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"I thought the other horse had won actually. Blair told me he'd got me," said trainer driver Nigel McGrath after backmarker Maverick beat stablemate My Wee Man in the Sir Lincoln at Alabar Riverton Trotting Cup at Ascot Park on Sunday. The winning margin was a nose. "He (Blair Orange) goes round more than me so I thought he must be right." The six year old Bettor's Delight gelding which is part-owned by McGrath with Ken and Ann-Marie Spicer has now won nine races. "He's had a Methven Workout and he's been to the beach a few times and he's started to work really good in the last few weeks. I thought 35 (metres) might be a bit tough today." He now carries a rating of 102 and McGrath says it'll be very hard to place Maverick in races that he's competitive in. "Very hard. He's not very far away from being retired. He'll go away and a be a hack. He's a lovely quiet horse." McGrath has had the gelding since he was a late three year old. He won one race for David and Catherine Butt. He's out of the nineteen win Holmes Hanover mare Kate's First whose wins include the 1997 Auckland Cup.  The win on Sunday was McGraths 500th. His first was Lasting Vance at Westport in December 1999.  Meanwhile quality colt Franco Santino won the SBS Bank Nugget Final holding off a late charging Lawrence to win by a length. He's owned by Riverton fisherman Neville Cleaver. As part of the Riverton Trotting Clubs Owner For The Day promotion the horse was also 'gifted' to Monique and Christian Harvey. Oliver Kite, Franco Santino, Neville Cleaver and Monique and Christian Harvey -  Photo Bruce Stewart. Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing

Harness racing trainer Nigel McGrath trained his 500th winner yesterday when Maverick, a six year old gelding won the Riverton Trotting Cup for him at Ascot Park.  McGrath started his training career in 1999 and racked up 9 wins in his first season, with his first training win coming on Lasting Vance at Greymouth on the 26 December 1999.  He has been stacking up the wins ever since, with his best season coming in 2004, which provided him with 46 wins and a further 46 placings. Maverick a son of Bettor's Delight won his ninth race yesterday and took his stake earnings past $100,000. He had to be good to win the race after starting from a handicap of 35m and working hard during the running. McGrath also in the sulky for the win, was up parked with a lap to go after beginning quickly from the standing start. In the straight Maverick was pressured by the stablemate My Wee Man and Blair Orange, but dug deep and fought back to win by a nose at the line. The winner paced the 2700m form the standing start in 3-25.4, with the last 800m cut out in 58.2 and the 400m in 28.2 seconds. Maverick winning at Ascot park yesterday! Harnesslink Media

The Nigel McGrath trained My Wee Man, impressive winner of the First In Windsor Mobile Pace will stay in the province this week and start in this Sunday's $14,999. Sir Lincoln Riverton Cup. My Wee Man is owned by Peter Boag and his wife Karen who were both on-course today to see their four year old by Changeover win. "He's a good tough wee horse. He sort of likes to race near the speed. He was bought at the sales for $18,000 off Grant Crabbe. He qualified as a two year old and ran second in the Sires Stakes Silver. He missed a bit of racing as a three year old because we had to geld him. He was a wee bit colty. It's made a big difference," said Boag. The Boags who operate a sheep and beef farm in the Greta Valley, also own Dizzy Miss Lizzy which McGrath bought for them at the Sales. She won her first start at the Northern Southland Meeting in March before winning the end of season Two Year Old Diamond on Harness Jewels Day at Ashburton. She won three of her four starts for the McGrath stable. They also have a full sister to Dizzy Miss Lizzy by Bettor's Delight called Good Day Sunshine. She was purchased by Peter at the sales for $20,000.  "He (McGrath) thinks she'll run as a two year old and hopefully she'll come down here and race in the Caduceus Club of Southland Two Year Old Classic in March." That race was won by Dizzy Miss Lizzy last season.  Boag's father Peter Senior trained forty nine winners between 1980 and 2001 including Unique Blue Chip (9 wins). He also owned Sundon trotter Unique Star (15 wins). Incidently Unique Star at the end of his career was trained by Leonne Jones who trained Belmont's Greatest to win at long odds for driver Craig Ferguson today. Belmont's Greatest (5) beating Grace O'Malley (7)             Photo Bruce Stewart.   Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing

When Southlander Ken Barron became stable driver for former Tapanui trainer John Lischner in 1994 his approach to race day driving marked a major change in the way races were run in Canterbury.  "I think Ken would tell you himself that he hated driving and being unlucky. He tried to give each horse all the luck he could get for them. That's the way they drive today and Ken started that. He was a wee bit lucky because Clark (brother Clark Barron) moved up not that long afterwards and the two drive very similarly. It did change the style of driving in Canterbury for sure," said Lischner.  Barron recently decided not to renew his race day driving licence after 31 years in the sulky, over which he reined 1050 winners. He started as a junior reinsman in the 1985-86 season. His first winner Morning Rise which was trained by his father Ron, happened at the Wairio meeting in November 1986. In fact his first five winners were trained by his father. Also in those early days, winners came from trainers like Alan Paisley, Jason Enright and Vin Devery. It was his association with Devery that lead to his first Group winner Dreamy Atom which won the Group Three 1994 Sweetheart Stakes. In those early days he also struck up a successful partnership with Southland trainer Murray Brown and drove his first winner for him in January 1992 reining Barbed Wire to win at Ascot Park. From that point Brown began to use him regularly and by the time Barron left to go to Canterbury he'd driven 19 winners for the Findley Road trainer.  "Henry Skinner and Alan Scobie were driving for me. Ken was at me all the time to get a drive. When those older guys started to wind down Ken got his opportunity," said Brown. Brown says Barron was a real student of the standardbred and could assess a horse and it's ability fairly quickly.  "He studied his horses. He was right into it and knew every horse after just one drive. Henry (Henry Skinner) and Scobes (Alan Scobie) were like that." And Lischner agrees. "Ken's a bit of a thinker. He drove once for Peter Bagrie and Peter told me after, that when he came back in  he knew exactly everything about the horse. He'd never had a driver that could sum up a horse after one drive. He was pretty good that way."  Older brother Clark, who has also driven over 1000 winners and observed his brother's early drives, agrees. "You could probably take that a step further. He knew a horse in the first four to five hundred metres. Probably in the preliminary. I was already driving and he came along and no one tried harder than him to succeed," he said. The success that Brown and Barron were having was also proving beneficial to Brown. "Everyone was wanting to put their horse here because Ken was driving for me. It went like wildfire," he said. He also says the success Barron was having didn't surprise him.  "He was a good squash player and good at golf. All those good ones (drivers) are good at other sports."  The early success Barron was having was also noted by John Lischner who was starting to build momentum with a large team in Ashburton.   "I had a yarn to Ron because I didn't want to interfere with any family plans they might have had for Ken in extending their business. Ron said 'you just fire ahead and do what ever you want to do'."  Lischner says he was in desperate need to have a permanent stable driver.   "We were sick of not getting any continuity with feedback from drivers because we'd have one driver one week and a different driver the next. We were getting mixed messages and that was disruptive. I saw Ken driving in the south and thought 'that boy doesn't drive bad'. I took a couple of horses down south and got him to drive them." So Ken Barron moved north to Mid Canterbury at the beginning of the 1994 season and soon began to make his mark. "He'd only been up here for about a fortnight and we had horses in at Blenheim so I dispatched him away in Dick Prendergast's float. We had some success on that trip and it grew from there. He was quite an adventurous driver and not afraid to attack the lead. Fortunately we had the horses that he had success with driving like that. Our horses did stay a bit better that quite a lot of others. We didn't specifically train our horses to fit Ken's style."  Clark can also remember the impact his brother was having. "I always remember when he went up there. He'd get a way out (leading in the race). All the drivers would say 'Oh, he'll come back'. He never did and after the first few months he'd won a heap of races." A few years later Clark joined his brother, working for Michael House and he took a similar approach.  "We are definitely similar but I'm probably a bit more conservative than he was," said Clark. So Ken Barron made his mark on Canterbury harness racing and it was a game changer. He drove many winners for John Lischner and when asked to pick one particular drive that summaries his style it wasn't hard for the trainer to find one.  "One that stands out was Eastburn Grant because he was a tough horse. I remember vividly when we won the Rowe Cup with him. Ken set him alight and they just never caught him."  Eastburn Grant was not the only good trotter Barron drove. Others include Jo Anne, Dependable, Majestic Time and Gee's Pride.  One of the other stable stars he drove at that time was Stars and Stripes.  "Ken drove him a treat. He wasn't much good in front but devastating from behind. We won four Derbies with him."  In 2002 Lischner took Barron onboard as a training partner.  "When he joined me he told me that he had some views (on training) and he said he'd like to tell me about them. I heard them and we came to an arrangement. I said 'If I don't like what you're doing I'll tell you'. That's the way we worked. It would be fair to say we never had a cross word. We had different opinions about some horses but we had a mutual respect for one another. Nothing really changed when he came in as a partner. It just carried on the same," Lischner said.  Clark believes a lot of credit for his brother's success goes to John Lischner.  "A lot of credit had to go to John. They had very fit horses and the combination (of them both) worked unreal."  Clark says it didn't surprise him when Ken decided not to renew his driving licence at the beginning of this season.  "We both spoke about it and thought we'd slow down in our early fifties. But we both got to our mid fifties. I'm still ticking over and he's pulled the pin altogether."  The impact that Ken Barron has had on harness racing driving has largely gone unheralded but that's probably how he would like it. However the style he took to Canterbury in 1994 proved to be a blue print to how most races pan out these days. Ken is now happy to carry on just training with his other brother Tony and observe his team being driven primarily by Blair Orange, who I'm sure has benefitted from his employer's style.  Bruce Stewart  Southland Harness Racing   Barron Bits: 8,772 drives for 1050 winners, 969 seconds, 887 thirds for $8,948,514 UDR .2148 Group One winners: New Zealand Standardbred Breeders Stakes (Lady Toddy), Great Northern Derby (Stars And Stripes), New Zealand Sires Stakes Three Year Old Final (Stars and Stripes), New Zealand Derby (Stars And Stripes),Rowe Cup (Eastburn Grant) and Easter Cup (Bradshaw). He also drove Stars And Stripes to win the $100,000 2000 Victoria Derby and the $100,000 2000 NSW Derby.    First win: Morning Rise – Ron Barron – November 1985 at Wairio. First win for John Lischner: Irish Lullaby –Invercargill 3rd September 1994 Winning drives for John Lischner: 369 Winning drives for John Lischner and Ken Barron: 88 Total winners trained by Lischner: 705 - Ken Barron drove 457 of them. Winning drive for self: 219 Drove multiple winners for: Murray Brown, Ron and Tony Barron, Vin Devery and Allan Georgeson. Note: John Lischner was the leading trainer in 1997 and 1999. Barron drove 90 winners in 1999 and was second to Tony Herlihy in the national premiership. He drove 103 winners in 1997 and was again second in the premiership - this time to Maurice McKendry (120). McKendry had 791 drives that season - Barron drove 493 times. On both occasions he was the leading South Island driver. Top Twelve winning drives in New Zealand: Lady Toddy (12) Georgetown (10) Eastburn Grant (10) Dependable (10) Bradshaw (10) Stars and Stripes (9) Major Decision (9) Luchador (8) Arctic Chief (8) Comply Or Die (8) Supreme Mach (8) Gees Pride (8)

Harness racing driver Dexter Dunn has moved to second place on the national drivers premiership, after winning with the Cran Dalgety trained Times Stride at Addington on Friday night.  Dexter is currently sitting on 18 wins for the season, but is still 23 wins behind leader Blair Orange who has won 41 races since the season started in August. Both drivers head to Forbury today, where they each have a good book of drives. Art Major four year old, Eamon Maquire is the TAB FF win favourite ($1.95) for todays Tuapeka Cup, where he will be driven by Dexter Dunn. The Graeme Anderson trained 4yo starts off the back mark of 30m for the 2700m, where he will be having his first standing start at the races.  Eamon Maquire is being aimed at the $50,000 PGG Wrightson YSS Aged Classic for 4yo and faster pacers at Kaikoura on the 30th October 2017. __________________________________________________________________________________ The speedy Nigel McGrath trained Sheriff has been stood down for thirty days, after winning his race at Addington on Friday night. Sheriff returned to the stabling area with blood present in the nostrils and after a Veterinary examination was confirmed to be a bleeder. The horse was stood down for the mandatory 30 days. A veterinary clearance and one satisfactory trial are required prior to resuming. Sheriff won his race by more than four lengths on Friday and ran a mile rate of 1-57.3 for the 1950m mobile. He sped over his last half in a slick 56.5 seconds. Sheriff winning his race on Friday night Harnesslink Media

Jack's Legend is still well in contention for this years Christchurch Casino Trotting Cup, after winning the fourth running of the $20,000 Holmes DG, a race named in honour of late ATC president Kerry Hoggard. Trained by top harness racing trainer Barry Purdon, Jack's Legend was thirteenth in the Cup rankings yesterday, but will improve quite a few spots after last nights win.  Jack's Legend (Bettor's Delight - Larissa Rose) was driven last night by Zac Butcher, who had the Bettor's Delight 4yo in front from the start, before running very quick last sectionals to hold on and win by a short margin. Jack's Legend ran the 2700m stand in 3-25.7, with a closing 800m in 55.3 and 400m in 27.9 seconds. Later in the night, Butcher and Purdon also combined to win with Raptors Flight, who beat stablemate Opoutama by a neck in 2-43.1 for the 2200m mobile. Jack's Legend winning last night ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Top harness racing driver Blair Orange has increased his lead in the national drivers championship, after driving three winners at Addington on Thursday night. Orange who is driving like a man possessed, won with B D Love, Amazon Lilly and Star Commander on Thursday and he has a great chance of increasing his lead with drives in every one of the eleven races today at Gore.  He also has several drives at Methven on Sunday. Blair is currently sitting on 38 wins for the season, 23 wins clear of second equal placed David Butcher, Dexter Dunn and Matthew Williamson who have all had 15 wins each. ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Classy mare New Years Jay has been retired after fracturing a hind cannon bone. The daughter of Washinton VC was lightly raced, but still managed to win eight races from thirty life-time starts.   Harnesslink Media

He hadn't raced since running thirteenth at Addington on Show Day in the South Of The Waitaki so it was a master class in training by Roslyn Bush harness racing trainer Murray Swain to prepare Jayedgar to win in a good time at Ascot Park yesterday. "He got a four mil (millimetre) tear of a muscle and had six months out," said Swain when recounting the injury that put the breaks on a promising career. Swain purchased Jayedger at the 2014 Auckland Weanling Sales for $6,500.  "We went up to buy Isaiah's brother and thought we'd have to pay up to twenty five (thousand) for him but he went for seventy five. Jayedgar was next in the ring and I said he's not a bad looking horse. I was trying to find something for the lads." The five year old Art Official gelding is owned by Wayne Pope, Swain, L. Morresey and Alistair Mackintosh. Some of the winning connections - Photo Bruce Stewart "He's (Mackintosh) in Wanaka. We told him not to back him because we thought he'd need the run. It was a big effort by the horse. It was more the horse's ability than the trainer. Blair said he went to the line easily."  The winning margin was two and a half lengths and the time for the 2200 metre mobile was a smart 2-42.5.  Jayedgar easily winning  - Photo Bruce Stewart. "I thinks he'll be a nice wee Country Cups horse. If he pinged out in the Country Cups races he'd keep them honest. Today's win makes up for the South of the Waitaki race when he hung. I think he was sore beforehand when he won at Wyndham." It was one of four wins for Canterbury reinsman Blair Orange. Note: The Art Major - Natural Creation colt that Swain wanted to buy at the Auckland sale was named Magnetic Stride. He was exported to Australia where he is unraced.  Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing Jayedgar winning his race

Master trotting trainer Paul Nairn made it four wins in the Banks Peninsular Trotting cup when Habibty Ivy won the time honoured race at Motukarara on Sunday in the hands of driver Blair Orange. Nairn had previously won the cup with Call Me Now in 1994 and Call You Later in 2002 and 2003. Habibty Ivy (Love You - Ten To One) who was the favourite, led for the last 1400m of the race and held on to beat the second favourite Destiny Jones by a short margin.  The winners time was 3-44.2 for the 2810m with a fast final 800m on the dead track in 59.2. Blair Orange also won the last race on the card with the Nigel McGrath trained Goodlookin Chick. That win gave him his 27th win this season which increased his lead in the national drivers premiership. Orange is currently 12 wins clear of Matthew Williamson who is second on 15 wins for the season, with David Butcher third on 13 wins.    Harnesslink Media

Harness racing speedster and now stud stallion Stunin Cullen might get his first winner as a sire, when the Paul Court trained Stunin Love steps out at Invercargill in Race 5 today. Stunin Love (Stunin Cullen - Love To Live) is a half brother to champion pacer Terror To Love a three time New Zealand Cup winner.  The good looking 3yo colt was a beaten favorite last start at Methven when fresh up, and is again a hot favourite to win at Ascot Park this afternoon in the hands of Blair Orange. Part owner Terry McDonald is expecting Stunin Love to go close, and said this morning, "I am confident he can win today and give Stunin Cullen his first win as a sire"  Terry said " I brought Stunin Love back at the sales for $55,000 so hopefully he can do a good job on the racetrack and also give the sire a leg up by winning a few"  "We have sent Stunin Cullen to Australia in a twelve month arrangement with Yirribee Pacing Stud, which could be longer depending on how well received he is over there". Yirree Pacing Stud in New South Wales stood the stallion Courage Under Fire for a short period, until he died earlier this year, and Stunin Cullen is the replacement. Stunin Cullen(Christian Cullen - Vicario) was great horse on the race track winning eighteen races from forty two starts with earnings of $1,493,716. Harnesslink Media

Top NZ harness racing trainers Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen won the New Brighton Cup on Saturday with their speedy pacer Have Faith In Me. Have Faith In Me got home quickly from a nice spot on the outer to down an ex-stablemate Titan Banner and last year's Auckland Cup winner Dream About Me. The winner ran his last 800m in 55.2 with a closing 400m in 26.89 seconds, proving he is back to somewhere near his best. ____________________________ Blair Orange won four races over the weekend to move to twenty two wins for the season, nine wins clear of second place David Butcher. Orange won three races at Addington on Saturday and added another win at Methven yesterday behind the Nigel McGrath trained Goodlookin Chick. Last years drivers premiership winner Dexter Dunn is languishing back in the pack on three wins, after missing some early season racing while he was overseas at the World Drivers Championships.. ______________________________________________________________________________________ Destiny Jones has won this years Ordeal Trotting Cup for trainer Kevin Townley and driver Ricky May. Destiny Jones finished quickly from midfield on the outer to down last years winner Ameretto Sun by a length. The two favourites Habibti Ivy and Harriet Of Mot both blew their chances with early breaks shortly after the start. Destiny Jones (The Pres - Galleons Destiny) has now won eight races and $85,379 in stakes. She trotted the 2600m mobile in 3-16.1 with a closing 800m in 59.4 and 400m in 29.9 seconds. ______________________________________________________________________________________ Jonny Cox will train in partnership with Tim Butt from the beginning of December. Tim Butt is shifting most of his stable horses to Australia shortly and will be training from a 20-horse barn at Menangle, outside Sydney. Cox will be running the satelite stable here in New Zealand. The Tim Butt trained My Field Marshall won the Garrards Horse And Hound pace (Group 3) over 1609m at  Menangle on Saturday night in 1-51.9 _______________________________________________________________________________________ Canterbury amateur harness racing driver Ray Reekie was suspended for 2 1/2 years for driving in a manner which diminished his chances of winning a race at Addington on Saturday.  Of particular concern to the Stewards was his decision to maintain his challenge for the lead for such an extended period, after his initial challenge had been unsuccessful. After hearing the explanation tendered by Mr Reekie, Stewards issued him a charge under Rule 869(3)(g) in that he drove in a manner capable of diminishing Zakspatrol's chance of winning the race.  The JCA subsequently suspended Reekie's Amateur Horseman's licence from the conclusion of racing today up to and including 15th March 2020, a period of 2 1/2 years.   Harnesslink Media  

The progeny of harness racing champion Auckland Reactor are starting to emerge throughout Australasia, including a potential topliner who won his first race-day start in good fashion at Addington today (Saturday). Chase Auckland was having his first start out of the Purdon/Rasmussen All Stars Stable and ended up demolished a strong field without being fully extended by his driver Natalie Rasmussen. The race was run at a solid clip, with Rasmaussen taking Chase Auckland to the front after 600m. Despite a strong mid race attack by second favourite Ready To Rumble and Blair Orange, Chase Auckland had the field covered at the turn, and he went on to win by more than five lengths with no urging needed from the driver. The speedy Auckland Reactor gelding paced the 1950m mobile in a 1.58.8 mile rate with a closing 800m in 58.4 and 400m in 28.7 seconds. Ironically it was exactly 10 years to the day that Auckland Reactor won his first start. It was on the 16th of September 2007 at Timaru rating a 2.01.9 mile rate over 2000 metres.. Chase Auckland will now head to a heat of the Sires Stakes Series in a few weeks time. Chase Auckland winning easily in quick time. Harnesslink Media

Buster Brady is New Zealand Cup bound and getting fitter by the day, going by his authoritative win in today’s harness racing trial at Ashburton Raceway. The big Real Desire gelding who is nominated for the New Zealand Cup in November, is trained at Weedons by Kyle Austin, and was driven in the trial win today by Blair Orange.   Buster Brady began safely in today’s race and settled last of the five-horse field. Orange started his move from the back at the 900m and sat parked until hitting the go button in the home straight. Buster cruised to the line without being extended in a time of 3-05.6 for the 2400m stand. He ripped home from the 800m in a sizzling 54.7 (hand timed), with the 400m cut out in 26.7. Buster Brady is currently a $51.00 chance for the New Zealand Cup in the TAB fixed odds FF win futures market. Earlier in the day Orange drove a smart 3yo colt called Stunin Love (Stunin Cullen - Love To Live) to victory in impressive fashion. Stunin Love is a half-brother to three-time New Zealand Cup champion Terror To Love. He is owned by Terry McDonald and Eddie Griffin and trained by Paul Court. The speedy colt looked a good horse in the making when he came from three deep on the fence to swamp the leaders in the last 100m to win easily. He ran the 2400m in 3-01.3 with closing sectionals of 58.3 and 28.0 Stunin Love and Blair Orange                                                 Harnesslink Photo   Harnesslink Media

Top harness racing driver Blair Orange is looking to extend his lead in the national drivers premiership at Forbury today (Sunday). Orange leads the drivers premiership with eleven wins this season, one clear of David Butcher who is currently on ten wins. Blair has a good book of drives today and is driving in seven of the nine races programmed at the Forbury track, including all three horses that Canterbury trainer Paul Court has engaged at the meeting. Hypervelocity would be the best of the Court runners today in the last race on the card. The Mach Three five year old ran a good second last start at Kurow and had previously been racing better horses in the Canterbury area. Orange labelled Hypervelocity his best chance this week in the Harnesslink ringaround and he looks a good bet and possible anchor in the $30,000 pick six available today. Last years premiership winner Dexter Dunn is also looking to make up some lost ground, after he missed the first few weeks of the season while he was away at World Drivers Championships in Canada. He also has a good book of drives today and is fresh from winning the Maurice Holmes Vase on Friday night at Addington on the Otago trained Titan Banner. Dexter will retain the drive on Titan Banner in the Christchurch Casino New Zealand Cup in November. Other drivers chances today at Forbury.   Nathan Williamson - Nathan thinks his best chance this week is Scarlett Lane in Race 1 Brad Williamson - Brad says his best drive this week is Get Real on Sunday in Race 4 Sheree Tomlinson - Sheree is going for No More Change as her best drive this week in Race 6 John Morrison - John thinks his best drive this week is Lorretta Franco also in Race 6 Matthew Williamson - Matthew says his best drive this week would be Articulight in Race 7 Geoff Knight - Geoff says his best chance this week is Fiery Ferret at Forbury in Race 9 Blair Orange - Blair is going for Hypervelocity as his best drive this week also in Race 9   Harnesslink Media

Harness racing driver Samantha Ottley managed to grab two driving wins last night at Addington and she did it by winning two of the trotting races with pacing bred mares.  Ottley drove outsider Michelle to a dominant win at long odds in the first trotting race of the night. At bolters odds of over $36.20 and $7.30 on the tote, Michelle who has been a serial breaker in her races, finally trotted all the way and cruised to an easy win over second favorite Still Eyre and driver Matthew Williamson. Michelle (Live Or Die - Eves Apple) is a pacing bred mare trained by Mark Jones and owned by Wayne Higgs. The lightly raced mare has taken a while to adapt to the trotting gait but is clearly going to win more races judging by last nights impressive performance. A few races later, Donegal Bettergretch won the R60 and Faster trot last night in a quick 3-19.7 for the 2600m stand. Donegal Bettergretch (Bettor's Delight - Donegal Gretchen) was driven to the lead early by Ottley and the pacing bred mare trotted well and proved too strong for her rivals, winning comfortably from Petite One and driver Colin DeFilippi. DeFilippi is sitting on 1999 lifetime driving wins and was a bit unlucky not to finish closer with Petite One as she was last at the 400m and was held up for most of the run home, until a late gap saw her close strongly into second. Top reinsman Blair Orange has moved to a two win lead in this seasons drivers premiership. Orange is sitting on eight wins for the season, two wins clear of David Butcher who is poised to narrow the gap with his good book of drives at Alexandra Park tonight. Amazon Lily got the ball rolling for Blair last night when she began well from the standing start and was quickly around to lead and controlling the race in front. The Ken Barron trained daughter of Bettor's Delight had too much speed for the opposition and won as she liked pacing the 2600m stand in 3.23.1. The last 800m of 57.5 was the quickest of the night until the last race when Orange adopted similar tactics on another Barron trained horse in For The Corz.  For The Corz also led early and controlled the race from the front before whipping over her last 800m in an identical 57.5 to win easily giving Blair and Barron a double for the night.    Samantha Ottley driving Michelle to victory.   Harnesslink Media  

Handy pacer Art Union grabbed an easy win at todays Rangiora harness racing trials. Art Union who has won 16 of his 32 starts is nominated for the New Zealand Cup in November and will race against the likes of last years Cup winner Lazarus, who is now back in work at the All Stars Stable. In todays trial driver Rory Mcllwrick let the Cran Dalgety trained pacer find his feet early and settled back in the field for the first half of the race. The Art Major six year old followed smart 4yo Malik and Blair Orange into the race at the 800m and was too good in the straight winning by 1 length in 2-31.8 for the mobile 2000m. He sprinted the last 800m in 56.9 and 400m in 29.2.   Last 800m of todays trial.   Another winner at todays trials was Captain Dolmio. The six-year-old son of Grinfromeartoear is also being aimed at the $800,000 New Zealand Cup by trainer Robert Dunn, and was again impressive in his heat today. Captain Dolmio ran the 2600m stand in a sedate 3-27.0 but sped over his last 800m in 56.3 with a closing 400m in 27.6 Captain Dolmio raced well last season against the top class pacers including setting up a track record time over 3200m in the Invercargill Cup when second to Classie Brigade. He also ran second in the Easter Cup behind the brilliant Heaven Rocks proving he has what it takes to be a leading hope in the great race over two miles in November. Harriet Of Mot also won her trial today easily in preparation for her upcoming feature races in November. The speedy 6yo Monarchy mare won as she liked by six lengths for driver John Dunn   Harnesslink Media

Young harness racing trainer Mitchell Kerr holds the key for today’s Kurow pick six at Oamaru Raceway. Mitchell has two runners entered today and both are in legs of the $30,000 pick six. Both horses are red hot favourites and both horses have won their previous starts. Mitchell has Run Boy Run engaged in the last leg of pick six today. The four-year-old American Ideal gelding won easily on the Oamaru track last start and looks to have turned the corner on some previous average form. Run Boy Run will be driven again by Matt Anderson who also drove him at his last win on the course. Kerr’s other runner is The Dorchester in Leg 3 of the pick six. A very quick three-year-old by Mach Three, he is a $1.50 favorite on the fixed odds FF market and he looks like he can step up to the next grade. The Dorchester is a potential derby horse in the making and he ran fast sectionals to win his first start at Addington three weeks ago. A wet track and an outside draw look to be the only question marks in his quest to win todays race. Blair Orange will again be the pilot for the The Dorchester, and he also has chances in other legs of pick six today with Glenferrie Classic in the Kurow Cup and Sundons Flyer in the R56 & faster trot. Glenferrie Classic who starts of the front in the Kurow Cup is up against classy mare New Years Jay who is having her first start this season for trainer Graeme Anderson. James Dean going for four wins on end for trainer Leo O’Reilly is also a big chance in that leg along with the Robert Dunn trained Bite The Bullet who also ran quick sectionals on the Oamaru track last start. Sundons Flyer has been freshened and is having her first start since the end of June, but has a liking for rain affected tracks and the Sundon mare is the TAB second favourite. Earlier in the day the Greg and Nina Hope trained Benhope Rulz (Courage Under Fire-Victoria Rulz ) looks a great bet to give junior driver Ben Hope his first driving win in Race 2. Benhope Rulz has had one start for a narrow second to The Dorchester at Addington and is a $1.50 chance to win on the FF fixed odds market. Harnesslink Media

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