Smart youngster Regulus has been a touch disappointing this season, and is yet to win a race in four runs back, but that should all change after race seven at Addington tonight. The Mach Three three-year-old has come up with a favourable alley in what looks like only an adequate heat of the NRM Sires Stakes, so, to put in bluntly, he really would want to be winning. Others that are competing in heat five of the Sires Stakes, which is the first leg of the Quaddie, are Return To Sender, Emmanuel, Carlos Santana, and Max Richter, who produced a huge run to finished third on debut after making a mess of the start. But, personally I think you only need Regulus printed in black ink on your Quaddie ticket. As for legs two, three, and four – well, they are not quite so straight forward. The second leg, a maiden trot – I did warn you it wasn’t so straight forward, looks like a wide open affair, and I can count seven possible winning chances. Filigree Sheree, Little Rakaia, and Lothario, are my first three elects, while the always consistent Barry, as well as Very Persuasive, Gin Rummy, and Never Fear, who does possess a lot of ability, are others I would want to have on my ticket. Safely through the first two legs, with any luck, I think we can get away with just the four runners in the third leg. Starlett Lavra stands out for me despite the 10 draw over the mile, and looks well placed as the winner of four races. If she can repeat her Rangiora performance last Sunday, she will be winning again, but to play it safe include Lady Godiva, Good Girl Becqui, and Betty Golightly Hopefully by now we are anxiously waiting upon the fourth and final leg, and I once again believe we can get away with the four runners. The Brendon Hill pair of Gino D’Acompo and Beaver Boy are both musts, while Bold Lustre, who will be hard to catch if he can lead, and impressive Rangiora trialist Billy Jack are two horses I would definitely be including. By Mitchell Robertson
Don’t be surprised if you see Robbie Close achieve high honours amongst our best Junior Drivers this season. The 21-year-old reinsman, as he puts it, ‘wants to give the Juniors a real crack’ in 2013-2014. And one man who believes in his driving abilities is one of our greatest all-time reinsman, Methven maestro, Ricky May. It was May who convinced Kaiapoi trainer Brendon Hill to give the former South Aucklander the drive last Friday night (August 23) behind the talented Bettor Rock On. The 4-year-old Bettor’s Delight gelding is now unbeaten in two starts this season after May drove him to one-two-win victory at Oamaru on August 4. Close had Bettor Rock On in front soon after the start of the $5,500 Muscara Standardbred Pace for Junior Drivers. From that point they proved too strong in the run home pacing the 2600m stand in 3:19.3 (mile rate: 2:03.3), with final 800m and 400m sprints of 57.2 and 28 seconds flat. He was the $2.90 favourite. Outsiders Tyron’s Falcon Ella (Jessica Young) and Massimo (Matt Purvis) were second and third some 1-3/4 lengths and 1-1/2 lengths away. “He’s a really nice horse – probably one of the best I’ve driven. He was doing it easy, but he did knock off with about 100 to go. “It was really good of Ricky and Brendon to give me the drive. He felt like a good horse. “It was really pleasing to hear that Ricky had been impressed by some of my drives lately. Drivers like him and Blair Orange are reinsmen I really look up to,” Close said. Close transferred from South Auckland to Canterbury four years ago from his home town of Waiuku. He’s just started his fourth season. He’s driven 43 winners – 22 of them last year. Asked if he felt the pressure, especially when sitting behind a warm favourite, Close replied: “Pressure has never been a concern. I am pretty relaxed actually. I talk to the other drivers and really don’t think about anything until the starter says ‘Go’. “I really enjoyed driving Bettor Rock On. Even though he’s a bit green you can tell he’s going to be a very nice horse.” Bettor Rock On is the fourth of six foals out of the 17-year-old one-win Caprock mare, Jingle Belle Rock. Her first two foals – Great Balls A Flyin (by Sands A Flyin) and J D Fortune (Washington VC) won three and six races respectively. Bettor Rock on has now raced 18 times for four wins and eight placings. He’s won $32,716 in purses. He is owned by Hill, D.P. McHugh, P.M. Ellis, and Peter Yesberg. He was bred by Yesberg, and A, and R. Hemingway. Close regarded Bettor Rock On As his number one drive so far. “Donaldson and Lachlan Jack are some other nice ones I’ve driven also. They are right up there,” he added. For the record Close has driven two winners and two place-getters from eight drives this season. He worked for Michelle Wallis and Bernie Hackett in Waiuku and had a short stint with Barry Purdon before transferring south and taking up a position with Robbie Holmes at Amberley for three years. Close has been with Greg and Nina Hope since just prior to last Christmas. By Duane Ranger Courtesy of Harness Racing New Zealand
Carabella's near foreleg blows up, putting her return to the harness racing track and career in doubt. Champion pacing mare Carabella's comeback could be over before it passes first base.
One of the good guys of harness racing- John Dunn- brought up career win number 500 and then quickly surpassed that tally, when reining home a treble at Friday night's (April 5) premier meeting at Addington.
Star harness racing mares Carabella and Bettor Cover Lover must have cut a deal early on in their racing careers.
‘The King’ Ken Barron is now just one win away from the magical 1000 after he reined his 999th winner at yesterday’s (Sunday March 17) Akaroa harness racing meeting at Motukarara.
With The Box Seat no longer doing the highly popular weekly ring around, I thought it was only right that Harnesslink got it back up and running. We will start with just the South Island guys this week before we get the North Island boys on board.
Two-time New Zealand Cup winning trainer Brendon Hill has had a quiet last couple of months on the racing front, but has three more than useful types set to resume this weekend.
Brendon Hill asked the question of New Zealand harness racing hero Monkey King, but the 10-year-old today (Thursday September 13) told 'Benny' - "enough is enough".
In his first public appearance since retiring last season Monkey King underwhelmed his trainer Brendon Hill. In the fast-class heat at Saturday's Rangiora workouts Monkey King didn't fire.
Retired dual New Zealand Cup hero Monkey King is on the verge of a surprise harness racing comeback.
Given time Beach Bunny will be the 'real deal' says his Kaiapoi harness racing trainer, Brendon (Benny) Hill. The gifted 4-year-old racked up his fourth win from five lifetime starts at Addington Raceway tonight (Friday August 10).
Methven reinsman Ricky May started the night's (Friday July 27) racing at Addington in Christchurch needing two wins to reach the 100 win milestone for the 2011-2012 harness racing season. He achieved the ton in the ninth of the 10 races carded.
The little champ is coming to harness racing headquarters this Saturday night (April 7) - back to Addington, the track where he saluted the judge on 19 occasions. Now in the early stages of a well deserved retirement, Monkey King will lead out the field at approximately 9.20pm for the Breckon Farms - All Stars Racing Group 1 $100,000 Easter Cup
Sometimes the timing just isn't fair. If it was, Monkey King would have been retired in a blaze of glory 17 months ago, the undisputed hero of New Zealand harness racing and his departure from the Australasian stage would have saddened racing fans.
Monkey King, the winner of 39 races and a record $3.48 million in stakes has been retired. The harness racing 9yr-old, raced by Robert Famularo, had his racing curtailed by soreness over the past 12 months.