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Fifth Edition has wound back the clock to win his second Rangiora Harness Racing Winter Cup in three years and fourth winter cup of his career. The Cran Dalgety-trained pacer spent almost 18 months away from the races because of injury but the patience of his connections was rewarded at Rangiora on Sunday when he brought up his first win since July 2014. Fifth Edition beat home back-marker Tijuana Bromac​ by one and a quarter lengths with a further half head back to Flyin Heather in third. Fifth Edition is raced by his breeders John and Margaret Smith, Tony and Gay Moody plus Brent Smith and Case Witteman​. Sunday's win was just his fourth start since returning to the races. Dexter Dunn, who drove Fifth Edition to victory, said the win was all about repaying the patient owners. "It's great for John and Margaret Smith, they have been with Cran for a long time and they just love racing," Dunn said. After the win, Brett Smith paid credit to Dalgety for getting Fifth Edition back from his injury troubles where he needed bone chips removed from an ankle. Dunn believes his two runs in Nelson last week gave him the fitness edge for his Rangiora win. "He did it pretty easy in the end, he was under a hold at the line," Dunn said. Fifth Edition quickly caught the main pack from his 30m handicap, aided by front-marker and favourite The Manipulator being slow away. Dunn was able to find the one-one when brother John took Callenberg​ up to challenge The Manipulator for the lead. With 600m to run and Callenberg tiring, Dunn launched Fifth Edition three wide to chase down the Mark Purdon​ and Natalie Rasmussen-trained The Manipulator down. The Manipulator faded to fourth with his softening up form Callenberg clearly taking its toll. Meanwhile, unbeaten colt Our Waikiki Beach will remain in New South Wales rather than heading to Brisbane for the Queensland Derby. A trip to Queensland was being considered last week after connections missed the cut off for his nomination for the semifinals of the New South Wales Breeders' Challenge. Part-owner Trevor Casey has confirmed he will race at Menangle and in a Breeders Crown heat before heading to the Breeders Crown final to round out his season.​ Mat Kermeen

Harness Racing trainer Cran Dalgety might have left last week for his Australian campaign with Christen Me, before heading off on holiday. But that won’t stop the West Melton trainer picking up a win or two at Addington Raceway tonight. Dalgety will line up talented 2yo On The Rantan, who was smashed in by punters on debut to start a short price when beating Motu Meteor at Rangiora. Since then the Bettor’s Delight gelding has impressed at the trials On The Rantan's recent trial Once again to be driven by the country’s leading reins man Dexter Dunn, On The Rantan will start from barrier 4 in race 3. Currently a $1.55 Fixed Odds favourite, he should give Dalgety his first winner for the night. Safely through that assignment, Dunn & Dalgety combine in Race 4 with first starter Rapid Flight who was seen making up good late ground in her recent trial. The 2yo Bettor’s Delight filly owned by Charlton Park Enterprises Ltd will start from barrier 6 in a handy fillies and mares mobile pace over 1950m. Rapid Flight Her main danger looks to be the Greg & Nina Hope trained Dalness Mac, who stormed home at Ashburton after being locked away on the markers. With a good trip, she certainly has the speed to boom right past them. Hope will also line up Harrysul and Phil’s Gift in the feature trot of the night. Harrysul is first up since November last year, while Phil’s Gift steps back significantly in class for tonight’s assignment. His run two starts back for 4th behind Le Reveur is great form, considering that runner came out and won at Alexandra Park last weekend. Phil's Gift, 4th behind Le Reveur Andrew Fitzgerald

Star Canterbury harness racing pacer Christen Me flies out for his Queensland campaign tomorrow morning. The 7yo Christian Cullen gelding will land in Sydney before arriving in Brisbane on Friday, with his main goal being the Group 1 Blacks a Fake. …...................................................... Nathan Purdon has changed his plans with his stable star Ohoka Punter and will now head to Sydney for the Group 1 Len Smith Mile. Purdon will look to go to war against the two David Aiken runners Lennytheshark and Hectorjayjay before returning to Queensland to battle Christen Me during the up and coming Queensland carnival. …................................................................................................................................... Tact Tate has picked up a cold and will now be been sent for a spell by trainer Amanda Turnbull following his victory at Tabcorp Park Menangle last Saturday. The result means the 4yo McArdle gelding will not head to the Queensland Carnival. Turnbull will still have a star at the Carnival however with Fcee, who is unbeaten in 4 starts and will now head to the Group 1 Queensland Derby on July 16 at Albion Park. ….................................................................................................................................... While Canterbury trainers Terry and Glenys Chmiel are set to campaign their handy 3yo filly, Nek Time. The Gotta Go Cullect ran a solid 3rd at Alexandra Park last Friday, and convinced owners Robert and Sharyn Symon of Southland, that she was ready to take on the Queensland features. Leading New Zealand reinsman Dexter Dunn will fly over to drive the filly in the Gold Coast Oaks (July 2) and Queensland Oaks (July 9). Andrew Fitzgerald

Harness Racing Trainer Cran Dalgety has a big chance to pick up another Nelson Pine Industries Nelson Winter Cup with his runner Fifth Edition. The 6yo Mach Three gelding won the 2014 edition and is having just his 3rd run back from close to 18 months off the race track. Starting off the back mark of 40m in the prelude on Friday, Fifth Edition made a quick beginning for driver Dexter Dunn and had soon caught up with the pack. Dunn made a smart move to sneak up the pegs with a lap to run, finding himself four back coming to the 800, he was able to push his way out to a spot 3 wide with cover. angled to the outside of the track at the top of the straight, Fifth Edition only went down by ½ a neck to eventual winner Ideal Arden. The 3000m trip today wouldn't hold any concerns for the Dalgety trained gelding, and even off his 40m back mark, he looks a massive chance to go one better. Dalgety rates his runners on this website each week and said the following about Fifth Edition. “I was rapt with him the first day. It was a big run off 40m behind over 2400m and he's backed up good in the past. He won his race a couple of years ago so we're looking to fulfill again” First day winner Joey Maguire is a new edition to the cup field and has drawn well in barrier 2 for co owner and driver Ross Houghton. He was a dominate winner of a C2 event on Friday and also finished 2nd in last year's cup, so the distance won't affect the Robert Dunn trained gelding. While the Greg & Nina Hope trained Bettor Buy It, who started a short price in the prelude will be better for his first up run. Andrew Fitzgerald

The 2016 Racing Queensland UBET winter carnival is fast approaching and in the coming weeks, Queensland harness broadcaster Chris Barsby will profile a number of major players vying for the top prizes. With 18 Black Type races on the program for the 2016 Winter Carnival, the carnival’s pinnacle in 2016 is the G1 Blacks A Fake, which now boasts an impressive $200,000 in stakes. The carnival spans from May 28 to July 30. Here’s a profile featuring a pacer that is certain to attract plenty of interest and attention as he chases the state’s best races. Name: Christen Me Stable Name: CC Age: 7yo gelding Owner: Charles Roberts & Vicki Purdon Trainer: Cran Dalgety Driver: Dexter Dunn Prizemoney: $2,356,392 Biggest win: Gr.1 Miracle Mile, Gr.1 Hunter Cup, Gr.1 Victoria Cup, Gr.1 Chariots of Fire Target: UBET Picket Fence Challenge – Gr.2 $50k Sunshine Sprint and Gr.1 $200k Blacks A Fake Trainer says: “He’s an elite athlete, one of the very best in this part of the world and a pleasure to be part of his team. He’s always performed every time he’s raced in Australia previously and although we venture into unchartered waters with Brisbane this time around, I’m confident he can get the job done. Unfortunately, we’ve missed the bulk of the season owing to a few setbacks but the Queensland campaign fits his schedule perfectly so hopefully we can pick up some money and some warm weather next month.” Barsby says: “The star attraction of the 2016 Brisbane winter carnival, what a thrill to have a horse of this magnitude racing in our backyard and vying for the lucrative prizes on offer. It’s a formidable trio of outstanding horse, trainer and driver so expect plenty of support to head his way when his graces the track at Albion Park. His form since resuming has been very good and the Australian style of racing suits him ideally – get your backside trackside to witness this modern day great.”

Wheen Christen Me's trainer Cran Dalgety announced his star pacer would miss the Group 1 Len Smith Mile at Tabcorp Park Menangle later this month and head straight to Queensland, rival harness racing trainer David Aiken decided to reconsider his plans. Aiken was keen to keep Inter Dominion winner Lennytheshark and rising star Hectorjayjay apart until the Perth Inter Dominion however he has confirmed the pair will clash in the Len Smith Mile. After the June 26 race, Hectorjayjay will continue onto Queensland while Lennytheshark will remain in Sydney. "Josh (Aiken) told me that Cran Dalgety had decided to go straight to Queensland with Christen Me so I thought I might as well start Hectorjayjay in the Len Smith Mile against Lennytheshark," Aiken said. "It is a dream to have two horses the quality of Lennytheshark and Hectorjayjay in your stable at the one time, obviously the headache is keeping them apart as often as you can. I think the gap between the two has closed noticeably and I know the driver of Hectorjayjay (Gavin Lang) is pretty excited and he doesn't get excited about much." Aiken confirmed the recent bad weather in Sydney had caused him a few concerns with Lennytheshark but he has already overcome those issues. "I wanted to give Lenny a trial at Menangle on Monday but because of the rain and the flooding around the track the races were transferred to Wednesday. The main track was closed but I was still able to give him a good hit-out on the training track. "He always improves with racing, he works his way into his campaign. The draw on Saturday night isn't ideal but he'll be better for the run and the Len Smith Mile is the main target, I then will just keep him ticking over until Perth which is a long time away." Lennytheshark is likely to remain in Aiken's Sydney stables if he can get access to the water walker. "Once I can start to use the water walker at Menangle it will be perfect. I like Lenny to do a lot of his work in the water walker so if he can use the one being built at Menangle then I'd be more inclined to keep him in Sydney. "If there was an attractive race for him in Melbourne he would definitely go south and compete." Greg Hayes

One of Australasia’s best pacers has committed to harness racing in Brisbane at this month’s Queensland Winter Racing Carnival, with star New Zealander Christen Me targeting the UBET Picket Fence bonus. In a major coup for the Queensland Winter Racing Carnival, trainer Cran Dalgety has confirmed a trip to Brisbane for the seven-year-old gelding, which will be targeting the $50,000 UBET Picket Fence bonus for Open Class pacers that culminates in the Group 1 $200,000 Blacks A Fake on July 16. In order to collect the bonus, Christen Me must win two eligible lead-up races during the Queensland Winter Racing Carnival between June 18 and July 16, as well as the feature Blacks A Fake. Dalgety said the UBET Picket Fence bonus, a joint initiative developed by Racing Queensland and UBET, had swayed connections from their initial plans to target feature races in both Sydney and Brisbane over the Winter. “A feather in Racing Queensland’s cap is the UBET Picket Fence bonus, it definitely has drawn us to that incentive,’’ said Dalgety. “It has definitely swayed us from our original plan.” Christen Me is no stranger to Australian success, having won feature races such as the Miracle Mile, Hunter Cup, Victoria Cup and Chariots Of Fire. However, his trip to Brisbane will mark the well-travelled campaigner’s first ever trip to Queensland as he looks to add to his $2 million in prizemoney. “I’ve told him it’s nice and hot so he’ll enjoy that,’’ joked Dalgety. “The bonus with this horse is that he’s had plenty of trips away and been out of his comfort zone so much, that the travel won’t be an issue. “This guy has travelled more than me, so I don’t see that as an issue.” Dalgety is in the process of finalising travel plans to Queensland for the next fortnight, which will determine his target races over the course of the Queensland Winter Racing Carnival. A likely option is the Group 2 Sunshine Sprint worth $50,000 on July 9, with Dalgety also to determine a suitable lead-up race prior to that. Respected racecaller Chris Barsby has been engaged by Racing Queensland as talent scout for the concept and he is currently in NZ trying to lure other Kiwi pacers for the Queensland Winter Racing Carnival. Other prominent pacers that have also committed to targeting the UBET Picket Fence bonus include the David Aiken trained Hector Jay Jay and Bling It On for Belinda and Luke McCarthy. Racing Queensland Acting CEO Sam Adams said the recruitment of some of harness racing’s best pacers was an exciting first step for the Picket Fence concept. “This is looking like it’ll be one of the strongest Queensland Winter Racing Carnivals on record,” said Adams. “The Picket Fence bonus has already attracted interstate and overseas interest and that ensures that these great horses are going to stay in Queensland for longer periods over the course of the Winter Carnival as they chase that elusive picket fence.” Racing Queensland Harness Operations Manager Brett Rail said interest in the Queensland Winter Racing Carnival had spiked with the announcement of the Picket Fence Bonus concept and the increase in prizemoney of the Blacks A Fake. “We’ve been fielding phone calls from a number of trainers, looking to plan their pathways for the Picket Fence Bonus,” said Rail. “The fact that Blacks a Fake is worth $200,000 this year has also generated great interest in the race.” The likely list of visiting horses from interstate or overseas that have already indicated they will target the Picket Fence bonus is included below: Horse Name Trainer Age /Class ALL EYES ON US Belinda and Luke McCarthy Open Class BLING IT ON Belinda and Luke McCarthy Open Class CONDAGEN Dennis Picker Open Class HECTOR JAY JAY David Aiken Open Class TACT TATE NZ Amanda & Steve Turnbull 4YO /Open OHOKA PUNTER Nathan Purdon Open CHARLAVAL Kerry Anne  Turner 3YO CHRISTEN ME NZ Cran Dalgety Open SPARE ME DAYS Brad Hewitt Open MY MASTERCRAFTSMAN Adam Sanderson 3YO   ABOUT UBET PICKET FENCE The UBET Picket Fence offers trainers and owners the chance to win a whopping $111,000 in bonuses for any horse that can win three races in a row during the eligible Queensland Winter Racing Carnival races between June 18 and July 16. To be eligible, a horse’s first two ‘Picket Fence’ victories must be obtained while racing in Queensland, leading up to the UBET Picket Fence finale night. The final ‘picket’ must be obtained by winning one of the four UBET Picket Fence finales on Blacks A Fake race night at Albion Park on Saturday, July 16 UBET Picket Fence races will be held for 2YO, 3YO and Open Class pacers at Albion Park Harness Racing Club and Redcliffe Paceway, with the following bonuses offered: ·         $50,000 for the Blacks A Fake Picket Fence winner ·         $20,000 for the Queensland Derby Picket Fence winner ·         $20,500 for the QBRED Triad 2yo C&G Final Picket Fence winner ·         $20,500 for the QBRED Triad 2yo Fillies Final Picket Fence winner   HOW DOES THE UBET PICKET FENCE WORK? UBET PICKET FENCE races will be held at Albion Park and Redcliffe Harness Racing clubs from 18 June - 16 July 2016 for 2YO, 3YO and Open Class pacers. To be eligible, your first two victories must be obtained while racing in Queensland, in any lead up race to the UBET Picket Fence finale night. The third and final picket, can only be obtaining by winning one of the four UBET PICKET FENCE finales on Blacks A Fake race night at Albion Park 16 July. Adam Gardini Communications Manager, Racing Queensland

What a day for champion harness racing sire Bettor's Delight, not only has he sired the winner of three pacing jewels winners, he is also the sire of Donegal Bettorgretch who was victorious in the Harness Jewels $100,000 Group 1 Sovereignty 3YO Ruby Trot. “Even with the favourite galloping, I still felt this fella was travelling better than him and would have won anyway. It's a great result for Murray Boyd and Cran.” said Dexter Dunn. Those comments from our leading driver, Dexter Dunn, say it all, after the Cran Dalgety trained trotter recorded her first Group 1 victory. “If you had said to me 10 or so years ago when I started out that I would be training trotters I would have scoffed and laughed at you. Bloody things I thought! I once said, if you ever see me racing or breeding trotters, shoot me – and now look at me, I've got one of the favourites for the Jewels” Boyd said. Donegal Bettorgretch took her earnings to just over $80,000, from 13 starts. Winning Time & Margin: 1-57.00MR, with a ¾ lengths back to Wilma's Mate in 2nd and 3 ½ lengths back to Conon Bridge in 3rd. Donegal Bettorgretch Andrew Fitzgerald  

The Australian campaign for star New Zealand Harness Racing pacer Christen Me is on target. The $2 million earner has resumed with two excellent victories for trainer Cran Dalgety, the latest last weekend at Addington where he proved too strong for his rivals after working hard throughout. Christen Me will have his final lead-up this Saturday in the $20,000 Garden City Florist Winter Cup at Addington, where he will meet five rivals in the 3200m standing start event before boarding a flight for Sydney. The seven-year-old gelding shares the 30m backmark with Mighty Flying Mac. And Dalgety believes this will have him spot-on for the Aussie campaign. “His health is a very good given how long he has been on the sidelines, I got very good feedback from Dex (Dexter Dunn – driver) following his effort last week because he’s a major percentage higher with his general wellbeing and he will keep improving with his fitness.” Dalgety said. The Australian campaign takes in Sydney with the Gr.1 $100,000Len Smith Mile on June 29 followed by a trip north to Brisbane for the winter carnival where his feature race target is the Gr.1 $200,000 Blacks A Fake on July 16. Christen Me is no stranger to Australian success with feature race victories including the Miracle Mile, Hunter Cup, Victoria Cup and Chariots Of Fire among others. Owing to the fact that Christen Me has missed the bulk of the season because of injury, Dalgety is keen to make up for lost time. “The timing of his injury was unfortunate because we were building nicely for the New Zealand Cup before things went awry in October. Now that he’s back to full health, these races in Australia make good appeal and provide a good foundation for the New Zealand Cup in November later this year. “I’m keen to give him two runs in Sydney, I want a start on the track again before the Len Smith Mile and then we’ll look at two starts in Brisbane with the Sunshine Sprint followed by the main event, the Blacks A Fake. “I’m trying not to be excited but I actually am about this campaign, I think it’s a good opportunity and the timing is right so everything is looking good.” The Sunshine Sprint is a Gr.2 feature worth $50,000 on July 9. Christen Me is also eligible for the UBET Picket Fence bonus of $50,000 if he can win three races during the Brisbane winter carnival including the Blacks A Fake. Chris Barsby

Christen Me is likely to return to Addington next Saturday for the 3200m Winter Cup. Trainer Cran Dalgety confirmed the champion pacer is likely to return to Addington following his easy one-length win in a c4-open class pace on Saturday. Dexter Dunn settled Christen Me at the rear of the field from his wide draw but began a move to sit in the breeze with a lap to run. He jogged home in a 55.6 (seconds) half to beat a fast finishing Titan Banner who could become a genuine player in the 4-year-old Emerald at the Jewels from his new surroundings at the All Stars barn. Christen Me paced the 1950 in 2:21.7 with a mile rate of 1:59.6. The winner of more than $2.3m in stakes will head to Sydney following next week's run at Addington with his main aim being the Group I Len Smith Mile at Menangle on June 26. If the son of Christian Cullen, raced by Charlie Roberts and Vicki Purdon​, comes through his Sydney campaign in good order, he is a chance to head to the Queensland carnival before heading home to be set for the New Zealand Trotting Cup.  "We'll let the horse tell us if he'd ready for that (Queensland)," Dalgety said.   Christen Me Mat Kermeen

Champion pacer Christen Me is likely to make his first start at Addington in more than seven months on Saturday. Trainer Cran Dalgety faces a nervous wait to see if a c4 to open class mobile over 1950m will get off the ground on Saturday but nominations are looking positive. The reigning horse of the year has missed the majority of the season with a lingering virus but Monday's impressive trial at Motukarara was further evidence he is close to being back to his brilliant best. The West Melton trainer said his star pacer was showing no ill effects from the virus. Christen Me made a sensational winning return in the Rangiora Classic on April 24 and is on track for the Group I Len Smith Mile at Menangle on June 26. "At this stage we are very happy with him, we'll just have to cross our fingers that he gets a start this week," Dalgety said. The New Zealand Metropolitan Trotting Club had nine nominations for the race on Monday afternoon but the deadline was extended to 10am on Tuesday. There was some concern the inclusion of the more than $2 million earner may be enough to scare a couple of others away and the race is unlikely to go ahead with fewer than seven runners. There is an option the following week, but Dalgety is not so keen on the 3200m of the Winter Cup given Christen Me will be off a sizeable handicap. Dalgety said even if the 7-year-old son of Christian Cullen does gain a start on Saturday he is still likely to start in a lead-up race at Menangle a week before the Group I. Heading to the Queensland Carnival is a possibility if Christen Me can impress in Sydney. Dexter Dunn settled Christen Me at the rear of the six strong field in Monday's trial but followed up stablemate Lightning Mach in the running line with a lap to run, then sprinted home to win by a length over stablemate another Fifth Edition. Dunn gave the run his tick of approval. "He felt really good and he was nice and relaxed," he said. Christen Me paced the 2200m on the grit at Motukarara in 2:51.8 with a mile rate of  2:05.6 and closing sectionals of 56.8 and 28.8. Fifth Edition has not been sighted on race day since December 2014 due to suffering the effects of a bone chip but is likely to return before the end of the season.   Mat Kermeen

Canterbury trainer/driver Mark Jones is set to step in the boxing ring again. Jones will be in action this Friday against Guy McMenamin in the “Corporate Chaos” at the Hornby Workingmen’s Club. While in the ring, Delightful Memphis and Real Torque will represent Jones in both ends of NZ.  Delightful Memphis will start in the Magness Benrow Sire Stakes Fillies Championship while Real Torque will line up in a heat of the Nevele R Fillies Series. _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  Australian Campaign confirmed for Christen Me. As expected Trainer Cran Dalgety and connections have decided to set their eyes on the Len Smith Mile at Menangle (Sydney) on the 26th June. While the Brisbane Carnival is also on the radar depending on how he comes through his Sydney campaign. _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ HRNZ NEWS Effective for the new racing season, commencing August 1st 2016; *Minimum programmed stakes for races will be increased from $5,000 to $6,000. *Clubs will be required to apply a stakes distribution model that guarantees a minimum of 2% of every programmed stake will be paid to all starters. *In addition, a Stakes Supplement Payment of $50 will be paid to all runners placed outside of the first four, in races with programmed stakes of less then $20,000. Andrew Fitzgerald

Ears Burning not only surprised a few people on course but also his trainer Nigel McGrath with the ease of his victory is today’s Kotare Downs Rangiora 3yo Stakes. A half brother to talented types in Fuoco, El Fuego and Burning, the 3yo Grinfromeartoear colt was bred Rankin Bloodstock Limited and I J Rule who still share in the ownership today. “The Rankin family have been big supporters of mine, they have had some nice horses before but it’s good to see them with another nice one in this guy (Ears Burning)” said trainer/driver Nigel McGrath. “Apart from a wee problem last start, he’s basically unbeaten and doing a really good job in all his races. He’s behind those good ones, but I think if he can qualify for the jewels, he would acquit himself well” Ears Burning currently sits 23rd on the jewels ladder after today’s victory, with just over $5,000.00 between him and the 12th placed Swamp Major. Away nicely from barrier 5, McGrath soon found himself parked, but soon cover arrived in the form of Wannabet (Blair Orange). That was the only move of the race and with everyone else happy to sit back as John Dunn and Bite The Bullet strolled along in front, McGrath found himself in a lovely 1x1 spot. When extricated to the outside with 400m, Ears Burning quickly found himself in front and burning away to win by 3 ¼ lengths back to another McGrath runner in Kashana. “He surprised me how easily he’s done that, we got a lovely run but it was a handy field and he won that comfortably” said Nigel. McGrath's star Classie Brigade has been sent for a freshen up. "Those runs behind Lazarus took it out of him, and Ricky said he just didn't feel as sharp as usual down south, he was a very tired horse last week, so he can have a freshen up and have a trial or two before the jewels"  _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Christen Me’s return to the grand circuit took a huge leap today, when he won the Group 3 Dawe Contracting Ltd Rangiora Classic. Up against arch rival Locharburn, Christen Me was having his first race day run for the best part of 7 months, which saw him miss the 2015 NZ Cup. Driver Dexter Dunn fired the 7 year old Christian Cullen gelding across to lead early, but Mighty Flying Mac was quickly around to take over with Dunn happy to take a sit. Meanwhile main rival Locharburn was having a tough run sitting parked before receiving the 1x1 at the bell, it appeared early on that Christen Me was the likely winner. With Blair Orange launching Locharburn out from his spot at the 600m to deal it up to the leader, D Dunn was able to push out of the trail and follow Locharburn into it before these two top class horses went to war, with Christen Me sticking his head in front at the line to beat a super brave and tough Locharburn. The official margin was a head, with 10 ½ lengths back to early leader Mighty Flying Mac, who set up a NZ record equalling time, 3-06.5. Funny enough Christen Me now holds that record with today’s rival Locharburn who only set the record back in February’s summer cup at Addington. “He was super today, as he had to be to beat a brave Locharburn. It’s great to have him back” said trainer Cran Dalgety. “The Len Mile is a possibly target, all the big guns will be there and there isn’t much here for him.  The long term aim is the NZ cup but the inter dominions is also at the back of my mind. I’ll see how he comes through today’s run, but Sydney does look a great option” Check out our story on former New Zealander and Dalgety trained runner Bit Of  A Legend's win in America this morning on our New Zealand home page. _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Meanwhile Rangiora driver Robbie Close saluted the judge twice today, winning on Claus for Stan Moore and Pay Me Visa for Andrew Stuart; both trainers are also based in Rangiora. Claus, a 3yo Tintin in America gelding, put the writing on the wall with a handy 3rd at Addington just 3days ago. Sent out as a $26.00 chance by punters, Robbie Close or “Goose” as he’s called around the stables, had Claus in front early but soon found himself 3 back the pegs and looking for a bit of luck. “He came out really well from the ace draw and got a lovely trip from then on. He hit the gap at the top of the straight nicely and was still trucking at the line, he will be a handy horse in 6months time” said Close. “It’s always nice to get a winner for the Moore’s, they are lovely people and Stan’s breed has produced some nice horses, it’s great to see them getting some success” Stan won the Rangiora Classic back in 2009 with his star Fake Chance, a winner of 12 from 127 starts including 27 placings; the Fake Left gelding was a regular in free for all races. While Claus isn’t at those heights yet, it’s always nice to see small trainers getting success on a large day. Robbie’s second winner came in the last race of the day for Rangiora Racecourse based trainer Andrew Stuart. Pay Me Visa, now a winner of 5 from 25 starts was having his first start on the all weather track today. “Being his first start on the grit, it was a question mark on how he would handle it. We got a decent trip and he was bolting on the turn, when he found some room he hit the line really nicely” said Close. A 4yo McArdle gelding owned by Andrew himself, rated the 2000m in 2-25 flat, a mile rate of 1.56.6 57.2 28.4. He paid $11.60 & $2.10 on the tote. By the look of today’s win, it certainly won’t be Pay Me Visa’s last. Andrew Fitzgerald  

The long road back to the top has started for harness racings  forgotten Horse of the Year Christen Me. And while he finished last of just three starters in his comeback trial at Ashburton yesterday, it was enough to put a smile on the face of trainer Cran Dalgety. Christen Me, the dominant pacer of last season when he won the Miracle Mile, NZ Free-For-All, Victoria, Auckland and Easter Cups, hasn’t raced since the spring when a mystery virus saw him lengths below his best. Dalgety admits he still doesn’t exactly know what was wrong with the great pacer but he is at least confident he is now over it. “He wasn’t himself and he would even blow after we worked him times he could usually jog,” said Dalgety. “So we have given him all the time he needs and he has been a lot better lately. So maybe we are over it now.”
 Christen Me wasn’t asked for anything like his best in yesterday’s trial in wintery conditions but his last 50m was impressive, showing at least some of his old speed. “It was a good return without taxing him and he handled it well.” RE-LIVE CHRISTEN ME'S TAB VICTORIA CUP WIN FROM 2015 So much so, Dalgety is considering trialling the seven-year-old again next Monday and possibly even starting him in the Rangiora classic on Sunday week. “That is one option but finding races for him could be tricky.”
 With the local free-for-all season all but finished, Dalgety is eyeing the Len Smith Mile at Menangle in June, which would mean a clash with Lennytheshark and Beautide, as well as a possible Queensland campaign. “But before we go haring off to Australia I’d like to win some money here first so it is not that simple,” says Dalgety. Since he was struck down, Christen Me has been replaced at the head of Australasian pacing by first Lennytheshark and then his own close relation Have Faith In Me and Dalgety knows the latter won’t be giving that crown back easily. “He has come out and gone 1:47.5 so we know how good he is. So he is the number one now,” he admits. “But we can only get out horse right and see what happens.” As one open class star returns another’s season is over, with Hughie Green confirmed as heading to the spelling paddock. The Auckland Cup runner-up has had a bone chip removed from his knee after a poor showing at Alexandra Park last Friday and he will miss the Taylor Mile, Messenger and the Jewels on June 4. With Have Faith In Me also spelling the four-year-old features at Alexandra Park, which start on Friday week, have been left wide open, with Hug The Wind and Field Marshal now the early favourites. The loss of the top two seeds has increased Australian interest in the four-year-old male pacing division of the Jewels, with former New Zealand pacers My Kiwi Mate and Tact Tate also in contention for an invite to Cambridge, with My Kiwi Mate a chance of coming across earlier. Michael Guerin  

If all goes to plan, this Friday will herald the resumption in the Robert Dunn stable of the proven Group One star Franco Nelson at the harness racing meeting at Addington Raceway. Franco Nelson has been back with the stable for about a month and has pleased John Dunn with his progress since returning. With the fact that he had been racing against the best in Australasia before returning home - Victoria Cup and Hunter Cup - he hasn't taken a lot of work to get back to racing trim.  Friday's planned resumption is a C5-OC handicap over the 2600m. However, with only the five nominations at present, the race may struggle to get off the ground. This reflects again the dearth of opportunities for the open class horses and as a planned dress rehearsal for next week's Easter Cup is far from ideal.  Friday's race is also planned as the first start from the stable for Mighty Flying Mac that has joined the stable in the last few weeks. Formerly trained at West Melton by Cran Dalgety, it was felt that a change of scenery may be what the horse needed to return to his very best form that included a win in the Hannon Memorial back in September. John has been very happy with his progress and expects a big run this week. He too is on target for next week's Easter Cup. Courtesy of Robert Dunn Racing Stables   -   Check site here

One of the trotting sires that continues to pop up in results in New Zealand is the Australian based son of S J's Photo in Bacardi Lindy 1:52.8. Bacardi Lindy is firmly established in Australia with a string of quality trotters on the ground including the grand circuit mare Claudy's Princess ($330,146) along with such smart types as The Boss Man ($148,365) and Bellmac Kody ($113,440) while another five have topped the $50,000 mark to date and he has done that off just 85 foals that are three year old and older. One of the Bacardi Lindy's bred here in New Zealand to find its way to Australia is the very talented filly Amarula who ran third to Speeding Spur in the Victorian Trotting Derby last season. His numbers in New Zealand have never been great and this years three year old crop numbers just 13 foals. But amongst that thirteen are a couple of very smart three year olds who look more than capable of mixing it in the classics in the next few weeks. Leading Southland trainer Nathan Williamson has a Barcardi Lindy filly in the shape of Dark Horse who has won two of her first four starts and in her last start she showed tremendous speed late in the race to fly home for second to the very well performed Pyramid Monarch ($70,570). Dark Horse is back on track at Forbury Park on Thursday night to continue her preparation towards the New Zealand Trotting Oaks at Addington on April 1st and she looms as a definite winning chance. Nathan named Dark Horse recently as the trotter to watch from his barn over the rest of the season. Another Bacardi Lindy to really impress is the Cran Dalgety trained Benchmark. Like Dark Horse, he was bred by the Grice brothers from Mid Canterbury who are two of the most successful breeders in New Zealand harness racing and who continue to produce age group stars year in,year out. Dark Horse and Benchmark are both from Sundon daughters of the Grice brothers champion trotting broodmare in Janetta's Pride  Benchmark has only had five starts in his career to date. A couple of handy thirds were topped off by an excellent win at Addington at his last start in a very slick 2:00.4 mile rate for the 1950 metres. What gave the run even more merit was Benchmark drew the outside of the gate at barrier nine and settled well back in the running before unleashing a powerful late sprint to win going away. Given a break after that victory,Benchmark should come back even better and with the the three year old trotters being fairly even this season, Benchmark is a chance to be a serious player in the upcoming three year old trotting classics.  So Bacardi Lindy from just thirteen live foals has managed to produce both a colt and a filly that are good enough to compete in the classics yet the number of mares going to him continues to stagnate. Maybe if one of these two three year olds in Dark Horse or Benchmark can impress in the classics, New Zealand trotting breeders may finally wake up and support a very talented stallion. Harnesslink Media

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