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Top harness racing trotter Stent is preparing for a comeback at the races later this month, after some pleasing work on his home track.  Trainer Colin DeFilippi gave the nine year old a run at the workouts on the 20th September, where he raced against the maiden pacers. Stent ran home ok without being pushed too hard, and broke 58 seconds for his last 800m. Owner Trevor Casey said "he was sore after that trial so we backed off him a bit. I hope we can get him back to the races, but I am philosophical about it"  "I will do the right thing by the horse and retire him, if there are any more front suspensory problems", he said. Stent has won 30 races from 69 starts and more than one million dollars in stakes.  ____________________________________________________________________________________ Champion mare Dream About Me has surpassed one million dollars in stakes with her 3rd behind stablemate Lazarus in the Canterbury Classic last Friday night.  From only 23 race-day starts, the Purdon/Rasmussen trained mare has racked up 19 wins, with her only unplaced run being a 6th behind Lazarus in last years New Zealand Free For All, which was run in a 1:52.6 mile rate. Dream About Me is nominated for the Terror To Love (G3) Methven Cup, to be run this Sunday on the grass track at the Mt Harding Racecourse.   Harnesslink Media    

Classy harness racing trotter Stent was back at the workouts yesterday after almost 2 years away from the race track with an injury. Racing against the maiden pacers, Stent ran home ok without being pushed too hard by driver Colin DeFilippi. Stent broke 58 seconds for his last 800m with the race being won by the Terry Chmiel trained Nota Bene Denario. _________________________________ Top harness racing mare Dream About me has been scratched from the Hannon Memorial at Oamaru this Sunday. Trainer Mark Purdon said "It is nothing too serious, but she was a bit lame on one foot yesterday and our blacksmith said she will need a few days to recover". _________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Ex kiwi pacer Christen Me won the overnight feature, a $17,500 Open event on Monday at Harrington Raceway. Christen Me rated 1-53.4 for his win. Another ex-kiwi pacer Bit Of A Legend also won the same night for trainer Peter Tritton. The 8-year-old Bettor's Delight stallion led and never had an anxious moment in his seventh win of the year and 40th of his career. It was a bit of a homecoming for Tritton, who was stabled at Harrington Raceway for nearly a decade before moving to the New York circuit in 2015. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Junior Driver Todd Quate has been suspended for failing to take reasonable and permissible measures to ensure a horse he was driving was given every opportunity to obtain the best possible finishing position. The suspension relates to his drive on Four Starzzz Shiraz at Rangiora on the 23rd July 2017. Quate was suspended for 10 meetings meaning he will be out until after the Methven meeting on Sunday 15 October.   Harnesslink Media  

The Woodlands Stud 2017 Canterbury Breeders, Owners, Trainers and Drivers Association’s Harness Racing Awards were held in Christchurch last Saturday night in front of a large audience.  Results from the awards were: New Zealand Cup Golf Week Trotting Owner of the Year: Ken Ford (Marcoola). Canterbury Standardbred Breeders Association Pacing Breeder of the Year: Gavin Chin and Brian West (Lazarus). Junior Driver-of-the-Year: Sheree Tomlinson. NZ Cup Golf Week Pacing Owner of the Year: Terry McDonald. Canterbury Standardbred Breeders Association Pacing Broodmare of the Year: Back In The USSR (Don Bates). Canterbury Trainers & Drivers Association Drivers Award: Dexter Dunn. NZ Cup Golf Week Owner of the Year: Greg Hope. Canterbury Standardbred Breeders Association Trotting Breeder of the Year: Darryl Brown (Eyre I Come). Natalie Rasmussen & Mark Purdon Trainer's Award: Brad Mowbray. Canterbury Standardbred Breeders Association Trotting Broodmare of the Year: Juliana (dam of Dark Horse). Woodlands Stud Accomplishment Award: Julie De Filippi. Woodlands Stud Outstanding Contribution to Harness Racing: Reg Storer Harnesslink

Harness racing driver Colin DeFilippi notched up his 2000th winner at Addington tonight (Friday 8th of September) behind Izmok, a horse he part owns and who he trains in partnership with his wife Julie. Colin started his driving career in 1974 and racked up 11 wins in his first season of driving, with his first win coming on Brother Eden at Greymouth on the 23 October 1974.  He has been stacking up the wins ever since with his best season being in 2006 which provided him with 121 wins and culminated with him winning the New Zealand drivers championship that year. Colin has won most of the big group races in New Zealand during his career with notable wins being a New Zealand Cup with Kyms Girl, an Auckland Cup with Burlington Burtie and two Rowe Cups with So Long Eden and Stent. An inductee in both the New Zealand Trotting Hall of Fame and Addington Harness Hall of Fame, DeFilippi was also associated with the champion pacer Courage Under Fire who won six Australasian Derbies with DeFilippi doing the driving. Five other drivers have reached the 2000 win milestone in New Zealand, with Tony Herlihy, Maurice McKendry, Dexter Dunn, David Butcher and Ricky May all achieving more than 2000 wins in their driving careers. Tonight, Izmok was way too good for his opposition winning comfortably by one and a half lengths in a 2-01.7 mile rate for the 1950m mobile event. Izmok giving Colin De Filippi his 2000th win.   Harnesslink Media  

Harness racing iron horse Titan Banner gained an automatic entry to this years Christchurch Casino New Zealand Trotting Cup when he won the Allied Security Maurice Holmes Vase last night (Friday) at Addington Raceway.  A condition of the race was the winner was guaranteed a start in this years Cup and Titan Banner proved too good, winning easily for strike rate trainer Graeme Anderson. The Art Major six year old gelding was the highest rated horse in the race last night and started a hot favourite on the tote.   Driver Dexter Dunn fresh from competing in the World Drivers Championship, had Titan Banner in front early and then trailing another cup aspirant in Art Union. Turning for home Dexter hooked out of the trail and Titan Banner coasted to the line winning with plenty in hand.  The winners time was a sedate 3-21.5 with a closing 800m in 58.1 and 400m in a quicker 27.8. Titan Banner winning the Maurice Holmes Vase A race earlier the Phil Williamson trained Alderbeck capped of some good form by beating the Paul Nairn trained and Dominion bound Habibti Ivy by a narrow margin.  Alderbeck (Pegasus Spur - J D Pat) trailed for the last lap and the five year old mare was too good in the straight shooting to the lead and then lasting to beat the favourite Habibti Ivy by a nose.  Alderbeck winning narrowly Mitchell Kerr continued his remarkable run of form in the last race when he trained his seventh winner for the season from only eleven starters. Alta Shelby (Mach Three - La Joconde) was driven to the lead early for driver Matt Anderson and the speedy three year old utilised the passing lane in the straight to win comfortably from outsider Pat Cambell and Colin DeFilippi. The win propelled Kerr back to an equal lead in the trainers premiership with Steve Telfer who picked up two wins at Alexandra Park on Thursday night to also get to seven wins. Alta Shelby giving Mitchell Kerr his seventh win of the season   Harnesslink Media

Harness racing driver Samantha Ottley managed to grab two driving wins last night at Addington and she did it by winning two of the trotting races with pacing bred mares.  Ottley drove outsider Michelle to a dominant win at long odds in the first trotting race of the night. At bolters odds of over $36.20 and $7.30 on the tote, Michelle who has been a serial breaker in her races, finally trotted all the way and cruised to an easy win over second favorite Still Eyre and driver Matthew Williamson. Michelle (Live Or Die - Eves Apple) is a pacing bred mare trained by Mark Jones and owned by Wayne Higgs. The lightly raced mare has taken a while to adapt to the trotting gait but is clearly going to win more races judging by last nights impressive performance. A few races later, Donegal Bettergretch won the R60 and Faster trot last night in a quick 3-19.7 for the 2600m stand. Donegal Bettergretch (Bettor's Delight - Donegal Gretchen) was driven to the lead early by Ottley and the pacing bred mare trotted well and proved too strong for her rivals, winning comfortably from Petite One and driver Colin DeFilippi. DeFilippi is sitting on 1999 lifetime driving wins and was a bit unlucky not to finish closer with Petite One as she was last at the 400m and was held up for most of the run home, until a late gap saw her close strongly into second. Top reinsman Blair Orange has moved to a two win lead in this seasons drivers premiership. Orange is sitting on eight wins for the season, two wins clear of David Butcher who is poised to narrow the gap with his good book of drives at Alexandra Park tonight. Amazon Lily got the ball rolling for Blair last night when she began well from the standing start and was quickly around to lead and controlling the race in front. The Ken Barron trained daughter of Bettor's Delight had too much speed for the opposition and won as she liked pacing the 2600m stand in 3.23.1. The last 800m of 57.5 was the quickest of the night until the last race when Orange adopted similar tactics on another Barron trained horse in For The Corz.  For The Corz also led early and controlled the race from the front before whipping over her last 800m in an identical 57.5 to win easily giving Blair and Barron a double for the night.    Samantha Ottley driving Michelle to victory.   Harnesslink Media  

Petite One is a good chance tonight at Addington to give Colin DeFilippi the win he needs to notch up his 2000 harness racing winning drives.  The Greg and Nina Hope trained trotting mare goes around in the fifth leg of pick six against some handy opposition and starts from the back mark of 30m along with last start winner Zachary Binx.  It is not easy to win at Addington from a long handicap but the small field will aid her chances and she looks to be one of the leading hopes in that leg of pick six. Colin has several other chances to get to his 2000 wins tonight as he has a drive in most of the races on the nine race card. Trainer Michael House has a big team in tonight and Colin is driving the majority of them. Cuddly Jess would be the best of his drives on paper, as she is a five race winner and the highest rated trotter in the second leg of pick six. Three of her five wins have been from behind the mobile and the seven year old Sundon mare will appreciate the mobile start tonight. Tonight the pick six is on Races 4-9 inclusive guaranteed to $25,000 if struck.   Leg 1     Race 5 [6:44pm] Upset winner Leigh Major has drawn badly again in tonights race but has the class to overcome the draw. TAB favourite Hayley Nicole is in good form and is also a great winning chance. Missinmemate was good last start and is another worth including in the first leg. Leg 2     Race 6 [7:16pm] There look to be four clear winning chances in the second leg of pick six.  Cuddly Jess is the top chance along with Medusa who was good running home late last start. Idle Moose has been freshened for this and is also needed and Rum In The Sun is also racing well.   Leg 3     Race 7 [7:45pm] Amazon Lily does not have a great record from a stand but looks to be almost an anchor if she can step away and get handy.    Leg 4     Race 8 [8:15pm] The first starters hold the key in this race, with all three first starters showing good form at the trials and workouts. Zion Bromac has drawn wide but comes out of the powerful Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen stable so has to the top chance here. Karmic Way was also good at his last workout runing home well. Rockaball is the other first starter that has shown promise at the trials.   Leg 5     Race 9 [8:44pm] A tricky field of rated 60 and faster trotters. The two back markers Petite One and Zachary Binx look to be the main chances along with Sundons Flyer and Donegal Bettergretch   Leg 6     Race 10 [9:14pm]  The final leg is an even go and there are many chances. Gunpowder has been racing well and has drawn to race handy. Others needed are smart 3yo Alta Shelby, Franco Saxon, For The Corz, Martin John and Admiral.   Suggested Pick Six   ($28.80 for 10%) Leg 1     8,9,11 Leg 2     7,8,9,10 Leg 3     10 Leg 4     3,9 Leg 5     4,6,7,8 Leg 6     1,2,3,4,12,13   Harnesslink Media

Harness racing trainer Colin DeFilippi edged closer to 2000 winners when Izmok won easily at Addington last night. Izmok (Muscles Yankee - Belle Galleon) is a half-brother to brilliant trotter Stent who won thirty races for DeFilippi and owner Trevor Casey. Last night Izmok had a good sit on the outer and finished best when produced wide in the straight. He trotted the mobile 1950m race in a mile rate of 2-04.6 with closing splits of 61.7 and 30.7. Colin was confident Izmok would go a good race but said before the race, "he has missed some work because of the weather and was no certainty but he should go a nice race all the same".  DeFilippi is now sitting on 1999 wins after the win of Izmok and will surely reach the milestone of 2000 in the coming weeks if Izmok can carry on his winning way. Eden Franco put up a good stayers run later in the evening when winning for trainer Steven McRae. Driven by Craig Thornley, Eden Franco (Christian Cullen - Elisit Franco) led from the start and set up a torrid tempo in front. She was attacked by Sheree Tomlinson on Bet On A Rascal for the last 1000m but staved that horse off and went on to win in a quick 2-00.0 mile rate for the 2600m stand. The overall time was for the race was 3-14.0 with a closing 800m in 57.9 and 400m in 29.5 seconds Leigh Major caused a major headache for the TAB bookmakers when she pulled off a betting coup in the junior drivers mares race. Stephen Richardson from the TAB advised Harnesslink that Leigh Major had opened at $43.00 on the fixed odds win market the night before and there had been steady and late money for her right up until the race started.   Leigh Major closed at $10.00 on the final field win market and came from outside the second line to win narrowly by a nose beating another S.McRae trained runner in Tara Tutaia. Earlier in the night Black Art also had the punters cheering, dropping in from an opening quote of $6.00 the night before to close a clear favourite at $2.70 on the fixed odds win market. John Dunn the driver off Black Art had to survive an enquiry for possible breach of the push out rule with 1600m to go, but survived and gave young trainer Andrew Fitzgerald his first training win.   IZMOK winning at Addington Harnesslink Media

Colleen Negus is very much in control of the New Zealand Amateur drivers Championship being held this weekend heading into the last day of racing today at Rangiora. The amateur horsewoman picked up success in Friday night's  one and only heat at Addington on board Eja Patron to give herself maximum points ahead of today’s two heats and with the plumb drive on Highland Reign today, she’s got a great opportunity to make it two wins for the series and, potentially, claim the overall title. Alan Edge, who finished second in Friday night’s heat, may lead the charge for those trying to chase down Negus this afternoon with his two drives today both hailing from the stable of Bruce Negus who could clean sweep the series as a trainer with a number of chances. Edge will drive Gerald in the opening heat today from a good draw which will see him a likely early leader with good gate speed and he then hops on board the in-form Living Legend in the second heat. North Islanders, Cheree and Sheryl Wigg both have strong chances in the second heat of the day with Sheryl on Waihemo Art and Cheree on Gabby’s Delight, who should get a nice run on the markers. Adam White has the drive on Take After Me in the second heat giving him a good chance to push for higher honours while Todd Woodward also has two strong drives for the day in That’s Bettor in the opening event and then Eastwood Cheiftain in the second. Away from the amateur driving championship, the watch will be very much on Colin DeFillippi as he edges closer to that magical 2000 win mark in the sulky. His victory on Hotdiggetycullen in Friday night at Addington took him to 1997 career NZ wins. He has three chances today with the best of those the talented Cullen’s Joy who will be looking to go one better than the first up second at Oamaru last weekend in a talented-filled maiden event early on in the day. He then has two each-way chance drives for Robbie Holmes to close out his day in Dragon Sun at Tehoro Dazzle, both of whom are good chances based on their best ability.   Super Selector - Matt Markham 1: #13 That’s Bettor, #2 Gerald, #3 Franco Calpih, #6 Caesar’s Quest 2: #4 Mr Farenheit, #10 Jerry Garcia, #9 Lord Roydon, #1 Kai Time 3: #1 Take After Me, #6 Highland Reign, #12 Pat Campbell, #11 Gabby’s Star 4: #5 Cullen’s Joy, #9 For The Corz, #15 Hot off The Press, #8 Come Dance With Me 5: #11 Missinemate, #5 Courageous Becqui, #9 Handsome Hero, #3 Just Ben 6: #1 Redwood Invasion, #14 Craddock, #12 He’s Like The Wind, #6 Sarah Palin 7: #5 Junkyard Mase, #12 Theboyslightup, #9 Save The Day, #6 Magical Mitch 8: #8 Oona, #2 Tehoro Dazzle, #13 All Settled Down, #12 Westar Bella 9: #4 Late Mail, #1 Rocknroll Magic, #8 Bevan’s Cullen, #6 Distinctive Del 10: #1 Hilarious Magic, #12 Ace High, #4 Bushido, #10 Novak Best Bet: Hilarious Magic (Race 10) Value: Missinmemate (Race 5)

Two of the forgotten stars of New Zealand harness racing are slowly but surely building towards a comeback in the first half of next season. Open class trotting stars, Stent and Master Lavros have both had their seasons cut short by injury but are pleasing their respective trainers in their build up towards making it back to the track. Stent, who was found to be suffering from a hole in his suspensory, has done six weeks jogging at the stables of his trainers, Colin and Julie DeFilippi. “He’s coming along nicely,” Colin said. “We had him scanned and given the once over last week and the vet was very happy with him so at this stage it’s all systems go.” After an initial preparation which involved a lot of walking and swimming, Stent was sent to the Methven Equine Centre for three weeks. The business which specialises in massage, swimming and agistment is situated a few kilometres east of Methven. “It was purely just to give him a bit of a break and in a way that he didn’t have to put too much pressure on himself. “It worked really well, he came back in great nick.” DeFilippi said that it was a case of so far so good in terms of soundness for the $1 million earner, but there is no rush to get him back to the races. “He’s due to step up his work in the next month and then we will look at getting into some serious fast work if everything is still OK. “We won’t be pushing him though, he will tell us if and when he is ready.” DeFilippi and Stent’s owner Trevor Casey won’t make any plans for the gelding until they know they have a horse who is 100 per cent which means that Cup Week in November isn’t a lock in. “The Dominion would be nice, especially to take on Monbet. “He’s clearly the best now, but we aren’t that far behind when we are right so it would be a great clash.” On the other side of State Highway One, Mark Jones is all smiles at the progress of this season’s Dominion Handicap winner, Master Lavros. The big gelding did an extensive stint in the care of noted thoroughbred trainer, Brian Court after he suffered a hind suspensory injury late last year. “He seems really good, he’s been out on the beach with Regan (Regan Todd) for the best part of two months now. “He never really went to the paddock, Brian Court had him for quite a while and he just did fitness on the water walker and treadmill.” Like DeFilippi, Jones is in no rush to get back to the track. “It would be nice to be ready for Cup Week, but the horse deserves to find his own way there if that’s the case. “We certainly won’t be pushing him that’s for sure.” Master Lavros will be scanned next Monday to find out whether or not he is ready to take the next step up in his work. Matt Markham

It is not uncommon for North Canterbury harness racing trainer Robbie Holmes to have a wry smile on his face these days as his racing team have hit a real purple patch in the last few weeks. He has changed nothing at home or on raceday but the wins continue to come at a regular rate in recent weeks and Robbie is just enjoying the change of luck he is experiencing at the moment. Last night at Addington Raceway he lined up the handy C1 pacer Gabby's Star and like most of the Holmes runners lately he didn't disappoint. A touch slow away, Robbie sent him forward to try to grab the lead but Royal Caroline and Colin De Filippi was having none of it and these two went head to head for the opening 800 metres before Gabby's Star made it to the front. Robbie kept the tempo up with Gabby's Star in front and had most of the field off the bit and chasing on the home turn but a couple of swoopers started to fly home late but Gabby's Star had enough in reserve to just hold out Happy As Larry and Jonny Cox. Gabby's Star paced the 2600 metres from a stand in a smart 3:18 with tidy closing sectionals of 58 and 27.9 Robbie was impressed with the run of the Elsu four year old. " He has had to work really hard for that first 800 metres to get to the front and that made him a bit of a sitting duck really." " But he has dug deep in the straight and held on well so plenty to like about the run." " This horse has had absolutely no luck lately, what with shocking draws or being held up at a crucial time so I decided to take luck out of play tonight and go to the front and press on." "He definitely deserved that victory on how he has been going lately," Robbie said. While last nights victory was on the all weather surface at Addington, Robbie was keen for Gabby's Star to concentrate on grass track racing when ever possible. " He loves the grass this fella, it just suits him down to the ground and overall he is better on that surface." " I think there is a few more wins in him yet the way he has been racing his last few starts," Robbie said. Postscript - Robbie made it two wins for the night when Clean Break won the C1 and faster trot later on the programe. Robbie also indicated to Harnesslink in the ringaround earlier in the week that Markim at Methven was his best winning chance for the weekend. Harnesslink Media  

Monbet might have the draw but Greg Hope says the advantage is with star trotter Stent. The exciting four-year-old will clash with last season's all-conquering square gaiter for the first time in the Trotters Green Mile at Methven on Sunday. In a small field of just seven runners, Monbet will leave the mobile from barrier two with Stent starting from six under the preferential barrier draw system. Hope, who trains in partnership with wife Nina, said Monbet is the baby of the trotting ranks with Stent still being the benchmark. "We're very happy with him but we are not taking anything for granted. Stent's definitely still the horse to beat, he's the established one so it will be very tough. "Stent's a very good horse and is still the benchmark along with Master Lavros." Monbet has thrived since winning the Group I free-for-all on cup day as Stent and Master Lavros skipped the race to head straight to the Dominion. But Stent has had a couple of setbacks with more corn issues since running fifth in the Dominion and Julie DeFilippi, who trains in partnership with husband Colin, said they are not 100 per cent on where his fitness will be at. "Methven will give us an indicator of where he is really at. "He did work off the property yesterday and Colin was very happy with him," DeFilippi said in what is an encouraging sign for the popular trotter." The Hopes, who race Monbet with Morrie Molloy, will not be losing too much sleep if the winner of 10 races from 20 starts does not beat the likes of Stent and Alley Way, given it will be his first start on the grass. Hope said they are looking towards the race with anticipation rather than expectation. "The grass can be a great leveller and it can take some of the speed away from the quicker ones." Monbet got a look at the Mt Harding Racecourse when beating home stablemate Quite A Moment over 2400m at the Methven workouts on Sunday in 3-27.9 with a 2-19.3 mile rate. "He trotted really nicely up there," Hope said. Mat Kermeen Reproduced with permission of Stuff NZ   -   Check site here

Leading up to the Dominion Handicap at Addington Raceway yesterday, most people thought Stent would continue his domination of the trotting scene in New Zealand. Stent had been in great form leading up to the Dominion Handicap yesterday but the one thing that raised the odd doubt in people's minds was the distance of yesterdays race- 3200 metres. If Stent looked to have one chink in his armour, it was his less than great record at the extreme distance. Stent had won the Rowe Cup at the distance but only after sitting on Master Lavros's back the whole journey and even then he just beat him by a nose. Master Lavros was an opponent again yesterday and while Stent isn't at his best at 3200 metres, Master Lavros has always excelled at the distance.  Master Lavros was away quickly for Mark Jones and grabbed the lead after 400 metres and kept up a steady tempo in the lead. Stent and Colin De Filippi after an early bobble had settled three back in the running line before looping the field to land outside Master Lavros's wheel at the 800 metres. Just when it looked like a match race between the two champions was on the cards, Master Lavros strode away for an emphatic victory with Mark Jones giving a great victory salute as he went over the finishing line. Alley Way and Matthew Williamson got home well for second in front of Sheemon who trailed the whole way while Stent only battled into fifth.  Mark Jones was very animated on his return to the winners circle "This is all down to Regan's hard work," Jones said of his Woodend Beach foreman Regan Todd. "There's a lot of satisfaction winning today after what we have been through with horse there is nothing better than getting back to the top of the pile" Jones said. "When you're in that position we were last season, you start to have doubts and you start to think you are lucky to have won what you have in the past." "I was starting to get to the point myself that Master Lavros might not win the Dominion again if he didn't win it this year as there are so many good young trotters coming through," Mark said. Jones was keen to get to the front early in the Dominion because he wanted to take bad luck out of play. "I just wanted to give him every chance and not have any excuses." "He goes good in front and we have come so far with this horse I wanted to give him every chance," Mark said. Regan Todd was just pleased it was over. "Its been a really long week leading up to today."  " A few people had doubts after Kaikoura but we always knew he needed that run," Todd said. The Rowe Cup is the main aim for Master Lavros for the rest of the season although a trip to Australia beforehand is still on the cards. Harnesslink Media

Turning down a Group I start is not easy but Trevor Casey his hoping his sacrifice will pay off.  Bookmakers have Stent as short as $1.80 to win the $250,000 Group I Dominion Trot at Addington Raceway on Friday. Nine of the Dominion field went around in the Group I NZ free-for-all trot on Tuesday but Stent was left at home. Stent has 30 victories and multiple Group wins but a Dominion victory would rank up there with the best for Casey, who races the 7-year-old son of Dream Vacation. "It's like the New Zealand Cup for the trotters," Casey said. The champion trotter was third two years ago behind Master Lavros and ran home for a disappointing sixth last year but was later found to be struggling from asthma-like symptoms. Co-trainer Colin DeFilippi is happy with how Stent has progressed since his last start at Kaikoura and says he is in perfect fettle to try to win his first Dominion at his third attempt. But Casey is not getting carried away despite Stent's heavy favouritism. "They don't come easy, they never do, even though we are in a favourable position you've still got to go out there and do it." Casey is sure Stent wold have backed up but said he wanted to do the best thing by his horse and give him the best chance in the Dominion. "We went to Kaikoura because we were a run short but he ran a national record time so we thought it would be best to go in fresh rather than race on Tuesday." Stent went under Sheemon's national record of 3-00.6 set at Kaikoura 12 months earlier by 0.4 sec. Mark Jones is predicting Master Lavros, second favourite at $6, will be improved on his fourth in Kaikoura. "He needed that run up there, he hadn't raced for three weeks," he said. Habibti was good when finishing third behind Monbet and Alley Way on Tuesday in the NZ free-for-all after sitting parked for the first half of the 1950m. "I was happy with her but I thought she probably should have run second," co-trainer David Butt said. "She just died in the last 60 or 70m so we have to just have to hope she improves with that run but it's hard to know." Butt, who trains in partnership with wife Catherine, said the former derby winner has bounced through the run. Habibti has not raced over two miles but his trainers are picking the distance will not be an issue. "I don' think it will worry her, she's always been a good little stayer,"  Butt said. Butt is hopeful rather than confident that Habibti can defeat the likes of Stent, Master Lavros, Sheemon and Alley Way. Last year's runner up, Sheemon, was disqualified on Tuesday but his run was much improved on recent outings and at his best will be a wining chance. Swedish trotter Daryl Boko broke rounding the final bend on his New Zealand debut and further improvement is expected on Friday. Greg and Nina Hope might not have their boom 4-year-old Monbet in the field but do have two runners in Quite A Moment and $81 outsider Harrysul. Quite A Moment is at $16 but has to be a strong place chance on her form since returning home from Australia. Mat Kermeen Reproduced with permission of Stuff NZ    -    Check site here

Harness racing pundits were out in force when Stent failed to run down One Over Da Moon at Ashburton a week ago. Was there a chink appearing in the armour of the champion trotter they said or was it just that he was a touch underdone last week. We didn't have to wait long to find out the answer with trainer /driver Colin De Filippi having a late change of plans and starting Stent today in the FFA trot at Kaikoura. His arch nemesis Master Lavros was also there and as expected these two made it a drama filled race. After a prolonged early tussle for the lead where the two champions drew clear of the field, Master Lavros worked to the front with Stent making him work very hard for the lead. Colin then waited for the passing lane and shot Stent through for a comfortable win from a big finisher in Waterloo Sunset. The fact the race was run in a new New Zealand record time for the 2400 metres of 3:00.2 for the 2400 metres only added further merit to Stent's run. It was win number thirty for Stent and cemented him once again as the trotter to beat during Cup Week. Colin looked a happy man on returning to the birdcage. " I wasn't as disappointed as a lot of people were with his run at Ashburton." "He had just got away on me a bit before Ashburton and I knew he would improve." " I had to make Mark on Master Lavros work hard early because he was the main danger today." " Stent has such a great all round game so he can make his own luck," Colin said. With Stent racing today there is now a question mark over weather he will line up in the New Zealand Trotting Free For All on Cup Day as a lead in to the Dominion Handicap on Show Day at Addington. " I would say it is 50:50 at this stage." " I will sit down with the owner Trevor Casey in the next day or two and sort out what we are doing." " Personally I don't think starting in both of the races would do him any harm but we will see how he comes through this race first," said Colin.  The win today by Stent sets up another clash with Master Lavros in the 3200 metres Dominion Handicap over a distance where there is little between them. It promises to be one of the must watch races of Cup week. Harnesslink Media

New harness racing season, same Stent. Colin DeFilippi and last season's trotter of the year, picked up where they left off with their usual military procession at Addington on Friday night. In his first race day start as he heads to the Group I Dominion Handicap, Stent was a convincing one and three quarter length winner over arch rival Master Lavros. For a $12,000 trot, the race carried plenty of interest with classy mares Habibti and Kincaslough also making their first starts for the season. Many of the top trotters will be back next Friday night for the Group III Canterbury Park Trotting Cup over 2600m. Stent looked to be carrying plenty of condition and DeFilippi believed he would strip fitter next week if he returns for the Canterbury Park Trotting Cup. He worked Stent into a charmed one-one sit and when he asked him to go he sprinted past Master Lavros. DeFilippi, who trains in partnership with wife Julie, said he would need see what handicap Stent would start from before he committed to it. On the back of the win, TAB bookmakers moved Stent into Dominion Handicap at $3.40 from his $3.80 while Master Lavros holds firm at $3.60. Trainer-driver Mark Jones was not concerned with Master Lavros's effort first up and probably relieved he stepped away, albeit a little slowly. Jones said the giant 7-year-old son of Sundon would likely be back next week. Stent trotted the 2600m in 3-18.6 and ran home in 56.6 and 27.6. The Craig and Aimee Edmonds trained Kincaslough hit the line nicely from near the back. Aimee Edmonds confirmed she was happy with the Love You mare who would be back next Friday. David Butt gave comeback trotter Habibti his tick of approval in her first run back since suffering a suspensory ligament after her last race day start in October 2014. Mat Kermeen Reproduced with permission of Stuff NZ   -   Check site here  

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