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CAMPBELLVILLE, September 2 - The Canadian Pacing Derby and Metro Pace headline a $2.4 million harness racing card this Saturday at Mohawk Racetrack. The 'Pacing Derby', Canada's oldest harness race, and the Metro Pace, the richest race for two-year-olds, will both be contested for a purse of $685,000. Joining the two signature events on the card is the $455,000 Shes A Great Lady Stakes, the $229,000 Simcoe Stakes for three-year-old trotters and the $223,193 Simcoe for three-year-old pacing fillies. The Canadian Pacing Derby - Presented by HPIBET features a field of ten with over $18.6 million in combined earnings. Foiled Again, the 2012 Derby winner and richest Standardbred of all-time, will be making his fifth start in Canada's oldest harness race. The Ron Burke trainee, who finished fourth in his elimination, will start from post position nine and look to add to his earnings of $7.1 million. Canadian owned and trained, State Treasurer enters the 'Pacing Derby' as the hottest older pacer in harness racing. The Dr. Ian Moore trainee won his elimination last Saturday to extend his current win streak to three. State Treasurer will start from post-two with driver Randy Waples and seeks a 'Pacing Derby' title to go with his victories this season in the Molson Pace, Mohawk Gold Cup and U.S. Pacing Championship. JK Endofanera, the other elimination winner, will look to become the first Pepsi North America Cup winner to also win the 'Pacing Derby' since Gallo Blue Chip accomplished the feat in 2001. Brett Miller drives the Jimmy Takter trainee, who won last year's edition of Canada's richest harness race and has returned to win four of nine starts in his four-year-old season. JK Endofanera will leave from post-three in Saturday's classic. The Canadian Pacing Derby has been carded as Race Eight and will go postward at approximately 9:43 p.m. The Metro Pace is the richest contest in the sport for two-year-olds and has served as a stepping stone to greatness for many greats over the years. Control The Moment enters the Metro final as the lone undefeated horse in the field. The son of Well Said won his elimination easily in 1:52.1 to improve to six for six on the season. The Brad Maxwell trainee will start from post position four with Waples in the sulky. Betting Line will look to give trainer Casie Coleman her second Metro title from post two Saturday. The son of Bettor's Delight won his elimination in 1:52.2 for his fourth victory in six starts. Betting Line has two Ontario Sires Stakes Gold victories on his resume this season. Steve Condren will handle the driving duties. Voracity, also an Ontario Sires Stakes star, won his elimination last Saturday in 1:54.3 to earn the right to select post three in the Metro final. The Tony Alagna trainee has a near perfect record with four wins in five starts. The son of Sportswriter's only loss was by a nose and he also has two Gold victories on the season. Alagna will also send out Racing Hill from post five and American Passport from post ten, as he seeks his third career Metro victory. The Metro Pace has been scheduled as Race Seven and the rookies will line up behind the gate at approximately 9:17 p.m. The $455,000 Shes A Great Lady Stakes will feature a showdown between two red-hot fillies. Thatsoveryverynice and L A Delight captured their respective eliminations last Saturday and have both dominated Ontario Sires Stakes action this season. Thatsoveryverynice, a daughter of Vintage Master, is trained by Alagna and won her elimination in 1:54.2 for her fourth win in five starts. A daughter of Bettors Delight, L A Delight is trained by Bob McIntosh. The rookie won her elimination in 1:54.2 and will ride a seven-race win streak into Saturday's final. The Shes A Great Lady Stakes is carded as Race Ten and post time is approximately 10:27 p.m. Also on the rich program Saturday is two divisions of the Simcoe Stakes for three-year-old trotters and single rich division of the Simcoe Stakes for sophomore pacing fillies. A group of 15 sophomore trotters have been split into two Simcoe divisions (Races Two and Nine), while a field of 12 three-year-old pacing fillies will compete in their Simcoe Stakes for a purse of $223,193. The Canadian Pacing Derby and Metro Pace will air live on TSN1 Saturday evening from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. The 13-race card will feature a special first-race post time of 7:05 p.m. Doors open at 5 p.m. and the first 2,500 fans to register for their "First Bet on Us" will receive a special commemorative Canadian Pacing Derby T-Shirt. Mark McKelvie

AUGUST 31, 2015 - For the second straight week harness racing driver Jody Jamieson and trainer Jack Darling teamed up to win a pair of two-year-old pacing colt Grassroots divisions with St Lads Moonwalk and Continual Hanover. The duo first achieved the freshman pacing colt Grassroots double at Georgian Downs on August 23 and they reprised the effort at Mohawk Racetrack on Monday evening. "I wasn't really following their schedule, and noticed when the sheet came out that they were back in and I was pleasantly surprised, I'll say that," said Moffat, ON resident Jamieson, who has been increasingly impressed with both colts in recent weeks. Darling and Jamieson's first attempt at the repeat came in the third Grassroots division with St Lads Moonwalk, who started from Post 3 and sat mid-pack through the bulk of the race, watching Sutton Seelster and Derecho put up fractions of :27.1, :56.2 and 1:25.3. Once they hit the stretch Jamieson asked the Mach Three son for another gear and St Lads Moonwalk sprinted by his peers to a one and one-quarter length victory in 1:53.3. Fan favourite Derecho settled for second and Print Media paced into third. "I was very, very impressed with St Lads Moonwalk's victory tonight," said Jamieson. "He got a good enough trip to get lucky to slide out, and the straight run up in the stretch, but he did have to make up about four or five lengths to get the win and did it very, very easily. So he was very impressive tonight." Cambridge, ON resident Darling owns and trains St Lads Moonwalk, who jumped to the top of the division standings with the win, his third straight in Grassroots action. Along with his three victories, the colt has a third and a seventh-place Grassroots result for a total of 164 points. St Lads Moonwalk Continual Hanover went looking for his second win from Post 3 in the last division. The Bettor's Delight son and Jamieson got away fifth and allowed Baddestnbestest to pace by the quarter in :27 and the half in :55.1 before mounting a challenge on the way to the 1:23.3 three-quarters. Fan favourite Continual Hanover had taken command before the colts entered the stretch and pulled away to a one and one-half length victory in 1:52.2.Only Half Bad and Big Yellow closed well to be second and third. "Continual Hanover, he just does as much as you ask him to do or as little as you ask him to do, and he's a fun horse to drive," said Jamieson. "I think he paced his own last quarter in :28.3 or :28.4, but I'm sure that if I needed any more out of him he would have gone more for me. He makes it fun to drive." A half-brother to Darling's 2014 Ontario Sires Stakes two-year-old pacing filly division champion Code One Hanover, Continual Hanover now has two wins, two seconds and one seventh on his resume in five Grassroots appearances, putting him right behind his stablemate in the division standings with 152 points. Continual Hanover Darling also sent out Notetoself Hanover, who finished fourth in the first division, King Of Sports, who was second in the second split, and Vegas Dream, who finished eighth in the fourth division. Bingo Ingo kicked off the Grassroots festivities by capturing his first Grassroots trophy in the first $18,000 division. Driver James MacDonald crafted a come-from-behind trip for the Camluck son that saw them use Southwind Mayhem as a windbreak in the outer lane before sprinting down the stretch to a two and three-quarter length win in a personal best 1:53.1. Macharoni N Cheese and Southwind Mayhem captured the second and third spots. Guelph, ON resident MacDonald pilots Bingo Ingo for trainer Tony O'Sullivan of Cambridge, ON and Stephen Sexton of Xenia, OH. After two starts at the Gold Series level, O'Sullivan moved Bingo Ingo down to the Grassroots program and he now has one win, one third and one sixth to his credit for a total of 65 points. Bingo Ingo Mach Three gelding Secrecy claimed his second straight Grassroots trophy in the second division, swinging out from behind the first over King Of Sports to hit the wire one-half length on top in 1:53.4. Darling trainee King Of Sports stayed game for second and Tommys Trooper came on for third. The mile was a personal best for Secrecy, who earned his first Grassroots trophy in the Aug. 13 event at Rideau Carleton Raceway. Coupled with one fourth and one fifth-place result, the gelding has accumulated 113 points in the race toward a post season berth. Milton, ON resident Sylvain Filion engineered both of Secrecy's wins for trainer Eric Adams and owner Millar Farms of Newmarket, ON. Secrecy The fourth division saw Inspiration View make his debut at the Grassroots level after starting his Ontario Sires Stakes career with the Gold Series colts, where he finished fourth in the Aug. 13 event at Rideau Carleton Raceway. Starting from Post 6, Inspiration View and driver Randy Waples took command heading for the halfway marker and never looked back, sailing home two and three-quarter length winners in 1:52.2. Daylight Rush and Gerries Sport completed the top three. Milton, ON resident Waples engineered the win for trainer Mark Harder of Freehold, NJ and his partners Rick Phillips of Tappan, NY and Peter Venturini of Rockaway, NJ. Through six starts the Shadow Play son now has four wins and earnings of $41,816. Inspiration View The two-year-old pacing colts have one more opportunity to pad their point totals, on Sept. 7 at Grand River Raceway. The top 20 point earners advance to the Sept. 17 Grassroots Semi-finals at Mohawk, with the top five finishers from each Semi-final earning a berth in the $50,000 Grassroots Championship at the Campbellville oval on Sept. 26. The two-year-old pacing fillies will be on the hunt for Grassroots points at Mohawk Racetrack on Tuesday evening, battling in Races 4, 5, 7, 8 and 11. The first race rolls in behind the starting gate at 7:25 pm. Ontario Horse Racing

Batavia, NY---There was no doubt who the best New York bred 3-year-old colt competing at Batavia Downs was on Sunday (Aug. 30) after Betting Exchange (Bettor's Delight-Cheeky Hanover) tied the track record of 1:51.2 for sex and gait in winning his division of the $120,400 New York Sire Stakes (NYSS). After taking an easy lead from post one, Betting Exchange (Jason Bartlett) extended his advantage to two lengths over The Spy (John Cummings Jr.) at the quarter as post time favorite Artistic Major (Jim Morrill Jr.) got away poorly and was gapped a distant third. The leader was cruising along untested until Morrill rushed Artistic Major up by half-time and alongside Betting Exchange into the turn. The challenge continued up the backside and to three-quarters in 1:24 but it was there the race was decided. Bartlett gave Betting Exchange his head and he simply paced away from the field. At the wire he was 10 lengths the best in 1:51.2, pacing the back half in a dazzling :55 flat. The winning time tied the track record for 3-year-old pacing colts set by All Bets Off in 2014 and was also just one-fifth off the all-time track record of 1:51.1 set by Aracache Hanover in 2011. After the race, Jason Bartlett commented "He raced super. I let him roll on the turn and he opened up. He's really a nice one." It was the second win in 14 starts for Betting Exchange ($4.50) and it pushed his 2015 earnings to $318,475 for owners Howard Taylor, Susan Kajfasz and Tom Fanning, who also does the training. In the first division, Rockin In Heaven (Rock N Roll Heaven-Tropic's Beachgirl) overcame a fast battle for the lead and two subsequent challenges to hold on for an impressive victory. Off the wings, no one played nice when Americanprimetime (Jason Bartlett), K-Rock (Matt Kakaley) and Rockin In Heaven (Trevor Henry) went three-abreast to argue for the lead. The trio motored up the backstretch and eventually seated with Rockin In Heaven taking the lead in a speedy :26.3. Positions remained unchanged to the half when Americanprimetime pulled first over from third to go after the leader. With Americanprimetime outside prompting Rockin In Heaven past three-quarters in 1:24.1, K-Rock was sitting the perfect trip behind the pair waiting for his chance. When they hit the head of the lane it was obvious Rockin In Heaven had put away Americanprimetime but then had to fight off K-Rock who made his way into the passing lane. This was accomplished with a strong finishing kick as Rockin In Heaven won in 1:53 by a half-length. "I wanted to get him out of the starting gate and to the lead. He dug in well when I called upon him" said Trevor Henry in the winner's circle. It was the eighth win in 15 starts for Rockin In Heaven ($2.60) and it boosted his earnings to $310,565 for 2015. The colt is owned by Douglas Polley, Francois Lecomte, Gordon McComb and Dr. Ian Moore, who also trains the horse. There were two divisions of the NYSS Excelsior Series "A" also on the card that went for a combined $30,000. The first event was won by the heavily favored Masterson (Bettor's Delight-Tug River Princess) in 1:54 and it was the fourth straight win for the gelding owned by Blue Chip Bloodstock. Masterson ($3.20) was driven by Jim Morrill Jr. for trainer Tracy Brainard. In the second split, Pop Icon (Bettor's Delight-Pop Queen) overcame a slow start and breaking horses to win in 1:56.3. It was the second Excel "A" win this year for Pop Icon ($11.80) who is owned by Ken Weckstein, Richard Rubin and Gary Messenger, who also trains the horse. Jim Morrill Jr. did the driving. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Sept. 2) with post time set at 6:35 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

Harness racing is always in need of pin up starts and in the outstanding filly Our Dream About Me they have one of the highest class. A warm favourite in the $288,000 Betterthacheddar@Alabar Breeders Crown final for two year old fillies at Tabcorp Park Melton, Dream about Me still had some hurdles to overcome to justify that favouritism. Drawn out in the carpark on the second line, Our Dream About Me pushed through her way through early and got onto the three wide- line for driver Mark Purdon. Finding the chair outside the talented Hot Shot Woman and Robbie Morris after 700 metres, Mark Purdon was content to sit parked and applied no pressure to the leader. Going past the 800 metres, Robbie Morris pressed the go button on Hot Shot Woman and she burned down the back straight in 27.9. Momentarilary Our Dream About Me looked in a spot of trouble but when Mark asked her for the big effort, she lifted like the star she is and went to the line an easy winner. Hot Shot Woman went super but just found one better on the day while Zibibbo after trailing the whole way ran third. A minor highlight of the race was the run of Get In The Groove who after being three wide for the last round finished on gamely for fourth. Our Dream About Me paced the 2240 metres in 2:43.6, a mile rate of 1:57.5 with closing sectionals of 55 and 27. It was the eighth win from eight starts for the daughter of Bettor’s Delight and took her stake earnings to $403,877 Mark's smile is getting wider and wider as the day goes on here at Tabcorp Park. "That was a great run today after all the work she did." "I thought Hot Shot Woman was the filly to be wary of so I was keen to get handy to her as I could early. "She really found when I asked her and won like the great filly she is. "She has that X factor that separated the good horses from the great ones," Mark said. Harnesslink Media

CAMPBELLVILLE, August 29 - Thatsoveryverynice and L A Delight continued their respective hot streaks with harness racing victories in the She's A Great Lady eliminations Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack. A group of 12 two-year-old pacing fillies were split into a pair of six-horse $35,000 eliminations. The top-five finishers from each elimination punched their ticket to the final, while the winners also earned the right to select their post. In the first split, Thatsoveryverynice went gate-to-wire with ease to score her fourth win of the season. Driven by Jody Jamieson, Thatsoveryverynice, the 1/5 faovurite, stepped out to the front without any challengers and posted an opening-panel of :28.4. The daughter of Vintage Master went unchallenged through the middle-half panels of :58.1 and 1:26.3 before pacing home under no urging in :27.4 for a 2½ length 1:54.2 victory. Upside Surprise finished second, while JK Fannie rounded out the Triactor. Albany Girl and Highland Rocksolid also secured spots in next week's final. A Tony Alagna trainee, Thatsoveryverynice entered her elimination off a comfortable victory in the Eternal Camnation Stakes. Following the race, Jamieson noted that his filly got the job done easily once again. "Didn't even have to pull the plugs tonight and she was very strong," said Jamieson. "Each time I drive her she gets more impressive and tonight was no exception. Slow fractions, but to have no one around her and to be able to pull away under minimal urging and then shut her down halfway down the stretch, I mean I don't think she could be coming into the final in much better form." Thatsoveryverynice increased her earnings to over $142,000 for owners Alagna Racing LLC. and Marvin Katz with the victory. A $2 win ticket on the Alagna rookie paid $2.50. Thatsoveryverynice L A Delight extended her win streak to seven with a 1:54.2 victory in the second elimination. The Bob McIntosh trainee got away third with driver Randy Waples, while Blue Moon Stride posted fractions of :28.2 and :57.4. Around the final turn, Waples sent the 1/5 favourite first up, as the field paced by three-quarters in 1:26.1. In the stretch, L A Delight quickly paced by Blue Moon Stride and cruised home under minimal urging to win by a length and a half over a hard-closing Darlinonthebeach. Three Dreams finished third, while Blue Moon Stride and Ivy League rounded out the top-five to advance to the final. Following the race, Waples noted that McIntosh made an equipment change heading into this week's start. "Bob added them (earplugs) this week...I said to him last week after I raced her that she was just maybe getting a little bit warm compared to what she had been and he said okay no problem. He goes out changes her equipment, takes a filly that hasn't been beat (in five-starts) and makes her better. That's Bob McIntosh." A daughter of Bettor's Delight, L A Delight is owned and bred by Robert McIntosh Stables Inc., C S X Stables and Al McIntosh Holdings. The rookie pacer now has seven wins in eight starts and earnings of over $178,000. L A Delight paid $2.50 to win. L A Delight The post positions for next Saturday's (September 5) $455,000 final were drawn following the eliminations. $455,000 Shes A Great Lady Stakes Final PP/Horse 1. Three Dreams 2. Albany Girl 3. Thatsoveryverynice 4. L A Delight 5. Upside Surprise 6. Darlinonthebeach 7. Highland Rocksolid 8. Ivy League 9. JK Fannie 10.Blue Moon Stride AE: Show Time Hill Mark McKelvie

Fathers and sons have a wonderful record in the time-honoured Westral August Cup and Kyle Harper has bright prospects of adding his name to the honour roll by driving the brilliant Bettors Fire to victory in the $35,000 feature event over 2536m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Harper’s father Lindsay won the August Cup with Shattering Class (twice), Ghost and Digger of Fortune and he shares the record of four wins with Phil Coulson, Lyle Lindau and Fred Kersley jun. Kersley’s father Fred sen. won the August Cup twice, with Beverley Boy (1951) and Mercedes (1968) and his younger son Bill was successful with Mondello in 1959. The other successful father and son combinations to have won the August Cup are Jim and Peter Schrader, Trevor and Justin Warwick, Gary Hall sen. and Gary Hall jun., Mike and Mark Reed and Kim and Justin Prentice. In total, fathers and sons have won the August Cup 27 times. Apart from Kyle Harper aiming to join this illustrious list, Clint Hall (Indomitable) is hopeful of adding his name to the father and son August Cup winners. Harper has Bettors Fire flying and the New Zealand-bred six-year-old simply sizzled last Friday night when he unwound a dazzling sprint to charge home from a distinct ninth and last at the bell to burst to the front at the 100m mark and score an effortless victory over the pacemaking Northview Punter, rating 1.55.2 over 2130m. Bettors Fire is drawn out wide at barrier eight on the front line and Harper looks set to adopt similar tactics to those of last week when he restrained the gelding back to the rear at the start and relied on his sparkling finishing speed. Bettors Fire, who has won 25 times from 60 starts and has amassed $385,552 in prizemoney, is being set for the $1.8 million TABtouch interdominion championship series at Gloucester Park and Bunbury in November and December. Harper freely admits that Bettors Fire is not at his peak and the impressive son of Bettor's Delight is rapidly developing into one of Western Australia’s best championship hopes. He is an M9-class performer and looks considerably superior to his 11 rivals. Apart from Northview Punter (M9) and This Time Dylan (M7) the other runners have much easier classifications. Northview Punter, to be driven by Kim Prentice for Gary Hall sen., showed a welcome return to form last Friday night when he set the pace and battled on to finish second to Bettors Fire. He will start from barrier two on the back line is capable of being placed again. He started from the No. 1 barrier when he set the pace and won last year’s August Cup by four lengths from Ima Rocket Star. Eleven-year-old Rocket Reign, trained by Debbie Padberg, will start from the No. 4 barrier on the front line. A winner of 24 races from 176 starts, he is in the twilight of his career. Four years ago, in the 2011 August Cup Rocket Reign raced in sixth position on the pegs before flying home, three wide, to be third to Lombo Navigator and Has The Answers in a thrilling three-way photo finish. One of the fancies this year will be Our Jimmy Johnstone, a six-year-old trained by Greg and Skye Bond, who will be handled by Colin Brown, who has been successful in the August Cup with Governor Guinness in 1986 and Mister Odds On in 2009. Our Jimmy Johnstone started equal favourite at 6/4 with Bettors Fire last Friday night when he worked hard in the breeze before wilting to eighth. His previous form was most encouraging. Adding interest to the race will be the reappearance of Ti Amo Franco, a winner of four races earlier in the season. He has not raced since his fast-finishing victory over Tuapeka Kahu at Gloucester Park at a 1.54.7 rate over 1730m late last March. He was an all-the-way 2536m winner over Our Major Mark and Dearborn three starts before that. by Ken Casellas

Fresh off his 1:47 win in the U.S. Pacing Championship, State Treasurer ($3.50) maintained his superiority in the older pacing ranks with a 1:47.2 triumph in the $150,000 Roll With Joe, held Sunday (August 23) afternoon at the harness racing meeting at Tioga Downs.    The 6-year-old Real Desire entire tracked early pacesetters Dancin Yankee (Jim Morrill, Jr.) and Doctor Butch (Brian Sears) through the first turn, brushing to the fore just after a :26.3 first quarter.   Assuming control with a circuit to go, State Treasurer rated a :54.3 initial half before David Miller cut him loose on the backstretch.   State Treasurer used a :26 third quarter to evade the first-over challenge of Clear Vision (Brett Miller), in fact drawing clear to a four-length lead on the far turn as pocket rival Dancin Yankee could no longer keep pace.   State Treasurer prevailed by 3-3/4 lengths in the end, well in hand at the winning post with plenty in reserve beyond his 1:47.2 mile clocking.   Clear Vision held second, while Foiled Again (Yannick Gingras) stayed on for third off a second-over trip.   Dr. Ian Moore trains State Treasurer for owners Sally and Paul MacDonald.   Mosquito Blue Chip, Rockin in Heaven upset in EBC finals   Earlier in the card, Mosquito Blue Chip ($10.20) mounted a late rally to collar odds-on favorite Divine Caroline in the $269,000 Empire Breeders Classic for New York-sired 3-year-old pacing fillies, while Rockin in Heaven ($24.80) sustained a first-over bid before holding off odds-on entrymates Betting Exchange and In the Arsenal--and a few others--in the $290,000 Empire Breeders Classic for New York-sired 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings.   In the distaff division, Mosquito Blue Chip found herself locked in just prior to a :54.4 half mile from Divine Caroline (David Miller), just three lengths off the lead but lacking for racing room until the conclusion of the final turn.   Off the corner, Jim Morrill, Jr. was able to find room with the Bettor's Delight filly, mounting a three-wide rally past pocket rival Band of Angels (Gingras) in the final sixteenth--and ultimately to just nab Divine Caroline at the winning post for a 1:49.3 score.   Trainer Paul Jessop shares in ownership of Mosquito Blue Chip with the Our Three Sons Stable and Donato Falcicchio.   In the male division, Arque Hanover (George Brennan) made an early push to the lead, taking over from Betting Exchange (Gingras) with a circuit to go and controlling a :54.4 half before bracing for the first-over Rockin in Heaven.   After dueling through a :27.2 third quarter, Rockin in Heaven got the better of Arque Hanover, extending his lead to 1-1/2 lengths at the eighth pole while Arque Hanover faded off the corner.   Upon establishing a clear lead, David Miller had to call upon the son of Rock N Roll Heaven for all he had, just staving off a late charge from Artistic Major (Morrill) by a neck in 1:50. A Bettor Hat (Brett Miller) rallied from deeper back, overcoming a fourth-over trip to just miss by half a length, finishing third.   Trainer Dr. Ian Moore co-owns Rockin in Heaven with Douglas Polley, Francois Lecomte, and Gordon McComb.   Reynolds Stakes contested   In addition to the Roll With Joe and the Empire Breeders Classic finals, 2-year-old trotters contested a number of Reynolds Stakes divisions on the Sunday program at Tioga.   The most notable victor was Southwind Frank ($2.90), a 2-year-old Muscle Hill colt who earned his fifth career win in 1:54.2 just two weeks after his triumph in the Peter Haughton Memorial.   Yannick Gingras was in the bike for trainer Ron Burke.   Live racing returns to Tioga on Friday (August 28) evening, with post time at 6:15 p.m. Eastern.   James Witherite

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, August 22, 2015 - Dynamic Youth (George Brennan, $5.10) and (Cashontherocs, Brennan again, $29.20) divided Yonkers Raceway's Saturday night glory, winning the $48,000 harness racing co-features. Dynamic Youth, as the 3-2 favorite, just about went the distance in the blind-draw Open Pace. In play from post position No. 6, he retook from Rock on Moe (Dan Dube) after a :26.2 opening quarter-mile. After that, intervals of :55.3, 1:23.3 and 1:51.1 closed the sale. The final margin over a stubborn, first-up Sapphire City (Jason Bartlett) was a length-and-a-half, with a belated The Real One (Pat Lachance), Texican N (Eric Carlson) and Rock on Moe coming away with the minor moolah. For Dynamic Youth, a Bettor's Delight 6-year-old gelding trained by Ron Burke for co-owners Ken Tucci, C&G Racing and J&T Silva Stables, it was his fifth win in 13 seasonal starts. The exacta (two wagering favorites paid $15, with the triple returning $53.50. The week's marquee trot, this one handicapped, saw pole-assigned Cashontherocs stalk Sevruga (Lachance), then beat him up the inside. The former threw down fractions of :27.4, :57.1 and 1:26, while parking out Dewycolorintheline (Jordan Stratton). Sevruga had a length-and-a-half into the lane, but Cashontherocs went in, and by. The margin was a half-length in 1:55.1. A wide Not Afraid (Dube) was third, with tepid 3-1 choice Tober (Bartlett) and Outburst (Tyler Buter) completing the cashers. For seventh choice Cashontehrocs, a 6-year-old Cash Hall gelded trained by Scott DiDomenico for owner Larry Fischer, he's now 3-for-21 this season. The exacta paid $55, the triple returned $221 and the superfecta paid $8,725 (base $2 payout). Also Saturday night, Bright Blue Eyes (Brian Sears, $5.60) and Murderer's Row (Bartlett, $25.20) won their respective $20,000 eliminations for the Hudson Filly Trot. The 3-year-olds won in 1:56.3 and 1:57.1, respectively, and shall be joined in next Saturday's $149,240 final by (alphabetically) Katniss, Lady Winona, Marion Millionair, Oh My Darlin', Scented Roses and Wouldn't Itbesweet. Rules of the Road (Bartlett), the 1-2 choice in the first elim, broke early and often and finished last. The Raceway's live season continues Monday night (first post 7:10 PM), with the $151,624 New York Sire Stakes Pat Quaglietta Trot (2-year-old fillies). Frank Drucker

Harness racing enthusiasts on both sides of the Tasman couldn't wait for the showdown this evening at Ballarat in a Breeder's Crown semi-final between the star Australian two year old filly Heavens Trend and her brilliant New Zealand counterpart, Dream About Me. Heavens Trend, a daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven drew the coveted barrier one over the 2200 metres while the daughter of Bettor's Delight, Dream About Me drew awkwardly at barrier three on the second line. The first surprise was at the start where Heavens Trend was beaten for early speed. Gavin Lang had her quickly off the markers and let her work her way to the front after 500 metres. Mark Purdon meanwhile had maneuvered Dream About Me through the traffic and slotted onto the back of Heavens Trend early and then got cover from Jilliby Jitterbug when that filly came around to sit outside of Heaven's Trend. Passing the 400 metres mark, Gavin Lang said go and Heavens Trend put a wee gap between her and the opposition with Mark Purdon coming in to it three wide with Dream About Me. We looked set up for a tight finish when all of a sudden Heavens Trend veered sideways with 120 metres to go and lost all momentum and any winning chance. It was very reminiscent of her run at Albion Park two starts ago where she did exactly the same thing. Dream About Me swept on bye with minimal urging from Mark Purdon and went on for a comfortable win from a smart finisher in the Shadow Play filly Zibibbo who was one of the rank outsiders in the field at $139 to one while the Bettor's Delight filly Soho Madeleine made ground late for third. Dream About Me paced the 2200 metres in 2:40.7, a mile rate of 1:57.6 with smart closing sectionals of 55.8 and 27.4. Dream About Me is now unbeaten in seven lifetime starts and took her stake earnings to $229,632. Regardless of where she draws in the final, Dream About Me is now the filly they all have to beat. Harnesslink Media

Trois-Rivieres, Quebec - Harness racing driver Matt Kakaley makes his debut in Quebec this Sunday and it could be a grand appearance as he drives race favorite All Bets Off in the $200,000 Prix D'Ete at the Hippodrome 3R. The Grand Circuit showcase for four-year-old pacers headlines a superb 12-race program that also has the second round of the $200,000 Quebec-Bred Series for two-year-old pacers with four divisions. For Matt Kakaley, it will be his first time driving at the Hippodrome 3R. "This will be first time I have been to Quebec," Kakaley said, "but I really look forward to the experience. I also do not speak French at all, but I am sure everything will work out OK." Kakaley has been the steady driver of All Bets Off for the past two seasons. The $1.4 million winning son of Bettor's Delight, trained by Ron Burke and owned by the Burke Racing Stable, Weaver-Bruscemi, LLC and The Panhellenic Stable, has been competing against the best older horses in harness racing this season and doing quite well. All Bets Off starts from post four and is coupled with stablemate Limelight Beach as the 5/2 morning line favorites. "All Bets Off has been the best horse I have driven all year." Kakaley said. "He's my favorite horse and Ronnie (Burke) put me on him all last year. He's pretty much my drive because he is special to me." Kakaley has kept All Bets Off "off" the front end this year and it has been working out OK with two wins, five seconds and two third place finishes in just 12 starts. His biggest score of the year came in the Flamboro Downs Confederation Cup where All Bets Off set the all age track record in 1:50.4 in his elimination race, then went on to win the final the following week. Kakaley says that All Bets Off can still leave if they want to. "We've been racing him from off the pace on the big tracks," Kakaley said. "He can still leave if we want to." Who does Kakaley think are the major contenders in the race? "I think my horse is definitely the one to beat," Kakaley said. Big Boy Dreams qualified really well at Pocono Downs for this. Limelight Beach really raced well last week at Hoosier Park. He had a lot of road traffic and still got a check. He has such great gate speed that post six won't stop him from getting the lead easily." All Bets Off is Kakaley's only drive of the day of the 12 races at the Hippodrome 3R. "That does not bother me one bit," Kakaley said. "I can enjoy myself, watch some of the races, get All Bets Off ready and if we can win the Prix D'Ete it will make for a great day." Prix D'Ete Notes: The 13-year-old trotter, Pablo Angus, who trotted in 1:56 on 7-8-08 to set the all-age track trot record which was equaled exactly six years later by Michelangelo last season, is in the 4th race on Sunday -- and recently this amazing old timer has set three all-age track trot records for driver Mario Charron within the last two months, June 27 at Saint Hughes in 2:01, July 11 at Saint Esprit in 2:00 and July 25 at Ormstown in 2:04.1. Post time Sunday is 1:30 pm. Tomorrow afternoon race fans can get the free program for Prix D'Ete card at www.quebecjockeyclub.com. From the Quebec Jockey Club    

A strong group of rookie pacers will arrive at the harness racing meeting at Mohawk Racetrack this Saturday (August 22) to contest the Nassagaweya and Eternal Camnation Stakes. The Nassagaweya and Eternal Camnation serve as final preps for the Metro Pace and Shes A Great Lady Stakes eliminations on Saturday, August 29. A total of 21 two-year-old pacing colts and geldings have been split into three $78,334 divisions of the Nassagaweya. The first division features Ontario Sires Stakes standout Voracity (PP2, Randy Waples). The Tony Alagna trainee recently suffered his first defeat by a nose, but brings a record of two wins from three starts into Saturday's contest. A son of Sportswriter, Voracity scored both of his victories in OSS Gold action and is the richest horse in this year's Nassagaweya with $113,750 banked. Also in the first split is the speedy Steve Elliott trainee Talk Show (PP1, Jack Moiseyev). The son of Art Major also has two wins from three starts and sports a mark of 1:52.1 taken in his career debut at The Meadowlands. The second division features the undefeated colt Control The Moment (PP5, Randy Waples). The Brad Maxwell trainee will be making his first start since winning the Dream Maker series final on August 3 and improving to a perfect four for four to start his career. Control The Moment is a son of 2009 Pepsi North America Cup winner Well Said. The third and final split will be highlighted by New Jersey Sires Stakes champion Ideal Rocky (PP1, Andrew McCarthy). The son of Rocknroll Hanover is trained by John Butenschoen and has a record of three wins from five starts for earnings of $75,000. Ideal Rocky won his most recent start on August 7 at The Meadowlands in 1:52.4 with a :26.1 final-quarter. The Nassagaweya has an impressive list of past winners, including Artsplace, Presidential Ball, Real Desire, Mach Three, Sportswriter, Big Jim and Captaintreacherous. Artpseak, who won a division last year, went on to win the 2014 Metro Pace. The Nassagaweya divisions will be contested as Races 2, 4 and 10 on Saturday's 12-race card. A group of 15 rookie pacing fillies have been split into two divisions of the Eternal Camnation Stakes. The $110,631 first division will see a field of seven line up and features three OSS Gold winners. Twin B Thong (PP1, Steve Condren), Thatsoveryverynice (PP3, Jody Jamieson) and Thisorthat Hanover (PP4, Randy Waples) have all tasted success at the top level locally and will look for their first Grand Circuit victory. Blue Moon Stride (PP2, Andrew McCarthy), the New Jersey Sires Stakes champion, will also line up in the first split. The Mark Harder trainee enters the Eternal Camnation with a record of four wins from five starts and earnings of just under $110,000. Blue Moon Stride suffered her only loss in her career debut. A field of eight will contest the $112,130 second division and the Bob McIntosh trainee L A Delight (PP5, Randy Waples) will put her five-race win streak on the line. A daughter of Bettors Delight, L A Delight has built up an impressive resume with victories in two OSS Gold events and the final of the Whenuwishuponastar series. The McIntosh trainee, who suffered her only loss in her career debut, has compiled a bankroll of $105,080. Similar to the Nassagaweya, the Eternal Camnation Stakes has a strong group of past winners, including last year's Horse of the Year JK Shesalady. The Eternal Camnation splits have been carded as Races 3 and 9. Post time Saturday evening is 7:25 p.m. Here are the full fields for the Nassagaweya and Eternal Camnation Stakes. PP/Horse/Sire/Driver/Trainer Nassagaweya - Division 1 - Race 2 1. Talk Show (Art Major) - J. Moiseyev - S. Elliott 2. Voracity (Sportswriter) - Ra. Waples - T. Alagna 3. Heavymetal Hanover (Up The Credit) - M. Saftic - J. Darling 4. Blayde Hanover (Somebeachsomewhere) - S. Filion - T. O'Sullivan 5. Bottom Deals (American Ideal) - S. Condren - L. Toscano 6. Carter Beach (Somebeachsomewhere) - J. Jamieson - C. Jamieson 7. Adrian Hanover (Somebeachsomewhere) - L. Ouellette - W. Cass Nassagaweya - Division 2 - Race 4 1. Rock Power (Rocknroll Hanover) - S. Filion - T. O'Sullivan 2. Inspiration View (Shadow Play) - A. McCarthy - M. Harder 3. Racing Hill (Roll With Joe) - Ra. Waples - T. Alagna 4. Manny (American Ideal) - J. Jamieson - H. Okusko Jr. 5. Control The Moment (Well Said) - Ra. Waples - B. Maxwell 6. Real Kid (Real Desire) - D. McNair - L. Ainsworth 7. American Passport (American Ideal) - J. Jamieson - T. Alagna Nassagaweya - Division 3 - Race 10 1. Ideal Rocky (Rocknroll Hanover) - A. McCarthy - J. Butenschoen 2. Rodeo Rock (Rock N Roll Heaven) - Ra. Waples - D. Swick 3. Mindtrip (American Ideal) - J. Jamieson - T. Alagna 4. Sossys King Kong (Dragon Again) - D. McNair - R. Norman 5. The Catamount Kid (Well Said) - J. Jamieson - C. Jamieson 6. Cruise Patrol (Bettors Delight) - S. Filion - J. Takter 7. Max Is Back (Somebeachsomewhere) - P. MacDonell - P. MacDonell   Eternal Camnation - Division 1 - Race 3 1. Twin B Thong (Sportswriter) - S. Condren - C. Coleman 2. Blue Moon Stride (Rocknroll Hanover) - A. McCarthy - M. Harder 3. Thatsoveryverynice (Vintage Master) - J. Jamieson - T. Alagna 4. Thisorthat Hanover (Sportswriter) - Ra. Waples - J. Dean 5. Three Dreams (Mach Three) - J. MacDonald - J. Bamond Jr. 6. Betty Hill (Bettors Delight) - J. MacDonald - C. Auciello 7. JK Fannie (Rocknroll Hanover) - S. Filion - N. Johansson Eternal Camnation - Division 2 - Race 9 1. Darlinonthebeach (Somebeachsomewhere) - S. Filion - N. Johansson 2. Peg (Dragon Again) - Ph. Hudon - J. Dean 3. Stonebridge Pearl (Mach Three) - TBA - G. McNair 4. Shes Lights Out (Somebeachsomewhere) - P. MacDonell - K. Sucee 5. L A Delight (Bettors Delight) - Ra. Waples - R. McIntosh 6. Keystone Paula (Bettors Delight) - S. Filion - E. Miller 7. Show Time Hill (Rocknroll Hanover) - Ra. Waples - T. Alagna 8. Bernadette (Big Jim) - J. Jamieson - M. Steacy Mark McKelvie  

Well-bred two-year-old pacer Kvitova Leis will head to the spelling paddock this week with her confidence high following an impressive win in a 2C0-2C1 over 1609 metres last nigh at the harness racing meeting at Ubet Park, Hobart. The Barrie Rattray-trained filly was sent around the field from last to find the front a lap from home and went on to score by almost seven metres from first-starter Reason To Grin with the well-backed Shadow Blue two metres away third. "This filly has done a good job winning two of only four starts but we'll turn her out for a break and hopefully she will come back and be very competitive in some of the feature three-year-old races," Rattray said. Kvitova Leis (Bettors Delight-Levina Leis) won in Hobart two starts back after her debut second at the same venue to suggest she might have a future. The Trevor and Marjorie Leis-owned and bred filly has improved at each outing. Rattray ended the meeting with a double courtesy of Devendra scoring another impressive win. Devendra won in Hobart two starts back but this latest victory proved he is back to his best. Rattray said a virus that swept through his stable had led to a lean time for a few months. "The virus cost the stable and to be honest we've had a horrid season compared to what we normally experience," he said. "But the horses are starting to come good and that has been evident with us producing a few winners of late," he said. Rattray was delighted with the run of his former Devonport Cup winner Devendra that scored impressively win in the The Warp Drive FFA over 2090 metres. Devendra began brilliantly from the outside barrier (7) to cross and lead and once in front driver Gareth Rattray rated the five-year-old well. The leader was pressured by All I Can Be for the last lap but when Rattray gave his charge more rein turning for home the gelding sped clear and had almost 12 metres to spare over Motu Crusader with Jukebox Magic flashing home from well back to grab third 3-1/2 metres away. Devendra produced a mile rate of 1.58.3 on a heavy track and ran home his last 800m in 57.4. Peter Staples

It is not often in harness racing that a great sire doesn't go on to become a great broodmare sire although the degree of that success can vary every now and again. In The Pocket has done in the broodmare paddock exactly what he did as a sire, having already won the overall title of leading broodmare sire and being the leading pacing broodmare sire in the season just concluded.  In The Pocket has been first or second on the New Zealand broodmare siring charts for the last five years but is under real pressure going forward to hold off the challenge of one of his sons in Christian Cullen. Christian Cullen has made rapid progress up the broodmare siring charts in the last five years as more of his mares are bred from, rising from 27th in 2011 to third overall last season and a close second on the pacing list to In The Pocket.  The rise has been startling and Christian Cullen has the same potential to click with champion sires Bettors Delight and Art Major as his sire In The Pocket has done. Mares by Christian Cullen have only produced 605 foals three year old or older to date which has put him at a major disadvantage against the likes of Holmes Hanover and In The Pocket whose foal numbers are counted in the thousands not hundreds. However as more and more Christian Cullen mares move into the breeding barn, those numbers will change quickly. This season there are 180 two year olds in New Zealand from Christian Cullen mares and there are also 184 yearlings from Christian Cullen mares on the ground so he will quickly catch up numbers wise over the next few years. When you look at the quality of the racehorses his mares are producing, it is no surprise that he has moved up the charts so quickly. Horses of the class of Ohoka Punter 1:51.1p ($599,013) - Te Kawau 1:54.3p ($131,674) - Express Stride 1:54.3p ($132,395) alongside two of last season's standout two year olds in Lazarus 1:52.9 ($265,562) and Chase The Dream 1:53.1p ($212,026) have helped establish Christian Cullen as an elite broodmare sire. One thing of note is that all five of the horses quoted above are sons of Bettors Delight. The best performer produced by a Christian Cullen mare to date is of course Highview Tommy 1:55.2 ($1.021,904) who is also by Bettors Delight. Broodmare earnings in New Zealand have already topped the $6,000,000 mark while over the Tasman in Australia he is slightly ahead of that with $6,179,816 in earnings to date. Looking ahead to next years yearling sales, vendors with Bettors Delight progeny from Christian Cullen mares can expect their stock to be keenly sought after by buyers from both sides of the Tasman. Harnesslink Media

Rideau Carleton Raceway fans were treated to six outstanding battles by the two-year-old pacing colts at the harness racing meeting on Thursday as the province's best Grassroots and Gold Series competitors brought their "A" game to the Ottawa oval. The Grassroots colts kicked things off in Race 3 and Sporty Mercedes set the tone for the evening, ringing up a :27.4 quarter, :57 half and 1:25.1 three-quarters and then battling favourite Vegas Dream all the way to the wire to score a neck victory in 1:55.1. Shadows Pro was well back in third. The win was Sporty Mercedes' first in three Grassroots appearances. "He raced tough," said Guelph, ON resident McNair of Sporty Mercedes. "They liked him early and he got a little pouty, so they gelded him. He seems to be much better." McNair piloted the Sportswriter son to the win for trainer Blake MacIntosh of Waterdown, ON and his partners Dan and Kim Sergeant of Straffordville, ON. In six starts Sporty Mercedes now has two wins and one second for earnings of $14,840. The win was one of two for McNair, who also piloted the winner of the first Gold Series division. Starting from Post 5 the reinsman hustled Nvestment Bluechip out to an early lead and then allowed Voracity to take control before the :28 quarter. Inspiration View went to the front before the :57.2 half and the colts continued to sit one, two, three en route to the 1:25.2 three-quarters. Randy Waples elected to tip Voracity to the outside to challenge Inspiration View, so McNair opted for the passing lane and the colts stormed under the wire in a crowd. After careful review Nvestment Bluechip was determined to have a scant nose in front of Voracity, and Matchplay Hanover was three-quarters of a length back in third. "He was still pacing halfway down the lane, but so was Randy's horse." "I didn't think I could catch him," said McNair. "I still didn't think I won after the race." The win was McNair's first appearance in Nvestment Bluechip's race bike and the driver -- last year's leader in the Ontario Sires Stakes program -- was impressed with the Dave Menary trainee. "He dug in tough to win," said the driver. "He's a smart colt, very relaxed." The win was Nvestment Bluechip's second in Gold Series action. The Shadow Play son also captured his division in the July 11 season opener at Mohawk Racetrack for owners Menary Racing Inc. of Rockton, ON, Michael Guerriero of Puslinch, ON, Denis Breton of Welland, ON and Thomas Kyron of Toronto, ON. The other $105,000 Gold division at Rideau Carleton on Thursday went to Semi Automatic, who also arrived in the winner's circle by way of the passing lane. Starting from Post 2 driver James MacDonald landed the colt on the rail in second behind pacesetter Heavymetal Hanover and followed that colt through fractions of :26.4, :56.2 and 1:24.2 before bursting through in the stretch and accelerating away to a two length victory in 1:54. Heavymetal Hanover settled for second and Stonebridge Beach was third. "The horse was amazing tonight," said Guelph, ON resident MacDonald. "I got a good helmet to follow and the horse did the rest." Puslinch resident Tony O'Sullivan conditions Semi Automatic for his partners Let It Ride Stables Inc. of Boca Raton, FL and J And T Silva Stables LLC of Long Beach, NY. In five starts the Badlands Hanover gelding now has two wins, one second and one third, with his other victory coming in elimination action for the Battle Of Waterloo at Grand River Raceway on July 27. The quickest mile of the four Grassroots divisions was clocked by Blue Zombie, whose 1:54.2 score salvaged an otherwise unprofitable evening for driver Tim Tetrick and trainer Casie Coleman. Coleman asked the New Jersey-based Tetrick to make the trip north to steer two Gold Series colts and Blue Zombie, but both Betting Line and A Bettors Risk made breaks in their respective Gold divisions. Blue Zombie however, dominated the fourth Grassroots split, firing straight to the front from Post 2 and laying down fractions of :28, :57.1 and 1:25.3 on his way to a five and one-half length win in 1:54.2. Kokanee Seelster and Azul Pool rounded out the top three. "He gets better every start, so we are really happy with him every week right now," said Coleman, adding that the colt is being prepped for the Metro Pace Eliminations at Mohawk Racetrack on August 29. The Cambridge, ON resident shares ownership of Blue Zombie with her partners in the West Wins Stable of Cambridge and Adriano Sorella of Milton, ON. In four starts the Bettors Delight gelding now has two wins and one third, all in Grassroots action. The other Grassroots trophies went home with St Lads Moonwalk and Secrecy. St Lads Moonwalk sprinted down the stretch to a one-half length victory in 1:56 in the second division, besting fan favourite Print Media and Bingo Ingo. The Mach Three son was piloted to his first lifetime win by Campbellville, ON resident Mike Saftic for owner-trainer Jack Darling of Cambridge. Secrecy and driver Sylvain Filion of Milton took command heading for the three-quarter pole and never glanced back, cruising home one and one-quarter length winners over Continual Hanover and Day Trade Hanover. The Mach Three gelding's first lifetime win was clocked in 1:55.3. Eric Adams conditions Secrecy for Millar Farms of Newmarket, ON. The Gold Series competitors now have a six and one-half week break in their Ontario Sires Stakes schedule, while the Grassroots colts make their fourth start at Georgian Downs on August 23. Ontario Sires Stakes excitement continues at Rideau Carleton Raceway this Sunday on OSS Family Fun Night, featuring four Grassroots divisions for the two-year-old trotting fillies and a host of fun-filled activities for families. Ontario Horse Racing

Only one category tested the judges in the annual harness racing awards on a night where the industry honoured a bunch of super talented horses. Star pacers Dream About Me, The Orange Agent, Adore Me and Have Faith In Me, who were the toast of the 350-strong Christchurch audience on Saturday night, took a clean sweep of the 25 votes cast, with Sky Major inexplicably stealing one vote from Christen Me in the four-year-old and older section. But the votes were well split between three outstanding two-year-old colts and geldings, with the Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen-trained Chase The Dream (11 votes), outpointing his stablemates Waikiki Beach (7) and Lazarus (7). Chase The Dream, with Group I wins in the Young Guns Final and Sires' Stakes, obviously had the home plate advantage with the deeds of Waikiki Beach, unbeaten in 10 starts, almost exclusive to Australia. With Group I scalps in the Australian Pacing Gold and NSW Breeders Challenge, Waikiki Beach won four more races than Chase The Dream and banked $324,081 to Chase The Dream's $212,026. It reflected the strength of the crop that Lazarus, with six wins from eight starts and $265,562 in stakes, including the Group I Harness Jewels in 1:52.9, was an also-ran. And it also reflected the dominance of the season for Purdon and Rasmussen that four of the six pacing category winners came from their All Stars Stables. The voting was clearcut in all the trotters' categories, Speeding Spur and Conon Bridge capturing all 25 votes while one vote for Jewels winner Missandei stopped juvenile High Gait from getting a perfect score and one judge gave King Denny the nod over Stent, the winner of seven Group I races and $640,000 in the four-year-old and older section. The only conceivable excuse could be that they didn't turn the page on HRNZ's performance sheets and missed seeing the feats of Sheemon and Stent, although how the person could have forgotten the extraordinary feats of Stent beggars belief. Kincaslough (22) and Sunny Ruby (21) completed the list of trotting winners. Stent was a unanimous choice for trotter of the year while Christen Me (13) triumphed in the pacer of the year, losing six votes to champion mare Adore Me and two to Have Faith In Me. The judges were also split on overall Harness Horse of the Year, Miracle Mile and Victoria Cup winner Christen Me (13) outpointing New Zealand Cup heroine Adore Me (6), Stent (4) and dual Derby winner Have Faith In Me (2). Other awards: Owner: Trevor Casey. Breeder: Charlie Roberts. Broodmare: Scuse Me. Stallion: Bettor's Delight. Trainer: Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen. Driver: Dexter Dunn. Junior driver: Stevie Golding  Cadet: Sean Grayling. Outstanding contribution: John Reedy. Barry Lichter Reproduced by permission of Stuff NZ - Check site here

It was almost fitting that trainer Cran Dalgety and driver Dexter Dunn were 19,000km away when Christen Me was honoured as the Harness Horse of the Year at the annual harness racing awards ceremony in Christchurch on Saturday night. Because for the last few weeks the stresses of long-distance travel have been challenging Dalgety as he's mapped out an ambitious early-season plan for the champion pacer. Dalgety joined pin-up driver Dunn in Ireland on Thursday where they are taking part in the Vincent Delaney Memorial weekend celebrations at Portmarnock Raceway in Dublin. It will be a welcome sojourn for Dalgety before the pending storm of racing which he admits will test even the country's most travelled campaigner in his seven-year-old season. Monday's trials at Addington will mark the beginning of the road for Christen Me which, if all goes to plan, will see the horse tilt at the New Zealand Cup on November 10 before flying 5000km to Perth for the gruelling  Interdominion series which starts just 17 days later. It's a challenging double but one which bookmakers have already signalled they believe he can achieve by posting him $3 favourite for the $750,000 Cup and $5.50 co-favourite for the $1.3 million Interdom Final on December 13. "I feel it's doable and I'm up for the challenge," said Dalgety who admitted it wasn't until he investigated all the travel options that the bold double was elevated from pipe-dream to reality. With West Australian officials keen to promote a tri-code carnival, flights from Melbourne had been laid on to transport horses inter-state, he said. "The only scary thing is they can't give us a 100 per cent guarantee on the exact dates but we still think we can do it. Getting a horse from the South Island to Perth is a big mission but he's had quite a bit of experience travelling now and I feel he has improved a little bit." Dalgety admitted it was a bit like "going into the unknown" tackling two feature carnivals so close together and so far apart but he is a dab hand at campaigning horses at a true Interdominion, and says he is excited by the return to the traditional format of three heats in a week and the final a week later. He last did it with top pacer Desperate Comment, who went into the 1996 Perth final as top points-scorer before running sixth to Young Mister Charles. And he repeated the dose the following year in Adelaide when Desperate Comment won two heats before running fifth to Our Sir Vancelot in the final. Everything Dalgety does in the next three months will be designed to have Christen Me primed for the dual assault – he's even planning on restricting him to only three lead-up races before the cup, compared with last year's four runs.  The first will be at Addington on September 5, when he will run in the $25,000 Holmes Vase (2600m), a race Christen Me could easily win given how pleased Dalgety is with how the horse looks. "I'm really excited and bushy-tailed where I am with him at the moment. He's been in work for more than three months and had seven weeks of fast work. "In his general  well-being, he's a touch ahead of last year and, physically, he's the bulkiest he's been. He's a touch overweight but that's what I've planned, I want 10 per cent extra to play with." Dalgety said sometimes people were brainwashed by the idea that once pacers reached the age of seven they were on the way down. "But he didn't have a hard time as a two and three-year-old and I think that's standing by him now. "And, while he's just had a great season, he had only 14 starts. If he'd been trained in Australia he would have had double that." Christen Me, raced by veteran Charlie Roberts and Vicky Purdon, won six of his nine starts in New Zealand, including the Group I NZ Free-for-all, Auckland Cup and Easter Cup. And he won three of his five starts in Australia, simply sublime in taking the Group I Miracle Mile and Victoria Cup.  His earnings of $1,187,443 clearly topped those of his close relation Adore Me ($796,563), who captured six votes in the Horse of the Year race. But the now retired Adore Me won the race Dalgety really wants, the NZ Cup. "Charlie was lucky enough to win the Cup with Adore Me last year and, if  I can win it for him this year with Christen Me, I'd feel like I'd really kicked a goal in my career. And my enthusiasm about him is as high as ever." It came as no surprise that Adore Me's sire Bettor's Delight won the stallion of the year award for the fifth time in a row, and her dam Scuse Me was named the broodmare of the year, also having produced the champion three-year-old Have Faith In Me. Roberts, naturally, got the gong for breeder of the year. Barry Lichter Reproduced with permission of Stuff NZ - Check site here

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