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Crockets Cullen N (Christian Cullen) prevailed for the second consecutive week in the Open Pace on Saturday night at Saratoga Casino Hotel. Larry Stalbaum owns and drives the Tracy Tarantino trainee who last week took the first-over journey to the winner's circle. This week, Crockets Cullen N was dismissed at odds of 6-1 in the six-horse Open when he got second-over cover behind Century Endeavor (Gerry Mattison) approaching the half. After the first lap went in 56.1, the race's leader succumbed to the pressure of the first-over rival but it was Crockets Cullen N who tipped off that cover and motored home in the stretch to stop the timer in 1:52.3. Hudson Phil (Jay Randall), the winningest Open horse at Saratoga in 2019, came from last and followed the winner home to be the runner-up in the $15,000 feature while Century Endeavor earned the show spot. Crockets Cullen N, who won the local Open twice last season, has now scored in the Saturday feature twice in 2019. In his most recent victory, the eight year old paid $14.20 to win and led an exacta and triple that returned $51 and $137, respectively. Crockets Cullen N was one of two winners on the night for Stalbaum and Tarantino who teamed up for a victory with Lord Willoughby A (Mach Three) in the $12,500 Winners Over on Saturday. Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon at Saratoga with a matinee beginning at 12 Noon. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

Larry Stalbaum's Crockets Cullen N (Christian Cullen) won his first local harness racing Open Pace at Saratoga Casino Hotel in mid-October. Following a third place finish the week after, the seven year old New Zealand invader fell sick and wound up taking a month off to recover. Stalbaum qualified Crockets Cullen N at Monticello in anticipation of his return to the Saratoga Open on Saturday night. Crockets Cullen N was assigned post four for his try in the $20,000 feature and Stalbaum unleashed him early. After making an easy lead, Crockets Cullen N yielded to soon-to-be three-time Pacer of the Year Artful Way (Frank Coppola Jr) who wound up on the front end. Artful Way set honest but relatively comfortable fractions throughout and after checking in at three quarters in 1:24.4 braced for Crockets Cullen N who was keen to go. Stalbaum popped the pocket at the head of the stretch and the battle ensued. Crockets Cullen N got up in the nick of time to edge the track's defending Horse of the Year to score in 1:52.2 for his second victory in the local Open. Artful Way came up second best while Lachie Maguire N (Bruce Aldrich Jr) earned the show spot. Pulling off a minor upset, Crockets Cullen N paid $9.30 to win and led an exacta and triple that came back $48.80 and $207, respectively. The win was one of three on the card for Stalbaum who won the $16,050 Winners Over with Chumlee A and a conditional race with his O'Sundland who came from off the pace to prevail on Saturday night. Live racing continues on Sunday afternoon at Saratoga with a first post time set for 12:15pm. Mike Sardella

In New Zealand champion harness racing stallion Bettor's Delight has left 125 individual winners from just Christian Cullen mares to date. Three of those horses are harness racing millionaires all destined to stand at stud including the champion superstar Lazarus who is Bettor's Delight's richest horse produced world-wide.  Lazarus ($3,663,438) from Bethany by Christian Cullen Highview Tommy ($1,021,904) from Baptism Fie by Christian Cullen Ohoka Punter ($1,031,960) from Milwood Minisota by Christian Cullen In North America the progeny of Bettor's Delight have won over $186,189,150 to date. He has produced 1102 race winners with 21 of his progeny winning over a million dollars, 77 winning over $500,000 and 493 winning over $100,000. His average earnings per foal born are already $116,441 and growing every day. In New Zealand Bettor's Delight has 1,711 foals 3-years-old and older and they have won $40,880,643 to date. In Australia Bettor's Delight has produced Australian bred progeny earnings of almost $30 million to date. Lazarus winning The Hunter Cup Highview Tommy winning The Ballarat Cup 2012 Ohoka Punter winning The Pure Steel 2016 At the Australasian Classic Yearling Sale at Karaka, in Auckland on February the 12th (next Monday), there are four outstanding Bettor's Delight colts that are out of Christian Cullen mares and one additional colt out of an In The Pocket mare (In The Pocket is the sire of Christian Cullen) in the Breckon Farms draft. Here is your chance to buy a top racing prospect and a future stallion possibility that has a better than average chance of becoming a millionaire as the odds are in your favour with the  incredible results shown above.  The first of these colts is Lot 26 Tasman Tempest an outstanding prospect with a sensational pedigree choked full of winners who is out of the good race mare Temepara Cullen, a full sister to the 2008/2009 3yr old 'Pacer Of The Year' and Hunter Cup winner Stunin Cullen ($1,493,716) who is now a successful stallion at stud. Lot 26 – Tasman Tempest (bay colt Bettor’s Delight - Temepara Cullen - Christian Cullen) Lot 26 – Tasman Tempest (bay colt Bettor’s Delight - Temepara Cullen - Christian Cullen) The second colt in this sale Lot 47 bred on this amazing cross, Bettor's Delight x Christian Cullen, is Freddiesam another colt with a faultless pedigree. Freddiesam's third dam, yes third dam, is the famous broodmare Black Watch who needs no introduction to any breeding buffs. Freddiesam is a full-brother to the good winner Laredo Torpedo ($54,397) and is closely related to multiple Group 1 winner and 3yr old 'Pacing Filly of the Year' Lauraella ($649,946). Lot 47 – Freddiesam (brown colt Bettor’s Delight - Zingara - Christian Cullen) Lot 47 – Freddiesam (brown colt Bettor’s Delight - Zingara - Christian Cullen) The third colt Lot 60, bred on this incredible cross is Ray Donovan. He is a full-brother to recent impressive winner My Generation ($47,927) who beat one of New Zealand's best three-year-olds The Devils Own in the process. My Generation Lot 60 – Ray Donovan (bay colt Bettor’s Delight - A New Sensation - Christian Cullen) Lot 60 – Ray Donovan (bay colt Bettor’s Delight - A New Sensation - Christian Cullen) The fourth and last colt bred on this amazing cross is Lot 152, Prince Of Pleasure. This colt is the second foal bred from the mare and is from the family of Sovereign Hill ($432,555), Dartmoor ($427,361), Keyang Cullen ($406,810) and the 2013/2014 Australian 2yr old Pacing Filly of the Year Katy Perry ($517,733) who won the 2yr old Final of the Australasian Breeders Crown. Lot 152 – Prince Of Pleasure (brown colt Bettor’s Delight - Holly Madison - Christian Cullen) Lot 152 – Prince Of Pleasure (brown colt Bettor’s Delight - Holly Madison - Christian Cullen) Okay, those four colts above are all bred on the Bettor's Delight x Christian Cullen cross but the following colt Lot 102, Shoot Through, is bred on the Bettor's Delight x In The Pocket cross. As Christian Cullen is by In The Pocket this cross is not far removed in terms of pedigree. This cross has produced the outstanding horse and now stallion at stud Gold Ace ($1,247,053) the winner of 16 Group races. Gold Ace winning The New Zealand Derby Shoot Through is a full-brother to Delightful Dale the dam of recent Inter Dominion finalist Shandale ($296,505). He is also closely related to Katy Perry ($517,773), Cash N Flow and Reba Lord. Once again this is the family of that great broodmare Black Watch. Lot 102 – Shoot Through (bay colt Bettor’s Delight - Dale Elinor - In The Pocket) Lot 102 – Shoot Through (bay colt Bettor’s Delight - Dale Elinor - In The Pocket) If you want to buy a winner then the odds are in your favour, big time, when you buy a yearling from the Breckon Farms draft at the 2018 Australasian Classic Yearling Sale. There is no doubt that this years Australasian Classic Yearling Sale is the best Catalogue of yearlings ever produced in New Zealand. Be there. To view the Australasian Classic Yearling Sale catalogue click on this link. To view the entire Breckon Farms yearlings click on this link. Art Major hits $170,000,000 in earnings Muscle Hill - World's greatest trotting sire Speedster He’s Watching a life-changer Golden cross, Andover Hall - Muscles Yankee Generational speed 1:47.4 ---- 1:46.4 The Australasian Classic Yearling Sale You need a Somebeachsomewhere filly How to buy a millionairess! This stallion has 14 colts in 1:48.4 or faster 1,846 winners for Art Major Harnesslink Media

Promising young harness racing mare Reaza Grunter made an inglorious Gloucester Park debut last Friday night when she was retired after breaking twice but Shane Tritton, who prepares her in partnership with his wife Lauren, is confident she will be on her best behaviour and will make amends by winning the third heat of the San Simeon Pace on Friday night. Reaza Grunter, a Christian Cullen mare, was a 6/4 favourite last week when she dashed straight to the front from barrier three before breaking into a gallop 350m after the start. She dropped back to last and was still at the rear when she again broke into a gallop 550m from home and was retired from the race. “She had a hood on after she had looked around a bit at her previous start,” Tritton said. “But she fired up and when Lauren tried to settle her, she fumbled out of her gear. It was a simple thing; she didn’t want to slow down. Another horse contacted Reaza Grunter’s wheel, causing her to break the second time. “We then decided to remove the hood and change a little bit of gear and gave her a trial at Byford on Sunday when she was comfortable and went a lot better.” Reaza Grunter set the pace and won by just under five lengths from Courageous Disco, rating 1.57.3 over 2150m, with two 28.1sec. final quarters. “Lauren never let her go in the trial and said she was jogging, and I’m confident she will not break in running again. From barrier one we’ll let her roll and hope for the best.” The only other mare in Friday night’s race is promising five-year-old Dior Mia More, trained by Annie Belton. Dior Mia More notched her fourth win from only eight starts when she raced at the rear before unwinding a powerful burst to beat Mileys Desire by two lengths, rating 1.55.2 over 1684m at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon. Dior Mia More faces a stern test from the No. 7 barrier, but should still be capable of a bold showing. “She won well at Pinjarra, especially the way she went through the line,” said reinsman Kim Prentice. “She’s a very good horse, ability-wise and will run a good race. However, she is sure to find Reaza Grunter hard to beat.” Another runner sure to be fancied is New Zealand-bred stallion Walkinshaw, who will be driven by Nathan Turvey for trainer Ray Williams. Walkinshaw, whose 43 starts have produced ten wins and six placings, has won at four of his six starts this season and is sure to take beating from barrier four. Outstanding Victorian trainer-driver Kerryn Manning describes Ameretto as “our little star” and is confident the six-year-old will prove hard to beat in the $30,000 Parliamentarians Cup over 2130m on Friday night. Ameretto will start out wide at barrier seven on the front line and will clash with several smart mares, including Ideal Alice, A Piccadilly princess, Donegal Rundlescreek, Sheer Rocknroll and Dodolicious. Ameretto chalked up her 25th win from 58 starts when she began speedily from the No. 7 barrier, burst to the front after 700m and won the Daintys Daughter Classic from Ideal Alice last Friday night. She and the other runners in Friday night’s race will be on trial for the group 1 $125,000 Mares Classic the following Friday night. “Ameretto is a very versatile horse who can do a bit of work or sit back and sprint,” Manning said. “You have got to be near the front on the small track here, so that will be the plan.” Ken Casellas

The wait was finally over. The long-awaited debut of The Wonder from Down Under happened Sunday, in front of a sizable and vocal harness racing crowd at Harrah's Philadelphia. Christen Me N, the eleven time group one winner, and New Zealand's 2015 harness horse of the year, qualified impressively two weeks ago over the Philly oval. He did so in a 1:53.4 clocking, under minimal urging. Today's test was a non-winners of $21,100 in their last 5 starts, going for a purse of $17,500. His debut wasn't without drama however, as the 9-year-old gelded son of Christian Cullen-Splendid Dreams interfered with Scott Rocks before the start, causing a recall. Trainer Jo Ann Looney-King took little time to ponder an equipment change for his next start. "We probably wont be putting anymore murphy blinds on him for starters," Looney-King said after the race. As the wings folded, Christen Me N (Tim Tetrick) settled into an early fifth, as Always At My Place (Joe Bongiorno) was sent hard to the lead. As they approached 3/8ths, the 32-time winner edged to the outside, where he traveled uncovered to the 5/8ths marker. The Josh Green trainee Poisonous (Brett Miller) angled off the cones from the 3 hole, towing Christian Me N into striking range. Tetrick bailed on cover at the 1/8thpole, sweeping past for the victory under minimal urging in a time of 1:51 flat. The official margin of victory was a head. Poisonous fought gamely for place, while Scott Rocks (George Napolitano Jr) was third. He paid $6.20 to win. Christen Me N "Tim (Tetrick) loves him at this point, and we are pleased," Looney-King continued. "When you get a horse from the other side of the world, there is a certain amount of uncertainty, so now we can continue on." As far as the future is concerned, the husband/wife team are excited. "We are looking forward to having a lot of fun with him and butting heads with the big boys in the future." The future may arrive in two weeks time, as Christian Me N has been invited to the Ben Stafford Jr. Memorial for aged pacers, which will take place on Sunday, May 28th at Harrah's Philadelphia. The purse for that event is $150,000. Michael Bozich

Popular harness racing horsewoman KerryAnn Turner hopes today’s trip to Tabcorp Park Menangle is the first step towards the ideal engagement present. Celebrating her birthday last week, Turner’s gifts included a ring from her partner Robbie Morris, which resulted in a firm “YES”! “I was pretty spoiled for my birthday, but the proposal topped it off,” Turner said. As for the first step towards the ideal engagement present, Turner is set to contest a pair of Australian Pacing Gold heats in a bid to qualify for the rich $322,000 Final at Melton on May 6. “That certainly would be a great engagement gift,” Turner said. “With a bit of luck we can get through the series and have a chance at the Final.” Promising filly Pacific Cullen will kick-start Turner’s quest when she takes her position in the first heat. To be driven by Morris, the daughter of Christian Cullen has drawn to search for the lead from barrier three. Pacific Cullen has two wins and a third from four starts, while being retired from the race during the other outing as a result of broken gear. “She is a very nice filly, which has only done what she’s had to so far,” Turner said. “She is such a relaxed type, which just gets the job done. “She trialled last week, which was a good solid hit out, and she is in top order for her heat.” Redbank Addi will then take her position in the second qualifier, with Turner stating the daughter of Rock N Roll Hanover needs luck in the run. The two-year-old has also drawn three, but slots into two due to a scratching. “She’s been working great, but just hasn’t had a lot of luck in her races,” Turner said. “She was a bit disappointing in the Bathurst Tiara, but has been doing well since. “If luck goes her way she will be in the finish.” by APG Media

Freehold, NJ --- Richard Poillucci has admired harness racing pacer Christen Me from afar. With this week’s arrival of New Zealand’s 2015 Horse of the Year on U.S. soil, Poillucci looks forward to appreciating Christen Me’s talents from much nearer proximity. An 11-time Group 1 winner Down Under with nearly $2.5 million in purse earnings, Christen Me was recently purchased by Poillucci from the stable of New Zealand trainer Cran Dalgety. Christen Me, a 9-year-old gelding by stallion Christian Cullen out of the award-winning broodmare Splendid Dreams, will be trained in the States by the husband-and-wife team of Jim King Jr. and Jo Ann Looney-King in Delaware. Tim Tetrick will drive Christen Me. Christen Me won 32 of 68 races in Australasia including the Miracle Mile, Auckland Cup, Victoria Cup, Hunter Cup, and Easter Cup. He hit the board a total of 53 times. He was trained by Dalgety and driven by Dexter Dunn for owners Charles Roberts and Vicki Purdon. “We’re very excited about him,” Poillucci said. “I’ve been trying to buy him for a long time. He’s quite the horse. There aren’t too many horses with his credentials to arrive in America. Dexter Dunn told Tim Tetrick that he’s the best horse he’s ever driven. If this guy is what we think he is, we could have a lot of fun.” Although he is 9 years old, Christen Me’s 68 starts are relatively few for a horse of that age. “He’s like a spring chicken,” Dalgety said on his website. “He is working great and looking fantastic. “We probably won’t realize quite how good he was until he’s gone. Not many earn $2-million plus in Australasia; only about seven or eight.” The sale of Christen Me came to fruition after it was confirmed the gelding was suffering from minor exercise induced pulmonary hemorrhaging. Lasix, which is permitted to treat the condition in North America, is not allowed Down Under. “A few races back, (Christen Me) was second to Lazarus, who is probably one of the best horses to ever race Down Under,” Poillucci said. “If he can finish second with bleeding issues to arguably the best horse in Australasia, what can we do here with Lasix and treating for bleeding? “They can’t do anything about it there, so why not give him the opportunity to be the shining star that he is? He could come back to be a very exciting horse in North America. If it all works it could be something really special. I’m hoping for the best. I’m hoping that he’s the guy.” Poillucci said the Kings will take their time preparing Christen Me for this year’s racing in North America. “I did stake him to a few stakes that are later on so his acclimation could be a nice slow process,” Poillucci said. “It takes time. The first year is a very tough year for these horses. You’ve got to hope that everything goes well. Their clock is completely different. They’re going into fall; we’re coming into spring. They don’t know whether to grow hair, not grow hair. You’ve got to do the right thing by the horses. “He’s in tip-top shape. He’s a great looking animal, an absolutely gorgeous horse. Cran does an amazing job with his horses. We’re not going to go overboard with him this year. We’ll race him in some major races and see how he fares.” Christen Me is Poillucci’s latest purchase from Down Under, joining New Zealand-bred mare Nike Franco. Poillucci bought Nike Franco last year and she went 4-for-4 on the Delaware circuit, with a 1:51 victory over the boys in the Dover Downs Open Preferred Handicap to close out the season. The 7-year-old daughter of McArdle-Nearea Franco was one of the favorites in this year’s Blue Chip Matchmaker Series at Yonkers Raceway, but was sidelined because of a virus after her first start in the event. Nike Franco finished seventh in that start, but was beaten by only 2-1/2 lengths. She will miss the remainder of the series. “She has so many good races ahead of her that it doesn’t make sense to try to rush her back,” Poillucci said. “I think she could be arguably one of the top three mares in North America. That’s from Timmy, Jimmy. She was the best pacing mare in all of Australasia last year. She’s very, very talented. “Just what she did in her last start, being sick, was pretty amazing as well. That shows you her desire and heart.” Poillucci has downsized his stable to feature Christen Me, Nike Franco, and 5-year-old trotter Maestro Blue Chip, who won 13 of 20 races last year and earned $238,000. Maestro Blue Chip is being pointed to the Arthur J. Cutler Memorial on May 6 at the Meadowlands. In addition to those three horses, Poillucci has two 2-year-old pacers in training. “The plan was to keep the cream of the crop,” Poillucci said. “I wanted a good trotter, a good mare, and a good Open pacer. I have Maestro, Nike, Christen. I have a couple of babies that are coming. We’ll see where we end up. I sold four very good horses (recently). I’ve decided to try to stay with the upper echelon and see how that works. “Whether that works or not, I can’t tell you,” he added, laughing. “But it sounds good. I like what I’ve got.” What Poillucci does know is that he’s looking forward to this year. Poillucci lives in Massachusetts, where he runs several businesses, including a luxury auto body center and real estate development company. He first became interested in harness racing while playing hockey in Canada. “If you don’t get excited about stuff like this in this business,” Poillucci said, “then you don’t belong in it.” by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications 

East Rutherford, N.J. - While odds-on favorite Ashley's Husband failed to make any impression by way of his first-over bid in Saturday (November 26) night's $17,500 featured harness racing pacing event at The Meadowlands, the Muscara Racing Trust's Mr Hasani N ($23.20) took full advantage of a clear pocket trip to just gather in pacesetter Bullet Bob for a 1:50.3 upset score. Andy McCarthy nestled the 8-year-old Christian Cullen gelding in the pocket behind Bullet Bob (Scott Zeron) on the first turn, and the pair drafted through early splits of :27.3 and :56.2 before the pace picked up. Mr Hasani N kept up strongly with the accelerating Bullet Bob through a :27.1 third sectional while Ashley's Husband (Vinny Ginsburg) only could muster gradual uncovered gains from his midpack stalking spot. In mid-stretch, Mr Hasani N switched off the pegs and pushed to the fore entirely at will, using a :26.3 last quarter to defeat Bullet Bob by half a length. Ashley's Husband refused to regress in the straight and managed third place. Darren Cassar trains Mr Hasani N, now a 39-time winner. In the night's $17,500 "Dash for the G-Notes" final for first-level pacers, Stimulus Plan ($10.20) made all the pace and dueled gamely to repel a strong first-over challenge from even-money favorite Card Shock (David Miller) for a 1:52 triumph. Vinny Ginsburg drove the 6-year-old Western Ideal gelding for trainer Robert Ginsburg, Jr. Total handle for Saturday's 13-race program was $2,196,939. As the last-race 20¢ Jackpot Super High Five was not hit by a single player, the carryover mounts to $46,999 heading to next Friday's card. Post time is 7:15 p.m. Eastern. by James Witherite, Meadowlands  

Shannon Suvaljko has high hopes of continuing his remarkable run of successes with star harness racing mare Libertybelle Midfrew when he drives the New Zealand-bred six-year-old in the Westral Rhadsody Venetians Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The 47-year-old Suvaljko is riding on the crest of a wave and he boasts an outstanding record behind the Mike Reed-trained Libertybelle Midfrew, having driven her nine times for eight wins and a third placing. He drove the Christian Cullen mare at her first five starts in Western Australia in April-May 2014 for five wins, including the group 1 $150,000 WA Oaks when she beat The Parade by seven lengths. He recently resumed as her driver and has handled her at her past four starts for a third behind Bettors Fire and then to all-the-way victories from the prized No. 1 barrier at her next three outings. Libertybelle Midfrew fared well in the random draw for this week’s 2130m event and will start from barrier three on the front line with Change Stride and Mynameskenny on her inside. Change Stride and Mynameskenny each possesses excellent gate speed, but there is a strong chance that Suvaljko will be able to get Libertybelle Midfrew to the front soon after the start. Change Stride began speedily from barrier five in a 2130m event last Friday night and took the lead after 150m before Ryan Warwick opted to take the sit behind Tricky Styx 300m later. Mynameskenny, a winner at 20 of his 36 starts for Byford trainer John Oldroyd, steps up in class after his last-start victory over Three Blind Mice at Bunbury when he worked hard in the breeze before asserting his authority in the final stages. Reed has timed Libertybelle Midfrew’s preparation for the TABtouch interdominion championship series to perfection and Suvaljko was full of praise for the mare after her most recent win, when she led and fought on with fierce determination to defeat Run Oneover over 2130m in the group 3 Mount Eden Pace last Friday week. “They gave it to her a long way out … and there were some good horses behind us,” he said. “On the line she was strong and going away from them. She’s a great horse, running 28.2sec. coming into the bell and 27.1sec. down the back before coming home in 28.7sec. Not many horses do that.” Run Oneover, trained by Gary Hall sen., again looms large as a serious rival to Libertybelle Midfrew. To be handled by Clint Hall, Run Oneover will start from barrier five. He also started from the No. 5 barrier in the Mount Eden Pace in which he enjoyed an ideal passage, one-out and one-back, before running home powerfully to fail narrowly. The Hall stable will also be represented in this week’s event by the consistent Cyamach and Waylade, who showed a return to his best form last Friday night when he raced in seventh position, four back on the pegs, before finishing strongly to be an eye-catching third behind Tricky Styx and Beaudiene Boaz. Cyamach, who has amassed $355,396 in prizemoney from 18 wins and 33 placings from 77 starts, is awkwardly drawn at barrier six, but Waylade has a handy draw at No. 2 on the back line. Heez On Fire, prepared by octogenarian Bill Horn, will again have the services of Chris Lewis and is sure to have many admirers after excellent performances at his first three runs after a seven-month absence. Heez On Fire trailed the pacemaker Libertybelle Midfrew in the Mount Eden Pace and was hampered for room in the home straight before finishing fast along the inside to be a close-up third. Two starts before that he flew home from last at the 250m mark to be second, a half-length behind the winner Libertybelle Midfrew. Suvaljko said he expected Libertybelle Midfrew to perform even better than she did when winning last Friday week when the mare was slightly underdone after not having been given a hoppled run in the week leading up to the race. “Actually, barrier three is not a bad draw,” he said. “Change Stride handed up last week, but they might want to lead this week. And Mynameskenny gets out okay, but he’s more a sit and kick horse in this grade. “The main ones to beat are drawn outside of Libertybelle Midfrew, so the chief aim will be to keep in front of Heez On Fire and Run Oneover. We will come out hard with the aim of leading. But if we can’t, I’ll be happy in the breeze --- and she will run home strongly. She’s pretty tough.”  Ryan Bell will handle Change Stride and Ryan Warwick will be in the sulky behind stablemate Simply Susational, who is poorly drawn at barrier seven. Ken Casellas

Six-year-old Libertybelle Midfrew has struck peak form and is poised to become at Gloucester Park on Friday night, only the eighth harness racing mare in the 62-year history of the Mount Eden Pace to win the Group 3 $50,000 feature event. Her prospects in Friday night’s event  soared when she drew the prized No. 1 barrier and Henley Brook trainer Mike Reed and reinsman Shannon Suvaljko are planning for an all-the-way victory. In a major departure from the norm, the race will be decided over 2130m. The Mount Eden Sprint has been run over 1730m or 1700m for many years. The only mares to have won the Mount Eden Sprint, formerly known as the State Sprint Championship, and first run in 1955 when Bernie Cushing drove Village Chief to victory, are Dainty’s Daughter (1970), Pyramus (1971), Virgil Queen (1977), Kiwi Cloud (1978), Line On (1986), Whitbys Miss Penny (1992) and Sensational Gabby (2014). Reed has yet to train a winner of the Mount Eden Sprint, while Suvaljko will be keen to replicate his effort in 2010 when he drove 6/1 chance Real Life to an all-the-way win from barrier three in the Mount Eden Sprint. Reed has the high-priced New Zealand-bred Libertybelle Midfrew well and truly on track to be a major player in the TABtouch interdoiminion championship, which will get under way with the opening set of heats at Gloucester Park on November 25. The Christian Cullen mare started from barrier six and was a 25/1 chance in the 2015 Mount Eden Sprint when she finished strongly from seventh at the bell to be third behind Waylade and My Hard Copy. She also contested the 2014 Mount Eden Sprint when she started from barrier four and at 9/2. She ran home solidly, out wide, from eighth at the bell to be fifth behind Sensational Gabby. Libertybelle Midfrew cashed in on the preferential conditions for the 2536m Media Guild Cup and the 2130m Stratton Cup at her past two starts. Suvaljko made the most of the No. 1 barrier in both events in which Libertybelle Midfrew was untroubled to set the pace and win. She beat the fast-finishing Heez On Fire by a half-length in the Media Guild Cup and she sprinted over the final three quarters in 28.5sec., 27.3sec. and 28.1sec. when she scored by 4m from The Bucket List and Bettors Fire in the Stratton Cup. Her most recent success improved her record to 49 starts for 18 wins and 11 placings for earnings of $607,497.    Only two pacers have won the Mount Eden Sprint twice ---- Kolworth in 1961 and 1963 and Im Themightyquinn in 2011 and 2012. Trainer-reinsman Kyle Harper’s hopes of winning the Mount Eden Sprint again with Bettors Fire were dampened to a degree when the outstanding eight-year-old drew the outside barrier (No. 9). Bettors Fire led from the No. 1 barrier in 2013 when he defeated Im Victorious by almost three lengths at a 1.53.8 rate over 1730m. Then a year later Bettors Fire was a 20/1 chance when he surged home from the rear to be third behind Sensational Gabby. In last year’s race, Bettors Fire (14/1) thundered home from last the bell to be fourth behind Waylade. Last year’s winner Waylade will start from the No. 4 barrier on Friday night, but he faces a hard task after being unplaced at his past four starts. Waylade is one of five runners in the race prepared by champion trainer Gary Hall sen. Hall’s chief hope looks certain to be the brilliant five-year-old Beaudiene Boaz, who is awkwardly drawn at barrier seven on the front line. In the Stratton Cup last Friday week Beaudiene Boaz was restrained at the start from barrier six and raced at the rear in the field of eight before starting a three-wide move 550m from home. He fought on determinedly to finish sixth, three lengths behind the winner. The final fast sectionals recorded by Libertybelle Midfrew set Beaudiene Boaz a hopeless task. A week earlier Beaudiene Boaz gave a sample of his great class when he rated 1.52.9 to smash the track record for 2130m in winning the Navy Cup by two and a half lengths from the pacemaker Bettors Fire. Gary Hall jun. sent Beaudiene Boaz forward with a three-wide move from last with 1050m to travel and the Badlands Hanover stallion burst to the front 680m from home. His final quarters were run in 27.3sec. and 28.2sec. Comeback pacer Heez On Fire, now trained by Bill Horn, is ideally drawn on the inside of the back line and the WA-bred seven-year-old should enjoy a perfect run behind the likely pacemaker Libertytbelle Midfrew. Heez On Fire, to be handled by Chris Lewis, enjoyed an ideal passage, one-out and one-back, when fifth behind Libertybelle Midfrew in the Stratton Cup last Friday week. That followed his eye-catching first-up effort a fortnight earlier when he was eighth and last 250m from home before sprinting brilliantly in the straight to finish second, just a half-length behind Libertybelle Midfrew. Ken Casellas

Kotare Madhi made it back-to-back wins when he led throughout to take out the Luxbet Club Extra Stakes over 2200 metres at the Luxbet Harness Racing Centre in Launceston on Sunday night. Kotare Madhi notched his first win for Brighton trainer Dylan Ford in Hobart last week with his sister Taylor Ford in the cart and she again teamed up with the five-year-old gelding to repeat the dose. The Christian Cullen gelding has taken a while to come to terms with racing in his adopted state but after he won last week his trainer predicted the gelding could string a few wins together. Kotare Madhi ($5.40) showed brilliant gate speed to lead from barrier four and once in front he was rated superbly by his talented young driver who made the winning move when she released the deafeners 400 metres from home. Thirlstane King ($3.30 fav) trailed the leader and Glenenise ($9.90) had the coveted one-out-one-back position but they were left flat-footed when Ford called on the leader to sprint. Kotare Madhi won by over 12 metres with a half-metre separating Thirlstane King and Glenenise while Cheshire Cat ($10.20) rattled home from near last turning for home to finish fourth and only two metres behind the minor placegetters. Peter Staples  

Lightly raced six-year-old harness racing pacer Baldock gave his new owners plenty to cheer about when he powered his way to an impressive win in the Crown Lager Pace over 2090 metres in Hobart on Sunday night. With multiple premiership-winning driver Gareth Rattray in the sulky, Baldock faced the breeze early before Rattray pushed on to find the front but he was forced to take hold and take a trail when Safari Sunshine pressured for the lead. When the leaders moved clear turning for home Baldock lost ground but when Rattray balanced his charge for the run home the gelding ran on powerfully to score by over three metres Lockaway Kacie and Safari Sunshine. It was Baldock's first start for Marc Butler who purchased the horse after one of his close friends inquired about racing a horse. "My mate was keen to get a horse so I looked around and found Baldock that was with trainer Heath Szczypka who had him for sale," Butler said. "My mate got a few workmates involved and I'm sure they were all rapt with the horse's first start for the group. "I got him about three months ago and it's taken a bit of time to work him out but I reckon from what he showed us tonight he can win a few races. "He wobbled a bit around the corner tonight and lost ground but I should be able to straighten that out. "We can't take any notice of his time tonight because the wind was so strong they were lucky to stay on their feet." Gale force winds swept across the rack early in the night and were probably at their worst for the first three races. Baldock (Christian Cullen-The Summer Wind) had 38 starts for a win and a dozen minor placings before making his way to Butler's stables at Dysart. Peter Staples

Batavia, NY---An all-day rain left the track sloppy for the harness racing card at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Oct. 1), but some of the fastest times of the meet were recorded during the evening. None the least the one Highview Conall N registered while winning the $10,000 featured Open pace at the Genesee County oval. The red-hot Jim Morrill Jr. fired the New Zealand bred off the gate and to the lead as the rest of the field watched in single-file fashion. After fractions of :27.3 and :56.2, Highview Conall N and the second place Heaven Rocks (Kevin Cummings) had a two-horse breakaway in place as they opened up six-lengths on the rest of the field while motoring up the backside. As those two continued to compete alone, Knocking Around (Dave McNeight III) pulled from fourth and started to close the distance with the leader. Around the far turn, Highview Conall N was widening the gap between himself and Heaven Rocks as Knocking around was closing it from third. When they straightened out down the lane it was Highview Conall N pacing strong to the wire for a 1:53.2 win with Knocking Around closing well for second over Heaven Rocks. It was the eighth win of the year for Highview Conall N ($4.10) and it raised his annual income to $74,770. The 7-year-old son of Christian Cullen was a recent acquisition for owner/trainer Nick Gampietro Jr., who purchased him privately on September 26. For the second night in a row, John Cummings Jr. scored a driving grand slam. He returned to the Purple Haze winner's circle with Cheyenne Louie ($6.70, 1:54.4), Normandy Invasion ($2.70, 1:54.4), Youwillwishyouhad ($63.00, 1:55.1) and Bags of Money ($6.00, 1:57.4). Jim Morrill Jr. was a close second with a triple and Drew Monti came through with two. Trained JD Perrin also conditioned two winners on the night. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Oct. 5) with the first post set at 6:15 p.m.     Tim Bojarski

Pukekohe horseman Derek Balle looks set for a nice juvenile season in 2016-2017 if last Saturday’s annual Franklin harness racing yearling parade is anything to go by. Yearling colt Cullen's Caviar (Christian Cullen – Callie O’Malley) was judged the top yearling at the Franklin Trotting Club’s track on Station Road. Balle cleaned up the two major prizes with stablemate, Bit Of A Tiger (Bettor’s Delight – Tigerswish colt) also judged the ‘Best-of-the-Rest’. Balle received an NRM voucher while the Cullen’s Caviar’s gelding’s owners received a McMillan Feeds voucher. Bit Of A Tiger’s efforts earned Balle a Dunstan voucher sponsored by North Island Standardbred Breeders Association. Balle said there wasn’t much between the two yearlings. “I couldn’t separate them at this early stage. They are both very nice horses and the pick of my yearlings so far,” Balle said. Cullen’s Caviar is owned by his breeders (D M J Verryt, P J Cowsill, Mrs P Cowsill, Miss K Verryt, Miss T Verryt, Mrs D Farrell) – the Syndicate that owned the colt’s dam – Callie O’Malley, who won five races for Balle. They also have a Bettor’s Delight weanling out of Callie O’Malley with Balle. The mare was served by Auckland Reactor in September. “Cullen’s Caviar is very well put together and a bit more mature than most I’ve had. He feels like a 2-year-old but probably not a Young Guns horse. He will more than likely front after Christmas if he keeps developing the way he has,” said Balle. He said Cullen’s Caviar had paced a mile in 2:20, a half in 65, and a quarter in 31. “I broke him in, and like a lot of Christian Cullens he took a while to gait up, but once he got the hang of it he took to it well. He’s been in work for 10 weeks and I’ll give him a break now,” said Balle. He said Bit of A Tiger was a nice little horse, who had eight week’s work since he was passed in at the this year’s Karaka Yearling Sales. His reserve prize of $60,000 wasn’t reached. “He will have his second prep in about a month. He should also make a 2-year-old, but after Christmas as well,” Balle said. Meanwhile the Steve Cornwall (Pukekohe) trained Monkey Bones - Immortal Beloved gelding, Tobruk, was judged the best trotter at the parade. He was also named the ‘Best-Turned-Out-Trotter. The Robert Dunn trained Monkey Princess (Christian Cullen – Sheza Monkey) was judged the best pacing filly and the Ray Green trained Yasmine Bromac (Sir Lincoln – Jasmine Bromac) was the 'Best-Turned-Out'. The Brent Mangos trained Culpeka (Mach Three – Tuapeka Maddy) was named the best pacing colt and gelding and Balle's Cullen’s Caviar, the 'Best-Turned-Out'. Two Lincoln Farms service fees to Sir Lincoln were won by the Paulette Scree trained Petite's Majestie / and Joe Powell. Twenty five yearlings (eight trotters, nine pacing fillies, and eight pacing colts and geldings) took part in the Parade. Franklin Park Yearling Parade results - Overall Yearling-of-the-Year - The Derek Balle trained Cullen's Caviar (Christian Cullen – Callie O’Malley colt). Owner received an NRM voucher and trainer received a McMillan Feeds voucher. Best-of-the-Rest: Dunstan voucher sponsored by North Island Standardbred Breeders Association – The Derek Balle trained Bit Of A Tiger (Bettor’s Delight – Tigerswish colt). Trotters: Veterinary Associates Equine & Farm $500.00 product – The Steve Cornwall trained Tobruk (Monkey Bones – Immortal Beloved gelding) 1; HR Fisken & Sons voucher - Sir George Bowen 2; The Stables Cafe voucher - Traveller Girl 3. Takanini Feeds Merit Award - Out Of The Box; Takanini Feeds Best Turned Out - Tobruk. Pacing Fillies: Pukekohe/Waiuku Vet Centre $500 Feed Voucher – The Robert Dunn trained Monkey Princess (Christian Cullen – Sheza Monkey) 1; H R Fisken & Sons Voucher - Tiger Swift 2; The Stables Cafe voucher - Bettathanapokeindeye 3; Takanini Feeds Merit Award – Eyes Blazing; Takanini Feeds Best Turned Out – The Ray Green trained Yasmine Bromac (Sir Lincoln – Jasmine Bromac). Pacing Colts: Vetpro $500.00 product prize – The Brent Mangos trained Culpeka (Mach Three – Tuapeka Maddy) 1; H R Fisken & Sons voucher – Lincoln Road; The Stables Cafe voucher - Bayardo 3; Takanini Feeds Merit Award – Diamonds N Cash; Takanini Feeds Best Turned Out – The Derek Balle trained Cullen’s Caviar. Others: Betavet Random Trainers Draw - Ray Green; Muang Thai Voucher Horse/Owner Random Draw – Diamonds N Cash (Breckon Racing Syndicate); The Stables Cafe Voucher = ‘Sam'; Two Lincoln Farms Service Fees to Sir Lincoln Horse/Owner Random Draw - the Paulette Scree trained Petite's Majestie / and Joe Powell. Every horse that entered received a halter.   Duane Ranger

A new weekly harness racing segement on, 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

Durable pacer Glenferrie Hood sprung a major harness racing upset by claiming the Gr.3 $30,000 Wondais Mate at Albion Park tonight (Saturday). Recently transferred to the leading stables of Vicki Rasmussen, the Christian Cullen gelding had not won since taking out the Terang Cup back in February this year. But Glenferrie Hood ($34.90) turned his fortunes around with a barnstorming finish to defeat Ideal Scott ($5.90) and kiwi sensation Christen Me ($1.60 fav) in a time of 1:52.4 for the 1660m feature event. Sectionals were posted in 27.5, 29.2, 27.6 and 28.2 seconds. “He was absolutely super tonight and thrived on a genuine speed and finished really well, I still gave myself a good chance working off the back straight and got good cover flow from Christen Me before unwinding with a big late burst.” Winning driver Pete McMullen said. Connections of Glenferrie Hood have the option of starting again next week in the Listed $25,000 Mr Feelgood Open Pace or waiting for the Gr.2 $50,000 Sunshine Sprint on July 9. Tonight’s victory guarantees him a start in the Gr.1 $200,000 Blacks A Fake on July 16. “The draw was the obvious concern tonight because I wasn’t sure where we would land but we were lucky enough to get into a fairly handy spot, things played out pretty good thereafter. I thought he went really good last week; he got a little rank mid-race before being caught up behind weakening horses. “Obviously the opposition will only get stronger in the coming weeks but he’s fit and in-form so he’s got a show provided he gets some normal luck. Hopefully, he can land some handy draws which will give him a shot again.” Glenferrie Hood has now won 21 of his 62 starts while amassing more than $220,000 in prizemoney. Christchurch trainer Cran Dalgety was happy with the effort of Christen Me and stated he will improve off tonight’s run. Christen Me had not raced since May 21 at Addington. The Brisbane winter carnival officially gets underway next week at Albion Park with three weeks of high quality pacing action planned.

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