " He gets over his runs very quickly and I think with a bit more experience, we may have a look at the bigger races later in the season," Gerard said. The son of Bettor's Delight who was brought back by his vendors, the Gaylors after failing to meet his reserve at the yearling sales, looks to have a big season in front of him and won't be out of his depth where ever he goes judging by Friday nights win. Harnesslink Media 

Mid Canterbury harness racing trainer Gerard O'Reilly is better known these days as the stable driver for the very successful Geoff Dunn barn but it as a trainer that he earns his living and he has been very successful at it over a long period of time. Never one to take a horse to the races short, Gerard has a hard earned reputation of not keeping horses in work unless he thinks they can pay their way. Therefore when he does line one up, it always pays to have a second look because you know that Gerard has given them a pass mark. With 142 winners on the board already as a trainer at a very healthy UDR of .2455, Gerard always has a promising horse in the barn and this year is no exception. The smart Bettor's Delight three year old Sparkling Delight is due to make his season's debut tonight at Addington Raceway from the O'Reilly barn and Gerard is expecting a good run. " I took him to the Methven workouts and he went good and he improved from that with a smart win at the Ashburton trials." " There is a couple in there that go really well but from the draw he has to be a chance," Gerard said. Brought back by his vendors from the yearling sales when he didn't make his reserve, Sparkling Delight has been in the O'Reilly barn from day one. " I've had him all the way through and right from the start I knew he was above average." " He is so good gaited and has such a good attitude." " I have kept him a colt but it hasn't been an issue," Gerard said. Starting eight times at two, Sparkling Delight won a race and was placed against some of the best juveniles going around but just half a length off the top ones. " Last season he was just a notch below the top ones but he has really strengthened up between seasons and I think he will be very competitive this time in."  " We missed the Sires Stakes deliberately because I think with a bit more time that later in the season he will be competitive against the best going around," Gerard said. This is a big recommendation coming from Gerard so Sparkling Delight is one to keep in mind as the season goes on. Harnesslink Media  

Look out, New Zealand – one of your own is about to return to where his career began with eyes on your greatest prize. Arden Rooney’s New Zealand Trotting Cup prospects climbed big time on Saturday night as the Kerryn Manning-trained six-year-old 2015 Hunter Cup winner smashed the track record on his way to winning the Tooleybuc Sporting Club Swan Hill Pacing Cup (Group 3) over 2790 metres. Stepping well from his 30-metre handicap, Arden Rooney was quickly sent forward by trainer/driver Manning who had no issues urging the son of Bettors Delight to the lead. Arden Rooney paced his final mile in splits of 30, 29.4, 27.1 and 29.1 seconds for a 1:57.3 mile rate, beating home runner-up Savesomtimetodream by 3.6m, with Lets Elope third beaten 7.6m. Flaming Flutter, second in last season’s Inter Dominion, was beaten 9.8m after starting 20m ahead of Arden Rooney. Franco Ledger, who flashed home in the Hunter Cup earlier this year to run second to Arden Rooney, was beaten 12.6m on this occasion in sixth place. The way Arden Rooney won he’d have strong claims in any race he was to head towards. The NZ Trotting Cup conditions will suit. And his bid at back-to-back Kaikoura Cup wins looks right on song. Cody Winnell

Last season the harness racing gods smiled on Tim Williams with both Have Faith In Me and Dream About Me having unbelivable seasons and the golden run may not be over yet. Tims regular drive in the two year old classics last season was Motu Premier who always found either Lazarus or Chase The Dream standing between him and first place. Motu Premier still had a great two year old campaign, never finishing further back than third in his eight starts on his way to earning over $92,000 However Motu Premier always looked the type that would really improve between two and three and if the son of Bettors Delight resuming run last night at Addington Raceway is any guide, he looks much more the complete racehorse this time in. Sent forward from barrier seven by Tim to claim the lead, Motu Premier never got out of second gear as he cruised the last 800 metres in 56.7 and 26.7 for an emphatic win. Tim was all smiles as he help ungear Motu Premier post race. " He's done that so easy, I didn't even pull the plugs." " He has come back a lot stronger this time in and I couldn't be happier with his run." " The Sires Stakes heat at Addington next week is his next assignment,"  Tim said. Owned by leviathon Australian owners Merv and Meg Butterworth who were oncourse to see the win, Motu Premier has a great all round game which makes him a major threat in any race he runs in. Tim however is convinced that the best of Motu Premier wont be seen until he gets over a bit more ground. " I have always thought that he would really come into his own when he gets out over a bit of ground." " The derbies later in the season should be right up his alley," Tim said. It is hard to follow up a season like Tim had last year but in Motu Premier, Tim looks to have landed the drive on a major player for the all the three year old classics this season. Add in Have Faith In Me and Dream About Me and Tim could be for one hell of a season Harnesslink Media  

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