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Following on from the recent email communication sent out on behalf of the ATC re the March 1 stakes increases and field selection, we would like to further announce the following changes to our programming for June & July 2019 to take us through to the end of the current 2018/19 racing seasons - at which point another announcement re the differing tiers of stake on offer here at the ATC going forward into the 2019/20 season commencing August 1 2019.   We are proud to offer industry leading stakes and see this vital to the foreseeability of the industry. The ATC has made a commitment to continuing to build upon these increases and once the construction is complete and Building A & B have settled, we will be in a better financial position to continue to invest in the industry & make every effort possible towards ensuring the sustainability of our industry for many years to come. After a great amount of consultation with many industry participants / stakeholders, it has been decided that for June & July here at the ATC, a tiered stakes structure will apply. What this will mean is that all R rated races (pacing / trotting) up-to-R54 (approx.) will be run for a stake of $14,999 - with all races that are confirmed on the final programme to have a bottom rating cap of R55+ to carry a $20,000 stake. Given the spread of ratings and final race splits are entirely dependent on nominations received for any given meeting, there may be the case for example in which a race carries a final split of say R53-58 - given the bottom rating cap of this race is below R55, this will pertain to a $14,999 stake. We will continue to programme a $25,000 race (again both pacing / trotting) for the tightest assessed race on any given standard meeting (where acceptances allow for an approximate R65 & Faster split to get off the ground). Non-winners races, 2YO races & Junior Driver races will additionally also carry a stake of $14,999 (Please note - the NZRB's payment of $1,500 that goes to all horses when they have their first win for tote races up-to-and-including $14,999 will continue to be added to the first placed winners stake for the balance of the current season). On the subject on non-winners races, the ATC would also like to announce to trainers that after consultation with the N.I Horsemen's Association, the use of preferential barrier draws (based on sex) that has up to this point been applied on sex in the instances where only one non-winners race is programmed or finalised for any meeting - will now only be in effect every second meeting with an open draw to apply on alternating weeks. The South of the Bombay's races that were so popular last season will once again be programmed throughout June & July and as such, these will also carry a $14,999 stake. Similar conditions will apply to these races this season as they did the last - however these will be confirmed in the coming days and shortly be available for perusal when the June tentative programmes are made available online in the coming days - with a likely ratings band of R40-65 to apply along with other conditions. Of course, should you be an (eligible) R55-65 horse and not wanting to run for the $14,999 stake these S.O.T.B races offer, then you will be more than welcome to take your chance in the R55+ races which offer that $20,000 stake. We would like to thank you for your feedback and hope that this is something that the industry welcomes. The ATC aims to create the most professional racing, sporting & entertainment environment and whilst it was recently announced that where applicable at any given meeting horses will be selected from the top-down, this will run in conjunction with other main objectives such as creating full and even betting fields and so this policy of selection will always be subject to nominations received for any given meeting, with a top-down approach in-use where nominations permit. All the best for the coming winter months - we wish you all the best and look forward to having you race here at The Park.   Kind regards, Derek Balle ATC Racing Committee Chair

Derek Balle sees a silver lining to the winter clouds and that could pay dividends for punters at Alexandra Park tonight. Balle has five of his 22-strong team entered for tonight’s meeting which, while hardly the strongest meeting of the year, boasts the same high stakes as a similar summer programme would only without the stronger opposition. Pukekohe trainer Balle says that provides some of his stable with the perfect opportunity. “We have some horses racing for great stakes tonight who probably would struggle in the same grade in summer because it is so much stronger,” says Balle. “Makes you wonder if some of these horses are simply better off skipping the good summer racing and being set for this time of the year.” That isn’t the case with Balle’s best rep tonight in Bettor Step Aside (race one) who was good enough to qualify for the Jewels and looks set to edge his way toward open class next season. But the easier fields definitely aid the chances of others like Quick As Fire (race three) Annaliese Lincoln (race five) and last-start winner Suzie Pee Jay (race nine). “They are all racing well and find themselves in the right sort of races tonight, with Quick As Fire probably the best chance of them three because of the field he meets.” But Bettor Step Aside is the star of Balle’s show tonight, with able back-up in new stablemate Royal Bengal. "Bettor Step Aside has kept improving and he won well last start but this will probably be his last run before a spell,” says Balle. “He can definitely win but the one thing I would say is I don’t think he will lead, even though he is drawn inside one of the ones to beat in Zadaka.  “I’d actually like to see Royal Bengal lead. He has been pulling hard lately and I will change his bit and then we will try and stay in front with him.  “So Bettor Step Aside might have to come from off the pace, which can be tricky in a small field.” If Bettor Step Aside gets the right run he will probably win but the danger would be if he ends up having to work the last lap and drags the improved Zadaka into the race as the latter has finally starting hitting the line with some purpose again. An interesting newcomer to tonight’s meeting is De Vito in race six.  A former promising trotter in the South Island he is the latest recruit to the Michelle Wallis-Bernie Hackett stable, who seem to be winning a trotting race almost weekly at Alexandra Park at the moment, and while he hasn’t raced for nearly 16 months he won well at the workouts two weeks ago. MIchael Guerin

Up until last Thursday it had been 19 months since Fergus Schumacher last drove a New Zealand winner - and sadly his future wins might also be few and far between. The 22-year-old Cambridge junior driver saluted behind the Derek Balle trained Janet Guthrie at Cambridge Raceway last week. “I was rapt to drive a winner for both Derek and Owen Gillies (owner). Owen has put a lot of time and effort into the game and I respect him and Derek a lot. That was a very satisfying win,” Schumacher said. Schumacher’s previous New Zealand victory came behind the Steve Telfer and Chris Garlick trained Better B Amazed, also at Cambridge in October 2015. “It’s not an easy game to make money and in September I intend returning to Milan Park. That’s where I went and worked when I returned from Australia last October,” Schumacher said. Milan Park is a thoroughbred Stud in Hamilton. Schumacher was employed there throughout the summer and did yearling preparation up until February. That’s when the work dried up he went and worked for Nicky Chilcott in Cambridge. Schumacher left New Zealand last April in search of better driving opportunities. He ended up working for former Kiwi trainer Brent Lilley in Victoria (Bolinda). He drove four winners during his five-month stay in Australia, including his first city win behind Let’s Elope in July last year. Then on August 21 Schumacher drove the Lilley trained Motown Muscle to victory at a Sunday meeting at Melton's Tabcorp Park. That was his last Aussie triumph. “It was a good learning curve over there but it’s racing, racing, and more racing almost seven days a week. It wasn’t what I was looking for so I returned home and worked for Milan Park. “I’ll be heading back there (Milan Park) in September to do more yearling preps. I’ve always enjoyed galloping and Dad (Brendan) used to have thoroughbreds early on, and my Uncle Aidan still has them,” Schumacher said. However, Schumacher said he wouldn’t be entirely lost to harness racing. “I still intend keeping my licence and will hopefully get the odd junior drive. Dad still has his team so I’d still be keen to drive for him. I’m 22 now and want to lay a bit of a platform in life and it’s really hard to do that being a junior driver,” Schumacher said. The Morrinsville based horseman has driven 13 winners from 221 drives since 2013. He's also placed 20 times and banked just over $100,000 in stakes. Janet Guthrie's one-and-a-half length victory was Schumacher's first for the season. His first winning drive came behind the Brendan Schumacher trained Tuxedo Junction at Alexandra Park on March 15, 2013. "I love driving and I love winning, but it can be hard paying the bills sometimes. Australia was a good experience for me and so was Milan Park. I just want to further my experience with horses,” Schumacher said. The former Hillcrest High School student left Mike Berger’s Cambridge stable a week before flying to Victoria in April 2016. It was his first flight abroad. Now, and back then, he said he was grateful for learning so much from so many trainers. “John Dickie, Todd Mitchell, Arna Donnelly, Steve Telfer, Chris Garlick, Nicky Chilcott and Derek Balle have all been a big help to me over the years, but the highlight has been able to work and drive for Dad," Schumacher said. “The former Frank Cooney and Tate Hopkins trained Let’s Elope would be the best horse I have driven,” he added. Duane Ranger  

Franklin trainer Derek Balle will make a hit-and-run attack on Cambridge Raceway on Thursday night (December 1) with the best horse in his 20-strong Pukekohe stable at. Kenrick hasn’t raced since June 17 and is Balle’s only starter at the eight-race meeting. Balle thinks with a bit of luck in the running from gate six, the entire can win first-up in the feature pace – the $7,000 O’Connor Warren Insurance Brokers Handicap for the R56 and faster pacers. “If he steps, and I think he will, he can go close. I have put some work into his standing starts and he’s come through it okay. He did a good job last season. He’s a lovely little 4-year-old who I think can get to a C7 or C8 pacer in the old handicapping terms. “Potentially he’s the best in my barn at present,” Balle said. David Butcher will do the steering behind the son of Bettor’s Delight and Toast To Cullen. They have won in a fresh state (after 90 days) before. “David wanted to drive him and that suits me fine. They get on well. They had two races together when he was two and then won three races last season. If he can get a nice sit then i think he can go close,” Said Balle. Kenrick has won one of his four starts at Cambridge Raceway and placed in one other. He will be having his first start from the 2700m stand. Kenrick and Butcher have also finished third in two 2050m mobile workouts at Pukekohe on November 12 and 26. Last Saturday they finished in behind the above average pacers Star Galleria and Hug The Wind (2:04.1 mile rate) and then two weeks earlier Kenrick was third behind Zadaka and Rakarazor (2:02.9 mile rate). Rakarazor has since notched up her third career win against a nice R65 to R70 field at Alexandra Park last Friday night. “If he does win on Thursday he will only get six points added to his rating so the win won’t affect him too much. He’s currently an R66 ranked pacer. “He’s the type of horse who just keeps on improving every start, and no matter what he does on Thursday he will be fitter and better for the run,” Balle said. “After Thursday he’ll probably race at least once at the Auckland Cup Carnival,” he added. Kenrick will start from a 10-metre handicap and the toughest for him to beat will be the Rod MacKenzie trained Fizzi Lizzi and the Todd Mitchell trained Stunin Banner. Fizzi Lizzi (10m) has won two of her last three starts at Cambridge Raceway – the latter, an R68 and faster pace on November 17. That was also a 2700m stand and she won off the front by three quarters of a length with a 2:04 mile rate. Mitchell’s team can never be discounted on his home track. The Tauwhare horseman has made a brilliant start to 2016-2017 with eight wins and 17 placings from 51 starters. That equates to a very healthy 0.3208 UDR strike-rate. Stunin Banner (20m), who is rated R98, hasn’t finished further back than fourth in his last seven starts and five of his 15-career wins have come at Cambridge, including once over tonight’s distance. The 8-year-old son of McArdle and Mainland Banner comes into Thursday’s feature pace with a gutsy three-quarters of a length second (from his 20m handicap) behind Fizzi Lizzi here a fortnight ago. Duane Ranger

Handy 3yo pacer Ideal World will be looking to “go one better” tonight after a string of 2nd placings for trainer Derek Balle. In his last 6 starts, the American Ideal colt has finished 2nd in 5th of those, while the other run was a handy 8th in the Northern Derby behind Lazarus. Owner A J McIntosh won’t be too bothered though, with those five 2nd placings coming at Alexandra Park at Auckland Trotting Club meetings, Ideal World has picked up a staggering $17,053.00. While he has only won the one race,  the first foal out of handy race mare World Of Dreams has earned just over $31,000.00 from just the 14 starts which has produced 1 win 6 seconds and a 3rd, while he has also ran 3 fourths. Interesting enough the only two times he has finished outside of the first 4 have been the Northern Derby (8th) and the Yearling Sales Final (6th). Ideal World is rated a $2.00 (Fixed Odds) favourite in a small but talented field which includes the Paul Court trained Cable Beach who will be improved from his fresh up run last week, while Cambridge trainer Mike Berger has his nice 3yo Max Phactor engaged from a wide draw. Ideal World's last start 2nd. Earlier on in the night Josh and John Dickie will line up Change The Rulz. Up from Canterbury, the 4yo Changeover mare was a recent workout winner and although drawn wide is a mare with plenty of ability. Last start she was only 2 lengths behind Rocker Band in a quick time and even from the outside drawn does look tough to roll. Change The Rulz last start 4th. Andrew Fitzgerald

Angus Fogg is starting to lose his “bull at a gate” tendencies and is slowly developing into a nice racehorse. That’s the opinion of the 4-year-old gelding’s trainer Derek Balle after the son of Angus Hall and Sun Isa nailed his first win in 12 starts at Cambridge Raceway yesterday (Monday). Angus Fogg didn’t just win, he bolted in by 6-1/2 lengths. “He’s starting to put it all together. He’s been a real handful. He gets wound up real easy. I think it’s in his breed. He’s a big horse at 16 hands,” Balle said. Lincoln Farms (John Street) paid $42,000 for Angus Fogg at the Australasian Classic Yearling Sale at Karaka in 2013. He is a half-brother to Flying Isa (by Pegasus Spur) who won 17 races and almost half a million dollars in stakes. “We got him off Ray Green as a 3-year-old and we he came to us he was pretty wound up. He attacks everything at 100 miles an hour. “That’s why I think after a couple of more wins he would go well in Australia. I think the mobile races at Menangle would suit him down to the ground,” Balle said. David Butcher shot Angus Fogg to the lead after 300m in the $6,000 Anzac Day Remembrance Mobile for the maiden trotters. Angus Fogg then trotted beautifully for the remainder of the 2200m mobile stopping the clock in 2:49.9. They lead by three lengths on the turn and then turned it into a one-horse race at the finish. The winning mile rate was 2:04.2 with final 800m and 400m sectionals of 61.4 and 30.6. Angus Fogg was the $1.90 favourite in 10-horse field. He was bred by Cambridge librarian Kym Kearns. “If we can just take the hyper out of him I think he can turn into a serious trotter but he has some way to go yet. He’s gone pretty good after he’s broken a few times at Alexandra Park. “It’s a just a matter of maturity with him and trying to quieten him down a bit. I think the horse that ran second has a brighter future though,” Balle said. The Pukekohe trainer was referring to his Pegasus Spur colt, War Machine. Balle did the driving behind the 2-year-old. “I am hoping to him qualify for the Jewels. He’s a really nice young trotter with a bright future. That was just his second start and I’m hoping he can pick up a cheque or two to make the Jewels Final,” Balle said. It was Balle’s third quinella since April 15. At Alexandra Park that day he drove and trained Kenrick to beat stablemate Ideal World (James Stormont) in a C1 pace and then on April 22 at the same venue it was the same result. “I’ve had a good run of late and I’m hoping it continues,” said Balle who works a team of 18 at Franklin Park on Station Road in Pukekohe. Courtesy of HRNZ and Duane Ranger

Harness Racing New Zealand produces stewards reports for every meeting. We thought we would provide the background to some of the more serious cases                                                              Judicial Control Authority   Rules: 869(3)(f)   Committee: NMcCutcheon (chair)   Name(s): Mr D Balle - Open Horseman   Informants : Mr S Mulcay - Stipendiary Steward  -  Mr J Muirhead - Stipendiary Steward   Information Number - A7452   Plea: Admitted   Charge: Improper Driving   Evidence:  Mr Balle was told by the Chairman that the charge was relatively serious and asked was he comfortable with the hearing taking place on the day. He responded in the affirmative.   (The hearing commenced following the running of the final race at the request of Mr Balle).   Following the running of Race 3 (The Sportys Bar & Café Mobile Trot 1750m) Information No. A7452 was filed with the Judicial Committee.  The Information read that horseman Mr D Balle drove improperly when he shifted Sir George Grey  wider on the track which presented a clear run for the stablemate Call Son over the early stages of the run home.   Rule 869(3) (f) reads: No horseman in any race shall drive improperly.   Mr Balle acknowledged that he understood the rule, the charge and confirmed that he admitted the breach.   Mr Muirhead showed all films and said that prior to the home straight Mr Balle and Sir George Grey were placed three-out and one-back and that he was trailing a horse driven by Mr Poutama (Miss Middleton) and on his inside was the stablemate Call Son driven by Mr Abernethy.   He said you then see Mr Balle come off looking for a run and he goes wider than necessary which allowed the other horse (Call Son) to get through.   Mr Muirhead said that the crucial part of the alleged offence was that when Mr Balle came out his horse’s head was turned out and his horse was steered out in the direction it went.   He said that shortly afterwards when Call Son had got through he straightened his horse.   He said that early on he was racing three-wide and then moved to six-wide which meant that the horse on his inside (Call Son) was able to obtain a run between his horse and Mr Poutama’s horse.   He added that Call Son went on to win the race and that Mr Balle’s drive Sir George Grey went on to finish fifth.   When showing the film positioned in the back straight Mr Muirhead said that the horse on the inside (Call Son) never had any clear advantage of Sir George Grey to push out and only got a clear run when Sir George Grey shifted wider and wider on the track.   He said that during investigations into the drive, Mr Balle told the Stipendiary Stewards that he had steered his horse out there.   Mr Muirhead added that this type of driving cannot be tolerated by the Stewards and it questions the integrity of the industry and brings it into disrepute.   Mr Balle, for his part, said that the horse Sir George Grey had carried on running out after the stablemate had gone past him.   The gap appeared and his horse continued running out all the way up the straight and that the gap was always going to appear as his horse kept running out to its own detriment.   He said that his horse ended up seven or eight horses wider than he had to.   He added that there was always going to be room for the stablemate anyway.   He then said he came out to get balanced up and if Sir George Grey went as good as he normally does that we probably wouldn’t be sitting here.   He said that his horse’s run was disappointing and the fact that Call Son ran past him did not help, but that nine times out of ten Sir George Grey would beat the other horse (Call Son).   He said that while he was charged with improper driving it was more clumsy driving without any intent.   The Chair then asked Mr Balle if he could show where he attempted to straighten his horse.   In response Mr Balle said that you cannot pull him about, he has to straighten himself and that he is a big overgrown horse.   He said that he came out to get some clear air, that he was the favourite and if he had run up to his usual standard he would have won but he just battled away up the straight.   Some discussion then took place between the Stipendiary Steward and Mr Balle as to when the hood was removed, but this was considered irrelevant by the committee.   Decision: As the charge was admitted it was found to be proved.   Submission For Penalty: Mr Muirhead said that the JCA penalty guildelines under Rule 869(3) (f) had a starting point of 20 drives suspension or a fine of $1000.   He said that Mr Balle had said to them that he preferred a suspension and that the Stipendiary Stewards had no objection.   He said that Mr Balle is a very experienced horseman who had in the past driven at the highest level and said that he had been driving at a lesser rate over the last few years.   Mr Balle’s driving record showed that this season he had had 11 drives.   The 2013-2014 season 16 drives.  -   The 2012-2013 season 36 drives.   Mr Muirhead said that if you were to start at the 20 drives suspension with Mr Balle’s current number of drives that it would equate to a suspension of approximately 6 months.   He said that Mr Balle should be given credit for being very frank with the Stewards, his admittance of the breach and that he (Mr Balle) believed it was a careless act rather than intentional.   He added that Mr Balle had a clear record over the last 12 months and had a very good record during his driving career.   The Stewards submitted that a suspension of no less than 3 months be imposed.   Mr Muirhead referred the Chair to Rule 1114(2) (d) in that a Judicial Committee in imposing a penalty may have regard to the need to maintain integrity and public confidence in harness racing.   Mr Balle said that he does not drive that often but that it was handy to have his licence when you need it to drive a young horse or a horse starting off.   He said that he trains mainly trotters and that it is good to have a licence to drive inexperienced or green horses.   He said a suspension was preferable to a fine although it was still handy to have a licence when you need it.   He added that it was a careless or clumsy drive rather than anything intentional to help a stablemate, as he believed he (Call Son) would have got plenty of room anyway with the big open track and reiterated that his horse ran out all the way up the straight as could be seen on the video.   When asked by the Chair if he would like to respond to Mr Muirhead’s submission re a 3 month suspension being imposed, Mr Balle said that he thought that that was plenty.   Mr Balle said that if he was suspended he would be able to get replacement drivers for the second day of the meeting.   Reasons For Penalty: The committee took into account the following matters when assessing quantum of penalty;   The JCA starting point of 20 drives suspension or $1000 fine.   The mitigating factors were the admittance of the breach and Mr Balle’s very good record over a number of years plus that he had been cooperative with the Stewards during the enquiry into his drive.   The aggravating factors were the seriousness of the breach, which the Chairman placed in the high category with Mr Balle letting his horse shift out several horse widths and making no attempt whatsoever to correct its line of running until after stablemate Call Son had got through on his inside.   Mr Balle’s improper driving allowed a stablemate to secure a clear run with that horse going on to win the race.   Mr Balle’s drive Sir George Grey was the favourite for the event and those punters that invested on the horse would have expected and deserved a better standard of driving.   The type of driving displayed by Mr Balle is unacceptable under any circumstance and questions the integrity of harness racing.   Penalties are imposed to not only penalise the person concerned, but also to deter others from doing likewise.   Hence the level of penalty imposed needs to be sufficient to maintain public confidence within the industry.   Penalty:   After very careful consideration of all matters relating to penalty the committee adopted a starting point of a 4 month suspension.   The starting point adopted being due to the seriousness of the breach.   Taking into account the admittance of the breach and Mr Balle’s very good record this was reduced to a term of suspension of 3 months.   Mr Balle’s horseman’s licence was suspended from 17 March 2015 up to and including 17 June 2015.   Judicial Control Authority

 Derek Balle won’t let Cool Cobber’s hot form sway him from his plans. Which means the dark horse of the Dominion Handicap will race once and only once during his southern campaign. The former Southland trotter recorded a monster performance to win at Alexandra Park last Friday, making up five lengths in the straight to grab a very brave Miss Pegasus, who probably lost the race when working hard to get the lead mid-race. As good as she was, Cool Cobber was better as he started off a 40m handicap and looked to have no chance at the 400m before coming four wide and storming to a nose victory in a 3:28 amended time for the 2700m standing start. The win showed he is on track for the Dominion and his fourth to Master Lavros in the Rowe Cup last season proved he isn’t outgunned in the big time. But Balle also believes both Cool Cobber and stablemate Boizel after better horses with their races spaced, so they will dodge the Trotting Free-For-All at Addington on Cup day. “I think we should stick to our plan, which has always been to make the Dominion the big aim,” said Balle. “Things could maybe change for Boizel if the free-for-all really fell away but when you look at the depth in the mile at Ashburton on Monday there are going to be plenty of good horses in both races. “And I think both this horses would be better served just racing in the Dominion. “But they are likely to go to the Cup trials first.” Unfortunately for Balle, Cool Cobber would also be better served if the Dominion was at Alexandra Park. “He is definitely better right-handed but for $200,000 you don’t get to pick and choose so really he has to go down.” As good as Cool Cobber is going, Boizel appears to have lost a length or two since his big fresh-up second to Irish Whisper. “I think that night have flattened him a bit,” admits Balle. “I am sure he will bounce back but at the moment Cool Cobber is going better, as we saw tonight,” he said post-race. With the first two being so good, it was easy to overlook the third placing of Ace Moment. Not long ago he was battling for his best form but looks to have found it again and when the better trotters head south he looks a good option for punters in this grade. Beyond The Silence is coming through the grades but even with five or six quality southerners coming north after Cup week, there could be some big races with class four type fronts around over the summer. Courtesy Of Harness Racing New Zealand  

Kentuckiana Lodge trainer Cran Dalgety has joined Patumahoe’s Geoff Small as NZ’s most successful trainers of Group One Breeders Crown Final winners after Katy Perry’s hard fought success in last Sunday’s $A297,000 Betterthancheddar @ Alabar Australasian Breeders Crown 2YO Fillies Final at Tabcorp Park, Melton. Both have achieved five Breeders Crown Final successes in the specialised two-four age group categories, just one ahead of NZ’s premier trainer Mark Purdon. Cran Dalgety’s growing list of ABC Grand Final winners is: Sparks A Flyin (2001 3YO fillies), Smiling Shard (2009 2YO colts/geldings), Bit Of A Legend (2012-13 3YO colts/geldings) and Katy Perry (2014 2YO fillies). Former world champion driver Mark Jones partnered Sparks A Flyin. Current NZ champion Dexter Dunn has driven the stable runners since 2009. The Kentuckiana Lodge mentor is challenging as NZ’s most successful trainer at the Breeders Crown, taking into account his additional three Grand Final seconds _ Smiling Shard (2010 3YO colts/geldings), Onlyforyou (2012 2YO fillies) and Bit Of A Legend (2014 4YO entires/geldings). Northern-based, but Canterbury-raised Geoff Small, set the early pace among the Kiwis. Small’s ABC Pacing Grand Final winners are: Pullover Brown (2003 3YO Fillies), Changeover (2007 3YO Colts/geldings), Tintin In America (2009 3YO Colts/geldings), De Lovely (2010 3YO Fillies) and Cowgirls N Indians (2011 2YO Fillies). He also has a Group Two Australasian Breeders Crown Graduate FFA (open class race) to his credit, with All Tiger in 2009. Recuperating Cambridge driver David Butcher has partnered all but one of Small’s ABC winners. Templeton driver Anthony Butt partnered Pullover Brown for her ABC win after also driving her to win the NZ Oaks that season.  Anthony Butt, a close second driving Joanne’s A Delight in last Sunday’s 2YO Fillies Final, also won the 1998 ABC 3YO Fillies Final driving Under Cover Lover, Mark Purdon, who gained early ABC Final training successes with Galleons Assassin (2005 2YO trot) and Fly Like An Eagle (2012 3YO colts/geldings), doubled his quota when (My) Ayra (2YO fillies trot) and Follow The Stars (2YO colts/geldings) delivered last Sunday. His additional driving win with (Our) Twentyten (who he formerly trained) in the 3YO trot final on Sunday, makes him jointly NZ’s top driver in the 2-4YO age group catergories, with David Butcher, who besides the Small-trained winners, also reined Miami H to win the 2010 3YO trot final for trainers Derek Balle and Owen Gillies. Victorian trotting training master Chris Lang is the most successful Breeders Crown trainer with seven wins. His successes, all in ABC trot finals, are: Kyvalley Road (2002-03 2 & 3YO trot), Right Interest (2006 3YO trot), Skyvalley (2008-09 3 & 4YO trot) and Let Me Thru (2009-10 3 & 4YO trot). Lang has also added three Group Two Australasian Breeders Crown Graduate FFA wins, a race for open class trotters, with former champ, Sundons Gift (2007-08 & 2010). Lang’s brother, champion Victorian reinsman Gavin, although winless at the Breeders Crown this year, remains the most successful driver in Breeders Crown Finals, with 10 successes. Courtsey Of Cran Dalgety Racing

In the last few months there have been more grey trotting winners than ever before and that comes down to one thing - The influence of trotting stallion Monkey Bones. The grey son of champion stallion Andover Hall, who was good enough to win $237,280 during his racing career, enjoyed further success last night at Cambridge when Sir George Grey notched up his fifth career win. The Derek Balle trained trotter now sits seventh on the Harness Jewels leaderboard for the 3YO Ruby. Other progeny of Monkey Bones that have been doing a good job include Doctor Bones, who recently notched up a double which included a win in the Super Series C1-2 Trot, while the emerging Jayceekay has looked tremendous in her short career to date. Monkey Bones will be represented in tonight’s Group One Rowe Cup at Alexandra Park by Bonechip, who finished a creditable third in last week’s Greenlane Cup. Other impressive winners at Cambridge last night included Ardee, who may be heading to Perth despite sitting fifth in the Harness Jewels rankings, while two-year-old filly Giuliana Rancic is definitely one worth keeping an eye on. By Mitchell Robertson

If Mrs Gladys Bassett’s horses are as half as spritely as what she is - then they are destined to have long, healthy careers. The 94-year-old Auckland resident had no trouble making her own way to the Alexandra Park winner’s enclosure just moments after the 5-year-old pacer she co-owns - Classy Ambition won the Bluegrass Trust Maiden at Alexandra Park last Friday (October 4). Mrs Bassett is no stranger to the winner’s circle having raced horses since 1978. In fact that’s when she and her first Syndicate paid $1,500 for Yaquis. He was trained by Kevin Holmes before being sold to the United States for $3,500. Over the years Mrs Bassett has also owned Fiddlers Three, Mr Mintie, Omnipotence, Zenthura, and Eye Bolt, and her best pacer, Purr Along, who won 10 races in New Zealand. She also bred Glittering Glory which was later sold to Pukekohe horseman, Alan Fausett. But last Friday’s victory with Classy Ambition was special. It was Mrs Bassett’s first win since losing her husband Fred seven years ago. “I took a break from racing after Fred died. That is why I was so excited last Friday. I couldn’t get down to the winner’s circle quick enough. “It was a great drive by Todd (Mitchell) and an even better training performance by Paulette (Screen). I haven’t been this excited in a long time,” Mrs Bassett said. It was also her first winner since Purr Along won at Alexandra Park in July 2005. Mrs Bassett also had Eyeronic starting in the same race as Classy Ambition. That was her first race for six months and he finished 11th. She did however win at the Pukekohe trials the week prior. Mrs Bassett was there to cheer him on. She said that when the fields came out she liked to check out all the breeding, race performances, and times on her computer. She also follows her favourites Zenthura and Eye Bolt in Australia and Purr Along in the United States. “I love researching horse families. I have for many years and that’s why I got into breeding,” Mrs Bassett said. Born in Onehunga in 1919, Mrs Bassett’s father bred and showed pedigree chickens. She then went on to breed Siamese cats, where for 25 years she was an international judge. “I eventually got into horses through my father’s friend. Through him, Fred and I went into the Yaquis Syndicate,” she said. Mrs Bassett and her late husband then shared a passion for harness racing. Mrs Bassett was on the Monowai during the Second World War and when the boat was under fire the guns were hit and it was believed he and several men were killed. Mr Bassett was placed with the dead bodies, everyone presuming he had died. He was in fact alive but had his ear drums injured and was deaf for the rest of his days. Mrs Bassett said she would continue to enjoy racing until she reunites with her husband in heaven one day. “I love horses. In fact I love animals. I always have. It goes back to my chicken and cat days. I currently have three in work, including a Mach Thee filly out of Tigers Swish named Tiger Tamer. She qualified recently and is currently being trained by Derek Balle at Pukekohe. By Duane Ranger (Courtesy of Harness Racing New Zealand)

You can see why Cambridge harness racing driver was selected to represent New Zealand at the World Championships in France next year. The master reinsman was again on fire at his home track tonight (Thursday September 27) winning three of the 10 races on the Cambridge-Te Awamutu harness Racing Club's card.

The Franklin Trotting Club's annual yearling parade was held last week at the club's Station Road harness racing track in Pukekohe following its workouts. The one-day event was organised by Paulette Screen and judged by Irvin Behrns, Linda Hamilton and Alec McDonald.

Hometown hero and rising 11-year-old pacer - Chesterton won the right to contest the Franklin Trotting Club's biggest harness racing event at Alexandra Park next month when winning the Franklin Cup Prelude at Alexandra Park tonight (Friday October 28).

Hindsight is a wonderful thing in harness racing - just don't remind Kevin Marr. The long-time Black Sticks hockey team manager and horse breeder had to authorise putting down his star trotter Miami H last month after a nine-month battle to save him.

The only woman to have ever driven a Group One winner will leave New Zealand on June 11 for a new harness racing life in New South Wales. Pukekohe-based Nicole Molander will take six horses with her and will be based on Racecourse Road - just two properties down from Menangle Park Raceway.

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