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Making a top-10 list is easy. Until you try and make a top-10 list and show it to other people. Especially when many of the people who are going to see your list know just as much, or more, about the subject than you do. Today HRNZ starts to revisit some of our great races with 10 of their best winners. Now we aren’t going to lie to you, these aren’t lists we compiled this week like the rest of the online content world struggling to fill space. These are lists Greg O’Connor and I came up with over the last couple of years on Trackside for the NZ Cup, Sires’ Stakes and for the Dominion, which we look at today. Going back and looking at some of the great winners of a race is a cool way to build anticipation of what is to come, who is going to add their name to the list so we compiled them to be run close to those iconic races. Initially, when Greg came up with the idea, it sounded easy enough: Name the top 10 Dominion wins of the last 40 years. But that is the key sentence. The top 10 wins, not winners. If the list was just winners then most of us would probably agree Lyell Creek has to top the list because he was almost certainly the best trotter to win the great Addington race in that time frame, and maybe ever. But here is something that will surprise you. When Lyell Creek won the Dominion in 1999 it was in a staggeringly slow 4:14.4, which would have put him almost 200m behind Monbet when he won in 2016. Of course times can be termed irrelevant but in an industry where they are so prominent they at least have to be taken into account right? And if they don’t really what, what else does? The class of horses a winner beat?  The nature of the victory? Did they overcome a handicap, which these days isn’t a factor but was for nine winners in a 13-year period starting in the 1990s. And your list might well be influenced by your heart as much as your head. Did you back a horse? Did somebody you know or like own, train or drive it? Or even something as simple as was that horse from your region. After all, a Southlander might think more fondly of David Moss than the mighty Auckland mare Merinai. Greg and I tried to exclude emotion and go on quality of opposition, the actual performance of the horse itself and with a small dose of times and maybe where the horse actually now sits in our memories. So take a look at one list, by no means definitive, of top of the great Dominion winners of recent decades. Top 10 Dominion Wins - 1 to 5   Top 10 Dominion Wins - 6 to 10   by Michael Guerin

An old-fashioned workload produced a new best version of Habibi Inta in the $300,000 Dominion at Addington yesterday. And after his graphic demolition job in our richest trot the big stallion has thrown down the gauntlet to his rivals in the Inter Dominion Trotting series which starts at Alexandra Park in 13 days.  Habibi Inta made the most of a perfect Blair Orange drive and the early gallop of favourite Oscar Bonavena to bolt away with the group one, giving Orange the dream double of Cup week after his New Zealand Cup on Tuesday.  Already a group one winner at the Harness Jewels two seasons ago, Habibi Inta went to a whole new level yesterday and that was after some tough love from trainer extraordinaire Paul Nairn.  “After he won at Kaikoura last week I kept the work right up to him,” explains Nairn.  “I knew he would have to be fit, really fit for the 3200m and he handled the work beautifully.  “I thought he could win because he was so fit but I’ll be honest, I didn’t think he could do that.”
 It was a career statement win from Habibi Inta as he sat off the hot speed set by Marcola and jogged past him at the top of the straight.  It was a dramatic reversal of their previous clash at Ashburton when Marcoola thrashed him by 13 lengths, showing how the right horse on the day wins the group ones this season. Nairn will now bring the big, muscular six-year-old to Auckland for an Inter Dominion where some of his key rivals have question marks hanging over their heads.  Aussie raider Tough Monarch was a brave second yesterday capping a great week while veteran Monty Python surged into third while Marcoola was out of gas at the top of the straight. Another Australian visitor in McLovin suffered a case of the thumps but should be good to go for the Inters, a series Oscar Bonavena will miss.  The latter was slightly checked into a gallop after 400m when horses galloped both inside and outside, leaving trainer-driver Mark Purdon enormously disappointed as he tailed off. Punters didn’t enjoy it much either.  But Purdon bounced back two races later when Chase Auckland made the most of the trail-passing lane run to win the $200,000 NZ Free-For-All. A brave and luckless fourth in the NZ Cup three days earlier, Chase Auckland got all the luck this time as he was destined to be three back on the inside but Cruz Bromac galloped when heading to the lead, which left Classie Brigade in front and Chase Auckland in the luxury spot.  All the main players from the F-F-A will head to the Inter Dominions where they will be met by a fresh wave of Australians.   Michael Guerin

When reflecting about New Zealand Cup week of 2019, it is best summed in two simple words – Blair Orange. Fresh from his success on Tuesday when he landed his maiden New Zealand Cup success aboard the All Stars prepared Cruz Bromac, the country’s leading reinsman has now collected his maiden Dominion trophy after guiding Habibi Inta to a runaway victory in the 3200m stand start feature. Habibi Inta scored decisively when defeating Australian Tough Monarch and Monty Python while the heavily fancied Oscar Bonavena and defending champion Marcoola were unplaced. Orange becomes the first driver since Anthony Butt to complete the Cup/Dominion double in the same week after Butt triumphed with Flashing Red and Mountbatten back in 2007. Partnering with masterful trainer Paul Nairn, a dual winner of the great race and a trainer who is not frightened to adopt unorthodox training techniques to gain the best from his team of trotters, the duo landed the Gr.1 $300,000 Airpark Canterbury Dominion at Addington today (Friday). After securing the Gr.3 South Bay Trotters Cup at Kaikoura at his most recent start, connections deliberately bypassed Tuesday’s Gr.1 $100,000 Free-For-All in preference for today’s feature and the decision was rewarded in spades. Habibi Inta stepped slowly but safely and landed a handy position with Destiny Jones finding the marker pegs first before handing over to Australian trotter McLovin who in turn released Marcoola to the lead. Ultimately, Habibi Inta landed the one out/one back trail when finding the back of Didjabringthebeers. Oscar Bonavena made a crucial break soon after the start and was never a winning factor thereafter. The lead time was covered in 2:01.5. The pressure was intense with Marcoola rolling strongly in front; he trotted the first half of the final mile in splits of 30.3 and 29.9 seconds. Heading down the back straight for the final time, Marcoola continued at a solid speed while McLovin sat in the trail with Habibi Inta behind him after Didjabringthebeers dropped off. Passing the 400m marker, the third split was covered in 29.6 seconds. Entering the home straight, Marcoola tried to kick away while both Habibi Inta and Tough Monarch both came with their runs. Habibi Inta quickly surged past Marcoola and opened up a margin on Tough Monarch while veteran performer Monty Python made late ground to grab third placing, both Marcoola and McLovin weakened over the latter stages. At the line, Habibi Inta scored by a widening 7.5 lengths over Tough Monarch while Monty Python was a further 4.5 lengths away in third. The winning time was 4:02.1 – a mile rate of 2:01.7 with a final split of 30.3 seconds. For Orange, it simply caps a dream week. “I honestly can’t believe it, I thought Tuesday was unbelievable but this is a very special feeling and for some great people too. I’ve probably never felt more confident so far from home than today, he was trotting great.” Orange said. Habibi Inta takes his record to 11 wins from 36 starts while his earnings sit below $400,000. The victory provides Nairn with his third winner of the Dominion after previous victories with Call Me Now (1995) and Stig (2008). Habibi Inta is raced by Julie Maghzal who bred the horse in partnership with Gaby; the six-year-old is a son of Love You and from the grand producing Sundon mare Ten To One. The next leg of the 2019/20 Australian Pacing Gold Trotting Masters is the $150,000 Inter Dominion in Auckland at Alexandra Park on December 14.   Chris Barsby

By Garrick Knight New Zealand’s leading driver capped an unforgettable week with victory in the country’s biggest trotting race at Addington on Friday. Blair Orange, three days removed from winning the New Zealand Cup, pulled off another double-figure-priced upset when Habibi Inta blew his opponents off the track in the $300,000 Dominion Trot. Orange combined with trainer Paul Nairn in victory and paid tribute to the master trainer of trotters post-race. “He’s an outstanding trainer; it’s just like when you drive for Mark (Purdon) and Natalie (Rasmussen). “His horses are fit and healthy and they just trot beautifully and I’m just a lucky guy to be sitting here.” Habibi Inta was a last-start winner at Kaikoura but punters preferred Purdon and Rasmussen’s boom four-year-old, Oscar Bonavena. But he struck trouble on the first bend and took no further part. Second favourite Marcoola, hunting back-to-back wins in the race, led up but couldn’t muster any more down the straight as Habibi Inta cleared out. “Going in to the race, I never thought we could beat Oscar Bonavena or Marcoola,” said Orange. “I thought we could run second or third. But once again it comes down to Paul’s ability to have them ready on the day. “We got a bit of luck and the horse did the rest.” Nairn was typically under-stated after adding yet another Group 1 to his record, and a third Dominion after Call Me Now in 1995 and Stig in 2008. “I’m thrilled. “He’s been working sensational but I thought there were four or five good winning chances in the race. “I kept the work up to him after Kaikoura because I knew he’d have to go very well, and it worked.” Julie Maghzal owns the Love You stallion and was in shock shortly after receiving the trophy. “I can’t believe we’ve won it, I just can’t believe we’ve won it,” she said gazing with amazement at the grandiose trophy. “I’m absolutely thrilled and elated to see him do what I always knew he was capable of. “He’s been nurtured all the way by the nicest, most lovely man you could ever have dealings with. “Paul and I have been together in racing for a long, long time.” Maghzal is in love with Habibi Inta and says he will stand as a stallion one day, privately if not commercially. “He’s a beautiful, beautiful animal and a very solid trotter and I’ll definitely be breeding from him later on. “His sister, Habibti Ivy, just had a wee filly by Father Patrick a few days ago so it’s been a great week. “I’m just so happy to have everyone here to share the day with me; my brother, daughter, all my family and friends. “To win this race means so much – and I was just happy to have a horse in it.” The final word went to Orange, who acknowledged former mentor Mike Austin in his speech. “My first thought when I crossed the line was my late mate Mike Austin. “I drove a lot of trotters for him and I know he’d be so proud. Thanks MG.” Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

Sheree Tomlinson has an unusual concern leading into today’s $300,000 Dominion with defending champion Marcoola at Addington. She is worried about her favourite horse and her mother. Tomlinson is the new driver of Marcoola, who was jaw-dropping winning this race coming from near last last season and just as spectacular in the Flying Mile at Ashburton last start. Marcoola faces excitement machine Oscar Bonavena as well as the rock-hard fit Australian pair of Tough Monarch and McLovin in New Zealand’s greatest trotting race. But while Tomlinson is excited about steering the brilliant stallion today, she is worried about his stablemate Amaretto Sun, who gave her her greatest moment in harness racing when he won this race at massive odds two years ago. Marcoola starts from barrier one and Amaretto Sun right next to him and Tomlinson says while she loves her old mate she doesn’t want Amaretto Sun, to be driven her mother Amanda, to get in front of her and in her way. “To be honest I’d rather the draws were reversed and Mum was starting from barrier one and me from barrier two,” laughs Tomlinson. “Because he (Amaretto Sun) can get away really fast and I don’t want him crossing us and me getting stuck behind him. “I am not a big fan of barrier one in 3200m standing starts anyway because the horses out wide can get a jump on you but he (Marcoola) is actually very good from behind the tapes early. “So I am hoping if we do great crossed we can get away from the inside early.” Two years ago when Amaretto Sun won Tomlinson had the luxury of driving him for luck but with Marcoola the second favourite and at his most dynamic when he gets a head of steam up, she will launch him at some stage. Exactly when that will be could depend on when Oscar Bonavena makes his move from the back. The latter has been dazzling all season and the last start wins of the pair at Ashburton, both in national records, were comparable. “It is a different situation from two years ago, more pressure this time, but I think the Australians being in the field will help because they should force the pace, which will help us.” Oscar Bonavena might be world class and jogs national record times and sizzling splits and he might simply be too good for his rivals today, even after giving away a start from the unruly. “I am happy to have him back there because I think it should ensure he goes away and then we settle for maybe even the first half of the race,” says his trainer-driver Mark Purdon. As good as Oscar Bonavena is, and he might be the real deal, is Marcoola races up to last year’s form it could be the race of the carnival, especially with the Aussies added to the mix following their group one quinella on Tuesday. While Purdon looks likely to sit and swoop in today’s big trot punters can expect his speedsters to light up early in the $200,000 New Zealand Free-For-All. Cruz Bromac returns to defend the title he won last season when he blasted to the lead and set his own terms and he looks to have the gate speed to cross to the front again but the key to the race will be whether he would hand the pacemaking role to Spankem. Both are dynamic front runners over sprint trips and if Spankem wrests the lead off Cruz Bromac he becomes the one to beat, although that would still give the latter the passing lane late. If Cruz Bromac leads and Spankem sits parked outside him or further back then Tuesday’s Cup winner could claim the dream double.   Michael Guerin

Fresh from their blistering one-two finish in yesterday's Trotting Free For All, Tough Monarch and McLovin have drawn front row starts in Friday's Airpark Canterbury Dominion. The $300,000 Group 1 - the richest trot race in Australasia - will launch from the standing start at 2.38pm ADST, with Tough Monarch drawing gate six and McLovin gate 10, but with two emergencies on their inside. McLovin's trainer Andy Gath told Sky Racing they "were really proud of him and he's pulled up really good, so we are looking forward to Friday now". "You travel this far and you always want your horse to perform well and he performed really well," Gath said. "The standing start over two-mile is completely different to what we had today, so far to us it looks like he's pulled up well, he'll be raring to go on Friday." Leading local fancies Marcoola (gate one) and Oscar Bonavena (gate 17) emerged at opposite ends of the draw, with the latter off the unruly. Friday's card at Addington also includes the Woodlands NZ Pacing Free For All, which will feature Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen's trio Cruz Bromac (gate 6), Spankem (gate 7) and Thefixer (gate 9), who are coming off respective first, second and fifth placings in yesterday's New Zealand Trotting Cup.   HRV Trots Media

CHAMPION driver Anthony Butt has landed the plum drive on star Aussie trotter Tough Monarch through NZ Cup Week and the Auckland Inter Dominion. Trainer Rickie Alchin, who arrived in NZ with Tough Monarch yesterday (Wednesday), said he was thrilled to have Butt aboard.  “I wanted a top Kiwi driver, one who has the score on the board in big races over here,” he said. “Anthony might be based in Sydney now, but his record in the big NZ races is outstanding. It’s great to have him driving for us.”  Butt now has drives in at least three major races during Cup Week, having already been confirmed for the Aussie-owned Line Up in the 3YO Sires Stake final.  “It was exciting to get the call-up to drive Line Up for Emilio (Rosati, owner) and now for Rickie and owners to give me the drive on Tough Monarch is terrific,” Butt said. “I’d originally planned to take Emilio’s trotter Lily Stride across, but she didn’t go well enough last Sunday at Menangle. “I’ll stay the week for the Cup, I’ve already picked up another drive during the week as well. "As far as the Inter Dominion goes, I guess I’ll stay that first week for the heats and take it from there.”  Alchin said Tough Monarch had settled well in NZ  “He handled he trip well and it’s good to get across nice an early,” he said. “As planned, he’ll go the Cup trials next week to top him off for the free-for-all on Cup Day,” he said.   by Adam Hamilton

Some races, few but some, are so special they never disappoint. Whether won by a champion or an outsider, those races have that magical quality to often produce a fairytale, to take your breath away and think that for all racing’s problems on a good day racetracks can be magical places. The New Zealand Trotting Cup is one of those races, one of the very few we have in this country. But even the great race at Addington two weeks today may be relegated to a supporting role this Cup week as the biggest trot of the carnival, the Dominion on November 15, shapes as something truly special. Because yesterday at Ashburton harness racing fans witnessed two stunning trotting performances from Marcoola and Oscar Bonavena, who are on a collision course in the Dominion. They weren’t the only superstars lighting up Labour Day, with pacing king Spankem too fast and professional in the Flying Stakes, confirming he will be favourite for the NZ Cup. He stepped best, led and then trailed Thefixer before outsprinting him, suggesting they are the clear top two for the Cup. Spankem isn’t sexy, he does little dramatic. He is just a near foolproof horse with great speed and that makes him the first name in all major race markets to another pacer can wrestle that honour away from him. The NZ Cup is his to lose, but that doesn’t mean he can’t lose it. As good as the first pair were yesterday, there was plenty to like about third placed Self Assured, who will dodge the Cup, while Chase Auckland and even A G’s White Socks, whose chances were affected by broken hopple shorteners at the start, did enough to suggest they will arrive at the Cup close to peak. Not so Ultimate Sniper, who was poor yesterday and his Cup campaign might be spluttering. While Victorian stayer San Carlo will add to spice to the Cup and it will undoubtedly produce something memorable because it always does, the race that might really get the blood boiling at Addington could be the Dominion three days later. Marcoola produced a performance for the ages winning the Dominion last year and that rarely-seen version of him was on show at Ashburton yesterday. New driver Sheree Tomlinson liberated him from the ace draw in the Flying Mile and Marcoola loved it. Like the good entires do he got more confident with every unchallenged stride and won by 12 and a half lengths in a national record 1:53.8. It was a beautiful display and if Marcoola can stay in that space mentally and physically till the Dominion it is going to take a freak to stop him defending his title. Cue, Oscar Bonavena three races later. Freak in waiting. The four-year-old is still learning, hence why he was in a standing start intermediate grade race off a 40m handicap because trainer-driver Mark Purdon wants Oscar to cool his jets, not get too big for his boots before the Dominion. Even allowing for the mixed opposition yesterday, winning off a 40m handicap at hard-running Ashburton is never easy but Oscar Bonavena was magnificent, overcoming giving the leaders five seconds soon after the start to thrash his opponents with sustained speed. Like Marcoola he took a chunk out of a national record, his 2:59.8 for the standing start 2400m nearly a second inside the previous mark. He would only need to trot the next 800m in even time (60 seconds) to break the magical four minute mark for 3200m, which no trotter has ever done in this part of the world. It was hard to work out which national record was more stunning. Maybe we won’t know the answer until after that Dominion in 17 days time. Add in the erratic but gifted Sundees Son, who galloped in Marcoola’s mile yesterday and a couple of Aussies and the Dominion has thrown down the gauntlet to the Cup as the harness race of the week. Maybe even the season.   by Michael Guerin

The big news surrounding Addington's feature harness racing rankings this week is undoubtedly Oscar Bonavena, who turned in a herculean performance to book his spot in the Dominion - coming from a relatively low ranking of 27. Oscar Bonavena showed tremendous character to recover from an early break and wear down defending Dominion champ Marcoola in the shadows of the post to take the Canterbury Park Trotting Cup and third place in the rankings (automatic qualifier). The only other move of note within the trotters' section was Theodosia, who continued her recent renaissance with a stylish win in the mid-grade handicap trot. Not a lot has changed in the NZ Cup rankings despite there being several race winners to consider. Spankem who won the Canterbury Classic was already locked for a start but moved up a spot by virtue of Tiger Tara's withdrawal. As a result of a stellar return to form, Henry Hubert, who placed second to Spankem, now slots into 5th on the rankings, with the first three home in the Classic given automatic qualification for our great race. Third placed Classie Brigade moves nowhere as he's already qualified for a start as a result of his Maurice Holmes Vase win. The other pacing winners across the week were Gran Chico, Cullenburn and Robyns Playboy. All three have moved up, sitting 19th, 20th and 21st respectively. Other withdrawals from the Cup and Dominion include: U May Cullect, The Bus, Sagwitch, Ronald J and Nottingham K Two. We can expect to see some more changes to the Rankings next week, following the sustaining payment, which is due Wednesday at 3.00pm. View the full rankings here.   Courtney Clarke Communications and Marketing Co-Ordinator Harness Racing New Zealand Inc

The big news with this week’s Rankings is the inclusion of San Carlo whose connections made the late payment last Wednesday for his nomination in the Christchurch Casino NZ Trotting Cup. Just one day later San Carlo justified his Cup nomination by winning the Group 2 Kilmore Cup. As a result San Carlo enters the Rankings in eighth position, which goes close to assuring him a Cup start. Habibi Inta was the big winner within the Airpark Canterbury Dominion Trot Rankings. His Group 3 win at Banks Peninsula placed him in eighth in the pecking order. Second placed Valloria edges close to a Dominion start. He jumps from 21st to 18th. There’s plenty more action to look forward to this week with Premier night at Addington on Friday playing to host numerous Cup and Dominion aspirants. View the full rankings here.   Courtney Clarke Communications and Marketing Co-Ordinator | Harness Racing New Zealand Inc

Despite the Hannon being run last week, along with several other relevant races the Cup & Dominion Rankings have been reasonably quiet. Among the Cup nominees Bettorstartdreaming’s connections might be able to do just that after his win in Auckland last week. Both he and runner-up The Devil’s Own have enjoyed moderate bumps to 26th  and 25th in the Rankings, respectively. While the only Rankings action to come out of the Hannon on Sunday saw Ultimate Sniper, nudge up a place to eighth, displacing A G’s White Socks. Among the trotters, two lower-ranked winners were the key movers. Oscar Bonavena and CK Spur won their respective races and improved eight places to 26th and 27th, respectively. Oscar Bonavena keeps his nose ahead of CK Spur by virtue of downing more highly ranked fellow Dominion nominees Winterfell, Valloria and Monty Python at Oamaru last Sunday. For his effort behind Oscar, Winterfell improved two spots to 15th, while Theodosia’s gritty fourth in the same race was enough for her to improve a place, to 35th. The action continues to warm up from here on in. We’ll see five Cup contenders clash in a near-capacity Spring Cup in Auckland on Friday. Auckland will also see some big guns back on deck in the trotting ranks. Lemond, Massive Metro and Pres The Belle will butt heads with the fit, in-form CK Spur, who could make a serious move should he down his more vaunted opponents.  The Banks Peninsula Trotting Cup will be a key stepping stone for many Dominion aspirants at Motukarara on Sunday and several lower-ranked or fringe dwellers will ply their trade in the faster-calls trot at Addington on Friday night. We are anticipating seeing some Australian contenders step out this week, with many Cup contenders looking to build towards the Victoria Cup on October 12 as the ultimate litmus test before a trip to New Zealand in November. View the full rankings here Courtney Clarke Communications and Marketing Co-Ordinator | Harness Racing New Zealand Inc

Late-blooming Aussie trotter Tough Monarch is bound for New Zealand. Delighted trainer Rickie Alchin said he had weighed everything up after the eight-year-old’s sparkling Melton win last Saturday night. “I’ve had Cup Week over there in the back of my mind for a while, but I used those 10 days and two good races down in Melbourne as a real test for him,” he said. “He won them both so well, so he sort of made the decision for me. “The Dominion will be his main target, but he’ll run in that good trot on NZ Cup Day as well. And what about the Auckland Inter Dominion? “That’s an option, but it’s run the in the other direction so I need to test him out. I’ll speak to Menangle about organizing a trial the Auckland way of going to help me make that decision,” Alchin said. Tough Monarch has always promised to make a top flight trotter, but needed time. “We’ve needed to be patient” Alchin said. “Last campaign was the first one he’s got all the way through with some issues. He went out for a spell feeling great. “He went really well for us during that Melbourne Inter Dominion, but I think I got more out of it than the horse did. He was out on his feet by the final, I think I needed to be easier on him between runs. “But he’s come back and gone to that next level this campaign. “I might never get another opportunity with a horse as good as him to go to NZ, so I really should take it now.” Alchin’s challenge now is mapping out the path towards Addington. “There’s not a lot of races because I’ll keep him here (Sydney) and won’t go back to Melbourne before NZ,” he said. “He may just have the one run, but he’ll have a few trials as well.  “I just need to be able to keep right where he’s at now and I’m sure he’ll be very competitive over there.”   Adam Hamilton

THIS is a big week for top Aussie trainer Andy Gath. Not only does his stable star Tornado Valley step-out at Melton, but McLovin starts to get serious in his preparation for an NZ raid later this year. McLovin graduates from jogging to fast work, but it still “about six weeks away” from a racetrack return. “He seems well and it’s time to get a bit more serious,” Gath said. “His whole preparation has been based around being spot-on for a crack at the Dominion. Then, if he’s going well, a trip up to Auckland for the Inter Dominion after that.” McLovin hasn’t raced since winning at Melton on July 5. It took his record with Gath to nine wins and four placings from just 14 starts. Gath genuinely thinks there is very little between McLovin and reigning Inter Dominion champion Tornado Valley, hence the strategic timing of their racing in the back half of this year. “You want to keep them apart as much as possible and we’ve got the chance to do that with McLovin being the better suited of the two to those races in NZ,” he said. “Aside from the travel issues with Tornado Valley, I think McLovin is a better stayer and the NZ races are more to his strength.” Tornado Valley, an impressive winner of both runs this campaign, returns from an unintended freshen-up in the Group 3 Maori’s Idol free-for-all at Melton on Saturday night. “There just hasn’t been a race for him with the focus being on Breeders Crown over here for the past month or so,” Gath said. “This is a good race for him on paper, but it won’t be easy drawn the outside (gate seven) against some nice trotters and with plenty of early speed draw inside him. Save Our Pennys (gate three) is quick out, so is Big Jack Hammer (six). “He’ll just go through the free-for-alls here until the first of the features, the Bill Collins Mile, in late October.”   Adam Hamilton

Ashburton Trotting Club - Thursday 15 November A 12 race card, kicking off at 12.09pm.    Alexandra Park - Friday 16 November Christmas At The Races popular as ever Alexandra Park’s eight Christmas At The Races hospitality evenings set down for November and December are selling fast but there’s still time. “Our three November evenings are probably where we’ve got the best availability. However individuals, businesses and organisations need to book now to avoid disappointment,” says Roxanne Visser, Sales & Events Coordinator at Alexandra Park. The 2018 Christmas At The Races evenings will take place on Fridays 16, 23 and 30 November and 7, 14, and 21 December as well as Saturday 8 and 15 December. The incredibly popular nights are promoted as the perfect work Christmas party with a gourmet buffet, stunning décor, and great entertainment including a visit from Santa himself!. Holly packages remain available from $70 per person, as do the delightful Mistletoe packages at $115 with the option of track-view dining outside on the Epsom Balconies. Also, still available are the premium Pohutukawa packages in the Tasman Room from $140 which include a premium drinks package. However, Pohutukawa packages in Alexandra Park’s level five Top of the Park venue, priced from $165, are now limited but with some availability still on 16 November and 21 December. Ms Visser says regardless of the hospitality package, everyone gets to enjoy a sumptuous all-you-can-eat Christmas-style buffet. She says Alexandra Park’s exclusive President’s Suite can also be hired for private parties, with availability remaining on both 16 and 30 November as well as 21 December. Alexandra Park is renowned for delivering delicious dining packages and exciting harness racing under lights. Then after the last race, everyone gets together at The Alex Bar & Eatery to enjoy live entertainment. For further information on Christmas At The Races or to reserve your table please call (09) 631-1165, email dining@alexandrapark.co.nz or visit www.alexandrapark.co.nz. ATC 2019 Syndicate: Over the last two decades, the Auckland Trotting Club has formed 17 syndicates, each comprising either 40 or 50 shares and racing between 2 and 4 horses. To date, all 17 syndicates have proved, or are proving, very successful: At this year’s Australasian Classic Yearling Sale or the New Zealand Premier Yearling Sale, the Auckland Trotting Club 2019 Syndicate’s yearlings were selected by the top trainers Robert Dunn, Brent Mangos and Logan Hollis / Shane Robertson: Name: Alta Redeemer Trainer: Robert Dunn Name: Christianshavtime Trainer: Logan Hollis / Shane Robertson Name: Bet West Trainer: Brent Mangos When you join an ATC Syndicate, not only do you get to enjoy the thrill of owning and racing harness racehorses, but you can also be very involved in Harness Racing generally, initially at Alexandra Park and the wider Auckland/Waikato area and then quite possibly venturing further afield in New Zealand and Australia, as some previous ATC Syndicates have. There are many advantages involved with being part of one of the Auckland Trotting Club Syndicates. These include; the comparatively low costs, the opportunity to share in the ownership of well bred horses trained by some of the best trainers in New Zealand, making new friendships with like-minded people, having total involvement in the Harness Racing industry and having the opportunity to participate in social events and possibly travel throughout the year. Every month, syndicate members receive a detailed newsletter documenting each horse’s progress, member news, and other information. Regular updates are placed on a phone-in message service, which can be accessed at anytime from anywhere in New Zealand free of charge. We have already had syndicate members from a wide geographical location around New Zealand, from Kaeo and Kaitaia in the North, to Dunedin and Invercargill in the South, as well as from the USA, Canada, England, Japan, Australia (Victoria, NSW, Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australia) and even Iceland. Each year of establishing a new Syndicate, the Auckland Trotting Club has implemented their hugely successful formula of buying three richly bred yearlings at the Yearling Sales, with these horses being selected by and trained by some of New Zealand’s leading trainers. For further information please contact or go to www.alexandrapark.co.nz/racing/syndicates: Andrew Jamieson – ATC Syndication Manager Mob: + 64 21 253 8765 Email:  ajamieson175@gmail.com If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to contact us via email on dining@alexandrapark.co.nz or give us a call on 09 631 1165   Wyndham HRC - Sunday 18 November  SUPERB DAY OF RACING AT WYNDHAM   The southern harness racing is on the picturesque surrounds of Young Quinn Raceway in Wyndham this Sunday (18 November) when a ten race card starting at 12noon will see feature events - the Kubala Seeds Stella Frost Stakes Ladyship Final, the Southern Standardbred Breeders Assn Southern Belle Speed Series Heat and the Hunter Family Handicap Pace fought out. Admission to the course is free.   Kapiti Coast Harness Racing Club Inc Update Fantastic news Harness racing enthusiasts and participants. The Kapiti Coast Harness Racing Club can confirm that our 2019 Racing License has been recently granted by the NZ Racing Board for Friday 1st February and Sunday 3rd February to be held on the MAIN OUTSIDE TRACK of the Otaki Maori Race Course, Otaki. This is North Island GRASS TRACK harness racing at its very best. A successful galloping race meeting was held last Thursday on the Otaki Maori Race course and the track came through with ‘flying colours’ , after extensive drainage work and grass reseeding of the surface. By February 2019 we expect the grass track to offer a near “perfect” racing surface for all HARNESS participants.   The Club anticipates that stakes will be on a par with our 2018 meeting, being $9,000 per race , with the Wellington Trotting Cup run on the Friday with a stake of $12,000 and the Otaki Cup run on the Sunday for $12,000.[ These stakes were the highest of any North Island Grass track harness meeting in 2018]. There will be 10 races programmed each day.   The usual Kapiti hospitality will be on offer for all industry participants and owners. We welcome you all with open arms on the Kapiti Coast at Otaki Racecourse in early February 2019. Chris Craddock Vice President Kapiti Coast Harness Racing Club Inc. 027 410 2420         Southern Harness News  A TON OF FEED TO BE WON Thanks to McMillan Equine Feeds, there is a ton of feed to be won during the 2018/2019 Southern Harness Racing season. At every Sunday race meeting during the season the trainer of every race winner will win a free bag of McMillan Equine Feeds. At the conclusion of the Wyndham Harness Racing Club meeting on Sunday 18 November all trainers who have won a race on a Sunday up until that time will get one entry into a draw for 20 bags of McMillan Equine Feeds. The competition then starts afresh with the trainer of each Sunday race winner for the remainder of the season getting one entry into a new draw for 20 bags of McMillan Equine Feeds to be held after the Invercargill Harness Racing Club meeting on Sunday 3 March. That is one ton of McMillan Equine Feeds up for grabs! Southern Harness Racing thanks McMillan Equine Feeds for their generous support. QUALIFYING DATES: Sunday 21 October Tuapeka HRC – Forbury Park, Dunedin Sunday 28 October Invercargill HRC – Invercargill Sunday 4 November Riverton TC – Invercargill Sunday 11 November Wyndham HRC - Wyndham Sunday 18 November Wyndham HRC - Wyndham Sunday 16 December Winton HRC - Winton Sunday 6 January Wyndham HRC - Cromwell Sunday 3 February Wyndham HRC - Wyndham Sunday 17 February Winton HRC - Winton Sunday 3 March Invercargill HRC - Invercargill    HRNZ Marketing

This week’s rankings have again seen mainly minor changes. The Christchurch Casino NZ Trotting Cup ranking changes surround Dream About Me, following her narrow win in the Hannon Memorial on Sunday. She moved to fifth.  A G’s White Socks and Captain Dolmio both improve a spot for their respective placings in the race. The other changes are at the bottom of the rankings. Bettermatch hopped James Dean following a slick lower-grade win last Tuesday at Menangle. Zadaka’s superior performance in the Hannon saw him swap places with Don Domingo. While Bailey’s Knight, who claimed an overdue win at Addington last Thursday has moved a place off the bottom of the rankings. Potentially the biggest shake up in the ‘Cup’ rankings will come if the connections of Queensland pacer Alleluia confirm their late payment by 3.00pm this afternoon. The winner of 33 races is poised to sit on the fringe of a Cup start following several recent local wins and a third in the Group 1 Blacks A Fake FFA in July. Within the Used To Me @ Haras des Trotteurs Dominion realm Kyvalley Blur racked up win 28 at Melton on Saturday and moved into seventh. Alderbeck’s strong third off 40 metres at Oamaru saw her nudged ahead of Harriet Of Mot to 17th. In the same race Hey Yo was solid in second place. Her placing moved her two spots closer to a Dominion start at 21st. The winner of the main trot at Oamaru, Muscle’s Galore, made another leap in the rankings, this time to 34th. Mr Good And Evil almost avenged his mistake when leading in his previous Auckland start with a second to Heard The Whisper. With that he improved his ranking to 45th.     For the full list of rankings click here!   Courtney Clarke Communications and Marketing Co-Ordinator Harness Racing New Zealand Inc

Southland based driver Sheree Tomlinson became the first female driver to win the time honoured Dominion Handicap at Addington yesterday (Friday). The nineteen year old is the youngest driver to the win the race and just the second junior driver to win the Group One feature; the first being Anthony Butt who won it in 1987, driving Simon Katz. "It was so special and very emotional. As soon as they crossed the line I was pretty much in tears," she said yesterday after Amaretto Sun which is trained by her Grandfather Ken Ford won at odds of 91 to 1. Things looked promising at the start when she timed her walk up to the tape perfectly and began well to lead early, before The Foot Tapper then Great Things Happen took over leaving Amaretto Sun three back on the running line. "He just stepped so good. That's probably the best he's ever stepped in his whole career. I couldn't hand up to The Foot Tapper straight away because you have to let my horse run for that first 400 metres because he can buck. You just have to loose rein him for the first bit. I knew when The Foot Tapper got to the front he'd only hand to the best horse in the race. I saw Gavin (Gavin Smith on favourite Great Things Happen)coming and I knew he'd stay there." That's the way it remained until the field straightened for the run home at the end of the 3200 metre feature. "I had to tell myself heading up the home straight not to pull out and hope that I'd get a run inside the passing lane. It opened up, he got the run then he showed some high speed. Turning for home Dexter had Bordeaux on the bit with the plug out and he was travelling but he was tapping him up a bit. I thought that's alright. Then I thought Gavin would have put a few lengths on us but he was only half travelling. I thought if I get a run I should go close but I definitely wasn't expecting to win it."   I was in the last 50 metres that the inside run presented itself and the Sundon six year old let down nicely to beat The Foot Tapper by a length and a quarter. The win was celebrated by Tomlinson with a flourish of the whip. "There were so many things going through my head. I couldn't believe it. He's been so up and down in the last twelve months. He went super in the Ordeal Cup, he then had a couple of issues and we had to get the chiropractor to him." Although not overly confident about her chances in the Dominion there were signs that the horse was well pre-race.  "I couldn't even walk him around before the race he was that keen and full of himself. He tried to boot me out of the cart five or six times in the warm up. I think it's a habit he's got into. Once he's going and focussed on the job he's a beautiful horse to drive."  The last Southland based driver to win the Dominion was Nathan Williamson when he drove Springbank Richard to win in 2009. Before that you have to go back to Henry Skinner who drove Tobago to win in 1989.  "To us as a family the Dominion is like winning the New Zealand Trotting Cup. Grandad only really trains trotters."   Amaretto Sun has only ever been driven in his thirty six starts be either Sheree or her mother Amanda. Amanda drove him to win at his first start at Banks Peninsula in September 2015. The mother and daughter have each driven the gelding five times to win. Tomlinson, who works for Invercargill trainer Murray Brown, currently sits second behind Matt Anderson in the Junior Drivers Premiership and has been racking up the travel miles this season, venturing to Canterbury most weekends.   "Murray has been very good to me. I come up most weeks to Addington to drive on Friday night. If it wasn't for my Mum and Dad and Nana and Grandad helping me I wouldn't be able to do it. I really do appreciate it."  Tomlinson says the Green Mile at Methven on December 3rd is the horse's next target before he heads to Auckland with the main target The Rowe Cup. "I'm heading over for the Australiasian Drivers Championship in December and I think one of his races is when I'm over in Aussie. I'll have to sweet talk Grandad and miss that one. Mum may have to put on the colours and drive him." Sheree Tomlinson has driven forty six winners in the three seasons she's been driving. Her first winner was Little Mo at Oamaru in January 2016.   Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing  

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