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The Harness Jewels are back. Harness Racing New Zealand has confirmed that the 2021 Harness Jewels will be held at Cambridge Raceway over Queen’s Birthday weekend. And for the first time it will be held on a Sunday, not a Saturday. On June 6 all nine races will carry a stake of $100,000. “It’s taken a lot of work to get to this point,” says HRNZ Interim Chief Executive Phil Holden, “COVID has certainly made things tricky to say the least but the Board is committed to delivering the Jewels so it's great to be able to make it happen." There will be a maximum of 12 starters per race, with all races, as is the tradition, to be mobiles over the mile. “There was some consideration to running it on the Saturday (June 5) - but we decided against it because it clashed with gallops meetings at Ellerslie and Whanganui and a harness meeting at Invercargill,” said Holden. Cambridge will be the 14th edition of the Jewels, with the first taking place in Ashburton in 2007. The 2020 Jewels was scheduled for May 30 this year but couldn’t proceed because of the pandemic. With the uncertainty over trans-Tasman travel there will be no invitations issued to Australian horses and if they want to be part of the Jewels they will need to qualify here like everyone else. Entry to each of the nine races is determined by the highest stake earners. An updated leaderboard can be found on “June next year may seem a long time away,” says Holden, “but it will be here in a flash and it’s important for everyone to have such an important event confirmed on the calendar.”   HRNZ

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk    Cambridge horseman Luke Whittaker experienced the biggest night in his burgeoning career at his local track on Thursday. Not only did he record his first win as a trainer with Chalberg, but later in the night he reined home Pull The Other Leg for employer Mike Berger to record his first driving double. “It was a really good night,” Whittaker said. “To get that first training win is something I have always wanted to achieve, especially in Ricki Herbert’s Dad’s colours.” Previously trained by Frank Cooney and Tate Hopkins, Chalberg joined Whittaker’s barn late last month and he was delighted to get a winning result with the gelding first-up in his care. “Chalberg has only been with me for two weeks. Frank and Tate have done most of the work with him, so I can’t really claim the whole win,” Whittaker said. “He had been going really well before he went to Auckland, and he went terrible, and his blood showed that he had a virus. “We treated him and went from there. He got a good trip tonight, they rolled along a bit and he had that last little bit to roll over the top of them.” Whittaker said reining home his first training victory was great, but winning behind Pull The Other Leg for mentor Mike Berger made his night even more memorable. “Pull The Other Leg is a really nice horse,” Whittaker said. “He has taken a bit of time and he is really showing his ability now. We think he can go places. “He has still got a lot to learn, but he has got a bit of ability that horse.” Whittaker was full of praise for Berger, and his wife Brenda, after the win and said he has learnt a lot from the veteran horseman. “Mike and Brenda have been really good to me,” Whittaker said. “When I first came here they always offered me a horse to have in work to train alongside the other horses. “They are more like family to me and I love working for them. “Mike has been in the game for a long time and learning from someone with as much experience as he has is great. “I have learnt a lot off Mike and I am still learning every day. It’s a pleasure to work for him.” Thursday night will live long in the memory of Whittaker and he said he will savour the winning high. “You have good and bad days in racing, and Thursday was definitely a good day,” he said.

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk    Cambridge trainer Mike Berger will be well represented at his home meeting on Thursday night when he lines-up seven runners at Cambridge Raceway. His charge will be led by Pull The Other Leg who will be vying for back-to-back victories in the Gregory Equine. Delivery Nationwide Mobile Pace (2200m). The four-year-old son of Sir Lincoln placed on debut before winning over 2200m at Cambridge Raceway last month and Berger is hoping for a similar result. “He has been going really well,” Berger said. “He is still a bit green and it’s a big jump up in grade from a maiden after a few starts, but we expect him to go well.” Pull The Other Leg will be joined in his race by stablemates Eagle Watch and Doctor Love. Eagle Watch has finished seventh in his last two starts, by Berger is advising punters to put a line through those results. “Eagle Watch just hung around a bend last start and lost it a bit and had to do a fair bit early,” he said. “His last two runs haven’t been as bad as the form line looks, it’s not a fair indication of how he is going. He should go well. “Doctor Love had a virus a month ago which flattened him. He seems fine now, but he hasn’t had any trials, so we will hide him away and drive him for a bit of luck. “We will see how he feels and comes through the race.” Stablemate About Turn takes a strong form line into the Dunstan Horse Feeds Handicap Pace (2700m) having placed in three of his last four starts. The five-year-old entire will begin behind the 10m tape and Berger believes the standing start will be a great assist. “About Turn is a very good beginner from the stand,” he said. “It is probably more of his forte than a mobile. “He is racing really consistently, so I think he will be a good chance.” Berger will have a two-pronged attack in the Wisteria Lane. Beautiful Nails For You Mobile Pace (2200m) with All Yours and Spirit Of Anzac. “All Yours has been quite consistent,” Berger said. “I am pretty happy with him and his work. “Spirirt Of Anzac had quite a good workout at Pukekohe on Friday. He started a couple of weeks ago and it was a good run considering his draw. “They have both got good chances of running in the money.” Meanwhile, Berger will be looking for an improved performance from Six Times A Lady in the PGG Real Estate Mobile Pace (2200m) with the daughter of Mach Three losing all chance on debut last month. “She panicked behind the gate and broke, so she was never really in it,” Berger said. “She has got a pretty tricky draw (11) on Thursday. “But she is a filly I really like, I think she is going to turn into quite a nice horse. I think in time we will get a good reward from her, but whether it is Thursday night or not remains to be seen.”

Welcome to the Harness Analyst series where we take a look at New Zealand's harness racing with free previews,tips and reviews of trials and the previous weeks racing. Harness racing hits Cambridge again tonight with an eleven race program starting at 4:28pm and we highlight some specials and value runners we think can give you a run for your money on a good night of racing. Cambridge  Thursday 10th  September 2020   Race 1 Mister Slick going to get back here but dropping out of racing better fields. Well placed here and can win.…… Count Landeck disappointing last start but give another chance in this field. Winning claims with a cart into the race at the right time.… Highview Justice  has been ok at his last few and likes the track. One to boost exotics... Better Than Most running on ok last start and freshened here. Can upset with a good run in transit Selections:  Mister Slick (12),   Count Landeck (13),   Highview Justice  (4),    Better Than Most  (1)   Race 2 New York Minute has been good last couple of races and nice draw. Should finish top three again……. Greatest Showman has ability and will be stronger now. One for longer odds in this…… Chalberg  goes the odd good race and should get a run through early from the draw this week. Likely to be running on. Chance at odds…… Fleeting Major good win last start and stays in non winner grade. Hard to beat here Selections:  Fleeting Major (2),   New York Minute (5),   Chalberg (10),   Greatest Showman (7)   Race 3 Horace Horse  good win on the track fresh up but manners a concern. Major player in this field with no mistakes.….. Expensive Crumpet disappointing last start but change of driver here. Good upset chance in this ….. Majestic Harry running good races without a lot of luck. Can win if he can stay handy early….      My Royal Roxy ok last start and seems reliable early. Place chances best Selections:  Horace Horse  (4),   Expensive Crumpet (8),   Majestic Harry (5),  My Royal Roxy (2)   Race 4 The Banker good win last start and draw the only worry. Can win with a cart into the race before the home turn….. Angel Of Montana drops out of a tough Auckland field for this and her run was ok. Needed….. Chris Kyle only fair last start in a strong field and this is easier. Winning claims…. Jaccka Lucas gets a fence draw which should suit here. Place claims if he can clear traffic. Selections:   Angel Of Montana (7),   The Banker (15),   Chris Kyle (5),   Jaccka Lucas (9)   Race 5 Onedin Punter drawn to get a soft run on the markers. Place hopes at good odds …… Cee Whatadelight disappointing run last start but had excuses.Top three player at over the odds … Thumbs Up another who will appreciate the mobile and draw. No surprise to see a good showing here at good money… The Greenkeeper ok last start and well drawn but place hopes best here. Selections:  Cee Whatadelight (2),   Thumbs Up (11),   The Greenkeeper (6),   Onedin Punter (9)   Race 6 Eagle Watch running some tidy races and will be fitter now. Can win and top selection….. Jack Ryan big third two starts ago and good chance to go one better. Needed…… Emmber getting fitter and form is better than it reads on papaer. Winning claims in this field… Pull The Other Leg going ok and rise in grade no issue. Can win Selections:  Eagle Watch (10),   Jack Ryan (4),   Emmber (7),    Pull The Other Leg (6)   Race 7 Xebec drops out of tough Auckland fields . Hancicap a concern but good winning chance.……. Lady Be Good gets into a winnable race but will need to bring her manners. Can win with no mistakes midrace.… Presidential Jewel tough handicap to overcome but up to taking this out with a good run in transit. Include….. Caitlin's Surprise getting fitter and has run some good races recently but place chances look best in this field. Selections:  Presidential Jewel (15),   Xebec (16),   Lady Be Good (13),  Caitlin's Surprise (8)   Race 8 Ace Strike Manners an issue but getting fitter and holds his form ok. Winning claims here at longer odds……. High Point building a good formline and gets a good headstart on favoured runners. Good winning claims if she can step early.… Young Conqueror keeps improving and stand no issues. Good winning claims….. About Turn taking a while to come back into best form but has ability. Good winning chance Selections:  Ace Strike (3),   High Point (2),   Young Conqueror (10),  About Turn (7)   Race 9 Betterbebetter big on ability and drawn to lead early.  Should be hard to beat……. Spirit Of Anzac taking a while to strike form but big on ability. Good chance of running in top three here..… Rough And Ready getting fitter and a top three finish not far away. Include….. Little Miss Perfect going ok  in age group races at her last campaign but tricky draw. Winning claims if she can clear the fence. Selections:  Spirit Of Anzac (5),   Betterbebetter (1),   Little Miss Perfect (9)    Rough And Ready (2)   Race 10 Meetmeinsorrento looked the winner last start until divebombed late. Should be very hard to roll here……. Veneto decent effort last start. Could run top three here at good money.… Sunset Red no room last start and drawn well here. Needed….. Maria Kirilenko cosy run on the fence is her go and she should get that here. One for longer odds. Selections:  Meetmeinsorrento (12),   Veneto (3),   Sunset Red (6)    Maria Kirilenko (1)   Race 11 Demolition Man made a mistake last start but usually safe. Good winning chance……. Shanhill on the improve and drops out of Auckland form. Can run top three here.… Lexi T ok at trials and well bred. Could provide the upset here….. Just Plain Lucky racing well and workouts have been good. One for longer odds who can win. Selections: Demolition Man (11),   Shanhill (12),   Just Plain Lucky (13)    Lexi T (10)   Harnesslink Media

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk    Matthew White was delighted to secure his first solo training win in New Zealand on Thursday when Carse O Fern Tom took out the Oktoberfest, 3rd October Mobile Pace (2200m) at Cambridge Raceway. The local horseman had been training in partnership with Mike Berger last season and previously trained in Western Australia, but getting off the mark on his own account in his homeland meant a lot to White. “It’s great to get that first win on the board, especially on the home track,” he said. “I thought it was the right sort of race for Carse O Fern Tom. They have gone 2.46, which is his go.” White was also pleased to pick up a couple of placings with stablemates Emmber and Thee Old Bomb. “Emmber went really well, I was rapt with her,” he said. “She had to sit parked and got a bit keen and was pulling a bit, so I was rapt with the way she finished it off. “Thee Old Bomb had to do a bit of work early and there were a couple of horses who had the cold shot on him. “He’s still a bit on the weak side, so I am just going to tip him out now for a couple of months and bring him back in and race him around Christmas time.” White also picked up another win in the sulky when steering home the Ross Paynter-trained As Free As Air to take out the McMillan Equine Feeds Trot (2200m). “I thought if she did everything right she would go well. Her manners were good and she was too good in the end.” Meanwhile, Hamilton trainer Graeme Rogerson experienced another strong night at Cambridge Raceway, securing a winning double with She Reigns and High Point. “We rolled out the A team so we expected to have a good night and they raced up to scratch again,” stable foreman and driver Dylan Ferguson said. “It was good to get a couple of winners again. “She Reigns had to trot a New Zealand record to win, so it was a good effort from her. She was the class horse of the field and that really showed in the last 100m. “High Point got a lovely trip again. She is a lovely, honest mare and she is the ultimate racehorse really. “She has got good gate speed and good manners and that takes them a long way in life and it’s going to take her a bit further yet.” The Rogerson team also secured a placing with Meetmeinsorrento in the BO & CO Electrical Mobile Pace (2200m). “It was a good effort by Meetmeinsorrento, he paced a lot better tonight. He just got swamped in the last stride. It was still a good effort and the horse that beat him (Down The Hatch) has been racing at Auckland.” With COVID-19 level 3 restrictions regionalising racing, Ferguson said the Rogerson barn has been able to take advantage of that in the last few meetings at Cambridge. “We had three winners last meeting and two winners this meeting, so it’s been great,” Ferguson said. “It’s great that we can keep racing and everyone is happy to do their bit to make sure we can keep racing. “We rolled out a couple of horses tonight that would normally go to Auckland. But because of the regionalisation of racing we took a bigger team to Cambridge, so it was good to get the results.”

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk    Local trainer Kyle Marshall will line-up two daughters of multiple Group One winner Allegro Agitato at Cambridge Raceway on Thursday and he is expecting a bold showing from both mares. I Got Music will attempt to atone for her debut antics when she contests The Clubhouse Open 7 Days Handicap Trot (2200m). “She made a mistake last start, it was quite an ugly gallop,” Marshall said. “She had a trial at Cambridge on Saturday and she won that. “We gave her a few practice runs on Tuesday and she was fine, so I expect her to go well on Thursday. “She has got a lot of ability, but you will probably see the best of her in six months or so.” Her year older half-sister Lady Be Good will be vying to make it back-to-back victories when she lines-up in the Betavet Handicap Trot (2200m). “I was rapt with her last start,” Marshall said. “She made a mistake early and was still able to get up for a win. “She went out to the farm for a couple of days for a freshen-up and has come back in great order. “It is a step up for her, but she is a handy mare and I have got a lot of time for her. Hopefully she starts showing it now.” Lady Be Good will be joined on the 10m mark by stablemate Lukyanova who Marshall is hoping will improve after a change in training routine. “We have been riding her since her last start and we have changed her work around so hopefully she can find form,” he said. Another stable runner looking to make amends with punters after their debut run is Dynamite Dez who will line-up in the Shannon Bint-Popplewell Farewell, Not Goodbye Mobile Pace (2200m). “Dynamite Dez is a nice horse, he just galloped last time on the final bend,” Marshall said. “We have changed his shoeing, so hopefully that helps on Thursday.” Meanwhile, Marshall is hoping he will be able to farewell the Australian-bound Smoken Shazza in style on Thursday when she contests the Dunstan Horse Feeds Mobile Pace (2200m). “Smoken Shazza should go well,” he said. “This will be her last race in New Zealand and then she is off to Australia and she should do a good job over there.”

Welcome to the Harness Analyst series where we take a look at New Zealand's harness racing with free previews,tips and reviews of trials and the previous weeks racing. Harness racing hits Cambridge again tonight with a ten race program starting at 5:44pm and  we highlight some specials and value runners we think can give you a run for your money on a good night of racing. Cambridge  Thursday 27th August 2020   Race 1 Demolition Man  in good form and should step away cleanly. Top selection here.…… Ivegotbills good third last start but 50/50 on the manners. Can win with no mistakes.… I Got Music has been good at workouts and rule a line through first start run where she galloped. No mistakes and she is a major player here... The Last Gamble running some decent races without a lot of luck and a chance in this field with a swift beginning. Include Selections:  Demolition Man  (2),   Ivegotbills (5),   The Last Gamble (13),    I Got Music  (7)   Race 2 New York Minute good second fresh and drawn to lead early. Top selection here……. Nice Vintage another going ok against strong fields at her last campaign but slightly disappointing last start. Can place…… Pull The Other Leg tidy last start but tricky draw. Not the worst and can get into the placings again with luck in the running…… Suidelike Major has a bit of ability and easier field here. Can run top three. Selections:  New York Minute (1),   Pull The Other Leg (11),   Suidelike Major (5),   Nice Vintage (10)   Race 3 Meetmeinsorrento fresh up win for strike rate stable was good. Should run top three with luck in the running here.….. Down The Hatch tidy finish last start in strong company. Will probably start favourite here and will be hard to beat even from the tricky ….. Lynton Creek good draw for a change and form ok. Place chances best…. La Bet up in grade but should handle the rise in class. Could surprise at good odds Selections Meetmeinsorrento (10),   Down The Hatch (8),   Lynton Creek (1),    La Bet (2)   Race 4 Gaz Man huge run to win last start and draw suits. Will be hard to beat with no mistakes….. Expensive Crumpet Ok last start at big odds. Goes close with a good run in transit….. Caitlin's Surprise running on last start and normally reliable from the stand. Could take advantage if others make errors…. Majestic Harry needs to do things right but has ability. Can win if things go his way Selections Gaz Man (3),   Expensive Crumpet (1),   Caitlin's Surprise (6),    Majestic Harry (5)   Race 5 El Questro has been racing well at workouts and top win last start. Good winning claims here…… Kango rolling type and trailing draw might not be his go. Can run top three if he can clear traffic early… Brydon Earl bit disappointing last start but has ability. No surprise to see him in the money here….. Sarandon has been freshened and she has ability.  Might be over the odds and can place. Selections:  El Questro (8),   Kango  (9),   Sarandon  (3),   Brydon Earl (2)   Race 6 Monkee Around good third here at his first start. Can run top three and top selection here at nice money ….. New Frontier bobbed up now and then last campaign and coming in fresh here. One for longer odds…… The Banker getting fitter after last start second. Needed here and will start favourite… Super Actor ok last start and drawn to be in the early rush. Place chances best here Selections:  The Banker (9),   Monkee Around (4),   New Frontier (7),    Super Actor (2)   Race 7 About Turn good third last start and should be improved. Will need luck but good winning claims……. Young Conqueror draw a slight concern but second last start was ok. Can win but will need the pace on all the way.… American Me racing well but draw is tricky. Has a good chance of running in the money if he can get near the front early….. Ace Strike getting fitter and draw will suit. One for longer odds in this field. Selections:  About Turn (10),   Young Conqueror (8),   American Me (7),    Ace Strike (1)   Race 8 Lady Be Good big run to wiin last start after an early break. Can win again with manners……. She Reigns handicap will be tough to overcome but she can fly the tapes and will be fitter for her last start win. Include.… Presidential Jewel drops out of a stronger field for this. Needs the right trip but has winning claims….. Still Eyre in top form last couple and should lead early. Can place Selections:  Presidential Jewel (10),   Lady Be Good (7),   She Reigns (11),  Still Eyre (3)   Race 9 High Point beat a similar field here last start and better draw. Top selection……. All Yours draw is not great but running good races. Should be hard to beat..… Eagle Watch will be improved from his last start 2nd but terrible draw. Can finish into the placings again with luck in transit….. Emmber good draw finally and has ability. Has to be included here. Selections:  High Point (1),   All Yours (6),   Eagle Watch (8)    Emmber (4)     Race 10 Veneto will be fitter for her last start 6th. Can run top three with a good run in transit……. Sunset Red strikes a draw to suit and winning claims with a run close to the pace. Needed..… Unfinished Business good draw to contend with and should get a cosy run in transit. Place claims best….. Itsthefinalcountdown going to be tough from the draw but good run last . Place claims best Selections:  Veneto (3),   Sunset Red (2),   Unfinished Business (1)    Itsthefinalcountdown (7)     Harnesslink Media

The right of owners to see their horses race live will be a key point of debate as New Zealand horse racing continues on under the two differing Covid-19 levels. But from the industry participants point of view it will be more or less racing as is, just with a few restrictions on travel. While Auckland is set to stay at Level 3 until at least 11.59pm on Sunday night there are no horse racing meeting scheduled for inside the region in that period. Alexandra Park were not programmed to race this week while the gallops meetings at Ruakaka on Wednesday has been transferred to Rotorua. So no race meetings of either equine code will be lost to the Level 3 restrictions but horse people inside the Auckland area will not be allowed to accompany horses to race meetings in the Waikato. That means horses from Pukekohe north can race at the harness meeting at Cambridge this Thursday but their trainers can’t travel with them. The differing restriction levels also means that any jockeys or harness drivers in the Auckland region can’t compete at this week’s meetings but will be able to from next week if, as expected, Auckland returns to Level 2. Owners with horses racing will be allowed to attend Thursday’s harness meeting at Cambridge where they can be easily separated from participants in the Clubhouse Cafe and Bar on track. “We did that for our Sunday meeting last week and kept the numbers below 100. We sent all the owners an email once the fields came out asking them to register to come along,” says Cambridge harness boss David Branch. But New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing will today discuss whether that is logistically possible for their club’s racing in the next 12 days. “It is easier for some clubs than others to allow owners to attend so we will work through that with them and discuss protocols,” says NZTR chief executive Bernard Saundry.   by Michael Guerin

By Dave Di Somma, Harness News Desk    Injury-plagued trotter Lemond is back in Cambridge and having his “last hurrah” at being a racehorse. The Group One winning gelding was sent to Paul Nairn’s Canterbury stable in May but the man behind such trotting stars as Stig and Call Me Now couldn’t get him back to anywhere near his best. “He wasn’t right, he was sore in several places, and he was not a happy horse,” says Nairn. Nairn made the decision to send him home saying he’d done all he could. “If he’d been a younger trotter we could have tried a few things..” Now co-owner Charlie Hunter ONZM says time is running out, with Lemond having a history of leg injuries including a fractured tibia. “This is his last hurrah,” says Hunter, “we will see how he goes over the next few weeks and make a decision.”. Lemond is back with original trainer Ross Paynter, who also bred the now eight-year-old Love You – Cipollini gelding. Lemond hasn’t raced since November last year, with his last win being at Auckland last April. Overall he has won 15 from 56 with his greatest triumph being the 2018 ANZAC Cup. Nairn’s patience has also been tested with another trotting star in reigning Dominion Handicap champion Habibi Inta. Also by Love You, the-seven-year-old hasn’t been seen on the racetrack this year as he too battles leg injuries “It’s lower suspensory problems with his front legs,” says Nairn. The winner of 11 races and nearly $400,000 Habibi Inta has had a “good grounding” with lots of jogging and is due to start fast work next month. An up-coming scan will provide some insight into where they are with him with plans to race him next at Ashburton and then Kaikoura though Nairn says he’s more “hopeful than confident” about defending the Dominion Handicap in November.

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk    Waikato horseman Dylan Ferguson went home a happy man from Cambridge Raceway on Saturday. The stable foreman for trainer Graeme Rogerson secured a winning treble for his employer, while also reining home a treble himself. “It was a great day, they all raced really well and we managed to bag a few winners,” Ferguson said. Rogerson’s treble was highlighted by She Reigns’ impressive 5-3/4 length victory in the Marcoola Standing At Nevele R Stud Handicap Trot (2700m). The daughter of Monarchy began like a bullet from her 30m back mark to settle midfield for Ferguson. He asked her to improve three-wide with 350m to go and she made light work of her rivals in the straight to win untouched. “She was the class horse of the field,” Ferguson said. “She is a little bit funny with her manners sometimes, but when she is on the ball like that she is a lovely mare and has plenty of speed. “She is in a hard grade at Auckland. Last start they ran a New Zealand record. She is always running good times, but she is just in a really hard grade up there. “She certainly benefited from the big drop in company and it was a good confidence booster for her. “That was a penalty free win today which is what we have been aiming for a while now.” A return trip to Cambridge Raceway may be in the offing for She Reigns with Alexandra Park currently under COVID-19 alert level 3 restrictions. “Our plans are little bit up in the air in the short-term with whether we can race at Auckland,” Ferguson said. “She is in a hard grade so she is not going to win out of turn, but she tries hard and is always going to be thereabouts. “She just strikes some pretty hot fields at times, but she is a nice mare and a pleasure to have in the stable.” The race prior Ferguson was once again in the winner’s circle with High Point who won the Woodlands Stud Mobile Pace (2200m) by three-quarters of a length over Eagle Watch. “She went great,” Ferguson said. “She had been working up well at home and had that fitness run a couple of weeks ago at Auckland, so I was confident that she would go well. “I thought she would win in the first set of fields because she had drawn one. “I was a bit devastated that she drew one the second row, but it’s not very often you get a run like that from four back the fence.” Earlier on the card it was Ferguson’s father Peter’s turn to carry Rogerson’s silks to victory behind Romanee in the Lonestar Alexandra Park – Now Open Mobile Pace (2200m). “It was good for Dad to get a winner for us,” Ferguson said. “He has been trying on a few of them. He is a big asset to our stable, he is always there if we need a hand. It was a good team effort.” While he was beaten into fourth in that race with Sunset Red, Ferguson wasn’t to be outdone and recorded a treble himself when reining home El Questro to win the Join The Breeders Mobile Pace (2200m) for trainer Rod MacKenzie. “He had been working up really well, Rod fast works him at Graeme’s,” he said. “It was good for Rod to get a win with him because he has caused him plenty of headaches, so it was good to chalk one up on the board early with him.”

Some smart thinking and a trip around the corner has provided a stable of Pukekohe horses with a chance to race today that they wouldn’t have had from home. Today’s Cambridge meeting will go ahead after the fields were totally re-drawn yesterday morning with all the Auckland region-based horses withdrawn, leaving a meeting made up of mainly Waikato and Central Districts horses. But included among those starting today will be several horses actually trained in the Auckland region but whose trainers took the opportunity to move them, in one case just a few hundred metres. Pukekohe trainer Derek Balle moved the horses he wanted to start at today’s meeting 800m around the corner to stay at the property of fellow trainer Paulette Screen, who property while so is officially in Waikato. Trainers are allowed to, and often do for campaigns further from home, stable horses with other trainers, having to lodge an official horse movement notice which is listed on the Harness Racing New Zealand website directly under the fields. That means Balle’s transferred horses can compete today because they are already domiciled in Waikato and can travel to and from the race with Balle’s stable worker Owen Gillies, who also lives just south of the border. “I spoke to stipendiary steward Steve Mulcay and he said there was no issue with it,” explains Balle. “We are talking a few hundred metres but I am officially in Pukekohe so I and anybody who works at my stable couldn’t go to the races and take the horses. “But Paulette’s property, while it is just around the corner, is in Waikato and Owen lives in Waikato too. “So we are doing what is best for the owners and giving the horse’s their best chances without any humans having to cross the border between Auckland region and Waikato.” All overseas studies on racehorse movement have suggested Covid-19 can’t be transferred via the animals. Balle isn’t the only trainer to take advantage of moving his horses to another property to enable them to race today, with South Auckland trainer Jay Abernethy heading south before the Level 3 curfew on Wednesday to take his horses to the property of Waikato trainer Robbie Hughes, staying in the region himself so he can drive at today’s meeting. He as the only Auckland-region based driver to take that opportunity, so the rest of the drivers at today’s meeting will be from south of Pukekohe, predominantly Waikato. With tomorrow’s Ruakaka thoroughbred meeting cancelled, the next horse meeting in the northern area is scheduled to be Taupo on Wednesday and the latest NZTR information suggests horses from the Auckland region will be permitted to start at Taupo but Auckland region-based staff won’t be able to travel with them. The latest NZTR regulations state an Auckland-based horse can trial or race outside the region if they are transported to and from the meeting by an independent horse freight company and loaded and unloaded in compliance with Covid-19 protocols. Horses that travel to meeting outside the area would need to be looked after by a stable worker or trainer based in Waikato or further south and then return back to the Auckland region with any gear which travels with the horse to be disinfected. With those protocols in place and horse racing and training allowed to continue at Level 3, only a move to Level 4 or a major outbreak inside the racing industry would seem likely to halt the $1.6 billion industry. With Auckland set to remain at Level 3 for possibly the next 11 days the only horse racing meeting in the region in that time will be at Alexandra Park next Thursday and that should be able to go head but with no public or owners allowed. All meetings conducted at Level 3 will be staged without any public or owners allowed but meetings in Level 2 regions allow owners to attend.   By Michael Guerin

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk    Local trainer Arna Donnelly will take her biggest ever contingent to a race meeting when she heads to Cambridge Raceway on Saturday. She will be represented by 12 of her own runners, but will also line-up debutant Jack Irish for trainers Barry Purdon and Scott Phelan, with the Clevedon-based duo unable to make it to the meeting as a result of COVID-19 Level 3 restrictions in Auckland. While it will prove a busy day for Donnelly, she said she will be ably assisted by a handful of helpers. “I may have had nine or 10 at the grass tracks a couple of years ago, but 12 would definitely be the biggest team I have taken to the races,” she said. “I have got fantastic staff, there will be six or seven there on Saturday to help us.” Leading the stable charge, last start winner Young Conqueror will be looking to keep his solid form line intact this preparation when he contests the Dunstan Speedfeed Mobile Pace (2200m). The seven-year-old finished runner-up first-up at the Waikato track last month before going on to win over 2200m. Stable junior driver Alicia Harrison will take the reins on Saturday and Donnelly said they will face a stiff challenge after drawing the outside of the front row. “Young Conqueror has drawn out wide, so he is going to need a bit of luck,” she said. “But he has been racing really well. He slides into that race quite good. He is a pretty honest old fella so he should be there at the finish.” Donnelly also fancies the chances of last start winner Wildestdreams in the Alabar World Class Sires Mobile Pace (2200m). “I quite like Wildestdreams,” she said. “She has drawn one the second row, but an ounce of luck she should be right in the mix. “It was a really good win last start and Alicia (Harrison) is driving her again on Saturday, so hopefully she can double up.” Donnelly was also buoyed by the latest trial performances of Sky Full Of Stars, The Banker, and debutant Kango. “Sky Full Of Stars trialled really well, but whatever she does she will definitely benefit from,” Donnelly said. “We just want to see her go around, do things right, and be running on at the end. “The Banker trialled really well at Pukekohe a week ago. He got it right last start too, so his confidence levels are right up there and his work has been spot on, so fingers-crossed he will be in the mix. “Kango also trialled really well at Cambridge last week and from barrier 10 hopefully he can get handy and keep rolling.”

Welcome to the Harness Analyst series where we take a look at New Zealand's harness racing with free previews,tips and reviews of trials and the previous weeks racing. Harness racing hits Cambridge again today with a nine race program starting at 11:30am and in this video we highlight some specials and value runners we think can give you a run for your money on a good day of racing. The content and data on this video is provided for informational purposes only Check below the video for our selections for all of the races today for Cambridge.   Cambridge  Saturday 15th August 2020   Race 1 True Believer ok at trials and workouts and can win fresh with manners.…… Demolition Man has been running on in tough fields and getting fitter with racing. Could be the early leader and can win……. Buller Whitebait stuck on for third last start and good place chance again here. Manners the only issue….. Alana if she has got any of her mums ability she will be a major player in this field. Tote the guide. Selections:  True Believer (2),   Demolition Man (3),   Buller Whitebait (4),    Alana (6)   Race 2 Hezashadowplaya good draw to work with here and his first up second was tidy. Good winning claims if he can land the front early……. El Questro another going at trials ok and having his first start. Place chances best…… Cassius running on last start but tricky draw. Can run in three with luck…… Sky Full Of Stars  has a bit of ability but even field here. Can run top three with luck in the running. Selections:  Hezashadowplaya (1),   El Questro (7),   Cassius (8),   Sky Full Of Stars  (4)   Race 3 Classey Robin  has not had a lot of luck in her last few starts. One for longer odds in this field…… Romanee disappointing last start but drawn well and should go close here. Good winning claims.…. Itsthefinalcountdown in good form and drawn well. Not the worst here and can place …… Sarabi tricky draw but not the worst if she can clear traffic. Place chances best. Selections   Classey Robin  (6),   Romanee (3),  Sarabi (),  Itsthefinalcountdown (2)   Race 4 New York Minute two good seconds in her last campaign. Coming in fresh but top selection here….. Nice Vintage two tidy runs last campaign and best draw. Top three player for sure and good winning claims….. Kango workouts have been good. Should get a run through from the draw and winning chance here…. Super Actor has run some decent races but hard to catch. One for longer odds. Selections:  New York Minute (6),   Nice Vintage (1),   Kango (10),    Super Actor (4)   Race 5 About Turn has raced well in similar fields before and draw suits. Don’t mind him today, top selection….. Smoken Shazza has a lot of ability and good third last start. Needs the pace on and one run at them but can run top three… Ferritts Sister good second last start and will be fitter. Best draw and winning claims….. Eastanbull slightly unlucky last start and might head forward early. Winning claims if he can find the lead. Selections:  About Turn (10),   Smoken Shazza (2),   Ferritts Sister (1),   Eastanbull (5)   Race 6 Eagle Watch classy pacer at best and drawn to head forward early. Will be hard to beat if he can find the front early ….. Spirit Of Anzac ok last start and will be improved. Can run in the money again here.…… All Yours getting fitter after racing in good form in his latest few runs. Needed here.… Racketeers Boy running good races and drawn well only needs a good trip in transit to be a place chance here. Selections:  Eagle Watch(5),   All Yours (11),  Spirit Of Anzac(10),    Racketeers Boy(1)   Race 7 Phoebe Imperial ok at recent workouts and has ability. Will go close to winning this with manners……. Monkey Selfie a bit disappointing last start but dangerous with a run close to the pace. Good winning claims with manners.… Lukyanova lobs into the money every now and then but hard to catch on best from. Chance at longer odds….. She Reigns racing better fields at Auckland and big drop in class here. Can win even from the handicap. Selections:  Phoebe Imperial (11),   Monkey Selfie (9),   She Reigns (12),    Lukyanova (8)   Race 8 The Greenkeeper needs to bring his manners but this fields suits. Winning claims if he can get handy before the home turn……. Milner has been a bit disappointing but freshened and he races well on the track. Dangerous with a run close to the pace and good  winning claims.… Onedin Punter terrible draw but not the worst here if he leaves the gate quickly. One for longer odds….. Armed Reactor could get a nice sit on the fence and bomb them late here. Place chances best Selections:  The Greenkeeper (10),   Milner (2),   Armed Reactor (1),  Onedin Punter (8)   Race 9 Expensive Crumpet Has been breaking but running ok races after. Liked at longer odds……. Majestic Harry good win last start and will handle the rise in grade. Dangerous with a run close to the pace. Good winning claims.… Madeakillin will be better for the last start run. Draw not great but he will be running on….. As Free As Air tricky draw but running on last start in a strong field. Winning claims if she brings her A-game. Selections:  Expensive Crumpet (4),   Majestic Harry (7),   As Free As Air (14)   Madeakillin (11)     Harnesslink Media

Race meetings around the country will continue as planned, following the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s announcement tonight. Alert Level Three has been extended in Auckland until Wednesday August 26, while the rest of the country remains at Alert Level Two for another 12 days as well. That means tomorrow’s day meeting at Cambridge, starting at 11.29am, will continue as planned, as will Kurow (Oamaru) on Sunday. All races will be run under Alert Level Two protocols, which means owners of horses racing at meetings are allowed on course, but the general public is not. Under these alert levels people and horses cannot cross the border out of the Auckland bubble.

By Josh Smith - Harness News Desk    The training partnership between Cambridge horsemen Mike Berger and Matthew White will come to an end at the close of the season, with Berger electing to wind down his career. The Gr.1 New Zealand Cup (3200m) winning trainer collected his gold card last year and after speaking with former employee and long-time friend White, he convinced the then Australian-based horseman to return home and give training a crack in New Zealand. It wasn’t plain sailing for the pair this term, with White involved in a horrific race crash at Cambridge Raceway in January, which resulted in bleeding on the brain and fracturing three vertebrae. While White made a comeback in March, the following week the country went into lockdown as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although their season had its obstacles, Berger was pleased with Double M Stable’s 11-win tally. “It was a pretty good season considering lockdown,” Berger said. “We just had a few ready to go prior to lockdown and that shut us down for the season. We are only just starting to get some of them up and going again now. “Considering the circumstances and the size of the team it was quite a good effort.” Berger believes it is now time for him to step back and let White have a go training on his own account. “It’s just time now where I don’t want to be working big numbers and he is young and will be having a crack on his own,” Berger said. “I will slowly work through what I have got to get down to reasonably easy numbers again. “I will be training between 10 and 12, and I won’t be wanting to do any more than that, and that’s with Luke Whittaker working for me. “By the end of the season I will be looking to have even less.” The dozen or so horses Berger will continue to train will mostly consist of horses he and wife Brenda have shares in. “Horses like Emmber and Mach Little Soaky will go with Matty. I’ll have All Yours, Eagle Watch, About Turn, and Spirit of Anzac, just a few horses that my wife and I have shares in and then a couple for some clients,” Berger said. “We have had most of our clients for a long time and it is good that some of them are willing to give Matty a crack.” Meanwhile, on Sunday Berger was delighted to see stable junior driver Luke Whittaker finish runner-up in the New Zealand Junior Drivers Championship at Addington Raceway. “I am really pleased for him,” Berger said. “It was a pretty good effort. He gave all his horses every opportunity and he couldn’t have done any more than what he did.” –

By Josh Smith - Harness News Desk    With calving in full swing John Godfrey has been kept busy on his Roto O Rangi dairy farm, but he was delighted to get off his property on Thursday night to watch his pride and joy, Bodrum Boy, win the Bruntwood Equestrian – Horse Agistment Mobile Pace (2200m) at Cambridge Raceway. It was the second career victory for the rising six-year-old after he made a perfect start to his racing career in May when winning on debut at the Waikato track. The son of American Ideal subsequently ran third before two unplaced runs and Godfrey said he was particularly disappointed with his last start 10th placing. “I was a bit mystified last start, I couldn’t figure out why he went so bad,” Godfrey said. “He has had a bit of an infection in his front hoof since then and we have put pads on him now and I think that has helped him. “He definitely handles it a lot better with the pads because Maurice (McKendry, driver) said he drove beautifully straight tonight. “We left the overcheck off as well as he doesn’t really need one. He is just such a nice horse to deal with.” While he is kept busy on his farm, Godfrey said he likes the distraction of being able to work his horse on his 350m home track, which became invaluable during the COVID-19 enforced lockdown. “Prior to lockdown I was going to Waipa and working him on the grass as I was going to start him at Hawera,” Godfrey said. “But because of COVID-19 I just worked him around my own track and after lockdown I went out to Luk Chin’s track at Tamahere. “He was fit for his debut run.” Godfrey farms on his family’s Waikato property and he said that is where he developed a love for the standardbred and racing. “My father had a horse called Prince Tartan,” Godfrey said. “That’s the first horse I drove and he was a real big horse, he was 17.5 hands. “I worked him and that’s how I got started and developed my passion for racing. I have always had an interest.” Meanwhile, local junior driver Dylan Ferguson has added more spice to this weekend’s New Zealand Junior Drivers Championship at Addington Raceway when he recorded two wins on Thursday night. He was victorious behind Miss Slippers in the Melanie At Harcourts Birthday Handicap Trot (2200m) and Meetmeinsorrento in the ‘Lather Up’ At Woodlands Stud Mobile Pace (2200m), both for employer Graeme Rogerson. The winning double has brought Ferguson within two wins of premiership leader John Morrison, creating a nail-biting finish to the season for the junior ranks. – Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk

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