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There was a great sigh of relief tonight amongst harness racing followers when one of  the real good guys in our industry Blair Orange reined Change Time home in race two at Addington and in doing so became the twenty third New Zealand driver to crack the 1000 win mark. Blair had a run of bad luck at Blenheim last weekend but all that was forgotten tonight as Blair sent Change Time to the lead after 800 metres before trailing The Brigadier for the last lap and using the passing lane to sprint clear for a comfortable victory. A throng of family and well wishers applauded Blair as he brought the mare back to the winners circle tonight. Blair was his usual modest self as Harness Racing New Zealand.chairman Gary Allen made a presentation to mark Blair's achievement. Blair was full of praise and thanks for all the people who had helped him along the way. " For someone who doesn't come from a harness racing family, I can only thank the people who encouraged me and gave me a chance." "Tim Butt who I started with was never afraid to put me on when I was starting out and that helped get me established." "Mike Austin, Mark Purdon, Mark Jones and Andrew Stuart have all helped me throughout my career and I can't really thank them enough." "I am lucky enough to have a great wife in Lisa who stays at home looking after the kids while I am travelling all over the country." "I wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for her support," Blair said. Harness racing is indeed fortunate that Blair chose this industry over his other great love Rugby League at which he was good enough to attract the interest of the Melbourne Storm . Harnesslink would like to join the rest of the industry in congratulating Blair on driving 1000 winners and for the manner in which he has done it. Harnesslink Media  

Overport Lodge trainer Mark Jones pulled off a satisfying training coup by transforming Johnny Fox into a G3 $40,000 Invercargill Cup winner on Saturday, January 24. Johnny Fox’s career was at the crossroads after choking down badly on NZ Cup day in November, but a brief spell and the addition of an anti-choking device has turned him around. The 6YO Western Terror gelding is relaxing in his races and growing in confidence. So much so, he added a new string to his bow by moving up in the open over the last 2000m of the G3 $40,000 Ascot Park Hotel Invercargill Cup and proving just as effective cutting the breeze. “He is racing great and was great for him to sit parked and win,” Mark said. The win showed Mark he had toughened up as previously he was at his best as a very fast sit-sprint horse. Johnny Fox sprinted up on the corner as if he’d had trailing cover, with driver Blair Orange cleverly putting the foot down as favourite Meticulous was held up three back on the markers. Johnny Fox had Belkmyster (wide) for company turning in but held a comfortable advantage down the stretch, holding by three-quarters of a length in 4:04 (3200m). The leaders picked up the pace over their last 800m in 57.8s and final 400m in a quick 26.9s. Belkmyster held second with a length and a quarter to Meticulous winding up late to grab third ahead of early breaker The Wrath Of Robyn, who staged a big recovery for fourth. The win, Mark’s third Invercargill Cup training win in the race in the last five years (earlier winning with Ohoka Texas and Saveapatrol), and the fifth for driver Blair Orange, came on top of prelude and Nelson Cup wins by Johnny Fox two weeks ago. “I’m unsure where Johnny goes next as two weeks ago he was an out of form 4-win horse. Now he is a 7-win horse racing great.” “I guess we have to look at the Addington Summer Cup ($25,000 free-for-all, 2600m) on Friday as he is racing great.” Johnny Fox, purchased by the Butterworth Racing Syndciate after winning his first five for southern interests, has now won nine of 33 starts for $88,189. The outstanding form by Johnny Fox this month is timely for Highview Standardbreds of Riverton who are offering a half-brother to the provincial cups winner at the NZ Premier Yearling Sale in Christchurch on February 17. The colt is by by the Western Hanover stallion Well Said (p3, 1:47.6 & the winner of $2.5 million), while Johnny Fox’s dam, the unraced Ivy Rose, is by Island Fantasy from the good racemare Highview Rose (eight wins $51,409, including a Winton Cup). Highview Rose (OK Bye-Rosewood Mistress), a half-sister to Highview Atom (17 wins incl. 13 in WA, 1:57.1 mile rate, 1742m) and Highview Jude (nine wins & $68,400), has left the good winners, Oreti Beach (1:52, US, five NZ wins, 22 USA wins), Highview Badlands nine wins incl. the 2007 Invercargill Cup for trainer Jimmy Curtin, and Highview Macushla (1:58.2 mile rate, 1700m, three wins). Another daughter of Highview Rose in Highview Miss is the raced placed dam of Jenna’s Highview (p3, 1:57, 1 NZ win & 4 Aust. wins, runnerup in both the Australian & Queensland Oaks) and Highview Annwell (four wins). * Blair Orange, a regular driver for the Mark Jones stable and the Butterworth Racing Syndicate, brought up his 999th NZ career win behind Johnny Fox on Saturday. He looks certain to join the 1000-win driving club at Waterlea on Sunday. Jeff Scott - Courtesy Mark Jones Racing Stables - Visit site here  

Harness racing can be cruel at times as a lot of our tipsters found out last week when a lot of the selections had little luck on raceday. Both Playaway and Sweet Art had no luck on the first day at Otaki but both won on the second day so it does pay to not drop them in a hurry, Our best performer last week was Steven Reid who nailed Clarius at Otaki at $13:40 and he was unlucky not to make it a double for the weekend on the second day, again at good odds. Other selectors to pick winners were Ricky May, Peter Scaife,Scott Phelan, Blair Orange and Brad Williamson and we picked up three placings as well and a string of fourths. This week we have selections at Motukarara, Blenhiem, Auckland, and Invercargill and Gate Pa. Don't let the selections for Blenheim slip under your guard on Sunday if they miss on Friday. Motukarara - Thursday afternoon Robbie Holmes - Gave us two he couldn't separate. At the Mott it is Willie Shine in race 8 Ricky May - Thought Cullen Keefe could get back on track in race 10 Craig Thornley - Rates Franco Hammond highly and thought he could win again, also in race 10   Blenheim - Friday afternoon Jimmy Curtin - Likes the chances of the Brian O'Meara trained Mach Winger in race 2 Gerard O'Reilly - Thinks Royal Caroline is due a change of luck and can win race 3  Robbie Holmes - The second of his selections this week is the talented Cyclone Kiwi in race 9 Blair Orange - Rates Take After Me a big chance of making it two wins in a row in race 11   Auckland - Friday night Tony Herlihy - Gives Uandmebabe a big show even from the second line in race 2 Maurice McKendry - Rates Hanoverdakash a great each way bet in race 3 Scott Phelan - Thought that Prince Of Pops could bounce back after a brief break and win race 4 John Curtin (Harnesslink)- Thought Gamma Lady on her workout win last weekend would win race 5   Steve Richardson (TAB) - Rates Charleston Belle a big chance to take out race 9 Todd Macfarlane - Knows the draw is dead against him but still likes Simply Stunning, also in race 9    Invercargill - Saturday afternoon Nathan Williamson - Thought if Splash Cola could get around the first bend then she would win race 1 John Dunn - Gives Alta Las Vegas a big rap even from barrier eight in race 3 Clark Barron - Gives I'm Full Of Excuses a big chance of taking out race 4 Matthew Williamson - Thinks Alley Way on last weeks run should win race 5 Brad Williamson - Thought he might be able to upset big brother with Father Christmas, also in race 5 Shane Walkinshaw - Rates Acolyte off the mobile a big chance to turn his form around in race 8 Tim Williams - Thought Meticulous had trained on great this week and would win race 9   Gate Pa - Sunday afternoon Peter Scaife - Confident that a shoeing change will have recent import Winsome Luck winning race 2 Todd Mitchell - Thought Shardon's Pearl would carry on the good work and win, also in race 2 Sean McCaffrey - With no Gold Ace or Adore Me about, he thought Norvic Nightowl could win race 9     

The racing programme is finally getting back to something like normal this week although there is no meeting in the Auckland/ Waikato region so the number of selections this week reflects that. Our "holiday" selectors were in good form with Scott Phelan, Ricky May, Blair Orange, Jim Curtin, Steve Richardson, Bob Butt, Nathan Williamson, Matthew Williamson and Brad Williamson all tipping out winners with Brad getting bragging rights on the back of Nureyev paying $10:90 at Winton. This week we have four meetings in the country covered with some interesting selections from our tipsters. Northern Southland - Thursday afternoon Shane Walkinshaw - Bullish about the chances of Acolyte in race 4 Bob Butt - Thinks that with an ounce of luck Justalittlebettor can win race 5 even from barrier 8 Terry Chmiel - Reckons Millwood Pink Lady from barrier two will be very hard to beat, also in race 5 Ricky May - Rates Rocker Band very hard to hold out if she gets clear air in race 6 Brendon McLellan - Reckons with his dropback to C1 Sammy The Bull can win race 8 Nathan Williamson - Gives Dwindle Mist a real chance of upsetting the favourites in race 9 Clark Barron - Thought even in a red hot field, Twilight Franco could upset them in race 10    Otaki - Friday afternoon John Curtin (Harnesslink) - Rates the chances of recent northern import Balius in race 6 Scott Phelan - Likes the chances of Sweet Art off the front mark to win race 7 Steven Reid - Thought Clarius was a chance to upset them in race 8 Peter Scaife - Thought Playaway was due a change of luck and could win race 10   Addington - Friday night Gerard O'Reilly - Rates Royal Caroline a big chance of leaving maidens in race 1 Craig Thornley - Thought Supreme Gem even from barrier 6 at the mile could win race 3 Robbie Holmes - Gives Petite Royal a chance of turning her form around and winning race 4 Blair Orange - Quite bullish about the chances of Bracken Ridge in race 6  Steve Richardson (TAB) - Likes the chances of Big Lucy winning first up for the season in race 8 Brad Williamson- Thought Monty Python could make it three in a row in race 9   Oamaru - Sunday Afternoon Matthew Williamson - Rates Brads Kenny a huge chance on his home track to win race 5

Overport Lodge trainer Mark Jones could head south for the Group Three $40,000 Ascot Park Hotel Invercargill Cup (3200m) on January 24 with harness racings latest Nelson Cup winner Johnny Fox. “He’s going great. We may look at the Invercargill Cup or something like that.” “Its just a bit harder to place him as a six-win horse now,” he said. Mark Jones will attempt to extend a winning habit as a trainer in the Invercargill Cup, should Johnny Fox return south. Mark has won two of the last three Invercargill Cups, with Ohoka Texas (2012) and Saveapatrol. The latter upstaged triple NZ Cup winner Terror To Love, last year, after 13 days earlier taking out the Marlborough Cup. Johnny Fox caused concerns after a breathing problem came to a head on New Zealand Cup in November, but an overcheck and an anti-choking device (under his chin) have him racing better than ever. The Western Terror gelding ran an improver’s second to Mossdale Conner first-up at Rangiora on December 31, then went from strength-to-strength at Nelson. He sprinted a fast final 800m in 54.9s to run down Stradowan in the Cup Prelude on Friday, but was even more impressive pacing the same sectional over the longer 3000m trip to win on Sunday. Johnny Fox, second last at the 800m, swept up sharply four wide on the home turn for Blair Orange, and had a good kick when he asked him to go at the 200m. The Butterworth Racing Syndicate-owned pacer ran clear by three-quarters of a length from Stradowan, who had to settle for the bridesmaid tag again, after leading early, trailing King Cyril, and having every chance. He paced the full 3000m in 3:49.8 (2:03.2 mile rate), and outside the the Nelson track and race mark of 3:47.4, set by Jason Rulz when beating Jackaroo Bromac in the 2013 Nelson Cup. Johnny Fox, bred by the Wilson family of Winton, won his first five when racing for trainer Ian Wilson and briefly in Canterbury for Steve McRae, before being purchased by the Butterworth Syndicate. He won second-up for the Mark Jones team and Michelle Neilson in a junior drivers pace at Addington in March last year, and despite having breathing issues, had shown high speed in his races. Although the competition for him will get harder up the grades, he’s looking more relaxed and has a chance of realising his full potential. Melbourne owners, Merv and Meg Butterworth, had another good day on both sides of the Tasman with Arden Rooney, formerly in the Mark Purdon/Natalie Rasmussen barn, running third first-up for Kerryn Manning in the $A60,505 Horsham Cup. Arden Rooney enjoyed a good run through from the inside of the back row to trail on the outer. He fought solidly behind winner Philadelphia Man, who was too good after racing in the open outside a pulling favourite For a Reason. Philadelphia Man was too strong, coming clear in a track record 1:58.1 rate (2700m) from stablemate Restrepo, who maintained a good three wide run from the rear over the final 900m. Courtesy Of Jeff Scott - Mark Jones Harness Racing Stables,   

Plenty of harness racing pundits thought that the smart 2 year old Lazarus would be hard pushed to repeat his debut win when he lined up in heat two of the Young Guns series at Alexandra Park today. After all his main competition in Swamp Major and Motown had both drawn nicely in close while Lazarus had drawn badly at barrier eight. With the margin from their first meeting being so narrow, many thought that the result would be reversed this time. Swamp Major with Blair Orange in the bike left the gate quickly and grabbed the early lead while Motown slotted into a lovely trail from barrier two. Mark Purdon went forward from barrier eight with Lazarus and when Sabrage galloped he was able to slot onto the back of Kimani in the one by one. That is the way the order stayed until 150 metres from home where Mark angled Lazarus off Kimani's back and dashed home the last bit for a narrow but impressive victory. Swamp Major was game in second place with Motown battling into third place along the passing lane. Lazarus paced the 1700 metres in a quick 2:03.1, a mile rate of 1:56.5 with closing sectionals of 55.7 and 27. Part of last years Studholme Bloodstock's consignment to the yearling sales, Lazarus was purchased by long time All Stars clients Kennard Bloodstock for $75,000 and they were joined in the ownership by Trevor Casey and Kevin Riseley.  While loath to compare him to previous top 2 year olds he has trained, Mark Purdon gave the son of Bettor's Delight a good rap. " He is just a natural 2 year old and has great manners and that counts for a lot in these races." " The time didn't surprise me as they have been running time in most of the races here," Mark said. When quizzed about whether Lazarus looked the early favourite for the Young Guns final Mark was a touch more circumspect. " Bit early to say but he is certainly heading in the right direction,"Mark said  Harnesslink Media  

If Mighty Flying Major gets beaten in today’s $200,000 Sales Series Pace at Alexandra Park his harness racing opponents are going to have to do it the hard way. Because drive Blair Orange has declared he will be using the ace draw to try for an all the way win rather than getting too tactical in the richest race on a huge daytime programme. Mighty Flying Major holds the key to the race, having the inside draw and the natural early speed to us it but Orange says that is only half the battle. “I know he is good enough to lead and win which is why I won’t be handing up,” he says. “I have raced these horses already this carnival and gone as good as horses like Have Faith In Me and Hug The Wind. “So why would I hand up to them and give them the advantage. It is not like they are Auckland Reactor-type three-year-olds and you are happy to run second to them. “If we stay in front and are good enough then we get our chance. If you hand up you start to need luck.” Those words might cool the heels of punters looking to dive into the favoured Purdon-Rasmussen pair of Have Faith In Me and Hug The Wind, who would often be favoured to intimidate rivals into taking a trail. That sounds unlikely today though, meaning luck could come into play for them, even though they were good enough to come from near last to quinella the Sires’ Stakes at Addington last month. Betting against the Purdon-Rasmussen juggernaut in any major race is uncomfortable viewing but Mighty Flying Major has looked not far behind them on raw ability and with Alexandra Park racing red hot, the leaders make life very difficult for those covering extra ground. “The way this track is my fella can go 2:38 (for 2200m) and if he goes well here he might be off to the Victoria Derby so we aren’t gonna go home wondering what if?” Orange, who has rarely been in better driving form, realises that by trying for an all the way win he could potentially give another key rival Express Stride the trail and the last shot at him up the passing lane but he says he can’t worry about that. “You can’t try and drive every horse in the race, just your one. “And if we are in front then he still has to try and run past us too.” While the pressure of big money racing can see tactics change, if Mighty Flying Major leads and Express Stride trails the latter becomes the horse to beat. He brilliantly won his first two races back this season and then sat parked before finishing a huge second, beating home Mighty Flying Major, Hug The Wind and Have Faith In Me last start. Express Stride has matured into a serious, strong pacer and if the speed is on today he will hit the line hard. Courtesy of Michael Guerin - Harness Racing New Zealand

A series of tricky draws for the superstars in the richest races at Alexandra Park on Wednesday have stopped harness bookies in their tracks. So much so they have delayed opening betting on the premier card until today as they try and work out how punters will react. Auckland’s biggest day harness meeting of the year features two group ones, a group two and a $200,000 listed Sales Series race and none of them have seen the early favourite draw well. The group ones have been the cruelest, with Stent drawn one on the second line in the $80,000 National Trot, where luck comes into play as he tries to clean sweep the December group trots in the north. And facing an even more difficult task is exceptional pacing filly The Orange Agent, who will have to come from a second line draw in the $150,000 Alabar Sires’ Stakes Championship. While she will still open favourite when the markets come out around noon today, bookies can’t afford to have her red hot because that would mean big name fillies like Classical Art, Linda Lovegrace, Democrat Party or Supersonic Miss start to get out to long odds. “The draws really haven’t helped us sort things out,” admits TAB bookie Richard Wilson. “There are now some really tough markets to line up and work out how punters will react.” The $200,000 Sales Series Pace should still see long-time futures favourites Have Faith In Me and Hug The Wind at the head of the markets but they have lost what appeared to be an iron grip on the race.  While they have front line draws, Have Faith In Me at three and Hug The Wind at six, brilliant beginner Mighty Flying Major now holds the key to the race after drawing the ace. He will lead for certain and then Blair Orange gets to decide whether he relents to one of the Purdon-Rasmussen runners or stays in front, potentially gifting the trail and passing lane to Express Stride, who follows him through. It will be an interesting tactical battle in one of our richest age group races. Ohoka Punter steps up his comeback after a huge return win at Cambridge last Wednesday when he takes on open class opponents like Franco Nelson and Pembrook Benny in the $40,000 Franklin Cup. With Beyond The Silence and Lancewood Lizzie off the front the race won’t be easy for Ohoka Punter (10m) or Franco Nelson (20m) in a race recent open class double winner Gold Ace was allowed to miss to concentrate on mobile racing. He will head to Cambridge for the Flying Mile on January 9, a race he won two years ago, where he is almost certain to meet Adore Me. Meanwhile, the prognosis is looking much brighter for dual Breeders Crown winner Bit Of A Legend after a dramatic end to Friday’s Ashburton Cup. The star pacer galloped and pulled up with a leg in the air in the race, looking to have broken down badly but he was showing no signs of soreness the next day, leaving trainer Cran Dalgety relieved but perplexed. Courtesy of Michael Guerin - Harness Racing New Zealand

We must apologize for last weeks absense due to the staff member responsible being off ill and the "boss" not picking up the slack. It might have been an opportune time for a break anyway as our tipsters were digging themselves a bit of a hole in the last week or two. There are five meetings this week and we have selections for them all. Cambridge - Thursday night Zac Butcher - Thought Georgies Smile from the ace would be hard to roll in race 2 Todd Mitchell - Very keen on the chances of Thanks Shane also in race 2 Scott Phelan - Reckons Santana Jewel is way overdue to win one in race 4 Todd Macfarlane - Thinks if the breaks go her way that Simply Stunning can upset them in race 6 Maurice McKendry - Likes the chances of The Moonraker clearing maidens in race 8   Auckland - Friday night Ricky May - Thinks Dalton Bromac should continue the picket fence formline in race 1 Tony Herlihy - Rates The Fascinator a big chance even from barrier 12 in race 2 John Curtin (Harnesslink) - Reckons Classical Art can keep the winning streak intact in race 5 Blair Orange - Likes the chances of Mighty Flying Major to be a "major" player in race 7 Tim Williams - Not surprisingly Tim thinks that Have Faith In Me will win, also in race 7 Steven Richardson - Has gone a touch rougher with Express Stride to upstage the other two in race 7 Sean McCaffrey - Thought Yagunnakissmeornot can make it six from six at Alexandra Park in race 10 Gerard O'Reilly - Is confident that Zin Zan will strip a lot fitter this week and can win race 11   Addington - Friday night Robbie Holmes - Likes Tehoro Ruby from barrier 1 to break out of maidens in race 1 Bob Butt - Thought if Justalittlebettor could reproduce her Methven run she could win race 6 Matthew Williamson - Rates Monty Python a big chance to go back to back in race 7 Jim Curtin - Thinks Breeders Crown finalist Field Marshall will be to good in race 11   Wairio - Saturday afternoon Nathan Williamson - Thought if Grey Power put his best foot forward they wouldn't beat him in race 1 Dexter Dunn - Likes the chances of Leolas Delight making a winning debut in race 2 John Dunn - Very confident that Jay Dub can make it two from two this time in and take out race 6 Brendon McLellan - Thinks that Vera's Delight can get that long overdue win in race 7 Shane Walkinshaw - Rates Canardy Lover a big show to go back to back in race 8 Clark Barron - Reckons that Shezacheapy back on the roomy Winton track can win race 9   Rangiora - Sunday afternoon Craig Thornley - Thinks Inchbonnie Lad can go one better this week and win race 4   Harnesslink Media  

Twelve of the best harness racing reinsmen in Australasia lined up this afternoon in Invercargill for the inaugural Trans Tasman driving challenge and no quarter was asked or given as bragging rights for the next twelve months were on the line. Chris Alford, Lance Justice, Greg Sugars and Kerryn Manning formed a strong team for the Australians and Justice was his usual confident self prior to the event. " I have a team of superstars who have probably won more races individually than all the Kiwis put together" he said. The North Island had a formidable lineup with Maurice McKendry, David Butcher, Peter Ferguson and Zac Butcher being a good combination of experience and youth. The South Island team also had talent to burn with Dexter Dunn joined by Ricky May, Blair Orange and Nathan Williamson who all having big seasons to this point. The points system was run on a 10 - 7 - 5 - 3 - 1 basis over the six races and that meant consistency was just as important as winning a heat. Lance Justice struck first for the Aussies in heat one while Manning and Alford also chimed in with wins  and Sugars a second but they didn't  trouble the scorer much in some heats. Their combined total after the six heats was 45 points with Chris Alford their highest points scorer with 16 from a win and two placings. The South Island team were in the points all afternoon but Ricky May was the only driver to record a win in the six races. Their combined total after six heats was 49 points with Dexter Dunn their highest points scorer with three thirds and 15 points. The two elder statesmen of the North Island team in Maurice McKendry and David Butcher showed their class throughout the day. David Butcher collected points in every race while Maurice had a win, two seconds and a third to lay the foundation for a winning total. Overall the North island team racked up 62 points for a comfortable win while Maurice Mckendry won the individual title on 29 points from his team mate David Butcher on 24 points. The whole day seemed to enjoyed by all the drivers involved and the Invercargill Harness Racing Club should be congratulated for bringing  todays event to fruition. Harnesslink Media - Check results here 

Hellavahanover has been withdrawn from the Timaru meeting on Saturday and is leaving the Mark Jones stable to do her future racing in New South Wales. The 4YO Brylin Boyz mare is being sent to Sydney trainer Joe Rando after being pulled up for the second consecutive time with suspect stand start manners at Addington on Show day when driven by Tony Herlihy. The Rando stable has had success with a close relative in Romper’s Monarchy (5m Monarchy-Amandas Gem), who has won four from 20 starts and scored back-to-back Tabcorp Park, Menangle, wins last month. Hellavahanover did step off the unruly off 20m and proved too good in a C0-1 trot at the Tuapeka meeting at Forbury on October 26 for driver Blair Orange. She was also a maiden winner at Auckland over 2200m from a stand in March, first-up in her northern stint for Gareth Dixon. Hellavahanover, from a half-sister to Romper Stomper (2:00.1 mile rate 2600m, 12 wins & $180,579) and two-race winner Amanda’s Flash, won two of 15 NZ starts. Courtesy Of Mark Jones Racing    

Bit of the post Cup blues from last weeks tipsters with just Blair Orange, John Curtin, Tony Herlihy, Todd Macfarlane and Nathan Williamson nailing winners while the tipsters racked up seven placings as well. Jimmy Curtin went close with Juliette Bromac at Addington running second when paying $31 to win. This week there is plenty of racing in the south with four meetings and just one in the north and our tipsters have covered all the meetings. Due to the invited drivers series at Invercargill taking over the last six races there, we have no selections from our southern tipsters this week bar Nathan Williamson who is driving at Forbury Park.  Forbury Park - Thursday Night Matt Williamson - Thought Tachma was right in the zone and could win race 1 Nathan Williamson - Gives Strathmores Charm a real chance to go back to back in race 5 Tim Williams - Reckons with the big drop back in class Here We Go Again should win race 6   Alexandra Park - Friday Night John Curtin  (Harnesslink) - Reckons Hot Mach will be too good in race 1 Steven Reid - Likes Blinding Light  with a better barrier draw this week to win race 3 Todd Macfarlane - Rates Bourbon Street a big chance of clearing maidens in race 6 Scott Phelan - With Spanish Lustre scratched, his best drive is now Le Lua Invasion in race 9   Timaru - Saturday Afternoon  John Dunn - Likes Eilish Aimee to start her career on a winning note in race 1 Bob Butt - Rates Easy Rider a good chance to atone for Ashburton last week and win race 2 Steve Richardson (TAB) - Gives Major Patron a big show of turning his form around in race 3 Brad Williamson - Thought the standing start would make Goshawk an each way chance in race 7  Ricky May - Reckons Pay Me Art from the front line will be hard to beat in race 9 Terry Chmiel - Gives Stradowan a winning chance even off 10 metres , also in race 9 Gerard O'Reilly - Likes Jayceekay from the mobile to be too good and win race 10  Craig Thornley - Rates Real Life Hero a big chance to take out race 11   Banks Peninsula - Sunday Afternoon Robbie Holmes - Thinks Willie Shine is slowly turning the corner and can win race 1 Jim Curtin - Thought Franco Tyrone was a good chance to win race 12   Invercargill - Sunday Afternoon Maurice McKendry - Thought from barrier 3 Sheeza Shark would be tough to roll in race 8  Blair Orange - Rates Pepe Bromac,even from barrier 12 a chance to beat Sheeza Shark in race 8    Harnesslink Media

Promising squaregaiter Eyre I Come is likely to try for a Cup week double on Show Day. Overport Lodge trainer Mark Jones says he plans to race him again on Friday providing the 4YO Majestic Son gelding eats up over the next two days. Eyre I Come got favourite punters away to a flyer in the opener on NZ Cup day, Tuesday, November 11. The $2.80 favourite stepped slowly but safely in the C2 and faster $20,400 Garrards Horse & Hound Handicap Trot over 3200m. Eyre I Come, a close relative of recent top Victorian-trained squargaiters Sundon’s Gift and Let Me Thru, was sent to the front at the mid-way point. He ran out the extreme trip strongly for driver Blair Orange, striding clear by three lengths over Queen Kenny, who tracked him over the final 1600m. The winner trotted the journey in a useful 4:07.8, keeping the pace strong over his last 800m in 59.2s and final 400m in 30s, suggesting he could be a future Dominion Handicap contender. “I was rapt with his effort,” Mark said. “The Harness Jewels (Ashburton, May 30) is the long-term aim with him.” “I’m thinking of going to Geraldine with him (November 29) then spelling him.” Mark says the $25,000 Four & Five-Year-Old Trotting Championship at Addington on March 20 will be his first aim after a let-up. Eyre I Come, raced by Grant Hatton of Christchurch, with Merv and Meg Butterworth, of Melbourne, is now unbeaten in both 4YO starts. From just nine starts, he’s now the winner of three for $27,004. Eyre I Come is bred to develop further being a grandson of former top NZ trot mare Landora’s Pride, who numbered 34 wins including the 1988 Dominion Handicap and 1987 Rowe Cup. Courtesy Of Mark Jones Racing Stables - Check site here  

Harness Racings big day at Addington is the one meeting every year where the industry is in the spotlight nationwide. Mainsteam media coverage is enormous and for one day the whole country is fed continuous coverage of what is happening  on and off the track. The traditional opener on Cup Day for the horses is the 3200 metre event for the the C2 and faster trotters and is keenly sought after. Eyre I Come was all the rage pre race and he lived up to the huge reputation he has carried from the time he stepped onto a racetrack with an emphatic and faultless display to win with a fair bit in reserve. Away slowly but safely for driver Blair Orange, Eyre I Come settled third last and Blair was happy to stay there for the first 1200 metres before Blair set him alight and he looped the field to lead with 1600 metres to run. From there it was a bit of a procession as Blair sat quietly in the bike as Eyre I Come comfortably held off the challengers to record his third win in just nine starts. Eyre I Come trotted the 3200 metres from astand in a smart 4:07.8 with closing sectionals of 59.2 and 30. Trained by Mark Jones at Woodend beach, Eyre I Come is owned by Meg and Merv Butterworth from Victoria along with well known Canterbury owner Grant Hatton. After the race Blair was effusive in his praise for both horse and trainer. " Mark was very positive in talking to me before the race and that gives you a lot of confidence in how you drive him. "Eyre I Come has a lot of potential and it wouldn't surprise me if you saw him in the feature trotting races in 12 months time," he said. Blair was very happy to drive a winner for Mark Jones on Cup day as they have been friends for so long. "Mark puts me on a lot of his horses and I can't thank enough for that as he is a great driver himself," Blair said.  Eyre I Come looks on the fast track to the bigtime and having a top trainer and driver in your camp is a big plus going forward. Harnesslink Media    

We thought it would be interesting to get the viewpoint of all our regular tipsters with regards how they see the New Zealand Cup this week and so the following selections are how they see the race. Maurice McKendry --- Adore Me -- Terror To Love -- Christen Me Tony Herlihy --- Adore Me -- Terror To Love -- Tiger Tara Sean McCaffrey --- Terror To Love -- Hands Christian --Christen Me Scott Phelan --- Terror To Love -- Adore Me --Christen Me Todd Macfarlane --- Terror To Love -- Adore Me -- For A Reason Todd Mitchell --- Terror To Love -- Adore Me -- For A Reason John Curtin --- Christen Me -- For A Reason -- Terror To Love Matthew Williamson --- Terror To Love -- Hands Christian -- Christen Me Nathan Williamson --- Terror To Love -- Christen Me -- Adore Me Brad Williamson --- Terror To Love -- Adore Me -- Christen Me Shane Walkinshaw --- Terror To Love -- Christen Me -- Adore Me Brendon McLellan --- Terror To Love -- Christen Me -- Adore Me Clark Barron --- Christen Me -- Terror To Love -- Hands Christian Tim Williams --- Adore Me --- Terror To Love --- Christen Me   Terry Chmiel --- Terror To Love -- Hands Christian -- For A Reason Steve Richardson --- Terror To Love --For A Reason -- Tiger Tara Robbie Holmes --- Christen Me -- Terror To Love -- Franco Nelson Gerard O'Reilly --- Terror To Love -- Hands Christian -- Tiger Tara  Craig Thornley --- Terror To Love -- Hands Christian --Jimmy Johnstone Jim Curtin --- Terror To Love -- Christen Me -- Hands Christian Ricky May --- Terror To Love -- Christen Me -- Hands Christian Blair Orange --- Terror To Love -- Christen Me -- Adore Me John Dunn --- Terror To Love -- Christen Me -- Franco Nelson                                                                 Cup Day Ringaround   With a lot of our regular tipsters involved in Cup Day we thought we would ask them for their best drive from their book tomorrow. Blair Orange - Quite bullish about the chances of Eyre I Come in race 1 Tony Herlihy -  Rates Tokohoka from the All Stars team as tough to beat in race 2 Gerard O"Reilly - Thought King Of Strathfield had freshened up nicely and could win race 3 Steve Richardson (TAB) - Like Gerard, Steve thinks that King Of Strathfield will win race 3 Ricky May - Very bullish about Dalton Bromac even fron barrier 9 winning race 4 John Curtin (Harnesslink) - Thinks Fly Like An Eagle can confound the pundits and win race 5 Matthew Williamson - Reckons Springbank Sam is a great place chance in race 6 Maurice McKendry - As you would expect, Maurice thinks Hughie Green will win race 7 Robbie Holmes - If Cyclone Kiwi steps Robbie thinks he will win race 8 Craig Thornley - Thought All Delight was a good place chance at odds, also in race 8 Jimmy Curtin - Thinks Te Kawau from barrier three will win  race 9 Tim Williams - Reckons Here We Go Again can overcome the bad draw and win, also in race 9 Nathan Williamson - Confident that Spash Cola is a big chance to win race 11 John Dunn - Rates No Doctor Needed very hard to beat in race 12 Terry Chmiel - Likes Happy Heidi to run the Quinella with No Doctor Needed  in race 12   Harnesslink Media

The second heat of this years Sires Stakes heats for 3 year old fillies is up for decision at the harness racing meeting at Addington tonight and it is chock full of talent. Leading the charge is one of last years top 2 year old fillies in Fight For Glory who has drawn perfectly at barrier four in the 1950 metres race and is to be driven by co-trainer Natalie Rasmussen. The daughter of Art Major won $83,936 as a 2 year old and has come back in fine fettle according to her other co- trainer Mark Purdon. " Fight For Glory is very forward for Friday night. "She has been in work a long time and has come up really well," he said. But Fight For Glory is going to have to do just that with several talented race hardened fillies lining up against her. Cran Dalgety has four involved and they all have form on the board and are ready according to Cran. “Its a good race being worth $25,000 so we thought we’d go for numbers.” “On paper, Delightful Lana is going the best of ours and has the one draw but you have to respect Fight For Glory from the four gate” he said The winner of her last two races including a brilliant last start effort to score in 1:55.9 for the mile in trying conditions, Delightful Lana will have the leading reinsman Dexter Dunn in the bike. Of his other three runners Cran is leaning towards Lightning Mach who has won three from five lifetime and won her season debut at Tuapeka last Sunday. In form reinsman Blair Orange will take the drive. "Lightning Mach has drawn one on the second row and ideally if Delightful Lana can lead she could trail and be our next best.” " Our other two runners in Margarita and Bettor Think Twice are both capable of featuring too, but they’ll probably have to fight out for whats left from where they have drawn,” he said. An interesting runner is the Mark Jones trained filly Twice The Delight who has looked very promising in a brief career to date and will have her trainer in the bike tonight. "She is a really nice filly in the making but is still at the learning stage. "This is a massive step up so I will be interested to see how she competes,” he said. On paper Fight For Glory looks hard to roll but Delightful Lana, Lightning Mach and Margarita all look capable of upsetting the favourite. Harnesslink Media

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