Last week was a memorable one for the New Zealand bets of the week ring-around. Aside from my three tips which all won, Anthony Butt, Blair Orange, Gavin Smith, Jim Curtin, Ricky May, and Todd Mitchell also tipped out winners. The best result was Gavin Smith’s bet of the week in The Mighty Falcon, who got home at odds of $10, while my value bet of the week Scotlynn Jiggs ($7) wasn’t too far behind. Let’s see what good oil we can dig up this week. Andrew Armour: Thinks two-year-old First Flight In is a good each-way prospect in the fourth race at Gore on Sunday. Anthony Butt: Thinks talented two-year-old The Jazzman will be tough to beat from his inside alley in the eighth race at Forbury Park tonight. Blair Orange: Rates the chances of Strike On Command in the last race at Forbury Park tonight. Craig Thornley: Will take the reins behind Franco Harrington at Reefton where he expects him to be very hard to beat. David Butt: Thinks Georgie Mach can go back-to-back in the eighth race at Westport on Friday. Gavin Smith: Who was last week’s top tipster, has opted for True Legend in the fourth race at Westport on Friday. Jim Curtin: Thinks the talented but enigmatic Sunchita can win the tenth race at Westport on Friday. Jonny Cox: Rates the chances of Sharpenuff in the eighth race at Gore on Sunday. Ken Barron: Thinks Sapling Stakes runner-up Mighty Flying Major will be tough to beat in race eight at Forbury tonight. Mark Jones: Thinks The Ultimate Storm will take a power of beating in the third race at Forbury Park tonight. Matthew Williamson: Expects Quick As A Trick to regain top form in the 12th race at Forbury tonight. Nathan Williamson: Thinks Aidan’s Rocket will be tough to toss in the last race at Gore on Sunday. Steve Richardson (T.A.B): Has thrown out some value in the form of Goodboy Tiger – Forbury, race seven. Tim Williams: Thinks Waitoto Express has a good each-way chance in the seventh race at Gore on Sunday. Todd Mitchell: Expects Cyclone Kate to be thereabouts in the Delightful Lady Classic at Alexandra Park on Friday. Mitchell Robertson (Harnesslink) Best Bet: The Ultimate Storm – Forbury Park, race three Each-way: Linda Lovegrace – Alexandra Park, race four. Value: Whynotagrey – Gore, race two.
Locharburn cemented favouritism for next week’s Group One Woodlands Northern Derby when fighting back to win tonight’s Derby Prelude. The son of Christian Cullen walked them for most of the race before low flying home to win in 2:43.5. The Kevin Chapman trained and Dexter Dunn driven 3-year-old colt sprinted his last 800m and 400m sectionals in 55.4 and 27.8. Mile rate: 1:59.5. He had a head and two lengths to spare over place-getters Maxim (Zac Butcher), who sat in the trail throughout, and Aldo Rossi (Blair Orange). Locharburn has now won eight of his 10 starts and $119,658. He is owned by his trainer and Mrs B.G. Chapman. Breeder: M. J. Stratford. By Duane Ranger (Harness Racing New Zealand)
Last week the ring-around produced six winners, including Eyre I Come, who opened up at $31 fixed odds. Let’s see if we can dig up some more value this week. Anthony Butt: Thinks talented trotter Thebestove will be hard to beat in tonight’s Sales Series Trot at Addington. Blair Orange: Thinks Twentyten, who showed plenty of ability as a two-year-old, can make a winning return at three – Cheviot, race two. David Butt: Expects Lothario to make amends for his last start gallop in the third race at Cheviot (Addington) on Sunday. Gavin Smith: Rates The Mighty Falcon as a good each-way chance from his ace alley in the first race at the Cheviot meeting at Addington on Sunday. Jim Curtin: Believes the consistent Vitali is overdue a winning turn – Cheviot, race five. Ken Barron: Thinks Mighty Mara can make a winning debut in the first race at Addington on Sunday. Nathan Williamson: Believes in form trotter Springbank Sam can carry on his winning way – Cheviot, race seven. Ricky May: Expects Pal Amino, who has trialled up nicely for her fresh-up assignment, to be tough to toss from her ace barrier in the ninth race at Addington tonight. Terry Chmiel: Thinks Little Tess, who caught the eye flashing home late last start, is a good each-way prospect in the last race at Addington tonight. Todd Mitchell: Expects Prime Power to add to his picket-line fence in fifth race at Alexandra Park on Friday. Mitchell Robertson (Harnesslink): Best Bet : Free Falling – Cheviot, race four. Each-way: Unforgiving – Alexandra Park, race four. Value: Scotlynn Jiggs – Addington, race ten.
The Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen trained Itz Bettor To Win was an emphatic debut winner in Saturday’s $25,000 Kindergarten Stakes at Wyndham. With the aid of the ace barrier draw, driver Blair Orange positioned the brown colt in the trail behind early leader Pulp Fiction. He then burst up the passing lane in the home stretch to down Say My Name, who was game in defeat after sitting parked, and stablemate Alta Ronaldo, who finished a close-up third. Itz Bettor To Win, who is by Bettor’s Delight out of a full-sister to top filly Itz Cherry Ripe, paced the mile in a stunning 1-54.3, which equalled the race, track, and Southland record, held by Le Sol, winner of the Kindergarten in 2010. Itz Bettor To Win was purchased for a six figure sum by prolific Australian harness racing owners Merv & Meg Butterworth after winning a trial impressively for trainer-driver Mark Jones, who then recommended the colt to the Butterworths. Itz Bettor To Win is the second horse that the Butterworths have purchased off Rob and Norma McMeeking, who also bred the colt. The first one is Itz Dreamin Jonesy who has won six of his ten starts in Australia to date. Purdon has now trained the winner of six Kindergarten Stakes while Blair Orange has driven three. Messini, who won the race last year for Purdon, was an impressive winner of race eight, the following event on the 11-race card. Merv & Meg Butterworth, who also own Arden Rooney who finished second in the Wyndham Cup, were own track to enjoy the winning spoils on Saturday. Meanwhile, Franco Ledger who won the Wyndham Cup in a track record time of 3-57.0, will now be given a three month spell. By Mitchell Robertson
Harness racing trainer / driver Mark Purdon could be excused for having a bit on his mind this week. There were the yearling sales, where he secured about 15 new babies to join the country's most powerful stable. And there's the small matter of planning a five group-one race assault on next week's Inter Dominion carnival in Sydney, headlined by Smolda and Adore Me. But for a few hours tonight Purdon will allow himself to become a spectator watching his early raiders at Alexandra Park in the countdown to Auckland Cup week. Purdon and partner Natalie Rasmussen have three runners there tonight, all to be handled by Blair Orange as the boss has chosen to stay home and drive at Methven. But he expects all three to be highly competitive and hopefully kickstart a successful weekend. Rocknroll Arden starts the night in the Oaks trial and even allowing for the class of her northern opponents she will be close to favourite after finishing second to Venus Serena in a national record 1:52.2 mile at Ashburton last start. "She is a good filly and races well at Alex Park so she will go close, even though Snooki is a good filly and there is a bit of depth there," said Purdon. He sends debut-winning juvenile Jay Dub north for the last heat of the Young Gun series, with the youngster having some historical pressure on his back. He was bred by, and named in honour of, the late Jack Smolenski, one of harness racing's great trainers who had a spectacular record at Alexandra Park. "He is a lovely horse, although probably not as advanced as my best juvenile Follow The Stars at this stage," says Purdon. "But it looks like we have got him into a good heat for him and he can win providing he has some luck from that wide draw." While both horses will have strong support, Purdon rates Bonechip in the last race his best chance of the night. "He is actually better right-handed which is one reason he is up there," says Purdon. "And with the small field he is going to be hard to beat." Purdon will then turn his attention to Menangle tomorrow night where Willow and Isaiah need only to finish top five in their heats to qualify for the New South Wales Oaks and Derby respectively. Willow is unbeaten but meets exciting Victorian filly Nike Franco so faces a big test, while Isaiah has drawn the weaker of the two Derby heats. "He needed his run at Addington last week and is ready for a good hit out this week before the Derby," Purdon says. Purdon will take champion mare Adore Me to Addington for a private workout on Monday before she heads to Sydney with Smolda on Tuesday, where they will join up with tomorrow night's starters as well as Border Control. That should see the stable with five fancied runners in group one races worth A$1,550,000 on Sunday week. Both Smolda and Adore Me have been nominated for the Auckland Cup so could return to Alexandra Park for the great race five days later. "I will wait to see what happens on that Sunday before making that decision." Smolda is shortened to be joint favourite for the A$750,000 Inter Dominion Final, for which the barrier draw will be held on Monday morning. Courtesy of Michael Guerin and the New Zealand Herald
The ring-around was a bit quiet last week, producing just four winners. Those who did pick winners were Blair Orange, Nathan Williamson, Scott Phelan, and I. However, the ring-around rarely has two bad weeks in a row, so this could be the time to jump on the bandwagon. Good luck and happy punting! Andrew Armour: Thinks Double Impact can make up for his last start mishap in the first race at Invercargill on Sunday. Blair Orange: Rates the consistent Juneamy Castleton as a good each-way prospect in sixth race at Motukarara on Sunday. Craig Thornely: Thinks North American import Johny Rock can make his presence felt in his New Zealand debut – Addington, race ten. David Butt: Has opted for the talented yet untrustworthy Mundaka. He will compete in the first race at Addington on Saturday. Gavin Smith: Thinks Vincennes will be very hard to beat provided she can overcome her tricky barrier draw. Motukarara– race ten. Jim Curtin: Hopes Damon Runyon can finally break his maiden status in the sixth race at Addington on Saturday. Jonny Cox: Rates Danny Cool as a good each-way prospect in race six at Invercargill on Sunday. Josh Dickie: Thinks Voluntad will give them something to chase for her ace alley in the eighth race at Alexandra Park on Friday. Ken Barron: Expects the consistent Red Under Fire to be ‘there or thereabouts’ again in the fourth race at Motukarara on Friday. Mark Jones: Expects Superior Desire to be very hard to beat in the first race at Motukarara on Friday. Matty Williamson: Is bullish about the chances of Milligan from his handy gate in race four at Invercargill on Sunday. Ricky May: Said he couldn’t look past NZ Cup champion Terror To Love – Addington, race eight. Scott Phelan: Thinks the aptly named Big Ern will prove hard to beat in the fourth race at Stratford on Sunday. Simon Lawson: Likes the chances of Art Major debutant Love Is My Drug – Alexandra Park, race seven. Stephen McNally: Has opted for Easy Empress in the third race at Motukarara on Friday. Steve Richardson (T.A.B): Thinks Cyclone Prince will be tough to toss in the tenth race at Alexandra Park on Friday. Todd Mitchell: Has opted for Mister Harris in the ninth race at Stratford on Sunday. Tim Williams: Thinks classy mare Here We Go Again will be very hard to beat in the ninth race at Invercargill on Sunday. Mitchell Robertson (Harnesslink) Best bet – Don’t Call Me Su – Motukarara, race four Each-way – Bootie Bromac – Invercargill, race four Value - Playaway – Addington, race three
A year to the day after the death of the great J W Smolenksi, his namesake Jay Dubb has done him proud, winning his debut in emphatic style at Winton. Purchased out of the barn of Jack’s son Mark Smolenski for very big money by Ian Dobson for trainers Mark Purdon & Natalie Rasmussen, Jay Dubb was sent straight to the front by driver Blair Orange, before dashing away to win, in the memory of Jack, by 2 ¼ lenghts in a time 1-57.7 Jay Dubb, who was co-bred by the man dubbed ‘the horsemen’s horseman’, is a two-year-old son of McArdle out of one of Jack’s favourite mares in Champagne Princess, who was victorious in 12 of her 23 starts. Jay Dubb is now likely to set his sights on the Kindergarten Stakes. Meanwhile, smart filly Goodness Gracious Me set a new 2400 metre track record for fillies when winning in a time of 2-58.1. However, the quickest time of the day went to Return To Sender, who remarkably paced a sub 2-56.0 mile and a half for the second time in just six days. By Mitchell Robertson
Last week the ring-around produced five winners, including both my best and each-way bet of the week. The best result was my each-way bet of the week in Mashika, who opened at a quote of $6.50 but was eventually backed into a $2.20 favourite. So, what’s winning this week? Anthony Butt: Thinks extremely talented two-year-old The Jazzman will be very hard to beat in Saturday’s Sapling Stakes at Ashburton. Blair Orange: Is bullish about the chances of Jay Dubb, who was an expensive purchase out of the barn of Mark Smolenski. The classy two-year-old is set to do battle in the first race at Winton on Friday. David Butt: Has opted for Eagles Nest, who looks a good each-way prospect in the Sapling Stakes on the back of some strong trial form. Gavin Smith: Thinks capable mare Vincennes will be hard to stop in the fifth race at Waikouaiti on Sunday. John Dunn: Thinks Princess Galleon only needs to trot to win the second race at Waikouaiti on Sunday. Jonny Cox: Rates the chances of the unpredictable but talented Chiola Belle. She competes in the tenth race at Waikouaiti on Sunday. Josh Dickie: Thinks Spanish Angel can break through for his maiden victory in the third race at Manawatu tonight. Mark Jones: Thinks stable newcomer Jaccka Len will prove very hard to beat in the twelfth race at Waikouaiti on Sunday. Matty Williamson: Likes the chances of capable three-year-old trotter Zhenya. She goes around in the fourth race at Rangiora today. Nathan Williamson: Rates Harry Mac as a good each-way prospect from his ace alley in race five at Waikouaiti on Sunday. Ricky May: Thinks Delightful Dash can go one better in the second race at Waikouaiti on Sunday. Scott Phelan: Likes the chances of Starry Delight in the second race at Manawatu tomorrow. Simon Lawson: Believes Ace Of Delight is his best drive of the week – Alexandra Park, race six. Steve Richardson (T.A.B): Has opted for On A Promise in the eighth race at Alexandra Park on Friday. Terry Chmiel: Thinks Rip Roaring should break his maiden status in the ninth race at Rangiora tomorrow. Tim Williams: Likes the chances of talented 3YO Bettor Buy It, who competes in the ninth race at Winton on Friday. Todd Mitchell: Expects Lost In Bangkok to be hard to beat in the fifth race at Alexandra Park on Friday. Mitchell Robertson (Harnesslink) Best bet – A Boy Named Rosie – Ashburton, race eight. Each-way – Smart Alex – Rangiora, race seven. Value – Hairy Maclary – Rangiora, race three.
It was his first run for the best part of ten months, but if you didn’t know any better, you would think he never left. That is the ease in which excitement machine Smolda handled his racetrack resumption in tonight’s $25,000 Rose Dakin Summer Cup at Addington. After settling back off the hot tempo, co-trainer-driver Mark Purdon pulled the son of Courage Under Fire to the outside of the track on the home bend. He then stylishly raced past Jivin Cullen and stablemate Border Control, who was the favourite for the Group Three event. Adding to impressive win, was the fact that Smolda paced the 2600 metre journey in 3-10.2, with sizzling sectionals of 55.0 and 27.4 “Good horses can surprise you sometimes, and he certainly did that tonight,” revealed co-trainer-driver Mark Purdon. “I really wasn’t expecting him to be that forward. Racetrack returns don’t come much better than that,” he enthused. Purdon said that Smolda was suited by the hot early tempo. “I didn’t want to make a midrace move seeing as he was fresh-up, so the strong temp really brought us into the race.” Smolda is now likely to have a private workout at Ashburton, before targeting the Interdomion heat at Addington of February 15, where he will go head-to-head with Cups king Terror To Love. But, for the meantime, co-owner Phil Kennard is just pleased to have his budding superstar back. “You don’t realise how much you’ve missed them until they are back. I was up at 8am looking forward to this race.” Kennard and Purdon fly to Melbourne tomorrow to attend the APG Sale on Sunday. "We will see if we can find the next Smolda," he quipped. Meanwhile, champion mare Adore Me made it five wins on end when braining her rivals in the Group One NZ Breeders Stakes. “Group One victories don’t come much easier than that,” admitted Purdon. The freakish mare will now head straight into the Ladyship Mile at Menangle on March 3, while stablemate Border Control will have to compete in the Hondo Grattan the week prior in order to try and qualify for the Chariots Of Fire to be run on the same day. “He was a touch disappointing tonight, but he did race a bit too keenly for the first 800 metres or so, and you probably can’t afford to do that in this company,” said driver Blair Orange. “I’m sure he will show his true colours in Australia.” By Mitchell Robertson
Classy pacer Saveapatrol confirmed that he has well and truly arrived on the open class scene with a win over New Zealand Cup champion Terror To Love in Saturday’s $40,000 Invercargill Cup. Driven by Blair Orange, who is yet to be beaten on the imposing son of Christian Cullen, Saveapatrol nestled up nicely in the trail behind Arden Rooney, before getting up the passing lane to nab Terror To Love, who started from a 30 metre handicap but, in all fairness, did enjoy a nice run in the one-one. “You can never be too confident when you are racing a horse that has won three New Zealand Cups (Terror To Love) but I did expect him to be hard to beat,” admitted trainer Mark Jones. Jones said that he and owner Grant Hatton would discuss upcoming plans for the exciting four-year-old over the next couple of days. “He could still go over for the Chariots but it is going to be a brilliant field and he would have to race in one of the lead-ups to be eligible,” explained Jones. “Or we could set him for the Auckland Cup in March followed by the Taylor Mile and Messenger. Either way, he is going to be highly competitive, after all he did just beat Terror To Love in just his thirteenth raceday start. By Mitchell Robertson
The ring-around continued its tremendous run of form last week, with long shot winners Platinum Princess ($7.80), Juneamy Castleton ($11.80) , and Happy Heidi ($7) all rolling home at good odds. Other winners tipped out in the ring-around included Lothario, Jaccka Lonny, Crackaheiny, Ton Tine, and Snow Fairy. So, let’s see what the good oil is this week Andrew Armour: Thinks Nureyev, who has finally landed a good barrier draw, will be extremely hard to beat in the fourth race at Invercargill on Saturday. Anthony Butt: Rates the chances of All Cash from his ace alley in race seven at Addington tonight. Blair Orange: Thinks Art Critic will be very hard to beat in the third race at Motukarara on Sunday. Gavin Smith: Believes Bettor Not Knowing is a strong each-way chance in race four at Addington tonight. Jim Curtin: Rates the chances of Damon Runyon who looks a strong each-way prospect in the last race at Addington tonight. John Dunn: Thinks Princess Galleon is capable of getting some money in the ninth race at Addington tonight. Ken Barron: Rates Red Under Fire as his best of the week. He competes in the second race at Motukarara on Sunday. Mark Jones: Rated Goodness Gracious Me as his best chance of the week, but because that race is a non-tote, he has opted for Sunoflindenny in the first race at Addington tonight. Matt Williamson: Rates the chances of Ultra Shock in the seventh race at Invercargill on Saturday. Nathan Williamson: Thinks The Wonkey Donkey can regain form in the third race at Invercargill on Saturday. Ricky May: Thinks Ranfurly Rulz will prove very hard to beat in the first race at Invercargil on Saturday. Sam Ottley: Has a lot of time for Spell, and thinks she will be hard to roll in the eighth race at Motukarara. Simon Lawson: Thinks Bettor Offer will be amongst the Barry Purdon fight in the last race at Auckland on Friday. Terry Chmiel: Believes Rip Roaring has a good chance of breaking his maiden status in the third race at Addington tonight. Tim Williams: Rates Come On Jaccka as his best chance of the week. He competes in the fourth race at Invercargill on Saturday. Mitchell Robertson (Harnesslink Best bet – Art Critic – Motukarara, race three. Each-way – Dr Hook – Alexandra Park, race eight. Value – Spell – Motukarara, race eight.
Last week was yet another good one for the ring-around with John Dunn, Mark Jones, Matthew Williamson, Ricky May, and yours truly all tipping out winners. Let’s see if we can repeat the dose this week. Blair Orange: Has opted for last start winner Best Bones. She goes around in the ninth race at Oamaru on Sunday. David Butt: Thinks Lothario, with manners, will take all sorts of stopping in race nine at Addington on Friday. Dexter Dunn: Thinks Jaccka Lonny will be hard to beat from his ace alley in race four at Invercargill today. Gavin Smith: Has opted for All Shook Up, who will do battle in the sixth race at Oamaru on Sunday. John Dunn: Rates the chances of Crackaheiny in the seventh race at Addington on Friday. Jonny Cox: Thinks Platinum Princess can get some money in the fifth race at Invercargill today. Ken Barron: Thinks Planet Princess is an each-way chance in race eight at Addington tomorrow. Mark Jones: Likes the chances of Juneamy Castleton, who should be hard to catch in the fourth race at Oamaru on Sunday. Matthew Williamson: Is bullish about the chances of Galleons Triumph, who also competes in the fourth race at Oamaru on Sunday. Steve Richardson (T.A.B): Thinks Hector McFeckle can trot and win the first race at Otaki on Friday. Simon Lawson: Has opted for Ton Tine, who looks a strong chance in fourth race at Otaki on Friday. Terry Chmiel: Thinks that Hi Jinx is a strong chance with right run in race seven at Addington Todd Mitchell: Thinks Snow Fairy will be very hard to beat in race five at Otaki. Mitchell Robertson (Harnesslink) Best bet – Superbowlcheerleader – Addington, race five Each-way – Happy Heidi – Invercargill, race two Value – Karen Dana – Oamaru, race one
A dazzling display in yesterday’s Marlborough Cup at Waterlea Raceway hasn’t persuaded Mark Jones to take his pacing star Saveapatrol to Australia for a shot at the Chariots Of Fire. “If we had had have won the Pelorus on the first day and gained automatic, we would have had a crack, but we are not going over there to race around like a headless chock to try and get a start,” said Jones. “We will let the all others go to war over there, while we pick up all the leftovers back home,” he added. The start of those leftovers Jones refers to is the Group 3 $40,000 Invercargill Cup, a race that Jones won back in 2012 with Ohoka Texas. “The Northern Southland Cup is a bit close and Terror To Love will be there anyway, so we will bypass that and focus in on the Invercargill Cup.” The $18,000 Marlborough Cup saw a brilliant two horse war unfold between Saveapatrol and Donegal’s Guest, who was previously unbeaten on the circuit, but in the end it was the imposing son of Christian Cullen that proved too powerful. “He just jogged it and still had plenty of gas left in the tank said Blair Orange, who is yet to be beaten aboard the classy four-year-old. It was the second time that Mark Jones and owner Grant Hatton have combined to win the Marlborough Cup, having previously taken it out with My Man Dan in 2010. “He was a nice horse, but I think this fella will take us a fair bit further,” enthused Hatton. Saveapatrol stopped the clock at 4-05.4 for the 3200 metre journey. His last 800 metres was recorded in a slick 56.5. Meanwhile, Jones has also qualified Goodness Gracious Me for the Nevele R Fillies Final, after finishing a narrow second to the Robert Dunn trained Murphy Brown. By Mitchell Robertson
After a couple of weeks absence during the Christmas/New Year period, the ring-around is now back in action and ready to once again steer you in the direction of a winner or ten! Blair Orange: Thinks Bio Marinus will take all sorts of beating in the eleventh race at Blenheim on Friday. Craig Thornley & Terry Chmiel: Think the consistent Thorn In My Side will be tough to roll from her frontline position in race seven at Blenheim on Friday Gavin Smith: Has opted for four-win mare All Shook Up, who looks well placed in the ninth race at Oamaru today. Jim Curtin: Is bullish about the chances of Star Of Dionysis. He competes in the sixth race at Blenheim on Friday. John Dunn: Has opted for stable newcomer Light Up Boss. He competes in the fourth race at Blenheim on Friday. Mark Jones: Just needs to stay in the cart to win aboard Sunoflindenny in the fifth race at Blenheim on Friday. Matthew Williamson: Thinks the consistent Scotty’s Image can break his maiden status at Oamaru today. Ricky May: Has opted for Live The Dream in race six at Oamaru today. Scott Phelan: Thinks Rocknroll Lass is a good each-way chance in race one at Cambridge on Friday. Simon Lawson: Has opted for the consistent Ace Of Delight who has a strong chance in the second race at Cambridge on Friday. Stephen McNally: Gives Culinary Delight a chance in the sixth race at Blenheim on Friday. Steve Richardson (T.A.B): Might have found some value in the form of Westburn Courage. He competes in the Morrinsville Cup on Sunday. Todd Mitchell: Thinks classy three-year-old Cyclone Prince can atone in the Waikato Guineas at Cambridge on Friday. Mitchell Robertson (Harnesslink) Best Bet – Mixed Emotions – Oamaru, race ten. Each-way – Thorn In My Side – Blenheim, race seven Value – Somebeach N Clovelly – Cambridge, race five By Mitchell Robertson
Blair Orange has opted to drive Border Control in Friday’s $40,000 Pelorus Classic. But, that is on the proviso that he gets the drive back on the very classy Saveapatrol. “Mark and Natalie are away holidaying in Brisbane, so I will take the drive on Border Control,” said Orange.”But they tell me I will retain the drive on Saveapatrol, which is a huge relief as he is a very good horse,” he added. The pair look like the horses to beat in the Pelorus Classic, with both of them eyeing up the automatic entry into the $200,000 Chariots Of Fire that is granted to the Pelorus winner. "I originally planned on taking Master Lavros and Saveapatrol over to Sydney in February, but there isn't a lot over there for Master Lavros leading into the Trans Tasman Challenge in early March, so Saveapatrol's trip may depend on the Pelorus result," said Mark Jones, who will take the drive on Saveapatrol on Friday provided that he can gain clearance. "He seems really well, but it is going to be a tricky race to win. It is a joke that Franco Nelson was allowed to choose between Cambridge and Blenhiem," he added. Also contesting Friday’s Waterlea feature are talented pacers Pacquiao and Franco Nelson. The latter is also targeting the Chariots Of Fire and has come up with the coveted ace alley for Friday’s assignment. Meanwhile, a class field has also been assembled for the 4 & 5YO Futurity Stakes which will also be run on Friday at Cambridge. “We have left Elios up there for that race to split him up with Franco Nelson in an attempt to get them both qualified for the Chariots,” said John Dunn. “He won’t beat Christen Me, but if he runs second and is the first four-year-old home he will get automatic entry,” he explained. By Mitchell Robertson
Firstly I’ve just googled the weather for Westport for their second day of racing on Saturday the 28th and it’s all good. Clear blue skies and plenty of sunshine which is a stark contrast with the steady drizzle Christchurch has been experiencing in the last few days which by the way is set to roll on for a few more as well. The quaddie for Westport commences on race seven the Caltex Westport Handicap Pace for the two to four win pacers. Lining up on the 20m handicap is the Westport Cup winner Maximan who is likely to start favourite. I think he probably deserves to be favourite but this race could prove harder to win than the cup given that the race is only over the 2600m stand and there are some useful horses off the front. I refer to Arising Easton who sat parked but toyed with the opposition when he won on the first day. His driver Blair Orange is driving as good as he ever has if not better and is tactically very astute. If his charge can make a good beginning he will try and put a gap between himself and Maximan. If that was to eventuate he could lead and could win. Graduate Under Fire is another who can roll along in front and he too needs to be on the ticket. The second leg is for the one to two win pacers and again look to the first day form. In speaking of Graduate Under Fire he is also entered in this race so if he starts here he is a must have on the ticket.Lilac Desire, Bankcard and Lively Shard all raced well on the first day with the latter most likely the biggest improver of them, after all Lively Shard is a former Westport Cup winner so he should be highly competitive here. I’m going to say the F word now so here goes take the “Field”. They will back Naughty Maravu off the tote but I think he is vulnerable and anything could win this race. Naughty Maravu was just that on day one when running second he ran off on the turn and collected a few others and was subsequently disqualified. The last looks a little easier to tip. Alta Gerome won with plenty of style on the first day and I think he can win again. The step up will be something he can handle. Lilac Desire has been the bridesmaid three times in a row and is knocking on the door of success. Kaite Kash would be the next best. Justin Le Lievre