Day At The Track
Search Results
1 to 16 of 427
1 2 3 4 5 Next »

By Jonny Turner    Striking Gladiator continued a winning run for trainer Gerard O’Reilly at Forbury Park on Wednesday night that looks set to add to the tally on Friday afternoon. The Rakaia horseman had Striking Gladiator ready to score a returning win with his daughter Sarah in the sulky and the pair delivered in style by taking out race 7. Set aside after clashing with star 3yr-old It’s All About Faith in July, Striking Gladiator thrived during recent time in the spelling paddock. “He has got better this time in and he is a bit stronger.” Gerard O’Reilly said. “He has got a big frame and even though he looks like a big, strong horse he has had growing issues.” “The spell did him well and he has come back good.” Punters did not miss the improvement in Striking Gladiator that was seen in his workout and trial wins leading into his resumption. The pacer, who is owned by his driver and The Clann Syndicate, was backed into a $1.80 win price. Striking Gladiator is now likely to be aimed at the two-day Nelson meeting on the second weekend in January. “Sarah is pretty keen to take him to Nelson, he will end up on the circuit up there all going well,” O’Reilly said. Striking Gladiator’s win came just three days after the O’Reilly stable unleashed another impressive 3yr-old winner. O’Reilly himself was in the sulky this time, behind Sweet Belle when she scored comfortably to remain unbeaten in two starts at Methven on Sunday. “She is a lovely filly,” O’Reilly said. “She had a spell after her first start as a two-year-old.” “She is not paid up for any fillies’ series, so we had the luxury of giving her a good break.” “She has come back good, she has been a lovely horse right from day one.” O’Reilly’s winning run could continue he when substitutes for the suspended Samantha Ottley behind open-class star Majestic Lavros at Addington on Friday afternoon. The reinsman admitted he was surprised to get the call up to drive the Mark Jones trained trotter, who has a key barrier draw advantage over his main rivals Heavyweight Hero and Dark Horse in race 9. Majestic Lavros just needs to improve his manners when he starts from barrier 4 after galloping when looming up to the leader The Dominator in last weekend’s Trotters’ Green Mile at Methven. Ifyousayso will attempt to continue the success the O’Reilly stable has enjoyed over the past week when lining up in race 4 at Addington. The 4yr-old resumed with a solid second behind runaway winner Storm at Addington last week. “He has bounced through the run really good, that has been his problem in the past,” O’Reilly said. “The runs have knocked him a bit and we have to space his races.” “But he is good and we are lining up with the good money up and we will see how we go.” O’Reilly’s brother, Leo, also cashed in on a rare trip to Forbury Park. On a night when Alexy made headlines for equalling New Zealand’s record for most starts, fellow 11yr-old Jerry Garcia took winning honours with his victory in race 4. The victory was Leo O’Reilly’s first as a driver at Forbury Park since he scored with Top Brass in 2013. The Rakaia horseman’s last win as a trainer at the Dunedin track came with Him Himself in 2000.

By Jonny Turner    History will be made at Forbury Park tonight when Waikouaiti pacer Alexy becomes just the second horse in modern-day harness racing to start 300 times in New Zealand. The Denis O’Connell trained veteran will notch a triple century of racetrack appearances when stepping out in race 5. The 11-year-old has already delivered plenty of thrills for his trainer and the group of his family members that race the rugged pacer. By 6.51 pm tonight Alexy will add a most unique achievement to his lengthy resumé. “He has been a grand old horse for us,” O’Connell said. “He has given us a lot of thrills and a lot of pleasure.” A steady regime of beach work has kept Alexy bringing home winner’s cheques since he joined the O’Connell stable in January of 2016. The veteran is no late bloomer, having stepped out as a 2yr-old for original trainer Mark Jones in 2012 and then racing in every harness racing season since. Alexy won once for Jones and once for O’Connell’s brother-in-law Bruce Negus before winning a further eight times after shifting to Waikouaiti. O’Connell puts the horse’s longevity down to him being able to shrug off any adversity quickly. “He is a real iron horse – he is very, very tough,” O’Connell said. “Nothing seems to worry him, he seems to get over any problems very quickly.” He may be something of a fan favourite, but Alexy is not always popular with other horses. Alexy does not just impose his will on the track with determined performances each week. The 11-year-old likes to be top dog and is quick to show other horses that with a quick draw of his back legs. “The big thing is at any stable he is always the boss,” O’Connell said. “He likes to dominate any new horse that comes around.” “He has a cunning way of doing it, he doesn’t go up to them and give them any cheek.” “He just walks over and he puts his neck out and his ears back.” “If there is any nonsense he is pretty quick to give them both barrels.” “He likes to be the boss.” Alexy will join Cambridge trotter Danke in the 300-start club tonight. Danke was the first horse to start 300 times since harness racing records were collated when he stepped out on his home track as a 12yr-old in his last outing in June. With Danke not having raced since then, Alexy requires just one more start beyond tonight’s race to hold the all-time record for starts in New Zealand. Alexy goes into tonight’s event after running eighth at Addington last week. Some light work at Waikouaiti beach, which O’Connell light-heartedly refers to as ‘surfing’ has the pacer ready to give his best. “He is working OK, he hasn’t done much since he last raced at Addington on Saturday night.” “He has just been surfing since then.” “He seems to be happy enough.” Alexy lines up alongside his stablemate, Pete’s Dash, in tonight’s 2200m event. O’Connell also starts another seasoned pacer in race 8 in 10yr-old Four Starzzz Shiraz. Though with 150 starts to his name he could be considered just a baby when compared with Alexy.

Welcome to the Harness Analyst series where we take a look at New Zealand's harness racing with free previews,tips and reviews of trials and the previous weeks racing. Harness racing hits Forbury today with a nine race program starting at 4.53pm and we highlight some specials and value runners we think can give you a run for your money on a nice day of racing. Forbury selections 16th December 2020 Best bet: R6 Striking Gladiator Best value R1 Jay Bee And Lou   Race 1 Jay Bee And Lou strong run at recent workouts and drawn well…Manners the only concern but should be thereabouts. Top selection.…… Tease My Tartan normally a good beginner and top driver booked. Can win..… Pastrana change of trainer and a good chance if he can get handy with no mistakes. Include…… Dem Bones Dem Bones runs the odd good race and not the worst here. Could upset with manners Selections:  Jay Bee And Lou  (1),   Tease My Tartan (4),   Pastrana (7)   Dem Bones Dem Bones (10)   Race 2 Adhara tidy form before last start failure and looks the top winning chance here. Hard to beat with a good run in transit.……. Midnitetraintogeorga has the ability and top driver on board. Would be a player if she gets handy early from the wide draw…… Marie Long has run some good races previously and drawn to trail. One for longer odds…… Antoinette racing ok at trials and trainer does well on the track. Could run top three Selections:  Adhara (2),  Midnitetraintogeorga (7),   Marie Long (1),   Antoinette (5)   Race 3 Major Wilson down from Canterbury and running into form. Should give a good sight from the draw….. Magic Sign drawn to get a run through early. Good winning chance in this field….. Mayhem In Malibu has the ability to beat a field like this but needs a run handy to the lead and the speed on all the way. Can win….. The Naenae Express should land a cosy run on the fence. Place chances look best Selections:   Major Wilson (1),   The Naenae Express (9),   Magic Sign (2)    Mayhem In Malibu (3)   Race 4 Sundons Flyer ok last start and now in the hands of a master trainer of trotters. Top selection ….. Playboy's Brother racing into form and gets a head start on the favourites. Hard to beat if handy turning for home….. Missie Castleton ok trial form leading into this and now beach trained. Winning claims at good odds….. Jerry Garcia likely to get a good run close to the lead and looks a place hope again here Selections:   Sundons Flyer (9),   Jerry Garcia (2),   Playboy's Brother (4)  Missie Castleton (7)   Race 5 Jacks N Jazz ok last start and will probably lead here. Top selection ….. Pete's Dash racing into form and drawn favourably. Hard to beat if the pace is on all the way….. Myrcella getting fitter and drawn well. Winning claims at good odds….. Franco June tricky draw but top driver on. Rough place hope at big odds Selections:   Jacks N Jazz (5),   Pete's Dash (4),   Myrcella (3)   Franco June (8)   Race 6 Striking Gladiator conditions suit and workout form is pretty good. Will be hard to beat and should be winning.…. Immer Besser coming in fresh but has a lot of speed. Can run top three in this field…… Tartan Roxy racing well and should get a good run from the draw. Should be close to the placings..… Beaudiene Hustler change of trainer grabs our attention. Has some speed and could upset with a good run in transit Selections:  Striking Gladiator (7),   Immer Besser (5),   Tartan Roxy (4),   Beaudiene Hustler (6)   Race 7 Harry H in good form and conditions suit here. Hard to beat if he brings his manners.… Celebration Stride good win last start in lower grade. Hard to beat with a cart into the race ….. Zealous Spur speedy when caught in the right mood. Can win if they go hard up front and he has one run at them…. Maudarchy stable usually go well with new acquisitions. This one has manners and can run top three. Selections:   Harry H (11),  Celebration Stride (9),   Maudarchy (13),  Zealous Spur (12)   Race 8 Ferritts Sister pacer in form and likely to head for the front. Has winning claims and top selection….. Wolfenstein good draw and has the speed to compete with these. One for longer odds ….. Tres Chic good staying type who gets in well here. She will be finishing on if the pace is on all the way. Include…. Sagwitch tricky draw but if the pace is on he could surprise for a top three finish and has won a few times on the track.….. Selections:   Ferritts Sister (4),   Sagwitch (7),   Wolfenstein (3),   Tres Chic (8)   Race 9 In Chevron We Trust racing ok in better fields. Hard to beat here….. Ivana Legacy a bit out of form but loves the track and should give a good account over the sprint trip. Needed….. Brightest Moment has the ability to beat a field like this but needs a run near the lead and the speed on all the way. Can upset….. Gabby's Star has raced ok previously on the track and getting fitter but tricky draw. Place chances look best Selections:   In Chevron We Trust (3),   Ivana Legacy (4),   Gabby's Star (7)    Brightest Moment (9)   Harnesslink Media

By Jonny Turner    Plenty has gone wrong for star Otago pacer Spirit Of St Louis ahead of the season’s biggest race on his home track, Sunday’s Tuapeka Cup. The Graeme Anderson and Mike Love trained four-year-old comes into the 2700m Forbury Park handicap after overcoming a throat infection which was discovered after his last start at Winton. That diagnosis explained why Spirit Of St Louis produced a slightly disappointing effort for third when he could not go with the winner, Pembrook’s Playboy, after sitting on his back before the home turn. Not long after the Westwood Beach flier got over his throat problem, he developed a hoof abscess. That has left Anderson and Love in a race against time to get the four-year-old ready for the Tuapeka Cup and his big spring target, the group 2 Southern Supremacy Stakes. “He has had a few little setbacks, he had a sore foot the other day, so we had to put a pad on it,” Anderson said. “We gave him a good hit-out on Friday, he missed a trial at Oamaru because of his foot.” “It would have been nice to get that run into him.” “He seems bright and happy, but a lack of racing at the moment is counting against him.” “Everything about his demeanour is good, he seems healthy, so hopefully he is on the way back.” The Anderson-Love stable have been able to give Spirit Of St Louis one quiet workout since his last race, which he won in sedate time. Going into Sunday’s feature without having had a serious run in more than six weeks means driver Matthew Williamson could look to drive the four-year-old for one late finish from his 30m back mark. That would play to Spirit Of St Louis’ biggest strength – his high speed. But it could also leave the pacer relying on race tempo. “There is only eight left in it, so he is not going to too far back,” Anderson said. “It will depend on how he steps away and where he is with a lap to go.” “If they walked around and they sprinted home in 26sec it will be hard to get over the top of them.” “It will just depend on what happens on the day.” Robyns Playboy also comes into his Tuapeka Cup defence after a slightly disappointing effort in his last start. Like his fellow 30m backmarker, the Ross and Chris Wilson trained pacer could not hold the back of Pembrook Playboy after tracking him throughout in his last start Ascot Park. Robyns Playboy produced excellent efforts in his two prior starts, running second in the Hannon Memorial after breaking the Ascot Park track record three starts ago. Spirit Of St Louis and Robyns Playboy both concede a 10m headstart to Bettathanfast, who drops in class after racing in strong Addington company in Sunday’s race. Memphis Tennessee looks the best of the front markers, after beating Robyns Playboy when running second to Pembrook Playboy in his last start at Ascot Park. The Anderson-Love stable start five more horses at the Tuapeka meeting. Who’s Smokin (race 7), Petrea Bromac (race 8) and Tres Chic (race 11) each look strong eachway chances. Feelin Bettor has his first start for the trainers after his 12th from Michael Purdon’s stable at Oamaru, last weekend. Anderson and Love also line up Bev’s K One, who ran fifth after receiving a nice run in her last start at Winton.

By Jonny Turner    Driver Samantha Ottley pulled off a miraculous win with Bonnie Boy after being jolted out of her sulky and going within millimetres of crashing to Forbury Park track on Thursday night. Ottley was facing the prospect of being thrown out of her cart and amongst a line of oncoming horses when a tightening of runners racing in to the first bend started to flip her cart sideways. As her disaster approached, the Canterbury reinswoman hoped she would somehow be able to avoid what would have been an ugly and terrifying scene. Ottley got her wish, but admitted she had no idea quite what saved her. “I don’t really know how I got back in, it happens quick.” “I am sore on my side, so I must have really strained to get back in.” “But let’s just say I am really pleased that I did.” After avoiding catastrophe, winning race 4 was not at the forefront of Ottley’s mind. Instead, she was calming her nerves, which had just been fully tested. “At the time I got back in the cart and around the first bend I was taking some deep breathes and thought OK, I’m safe now.” Once Ottley and Bonnie Boy composed themselves it was not long before they were heading around the field to take the lead from the favourites To Ri Caitlin and Mark Hurrell. Though it did not seem like the front was there for the taking, a fired up Bonnie Boy soon made sure it was “The front wasn’t really there, but the horse latched on and I got up next to Mark,” Ottley said. “I was hoping he would get a neck in front and then start to relax.” “But the horse had other ideas.” “He has won his other two races in front, so he does love it out there bowling along.” A homestraight battle loomed for Bonnie Boy as he turned the corner with the To Ri Caitlin ready to come off his back and pounce. But the 7yr-old dug deep to pull off the most incredible of comeback victories. Bonnie Boy is trained by Anne-Marie Best, who is in the process of moving her stables from Fairhall, near Blenheim, to Canterbury. Ottley had a much smoother trip towards victory when taking out the first race back at Forbury Park since it had its doors shut and then reopened for racing last night. With a number of runners going off stride, Ottley and The Good Doctor were left clear in the lead throughout race 1. The pair eventually went on to win the 2200m maiden trot untested by six and three-quarter lengths. Ottley made it a winning treble at Forbury Park when The Peaky Blinder took out race 7 by a nose. The reinswoman drives the favourite for Friday night’s $150,000 NZB Standardbred Harness Million Two-Year-Old Fillies Pace at Addington in La Rosa. The filly produced a powerful win in maiden company last week with trainer Mark Jones in the sulky. Ottley expected Jones would drive La Rosa in tonight’s race, but he insisted she take the reins. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Jonny Turner    It will be as if nothing has changed if trainer Graeme Anderson’s colours are seen in the winner’s circle at Forbury Park on Thursday. The strike-rate trainer was regularly winning races at Forbury Park meetings until racing at the venue was halted earlier this year when the track’s future was in doubt. After a reprieve, racing will be back at Forbury Park on Thursday and Anderson will be, too. And though his set up has changed slightly – having new training partner Mike Love alongside him – the sight of the Westwood Beach horseman bringing a strong team to the track has certainly not. The Anderson-Love combination’s biggest chance on their return to Forbury Park comes in race 8 with American Lightning. The 3yr-old looks a class most above his rivals in the 2200m event. The only concern for his trainers heading in to the race is that the horse has not been sighted publicly since winning at Oamaru more than six weeks ago. “Everything is good with him,” Anderson said. “They are older horses he is racing and I haven’t been able to get a trial or anything in to him.” “But he has had a lot of miles in to his legs.” “He seems well and I am happy enough with him without having to have knocked him around lately.” Safely through his Forbury Park outing could head to a heat of the Sires Stakes Series at Addington. Anderson and Love will start Bev’s K One for the first time from their stable in race 7. The 4yr-old should find the race easier than some of her previous clashes with some of last season’s best 3yr-old trotters. “She trialled nicely at Oamaru a couple of weeks ago, I was happy with her,” Anderson said. “She has taken a bit of work, but I think she has enough ability.” “She would be a chance if she did everything right.” Bev’s K One clashes with, Cody Banner from Rikki Allen’s Katiki Beach stable, who Anderson part-owns. Cody Banner looks a serious player in Thursday night’s race after he unwound strongly from the rear of the field in his last start at Winton. Who’s Smokin will be out to improve on her last start last placing at Winton in race 6. Anderson hopes the mare can get a more economical run than in her last outing when she starts from barrier 2 in a junior driver’s event for Ellie Barron. “She was probably a bit flat last time, she followed them around and got caught three-wide.” “From that draw on Thursday night she could cross the horse inside her and get a nice run.” “She has freshened up quite nicely.” “It would be nice to see her get a quiet run for once in her life, rather than having to be doing the work.” Petrea Bromac starts the night for Anderson and Love’s four strong team at Forbury Park in race 5. The 4yr-old ran her best race in three starts for the stable when coming from off the speed to run second at Winton. Anderson hopes Love, who jumps in the sulky behind the mare for the first time, can bring Petrea Bromac in to the picture at the right time from her barrier 8 draw. “She has got a bad draw, so she will have to go back at the start.” “She doesn’t need to do too much early, which has been happening in her last two starts.”” “She went really good for us when she sat back and ran home well.” Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

Harness racing in Otago is under a cloud, with rumors circulating around the possibility Forbury Park may have lost all or a number of racing meetings when a new draft racing calendar is released within the next week. The Covid-19 pandemic has already seen Forbury lose it's winter meetings and leaks from RITA suggest it is about to lose most of the racing dates that were pencilled in for the new season. Several industry participants Harnesslink spoke to all said that nothing was set in concrete on the dates yet and the leaked information was just a draft of a draft. There was still a chance Forbury would retain meetings, with talks being held today to finalise details.  Drastic cost cutting by RITA to slash 30% of it's workforce, has already seen most of the TAB trackside team decimated with no on course presenters to be at race meetings in the near future. Craig Thompson (The Whale) and Michael Guerin, well known drivers of turnover for harness racing have been let go with a number of commentators now also out of a job.   Harnesslink Media

By Jonny Turner    Early starts and late finishes paid off for Invercargill trainer-driver Tim Robertson when Miss Jessica won at Forbury Park on Wednesday night. The 4yr-old registered her sire Master Glide’s first victory in New Zealand when producing a tough maiden victory over 2200m. Sitting parked throughout and getting in to a three-way battle for the lead for much of the race’s last lap proved no obstacle for Miss Jessica, who produced a gritty win at massive $48 odds. The victory helped to put a spring in Robertson’s step on Thursday morning. The horseman had a 4.30am start on Wednesday before his win and had to be up again at the same time after travelling back to Invercargill from Dunedin after the Forbury Park meeting. Robertson juggles work as both a truck driver and a chef with working his team of seven horses. Victories like Wednesday night’s made all that work worth it, Robertson said. “I am a chef at night, doing a couple of nights, but mostly I am a truck driver in the mornings.” “I was up at 4.30am this morning trying to get all the jobs done so we could get to the races.” “This makes it worth it - especially because I have had her since she was a baby.” Robertson leased Miss Jessica when she was a yearling. The mare’s career hung in the balance after she had a float mishap on the way to qualify at Forbury Park, earlier this year. Robertson spelled the mare and worked her back up to full fitness and she has not looked back. Miss Jessica hinted she was capable of a winning performance in her debut at Ascot Park behind Dream Of Pat, earlier this month. The 4yr-old galloped early, before making up good ground to run fifth. Robertson said adjustments to the horse’s tongue tie were key to her improving on her debut on Wednesday night. “She is quite a heavy breather, so just getting her used to the tongue tie did the trick, really.” Miss Jessica qualified on grass at Balfour earlier this month and Robertson plans to try her on grass again at next month’s Cromwell meeting. Miss Jessica is from the first of Master Glide’s five New Zealand crops. The Yankee Glide stallion has left an Australian winner from his first book in New Zealand in Doug, the winner of five of his 15 starts in Victoria.   Master Glide, who has left 52 live foals in New Zealand, stands at Wai Eyre Farm for a fee of $2500.  Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Jonny Turner    Southland trainer Nathan Williamson will be out to continue his stable’s incredible form when he starts two runners at Forbury Park tonight. Williamson has made a brilliant start to the racing season, producing 10 wins and 11 placings from 31 starts from his barn. That strike rate is better than what the all-conquering All Stars stable have produced this term. Williamson was quick to deflect praise for his stunning stats and modestly puts the brilliant numbers down to the quality of his horses. “I am pretty happy with it – we have just got some nice horses,” he said. 4yr-old trotter Hawaiian Hula, who starts in race 8 at Forbury Park tonight, added one of Williamson’s 10 wins in her last start at Ascot Park. She steps out of maiden grade to race more competitive trotters, including recent Oamaru winner Da Moons Mission, in tonight’s 2700m contest for junior drivers. Williamson thinks this mare is capable of handling the move up in grade. “I think a wee bit of her, she is a pretty talented sort of mare.” “She has had a few niggles and she is hard to keep right, but I think she has got a bit of a future.” Williamson set a slow pace before letting Hawaiian Hula show off her speed when running to a five length victory in her second start. The trotter debuted at Forbury Park prior to that win, producing a solid, but unspectacular second placing behind Orlando Magic. Williamson said the mare will return to the track a better prospect tonight. “I just wasn’t that happy with her run at Forbury last time, even though she ran second. “But, she has really come on since then.” Tonight’s junior driver’s attempt could be a battle between trotters out to further reward their patient owners. Hawaiian Hula’s connections have had to wait until the middle stages of her 4yr-old term for their first win after the mare suffered setbacks at 2 and 3yrs-old. “I had her up and going as a 2yr-old and I was considering taking her to the Australasian Breeders Crown, but she kept growing and she lightened in her condition so I decided to turn her out,” Williamson said.  “She came back as a 3yr-old and trialled really nicely with Get Lucky and I was really happy with her.” “But she was a bit scratchy after that and she ended up getting bone chips taken out of her knees.” Stable junior driver Chelsea Faithful takes the reins behind Hawaiian Hula tonight as she attempts to continue make up for lost time with a second win. Westwood Beach trotter Da Moons Mission goes in to the race in a similar position. The owners of squaregaiter have also had to wait until the same stage of their 4yr-old’s season for him to step out and win. Da Moons Mission did it in style, with an impressive late closing win at Oamaru last weekend. Trainer Graeme Anderson told the Otago Daily Times after the winthat Da Moons Mission’s had the potential to owners reward his owners with more victories. Canterbury junior driver Mark Hurrell will be out to help him do that in tonight’s event. Hawaian Hula and Da Moons Mission look two of the biggest winning chances in race 8, but they do not have the race completely to themselves. Both Clyde and Lisa Marie P bring consistent form to the event. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Jonny Turner    Progressive Forbury Park pacer Parama will return a bigger and stronger prospect when he steps out on his home track on Thursday night.  The Darryn Simpson trained pacer will have his first start as a 4yr-old after creating a good impression when winning three of his five starts last season. Simpson and his major owner, Garry Clarke, decided to give the horse a decent break to allow him to strengthen following his last start win at Forbury Park in May. That decision looks to have paid off judging by the way Parama is preparing for his return.  “He strengthened up big time, he has done really well,” Simpson said. Parama gives away a race fitness edge to most of his opponents in race 3, who have had the benefit of several recent starts.  A lack of trials and workouts in Otago recently means the 4yr-old has not been able to make any public appearances ahead of his race return. Despite that, Simpson is confident his horse is fit enough to be competitive tonight. “He has had a decent break and is going in fresh, but I am pretty happy with his work.” “The way he worked earlier this week — he should be thereabouts.” “He will be improving from the run, but I still think he will be up there.” Junior driver Ellie Barron will take the reins behind Parama in the hope he could score a penalty free win in Thursday night’s 2200m mobile. Simpson expects the junior driver to work his 4yr-old in to the race from his wide barrier 8 draw. “I am picking he will be able to make his own luck, even though he is first up.” Simpson hopes to target some of Otago and Southland’s country cup races after Parama gets his campaign underway on Thursday.  “The country cups were always going to be the option, the standing starts should be right up his alley” Simpson said. “We missed cup week because we decided to leave him out that wee bit longer so we could bring him up just a little bit slower.” Simpson and Clarke will also start Nikasa in race 5 on Thursday night.  The 3yr-old put in a respectable effort when running sixth in her first start at Wyndham earlier this month. Nikasa did plenty of mid race work behind the smart winner, Stylish Memphis. Despite the strong showing in a highly talented line up, Simpson was disappointed with his filly. “I was half disappointed with her because I do think a bit of her,” the trainer said. “I came home and took some blood tests and she just wasn’t 100%, but she seems to have bounced back now.” Nikasa will go in to her 2200m mobile for driver Brent Barclay without starting for over two weeks.  The filly’s recent work alongside Parama has her trainer confident Nikasa is fit and ready to race.  “She worked with Parama earlier this week and I am more than happy with her,” Simpson said. Simpson and Clarke have a two-pronged attack on race 6 with Mack Sheer and Makara. Both would be eachway chances if they brought their A games to the 2200m mobile. “Makara can run a bit, but he is very green,” Simpson said. “He has a massive motor, but it is going to take him a wee while to click.” “Mack Sheer went a good race first up, but has been disappointing since then.” “I have done a few wee different things with him since then and freshened him up, so I have been pretty happy with him.”  Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Jonny Turner Canterbury trainer Stephen Boyd and leading reinsman Blair Orange are set to rock Saturday’s Forbury Park meeting. They will combine with three runners, with each looking to have strong winning claims. Walk All Over You is the first of two runner Boyd and Orange will combine with that are named after songs by the rock band AC/DC. Walk All Over You comes in to race 2 after fading out of his debut at Addington, last week. The 4yr-old has drawn barrier two on the second row and is set to follow out an outsider in Carter. What kind of a run through that horse allows Walk All Over You could have a big effect on whether he will be faced with a tough trip again, Boyd said. “He goes alright, he will need a bit of luck and it will depend on where he gets to from that second row draw.” Walk All Over opened the $5 second equal favourite with rival Tuapeka Jesse. The pair will clash $2.10 early favourite, Bono Brown. The Graeme Anderson starts for the second time this campaign following his strong resuming run for third, behind Hands Up Jack at Forbury Park earlier this month. Boyd will start another horse named after a song by Australia’s biggest selling band when Whole Lotta Rosie starts in race 3. The 3yr-old goes in to the 2200m standing start after winning a qualifying trial in sedate time at Ashburton. Boyd said he was happy with that effort and that Whole Lotta Rosie had the scope to produce a more impressive effort in her race debut. “She is a nice wee filly, she will improve a lot because she has only been off the place twice.” “She didn’t qualify in a flash time, but she did it well.” “She goes nice, she is a typical wee Bettor’s Delight, she does everything right.” “She is in with a right, royal show to be fair.” Whole Lotta Rosie opened the $4 favourite for race 3. Bookmakers rated both Cotton Socks and Dynamite on the second line of betting at $4.60. Virginia Cool brings a patchy formline in to race 4 for Boyd and Orange. The trainer is hopeful the 4yr-old can turn her fortunes around on Saturday from barrier 6. “She is going well enough, but she hasn’t had much luck to be fair.” “She has and awkward enough draw, but I would expect her to go pretty well.” Virginia Cool opened at red hot $1.75 win odds with bookmakers. Oamaru trotter Springbank Lachie will start for the first time since May in race 6, Saturday’s feature trot. The Phil Williamson trained 5yr-old trialled at Ashburton last week, running second to Overzealous, to prepare him for his return. Springbank Lachie opened the $3 favourite for race 6 ahead of Sea Rover, who was at $3.20. Sea Rover will have his first start for Waikouaiti trainer Amber Hoffman today. The 7yr-old, who has not started since March, won a trial at Oamaru earlier this week. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Jonny Turner Eastern Southland pacer Robyns Playboy showed off his sizzling speed and versatility to hold out Cast No Shadow in an exciting finish to the Tuapeka Cup at Forbury Park on Sunday.  The quinella-makers launched big runs from the rear at the 800m before breaking away from their rivals and going head-to-head in an epic dual over the last 400m of the 2700m feature. Cast No Shadow loomed up to Robyns Playboy in the straight, but the southerner would not be denied as he went on to score an impressive win for trainers Ross and Chris Wilson, and driver Craig Ferguson. Good beginnings and positive driving have enabled the 4yr-old to land on the speed in most of his recent runs. The Wilson stable went into yesterday's race with a different tactics, preferring their pacer to sit off the speed in the 10-horse field. A fast first lap set up by the leader, Chiller Bay, allowed Ferguson to do exactly that, before Robyns Playboy zoomed around the field to win. "We wanted to drive him with a sit today," Ross Wilson said. "He has got a lot of speed." "Last week [at Ascot Park] he wouldn't take the passing lane, because he is still learning." "This week Chris was driving him in work at Gore and he took him up the inside where it was quite wet and he still ran a 26sec-quarter [400m]." Robyns Playboy was nominated for the New Zealand Cup, but was withdrawn after his seventh in last month's Hannon Memorial at Oamaru. The Wilsons will freshen the Shadow Play pacer, rather than aim him at other races at the New Zealand Cup carnival such as the junior free-for-all. "I think we will give him a break. He has had a few hard runs now," Ross Wilson said. "We will get him ready for the Central Otago Cup. There are plenty of good races coming up.  "He could even have a go at the Gore Cup before then." Robyns Playboy held out Cast No Shadow by a length and a-quarter at the line. Bettathanfast went a sound race for third, a further three and a-half lengths away, after sitting parked throughout. Another highly exciting last 400m played out when Stun Gun launched an attack from the rear of the field on the leader in race 5, Spirit Of St Louis. The pair went head-to-head before the home turn after Stun Gun sprinted quickly to put his nose in front at the 400m. Spirit Of St Louis regained the lead in the straight before shaking off Stun Gun's challenge. The 3yr-old went on to win by a length and a-quarter from Deus Ex, who also rallied to hold out Stun Gun. Spirit Of St Louis ran a sensational closing split, clocking his last 800m in 56.3sec and final 400m in 26.9sec. His Westwood Beach trainer, Graeme Anderson, said he would freshen Spirit Of St Louis before making any plans for the horse's next start. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Jonny Turner Eastern Southland pacer Sagwitch will return to his happy place to contest Sunday's Tuapeka Cup. The Syd Breen-trained 6yr-old returns to racing in the 2700m feature at Forbury Park after a mild ailment ended any chance of him heading towards the New Zealand Cup. Sagwitch was among several southerners rushed off their feet in the Hannon Memorial at Oamaru on September 22 when Spankem ran a blistering 53.3sec last 800m to win. Sagwitch picked up a minor bug in the days after the Hannon and has not raced since. "He just got a bit crook after he went to the Hannon," Breen said. "I was quite happy with him in the Hannon after he missed away and lost a bit of ground. But afterwards, he went a bit off-colour, so we eased up on him and gave a freshen-up. "He is brightening up now and I am quite happy with him." Sagwitch will attempt to resurrect his season and endorse his claim as a country cups specialist on Sunday.  The Lis Mara pacer will attempt to add the Tuapeka Cup to his Winton Businesses Cup, Wyndham Cup and Northern Southland Summer Cup titles from last season. And he will do it at a track where he often races well. Sagwitch has won three times and placed once in eight starts at Forbury Park. He has not been to trials or workouts since his Hannon run but Breen is confident his horse can go a good race. "He can get a bit fired up at the workouts and I have been trying to stick to stands [standing starts] with him. "It is not an overly strong field, so I am hoping he can step away and make one run at them. "If he steps, they will know he is there." Robyns Playboy looks the horse to beat in the feature following his strong effort in last weekend's Riverton Cup. The Ross and Chris Wilson-trained 4yr-old fought on for third after working around the field in a quickly run race won by Paddyproudfoot. Robyns Playboy and Sagwitch share the 20m back mark, 10m behind Cast No Shadow. Cast No Shadow resumed with a dominant win after free-falling down in grade in his first run for the season at Methven. The race should hold no fears for the Paul Court-trained pacer who spent the tail end of last season racing the country's best 3yr-olds. Bettathanfast and Swamp Major look two of the best chances off the front mark in the Tuapeka Cup. Trainer Cran Dalgety will be aim for back-to-back cups after producing the ill-fated Pat's Delight for a sensational win in the race last year. He and training partner Nathan Purdon start Bettathanfast, who must improve on his manners after botching the beginning of his last start at Addington. The injury plagued but talented Swamp Major gets a prime opportunity to turn around his form. Westwood Beach pacer Spirit Of St Louis will attempt a repeat of his impressive last-start win at Forbury Park nine days ago. The 3yr-old bolted in, beating Tuapeka Cup contender Triroyale Brigade, in what was his first start for over six weeks. Spirit Of St Louis should strip fitter for that run and should be very hard to beat. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Jonny Turner Canterbury mare Sweet Mary gets the chance to start her season in style when she free- falls down the grades at Forbury Park on Thursday night. Just two starts ago, the Brad Mowbray-trained pacer was mixing it in group 1 company at the Harness Jewels, where she ran a creditable fifth behind Elle Mac. Sweet Mary will not have to face nearly as daunting a task when she resumes in rating 53-70 company over 2200m. ''From a class perspective, from some of the races she was in last season, it is a drop in class for her,'' Mowbray said. While Sweet Mary will not give away a class edge to her rivals, she does lack a race fitness advantage, as all but two of her rivals have had the benefit of recent racing. In contrast, Sweet Mary has just had one public appearance to ready her for her resumption. But it was a good one. She won a recent 2400m mobile trial at Ashburton in 3:01.9, reeling off a slick 55.5sec last 800m. Mowbray feels that effort signalled his mare is ready to make an impact at the races. ''It was a smart overall time as well, as much as she ran smart sectionals. ''She is a naturally fit horse, she is not one to take too long to come back to her best - she doesn't carry much extra weight. ''So, we have obviously thought she is ready to hit the race track.'' Sixteen-win veteran Aveross Rustler looks one of Sweet Mary's main rivals. The 11yr-old comes into tonight's race following a fair effort at Oamaru, after taking on a strong intermediate field at Addington. The Wayne Low-trained pacer won in his prior start at Forbury Park from the same outside of the front row draw he starts from on Thursday night. Rollova also looks a strong chance in race 5. The David and Catherine Butt-trained pacer went to the line untested at Methven on Sunday after being denied racing room in the straight. The 4yr-old was an easy winner of his prior start at Motukarara. The Mowbray stable have two more runners entered at Forbury Park tonight in Wandering Star and Refine. Wandering Star also resumes after impressing at the Ashburton trials recently. The 8yr-old was just a length behind Zsa Zoe, who trotted her last 400m in 27.3sec to win a 2400m hit out. That signals the horse is ready to turn around his form in his first start for the Mowbray stable. ''I don't think he would be 100% fool-proof, but if he put his best foot forward I am pretty sure he wouldn't be out of it. He is a very good beginner, too.'' Wandering Star's standing-start prowess should help him overcome his 30m handicap when he takes on a largely out of form line-up of trotters over 2700m in race 1. Refine looks a solid place chance against rating 45-52 pacers in race 6. The 4yr-old goes in to the 2200m mobile event after running third behind Highland Reign at Motukarara. ''She boomed home at Motukarara, she had a couple of days off after that and we have just worked her back up and she looks a million dollars.'' Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Jonny Turner Exciting 3-year-old Spirit Of St Louis faces a stern test early in his career at Forbury Park on Sunday.  The Graeme Anderson trained pacer impressed when beating a field of up and comers when debuting at Gore last weekend. His front running effort got a big tick of approval from his driver, Matthew Williamson. “It was very impressive,” the reinsman said.  “His run was super and he rattled off a really nice [last 800m] and he showed good gate speed, too.” Spirit Of St Louis looked slightly vulnerable at early in the run home, before he found another gear and dashed away from his opposition to score. Williamson said it was a case of the horse bringing a very laid back attitude to the track. “He is just quite laid back is what I would say.” “That is why his trials have just looked ok and then he sharpened up on race day when he was asked for it.” “I would say with a few more starts he will sharpen up even more.” Spirit Of St Louis faces an almighty leap in race conditions in his second career start on Sunday.  The inexperienced pacer will square off with rugged veterans Aveross Rustler and Four Starzz Shiraz, as well as new season performer Arden Roanake. Though he concedes a lot of experience to his rivals, Spirit Of St Louis will have a draw advantage over his main rivals when he starts from barrier 3. Williamson hopes that good draw and the 3-year-old’s class can help him beat out his more seasoned rivals. “Because he has got a bit of class he can probably still win it,” the reinsman said.  “With the draw of course -  which is the only thing in his favour – if he gets his own way or a couple of cheap sectionals they won’t make any ground from behind him if he rattles off a 56sec [final 800m] again.” Aveross Rustler looks the best placed of Spirit Of St Louis’ main rivals to land near the speed from barrier 7. Four Starzz Shirazz starts from the outside of the front line in barrier 8 and Arden Roanoake will start from the inside of the second row in barrier 9. The Cran Dalgety and Nathan Purdon trained Arden Roanoake will give Spirit Of St Louis plenty of competition, and driver Matt Anderson can work the 4-year-old in to clear running. The pacer is shooting for a hat-trick of wins following his brilliant last to first victory at Oamaru, last weekend. Williamson also drives With The Stars in race 3 for the Anderson stable. The reinsman rated Hannity in race 7 alongside Spirit Of St Louis in race 9 as one of his best drives at Forbury Park on Sunday. The Colin Harrison trained pacer gets in to the race well as a rating 55 horse competing against horses rated between 40 and 55. “The start will be the only thing with him, he has been a good beginner, but he missed away last start.,” Williamson said. “If he got away on terms, to be honest I would be disappointed if he got beaten in that field.” “He has dropped back a long way in grade.” Williamson also drives Huckabee, who he described as a place chance in race 4 for the Harrison stable.   The Oamaru driver also combines with Cuddly Trouble in race 1, Maldito in race 2 and Solsbury Hill in race 8. Williamson rated Cuddly Trouble, who starts from a 30m handicap, the best of chance among that trio. “If she could step away and make up that 30m I definitely think she is an each-way chance,” he said.   Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

There are just the three meetings programmed in again this week but harness racing is on the cusp of ramping up in the next month with grass track racing just around the corner. The Waikato Bay of Plenty Harness host a meeting tonight at Cambridge raceway, while the New Zealand Metropoliton Trotting Club hold their Canterbury Breeders and Owners racenight at Addington on Friday night. Forbury host their Spring has sprung day meeting at on Sunday. Last week the biggest winning dividend in the ringaround selections went to Geoff Knight who thought Jacks N Jazz would be hard to beat last Sunday at Gore. Jacks N Jazz did win and paid $8.30 and $2.70 on the tote.  Note: We will keep adding to this page if more tips come in after the deadline, so check back often   Cambridge on Thursday Night Harnesslink Reporter - says Crackared can go close to winning at Cambridge in Race 1 John Curtin - John thinks that Ardens Voyager would be a good winning chance at Cambridge in Race 4 Andre Poutama - Andre says his best drive this week would be Jo's Dream at Cambridge in Race 8   Addington on Friday night Jim Curtin - Jimmy says his best chance would be Paravani at Addington in Race 3 Blair Orange - Blair is going for Gran Chico as his best drive this week at Addington in Race 5 Tony Herlihy - Tony thinks Dream About Me would be a good chance at Addington in Race 6 Ricky May -  Ricky thinks his best drive would be Saying Grace at Addington in Race 7 Gerard O'Reilly - Gerard thinks that Stellar Success would be a place chance at Addington in Race 8 Racechat - Lance thinks that Lovey Dovey Moment is a winning chance at Addingont also in Race 8   Forbury on Sunday John Morrison - John thinks his best drive this week would be Majestic De Fence at Forbury in Race 1 Rory Mcllwrick - Rory is going for Thisladyrocks as his best chance this week in Race 2 Mark Jones - Mark is going for Itz Major Look as his best chance this week at at Forbury in Race 4 Geoff Knight - Geoff says that Jacks N Jazz might be his best chance again this week in Race 8 Stephen Richardson (Odds Analyst) - Stephen thinks Fun In The Dark can go close to winning Race 8 Nathan Williamson - Nathan thinks his best chance would be Scarlett Lane at Forbury in Race 9 Brad Williamson - Brad is going for Two Ply as his best chance this week at Forbury in Race 10   Harnesslink Media

1 to 16 of 427
1 2 3 4 5 Next »