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Overport Lodge trainer Mark Jones has had to make “that” phone call to owner Grant Hatton following a devastating setback to top pacer Saveapatrol. Not only is the lightly-raced star out of today’s Hannon and November’s New Zealand Cup, but his future is uncertain after sustaining a tendon tear high up in his superficial tendon. “It is the worst phone call to make to Grant (Hatton) and the worst part about training horses, but is part of the job and can happen anytime to anyone,” Mark said. “I know all the time and effort, especially Regan (Todd), myself and my staff, have put into him. We did everything we could to keep him sound,” he said. The tear is in the same leg he sustained an injury previously. “But last time it was a deep digital tendon so its a completely different injury and so gutting,” Mark said. Saveapatrol, the big gelded son of Christian Cullen and Rondel Franco, will have the tendon scanned next week. “At this stage, our only option looks like doing an operation and give him a decent break, so he’ll be out for at least six months,” Mark said. “I just have to hope we get him back to the races.” “The vet didn’t give us much hope of racing him again but I am confident with the right rehab and all the work Regan puts into looking after him that we will get him back racing.” The injury is extremely frustrating, after Saveapatrol had a precautionary operaton and a year off following an Auckland Cup third in the hope of preserving his long-term race future. “It only happens to the good horses,” Mark said. “I have no doubts he was a serious winning chance in the New Zealand Cup.” “Both Grant (Hatton) and I may never get another horse as good as him, so we will put everything we can into getting him back to the races.” Saveapatrol resumed in late June, winning the Thames Cup second-up in early July, then had to be freshened again with a foot infection. He stepped out with a nose win from the trail at the Rangiora trials on Wednesday (last 800m in 55.5s), pleasing in preparation for a scheduled Hannon return. The 6YO has raced only 18 times for 11 wins, a second, and a third, earning $145,618 in stakes. Jeff Scott Reproduced with the permission of Mark Jones Racing Stables  - Check site here

Michael House is optimistic Franco Nelson is on right on track for November 10. The Christian Cullen 6-year-old made his first public appearance for House at the Rangiora trials on Wednesday since being transferred from the Robert Dunn stable. Franco Nelson is injury free after having surgery three months ago to remove a bone chip from a back leg and House is hoping he can go one better than his second behind Adore Me in the New Zealand Trotting Cup last year. After his heroics during Cup Week, when he also ran third in the Group I New Zealand free-for-all, Franco Nelson was plagued by issues. He has not won a race since using his blinding sprint to win the 4-year-old Emerald back in May 2014. Franco Nelson pinged away from the tapes at Rangiora and House was leading heading into the first bend despite his 30m handicap. "He's a very fast horse saved for one run, he's not a leader, but he started that good I didn't have a choice," House said. House kept him under a strong hold in the final 150m to finish fourth in a more than satisfactory return. "It's not ideal to have other horses run past you, but I wasn't going to knock him around in his first run back," he said. House was happy with the hit out and said Franco Nelson would return to the trials at Addington on Monday, but a comeback race had not yet been decided. "He's only about 80 per cent fit but there is plenty of time and I think we're in a good place," House said. Anthony Butt will return home from Victoria to drive Franco Nelson in the cup. Saveapatrol came up the passing lane after trailing Franco Nelson to beat a gutsy No Doctor Needed by a nose, with Tiger Tara flying home late for third a further length back. No Doctor Needed sat parked for most of the last half mile and was still making ground on Saveapatrol at the post. Saveapatrol paced the 2600m in 3-24.9 with a mile rate of 2-06.8 and closing sectionals of 55.5 and 26.9. Mat Kermeen Reproduced with the permission of Stuff NZ - Check site here  

After bookending the harness racing program at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night with a couple of his stable favourites, South Australian horseman Robert Caruso is confident of further Victorian success this coming weekend. Caruso-trained horses won two heats of the Battle of the Claimers, Paleface Jasper (11G Village Jasper/My Paleface Navajo) taking the first in 1:55.7 and My Man Dan (10G Pacific Rocket/Fullabubbles) heat four in 1:56.9. Both were driven by Chris Alford, who finished with a winning treble for the night. “I brought them over a month ago and thought they’d go well but things just didn’t quite work out,” Caruso said. “Dan didn’t travel for whatever reason last time. I changed up a few things and that seemed to work. And Paleface had to work too hard.” Paleface Jasper ran to the lead after about 500m and dictated terms from there, race favourite Livin It Lovin It (Rodney Petroff) coming around to the breeze through a 30.1secs second quarter. At the home turn both the first and second horses were put to pressure but Paleface Jasper wasn’t going to be denied, fighting on doggedly to score by a half-neck. “I knew if Jasper got to the front he’d be a hard horse to beat,” Caruso said. Ten races later it was Caruso and Alford to the fore again with My Man Dan, who, like his other successful stablemate is a former Queensland pacer. My Man Dan was driven off the pace, one-out and two back, before easing three-wide at the 600m. At the home corner My Man Dan loomed up to hit the front with Ballochbuie (Greg Sugars) and My Elusive Dream (Alison Chisholm) joining in four- and five-wide. The three engaged in a cracking tussle up the stretch but My Man Dan found enough to win, the last quarter run in 28.2secs. “He was just a jump and charge horse up in Queensland but I always thought a horse with that much speed has to be able to come from behind,” Caruso said. “We changed things up a bit and he’s won four of his last six, so he’s got a few extra strings to his bow.” Mighty Mav (5G Town Champion/Shes A Dancer), trained by Matthew Craven and driven by Chris Svanosio, and Inky Cullen (Christian Cullen/Inky Lady), trained by Dean Braun and driven by Alex Ashwood, were the other Battle of the Claimers heat winners on Saturday night. Mighty Mav went 1:56.6 and Inky Cullen posted a rate of 1:55.8. Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria >> Video: Paleface Jasper too strong >> Video: My Man Dan overpowers his rivals

Leading harness racing breeder Charlie Roberts has never been one to play by the rules over his lifetime in the industry. As the driving force behind Woodlands Stud, Charlie has been experiencing a run that is unprecedented in Australasia with regards to the stallions he stands and the horses he has bred or is racing. The jewel in the the Charlie Roberts crown is the brilliant Adore Me 1:47.7 ($1,673,286) who with her win in the New Zealand Cup last season and then her win  in the Ladyship Mile in a world class 1:47.7 showed ability rarely seen down under. With her stunning racetrack record and being a full sister to the champion three year old Have Faith In Me 1:52.5 ($550,381) and being a half sister to the dam of the dual Grand Circuit champion Christen Me 1:49.1 ($2,304,325) and this years stunning two year old filly Dream About Me 1:53.3 ($403,872), Adore Me is without doubt the most valuable broodmare in Australasia. Breeders have been holding their breath since Adore Me went amiss in the Auckland Cup in March as to who would be the first consort for this champion mare. Many thought that Charlie would stay in house with both American Ideal and this seasons new stallion Sweet Lou at his disposal at Woodlands Stud but Charlie has never been one to do things by the book. Yesterday it was announced that the consort for Adore Me at her first year at stud would be the champion racehorse and sire Christian Cullen. These days domiciled at Nevele R Stud in Canterbury, Christian Cullen is in the twilight of his siring career but has set siring records that are world class. With Christen Me being by Christian Cullen it shouldn't really be a big surprise that Charlie Roberts has gone back to a sire that has already clicked so potently with this family. Harnesslink Media

The harness racing public were expectant that Christen Me would resume on a winning note in the $25,000 Maurice Holmes Vase at Addington Raceway tonight over 2600 metres and that is exactly what he did with a narrow but comfortable win in the Group 3 feature. Away well from the stand, driver Dexter Dunn let Christen Me find his feet early before sending him forward at speed to grab the front from Jason Rulz with 1800 metres to go and then immediately backed the speed right off. A sedate first 800 metres of the last mile turned the race into a sprint home but Dexter kept Christen Me back to the field down the back straight in 29 before turning up the gas at the 400 metres mark. Jason Rulz momentarily looked a threat but Christen Me was holding him comfortably at the line. A minor highlight of the race was Choise Achiever flashing home late for third in his first start for over 20 months. Christen Me paced the 2600 metres from a stand in 3:17.3, a mile rate of 2:02 with closing sectionals of 56.1 and 27.1. It was the son of Christian Cullen's 29th win from just 47 starts and took his earnings over the $2.3 million mark. Trainer Cran Dalgety was a happy man post race. " We were keen to win the race but he was first up and we didn't want to barbecue him." "Once Dexter got the front I didn't think they would beat him." " Christen Me lets them get up to him but they very rarely get past." " He is 22 kgs heavier this year than last and we will let him tell us where we are going."  " Oamaru for the Hannon is next on his schedule and after that we will just play it a bit by ear," Cran said. The Australasian Grand Circuit champion for the last two years, Christen Me looks primed for another huge season. Harnesslink Media  

It is not often in harness racing that a great sire doesn't go on to become a great broodmare sire although the degree of that success can vary every now and again. In The Pocket has done in the broodmare paddock exactly what he did as a sire, having already won the overall title of leading broodmare sire and being the leading pacing broodmare sire in the season just concluded.  In The Pocket has been first or second on the New Zealand broodmare siring charts for the last five years but is under real pressure going forward to hold off the challenge of one of his sons in Christian Cullen. Christian Cullen has made rapid progress up the broodmare siring charts in the last five years as more of his mares are bred from, rising from 27th in 2011 to third overall last season and a close second on the pacing list to In The Pocket.  The rise has been startling and Christian Cullen has the same potential to click with champion sires Bettors Delight and Art Major as his sire In The Pocket has done. Mares by Christian Cullen have only produced 605 foals three year old or older to date which has put him at a major disadvantage against the likes of Holmes Hanover and In The Pocket whose foal numbers are counted in the thousands not hundreds. However as more and more Christian Cullen mares move into the breeding barn, those numbers will change quickly. This season there are 180 two year olds in New Zealand from Christian Cullen mares and there are also 184 yearlings from Christian Cullen mares on the ground so he will quickly catch up numbers wise over the next few years. When you look at the quality of the racehorses his mares are producing, it is no surprise that he has moved up the charts so quickly. Horses of the class of Ohoka Punter 1:51.1p ($599,013) - Te Kawau 1:54.3p ($131,674) - Express Stride 1:54.3p ($132,395) alongside two of last season's standout two year olds in Lazarus 1:52.9 ($265,562) and Chase The Dream 1:53.1p ($212,026) have helped establish Christian Cullen as an elite broodmare sire. One thing of note is that all five of the horses quoted above are sons of Bettors Delight. The best performer produced by a Christian Cullen mare to date is of course Highview Tommy 1:55.2 ($1.021,904) who is also by Bettors Delight. Broodmare earnings in New Zealand have already topped the $6,000,000 mark while over the Tasman in Australia he is slightly ahead of that with $6,179,816 in earnings to date. Looking ahead to next years yearling sales, vendors with Bettors Delight progeny from Christian Cullen mares can expect their stock to be keenly sought after by buyers from both sides of the Tasman. Harnesslink Media

Outstanding New Zealand-bred harness racing four-year-old Elegant Christian will contest a standing-start event for the first time when he begins off the 10m mark in the 2503m Suzuki Jimny Sierra Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Clint Hall will handle the brilliant gelding, who is on target to extend his winning sequence to six. Elegant Christian has not started since he raced three wide early and then set the pace and won easily from Mohegan Sun in a 2130m mobile event at Gloucester Park on May 1. His 13 starts (all in WA) have produced 11 wins, a second and a fourth. "He's had pretty bad leg injuries," said trainer Gary Hall sen. "I'm not sure how quickly he'll get away, but he's forward enough to win." Elegant Christian gave a sample of his class early last year when he won the group 3 Caduceus Club Classic and the group 2 Western Gateway Pace. The clash between Elegant Christian, his talented stablemate Classic American, Chief Thundercloud and My Good Deed promises to one of the main highlights on the ten-event program. Four-year-old Classic American, who has won 14 times from his 30 starts, will begin from 10m alongside the Ross Olivieri-trained Chief Thundercloud, who is in splendid form. My Good Deed, trained by Greg and Skye Bond, will start off the front and will have many admirers. He is a standing-start specialist and has won at 11 of his 29 starts. Chief Thundercloud worked hard before winning narrowly from the fast-finishing Classic American at Bunbury two starts ago before he started from 20m and ran home solidly when second to stablemate Pembrook Henry in a 2503m stand at Gloucester Park last Friday week. My Good Deed maintained his consistent form at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon when he started from 50m and dashed to the front after a lap before finishing a close second to Major Rush over 2631m. Ken Casellas

Nevele R Stud is pleased to announce its 2015-16 stallion roster  and their service fees.  In good news for harness racing breeders the Stud’s flagship stallion Christian Cullen has had his fee reduced to $9,000, making the five-time champion NZ Pacing Stallion and sire of back-to-back Australasian Grand Circuit champ Christen Me terrific value for the coming season.  Cullen Breeding is to be applauded for making this wonderful stallion accessible to a wider range of breeders in 2015-16 and we hope he will be well supported. The majority of the remaining stallions’ fees remain unchanged from the previous season, aside from Nevele R stalwart Live Or Die, whose fee has been eased by $500.   The Stud has one exciting new addition in the form of Gold Ace – a champion 3-year-old and six-time Group 1 winning pacer, and of course Bettor’s Delight’s richest down-under entire. A beautifully bred and outstanding looking individual, we’re very positive about his future. The past season has seen some of the Nevele R’s younger sires, Tintin In America and Changeover, really start to make their mark and we’re looking forward to following the progress of their progeny in 2015-16. Tintin In America’s first crop have been quick out of the starting gates, literally, with the five-time Group 1 winning speed machine already the sire of a number of exciting youngsters including the unbeaten Ready2Run sales topping colt Zee Dana, the smart 2-win Victorian filly Just Wantano, who was a respectable fourth in the Group 1 Vicbred Super Series 2YO Fillies Final last weekend, and the promising 2-win WA juvenile Dame Puissant.  Changeover’s first crop 3-year-olds have continued to impress with the likes of Group Race winners Nuala, Mister Lennox and Sudden Change and the Victorian Oaks place-getter Glenferrie Bronte leading the way. He is currently one of Australia’s leading 3yo pacing sires by average earnings and to date the sire of 49 winners of almost $1 million in stakes.   The coming season will also see the arrival of the first foals of the world champion son of Rocknroll Hanover, A Rocknroll Dance – who was incredibly well supported by breeders last season, serving over 300 mares in NZ and Australia.    Stallion                                                   NZ Fee (+ GST)                            AUS Fee (incl. GST)   A Rocknroll Dance                                   $6,000                                               $6,000 Changeover                                              $4,000                                                 $4,400 Christian Cullen                                       $9,000                                                  N/A Gold Ace                                                    $3,000                                                 $3,300 Live Or Die                                                $2,500                                                 $2,750 McArdle                                                     $3,000                                                 $3,300 Tintin In America                                      $2,050                                                 $2,255 Andover Hall                                             $7,500                                                $8,250 Badlands Hanover                                  $2,000                                                 $2,200 CR Commando                                        $3,000                                                 N/A Dream Vacation                                       TBA                                                      N/A Muscles Yankee                                      $9,000                                                 $9,900 Revenue                                                    TBA                                                      N/A   For more info on the above stallions please visit Nevele R Stud

A decisive return to winning form by Saveapatrol in the $18,500 Bayleys Coromandel 2015 Thames Cup hasn’t changed plans for the horse to cross the Tasman any time soon. “Its great to get him back in the winner’s circle,” said trainer Mark Jones. “A lot of the credit goes to Regan (Todd) for the work he does with him,” he said. Following the Thames Cup on Friday, July 3, Mark, and owner Grant Hatton, confirmed their decision for the horse to remain in Auckland this month. Saveapatrol made a smart beginning from the 20m line and was in front after the opening 500m. The lightly-raced big boy son of Christian Cullen and Rondel Franco revelled in his work on the front-end, second-up after an enforced 14 month layoff. Although inclined to knock off a tad when he clearly had his rivals beaten inside the final 100m, Saveapatrol was super impressive, pacing the 2700m (stand) in a race record 3:22.2 (2:00.4 mile rate). Driver Blair Orange put the hammer down passing the final 800m, letting Saveapatrol quicken from that point in a slick 55.5s. Saveapatrol, even though knocking off at the finish, still steam-rolled the opposition over his closing 400m in 27.6s. Everything now over the next four months will prep the former Auckland Cup placegetter for the New Zealand Cup at Addington in November. “He’ll just continue to race in Auckland and come back south for the Hannon Memorial etc. in the spring as the second Tuesday in November is the aim,” Mark said. Saveapatrol has now raced only 18 times for 11 wins and a couple of minor placings, for $145,618 in stakes. Providing he stays sound, and with regular racing, he could be one of the best prepared for this year’s 3200m cup. Mark also picked up solid place money with stablemates, Zakspatrol (strong-finishing second) and the consistent squaregaiter Sunoflindenny (third) on Friday. Oasis Dream and Kowhai Monarch ran sound fourths, and Landora’s Girl finished fifth, but Rocker Band, Pomme Roy and Twice The Delight were all unplaced. Rocker Band, after sprinting hard early to wrest the lead in the C2-4 pace, over-raced and dropped away in the run home. Pomme Roy tired after working early from the outside gate to race parked in a C1-2 pace, while Twice The Delight, wilted after trailing in the C1-2 mares pace. Jeff Scott - Courtesy of Mark Jones Racing Stables - Check site here    

One of harness racing's most promising partnerships is on the verge of reaching two significant milestones. Ken Barron and Blair Orange's first season together has been full of highlights and Change Time's victory in Sunday's Winter Cup was another exclamation mark on a season that has shattered all expectations.  With the Barron-trained Livura a winner earlier in the day at the Rangiora Harness Racing Club's meeting, the Barron-Orange combination scored a winning double. Orange now heads into Forbury Park's meeting on Thursday with 98 wins for the season. He went past the 100 mark for the first time last season with 106 winners. With Addington on Friday night and Timaru on Sunday, Orange is a strong chance to reach the century by the end of the weekend if not sooner. Barron's two winners on Sunday have taken him to 49 training wins for the season. Despite going close on a couple of occasions, on his own and in partnership with John Lischner, Barron has never reached 50 wins in a season but the West Melton trainer is certain to break the milestone before the current one is out. Orange credits getting an economical trip as the difference for Change Time who upset the field to win the Winter Cup at a $17 quote. "Finding the trail was definitely the key," Orange said. Change Time's form line was nothing to get excited about going into the Winter Cup but she has come out of the four-year-old Diamond at the Harness Jewels and some quality fields when racing in Auckland. "Last start she had to sit parked and was found wanting a bit, but she's always been better with a sit," Orange said. Change Time's win was Orange's second Winter Cup in as many weeks after he won the Marlborough version last week with Lilac Desire. The Christian Cullen mare picked up her seventh career at Rangiora but her racing days are numbered. A four-year-old mare out of Chaangerr, Change Time will head to Australia at the end of the season to be retired to the broodmare paddock. Orange will always have fond memories of the mare that brought him his 1000th driving win with her victory at Addington back in January. Talented three-year-old Bracken Ridge is another leaving the Barron stable after being sold to Perth but Orange said there was still plenty of talent in Barron's stable. Gerard O'Reilly, Ricky May and Robbie Close also drove winning doubles at the Rangiora meeting. Woodend Beach trainers Greg and Nina Hope continued their standout season with three winners in the last three races of the day. The husband and wife partnership now have 66 winners for the season, just one shy of their best of 67 in 2013. Meanwhile, Dexter Dunn brought up his 200th win of the season at Forbury Park on Friday night. Dunn started the night on 196 winners and brought up the double century with his fourth win of the night with Give Me Strength. It is the fourth time he has gone past 200 winners in a season but in 2012 and 2013 he was finished on 199. By Mat Kermeen Reprinted with permission

IT doesn't get any better than winning your first Group One on a big day's harness racing. So it was a day to savour for both leading trainer Kerry Ann Turner and young reinsman David Morris at Tabcorp Park Menangle today. Turner won the NSW Breeders Challenge four-year-old entires and geldings final with Lettucerockthem while a little over half an hour later Morris saluted when he led all the way to win with Luda, in the four-year-old mares' final, also giving rookie trainer Daniel Neagoe his first Group One. Turner arrived at Tabcorp Park Menangle today "expecting" and she left over the moon with her first Group One winner safely in the bank. Lettucerockthem became the first horse to win three Breeders Challenges in successive years when he cruised home with the $100,000 Four-Year-Old colts and geldings final. It has been a long-time coming because Turner lost a Group One at this very meeting three years ago when Blissful Guy (with Robbie Morris in the sulky) was first past the post but lost the race on protest to No Ah Saint. Turner, who will have her first child in a few months, was ecstatic when Lettucerockthem was sold recently and the new owners sent the son of Art Major to her Menangle stables to train. Her partner, Robert Morris did the rest, finding the front out of the gate from nine and cruising through the first half of his last mile in 60.3 seconds. That made it mathematically impossible for short-priced favourite My General Lee, who sat back in last place and had little chance of running them down. Turning for home Morris held all the aces and clicked up with a final split in 26.6s and a last half of 53.9 to win as he liked, beating Theartofconfusion (Todd McCarthy) by 16m and the fast-finishing My General Lee (David Morris) 23m away from the winner in third place. Luda (Christian Cullen) was just as impressive in the mares' final, holding off a wall of challengers in the straight to score in 1:58.5 mile rate. David Morris obviously learned from his defeat in the previous race as he quickly found the front from the widest gate, stacked up his rivals then held them all off in the run to the line. By Michael Court, Editor-In-Chief, National Trotguide

Every day here at Harnesslink we have a look at the harness racing results from the previous day in Australia, and one relatively unheralded stallion's name has cropped up quite a bit in the last twelve months. We are referring to the son of Christian Cullen in Quick Approval who for a stallion with few progeny on the ground has done a more than a passable job. Brought back by his breeder Matthew Harris when he didn't make his $20,000 reserve at the yearling sales, Quick Approval spent most of his career in the Riverina district Good enough to win a heat of the Australian Pacing Gold at two, Quick Approval went on to be a handy performer in New South Wales with his best performance coming when he won the $30,000 Group 3 four and five year old Carnival Of Cups Classic at Dubbo where he broke the track record held by Smooth Satin. Retired with a record of 23 wins from 58 starts for stakes of $108,559 and a best time of 1:57.1, he was understandably not rushed when offered as a sire. " When he was racing I had a lot of people approach me to ask if I was thinking of standing him at stud when his racing days were over." He is such a great looking individual and performed so well on the country circuit in New South Wales that I thought he deserved his chance at stud." "However as you would expect he has never been rushed with mares," Matthew told Harnesslink this week. With his oldest crop just four years of age, Quick Approval has never had either numbers or quality in the mares he has served. His oldest crop of four year olds numbers just nine but it has already produced four winners which taking everything into account is a great result. Matthew has been a bit hamstrung in his ability to support his own stallion. "I am breeding from quite a few mares from Quick Approval's immediate family including his half sister Clever Tune 1:59.5 ($112,958) who is already the dam of the smart Reneging 1:55.1 ($117,617)." "So I can't breed any of those mares to Quick Approval which hasn't helped him at all," Matthew said. Probably the most impressive of Quick Approval's recent winners has been the two year old With Authority who blitzed a two year old field at Young on Tuesday night. It was With Authority's second win at just his fourth lifetime start.  In the previous race at Young on Tuesday night was another winner by Quick Approval the three-year-old Geronimo Beau. Everybody knows how hard it is to get established as a colonial sire these days but Quick Approval is putting some handy stats together in New South Wales which should see him serve a bigger book of mares in the coming breeding season. Harnesslink Media 

A decision to operate on an unknown injury has given harness racing star Saveapatrol a second chance. In early 2014, Saveapatrol, was one of the most promising pacers in the country but that ground to a halt when he pulled up sore after running third in the 2014 Auckland Cup behind Terror To Love and Adore Me. Initial scans on the Mark Jones trained gelding could not pin-point the problem but Jones and owner Grant Hatton elected to open up his leg in an attempt to find what was troubling the son of Christian Cullen. Surgery found a slight tear in his tendon that was too small to show up on the scans. "We're lucky we did operate otherwise we could have ended up doing much more damage," Jones said. Getting his star pacer back to the track is a huge relief for Jones. "When they go a miss like that you're never sure if you will get them back." The Canterbury trainer is especially pleased for Hatton who has been patient throughout the injury layoff. "We're lucky to have an owner like Grant who has given him the time to get him back to where he needs to be," Jones said. Fifteen months of patience will come to fruition at Alexandra Park on Friday night when the now five-year-old contests the Auckland Trotting Club's $20,000 Winter Cup. Saveapatrol has had two workouts at Rangiora and a trial at Addington in the lead up to Friday's assignment. "He seems 100 per cent sound now so we are very happy with with where he is at," Jones said. In the hands of Blair Orange, Saveapatrol will start off the 20m mark and despite the long lay off, Jones is confident of a bold showing. "I'd like to think he should be winning really, he comes in pretty good on the handicaps so he should be pretty hard to beat," Jones said. Saveapatrol is booked to board a plane for Brisbane on Monday for the the Queensland Winter Trotting Carnival. Jones said Saveapatrol would have to fail badly on Friday night to change those plans. Saveapatrol is ear-marked for four feature races worth a combined total of around $300,000 during the carnival. "When he is right with a bit of racing under his belt I think he can be a grand circuit horse," Jones said. The Queensland campaign will provide an ideal opportunity to get some quality racing under his belt before he comes back and prepares for a tilt at the New Zealand Trotting Cup. Saveapatrol's last win came in January 2014 when he beat home Terror To Love, Arden Rooney and Franco Ledger to win the Group III Invercargill Cup. Lightly raced, Saveapatrol won his first three starts and currently holds a record of ten wins and two placings from 16 starts for more than $130,000 in stakes. Saveapatrol is out of the tough mare Rondel Franco who won 37 races from 153 starts for more than $650,000 in stakes across New Zealand, Australian and America. There were plans to defend the Invercargill Cup this year but Jones pulled the pin when Saveapatrol was not quite ready. By Mat Kermeen Reprinted with permission of the Christchurch Press

Forgotten Kiwi star Saveapatrol is ready to kick-start his harness racing career again. The Christian Cullen – Rondel Franco gelding has not raced since finishing third in the 2014 Auckland Cup behind champion pacers Terror To Love and Adore Me at Alexandra Park, Auckland. A series of niggling leg injuries has kept him away from the racetrack ever since but a return is imminent following impressive workout/trials recently in Christchurch. Prepared by former World Driving Championship winner Mark Jones, Saveapatrol resumes next week in the Thames Cup in Auckland. “It’s great to have him back; it’s been a long slow build-up for him but he’s fit and healthy right now and we’re all looking forward to having him back at the races. The plan is start him in Auckland before heading straight to Brisbane for a four start winter carnival campaign.” Jones said. Saveapatrol will tackle the Gr.2 $50,000 4 & 5yo Championship on July 11, the Gr.1 $125,000 Blacks A Fake on July 18, the Gr.3 $30,000 Patrons Purse on July 25 and the Gr.2 $50,000 Redcliffe Cup on August 1 before returning home for a New Zealand Cup preparation. A winner of 10 races from 16 starts, Saveapatrol scored impressively in his latest workout on Monday at Addington with Blair Orange taking the drive. He paced the 2600m in a mile rate of 2;02.7 while finishing off in 57.5 and 27.7 seconds. “He won comfortably and he paced his last mile and a half in 3;00 and did it very easily and Blair said he felt great. We’ve given him a number of workouts and he’s gradually increased his work load with each run. “He’s out on the beach at Woodend with Regan (Todd – stable foreman) and he’s very sound right now so we’re keen to give him his shot at some of the better races and the Queensland campaign fits his schedule perfectly. “Blair has given us a vote of confidence by declaring he’ll go anywhere to drive him, so he’s heading to Auckland and then over to Australia. He claims he’s one of the most gifted horses he’s driven and as we know, he’s driven some of the best during his time with Mark Purdon.” Saveapatrol heads to Auckland this weekend in preparation for the $20,000 Thames Winter Cup next Friday, a stand-start feature staged over 2700m. Zakspatrol, a five win pacer, will make the trip to Queensland with Saveapatrol. Both horses are raced by Grant Hatton. by Chris Barsby

Overport Lodge trainer Mark Jones advanced to 52 wins for the season with a winning double on the first day of the Nelson winter harness racing meeting, and another at Auckland, on Friday, June 5.   Adding to the day’s success, Woodend Beach stable foreman picked up a deserved win with Sandvik Star at Nelson, and was the caretaker trainer of upset mares mile winner Whyamibettor from Overport starter All Delight.   Mark scored back-to-back Nelson training wins reining front-running hot favourite Pomme Roy to a comfortable win in the C1 Reefton Trotting Club Mobile Pace.   He has decided not to back up the 3YO Christian Cullen-TK Swift gelding on the second day at Nelson on Sunday.   Pomme Roy held second favourite Mach Denario by a length and a half in a 2:03.9 rate for the mobile 2400m in the slushy conditions, quickening over his last 800m in 58.5s.   After winning his 2YO debut at Addington and showing early promise as a colt, Pomme Roy was gelded after losing form after racing in Auckland as a spring 3YO.   He returned to win first-up at Addington on April 23 and has been in good overall form for this preparation.   Friday’s win was a bonus C1 win for the 3YO, who remains a C1 for his next start. He has now won three of 15 career starts.   in a good sense of occasion, Blair Orange then reined stablemate Zakspatrol to a gritty neck win over the Regan Todd-trained Fleeting Grin in the C1 Mark Jones Racing Stables and Club Waimea-sponsored Pace.   Zakspatrol, who had been knocking on the door of a win in his latest racing, rallied strongly from the third line on the outer to score in 3:10.9 (2400m stand) in the conditions.   The big 4YO Art Major-Shimmering Star gelding gets his chance to step up in the C2 and faster Nelson Pine Industries Nelson Winter Cup on Sunday.   Zakspatrol was returning to the winner’s circle on Friday at his third start since being downgraded last month.   He is now the winner of five from 43 starts for $38,232.   Owner Grant Hatton shares in the ownership of both Nelson winners.   He races Zakspatrol with wife Katherine, while he co-races Pomme Roy with Chatsworth Lodge Ltd, Bob Higgins, Bill and Claude Walsh.   Katherine Hatton also races Real Torque, a 2YO Real Desire filly, with daughters, Emma, Gina and Kate.   The girls also enjoyed good success a few years earlier as co-owners of former country cups star My Man Dan.   Real Torque, a half-sister to fast North American winner Statesman (1:50.4, US, nine NZ wins) and other useful types in Monaro (seven NZ wins, 1:58.5) and WA winner Calais (two wins, 1:56, Aust), was a $10,000 Australasian Classic Yearling Sales buy.   She wasn’t hurried out of the gate first-up by Kimberly Butt in the Mitavite Mobile Pace.   Real Torque showed some toughness after being left parked and rallied well to hold Bronze Over by a neck in 2:45.5 (2:01 mile rate) for the mobile 2200m.   The leaders quickened over their last 800m in 58.3s and final 400m in 27.9s.   Jeff Scott - Mark Jones Racing Stables  -  Check site here  

It didn’t take long to realise harness racing trainer Brent Lilley might be in for a good night at Tabcorp Park Melton. But not many could have predicted just how well the script would play out for the Bolinda horseman, who walked away from tonight's Trotters Oaks meeting with five wins – including the two feature races. It all began with five-year-old Live Or Die/Trustee Mota gelding Crusader Acey, who showed his last-start win at Shepparton was no fluke with victory in the DNR Logistics Pace over 1720m to open the program. From barrier seven reinsman Anthony Butt produced a carbon copy of his steer aboard Hollywood Sign last month when it won the Rising Stars Final, driving Crusader Acey across the field early to find the pegs before handing up to the favourite, Macho Comacho. Crusader Acey out-sprinted Macho Comacho late along the sprint lane to win by a neck in a mile rate of 1:54.1. Lilley notched a winning double in the fourth race with five-year-old Monarchy/Sun Mist mare Rosemma. The foolproof trotter dashed to the lead early from barrier five for Rodney Petroff, while stablemate and race favourite Kyvalley Pink blew its chances by galloping away. Rosemma rated 2:00.7 to hold off a fast-finishing Mister Independent by 1.1m in the Garrards Horse and Hount Trot. Lilley and Butt then snared Race 7, the Pace ,with impressive gelding Lets Elope (by Real Desire out of Alta Vista), finding the lead from barrier two before staving off all comers at the finish. Lets Elope carved out splits of 30.4secs, 29.8secs, 28.5secs and 27.6secs, clocking a 1:56.4 mile rate. Punters backed Lilley and Butt in to do it again in Race 8, the night’s feature, the $60,505 Group 1 Noel Simpson Memorial Trotters Oaks. Favourite backers were grinning 2mins and 47secs after the mobile arms folded back, My Arya leading from start to finish to register a 3m win over Amarula with Little Miss Zigzag flashing home for third. The Angus Hall filly held out an early challenge from Fiery Mountain Girl to lead before getting away with a 61.3secs first half at the head of affairs. She upped the tempo down the back the last time and took the zing out of any chasers with a 28secs third quarter. Sprinting home in 29.8secs, My Arya never looked like being headed and has now won 10 of her 11 Australian starts. Her winning mile rate for tonight’s 2240m trip was 2:00.4. Lilley and Butt capped the night in Race 9 by taking out the Pryde’s Easifeed Tatlow Stakes for two-year-old trotters with Kyvalley Tinman. The son of Majestic Son/Kyvalley Kitty sat on the speed in the run before out-staying his rivals, quickly getting the better of early leader Calder Knight turning for home before seeing off a late charge by impressive filly Princess Phoenix for a 1.3m win in 2:04.2 for the 2240m journey. While Lilley made the headlines with five winners, Butt’s performance should be undersold, finishing with a metropolitan quartet of his own. In other results, Aldebaran Macha easily took out the Good Form Pace over 2240m for David and Josh Aiken, the son of Mach Three/Aldebaran Bromac too good for runner-up Hez The Wild Card in 1:56.2. Anton Golino and Todd McCarthy took out the Group 2 Bacardi Lindy Mares Trot with rising star Arboe, who held off Vics Cheval at the finish by 3.2m. Arboe, by Love You out of Lough Neagh, has now won five of six starts and has genuine star power. Arboe rated 1:59.0 over the 2240m, Claudys Princess finishing third beaten 13.2m by the winner. Bringing up a double for Todd McCarthy was Glenferrie Hood, a pacer making a name for himself in Victoria with two straight wins here. The son of Christian Cullen/Niftey Franco found the lead from gate seven early and ran along to record a mile rate of 1:53.7, defeating Sapphire Swayze by 3.6m with Im Barney Rubble third. Shes A Runa notched her 16th win at start No.27 by taking out the Empire Stallions Vicbred Championship Final for trainer Amanda Turnbull and driver Nathan Jack. The Jeremes Jet/Runacullen mare, a four-year-old, was 7.3m too strong for Gollahman, while in-form Ithappenstobeametro stuck on gamely for third. The winner’s mile rate was 1:55.5. Trainer Dean Braun looks to have another star on his hands in the form of Wardwell, who won tonight’s Pegasus Club 3YO Pace Final over 2240m. The gelding by Mach Three out of Ohappy Daze won by 7.4m over Starwyn Jasper with Brighty Valentine third in a rate of 1:59.0. Wardwell has now won three from three and bigger races look on his agenda moving forward. David Miles and his talented four-year-old Smokey Quartz capped the night with a gutsy success over Masterofthurles, that pair racing well clear of third placegetter Thunder Fee in the last race, the 2Construct Pace Final over 1720m. Smokey Quartz and Masterofthurles were involved in a speed war early, the latter eventually holding up and Smokey Quartz dropping to the leader’s back. From there Smokey Quartz eventually got out, rounded up the early pace setter and went on to score by 2.8m in a rate of 1:56.4. Smokey Quartz is a son of the great Courage Under Fire out of Pareen. View replays of all tonight's races and get full results by Cody Winnell

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