The John Dunn summer roadshow rolled into Blenheim on Friday and continued on its merry run of success. Fresh off the back of a win fest at Nelson last weekend, Dunn was back into yet on the first day of the Marlborough Harness Racing Club’s two day meeting with four winners, including a consecutive treble in the final three races of the day. The win haul saw the stable of Dunn’s father, Robert, draw level with Greg and Nina Hope in second placing on the national trainer’s premiership, just one win behind the current leaders, Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen who are on 50 wins for the term thus far. Dunn said that the stable targeted these meetings each year. “We like to aim a big team for these meetings and we’ve been lucky to have some good success,” he said. “You’ve got to have the horses though and we are lucky to have some nice ones up here.” The four wins yesterday came courtesy of Hayden’s Meddle, Dream To Reality, Billy Badger and Gotta Go Ya Hu. Billy Badger’s victory was impressive as the three-year-old took on the older horses again and proved too good. “He’s on top of his game at the moment, we had to do a bit of work out there and he kept giving.” He won’t race again at Sunday’s meeting, but the remainder of the team including a couple of sets of fresh legs will also be in action again. Alta Orlando joins the fray for the Marlborough Cup after his impressive Nelson win last weekend while Cmeerock who was desperately unlucky last Sunday comes into the meeting and will contest the final race of the day. With the Dunn stable winning four of the eight races, there wasn’t much left for anyone else but the performance of local trotter, Destiny Jones was notable. The Dean Hunter trained mare started off a 40 metre handicap but was simply too good for her opposition, clearing out inside the final 200 metres to win comfortably. “She’s going super at the moment and was an absolute pleasure to drive,” Blair Orange said. “She made it look pretty easy really.” The win continued a great summer for Hunter who has been winning races regularly with his small but select team of trotters. Racing returns to the Waterlea Raceway on Sunday, but with the threat of a deluge of overnight rain which may result in the formbooks being thrown out the window. Alta Orlando will be the talk horse of the day in the Cup – but there are plenty of other chances throughout the day. Terry and Glenys Chmiel will be looking to go one better than their effort on Friday where their four runners all finished second. Super Selector – By Matt Markham Race 1: Tehoro Dazzle, Geena’s Girl, I W McNik, Reign On Me Race 2: Born Again Delight, Glenferrie Duster, Goldiloch, Smooth N Easy Race 3: Runaway Three, Titanium, Forgot To Remember, Out Of Aces Race 4: Scotlyn Jack, Hayden’s Meddle, Dream To Reality, Sauchiehall Race 5: Destiny Jones, Arditi, Little Mo, Clifden Clowers Race 6: Gotta Go Ya Hu, Franco Hampton, She’s A Flyin, Johnny White Race 7: Alta Orlando, Hopeful Harriet, C A Penny, Here We Go Again Race 8: Smithy, Cmeerock, Franco Tai, Eh Ef El Best Bet: Runaway Three (Race 3) Value: Scotlyn Jack (Race 4)
For the 5th time in his Harness Racing career, leading New Zealand driver Dexter Dunn has saluted on his 200th season winner. Many were expecting Dunn to pick up that milestone at Forbury Park last week (23rd June). The West Melton based driver headed to Forbury needing just the two wins, but could only manage the one. Dunn was successful on Lightning Mach for Cran Dalgety in the feature race for the night, but also picked up four second placing. Straight back on the road, Dexter arrived at Blenheim last friday needing just the one win from eight drives. Driving several runners for long time employer Cran Dalgety and father Robert Dunn, it would be no secret that Dunn would love to bring up his 200th win in one of their colours. But as a shock to all, Dexter couldn't manage a win and had to wait for today's Addington meeting to bring up his 200th. Driving Dusky Eyre for Katiki Beach trainer Ricky Allen, Dunn was off the mark quickly and in his favourite position, in front. From there on Dunn was able to hand up to faviourite Westy Boyz and was always traveling a winner at the turn. Hardly moving in the bike, Dunn captured win number 200 for the 3rd time in a row and 5th time in his career. Andrew Fitzgerald.
A new weekly harness racing segement on www.hrnz.co.nz, Around the Traps will, each Tuesday, put together happenings from around New Zealand and Australia over the weekend just been. NEK TIME TRIALS IMPRESSIVELY Speedy Canterbury 3-year-old filly, Nek Time, was an impressive winner of a trial at Albion Park on Friday night as she readies herself for the Gold Coast and Queensland Oaks. The Terry and Glenys Chmiel trainer filly, who is based at the stable of Ian Gurney, paced her 1660 metre trial in 1:58.9 which equates to a 1.55 mile rate. The Southland Oaks winner, will kick off her campaign in the Gold Coast Oaks this weekend before tackling the Queensland Oaks a week later. Dexter Dunn has been booked to drive the filly during her Australian campaign. TELFER/GARLICK TEAM DRAW LEVEL North Island trainers, Steve Telfer and Chris Garlick drew level with their best ever season tally of 37 with a winning double at Alexandra Park on Friday night. The Papkura Stable won on Friday with River Emperor and First Home to take them to 37 and continue what has been a great season. Just inside the Top 10 trainers on the national premiership, the partnership have produced 16 individual winners this season with Better B Amazed (5 wins), Prince Of Pops and Ashton K (4 wins) and Superimposed, No Doctor Needed, American Flybye and Ideal Flybye (3 wins) their best performers. MAINLAND BANNER’S PERFECT RECORD The win of Glenferrie Classic on Friday at Blenheim kept former New Zealand Trotting Cup winning mare, Mainland Banner’s strike rate perfect. Of the five foals the daughter of Christian Cullen has produced, all five have now been winners with Glenferrie Classic the latest. Aside from Stunin Banner (13 wins) her other four foals; Peruvian Banner (1 win), Return To Sender (8 wins), Rocker Band (9 wins) and Glenferrie Classic (1 win) have all been embryo transfer foals. Incidentally, Stunin Banner will race this weekend at Alexandra Park in a claimers event carrying a price tag of $9,000. He is currently domiciled with Todd Mitchell. GILL SUSPENDED Marlborough horsewoman, Kendra Gill has her licence suspended until the middle of August on the opening, and only, day of the Marlborough Harness Racing Club’s meeting on Friday. Gill, the daughter of local trainer, Mark, was suspended for careless driving after her charge, Gotta Ticket was shifted into a position in which there is was insufficient room to allow it to happen. Gill’s suspension ends on the 14th of August. OUR WAIKIKI BEACH TRIALS TODAY Embattled 3-year-old pacer, (Our) Waikiki Beach will trial today (Tuesday) at Menangle as he continues his preparations for the rich Australasian Breeders Crown. In the care of leading Australian stable, Belinda McCarthy, the unbeaten pacer, who has won all 20 of his career starts, is earmarked to return to the race next Tuesday in a C3-C5 pace before tackling a heat of the Breeders Crown seven days later. VOTING CLOSED Voting for the annual Harness Racing New Zealand Awards, which are to be held in the Mashina Lounge at Christchurch Casino on Saturday, July 30, closed on Friday. There has been plenty of speculation around the Awards this year - in particular the battle for Horse of the Year between freakish pacer Have Faith In Me and superstar trotter, Monbet. 29 votes are allocated for each of the categories, which this year include the return of the 5-year-old and older categories. The voting panel is made up largely of members of the harness racing media in New Zealand which also includes commentators and Trackside presenters. BREEDERS CROWN HEATS KICK OFF The first round of heats for the rich Australasian Breeders Crown will be held this week. Addington plays host to heats for the 3YO Trotting Colts and Geldings as well as the 3YO Trotting fillies. Three horses will go around in the male event; Blood And Whiskey, Conon Bridge and My Armour while the fillies race will be contested by Oona and Wilma’s Mate. Further heats will be held at Addington on the 8th, the 15th and the 22nd of July and at Cambridge on July 10 and 21. By Matt Markham
It’s a case of so far, so good for exciting 3-year-old pacer Franco Cristiano. Everything has gone to plan since the Robert Dunn trained son of Bettor’s Delight impressed in his first race day appearance in over seven months when winning at Blenheim Harness Racing Club on Friday. The only fly in the ointment came on Sunday when the meeting was abandoned due to surface flooding on the track taking the opportunity for two quick wins away from his connections. Dunn’s stable vet, Sam Taylor gave the gelding a pass with flying colours after a full examination yesterday upon his return to Woodend Beach and it’s now all systems go as they push toward a race at Addington on Thursday night. “It’s certainly great to have him back,” Robert said from Auckland yesterday. “You always worry about horses who have had injuries like he has but it would appear that the time off might have helped him. “That’s the best I think he’s raced on Friday. He’s never going to be perfect, but it’s a lot better than what he was like. “I still wonder if a lot of his problems were because of the injury, something wasn’t right with him and we can maybe now pinpoint it to the hairline fracture in his pastern.” The plan going forward very much depends on the outcome of Thursday night where Franco Cristiano takes on a stronger field than he raced on Friday. The line up includes Hypervelocity, GI Joe and Innocent Artist so he will need to be on top of his game. “We won’t make any firm plans until after Thursday probably, but it’s pretty likely he will head to the Breeders Crown heat after that. “And that in itself will be a good measuring stick for where we are at because Heaven Rocks will be there as well and from what I have seen of him, he’s a pretty special horse.” That heat for the 3-year-old colts and geldings is set down July 15. The abandonment of Sunday’s meeting won’t have helped Dunn’s chances of pegging back Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen in the trainers’ premiership. They are now 14 wins behind and were expecting a couple more to be added on Sunday. “We needed a real good day on Sunday to bring us right back into it I think. “And we could have had one of those days but that’s racing. “It’s going to take something special now I think, but we aren’t out of it. Mark and Natalie will race horses over the next few weeks with Breeders Crown heats and the like, but we’ve got numbers around the place and the plan is to keep pushing toward them and see what happens.” Dunn has 19 horses engaged at meetings between Addington, Forbury and Auckland early on in this week’s racing with a further nine nominated for the Timaru meeting on Sunday. The All Stars in contrast have two runners; GI Joe and Superfecta at Addington and then The Manipulator at Timaru. Matt Markham
Harness Racing Trainer Paul Court has a Blenheim winter double in mind to wind down Expressive Victor's stellar season on a high. Court will start the Harness Jewels runner-up in the Winter Cup Prelude on the first day of the Marlborough Harness Racing Club's double header and she is likely to go again in Sunday's Winter Cup. Expressive Victor was given a week off following her second in the four-year-old Diamond behind Rocker Band. She has not been sighted publicly since but her West Melton-based trainer is confident she is forward enough to be competitive on both days Waterlea. "If anything she might be better for the run on Friday, but I wouldn't be coming if I didn't think she could (win)," Court said. Expressive Victor starts off 10m in Friday's Prelude but being the reliable and speedy beginner she is from the stand, the winner of seven races should be able to find the front if Blair Orange wants it. Court believes Expressive Victor is versatile and is not concerned if she does not lead. The daughter of Changeover raced by the De Novo Syndicate has chalked up five wins and six minor placings from 16 starts this season to exceed Court's expectations. "We always thought she was a pretty handy horse that could win two or three pretty quick but she just keeps stepping up." But Expressive Victor has not been the only bright point of Court's first season training on his own accord. Before Thursday night's Forbury Park meeting, he had already tallied 25 winners and could not be happier with how the season has panned out. He spent seven seasons training in partnership with his father Graham - highlighted by three consecutive New Zealand Trotting Cup victories with champion pacer-turned-sire Terror To Love. Thirty winners for the season looks possible but Court is not targeting any specific number. "I'm over the moon really. I didn't think about how many we might get beforehand, I just like to let it play out and see what happens. "I've been really happy with how many runners we have had in the Group races and how competitive we have been in them," Court said. Court also has a couple of leading hopes in c1 races over 2300m on the first day at Blenheim. Hypervelocity (race 6) and Courage To Live (race 9) both start from barrier two and although Court is not brimming with confidence, he rates both winning chances. The Bruce Hutton-trained Ideal Arden, who won the Nelson Winter Cup Prelude and Nelson Winter Cup will look to repeat the double in Blenheim. Highview Freddy ran two placings behind Ideal Arden at Nelson with stablemate Graduate Under Fire finishing just in behind with two top five finishes for the Robert Dunn stable. "Highview Freddy would have to be the pick of them just on that Nelson form," stable representative John Dunn said. The highlight for the Dunn stable will be the return of exciting pacer Franco Cristiano who makes his makes his comeback from a long injury layoff in the c2-c3 pace over 2300m. The three-year-old was one of the main challengers to the All Stars colts before fracturing a pedal bone earlier this season. "He's pretty forward, he's had two nice trials," Dunn said. Mat Kermeen
Its been a seven month absence from the track, but talented three year old Franco Cristiano looks set to make a winning return on day one at Blenheim tomorrow for Harness Racing Trainer Robert Dunn. Good enough to win a Sires Stakes heat in the spring, Franco Cristiano was well supported in the final on Cup Day. However, after blowing to bits soon after the start, he would take no part in the Group One feature, won outstandingly by Lazarus. Shortly after this, Franco Cristiano headed north to Pukekohe under Robert's tutelage. However, very soon things began to unravel for the talented Bettor's Delight 3yr old. He had been a bit off in his work and Robert's worst fears were realised when after a scan, a hairline fracture of the pastern was revealed. After a successful surgery, he returned to the beach nearly three months ago and has been given plenty of time as he makes his progress back to the track. It was a winning turn at last week's Ashburton trials that told John that all was well and that it was time to get back to the track. "He was pretty impressive alright and just jogged it in some pretty quick sectionals." The news gets even better for his very patient connections. "He does seem a very different racehorse this time in and is definitely a lot more settled. Of course you never know until you get to the races though," said John. While the TAB have him installed the shortest of favourites in the early markets at $1.10, John said that first up, he must be some sort of risk. "Celestial Arden is in good form and is race fit, so we will need to be near enough to get the win." Win or lose, plans are a bit up in the air past tomorrow. "We are no certainty to go around again on Sunday. We will see how he is after the race, how he eats up and that sort of thing, but we won't be taking any risks with him." When assessing the rest of the team's chances tomorrow, John was a little frustrated by some of the draws and felt that perhaps their chances will be better on day two. "I really liked Mr Preston, but we have had to pull him out after he pulled up sore yesterday. Blood And Whisky is probably one of the best chances after Franco Cristiano. While he broke at the trials last week, I have made a couple of gear adjustments since then. He seems a nice type and should get one pretty quickly. Then later in the day, Highview Freddy and Graduate Under Fire should both go good races. They have both been near enough."Ex And when asked where things sit in terms of the much talked about premiership race, John was quite philosophical about things. "Realistically we will need to get a few wins this weekend if we are any chance. We will just keep on doing what we are doing and either way it has been a great season." Robert Dunn Trotting Stables
Updated 8am Friday Morning Todd Macfarlane produced the top tip for last week with his winning tip, Mr Natural winning at Alexandra Park, paying a nice $5.10 & $2.00. John Dunn deserves a honorably mention with his tip Katgotstyle who raced twice last week and was successful on Sunday at Rangiora paying $9.10. Others to tip winners were Andrew Fitzgerald, Kyle Marshall and Matt Cross. This week we have a few additions to the ring around - "Short priced special" will hopefully be one you can anchor in all bets. While a new mystery tipster will try to bump up our winning %. This week we cover 3 meetings, including Blenheim which is a dual meeting so make sure to follow the tips through to the second day. Forbury Park Thursday Night Brad Williamson – Madison Jane, Race 1. (2nd, $3.40 tote) Nathan Williamson – Gangnam Style, Race 2. (1st, $1.70, 1.40 tote) Rory Mcllwrick – Golden Gate, Race 6 (1st, $4.70 $2.30 tote) Craig Ferguson – Van Eva, Race 7. (2nd, $2.80 tote) Mystery Tipster - Hudson Sally, Race 8. (7th) Matt Cross - Highview Illusion, Race 8. (2nd, $1.60 tote) John Dunn - Donegal Jimmy Dave, Race 11. (2nd, $1.50 tote) Blenheim - Friday Afternoon/Sunday Afternoon Blair Orange - Wot Up, Race 1. John Curtin - Glenferrie Classic, Race 2. Andrew Fitzgerald - Dancing In The Dark, Race 3. Ricky May - Pradas Ideal Dahling, Race 3. Jonny Cox - Thisgirlisonfire, Race 5. Peter Scaife - Also likes - Thisgirlisonfire, Race 5. Robbie Holmes - Gabby's Star, Race 7. Short priced special - Franco Cristiano, Race 7. Alexandra Park - Friday Night Todd Macfarlance - Stunning Shadow, Race 2. Mark Jones - Aymar, Race 4. Kyle Marshall - No Way Else, Race 6. Jay Abernethy - Elliot Daniel, Race 6. Dylan Ferguson - On The Razzle, Race 6. Scott Phelan - Rocknroll Princess, Race 9. Andre Poutama - Norvic Ruby, Race 10. Gavin Smith - Di'z Luck, Race 11. Andrew Fitzgerald
It’s been just over nine years since David Broadhurst drove his last winner, but at Blenheim on Sunday the 69-year-old trained, drove, owned, and bred Patrick Bee to victory. “He’s a promising horse and I think he will win a few more. It was a great feeling to be saluting the judge again,” the Kaikoura horsemen said. It was Patrick Bee’s first win in 28 starts. He’s also placed 12 times. His three-quarter length victory comes 3,416 days after Broadhurst drove Patrick Jay to win at Nelson. It was the January 12, 2007 and he was a $9.40 third favourite. Patrick Bee, who is no relation, was the $4 second favourite after finishing fourth when favourite on the first day. “He’s the second of three foals left by Ima Showoff. She died when giving birth to a Sands A Flyin foal in 2012. She was a cantankerous, dirty ole thing who didn’t win a race but did go two minutes. “I was given her for free when I was working for Inter Island Transport. She was from the Vin Devery breed. He’s actually very well bred. His line goes back to the Tactics family, which includes some good ones like Tactile, Noodlum, and Blacks A Fake,” Broadhurst said. He said he was just rapt to have Patrick Bee back racing again. “I’m very proud where he’s at considering he broke a pastern. He only started racing as a late 5-year-old. In think I’ll target the two-day Nelson meeting with him next month,” Broadhurst said. The Kaikoura horseman said he was introduced to harness racing by his next door neighbour Heber Henson back in the 1950s. He was also on the New Zealand Trotting Conference back in the day. “He had the two-time world trotting champion Rip Cord. He gave me my first drive behind a horse and I became hooked. “I’ve been involved a long time. The first winner I owned and drove was Patrick Sean in the Kaikoura Trot back in 1970. I love the game and have a couple of others coming through. “I’ve got a 5-year-old Armbro Invasion mare named Schoolhouse Road and she is a work in progress. I’ve also got a 3-year-old Bettor’s Delight filly named Donegal Carrickfin. “I named her after the place where my family are from in Northern Ireland. She is out of a sister to Lyell Creek. I qualified her at Blenheim on April 23 when she won by four lengths,” Broadhurst said. Broadhurst has now driven seven winners since 1978 and trained a further six more since 1981. Patrick Bee won Sunday’s $7,000 Royal Hotel 2400m mobile on the Waterlea grass in 3:17.7 (mile rate 2;12.6) with final 800m and 400m sprints of 60.1 and 28.3. Courtesy of Duane Ranger
HRNZ and the NZRB have moved swiftly to co-ordinate re-jigged plans for South Island race meetings this week surrounding the forecast ‘weather bomb’ that will work its way up the island from this evening.
Terror To Love's Victoria Cup plans have been aborted and the 5-year-old's Christchurch-based harness racing owner Terry McDonald has also confirmed to Harnesslink that Stunin Cullen will not be lining up in the Treuer Memorial on December 1.
A decision by woodend harness racing horseman David Butt to avoid the Pelorus Classic with tough pacer Mister Presley was vindicated when the son of Rocknroll Hanover won the Marlborough Cup at Waterlea Racecourse in Blenheim yesterday (Sunday).
The Mark Jones trained and driven Ohoka Texas was sent out a warm favourite to win yesterday's (Sunday) $40,000 Pelorus Classic and didn't disappoint his harness racing supporters as he cruised to a seven and three-quarter length victory at Waterlea Park Racecourse in Blenheim.
The Mark Jones trained Holme Fire lived up to breeding by winning the first harness racing eat of the Nevele R Three Year Old Fillies Series held at Waterlea Racecourse in Blenhiem today (Friday January 13).
The Tim Butt trained Choice Achiever showed today (Sunday) just how even the country's harness racing four year old pacers are when he capitilised on an economical run to win the $40,000 Group Two Pelorus Classic at Blenheim.
Harness racing co-trainers Colin and Julie De Filippi provided the highlight on the first of the two day Marlborough Harness Racing Club's meeting held at Waterlea Racecourse in Blenheim.
After looking every bit the problematic horse on the first day of the Marlborough Harness Racing Club's meeting, About Ambition has turned in a faultless harness racing performance to record the easiest of victories in today's (Sunday) Marlborough Winter Cup (3200m).