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The sixth heat of the Nevele R Fillies Series is up for decision at the harness racing meeting at Forbury Park on Thursday night and RR Sand Dollar has all the form on the board to be the one to beat here. A three year old filly from the first crop of the now defunct Rob Roy Mattgregor, RR Sand Dollar has nothing in her favour except class and even from barrier seven over the 1700 metres trip she looks to carry too many guns for the opposition here.  RR Sand Dollar was beaten a nose here at Forbury Park in December over the 1700 metres at her only start on the track and she has improved dramatically since then. Three runs back she was beaten a nose by the brilliant Nek Time in a brilliant 1:54.8 mile rate at Addington Raceway and followed that with two effortless wins down south, with the big late finish at Winton especially impressive. Trainer Paul Court has enlisted the services of Blair Orange, the hottest driver in the south over the last few weeks to take the reins again and only bad luck should really beat her. Take out RR Sand Dollar and the race becomes very even, with four or five big winning chances. The Gavin Smith pair of Scarlett Banner and Allison Stokke have both shown enough at various stages this season to be big chances here from their draws of one and two. Scarlett Banner has been racing Golden Goddess, Piccadilly Princess, and Luisansbelle Midfrew most of the season and will appreciate the huge dropback in class here while Allison Stokke has run two beauties in her last two starts behind two very smart maidens in Heavens Rocks and Fiddlethefool and looms as a big improver here.  Rakarazor continues to go good races every week and her third in 1:54.1 for the mile at Winton on Saturday is good form for this race. Rakarazor has high gate speed and Clark Barron is sure to use that and attempt to lead all the way from barrier four with catch me if you can tactics. And so we come to Emily Blunt. Three months ago she would have been a hot favourite in this race and although she has performed admirably since, she has not been her old self lately. Blinds come off tomorrow night in an effort to sharpen her up and that just be enough to right the ship here.. She has the ability to beat most here and weather she has the aptitude we will see on Thursday night. Selections RR Sand Dollar is the clear first pick for us and should win barring accidents Scarlett Banner and Emily Blunt may not have the best form on the board right now but they are two high class fillies at their best and we found it hard to split them for second or third.  It is the same for 4th and 5th with Allison Stokke and Rakarazor both going consistently well and both are capable of finishing first four. Trifecta and First Four  8 --- 2, 3, 4, 5 Harnessjlink Media

Conditions at the harness racing meeting at Winton Raceway today were perfect for quick times on the big 1400 metres track and right  throughout the day, times were recorded by lower graded horses that are usually associated with what we refer to as cup class horses. Still even with the perfect conditions it came as a bit of a surprise later in day when the well performed three year old filly Nek Time won race nine over 2400 metres in a new New Zealand All Comers record of 2:53. That took 1.3 seconds off the old record held by Hannah Jaye for mares over the distance and is 1.5 seconds quicker than the colts and geldings record currently held by Rider On The Storm. It is the first time that 2:54 has been bettered for 2400 metres in a race in New Zealand. And Nek Time had a far from easy run when setting the record.  From three on the second line, Nek Time settled five back in the running line as Celestial Arden and Blair Orange held the lead from barrier one. Driver Dexter Dunn set Nek Time alight with 1500 metres to go and she quickly looped the field and grabbed the lead at the 1300 metres. Dexter kept Nek Time bowling along in front at a good clip and it was obvious a long way out that the only serious challenger she faced was Celestial Arden who was hard on her back. As they straightened for the run home, Celestial Arden immediately took the passing lane and appeared to have the momentum to pass Nek Time but Dexter got the filly to lift and she came clear the last bit to win by one and a quarter lengths. Nek Times 2:53 for the 2400 metres was a mile rate for the distance of 1:56 and she finished the race off with super closing sectionals of 55.5 and 26.9. Todays win was number five for the daughter of Gotta Go Cullect at start 17 and along with six placings she has now banked just over $62,000 to date. Ever since her very good run for fourth to Dream About Me in last seasons Harness Jewels, Nek Time has been on the up. She has the ability to sub 27 quarters with ease and can stick on as well and looks well capable of being a major player in the upcoming three year old fillies classics with a run to suit her talents   Post Note - The perfect race conditions today helped Erin Jaccka run 1:53.9 for 1609 Metres when winning the maiden pace for fillies and mares. The daughter of Mach Three was having just her third lifetime start and her 1:53.9 effort is a new track record for three year old fillies at Winton.  Harnesslink Media  

The two year old pace at the harness racing meeting at Addington Raceway tonight looked a fairly open race with several runners being well supported on the tote. Mongolian Storm was sent out the favourite but Tere The Terminator and Nicol Shard were very close up in the betting market as well. Tere The Terminator led from barrier one for Blair Orange and was out by a couple of lengths passing the mile marker and then for no reason galloped and veered out and almost collected Nicol Shard and Dexter Dunn who were improving on his outer. Mongolian Storm and Ricky May took the opportunity to work to the front and then hand up to Nicol Shard who after getting skittled by Tere The Terminator showed speed to whip around the field and lead. The order stayed the same until Bettor To Be Tricky went up and applied real pressure passing the 500 metres mark. Turning for home Bettor To Be Tricky surged to the front and looked the likely winner but Mongolian Storm slowly but surely started to real him in the last 150 metres and went on by in the last 50 metres for a deserved win. Bettor To Be Tricky stuck on really well for second with the first starter Cobra Banner running on late for third. In the coolish windy conditions, Mongolian Storm paced the 1950 metres in 2:24.1, a mile rate of 1:58.9 with the closing sectionals of 58.4 and 29.1. Trainer Paul Court was happy with the run by the son of Courage Under Fire " He has missed a bit of work lately so he was pretty short tonight." " I thought he might be vunerable because of that but class has got him home." " That run will tighten him up bigtime and he can go to the Sires Stakes heat next week now." " Also I think he is better driven with a sit because he has such high speed."  " Whatever he does at two is a bonus as I think he will make a lovely three year old," Paul said. Driver Ricky May was also happy with the run of Mongolian Storm. " He has actually won that a lot easier than it looked." "I was trying to look after him throughout the race as I knew he was short of race fitness." " It was really windy out there as well so it was a  good effort,"  Ricky said. Brad Mowbray, the trainer of Tere The Terminator was still shaking his head when asked for comment on his smart two year old. " He galloped for no reason really which is frustrating but I suppose you can say he is a work in progress."  "He did make up a lot of ground after his gallop to finish where he did so there is no problem with the ability". " We just needs the manners to come right," Brad said Harnesslink Media  

It is not often that a low key harness racing meeting on a Thursday night  at Addington unearths a horse on his way to much better things but the performance of Chittybangbang last night at Addington Raceway suggested that this is a three year old with a big future. Settling well back in the field in  the 1950 metres mobile from his wide second row draw, Chittybangbang was sent forward by driver Blair Orange on the three wide train and reached the death seat with 1100 metres to go. Taking cover behind Extreme Guest who had followed him forward, Chittybangbang was forced three back in the running line down the back straight. Turning for home, Chittybangbang was still several lengths off the leaders but once Blair had got him balanced, he flew down the outside late to pick them up and beat them with ease. A three year old son of Gotta Go Cullen, Chittybangbang has a real' blue blood' maternal family being closely related to several smart horses including Courage Under Fire 1:54.2 ($1,485,672) while the three quarter brother to Chittybangbang in Chattanoogachoochoo 1:54.5 ($107,163) continues to race well in Australia. Chittybangbang has always been held in the highest regard by the Toliman Lodge barn but immaturity has held up his progress to date. A very good second first up as a two year old behind the talented Cash N Flow suggested a big future at that age but it wasn't to be. Part owner Wendy Kennard thinks they may have got ahead of themselves. " Chittybangbang stands close to 16.3 hands and is a big framed horse with it." " For such a big horse, he has tremendous high speed and showed that at his first start at two but didn't have the strength to go on with it then."  " Ken (Barron) has always had a very big opinion of the horse and is very confident that once he fully matures, we are going to have a lot of fun with him." " He likes Chittybangbang that much that he went and bought his three quarter brother at the yearling sales this week." " Even tonight you can see he is a work in progress but I think he will come into his own in the next 12 months and show people what he is really capable of," Wendy said. Wendy and Noel Kennard have bought a number of good memories to a lot of people with their "Go Harness " racing syndicates and it was nice to see them getting so much pleasure themselves from last nights win at Addington. Harnesslink Media  

The first of the tote races for the 2015-2106 season for the two year old trotters was held at Addington Raceway this evening and provided a great spectacle as the first four home all showed enough on the night to suggest that we are in for some great contests as the harness racing season progresses. Custodian from barrier eight left the gate with the mobile for driver David Butt and was in front after 200 metres and proceeded to set a hectic pace in front. The well supported Habibi Inta with Blair Orange in the cart was slow off the gate and settled sixth in the running early while Regal Love and Tim Williams ended up in the open in the running line when things settled down after the start. David Butt kept Custodian rolling in front, putting half a dozen lengths between himself and the field as they went past the 800 metres mark. Tim Williams and Regal Love were the first to make a move to close the gap on the tearaway leader and Habibi Inta quickly got onto Regal Love's back as they passed the 400 metres. These three were joined on the point of the turn by Miracle Rising with trainer / driver Gavin Smith in the bike who had been four back on the inner and these four drew away from the rest. Custodian was still in front 100 metres out but his earlier exertions started to catch up with him and he was claimed by both Habibi Inta and Miracle Rising with 50 metres to go with Habibi Inta holding a neck advantage over Miracle Rising at  the finishing line with a game Custodian a close up third just in front of an equally game Regal Love who had dragged the field up to the leader. The winners time for the 1950 metres from the mobile was a smart 2:26.6, a mile rate of 2:00.9 with closing sectionals of 60.2 and 30.7 Trainer Paul Nairn was happy that his charge did everything right at his first race start. " I told Blair he had never been behind the mobile before and to not rush him early which is why he was so far behind them early on." " I knew he was good enough to win the race but I was more concerned that he did everything right at his first start to help build up his confidence." " I think I will give him his next start in the two year old trot at Methven on the grass as a lead into the 2 year old Trotting Stakes at the end of March at Addington as he handles the grass really well," Paul told Harnesslink this evening. Gavin Smith had a huge smile on his face after the run of Miracle Rising to grab second on debut. " I couldn't have been happier with my horse's run." " He is not switched on as yet to what racings all about but he has got an awful lot of natural ability. " I thought he was too big to make a two year old but he is proving me wrong." " He is beautifully gaited and has great manners and going forward there is so much improvement in him that it is scary," Gavin said. Throw in Custodian and Regal Love who lost no admirers with their game runs tonight and the two year old trotting ranks look to be especially strong this year. Harnesslink Media  

As expected by most pundits, the $25,000 Kindergarten Stakes for juvenile pacers at the harness racing meeting at Wyndham today turned into an All Stars stable benefit with the all conquering barn providing the first three runners home. Not only that but their finishing order was more or less determined by where they drew. Duane Marfisi, the foreman at All Stars Racing Stables thought the draws meant the result from the Sapling Stakes would be the same in the Kindergarten Stakes. "I think the result of the Kindergarten might be the same as the Sapling with Pacing Major our best." "I think he will win again from that draw." "If the draws were different my thoughts would be different but that is the way I see it." "More the Better is going to be hard to beat and You Gotta Have Faith will go a good race but he is not yet up with the other two more seasoned horses," Duane said. Mongolian Storm flew the gate for Blair Orange to lead early from Pacing Major who settled in the death seat and More The Bettor in the one out,three back position. Soon after Tim Williams looped the field to sit parked with More The Better,giving Dexter Dunn and Pacing Major a beautiful run in the one by one. Dexter peeled out of the one by one on the point of the corner and went up quickly to More The Better but it took him the length of the straight to get the better of his stablemate by a head at the finish. You Gotta Have Faith showed real improvement from the Sapling Stakes, running on well for third just two lengths behind the first two while Jimmie ran into fourth, a further 2 1/2 lengths away. Pacing Major cut out the mile in a swift 1:54.7 with the closing sectionals in 56.7 and 26.9 Dexter Dunn was happy with the run of the Art Major colt "He seemed a lot  more focused today than he was in the Sapling Stakes. "It took a while to get the upper hand in the straight but I always felt he would get up in the end," Dexter said. Tim Williams was very impressed with the effort of More The Better. " He has had to do the most work in the race but has stuck on really well in the straight. " Reverse the draw and I think you would reverse the result," Tim said. Matt Anderson was also pleased with the effort of You Gotta Have Faith. " He has stepped forward since the Sapling and is closing the gap on the first two," Matt said. Both Pacing Major and More The Better are now making the long trek back to Alexandra Park in Auckland for the last heat and final of the Young Guns Series in early March. We think the gap between the two star youngsters is virtually nil and it would seem the draw may determine which of the two is the bigger winning chance in upcoming races at Alexandra Park. Harnesslink Media  

Anyone assessing this years crop of three year old colts and geldings would place Lazarus at the top of the pile with Chase The Dream his greatest challenger but as the season has gone on Classie Brigade has slowly but surely started to close the gap on the All Stars pair. His run tonight in the $23,500 Alabar Super Series Final at Addington Raceway was just further confirmation of the improvement he has made since his third placing in the New Zealand Sires Stakes Final on Cup Day. Driver Ricky May settled him three back in the running line early before shooting around to sit parked with a round to go as Blair Orange and Buster Brady looped the field to lead. Classie Brigade sat on Buster Brady's wheel until 200 metres from home where he easily worked clear and went on for a comfortable 1 1/4 length victory from a game Buster Brady and Bite The Bullet who closed late up the passing lane. Classie Brigade cut the 1950 metres out in a sizzling 2:20.4, a mile rate of 1:55.8 with closing sectionals of 57.2 and 29.1 in the warm windy conditions. Ricky May was full of praise for the son of Bettor's Delight. " He just keeps on getting better this horse ever time I drive him." " I didn't mind sitting in the death with him tonight as he concentrates better there than he does when he is in front". " He still can knock off a bit when left in front early but he is getting better all the time in that respect." " I think he is the next best three year old after the All Stars pair and I think he has closed the gap since Cup time." " He does go good the Auckland way round so I think he is a chance of getting some of it at Derby time the way he is going," Ricky said. Ricky May is never one to get too bullish about a horse's chances so his comments would suggest that Classie Brigade will be a major player in the Woodlands Stud Northern Derby on March 11th. Harnesslink Media  

Noel Kennards Prodigal Seelster Summer Of Speed Final for older mares today at Ashburton Raceway only drew a field of eight runners but there were plenty of chances in an open field. The southern visitor Sheeza Shark was sent out a warm favourite on the strength of a win at Ashburton in a heat of the series but drew barrier eight due to the preferential system in place for the final. Tintinara led early for Dexter Dunn before handing up to Valor Lustre and Blair Orange who continued to roll once he found the front with New Years Jay and John Dunn sitting on his wheel.. Blair kept the tempo going from the half which made it really hard for those back in the field to make any ground. Turning for home New Years Jay went up to Valor Lustre but the big strong McArdle mare kept finding and was comfortably holding her at bay over the last 200 metres. New Years Jay fought on gamely for second after being parked the whole trip while Tintinara nabbed third up the passing lane after a lovely run in the trail the whole way. Sheeza Shark made little headway from the back,finishing a disappointing seventh. Valor Lustre cut the mile out in a sharp 1:54.3 with closing sectionals of 55.3 and 27.2 Trainer/owner Ivan Court was all smiles post race. " Once she got to the front I thought she was a big chance." " She is very tough and I thought they would have their work cut out getting past her." Ivan is now seriously thinking about lining Valor Lustre up in the New Zealand Premier Mares Championship at Addington next Friday night. " We will see how she comes through today's run first but I am leaning towards lining her up." " She is a bit under rated in some quarters but I think she will measure up," Ivan said. Ivan bred Valor Lustre from his former smart racemare Regal Lustre who won five but he thinks Valor Lustre is a lot better mare. " I think Valor Lustre is a very smart mare and think she has a few more wins in front of her yet," Ivan said. Harnesslink Media

This time twelve months ago, Swamp Major looked a two year old that was capable of competing for harness racing divisional honours amongst the juveniles.   Two outstanding seconds behind Lazarus in the Young Gun Series had signalled that the son of Art Major was good enough to challenge in most of the major races to follow.   However on returning to Christchurch, Swamp Major was bedeviled by minor issues to the point that trainer Ken Barron tipped him out in the end for a long spell.    Fast forward twelve months and after a long and slow build up, Swamp Major made his long awaited racetrack resumption at Ascot Park today at their Invercargill Cup day meeting.   Even though Swamp Major had drawn barrier eight at the 2200 metres, punters made him a $1:40 shot on the strength of his two great runs at two.   Sent straight to the front by driver Blair Orange, Swamp Major always looked in total control throughout the race and when Blair gave him his head on the corner, he scooted clear and held them at bay without being seriously threatened.   Swamp Major paced the 2200metres in 2:42.1, a mile rate of 1:58.5 with closing sectionals of 56.7 and 28.   Blair Orange was happy to have got the show back on the road.   “That was just the kind of race he needed first up.”   “It has been a long slow build up after all those little niggles at two and he is going to need a few runs to get back to full race fitness.”   “He is entered in the Futurity in which you have to start twice down here so the plans are for him to stay down and race again next week.”   “As to future plans, we will have to see how he progresses over the next few weeks.”   “He does hold a nomination for the New Zealand Derby but we will just see how things progress before making any firm plans,” Blair said.   The big upstanding son of Art Major has already shown he can mix it with the very best at two and he would certainly add plenty of interest to the upcoming three year old classics if he can get back to that form.   Swamp Major     Harnesslink Media

Harness racing trainer Kyle Austin knows what it is like to own a top horse having raced the very talented Nutwood 1:50.6 (8wins) over twenty odd years ago and he now has one in his care that looks to be blessed with the same abundance of ability. Buster Bailey is the horses name and the three year old son of Real Desire gave Addington racegoers a glimpse tonight of why he is held in such high regard by both Kyle and driver Blair Orange. Staying out of the early fireworks from barrier three, Buster Bailey was sent forward to grab the lead with just over a lap to go by Blair, though not without a fight with Dream Damien. These two went clear on the home turn but Buster Bailey was always travelling the better and although racing greenly in the straight still had half a length to spare at the finish. The time of 2:22.5 was super impressive in the cold conditions, a mile rate of 1:57.5 with closing sectionals of 58.8 and 27.6. Kyle is enjoying the ride just as much this time as he did with Nutwood. " It is so hard to get a really smart horse so I am rapt to have Buster in the stable." "After I sold Nutwood, I struggled to find a winner for quite a while so it is nice to have another smart one." Kyle said. With only a handful of starts off the place in his short career, there would appear to be plenty of upside to Buster Bailey. "I gave him a few runs off the place at two but he was pretty immature and I put him aside in the end." " He only qualified in early November at Addington so you would like to think he has plenty of upside." " That win tonight was penalty free but our big aim is the $23,500 Super Series Final on February 12th which is a maiden front for him," Kyle said. As to be expected with a three year old who looks well above average, the bloodstock agents have been hovering but no business is close to be done at present. " No one has made me a firm offer to date but I am not sure I want to sell anyway." " It has been a long time between drinks and I am really enjoying it," Kyle said. However that pans out, Kyle has one very talented three year old in his care. Harnesslink Media  

It is really frustrating at times to be involved in harness racing. You spend the whole year trying to build up the image of harness racing with the wider community and then a couple of misguided articles go viral and the industry has to put up with the media circus that has been the Blair Orange saga over the last few days. Blair made a misjudgement on New Years Day and has paid dearly for it. The upside is he has been dealt with by both the RIU and the JCA involved in this case in a professional and competent manner. All the others tested that day had been out the night before in the same group as Blair which they see as a bit strange as the testing is meant to be random. They all tested negative except Blair due in no small part in to the fact he is barely 60 kg in the view of those drinking with him. Blair has done what he did on New Years day countless times before and has always come up negative when tested the next day. He was as shocked as anyone else by the reading he returned at Omakau. The coverage given the matter by the main stream media is not something they should be proud of. It turned a mistake by one of our leading reinsman into a media storm which became the second leading item on both the TV1 and TV3 news that night. The tone of the items was very negative and did a lot of damage to the image of harness racing. Yesterday they had a second bite of the cherry, again raking over the coals of the case after a couple of follow up articles in the main stream media about the case. All of those articles were written by Taylor Strong, a vastly experienced journalist but in this instance he seems to have completely lost his bearings. Apart from a few comments recorded second hand at the penalty hearing, there is no where in the articles that Taylor Strong had written, any comment from either Blair Orange or anyone else associated with him. Two of the articles gave the distinct impression this was a serious judicial matter when in reality it is not classified as a serious racing offence by the RIU or JCA. Impartiality is the cornerstone of being a journalist and Taylor Strong's effort here falls well short of what is expected.  Sensational headlines like "Failed breath test lands Orange in hot water" just added petrol to the fire and are unworthy of such an experienced journalist. As in all cases such as this there is no free lunch. Taylor Strong needs drivers, trainers and owners to trust him when they speak to him and his performance over the last few days has put a huge question mark beside his name according to the people we have spoken to in the last 48 hours. He has a lot of bridges to mend in the next few weeks or he may find himself interviewing his typewriter a lot more in the near future. JC  

Promising Overport Lodge 3YO Ice Crusher began his quest for possible $40,000 Southern Supremacy honours on April 17 with the easiest of maiden wins as at Invercargill on Sunday, December 1. The hot $1.50 favourite circled wide for Blair Orange from the back row as some inside him scrambled early in the Ryder Plumbling Ltd Mobile Pace at the Riverton Trotting Club’s meeting. After landing up in the open, Blair made a play for the lead with around 1100m to run and was always travelling like the winner. He cruised to the wire 2 3/4 lengths of nearest challenger Annie Fitz, with hood deafeners still intact, in a comfortable 2:48.3 (2:03.1 mile rate) for the 2200m. Ice Crusher wasn’t asked for a serious effort over his last 800m in 59.7s and final 400m in 29.1s. The Southern Supremacy is a possible target for Ice Crusher, who won once from three 2YO outings for Burnham trainer Mark Jones and the Ice C Syndicate. Back on May 9, he ran his last 800m in 55.5s and final 400m in 27.1s at Addington when he held Hickstead in the Listed $11,700 PGG Wrightson NZ Yearling Sales 2YO Open Consolation. He reverted back to maiden status beginning his 3YO racing. A horse must have at least two starts in Southern Harness Racing Club races to be eligible for the Southern Supremacy final, hence the decision to try and win his maiden in the south. He’s bred to be above average being a gelded son of Christian Cullen and Helena Kilena (five wins, 1:57 m.r, 1950m), making him a brother to good south winner Shak’n Cullen (four wins, 1:58.9). Dam Helena Kilena is a sister to Fearleass Freda (p2, 1:59), winner of the 1998 PGG Wrightson Yearling Sales 2YO Fillies Pace. Another sister in Hilarious Heather (three wins) is the dam of useful pacers Holy Hero (five NZ wins, 1:56.5) and Collecting (four wins, p3, 1:58.6), a NZ record 3YO fillies record holder over 2200m from a stand. Helena Kilena is also a half-sister to Franco Himself (3 NZ wins, 18 USA wins, 1:55.4). Helena Kilena’s grand-dam Golden Guest won nine and ran third against the boys behind the Alister Kerslake-trained stablemate Bachelor Star in the 1971 New Zealand Derby at Addington (another filly Van Glory ran second and Roydon Roux was fourth). Golden Guest was a Garrison Hanover sister to a top Jack Smolenski-trained 1970s pacer in Speedy Guest (19 wins including a Great Northern Derby and a NZ Messenger. Earlier, stablemate and debutante Itz Ivy Hillis was a game third after moving up in the open in a mobile 2200m maiden. She kept fighting in the run home but was outgunned late by the Tony Barron-trained Whata Excuse, wide out for Dexter Dunn, and Tuapeka Troy, with the winner clocking 2:46.4. Consistent 3YO Derringer had to settle for second from the trail to Machrie in the C1 pace at Invercargill with stablemate Coringa Delight having little luck from the second row, finishing fifth. Mark Jones Racing Stable    -    Check site here

Young harness racing trainer Jack Harrington lined up Hey Yo in the maiden trot at Addington Raceway this evening confident she wouldn't disgrace herself and just wanting for her to do everything right in her racetrack debut. In the hands of leading driver Blair Orange, Hey Yo landed the parked out position soon after the start and was left there for the rest of the race Turning for home you could have excused Hey Yo for shortening stride but instead she dug in and ground out a memorable victory. Jack Harrington was all smiles when talking to Harnesslink post race. " I expected her to go a good race as she had been working really well but I didn't think she could sit parked the whole way and still win." " She has really improved the last little bit but that was really impressive," Jack said. Jack works a small team of just five and Hey Yo is only his third runner to the races. " I start at six in the morning working my team before going to my day job at Andrew Stuarts about 8:30." " In the afternoon I do a lot of work around home knocking it into shape for the horses," Jack said. Jack was surprised as anyone when Hey Yo was dropped off at the stable.  " Dad brought her without telling me so it was a bit of a surprise when the transporter dropped her off." " She has had a few issues with her tendons so I have taken a lot of time with her, a lot more than I normally would."  " When I was working for Tim Butt, one of the things he really stressed was how you conditioned your horse, especially his trotters." " I have tried to follow what he taught me and things are going good at this stage," Jack said. The daughter of Revenue from the former top class trotter Too Much Too Soon 1:59.2 ($153,021), Hey Yo has no firm plans at this stage. " We will see what Blair has to say first before we make any plans with her." " There are a couple of C1 trots during Cup Week but it is a big step up and we may yet miss Cup Week," Jack said. Jack has created a good impression in his short time as a trainer and looks to have a big future in front of him. Harnesslink Media

Every week, Harnesslink produces the harness racing ringaround where a group of twenty odd of our leading drivers give us their best tips for the weekend racing. Results in the main have been good with the odd shocker thrown in but last night at Addington Raceway the tipsters had a night to remember. The drivers selected horses in seven races last night at Addington and bagged five winners which is a great strike rate. In started in the first when Gavin Smith selected Paris Princess who led form go to whoa and returned a healthy dividend of $6:60 Blair Orange was the next tipster to see the winners circle with the very talented Southern GNP who was backed in very short but never gave his supporters any cause for concern with an effortless victory. Onto race 6 and Mark Jones was very bullish around the chances of Franco Harrington and the way he cruised to the front and ran away and hid in the home straight showed that his confidence was not misplaced. In race 8, North Canterbury trainer/driver Robbie Holmes had two horses involved in the race and he was very keen on the chances of Clean Break with Gavin Smith in the bike even from the outside of the gate, with Robbie taking the reins on the stablemate Tehoro Holly. The win dividend of $8:70 for Clean Break was a great return for the inform trotter. As happens, the best was saved for last. Three of our tipsters chose their best drives of the week in race 9 last night. Ricky May, John Dunn and Bob Butt were all keen on the chances of their runners and as it turned out none of them were far off the mark. John Dunn worked to the lead on Mr Meddle with Bob Butt settling in the trail with Justalittlebettor and Ricky May and Change The Rulz snookered away four back on the inner. John got away with a couple of cheap quarters in front with Mr Meddle which left enough in the tank to fight off all the challengers in the home straight. Ricky May and Change The Rulz flashed late for an unlucky second just in front of Justalittlebettor and Bob Butt who held third. Mr Meddle paid $10:90 for the win with the quinella paying $15:30 and the trifecta a healthy $185:20 Throw in the double result of Clean Break and Mr Meddle of $49:50 and followers of the ringaround should have made plenty last night. Harnesslink Media

One of the newest harness racing trainers on the New Zealand scene is Sam Smolenski who to date has only lined up three runners since taking out  a trainers license late last season. On Friday night at  Addington Raceway, Sam has two runners engaged in the maiden mobile trot over 1950 metres. Paris Princess, to be driven by Gavin Smith has drawn nicely at barrier five and although the form line may look a bit bleak, there is no doubting the ability. The daughter of Diedre Don won a recent trial at Ashburton over 2400 metres in a smart 3:08.9 with terrific closing sectionals of 57.7 and 27.7 and if she was to bring that form to Addington tonight she would be incredibly hard to hold out. Sams other runner is Gleneleven who has drawn barrier seven and is to be driven by Blair Orange. A smart second on debut, Gleneleven looked out of sorts at his next start at Rangiora in the slush last Sunday, breaking early and again in the home straight which ended up in him being disqualified. With the aid of the mobile the son of Monkey Bones rates as a big winning chance tonight. Sam found it hard to separate the pair when speaking to Harnesslink earlier today. " I am expecting a big run from both of them tonight and there is not that much between them at this stage." " Paris Princess will really appreciate the mobile." " She just doesn't concentrate when in standing starts but she will be fine behind the mobile and I would be surprised if she galloped tonight." " Gleneleven had an issue in his neck at Rangiora, getting on one rein the whole way and that is why he broke." " I have had him treated post race and his work this week has been great so I am expecting him to go a big race tonight." "Long term I think Gleneleven will be the better of the two horses and I think he will go a fair way," Sam said. With any kind of luck, Sam looks a big chance to have his first winner as a trainer in race 1 at Addington tonight. Harnesslink Media

Harness racing can be trying at times as anyone who has been in the industry for any length of time will be able to tell you. One who knows this better than most at the moment is owner of the year, Trevor Casey For all his recent success Trevor is experiencing a few bumps in the road trying to keep Escapee's new campaign on track The plan had as its immediate aim the Dominion Handicap in November. The plan is up in the air at the moment but that doesn't mean that she won't be racing this season Its just that she won't be racing from the All Stars barn. Mark and Duane Marfisi knew that Escapee would need special handling during her comeback but with the big spring team getting ready for racing, the extra time required to put into Escapee was just not available at the All Stars barn. As a result, Escapee is to be tried in in a different environment. Never an easy horse to train, Escapee has had a long absence after having a foal but after a very promising start this time in at the All Stars barn, she has caused problems for Duane. "When she gets upset she just takes off and one day when we had a gear problem I had trouble pulling her up on the straight track." "She just never came back to me" Duane said. Mark trialled her a few days later but she pulled very hard and he recommended a different approach to owner, Trevor Casey. " Mark thought that since he wouldn't be home at Rolleston for several weeks yet, that a move away from All Stars might help, " Trevor told Harnnesslink today. "After consulting with Mark, I have moved Escapee to Ken Barron's barn." " Blair (Orange) is there and he handled Escapee a lot when he worked at All Stars. " He has driven her and knows her so it seemed a logical move." " She is off to the trials at Ashburton on Tuesday so we will all be a lot wiser after that," Trevor said. Escapee has always been a high class race mare and would certainly add another dimension to the trotting features in New Zealand if she made a successful comeback to the track. Harnesslink Media

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