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If Dylan Ferguson trains a winner at Cambridge tonight he won’t get the official credit. But that is a small price to pay for the education he is getting studying at the University of Rogey. That is because day in, day out 23-year-old Ferguson gets to learn from training legend Graeme Rogerson, who has done almost everything a horseman can do in Australasian racing. Rogerson is of course better known in the thoroughbred world but since trying his hand at harness racing a decade ago he has had continued success, success shared these days with Ferguson. The son of top driver Peter Ferguson, Dylan does the daily training of Rogerson’s 22 harness horses but the boss still provides direction and advice. And a rev up when needed. “It is an amazing education for a young guy like myself,” acknowledges Ferguson. “I have been here almost since I left school and you learn so much from Graeme. “These days he leaves me to do much of the actual training because they are so busy with the gallopers but we still meet to discuss what he wants me to do.” The stable take three reps to Cambridge tonight for the first horse racing meeting in New Zealand with the public allowed back in post-Covid. And Ferguson says they can pull off a handicap win rarely seen. Delson opened the $3.50 favourite for race six tonight even though he starts off a 45m handicap, a disadvantage not often overcome in northern harness racing. “I think he can still win from there because he would have won the similar race last start off 40m if he hadn’t galloped,” says Ferguson. “That was over 2200m so the step up to 2700m this week will help him even more. “He is fit enough to win and if he behaves then he is the one to beat.” Ferguson expects South Island import Sunset Red (race two) to trail and be competitive but she may be short of peak fitness while juvenile Super Duper Dude will be better for his debut in race four. The John and Joshua Dickie stable has been the form barn in the north at the two comeback harness meetings so far and they looks certain to add to that again tonight, with Callie’s Delight and Bar Room Brawl two of their better hopes. Callie’s Delight was an effortless winner here 11 days ago but had to overcome a 20m handicap in a bigger field tonight and the 2700m distance of the main pace looks less suitable than her last-start 2200m. Bar Room Brawl meets Delson in the night’s big trot and gets a 30m start but Josh Dickie has chosen not to drive him, instead utilising the stable’s junior drive Craig Smith because a win tonight could be rating penalty-free if driven by a claiming junior.   Michael Guerin

Harness racing Team Rogerson arrived at Karaka this morning for the first standardbred yearling sales for New Zealand Bloodstock. Not long after, they had unloaded $190,000 after engaging in a furious bidding war to get what was to be the top lot of the sales in Billion Dollar Boy  Billion Dollar Boy is a fantastic looking colt by Art Major from Goodlookinggirl by Christian Cullen from the Butler BG mare Twice As Good.  Rogerson stable foreman Dylan Ferguson suggested the colt was a bargain when speaking to NZBStandardbred after the purchase. "We liked his pedigree right from day one out of the catalogue, being a half brother to a multiple group one winner. "When we inspected him his type matched his pedigree and we thought he was definitely the top colt in the sale and that is why we were so keen to get him. "After the first day I saw him I told Graeme (Rogerson) I thought he would make $200K so some would say we got him cheap," he said. Rogerson also paid $120,000 for a Bettor's Delight filly out of Eyre To The Throne later in the day. John Street and Lincoln Farms were also busy buying, paying $140,000 for Lot 20 a Bettor's Delight colt and full brother to 1-52 miler Lancewood Lizzie. Street also paid $80,000 for a Rock N Roll Heaven – Lady Fingers colt during the sales.  Other high priced lots to sell were a Muscle Hill – Love Ya Doosie colt for $110,000 to KPC Racing in Australia, a Bettor's Delight – Safedra filly to Canterbury trainer Mark Jones and a Sweet Lou – Pacing Delight to Jean Fiess from Victoria. Mr JR & Mrs W Giumelli from Western Australia paid $120,000 for a Somebeachsomewhere – Dancing Diamonds filly and Canterbury trainer Cran Dalgety paid $100,000 for a Sweet Lou – Revere Me colt. Mark Purdon and All Stars Stables paid $130,000 for a Captaintreacherous – Veste colt and Phil and Glennis Kennard purchased a Muscle Hill – Alannah Hall colt for $100,000. Late in the day E & M Stride from NSW purchased a Bettor's Delight – Diamond Like colt for $100,000 after paying $90,000 earlier in the day for a Muscle Hill – Miss Pegasus filly.   Full sales results can be viewed here   Harnesslink Media

The fourth annual Hilux Rural Games were held in Palmerston North last weekend, and included the second annual running of the Harness Racing New Zealand Harness Gearing Up Competition. A field of six competitors, including last year’s winner Jay Abernethy, went head to head in time trials to find the two fastest qualifiers to make the final on the day, with the finalists being Dylan Ferguson and Kyle Marshall. The contest was to gear up a pacer with basic harness minus the sulky, and Ferguson managed a narrow victory over Marshall clocking in at 2m50s. Marshall was second and Jay Abernethy was third. Thanks also to the other competitors Jo Stevens, Allen Pyers and Ken Tarrant. Ferguson was presented with the trophy, the Cranbourne Cup trophy won by Blossom Lady during her illustrious career, along with prizes presented by Toyota’s General Manager of Marketing, Andrew Harris. During the afternoon members of the public were invited to have a go at gearing up a harness horse under the watchful eye of our horsemen and provided a great hands on memory to a captive audience. The contest was keenly followed by a strong crowd of Palmerston North locals and also tourists who flocked to see horses at the games. All Black great Sir Brian Lochore was also present to witness the final, admitting he was a keen follower of the racing industry and enjoyed following harness racing. He was able to spend time with the competitors following the event. A huge thanks must go to the Manawatu Harness Racing Club team of John Doody, Allen Pyers and Dan Lynch for the organization of the competition and running of the event with Andre Neill. The event provided the perfect entrée leading in to the Palmerston North Gold Cup Festival to be held at the end of this month. HRNZ Marketing

He might not have won the Alexandra Park or Cambridge Raceway junior driving premierships this season, but Dylan Ferguson already looks to have claimed the title of the top ‘North Island Junior Driver’ in 2016-2017. The 20-year-old Cambridge reinsman, who notched up his 50th career win this season, and last week drove his first Forbury Park winner at his first attempt, has won a personal best 22 races this season ($177,417). He is fourth on the national junior driving premiership behind three South islanders. The top three are Rory McIlwrick (38 wins), Matt Anderson (25), and Sheree Tomlinson (23). The next highest North island juniors are Tony Cameron and Jack MacKinnon with 16 wins apiece. But with just two meetings remaining at Alexandra Park this season, Ferguson needs four wins to equal pace-setter, Jack MacKinnon. “I’ve beaten my previous personal best number of wins in my debut year (13 in 2013-2014), and at the start of the season it was my goal to win the North island premiership. I’m rapt I’ve almost achieved that. “I really enjoyed winning at Forbury Park last week. I’m just glad we never raced on the Thursday. The weather was atrocious,” Ferguson said. Ferguson drove the Kirk Larsen trained $4.10 loose favourite, Arthur Lowe, in the fifth race last Saturday, which was also a New Zealand Junior Driver's heat. He finished eighth with 24 points, but in 2014 he was runner-up behind Michelle Neilson. “I’d been to Forbury Park before to watch races but that was my first drive. It was a different shape to what I’ve been used to but the surface was beautiful. “The staff at Forbury need to be applauded for the way the presented the track for the Series. I really enjoyed driving there despite my second drive breaking (Noble Gamble 12th),” Ferguson said. Ferguson, who is the son of former New Zealand Driving champion (2006-2007), Peter, has recorded his 22 wins this season at seven tracks. They have been at Manawatu 9, Alexandra Park 5, Cambridge 4, and Wairarapa, Hawera, Kapiti, and Forbury Park one win each. Ferguson has recorded 56 career wins ($491,989) in New Zealand since he took out his driver’s licence in 2013 – all on nine different tracks. He has also driven winners at Addington and Wanganui in seasons gone by. “It’s been a memorable season. Getting my 50th winner was satisfying. I got most of my opportunities at Manawatu and I’m delighted to have won nine races there this season. “I want to thank all the owners and trainers who have supported me this season. I just want to keep on winning for them all. I’m very grateful and never get sick of that winning feeling,” Ferguson said. The Waikato driver notched up his 50th win behind his boss’s (Nicky Chilcott) 4-year-old Mach Three pacer, Razor Brogden, at the Hawera Harness Racing Club's on April 15. Ferguson nailed his first career win at Cambridge on November 17, 2013 behind the Ken Webber trained Carlos. Then the following year he drove the Pat and Mike O'Brien trained outsider, Beckingsale to win the $25,000 North Island Country Cups Final. Ferguson was 17 at the time. "That's been my biggest win so far. I'm rapt with the way this season has been going. I just want to keep driving winners, and if I do happen to drive for any new trainers or owners I want them to know that I have given my very best for them," the White Star employee stressed. Ferguson had a brief stint in Australia before returning to New Zealand in 2015. Alexandra Park Junior Drivers Premiership 2016-2017 (as of Thursday July 20 - tote races only): Driver Starts Wins Seconds Thirds UDR Jack MacKinnon 79 9 7 6 0.188 Sean Grayling 44 8 6 3 0.2803 Dylan Ferguson 47 5 7 8 0.2358 Rob Argue 61 5 6 5 0.1639 Tony Cameron 35 4 3 6 0.2190. Cambridge Raceway Leading Junior Driver (final points): 1) Jack MacKinnon 23; 2) Dylan Ferguson 22; 3 ) Robert Argue 18; 4) Tony Cameron 15; 5) Mark Johnson 14. Duane Ranger

Richard Brosnan’s love of horses and his relentless appetite for hard work paid dividends at Alexandra Park on Friday night. The 69-year-old Hall-of-Famer had six starters to the races for two firsts and a second. He drove Gintaras to win the seventh event and then two races later Todd Mitchell steered Red Castleton to victory. Stablemates Grenado (Dylan Ferguson) ran second, Stow (Brosnan) fifth, and Ginger Bertha (Jay Abernethy) sixth in that ninth race. The Brosnan trained quinella was $21. In a career spanning five decades Brosnan has now racked up his 811th ($5.7m) and 625th ($4.4m) driving and training successes. “It’s always rewarding to win any race, but two on a night is very satisfying. I still enjoy training after all these years. If I didn’t enjoy being with the horses I wouldn’t be doing it. “I get a lot of satisfaction fixing horses problems and then watching them perform well on the race-course. I love the challenge of trying to work them out. It takes time but then again I don’t play golf like a lot of the others. “I pride myself on that fact that 90 per cent of my horses always step. It takes a lot of one-on-one attention but the time and patience eventually pays off. On nights like this it makes it all worth while,” the Ardmore trainer/driver said. It’s been more than 15 years since Brosnan last trained two trotters to win at a single meeting. The last time was at Alexandra Park on April 5, 2002 when Champagnat and Pompallier were victorious. He also nailed the training and driving hatrick that night with pacer Heez Ruthless. Brosnan has trained a pacer and a trotter to win on a single night on several occasions. The last time he achieved that was at Alexandra Park on May 31, 2013 when Peter Ferguson drove pacer Leica Rose to win a Maiden Pace and then two races later he steered Kip Keino to win a C1/2 Trot. Brosnan also repeated the dose at the same venue on June 26, 2009, when he trained and drove pacer Baltic warrior and trotter, Sunny's Bar to win. Brosnan half expected Gintaras to go close on Friday but was somewhat surprised by Red Castleton’s first win in two career starts. “Gintaras has been going some nice races lately even though he did break in sympathy when another horse galloped and I thought he was knocking on the door. “Red Castleton goes pretty good but I’m not sure he will go that far because he has a few issues. He tries hard and that’s all I can ask of my team. Win or lose my aim is to bring the best out of them,” Brosnan said. Brosnan has learnt more than a few things about the intricacies of harness racing over the years both as horseman and administrator. His career highlights came when he trained and drove Bonnie's Chance to Armalight by seven lengths in the 1982 New Zealand Cup; and his 'drive-of-the-70s' when he weaved No Response through the field to nail the 1979 Interdominion Trotters Final at Addington. "I've been lucky. There have been a lot more horsemen than me who never got lucky and never got the four horses have been lucky enough to stumble on. "A lot of trainers never get a No Response, Bonnie’s Chance, 2005 Dominion Handicap Pompallier, and Baltic Eagle, whom we sold. I know what it's like to lose and that makes me realise just how lucky i have been over the years," Brosnan said. "My two winners on Friday are no stars but they have overcome issues and won. I have worked them out and their own little idiosyncrasies they bring - and to me that is very satisfying and rewarding," said Brosnan who is the Auckland Trotting Owners Chairman. Brosnan works a team of 18 at his South Auckland stable. His wife Lithuanian-born wife Julija was delighted that his hard work resulted in a happy Friday night for the family. Their son Son Emmett drove the Geoff Webster trained Rift Valley into third in the Group One $80,000 Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series at Melton's Tabcorp Park. “I’m just so happy for them both. It is so great Richard get some reward for all his hard work. He's been at the workouts this morning and has only had three-and-a-half hours sleep. “I think he's like one of those everlasting batteries they advertise on TV” she joked.. Brosnan only needs $293 to equal year’s driving stake earnings of $63,227. His five winners in the sulky are his best since 2008-2009 when he won 10 races and $117,360. Brosnan’s $117,035 in training earnings (seven wins) this season are the best since 2008/2009 when Brosnan won 10 races and $119,530. For the record Gintaras is a Lithuanian male (masculine) name. Duane Ranger

The McMillan Equine Feeds New Zealand Junior Driver Championship as we know it is changing. The event that highlights our top young drivers is set to take place over two race nights rather than the customary one night. The annual event is run towards the end of each season and sees the top six qualifying junior drivers from both the North and South Island’s come together to compete in heats in a bid to take out the title as New Zealand’s Junior Driver Champion. This season the Championship kicks off at Forbury Park on Thursday 13th July for the first two heats and then continues onto Addington Raceway on Friday 14th July for the final two heats. The change has come after a call for the Championship to become more about horsemanship skills than it is about luck. The additional meeting means an extra shot for the drivers to gain points, it also gives the Championship more depth and creates new opportunities for the future top drivers of our industry. “It’s a great idea, it gives everybody a chance to get to know each other better and meet a wider range of owners and trainers from different areas,” said leading junior driver Rory McIlwrick. “I’m honoured to be able to take part in the series I can’t wait to meet new people and have a good time both on and off the track.” Rory McIlwrick heads the South Island team after qualifying with the most points and is joined by Matt Anderson, Kimberly Butt, Sheree Tomlinson, Katie Cox and John Morrison. Dylan Ferguson qualified top of the North Island with Ben Butcher, Jack MacKinnon, Tony Cameron, Mark Johnson and Robert Argue gaining the rest of the highly sought after spots. McIlwrick, who only starting working with horses when he was a teenager, is struggling to come to terms with the fact he is the leading junior driver in the country. While the New Zealand Junior Driver Championship title is a goal he would love to achieve, he is also focused on taking out the Leading Junior Driver Award at the annual Awards on August 3rd. “It’s like dreaming you’re going to kick the winning goal or score the winning try but you’re on the bench. You dream of it happening but it’s usually just a dream. I hope the dream can come true and I can hold on and take out the premiership,” McIlwrick said. In an industry that can often be difficult to break into without the backing of family, McIlwrick is proving that anything is possible if you are determined. “You have to work hard and find good teachers who will tell you what you are doing wrong. Ask questions and don’t be afraid of mistakes, they just mean you are one step closer to making the right move,” McIlwrick added. Full coverage of the four heats will be on shown on Trackside as well as coverage on the Harness Racing New Zealand website and social media pages. Stacy Markham

The 2017 chapter of Dylan Ferguson’s driving career is unfolding nicely. The 20-year-old Cambridge junior reinsman notched up his 50th career win behind the Nicky Chilcott trained Razor Brogden at the Hawera Harness Racing Club's meeting last Saturday. It was also his 16th win this season - three better than his previous best achieved in his debut season of 2013-2014. Ferguson is in his fourth season as a junior driver. He said he was now starting to fulfil some of the goals he set at the start of the season. "I wanted to be the leading North island junior driver this year both - with wins and points, and with just over three months of the season I'm on top, and really want to remain there. "I knew my 50th win was getting close because that’s when I lose my claim. It is pretty special because it was behind Nicky's nice 4-year-old. I really enjoy working for Nicky. She has given me a lot of claiming drives and for that I’m extremely grateful," Ferguson said. "I also want to thank all the other trainers and owners who have put me on their horses. It all started with Graeme Rogerson and Peter Blanchard and now there are many regulars I'm thankful to. Pat and Mike O'Brien (Blenheim) are just two more," he added. Ferguson nailed his first career win at Cambridge on November 17, 2013 behind the Ken Webber trained Carlos. Then the following year he drove the Pat and Mike O'Brien trained outsider, Beckingsale to win the $25,000 North Island Country Cups Final. Ferguson was 17 at the time. "That's been my biggest win so far. I'm rapt with the way this season has been going. I just want to keep driving winners, and if I do happen to drive for any new trainers or owners I want them to know that I have given my very best for them," the White Star employee said. Ferguson had a brief stint in Australia before returning to New Zealand in 2015. All up he’s now driven 50 winners from 843 drives. He's also placed 155 times for $448,019 in career stakes. His lifetime UDR strike-rate currently sits at 0.1406. This season it's 0.1859. Ferguson has won $133,447 in stakes this season. His previous best was $120,910 earned in 2013-2014. But he has some way to catch up on his father Peter's 1,897 ($16.6m) career wins. "If I could achieve half that number I would be happy. He’s a real inspiration," he said. Ferguson leads the North Island Junior Driving Premiership with 16 wins from 165 drives. That is 11 wins fewer than New Zealand’s leading junior - Rory McIlwrick. Jack MacKinnon is the second best North Island junior with 11 wins followed by the now New South Wales-based Sean Grayling with 10. Ben Butcher and Tony Cameron round out the top five with nine wins apiece. The top five North Island Junior Driver points scorers are: 1) Dylan Ferguson 175; 2) Ben Butcher 118; 3) Jack MacKinnon 113; 4) Tony Cameron 88; 5) Sean Grayling 82. “I would love to win the New Zealand and Australasian Junior Championships one day, but for now I want to be the leading North Islander. That was my goal at the start of the season and it would mean a lot to me,” Ferguson said. Duane Ranger  

Waikato junior reinsmen, Ben Butcher and Dylan Ferguson, have won the North Island Trainers and Drivers Association’s Summer Series. The duo finished tied with 14 points – one more than fellow Cambridge driver, Mark Johnson. The juniors competed at five meetings starting at the Waipa meeting at Te Awamutu on December 28 and finishing at Tauranga on February 5. Northern Branch secretary, Dave Neal, said the Series was run in conjunction with Harness Racing Waikato with 14 juniors taking part. “It went right down to the wire with the Series not being decided until the last race. The first three all drove well, but others did make an impression as well. “Tony Cameron was one such driver, who only drove in two races for two victories, and Alicia Harrison who also only drove in the last two races for a first and a second,” Neal said. He said the North Island Trainers and Drivers Association were appreciative of the support given to these races by trainers, owners, and Harness Racing Waikato, which embraced the concept and ensured the races went ahead. “The standard of driving by our younger members made for an exciting finish. We want to maintain the support for our junior members who are the future of our industry. “We look forward to another series later this year. A presentation to the top three drivers will be made at a meeting later this month. They will receive gift vouchers courtesy of Rebel Sport and the Trainers and Drivers Association. Ferguson was delighted with his victory. “I didn't even realise I had won. It was great to win it because the trainers and drivers have really got behind the junior drivers. They have got races off the ground and sponsored the series which we are all grateful for. “It shows how competitive we all are with Ben and I dead-heating and then only small margins back to the next few drivers. Thanks very much,” Ferguson said. Butcher was also rapt. “It’s always good to win any race but this is a bonus. I just want to thank the Association and especially everyone who put me on their horses. “Big thanks go to Todd Macfarlane and his team for initiating the Series. I had some nice drives. I would also like to thank Dad (David Butcher) for supporting me as well. “I love driving and I love winning. I am rapt to have won this,” Butcher said. Macfarlane, the Association chairman, said the purpose of the Series was to give the juniors more opportunities. “We have a bit of sympathy for the juniors out there. There’s not a lot of opportunities for them and hopefully the series gave them a chance to accumulate points for National and Australasian competitions next year,” he said. Macfarlane said the points were allocated: five for first, four for second, three for third, four for fourth, and then one point for every other driver who lined up. “We just wanted to give something back to the industry and our committee believed this was the best option,” Pukekohe-based Macfarlane said. The Series was run on both grass and all-weather tracks. “It gave the young men and women a chance to get out in the middle more and at this stage of their careers, that’s all they need to improve. They are our future and we are pleased that we could be involved,” said Macfarlane. Final points were: 1st= Ben Butcher and Dylan Ferguson 14. 3rd Mark Johnson 13. 4th Tony Cameron 10. 5th Alicia Harrison 9. 6th Andrew Drake 6. 7th = Sean Grayling and Fergus Schumacher 5. 9th Jack MacKinnon 4. 10th = Trent Lethaby and Jacob Wallace 3. 12th Robert Argue 2. 13th Andrew Fitzgerald 1. Duane Ranger

Two hobby trainers were back in the winner’s circle after long absences at Manawatu Raceway last night (Thursday).   It’s been just on 12 months since Blenheim trainer Mark Heaton has trained a winner, while Auckland conditioner Stewart Ashworth has waited three years and three months for his winning turn.   The Heaton trained Contractual Issues proved too smart in the fourth event – the $6,600 Visique up to R55 Pace.   He last won at the Manawatu meeting 360 days ago (November 29). Heaton waited almost five years for that winner. Prior to that his last victory came via Aveross Star at Waterlea on January 15, 2010.   Ashworth’s Luna Da Miel justified her $1.40 favouritism in the fifth race - the $6,000 Carlton Maiden Pace. His last winner came via Machinegun Kelly at Alexandra Park on August 29, 2014.   Both men were over the moon. (Incidentally Luna Da Miel means ‘honeymoon’ in Spanish).   “’Connor’ (Contractual Issues) is a lovely horse to do anything with. He is as genuine and honest as the day is long. He loves racing unlike some who have to endure it all.   “He’s a family horse. Even my 85-year-old mother came up to Palmerston North and watched him finish third on the first day. I told people he was pretty close to winning and then, the good fella that he is, obliged,” Heaton said.   Heaton, who is a forklift driver by trade, had to watch the 2,000m mobile on one foot. In October one of his mates reversed a forklift onto him while they were working at a mussel factory in Marlborough.   But that didn’t dampen the 55-year-old’s spirits. A nice Dylan Ferguson drive left him with a smile from ear to ear.   The talented junior driver got the 5-year-old Elsu gelding home by a nose stopping the clock in 2:32.3 (mile rate 2:02.5) with final 800m and 400m sprints of 60.2 and 29.8.   Contractual Issues was the $5.60 third favourite and it was his third career win in 42 starts. His first win came when he was trained and driven by Robbie Hughes at Blenheim in January last year.   “He actually ran third behind Have Faith In Me on debut in a 2-year-old race at Ashburton (July 20, 2014). He’s not a bad pacer at all.   “I was offered the horse twice and turned him down the first time. Eventually my late brother Grant (passed away June 2014) talked me into buying the horse off his breeder Marl Nicholls of Tabman Enterprises,” Heaton said.   “He will most likely come back to the next Manawatu meeting next month and then I will take him to Westport over the Christmas period. His stable mate Rebel Richie went well on both days (4th and 5th) and is close to winning his first race,” he added,   Meanwhile, Ashworth was almost doing handstands shortly after 7pm last night. (Thursday)   "It's been a while between drinks but it's finally happened. It was a great drive by a fantastic young bloke.   "I just want to thank Andre (Poutama) for taking her down for me, and his parents too, for looking after the mare when he went back to Pukekohe to work. He then drove her through the night to bring her back. Andre more importantly is a polite, respectful and caring bloke and I can’t thank him enough for what he has done for me,” Ashworth said.   Ashworth is the ‘Head of Grounds’ at Alexandra Park and because this is his busiest time of the year he couldn’t make the trip south. However, he did watch his bonny mare virtually lead all the way and get home easily by three quarters of a length.   Driven superbly by Poutama, Luna Di Miel paced the 2500m mobile in 3:19.5 (mile rate 2:08.4) and home in 60.1 and 29.5. It was her first career win for owner Ashworth. She was bred by Les Girls Number Two Syndicate.   "For me this is my New Zealand Cup. I think I have already worn the video out and must be getting close to my 100th watch.   "I also want to thank Nicky Chilcott for taking her down and looking after her a fortnight ago as well.   "And finally to the two people who have helped me since day one, and continue to do so - Dave and Clare McGowan. Just one word says it all: Thanks," said the true-blue Auckland-based Cantabrian.   Duane Ranger

Australian horsewoman Jo Stevens works for Waikato galloping trainer Gary Alton during the day, but on Thursday night the 25-year-old hopes to train her second harness racing winner at Manawatu Raceway. Stevens also works three standardbreds with her partner, and one of the leading North Island junior drivers, Dylan Ferguson. Cambridge-based Stevens will line up the good each-way prospect – On The Razzle (12) in the third event at the Manawatu Harness Racing Club’s meeting, while The Scruff (11) will also start from the outside of the front row in race four. “On The Razzle is the best of my two chances on Thursday but I wouldn’t be taking The Scruff down to Palmerston North if I didn’t think he could win. “If they both do things right and they can get good a good trip then they can both figure,” Stevens said. On The Razzle is likely to start one of the favourites but don’t be surprised if The Scruff gets up at odds. He’s done that before. “The Scruff provided me with my first training success at Alexandra Park in July. He started from 10m behind and Dylan got him up at $24 odds. Both horses are having their first starts in about a month, and they have both been working well,” Victoria-born Stevens said. On The Razzle has won two of his eight starts at Manawatu and placed in three others. He’s also won once and placed three times over tonight’s 2,000m mobile. “It isn’t going to be easy for him from that draw especially over the sprint journey, but he’s been a good horse in the past and is still very consistent. Much more consistent than the trotter,” Stevens said. On The Razzle was a nice second behind Stunin Banner at Cambridge from barrier 11 on September 8. The money was on that night and he is sure to have those same followers again. ‘Dylan used to have a lot to do with him when he worked for Graeme Rogerson and then the horse got claimed and then we re-claimed him for $6,000 off David Butcher,” said Stevens. The Scruff and On The Razzle finished third and fifth respectively at the Cambridge Raceway Workouts on Saturday. On The Razzle (R85) is 16 points higher than any of his 11 opponents in the $8,000 Scott & Lydia Dickson Racing Stables R58-R85 Pace. Stevens has had 18 starters to the races since 2015 for one win, five seconds and a third. This year she has had one second (On the Razzle) from her five starters. She hails from a small Victorian town called Mansfield, which boats a population of about 4,500. She came to New Zealand with Ferguson not long after meeting him in Australia in 2014. “Dylan will drive On The Razzle and his Dad will drive The Scruff. I wanted to try something different with the trotter. Peter has driven him before when he was at the Rogerson stable,” Stevens said. Thursday’s meeting is the first night of a two-day meeting at ‘The Raceway’. Day-two will be run on Saturday night.   Duane Ranger

There were only three North island harness meetings last week and 19-year-old Dylan Ferguson drove a winner at all three. “It would have to be one of my most successful weeks of racing. I’ve driven a double before but never three in a week at three meetings. “I’m rapt and really thankful to those owners and trainers who put me on their horses. I’m starting to get a few more outside drives now which is pleasing. All I want to do is keep racking up those wins,” said Ferguson who turns 20 on October 29. Ferguson drove the Sean McCaffrey and Ross Paynter (Cambridge) trained Armabluechipboy to victory in the fourth race on the first day of the Manawatu meeting last Tuesday. Then on the second day on Thursday he saluted the judge behind the Pat and Mike O’Brien (Blenheim) trained Tennyson Inlet in the first event. Fast forward 24 hours to Alexandra Park and Ferguson was again back in the winner’s circle behind the Richard Brosnan (Ardmore) trained Torbjorn in race three. Ferguson is now fifth on the national junior driving premiership with four wins – six behind pace-setter Rory McIlwrick. He is also the second top junior in the North Island – one behind Clevedon’s Sean Grayling. “I really enjoy driving for Sean, Ross, Mike, Pat, and Richard. They have all been very supportive of me which is real encouraging because they all regularly put me on their horses. “I had 271 drives last season and want to drive more and more. It’s all about winning and if I can do that then Championships and titles will look after themselves,” the Waikato reinsman said. Ferguson said he was glad that he made the decision to return home from Amanda Turnbull Racing Stables in Australia last year. “I loved it there. It was a great experience and I would like to go to Australia again one day but I knew there were more chances here with not many juniors in the North Island. I had also built up some contacts here and wanted more drives,” said Ferguson. The ‘White Star Stable’ employee has been driving since 2013 and has recorded 38 winners from 711 starters, and also placed on 134 occasions. He has netted $353,301 in stakes and his life-time UDR strike rate currently sits at 0.1366. Ferguson’s best season came in 2013-2014 when he reined home 13 winners. “Last week’s feat was right up there with my first winning drive. I’ll never forget that. The Country Cups Final was also special,” he said. Ferguson nailed his first career win at Cambridge on November 17, 2013 behind the Ken Webber trained Carlos. Then the following year he drove the Pat and Mike O'Brien trained outsider, Beckingsale to win the $25,000 North Island Country Cups Final. Ferguson was 17 at the time. Dylan winning the NI Country Cups Final with Beckingsale “My partner Jo Stevens also trained The Scruff to win at Alexandra Park in July. I drove him that night. That was also a special moment in my career as well. “Hopefully there are a lot more to come,” Ferguson said.   Duane Ranger

Peter Ferguson will line up four greyhounds in race 1 tomorrow. That would be just a normal headline for most greyhound followers, but this has a few things different about it. Cambridge based Peter Ferguson is a well known Harness Racing trainer/driver and along with son Dylan, Wife Wendy and Sam Wibbly (boyfriend of Amy, Peter's daughter) will line up four runners at Cambridge Raceway tomorrow. Race 1 @ 12pm. Box 1 - Making It Up – Peter to box Box 3 - Classy Delta – Wendy to box Box 4 - Howard I Know – Sam to box Box 6 - So Over It – Dylan to box “So Over It is probably the best chance - Dylan’s put dibs on him but then, what would he know, he’s chosen to drive The Crown Jewels over Acougarzsun on Friday night! “But he has shown more box and race sense. Ha, he’ll probably come out, knock half them down, and go straight to the fence.” said Ferguson when spoken to by Barry Lichter of Andrew Fitzgerald

Cambridge based Harness Racing Trainer Jo Stevens has a great chance to pick up her first career training win, when she lines up On The Razzle in Race 1 at Alexandra Park tonight. The 8yo Bettor's Delight gelding is to be handled by Jo's partner Dylan Ferguson and will start off the 10m mark. “He needs some luck in the running and some speed up front would suit him perfectly. He's a good each way chance” said Ferguson. Race 2 sees the Mark Jones trained Aymar get her chance to break maidens. The 3yo Real Desire filly has been in super form of late, including a 2nd behind recent jewels winner Partyon 3 starts ago. That form should see her as a leading chance from the ace barrier, although her manners can be suspect early on. These first few races have plenty of nice form in them including Bevan's Cullen in Race 3. An ex Purdon/Rasmussen runner, the 3yo Christian Cullen gelding was super first up for Robert Dunn last week, and has drawn well for tonights assignment. The stable are obviously on the look out for his penalty free 3yo win before that end of the season, so if he wasn't to win tonight, he would be one to follow over the following month. Fast forward to Race 9 and we see the clash of the night, Sunny Ruby vs Le Reveur. While the former was disappointing in the jewels, she is well know for her high speed. If the Sam Smolenski trained mare was to get a perfect run into the race, her sprint could see her rolling right over the top of them. Le Reveur was super in defeat behind Monbet in the jewels and draws well in barrier 3 for Bob Butt, while Royal Shine who is also trained by Sam Smolenski was another who was super at the jewels before being disqualified for breaking too long. If he was to bring his manner, it wouldn't be a surprise to see him storming up the Alexandra Park straight for driver Dexter Dunn. On The Razzle Bevan's Cullen Royal Shine - Le Reveur - Sunny Ruby Aymar Andrew Fitzgerald

There are plenty of previews floating around for the Jewels so let’s make this quick. Andrew Fitzgerald looks through the Jewels card including selections from Matt Cross and Cambridge based Junior Driver Dylan Ferguson Race 1 [11:45am] NRM EVOLVE 4YO DIAMOND Obviously this race has opened up a lot with the removal of Arms Of An Angel several weeks ago. That scratching saw jewels leader Democrat Party tumble into favourite from an opening quote of around $10, the 4yo American Ideal mare is now a $2.70 chance with the NZ TAB. Lusty Mac has enough gate speed to put herself into contention, she should receive a handy trip and with her great course stats she is worth an each way bet at $10 FF & $3 FF. Selections: Andrew Fitzgerald 5-2-1-12 Matt Cross 5-9-2-1 Dylan Ferguson 9-5-2-1 Suggested bet: Democrat Party WIN / Lusty Mac PLACE   Race 2 [12:20pm] MITRE 10 MEGA CAMBRIDGE 2YO RUBY A clear cut top pick in the 2yo trot, with Enghien a well backed favourite. He did get as short as $1.14 at one stage, but with a mistake behind the mobile arm at the recent workouts, his quote has got out to a nice enough $1.40 FF. Custodian is the horse I can see providing the upset to Enghien. The All Stars team have only had him for a short time, but you can no doubt expect a wee bit of improvement, with his top line gate speed I expect to see him strolling along in front. The $4.80 FF and $1.25 FF are juicy enough for me to have a crack at. Selections: Andrew Fitzgerald 5-3-1-4 Matt Cross 3-5-4-1 Dylan Ferguson 5-3-8-7 Suggested Bet: Trifecta/First4 – 3,5/3,5/1,4/1,4 Race 3 [12:55pm] RA & JV YARNDLEY 2YO DIAMOND   Only three runners you need in this for me, Spanish Armada, Partyon and Delightful Memphis. I can’t split these 3 fillies, and I think it will definitely come down to whoever gets the best run. Partyon looks like she is the one who is drawn to receive the trip and with Mark Purdon in the cart you would expect her to roll forward and lead up. Her recent Cambridge workout was good, with her rolling along nicely in front. Currently $3.40 $1.20 FF Spanish Armada $1.65 / $1.07 FF have both been super in the feature races of late, dominating most of them. She has a tricky draw to work with, but she has the class to overcome it, while it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Delightful Memphis $4.00 / $1.25 FF run straight by them if she was able to get a good drag into it. Selections: Andrew Fitzgerald 7-4-10-3 Matt Cross 4-7-10-3 Dylan Ferguson 4-10-3-7 Suggested bet: Trifecta 4,7/4,7,10/4,7,10   Race 4 [1:28pm] STALLIONS AUSTRALASIA 4YO RUBY One of the battles of the day this one, and the draws have thrown just a wee bit of doubt into everyone’s minds. No doubt in my mind that Monbet will once again show that he is the best trotter in Australasia. Drawn the outside, Ricky May will have no choice but to press forward and park himself outside his main rival Sunny Ruby. Monbet has great staying power and if May does decide to drive him like that and drill Ruby down the back then it will be game over and punters will run to the tote to collect their $1.16 FF price. The $1.25 looked to be to be an absolute steal for Sunny Ruby to run a place, but if it pans out how I think it will then that offers no value at all. With the draw Bob Butt has to work with, it’s possible that Le Reveur $2.80 Fixed Place could lob the one by one spot in behind Monbet. Selections: Andrew Fitzgerald 8-3-2-10 Matt Cross 8-2-9-11 Dylan Ferguson 2-8-9-10 Suggested bet: Le Reveur PLACE   Race 5 [2:03pm] DUNSTAN FEEDS 3YO DIAMOND The three All Star runners once again have the field covered. These fillies are classes above the rest and you would expect them to fill the Trifecta once again. Piccadilly Princess on top for me, if Tim Williams is able to slot her into the trail behind Golden Goddess, I feel she might just be able to sneak up the pegs and cause an upset of some sorts. Dream About Me has a terrible draw to work with, but we all know how good of a driver Mark Purdon is and I can see him getting away from the fence into a handy position. Golden Goddess should lead up and I wouldn’t expect Natalie to be handing up over the mile trip. Selections: Andrew Fitzgerald 2-9-3-1 Matt Cross 9-3-2-4 Dylan Ferguson 9-2-3-4 Suggested bet: First4 2,3,9/2,3,9/2,3,9/1,4   Race 6 [2:38pm] NRM EQUI-JEWEL 2YO EMERALD     Another Jewels race dominated by the Purdon/Rasmussen team, although this race has extra interest, with their two favoured runners drawn badly in barriers 9 and 12. While it shouldn’t get in the way of them still grabbing another victory, there are a couple worth place bets in the field. Mitch Maguire $3.00 FF Place and The Lone Ranger $3.80 FF Place are the two I think are worth a bet. The former showed great gate speed and put up a great fight to finish 4th against the Purdon team last start. With the use of the ace barrier draw, he will be able to boom along and hopefully he can sneak into a top 3 spot. While The Lone Ranger made an early mistake in the same race but put in a handy effort after that. With a good trip in transit, he can pop up into a first 4 spot. Selections: Andrew Fitzgerald 9-12-1-2 Matt Cross 12-9-1-4 Dylan Ferguson 12-9-1-4 Suggested bet: Trifecta 9,12/9,12/1,2,4,10 Race 7 [3:13pm] SOVEREIGNTY 3YO RUBY TROT It should just be a turn up and win job here for a top line trotter in the making, Marcoola, trained by West Melton trainer Ken Ford and driven by son Clint. The son of Sundon has been dominate in the 3yo trotting ranks this season, with connections even turning down large, life changing offers. The TAB have him $1.15 FF and from the barrier draw of 5, you would expect Clint to roll forward and find the front. No one will be silly enough to try and park him out and Clint will be able to cruise to the front. When he lets this stunning colt go at the top of the straight, all the rest of this field will see is the back of Clint Ford’s helmet. Selections: Andrew Fitzgerald 5-1-3-6 Matt Cross 5-3-6-13 Dylan Ferguson 5-6-1-10 Suggested bet: First 4 -    5/1,3,6/1,3,6,13/1,3,6,9,10,13   Race 8 [3:48pm] NRM ASSET 4YO EMERALD What a field of 4yo colt's and gelding's we have here, given extra interest with the only Australian invitee My Kiwi Mate. Titan Banner on top for me, he opened a staggering $26 in the futures market opened by the NZ TAB. After a defeat and a victory over Christen Me, his quote is now $2.90 FF, even after he was throw barrier 8 to work from. Even though he will have to do a stack of work, I won’t be surprised to see him out toughing most of the field and winning. Field Marshal is the obvious inclusion after drawing beautifully in barrier 1, with the services of Dexter Dunn; he will look to continue on his picket fence line form with another feature win. $1.65 FF Selections: Andrew Fitzgerald 8-1-5-2 Matt Cross 1-8-5-2 Dylan Ferguson 1-10-8-5 Suggested bet: First 4 – 1,8/1,5,8/1,2,5,8,10/1,2,3,5,8,9,10   Race 9 [4:28pm] SWEET LOU AT WOODLANDS 3YO EMERALD What a way to finish the day off, with a hugely talented bunch of 3yo colts and geldings. Classie Brigade finds himself at the top of my list, I expect him to improve off his last run even from a tricky draw. The draw might work out okay if he can follow Heaven Rocks across and then receive some cover then I think he offers great value. We have seen Heaven Rocks beat most of this field before, but his manners are a huge problem and I just can’t consider taking the $1.95 on offer for a horse who could either gallop behind the gate or into the first bend. Selections Andrew Fitzgerald 6-7-4-1 Matt Cross 7-5-4-6 Dylan Ferguson 5-6-9-7 Suggested bet: Classie Brigade Each way/ Trifecta – 6,7/4,5,6,7/1,4,5,6,7   Andrew Fitzgerald

Winning harness races has become a habit for the leading dual code trainer Graeme Rogerson. In partnership in the harness racing side of the business with former leading harness trainer Peter Blanchard, this duo of top horsemen continue to produce a steady stream of winners from their base at Tuhikaramea in the Waikato. Last night at Cambridge the duo added another winner to the list when Art I Special won the the Support Local Promotion handicap pace with the added bonus that Graeme owns the horse as well. This 5 year old son of Artsplace went straight to the top after 100 meters in the hands of promising junior driver, Dylan Ferguson and though pressured a couple of times during the running had enough in reserve to hold out the late challenge of Westburn Courage which was driven by his father, Peter Ferguson. It was the third win this season and fourth overall from 24 starts for this promising pacer who has also netted eight minor placings. He covered the 2200 meters stand in 2:48.7, a mile rate of 2:3.4 with closing sectionals of 57.7 and 28.4. As with a lot of the Rogerson/Blanchard  team, Art I Special is bred to be good. He is from Vicario, who apart from being the dam of two outstanding horses already in Stunin Cullen 1:54.1 ($1,493,716) and Coburg 1:56.8 ($205,176) is also a half sister to another top liner in Il Vicolo 1:56.7 ($1,580,948). Art I Special may never reach the heights of his famous siblings but he does look to have something to offer in the next few months going by the manner of his win last night. Harnesslink media

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