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Any which way you looked at the final of the Alabar Super Series for 4 year olds at the harness racing meeting at Addington tonight ( August 8th) it appeared to be a two horse affair between Dalton Bromac and Mighty Major. Due to the preferential draw in play for the final and their assessment, they both drew wide on the front line over the 1950 meters The Ken Barron trained Mighty Major with Blair Orange in the sulky flew the gate from barrier six and grabbed the lead in the first 100 meters. The Brendan Hill trained Dalton Bromac with Ricky May in the sulky worked forward from barrier eight and made the lead with 1400 to go. From there Ricky May just put the foot on the accelerator in the freezing conditions. Going past the 500 meters mark it was obvious there was only going to be two horses in it but as they turned for home that quickly became one as Dalton Bromac just ran away and hid for an emphatic win. At the finish line Dalton Bromac had 2 1/4 lengths to spare from Mighty Major with a further 11 lengths back to Explosive Star in third. It was the fifth win from just eight starts for the son of Major In Art and show cased just how talented he is. Dalton Bromac ran the 1950 meters in 2:21.3, a mile rate of 1:56.5 with a last half in 56.8 and the last quarter in 26.3 - and that was in conditions that were not conducive to fast times. Mighty Major went super but ran into an emerging star but just as easily beat the rest. People should be in no doubt. Dalton Bromac is one serious racehorse. Harnesslink Media  

What a great way to start the new harness racing season at Addington on Friday night. (August 8th)  Three $23,500 Alabar Super Series finals have been carded and all three have drawn outstanding fields with numerous chances in each final. The club must be thrilled with the fields as they have put a lot of effort into this series. So we thought we would do a preview of each of the finals. Race 5 - 4 year olds + older C1-C4 over 1950 meters. With the preferential draw in operation the three main chances in this final have all drawn poorly but still look to have a class edge on their opposition. Major Bubbles has won eight from nine to date and looks to have the all round game to claim this race even from the outside gate of nine. Having Dexter in the bike is a big plus with both horse and driver being in great form of late. The Purdon + Rasmussen pair of Someardensomewhere and Vice Consul are both huge chances with both being in sublime form. Someardensomewhere has won five and been placed eight times in just seventeen starts in the best company and Natalie Rasmussen has been in great touch for the last twelve months. One second line is not a great draw but Natalie in the bike negates that and he looms as a live chance. Vice Consul went through a rough patch a while back but has won three of his last four and the horses he beat in his last two in Madiba Magic and Mighty Major have both gone on to win their next start. He lacks nothing in the driver stakes either with Mark Purdon in the bike and from two on the second line he has more options than his stablemate. Selections  Just because she has been driving in such unbelievable form for so long, we have gone for Someardensomewhere and Natalie to come out on top. Major Bubbles and Vice Consul for the minors with Provocative Prince the next in line. Race 7 - 5 year old + older C1-C5 Discretionary 2600 Meters stand. Another outstanding form race with the four most tightly assessed trotters off the back mark of 20 meters. Although there are numerous trotters in good form off the front and 10 meters marks, the four trotters off 20 meters hold a distinct class edge over their rivals. Idle Bones has won five of her last six and looks headed for open class in a hurry. Brent Mangos , who has driven her in her recent starts in the North Island has treked south for the drive which is a big plus. Free Dreams has been in great touch and is better off this week being off level marks with his main rivals which he hasn't been the case in his last few starts. Johnny Cox has him humming and he is a major player. Spell has always looked a open class trotter in the making and with three wins in her last six starts she is finally starting to fulfill her potential. She can't make her own luck and does need a sit but can be lethal if she gets the run to suit and Sam Ottley and Spell seem to get on well together. Jayceekay was one of the finds in the trotting ranks in the latter part of last season. Johnny Boylan has done a great job of getting the Monkey Bones mare to relax and learn a bit of ringcraft and she looks capable of winning a few more yet. Selections Tough call but Idle Bones is in such great form it is hard to go past her. Of the other three we fancy, we rate Free Dreams a fraction ahead of Spell and Jayceekay. Aile Rouge from the Robbie Holmes stable looks the pick of the rest. Race 8 - 4 year+older C0-C3 1950 meters The third of three great races on the night and yet again with the preferential barrier draw in operation the better assessed horses have drawn poorly. Dalton Bromac has impressed everyone since Benny Hill brought him out of the Butcher barn a few months back. A winner of four from seven, he reeled off a half of 54.7 last week at the end of a quick 2600 meters which makes him awfully hard to roll here. Ricky May has stuck with the ship which only raises the confidence levels even more. The danger for us is Mighty Major which has come on in leaps and bounds in his last two starts. Two starts back he was stuck three wide from the 600 meters in a quickly run race over 1950 and only went under by a nose to Vice Consul with Dalton Bromac third. At his last start, he looped the field early from a second row draw and held on in a quick time for 2600 meters. Blair Orange takes the drive and the Barron/Orange combination is already proving to be a winning one. Explosive Art has been in great touch and but for drawing the outside of the front line may have proved a handful for the other two we like. Selections We really can't separate Dalton Bromac and Mighty Major in this one although there will be a big difference tote wise. Blair Orange is driving like a man possessed since joining the Ken Barron barn and that might be enough to even the contest up. Explosive Art has to come into calculations along with Lord Baltimore and Ideal Act for the minors. All in all, three great fields to help kick off the 2014/2015 season at Addington. Harnesslink Media          

The recently established harness racing team of Ken Barron and Blair Orange served notice today (Sunday 3rd August) at the Kurow Trotting Clubs meeting at Oamaru of what a powerful force they will be this season when they combined to win two races today from two starters. First up was the Ken Barron trained son of Falcon Seelster, No Excuse Maravu who with Blair Orange in the sulky was very impressive taking out the Rural Transport Pace over 2000 meters from a stand. Three back on the outer early on, No Excuse Maravu was pushed back to second last at the 800 meters mark before Blair Orange sent him around the field three wide from the 600 meters. Pushed four wide at the top of the straight, No Excuse Maravu quickly went to the front and comfortably held out the challenge of the warm favourite Idolise. It was the 3 year olds first win at just his third start and the manner of the win suggested a big future. No Excuse Maravu paced the 2000 meters from a stand in 2:31.9, a mile rate of 2:02.2 with closing sectionals of 58.4 and 28.3. The combination were at it again in the very next race with the talented Live Or Die 3 year old Livura captialising on a lovely drive from Blair Orange to win the Twizel Combined Services Club mobile pace over 2000 meters. Back early from a second row draw, Blair Orange sent Livura forward three wide with 1400 to go before ending up in the one by one with a lap to go. From there he got a lovely run until the corner where Blair angled Livura for an inside run. He burst between runners half way up the straight to grab the hotpot Western Art for an impressive win. The first foal from the talented Union Guy mare Zitura 1:57.7 ($114,990), Livura paced the 2000 meters from the mobile in 2:30.6, a mile rate of 2:01.1 with closing sectionals of 57.5 and 28. Ken Barron and Blair Orange have sent a clear message with their wins today that their newly established combination is one to be feared this season.  No Excuse Maravu Livura Harnesslink media

Last week was possibly the worst ever for the ring-around with just the one winner. However, that one winner, Equulei, tipped by Jay Abernethy, did pay odds of $10.70 and $2.50. Let’s see what the boys have come up with for us this week: Addington – Thursday Jonny Cox: Thinks 2-win mare Pay Me Quick, who has been in sublime form of late, will be hard to beat against non-win rivals in the first race on the card. Ricky May: Has opted for the very smart Dalton Bromac, who looks half of the quinella with Wesley Silcox – race four. Matthew Williamson:  Expects Very Persuasive to prove very hard to beat in the Golden Girls Final – race eight. Ken Barron: Has a massive opinion of Bracken Ridge and expects him to be simply too classy for his rivals in the last race on the card. Mitchell Robertson (Harnesslink): Bracken Ridge – race nine. Alexandra Park - Thursday Josh Dickie: Thinks Sunny Vacation, with manners, is the one they all have to beat in race six. Scott Phelan: Thinks the inform Cyamach, who is likely to head to Australia for the Breeders Crown, can continue on his winning ways – race seven. Todd Mitchell: Is bullish about the chances of Tangos Delight, who looks a strong chance in the eighth race on the card. Simon Lawson: Thinks Shedontloveme is a very good each-way chance in the last race on the card. Kurow – Sunday Blair Orange: Thinks Quaint Glen, who had trialled up stylishly prior to her debut third, can win the first race on the card. Tim Williams: Has opted for Lovetodream, who also looks a good chance in the first race on card. Gavin Smith: Thinks Billies A Star, who has been ultra impressive at the trials, should prove too strong for what looks an average maiden line-up – race five. Mark Jones: Thinks Sunoflindenny, who has been backed and beaten in his first two runs back, can make amends in the sixth race on the card.  

Last week was a bit quieter for the ring-around with just Matthew Williamson, Ricky May, Ken Barron, David Butt, and Tony Herlihy tipping out winners. Hopefully we can top that performance this week Cambridge - Thursday Mitchell Robertson (Harnesslink): Present Arms - race three. Josh Dickie: Rates juvenile Monterey Jack as good each-way prospect in the sixth race on the card. Alexandra Park - Friday Scott Phelan: Thinks Cyamach, who was an impressive last start winner, can repeat the dose in the fifth race on the card. Steve Richardson (T.A.B): Has opted for Ace Moment in the fourth event. Addington - Friday Craig Thornley: Thinks capabale type Al's Courage will measure up well in what is a very strong line-up - race seven. Samantha Ottley: Would love to win the Darren DeFilippi Memorial and thinks she can with Jayceekay - race seven. Ricky May: Has opted for Dalton Bromac who was super impressive when winning his South Island debut. - race eight. Anthony Butt:  Rates Gotta Go Artelect as a good each-way chance in the same event. Blair Orange: Has opted for Franco Tevez, who finished third last start, in the ninth event at Addington. Oamaru - Sunday Matthew Williamson: Has opted for Monnay, who has been herculean when overcoming back handicaps to win his last two starts. He will attempt to do that again in race five. Mark Jones and Jonny Cox: Both think smart filly Goodness Gracious Me, who was super at the recent Motukarara workouts, will prove very hard to beat in the seventh race. Nathan Williamson: Has selected capable three-year-old Onedin Mach, who races well when in a fresh state. He will take all sorts of beating in the ninth race.        

Kristie Hill has always wanted to campaign a horse at Alexandra Park and now thanks to her father Brian and enigmatic trotter Sunchita, she fulfilling that dream. Hill snr, who trains in Nelson, took Sunchita to Auckland and Kristie took over the reins a couple of days before the 6-year-old mare had her first race at Alexandra Park last Friday. Sent out a $3.40 second favourite and under the guidance and driving exploits of Tony Herlihy, the daughter of Sundon never looked like losing. Away well from her 10 metre handicap, Sunchita settled handy to the pace before Herlihy sent her forward to find the lead at the 500 metre mark from where she simply out-trotted her opponents – winning by 1 ½ lengths. It was Sunchita’s third consecutive win, fifth this season, and seventh in a career spanning 51 starts. She’s now banked $52,101. “She had to earn her trip up north and prove to us she was worthy of going up there and she did that at Nelson.’’ Hill senior said. “I have campaigned Single Lord and McShane up there before but this is the first time Kristie has been in Auckland with one of our team. “She has lots of friends up there and she always believed Sunchita would go well that way around because that’s the only way we train her back home.’’ He said Sunchita would have two more starts at Alexandra Park over the next two Fridays before returning home. The father and daughter combination both believe the often frustrating trotter has finally turned the corner and put it all together on the track. “If she keeps improving the way she is, well who knows she could start in the Dominion Handicap in November, I don’t want to get ahead of myself but that is the goal. “It’s every trainer’s dream to have a horse line up in either the Dominion or Rowe Cup.’’ Kristie is staying with Steve and Ann Phillips in Waiau Pa, while Sunchita is being stabled half an hour away at Bernie Hackett and Michelle Wallis’s Waiuku barn. “She loves being beach trained and the wet track on Friday would have suited her, she has really turned the corner now,’’ Kristie said. “We haven’t made too many changes to her gear. “Once upon a time she either finished first or last because of her tendency to gallop. “I think we can put her recent improvement down to maturity.’’ Hill, who is the former Education Manager for Harness Racing New Zealand, said the stakes at Alexandra Park also swayed their decision to bring Sunchita north. “The money on offer was too good to resist and I always wanted to bring her up here because I felt she would go better this way around. “It was a great performance first-up and a brilliant drive by a brilliant reinsman.’’ Hill is a graduation driver who has won 12 races since 1998. She has also placed 38 times from 293 starts for $93,897 in stakes. Two of those wins have come aboard Sunchita while Blair Orange and Jimmy Curtin have also won on her twice prior to Herlihy’s victory on Friday night. Hill said she wasn’t tempted to jump in the sulky and have a drive around Alexandra Park on this trip and was happy to leave the driving duties to Herlihy. “No I won’t be getting in the sulky when I’m up there, why would you put me in the sulky when one of the best drivers in the world can do the business?” Brian and Kristie own Sunchita and also bred her. She is the third of six foals (and most successful) out of Hills’ three-win Dancing Master mare, Carmenchita, who was also trained by Hill. By Duane Ranger (Harness Racing New Zealand)

Promising young horseman, Tim Williams, will join All Stars stable in the new season as a replacement for Blair Orange. "I put a proposition to Tim last week and he rang me on Thursday to accept the position'' Mark said. "We both feel he will be an ideal fit for our stable. He has already driven for us with success and he impresses as a young man with a very professional approach to his job. "We expect that he will start with us in early August'' Unlike Blair who had not driven for All Stars before his appointment Tim, 23, has proven success with All Stars. He won the Kindergarten Stakes with Messini and a Cheviot Cup with Southwind Arden. Mark and Natalie's decision to entrust him with such drives indicated he was a man on the All Stars short list.  He is a former winner of the New Zealand Junior Drivers Championship and has long impressed with the potential he had to reach the top. Tim was working for Robert Dunn at the same time as his childhood friend Dexter Dunn (the Dunn and Williams families have business connections going back 50 years)  and while he made the most of his opportunities with horses like Kabet and Jamie Gameson-trained Here We Go Again, he moved to Southland in 2012 to further his scope.He already has 189 wins and over $1.5m in stakes in the bin and with a lot more to come. By David McCarthy (Courtesy of ALL STARS RACING STABLE)

Last week was a great one for the Harnesslink ring-around with Matthew Williamson, Ken Barron, Scott Phelan, Josh Dickie, Jonny Cox, Craig Thornley, Ricky May, Anthony Butt, and Blair Orange all tipping out winners. Here are this week’s selections: Cambridge - Thursday Simon Lawson:  Expects Ton Tine to win again – race five. Alexandra Park – Friday Steve Richardson (Harnesslink): Thinks Russley Haste will prove very hard to beat in the fourth race on the card.  Scott Phelan: Has opted for the in form Cyamach in the Winter Cup - race seven.   Forbury – Friday   Mark Jones: Has declared Lady Mackendon as the biggest cert he has ever taken to the races. “It’s like Master Lavros in a maiden trot. Only a bad drive will get it beat.” Mitchell Robertson (Harnesslink): Rip Roaring  - race two. John Dunn: Expects smart juvenile Robbie Burns to make it two wins from as many starts – race four. Josh Dickie: Has just an average book of drives this week, but rates Russet Norkotah, who will be at any old odds, as the best of them - race five. Matthew Williamson: Thinks Al Razza will prove very hard to beat again – race ten. Nathan Williamson: Will go head-to-head with brother Matthew, with the talented Sheeza Shark in the same event. Rangiora – Sunday Blair Orange: Rates Zakspatrol as his best chance of the week – race seven. Terry Chmiel: Has opted for That Guy Finn, who will shoot for three wins in a row in the same event – race seven. Ricky May: Has opted for smart three-year-old Explosive Art, who has been coming along in leaps and bounds in recent starts – race eight. Ken Barron: Thinks Livura will prove hard to beat in the ninth race on the card. Jonny Cox: Has a decent book of drives, but rates Galleon’s Triumph as the best of them – race eleven. Anthony Butt: Is bullish about the chances of smart 2yo Field Marshal in the last event on the card.      

Overport Lodge harness trainer Mark Jones brought up his 300th training win when Strike On Command responded to a clever drive from good mate Blair Orange at Marlborough on Sunday, June 22. Strike On Command and driver Blair Orange. They delivered the 300th training win for trainer Mark Jones at Blenheim on Sunday. The milestone caps Mark’s sixth and most successful season as a professional trainer. This was his 68th win for the season, taking the stable earnings to $738,993, with mutliple Group One winning trotter Master Lavros the big breadwinner. “Its been a good season. We’ll be a bit down next season as a lot have been sold and we’re a bit light on numbers,” Mark said. Strike On Command, nutted out of first by Motu Prince Of Peru in the dying stages on the first day, was able to be saved a shade longer for his final sprint on the second day in the C2-3 A1 Drycleaning and Laundry Mobile Pace. Pacemaking favourite Al’s Courage had dashed clear inside the final 200m and looked to have the result in safe keeping but Blair had other ideas after giving his charge a good run on the outer. He lifted Strike On Command over the final 100m to win going away by half a length in a useful 2:00.1 mile rate for the mobile 2300m, the leaders last 800m in 57.5s. Strike On Command, a consistent 3YO McArdle colt, has now raced 22 times for five wins and eight placings (including six seconds) for $31,382 in stakes. Raced by Australian owner Kevin Stanley, Strike On Command is the first foal from Noble Strike (1:56.8h, US), who numbered a PGG NZ Yearling Sales 2YO Fillies South Island Graduette win and a Nevele R Fillies Heat among her two NZ wins for Ian and Malcolm Shinn. The OK Bye-TK Swift mare proved a consistent winner in North America, notching another 15 wins, earning the equivalent of $149,602. She is a half-sister to other big USA winners in Time Flies (1:52, US; 36 wins incl. 32 in the US for $624,230 career winnings) and Ultimate Pursuit (1:51.6, US, 44 wins incl. 38 in the US). Time Flies is the dam of former Overport Lodge 2YO winner Glenferrie Magic (1:59.1, 1700m), who showed much potential winning once from three starts before having her race career cut short. Strike On Command is bred to be above average. He belongs to the same family as other big winners _ Slybye (1:52.4, US, 31 wins in NZ, Aust & US), El Cabalero (1:54.4, US, 17 wins incl. 12 in the US), Algranco Alive (1:56.2 mile rate, 1650m, 10 Aust. wins) and Flak Jacket (1:54, US, a former NZ Kindergarten Stakes winner at two, 12 wins in NZ, Aust. and the US). By Jeff Scott (Courtesy of MARK JONES RACING)

Last week the ring-around produced five winners including Kowhai Sunrise (Mark Jones), who romped in at odds of $6.10. Let’s see what racings leading lads have got for us this week. Forbury Park – Thursday Gavin Smith & David Butt:  Have both opted for Eagles Nest, who is a lot better than his form suggests. However, he does run into a couple of smart types in Media Queen and Smokin Bird – race three. Stephen McNally: Has opted for Bonora Boy who will also attempt to break maidens in the third event. Nathan Williamson: Thinks the consistent Nickelson will get some money again tonight – race four. Matthew Williamson: Has a good book of drives, but rates Al Razza as the best of them – race nine. Tim Williams: Thinks Memorable can get a slice of the pie in the last race of the card. Alexandra Park – Friday Ken Barron: Has opted for last start winner Real Intentions as his bet of the week. She also competes in the first event. Scott Phelan: Thinks Prince Of Pops, who was an impressive last start winner, can double the dose on Friday. – race one. Josh Dickie: Has opted for debutant Connoisseur, who has been impressive at the trials.  He competes in the third race on the card. Blenheim– Friday Jonny Cox: Thinks capable trotter Free Dreams can win his stable debut – race five. Craig Thornley: Rates the chances of Al’s Courage, who was very good on both days of the Nelson circuit. Ricky May: Rates Franco Salisbury as his best drive of the week – race eight. Terry Chmiel: Thinks Swarovski will prove very hard to beat in the eighth race on the card. Anthony Butt: Is very bullish about the chances of Motu Prince Of Peru – race eleven. Blenheim - Sunday Blair Orange: Has opted for Vice Consul, who will come into the meeting fresh on the second day. Mitchell Robertson (Harnesslink): Vice Consul  

Usually the milestone victory takes the longest to get, but super reinsman Blair Orange made light work of his first season century when guiding Donsmedad to victory in the second race at Addington last night. “Mike Austin is actually the trainer that I have been driving for, for the longest, so it was probably pretty fitting that I brought up my 100th winner for the season is his colours,” said Orange, who heads off on holiday to Singapore in a fortnight. “I finish at All Stars before I go to Singapore and then when I get back I have a wee break before starting at Ken (Barron’s) at the start of the new season,” he advised. Orange’s previous best driving tally was 81 winners in a season, which he achieved in 2012. “It’s been a great season all-round with a couple of Group One victories amongst the 100,” said Orange, who produced a rare victory salute after Donsmedad had crossed the finishing line. “I think I have only saluted on three or four occasions before so it definitely was pretty important to me,” he added. Orange then went on to thank all the trainers that have supported him this season, paying special thanks to his good mate Mark Jones, and Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen. Blair Orange then notched up his 101st winners for the season in race four aboard Someardensomewhere for his soon-to-be former bosses Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen. “It is definitely going to be the end of an era when I hang up my boots at All Stars but I am looking forward to what lies ahead,” he concluded. By Mitchell Robertson

A low-key Ashburton Trotting Club meeting at Addington tonight should become one of the biggest nights in Blair Orange’s career. The leading horseman will head into tonight’s racing just one win shy of reaching his 100th driving win for the season – the first time the popular horseman has achieved the feat. It’s been a standout season in the sulky for Orange who well and truly surpassed his previous season best of 81 winners two months ago. With seven drives at tonight’s meeting, Orange has plenty of chances to reach the ton during the night, but many expect it to come early in proceedings when he teams up with Someardensomewhere for his soon-to-be former bosses Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen. Orange will finish up at New Zealand’s leading stable at the end of the month before connecting himself to the West Melton stable of Ken Barron in the new season. A milestone in the infamous blue and silver colours of Purdon would seem the most fitting result considering the impact the stable has had on Orange’s career – but from barrier nine over the 1950 metres the task isn’t going to be a simple one. The three-year-old son of Somebeachsomewhere is good enough to overcome the small hurdle – but fresh up after not having raced since the end of December only adds to the mix. And it’s for that reason that a horse who was beaten by 46 lengths at her last start who may give Orange his best chance of the night. Up and coming trotter Jayceekay will be looking to atone for a last start flop, when she gave up the challenge a long way from home against a rampant Idle Bones – by helping Orange reach the 100 mark. The John Boylan trained mare has freakish ability when in the right frame of mind and if on song tonight will prove very tough to hold out in a graded trot for the C1 to C2 Trotters. She returned to the workouts at Motukarara last weekend and was a comprehensive winner suggesting the failure when last time produced might be able to be put down to a simple off night. Orange’s remaining drives for the night all have strong each way chances in their respective races including Jaccka Len for his good mate Mark Jones who has provided him with a large number of his winners this season. The Book of Blair for tonight at Addington Race 1: Jimmy Hoffa Race 2: Donsmedad Race 4: Someardensomewhere Race 5: Jayceekay Race 6: Washington Express Races 7: Strike On Command Race 8: Jaccka Len  By Matt Markham (Harness Racing New Zealand)

Last week the ring-around produced four winners, all at relatively good value. This week we have a smaller ring-around than usual due to some technical problems, however I am sure it is still chock-a-block with winners. Forbury – Thursday  Nathan Williamson: Thinks Nickelson can give Father Christmas a run for his money in the fifth event tonight. John Dunn: Expects Alta Jerome to be hard to bowl from his handy barrier draw in race number six on the card. Tim Williams: Rates the chances of Queen Of The Crop in race eight. Matthew Williamson: Is very bullish about the chances of Lionel’s Meddle in the claimers’ event – race eleven. Alexandra Park – Friday Mitchell Robertson (Harnesslink): Te Amo Bromac – race one. Josh Dickie: Rates the chances of Stellar Kamwood in the fourth event. Todd Mitchell: Rates the chances of Cyclone Prince, who finished sixth in the 3YO Emerald. He looks the one to beat in race number six. Steve Richardson (T.A.B): Has opted for Norvic Nightowl, who finished a creditable fourth in the 4YO Emerald. – race eight. Ashburton@Addington – Friday Ken Barron: Expects Mighty Major to prove very hard to beat in race one on the card. Blair Orange: Thinks he can bring up his 100th winner for the season aboard Someardensomewhere – race four. Cambridge – Sunday Scott Phelan: Thinks Megs First is a strong each-way chance in race eight. Simon Lawson: Rates the chances of Ton Tine in the same event. Ashburton – Sunday Ricky May:  Has opted for The Emperor Robyn, who looks well placed in the first event on Sunday. Mark Jones: who found some good place value in Eastburn Mara, has opted for Kowhai Whiz in the fourth event.              

On Friday the progeny of Carmenchita won two races on the Nelson card and today it was Putting On The Glitz’s turn. The first of the Walton Hanover mares’ winners was two-year-old Expresso Martini, who was a game winner for driver Blair Orange after being taken on in front on several occasions. Expresso Martini, who is a son of Bettor’s Delight, is trained by Mark Jones and is owned by the Met Eight Syndicate. He has now won one of his five starts and placed on a further three occasions. Putting On The Glitz’s second winner for the day was Secret Lotion, who notched up back-to-back wins at the Nelson meeting when winning in the hands of Samantha Ottley. She has won two of three starts since joining the Woodend stable of Robert Dunn and placed second on the other occasion Secret Lotion is a Courage Under Fire full-sister to Group One winning mare Secret Potion. Other well performed progeny of Putting On The Glitz, who is a half-sister to the well performed American mare Silver Lined Pocket, include four-win pacer How Do Mate. By Mitchell Robertson  

Last week the ring-around produced six winners including Jewels champions Monbet, Venus Serena, and Supersonic Miss. Let’s see what good oil some of harness racing’s leading lads have come up with for us this week. Forbury Park – Thursday Jonny Cox: who has been enjoying a purple patch of form, has opted for Expressive Art in the third race on the card. Sam Ottley: Thinks Smoken Roman will prove very hard to beat in the fifth race on the card. Matthew Williamson: Rates Al Raza as a very good each-way chance on the seventh race on the card. Nathan Williamson: Thinks the very consistent Nickelson is a good each-way chance again – race eleven. Steve Richardson (T.A.B): Has opted for the Phil Williamson trained Monnay in the same event. Alexandra Park – Friday Todd Mitchell: Thinks Princess Sophia, who is dropping back from Harness Jewels Company, can give a sight in race four. Ken Barron: Rates the chances of Pacquiao, who was a luckless fifth in the 4YO Emerald – race five. Jay Abernethy: Thinks Equulei can get herself into the finish of the last race on the card. Nelson – Friday Mark Jones: admits he doesn’t have a great team in this week, but rates Eastburn Mara as the best of them – race two. Anthony Butt: Has a tidy book of drives at Nelson but rates capable trotter Gregory R as the best of them – race five. Blair Orange: Has opted for smart mare Sunchita in the same event. John Dunn: Rates stable newcomer Cindi Arma the best of what is a very good book of drives on Friday – race six. Tim Williams: Think Here We Go Again is a very good chance in race nine provided she steps away. Craig Thornely: Has opted for Al’s Courage, who was huge in fifth last start after missing away. He looks the one to beat in the last race of the card. Mitchell Robertson (Harnesslink): Madiba Magic – race twelve.  

Smoke N Santanna, untroubled to justify his $1.70 favouritism in the C1 French Bakery Mobile Pace at Addington on Friday, May 23, ended his two-year-old racing on a high. The promising Santanna Blue Chip colt from good racemare Smoke N Mirrors promises to come back better next term. “Its been quite good with the owners (Pete, Debbie and Patricia Smith), who have turned down good money for him,” said trainer Mark Jones. “He could go next week again but will have six weeks out,” he said. Smoke N Santanna notched his second two-year-old win from six starts, earning $15,225, but with handicapping concessions returns to maiden status next term. “I might look at taking him to Auckland for a maiden. He might qualify for the 3YO Sires Stakes too,” Mark said. Smoke N Santanna wasn’t disgraced, finishing fifth in Hug The Wind’s $156,400 Garrards Sires Stakes 2YO Final at Addington at his second-to-last start. Hug The Wind rated a slick 1:56.8 for the mobile 1950m, with Smoke N Santanna pacing 2:22.1 (1:57.2 mile rate) finishing 2.6 lengths from the winner. Smoke N Santanna relished a return to grade racing when wrapping up his juvenile racing. He led from the three gate for driver Ricky May, winning untested by 2 1/4 lengths in 2:23.5 (1:58.4 mile rate), quickening over his last 800m in 57.1s and his closing 400m in 28.4s. The win edged earnings for the Overport Lodge stable over $700,000 for the season. The Mark Jones stable moved to 64 wins for the term, for earning of $705,147, when stablemates Remiss (first) and Cavallo Volante (third), resumed from layoffs in a C0 pace at the Banks Peninsula meeting at Addington on Sunday, May 25. Live Or Die 4YO mare Remiss made the most of her front row draw in the Burnside Contractors Ltd Mobile Pace. Once fully balanced after the opening 200m, she sped to the front for driver Blair Orange, then trailed Rise And Shine from the 1200m. Remiss was much too good with a sprint lane finish, winning without being extended by 1 3/4 lengths from Lavros Cash and Cavallo Volante (wide). Previously twice placed from eight starts, she rated 2:01.2 for the 1950m, the leaders running their last 800m in 59.9s. By Jeff Scott (Courtesy of MARK JONES RACING)

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