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By Garrick Knight An Oamaru twilight meeting presents as an unusual but interesting offering for punters on Thursday. Ben Hope will head down from Woodend Beach in North Canterbury to drive five of the team prepared by his parents, Greg and Nina. Among them is Baxter, a resuming four-year-old trotter that was deemed good enough by the Hopes to contest the Hambletonian Classic at just his second start last season. What’s more, the half-brother to former champion trotter Monbet ran third behind Lotamuscle in the Group 3 feature. He only had one further start before being turfed out and this week represents his first run since March. The junior Hope piloted the son of Muscle Hill in heavy weather at the Rangiora workouts last week and says he was happy enough with his third placing. But this week, in a junior drivers’ event, where a penalty-free win is in the offing, he isn’t exactly preparing his acceptance speech. “He’s a nice enough horse without being a star. “I was happy with his trial and, while he got a bit tired towards the end, he was entitled to first up on a heavy track. “He’s obviously going to be an each-way chance, but is no certainty. “To be fair, too, I think he would prefer a shorter distance than the 2600 metres.” Hope points to another relative of Monbet as probably his best chance on the day. Her name is Crazy N Love and she debuts in the first on the card, a maiden trotter. She’s been given plenty of time to learn the ropes at recent workouts and trials and has shown her trainers plenty. “I really rate her,” said Hope. “She is a lovely filly and is going to do a bloody good job in time. Whether that is this week or in a couple of years’ time, I’m not sure. “She’s not fool-proof and mentally is just not quite there yet. “I was really happy with her first trial this time, but in the second one she knuckled over on the bend. “It does look a pretty weak field and if she trots the whole way, she should go pretty close.” Rockntommy Rulz doesn’t have an overly inspiring record – just one placing in nine starts – but his two runs for fifth this time in have been better than they looked. He’s drawn well in gate three in a handy field of maiden pacers over the short course mile-and-a-quarter trip and Hope reckons he could surprise. “He can take advantage of that draw. “He’s actually improved a lot since last season and those first two runs have been ok, I thought. “Last season he kept going out as a favourite but I felt he was too physically weak to be very competitive, but he’s definitely grown up now.” Panda Girl is a daughter of former stable star Helena Jet, but doesn’t seem to have inherited much of her mother’s ability. “She’s really not showing a lot, but if she was ever going to win one, this is it. “I would have liked to have drawn the front line with her because she’s usually quite a good beginner. “It doesn’t seem an overly strong field and with an economical run I expect her to be at least a place chance.” Rounding out Hope’s book is stable newcomer Melody Pond, who showed glimpses of ability for former trainer Robert Anderson on the grass last season and has seemingly turned the corner in recent weeks. “The first few weeks we had her, she was pretty average, but has definitely improved. “Dad’s been doing most of the driving with her and he reckons she’s come on lately. “We’ll know more after the race but if she can settle handy from that good draw, she’s got to be a reasonably good chance.” Bookies have shown respect to Crazy N Love, opening her a $2.90 favourite while Melody Pond ($7.50), Rockntommy Rulz ($17), Panda Girl ($5.50) and Baxter ($4.20) all present varying degrees of each-way appeal. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Garrick Knight Gran Chico under offer One of the country’s more promising pacers is under offer to Perth interests. Four-year-old Gran Chico, due to race in Monday’s Ashburton Flying Stakes, is being vetted Thursday with a view to join Mike Reed’s Perth stable. Part-owner Grant Eynon, from Tauranga, confirmed a deal was in place but had not yet been finalised. The deal is for a significant six-figure sum that reflected the reluctance of Eynon and his father, Colin, to sell their prized horse. Prepared to this point by Nigel McGrath, Gran Chico has won six of his 13 lifetime starts as well as placing runner-up to Jesse Duke in last season’s Group 1 3yo Emerald at Addington. After a fourth in the Methven Cup at his most recent outing interest ramped up in the son of Bettor’s Delight, according to Eynon. Reed’s clients would be unlikely to pursue a New Zealand Cup start and would instead ship him to Perth immediately with a view to two Group 1 races for four-year-olds there in December.   Palmy raids on again for House The first two-day Manawatu meeting of the season is down to go next week and trainer Michael House will once again be under-pinning the fields. The now dual-island trainer has made Palmerston North a happy hunting ground over the two seasons, winning 107 races there. “I’ve just nominated 18 horses for the first meeting,” he told HRNZ. “Six will come down from the Auckland barn and I’ll send a dozen up from here in Christchurch.” The country’s leading reinsman, Blair Orange, will again link up with House as he uses Manawatu as a key aspect of his push for a third straight drivers’ premiership. “There was an Air New Zealand sale recently with $50 fares to Palmerston North and Blair said he bought tickets for the whole season. “So, I guess that means he’ll be driving them again,” House said.  After a big dispersal and clean out at the end of last season, House has been building up his stables for the regular raids over the past couple of months. “It’s been harder than last year; there are less horses around and people are finding it easier to win in their own district. “But over the next couple of months I am expecting a huge influx as we get rolling.” Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Garrick Knight Life has gone on for Kirstin Barclay and Tank Ellis, even after the most bitter of blows. It’s horse training 101 – even after losing your best horse to injury, you still have to get up and train the rest of the team. Luckily for Barclay and Ellis after the injury setback to U May Cullect, their remaining squad is pretty decent, evidenced by their pair of wins at Ascot Park on Sunday with Paddyproudfoot and Somethings Burning. Paddyproudfoot’s story is not dissimilar to U May Cullect’s in that he too has overcome a couple of significant setbacks in his career. Yesterday’s win in the $15,000 Riverton Cup was the realisation of the faith Barclay has always had in him and the patience she has shown. “It was gutting to lose U May Cullect but the season’s not over, it’s only just starting,” she told HRNZ. “I’ve always had a really high opinion of Paddyproudfoot – he’s got really high speed and can stay a bit too. “Throw in his standing start manners and he should make a tidy, wee country cups horse this season.” He debuted with big raps as a three-year-old this time two years ago, ultimately running second. But he wouldn’t be seen again at the races for a full year. “He got a really bad virus after that first race as a three-year-old and just could never shake it. “He kept getting crook all the time so he chucked him out.” Resuming this time last year, he ran second to Mighty Flying Art at Winton before injury struck, this time a hairline fracture in a pastern. Thankfully it wasn’t season-ending and he bounced back in the autumn to win four races, including two on a trip north to Canterbury and the Tasman region. Now it’s full steam ahead and Barclay and Ellis are considering their options, which could include another trip north. “There is a race for him at Addington on Show Day, a standing start that we had him ear-marked for. “Whether we carry on to that will be something Tank and I discuss in the coming days.” The wheels have come off a planned stable strike on Cup week through U May Cullect’s injury and the sale last week of the stable’s best trotter, Wee Man Trouble, to Queensland interests. He was scratched from his engagement at Ascot Park on Sunday in the day’s feature trot, but that didn’t stop the stable from winning the race. With a 30-metre head start on all-bar-one of her opponents, Barclay seized the opportunity to make a race of it with improving two-win mare, Somethings Burning. Well clear of the field, which included Group 1 performers Majestic Man, Monty Python and Dark Horse, for most of the race, she was never reeled in. The daring steer completed not just a training, but a driving double for Barclay, who also bred and co-owns the daughter of Majestic Son with Julie Kilkelly. “Julie and I bred her; she was my first foray in to breeding. “The dam is a half-sister to The Fiery Ginga and every foal she’s left looks like being pretty decent. “The next one, Smokin Bandar, has a stack of ability but keeps going sore and then the three-year-old out of her also has a fair bit of ability.” Barclay was quietly confident heading in to the race after some excellent training mid-week. “Her work was quite phenomenal up the beach this week.” Completing a good day for Barclay and Ellis were the placings by Betterthanbrie, Hampton and Undercover Mac but that doesn’t quite take away the pain of not being in the country’s biggest race in three weeks’ time. “It’s heart-breaking, you know. “You walk him (U May Cullect) out of the box and he’s sound as a bell, the tendon injury doesn’t show at all. “It looks unreal, but the scans tell a different story.” Treatment plans are being discussed at present but the most likely option is a stem cell transplant. “We are doing our homework on that now and talking to the vets about a treatment plan.” Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Garrick Knight It was a dream start to his driving career for Zev Meredith at Cambridge on Friday night. On his first night of driving, six days after hurriedly satisfying his licence requirements, the 17-year-old took two drives for boss Brent Mangos and came away with a win and a placing. After flying home on Gladamare to run second, Meredith drove hot favourite Havehorsewilltravel in the junior drivers’ event and got the job done to cap a memorable night. “It’s been a fantastic night, I couldn’t be happier,” Meredith told HRNZ. “I really want to send a massive thank you to ‘Mango’, as well as the owners of both horses, for putting me on. “To accept that a junior was on, having his first drives, might not have been easy.” Meredith doesn’t have a heap of family history in the game apart from a mother who worked at Linden Park Stud in Pukekawa at one point in time. “I really only got in to it because we lived next door to the Franklin Park track manager and he introduced me to Franklin Kidz Kartz. “That taught me the basics and then I started to help out Paulette Screen with her ponies. “Then I got offered some holiday work at Mango’s because he needed someone for a few weeks while his staff were on holiday. “I went back for another week after that and before long he offered me a full-time job.” That was in June last year and in the ensuing 16 months Meredith has absorbed all he can from one of New Zealand’s most accomplished and revered horsemen. “He’s been really good, trying to teach me as much as he can. “He’ll tell you when you’re doing something wrong and then give you tips on how to do it better. “I’m a very curious person so I’m always asking questions.” A junior driver shortage in the north plus the opportunity to drive the exciting Havehorsewilltravel less than a week later prompted Meredith to complete his final four graduating drives at the workouts last Saturday. The problem was, Mangos only had one horse in. Enter Ray Green. “Ray was massive; he enabled me to get signed off by giving me three drives last week. “And it was nice to sit behind different horses that I hadn’t driven before, wearing different gear, too.” By coincidence, two of the three drives Meredith took for Green were on the three-year-olds Double Or Nothing and Larry Lincoln, who both also won at Cambridge on Friday night. After a good steer on the unlucky Gladamare, Meredith wanted to take luck out of the equation on Havehorsewilltravel. He’s a recent arrival from Otago but is chock-full of ability and was facing a significant drop in grade from recent Auckland racing. Crucially, Meredith had the advantage of practicing on him at home during the week. “I did most of the work with him in the last week to try and learn his little tricks and traits.” It paid off – Meredith got him round in one piece even after being illegally pushed out 1100 from home and having to go four-wide out of the straight the final time. “I just pressed on even after I nearly got knocked over. If I didn’t do that, I wasn’t likely to win it. “He was definitely the best horse in the race – he has a fair bit of ability – so it made sense to drive him that way.” Meredith is like any other teenage junior driver; he has the same hopes and ambitions. Except for one surprising one. “I don’t plan on leaving the industry. In fact, I want to train one day, hopefully. If I earn the right to do it.” Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Garrick Knight Expect big things from Armed Reactor at Cambridge tonight and as the season wears on. That’s the word from one of his trainers. The big son of Auckland Reactor is fresh-up since July for Ohaupo husband-and-wife duo Jason and Megan Teaz as he tackles an $8,500 pace on his home track. It might well be the only start he has at Cambridge this season with the stakes on offer at Alexandra Park in Auckland impossible to avoid. But with junior driver Dylan Ferguson in the cart this week, it’s a potential ‘free’ win and connections fully intend on capitalising. “We’ve been really patient because we’ve always had a lot of time for him,” said Jason Teaz. “He’s potentially the best pacer we’ve had.” From gate three he has his first decent draw and the plan is to utilise that. “We’ve always looked after him off the gate because he kept getting bad draws but this is the first time he’s had a decent one. “He can really fly the gate so we’ll go forward and look to make it a staying test. “He’s untapped; we haven’t found the bottom of him yet and good luck to anything that can outstay him.” Armed Reactor had a workout at Cambridge last Saturday which went as well as could be expected and put the polish on him, fitness wise. “He went 2.48, home in 27 with the plugs still in and had a good blow afterwards. “We topped him off with a nice run at home on Wednesday and I think it’s fair to say he’s more forward than most of ours usually are first-up. “He’s a natural athlete and comes to it very quickly.” The stable has two maiden three-year-old trotters stepping out in the last on the card – the resuming Tarukenga and the debutant Majestic Harry. “Majestic Harry is a lot like another former trotter of ours, Mortician. “He’s got great manners, tries hard and has his share of ability too. “His owner, Bill Hickey, has had a tough time recently so we are really hoping he has a good season for him.” Tarukenga was a race winner placed numerous times across six starts as a juvenile last season. “She did a good job at two, despite being a bit weak. “The family trait is to improve with age and she’s come back well. “The issue for her will be coming to grips with the standing starts; she made a bit of a hash of it at the workouts the other day.” Asked to compare the chances of their pair this week, Teaz says it is tough to split them. “It’s hard to say. Majestic Harry is more reliable but if they both trotted the whole way, I would expect them to be in the first four.” Rounding out the team is Hit The Sky, who has drawn wide in a race that he would otherwise have been pretty hard to beat. “I think he’s the best horse in the race. He’s been running the best or second-best sectionals every time he goes round. “Another nightmare draw but we are going to go push forward and take our chances.” Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Garrick Knight Handy Canterbury mare Uptown Lady has been sold to American interests. The daughter of Art Major left for Colts Neck, New Jersey, last Friday. Her former trainer, Mark Jones, says it was disappointing to lose a mare of her quality. “She has a good turn of speed, a great attitude and will love the hard racing over there. “I was sad to lose her but the lack of fillies and mares’ options here was a reason to sell. “And we lose a nice future broodmare, too.” Accompanying her across the Pacific was another four-year-old Art Major mare in Flashazz, a one-win daughter of former Harness Jewels winner, Pembrook’s Delight. Also on the flight was Global Domination, who ran fourth in last year’s New Zealand Derby behind Ultimate Sniper and had just resumed racing for the new season with a couple of inauspicious performances. He’ll join the stable of Peter Tritton, a prodigious buyer of New Zealand stock over many years. ___________________________________________________________________________________ Former Group 1 winning trotter Great Things Happen has had a minor setback. After a disappointing resumption in the Canterbury Park Trotting Cup at Addington on October 4, Rangiora trainer Gavin Smith got the horse checked out. “It was the worst he’s ever gone – he just doesn’t do that,” Smith said of his 10-length defeat at the hands of Oscar Bonavena after doing no work in transit. “I thought something had to be drastically wrong. “So, we got him scoped and he was full of snot. His bloods were fine so it’s no wonder we couldn’t detect it beforehand.” With the horse requiring an easy time of it, his Dominion Trot preparation has been compromised and Smith now faces a race against time to get him fit enough for the November 15 feature. ___________________________________________________________________________________ An old friend is about to reunite with the dominant All Stars stable of Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen. Cruz Bromac is due to return to their Rolleston stable next week for a second Spring stint in Christchurch. The New Zealand-bred pacer won last year’s New Zealand Free For All on Show Day after being slightly unlucky in the New Zealand Cup three days earlier. He then contested the Inter Dominions for Purdon and Rasmussen, going undefeated in the heats before running third behind Tiger Tara in the Final. He stayed in Australia through the winter and recently resumed for trainer Amanda Grieve, running third in Saturday night’s Victoria Cup. Purdon confirmed the $12 fifth favourite for the New Zealand Cup was due in the next 10 days when speaking on Radio Trackside on Monday. “He’s going to join us; we’re making arrangements this week to fly him over so hopefully they’ll have him on the way by next Sunday. “It was an eye-catching run in the Victoria Cup; he made up good ground for third. “I’ve spoken to Dean Braun and he’s been very, very happy with his preparation and how he is.” Cruz Bromac is also nominated for December’s Inter Dominion Series in Auckland. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Garrick Knight A national record run has forced trainer Steve Telfer’s hand with his stable star, Triple Eight. He took out the $30,000 Kerry Hoggard Memorial – Holmes D G in a thrilling finish with Mach Shard, the two capitalising on a break-neck speed that played perfectly in to their hands. Both started from handicaps but ended up getting sweet trips in the running line which allowed them to fight out the finish, Triple Eight prevailing in 3.17.2. It was a remarkable time that shaved 2.4 seconds off the previous mark, set by Vincent. Telfer purposely avoided nominating for the New Zealand Cup, saying the Inter Dominions at Alexandra Park at the end of the year were the clear focus. And while that still remains, Triple Eight will now head south for two races, contrary to earlier plans. “Looking at the programme at Auckland, and knowing he needs some good hard runs to prepare him for the Inter Dominions, we are going to send him south next week. “So, we’ll go to Kaikoura and then the junior free for all on Cup Day. “But that will be it; he’ll come home and prepare for the Inters after that.” Stablemate Check In will also head south to race, joining stablemates, Ivana Flybye and Flying Steps, who are already down there. Earlier in the night, one of the stable’s best three-year-olds, Mimi E Coco, resumed with an all-the-way win in the hands of David Butcher. She has classic potential according to Telfer, but will need to be expertly-managed to realise that. “It’s early in the season but she gives you that feel of a horse that will be up to the better fillies’ races later on. “She has a lot to learn though – at the moment she is a lot better in behind. “David was saying she was switching off and needed a horse up beside her to keep her mind on the job.” The name, according to her breeder and part-owner, Scott Plant, was chosen on a whim while he and his wife were on an overseas holiday. “Initially she was going to be called The Last Mach but my wife didn’t like that. “We were talking about in a café in the south of France and on the wall was a sign that said Mimi E Coco. “I said what about that? And she liked it so we went with it.” It’s actually Italian and language experts spoken to by HRNZ suggested it refers to ‘soulmates’ or a couple displaying extreme levels of love for one another.   Old friends combine with Sole Ambition Sole Ambition is one of those horses everyone would like to own. His front-running win on Friday night capped off a consistent run of form for trainer Barry Purdon, who owns the son of Bettor’s Delight with American-based expat Kiwi trainer, Chris Ryder. “I’ve known Chris for as long as I can remember – we got right back to the eighties when he was training here.” Ryder, who owns star trotter Oscar Bonavena with Purdon’s father, Roy, also has ownership interests in Henry Hu, Bad To The Bone and three other unraced horses in the stable. He looks like being the best performer to date out of former champion race mare One Dream, who has been somewhat disappointing at stud. There’s no real story to tell behind the rise of Sole Ambition – just a good, honest horse that keeps getting better, like all the stock of his sire. “He’s really stepped up recently and kept on improving,” said Purdon. Purdon was non-committal on the immediate future for the horse but says, at this stage, sending him to America to race for Ryder was not on the cards. Purdon had a decent night at the office with Thumbs Up clearing maidens and Sunny Glenis getting another win while he also had placings with Henry Hu, Wainui Creek and Mach Shard. The latter was narrowly beaten by Triple Eight again but lost no admirers in a New Zealand record run. “He’s a pretty damn good horse, I think. “We’ve been patient with him and he’s just continually gotten a bit better. “He’ll race here again on the 25th and then go south for the Cup trial and the Cup.” Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Garrick Knight The addition of a key piece of gear helped James Stormont train his 200th winner, with Sunny Petite at Alexandra Park on Friday night. “She was really good early on and I’ve always had a bit of time for her,” he told HRNZ. “But she would panic and gallop here at Auckland so I’ve really had to try and educate her as I go. “I put the half-hopples on her and they have helped big time.” Sunny Petite had been unplaced in all five runs at Alexandra Park to this point, but had been racing well at Cambridge. Stormont says there is an element of frustration in the fact that trainers have been unable to give their horses workouts at Alexandra Park for the past couple of years, owing to the building development. “It would be nice if we could trial here and I’m hopeful that once the buildings are finished that will be the case again, because it’s so important, especially for the trotters.” Sunny Petite, by Majestic Son, is a granddaughter of one of New Zealand’s greatest ever trotting mares, Pride Of Petite. It’s a family made famous by semi-retired Takanini horseman Snow Weaver, who still breeds from two descendants of the great mare and horses with Stormont, as well as Bernie Hackett and Michelle Wallis. Stormont will now carefully place Sunny Petite so as not to overexpose her to established and more experienced horses. “It can be cruel to trotters just out of maidens, this handicapping system.” Stormont has driven 1236 winners since kicking off his career in 1982, but he only took up training in 1995. Mr Kiwi floors punters Punters may have been shocked by the upset win of Mr Kiwi in the R60-68 pace, but his co-trainer John Dickie wasn’t. “I couldn’t believe he paid $43. “His trial last Saturday was super; he hit the line hard for third behind Wainui Creek.” It was probably the draw that put punters off – the inside of the second row with hot favourite Wainui Creek and her stablemate, Henry Hu on the front line. But some canny early driving from Dickie’s son, and training partner, Josh, negated that. A power of early speed from noted gate-runners Nanelle Franco and Court On The Edge spread the field out early and that allowed him to extract Mr Kiwi from an early four-markers sit to then challenge for the lead. From there he set a solid clip before whipping home in 55.9 to defy a fast-finishing Henry Hu with Wainui Creek in third. “They’ve gone 2.40 but no one really looked at him, which was quite surprising,” said John. It was the first northern win for Mr Kiwi, who arrived in Auckland from Brett Gray’s Ryal Bush stable at the start of the year with four wins in the bank. Dickie and stable client Steve Waters, a local property developer, joined the former’s longtime supporter, Southland’s Ben Calder, in the ownership. Mr Kiwi’s first Auckland campaign didn’t yield a win from six starts, but the Dickies weren’t panicking. “We didn’t have any issues with him; he was just very tired by the end of it because he’d had a long season.” He’ll go up in grade now and likely have to contend with the better class of horse on display, but for now there isn’t any major concern in the camp. “He’s a good stand start horse so that won’t be a problem.”

By Garrick Knight The most interesting runner at Alexandra Park tonight is without a doubt Millwood Maizie. Anyone watching Trackside last Saturday night might have done a double take when they scanned the fields earlier this week because she raced – and won – at Menangle. “She only flew in to Auckland on Tuesday morning,” said Jamie Gameson, her part owner and new trainer. Gameson is also her old trainer and, while she lines up in his name tonight, he won’t have actually laid a finger on her before the race. “Todd MacFarlane is looking after her; he got up at 4.30 to meet the truck and worked her yesterday for me. “He was pretty happy and said she worked well.” There is a method to Gameson’s madness in starting her over 2700 metres from a stand less than four days after landing from Sydney - bearing in mind she has never had a standing start in 107 career outings. “I want to bring her back up to Auckland at Christmas time for the Queen of Hearts so I thought I would chuck her in and let her have a look at the track. “It’s a big ask but she has been racing horses just as good as any of those ones recently.” He’s right – two starts ago she ran fourth behind millionaire pacer Bling It On in 1.50.2. “And Luke (McCarthy, driver) said she would have run second if she didn’t get held up in the straight.” McCarthy and Craig Cross, who train in Sydney, were the last leg of Millwood Maizie’s three-and-a-half year, three-state tour of duty across the ditch. She had won one race – at Reefton – for Gameson when the decision was made to send her to Victoria as a three-year-old. “It started with a chance meeting of her other owner, John Gould, and Nathan Jack at the Ashburton Harness Jewels the year before (2015). “John was sitting at a table with Nathan at a function the night before and they just got chatting, as John does. “He said he might be interested in sending Nathan a horse one day and six months later we decided to do it with her. “Initially she went to Nathan and Amanda Turnball but then Nathan got in a bit of strife so we sent her up to Brisbane and a good mate of ours in Daren Garrard. “He did an amazing job with her and, even though she had a lot of starts, she ran a truck load of placings.” Once the decision was made to bring her home and serve the full sister to Ohoka Punter, a stopover in Sydney become appealing. “We had to go to Sydney to fly home so we thought we’d go to Luke’s for a few starts. “The first start she drew one and got up in 1.51.4, which was a new lifetime winning mark for her.” After this week’s run, the plan is to target the restricted mares’ race at Addington on Show Day before a return to Auckland for the Queen of Hearts and then the two Addington mares’ features in the late summer, which will be her swansong. A nomination is held for the Inter Dominions, but that clashes with the Queen of Hearts and is most unlikely. “We are going to serve her in November so we can take in those two races at Addington early next year. “Initially we held a booking to Captaintreacherous but at the last minute they said they don’t take them if they’re still racing – they want them to have a 40-day stand down before being served. “So, we’ve gone with Downbytheseaside instead. “I got talking to David Miller when he was driven down here a few years ago and asked him what horse he drives that he would recommend as a future stallion and, without hesitation, he said Downbytheseaside. “At the time he was driving Always B Miki too, so I thought that was a big endorsement.” Bookies have Millwood Maizie at $19 tonight, well adrift of race favourite Mach Shard ($3) and Triple Eight ($3.80).

By Garrick Knight The money was on him at Phar Lap Raceway yesterday and debuting trotter B D Yasothon delivered in style for his many supporters. The four-year-old son of Andover Hall displayed perfect manners in the hands of driver Matt Anderson to lead within half a lap and never give his opponents a look in thereafter. It confirmed the high opinion held of him by his Flaxton trainer Philip Iggo. “He’s got quite a lot of ability, this horse. “He can be a funny wee fellow at the start – he reaches for the bit and plays with his mouth so you can’t just get him to walk up and stand there. “But fortunately, because he’s so well-gaited he will move in to a trot quickly. “And once he’s underway, he’s got the ability to make his own luck.” Iggo and his wife, Martine, race B D Yasothon with his breeder, Brent Smith, who recently moved from North Canterbury to Otautau in Western Southland. “Brent is a very good friend of ours and the ‘B D’ prefix is made up of the B from his name and the D from his late son, Dallas, who died tragically at just eight years’ old. “Yasothon is a town in Bangkok, Thailand, that we once rented a house and stayed at. “BD Khaosan, his half-brother, was named for the same reason.” Next up for will be a junior drivers’ race at Addington on October 18 as Iggo tries to manage his horse to get in to a $25,000 race on New Zealand Cup day in five weeks’ time. “The race for him is a rating 48-60 so if he wins another race that will put him over the limit. “So, we have to look to a junior drivers’ race to keep him within that band.” The win of B D Yasothon continued the brilliant start to the season for Anderson, who sits a clear third on the drivers’ premiership, with 18 wins, behind only Blair Orange and John Dunn. “Matt drove him perfectly,” said Iggo. “I think he thought he had the best horse in the race and got him in to the best position to capitalize. “We are all seeing lately just what a good driver he is.” Anderson has also partnered Iggo’s stable star Bordeaux in three of his four recent trials as he makes a comeback from injury. He’ll keep the drive on race night, which looks like being the $15,000 mobile free for all at Addington next Friday night. “He’s had four runs now and is creeping closer and closer to full fitness. “The shorter trip is not his obvious preference but he’s got to get underway and he has won over the 1950 metres before. “We’ll head to Kaikoura after that. “Of course, we are hoping to avoid Sundees Son and Oscar Bonavena, but I think most are.” Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Garrick Knight A technique honed over more than 60 years of training horses has helped transform Majestic Sunset, a winner at Phar Lap Raceway in Timaru on Sunday. The four-year-old trotter was a freebie for his 86-year-old Christchurch trainer, Ivan Schwamm, who says he thinks his charge can go right through the grades. “I got him for nothing off Bruce Negus. Bruce bred him, and trained him, but didn’t really like him. “So, he sent him to Bruce Hutton, who put him on the jogging machine for five or six weeks, but he sent then it home saying it was going to take a long time to get him going. “I had a great association with Bruce Negus’ late father, Bob, and that’s what prompted him to offer me the horse. “He said he thought it might come right for me after working down the roadside and he was right.” Schwamm, who turns 87 later this week, says he finds the benefits of training on the roadside similar to that of another common training method. “The straight-line training is just like they do on the beach. I do it on one of the side roads in Springston, on the grass verge. “This horse has actually been quite well-mannered since I got him, he was just very fat and used to blow like hell. “He couldn’t really get around the corners in his first few races so I worked away at that and got him sorted. “But as I’ve worked him down, he’s changed in to a new horse. “I never put him on a track or work him with anyone other horses and he seems to like it that way.: Jimmy Curtin did the driving for Schwamm yesterday and despite sitting parked, he nursed the horse home with expert poise in a close finish. “I’ve known Jimmy since he was a 10-year-old boy. “He’s an excellent horseman and did the right thing by the horse today. “He could have asked him to go at the two furlongs and taken the ‘lick’ out of him, but he never really asked him until short of the line.” Schwamm gifted a half share in Majestic Sunset to Burnham couple, Phil and Ginge Silcock as a gesture for them letting him stable the horse at their property. “They are such nice people to me that I thought it was the right thing to do. “When you get to my age, it’s lovely to have good friends because you look around and many of them aren’t there anymore. “Some have passed away and others just can’t do anything and it gets to the stage that you lose contact with people.” Which is part of the reason Schwamm continues to train horses when most his age are in retirement homes. “It was so great at the races today, the number of people that called out to me, owners, trainers, drivers – many of them I’ve known for years and years. “It’s a fellowship and I love it.” Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Garrick Knight Every stallion needs a flagship horse in their first crop if they want to join the elite ranks as time wears on. The new stallion game can be a cruel and unforgiving exercise for studs, who take the annual gamble on new sires to try and gather a bigger slice of the ever-dwindling market share. Christchurch’s Nevele R Stud, once the country’s flagship stud farm and nursery, had fallen off the pace in recent years as super sires the likes of Bettor’s Delight and Art Major had boosted their Auckland-based competitors. But like most things, the stud game is cyclical and Nevele R are on their way up the ladder thanks in to part to a little bit of luck. When Ged Mooar and the team at Nevele R secured the frozen semen rights to a new trotting stallion back in 2016, they could not have imagined just what a good move that would turn out to be. The USA-based son of Cantab Hall has since shot to stardom as the father of superstar three-year-old colt Greenshoe, who came from his first crop. “What it marks it more remarkable is that he only had 29 foals in that first crop,” said Mooar, the General Manager at Nevele R. “He was still racing at the time and only covered 40-odd mares. “So, to get a superstar like Greenshoe is quite amazing.” Early last week, the flow-on effects of that were evident when his full brother, Maverick, sold for US$1.1 Million at a Kentucky auction. And Nevele R are now are benefitting too with Father Patrick’s book for this breeding season fully subscribed well in advance. “We started getting calls back in March from a lot of people, a lot of top breeders with good trotting mares. “I must have put the sign up over a month ago that he was full and he’s attracted a wonderful book of mares.” Father Patrick’s first Down Under crop have just turned two and the New Zealand contingent numbers 29 foals, too. Despite the calendar only just ticking over to October, he already has a workout winner and it came from New Zealand’s best stable. Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen took the filly, named La Reina Del Sur, for a public hit-out with a stablemate at Rangiora on September 25 and she got home in a 30-second quarter to win. Importantly, she trotted perfectly and did everything right. “That’s in line with everything we have heard from breakers and trainers who have done the early education with the Father Patrick stock,” said Mooar. “Quite a few have said they’re rapt with them and that has been reflected in his book this season. “We’ve been astounded, to be honest, at the interest in him.” And Greenshoe isn’t just a one-off freak, either. Father Patrick’s next crop, juveniles in North America, have been kicking goals too and he is battling it out with the established king of trotting sires, Muscle Hill, at the top of all metric tables there at present. Unfortunately, there are only 12 yearlings in New Zealand this season, but the next crop, foaling down this spring, will number more than 80 while next year’s is expected to be well in to six figures. Trotting buffs will get their chance to buy one though – Mooar says Nevele R and sister company Spreydon Lodge plan on consigning a colt out of the former good mare Hot Pants in the upcoming yearling sales. It wasn’t just Father Patrick doing the job for Nevele R in Kentucky last week – pacing sire Always B Miki also stuck his hand up, his progeny selling incredibly well. Eleven of his stock sold for six-figures at the premium ‘day 1’ sale, including a high price of US$290,000 for a filly. In fact, by all common indicators, he was second only to Somebeachsomewhere in terms of popularity. He’s stood two seasons in New Zealand so far, in a joint collaboration between Nevele R and Alabar Stud, getting just shy of 100 mares both times. But there will be none of the usual ‘third season hangover’ that strikes virtually every stallion – the breeding season before their first crop have been broken in or going through the yearling sales. “He’s going to serve more mares this year than in each of his first two,” said Mooar. “They sold like hot cakes in the USA last week and the feedback has been that he has really left a stamp on his stock. “Really impressive, athletic types with good conformation and that was reflected not only in his American sale results, but in the interest we have been getting down here. “Peter Lagan, from New Zealand Bloodstock Standardbred, made a point of telling me that in his recent inspections, he was quite impressed by them” The third strong to the bow for Nevele R as they fight their way back up the stud ladder is Vincent, who is about to embark on his second season at stud, again in a joint deal with Alabar. “He got 260 mares between here and Australia last season, and 150 of them were in New Zealand. “The first foals are dropping now so are we are eagerly anticipating their arrivals. “He’ll serve a nice book again, going by the bookings we have so far.” Recently retired pacing star Ultimate Machete is a new sire for the Stud and already has in excess of 60 bookings. “He’s going ok – it’s never easy for a colonial stallion, but we are happy with the response to him. “He’s impeccably-bred; his brother was last season’s three-year-old of the year and his sister is a Group 1 winner in Perth. “We’re optimistic.” Not just about Ultimate Machete, but the future of the famous nursery, no doubt. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Garrick Knight There are plenty of questions to be answered heading in to tonight’s $22,000 Sires Stakes heat at Cambridge. Local colt Eagle Watch is fresh-up since contesting the Jewels at Addington back in early June but faces the high-calibre Ray Green-trained pair of Copy That and Line Up, and the Robert Dunn’s impressive Mighty Looee. But one, if not both, of Green’s duo have question marks hanging over them and it would be reasonable to think that Eagle Watch could be the benefactor from a preferable gate. But co-trainer Matty White says his horse, too, is not at 100 percent ahead of this crucial race, so punter’s should exercise caution. “The only time I’ve been really happy with any of his three workouts was the last one (last Saturday at Cambridge). “He might just need a bit of racing to get to his peak and I wonder whether a couple of those he faces this week might have the fitness edge on him. “I’m happy enough with him going in to it though and he came through that last workout well.” White says he “would like to think” Eagle Watch can find the markers and trail one of the race’s three favourites, which would set him up nicely for a cosy trip. “He hasn’t got blistering gate speed and he’s never really drawn well enough to be used early, so we will learn a lot more this week.” Line Up, who has a big reputation within the Lincoln Farms camp, has been struggling with the effects of a foot abscess, which burst out of his foot last Wednesday and is believed to be the reason behind his defeat after pacing rough when last produced a fortnight ago. “It could have been brewing for a month and would certainly explain way he galloped out of the gate the other night and put in those funny steps,” Green said on the stable’s website. Green noted yesterday that Line Up had shown vast improvement in the past seven days, but the fact remained he had missed some work. “It’s impossible to say how far down on his best he’ll be but obviously he could be going into the race better.” Copy That, who has herculean when winning at Alexandra Park last time, subsequently won a workout impressively on his home track in Pukekohe last Saturday. But he has shown repeatedly, in both workouts and races, that he has deficiencies in his gait, especially on bends at high speed, and will need a faultless display this time to beat some high-quality opponents. The other leading chance is Mighty Looee, who turned heads with a last-to-first win on September 13, but that was a significantly weaker field than he faces tonight. Bookies opened Copy That a $2.30 favourite, with Mighty Looee and Line Up on the second line at $3.20 while Eagle Watch was on the third line at $16 alongside Cloud Break. White and training partner Mike Berger take three others to the races tonight and he felt the big boy, All Yours, was the stable’s best chance, in a 2700-metre junior drivers’ race. “He’s just so honest and has been running good sectionals lately. “We were a little disappointed last time but he came up with a bruised heel afterwards and that’s behind him now. “He’s quite versatile and the longer trip will definitely suit.” White also gave a lead towards maiden trotter Presidential Jewel in the first race, who he pilots for Roger Villiger. “I quite like her and wouldn’t think she’ll stay a maiden for long. “She’s lovely gaited and the 2700 will suit her as well.” Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Garrick Knight An inspired plan delivered immediate on-track results when Triple Eight took out the $30,000 Franklin Long Roofing Spring Cup at Alexandra Park on Friday night. Always regarded as a brilliant talent with impressive speed, the big son of American Ideal just had a couple of flaws that he needed to overcome if connections wanted to tackle the best races going forward. “He’s always had a roughness in his gait and, while it will never be perfect, we felt that part of it was because he just wasn’t strong enough,” trainer Steve Telfer told HRNZ post-race. “So, after he ran third in the Uncut Gems at Addington back in June, rather than spell him, we gave him six weeks on the water walker instead. “The result is he came back much bigger and stronger.” It took a canny David Butcher drive to get the win after the horse was four back on the markers with a lap to go. Butcher is the master of the legal push-out shortly after the winning post with a lap to go and he once again pulled it off at the expense of outsider Red Reactor, who was then forced to race three-wide the last lap. Butcher let Triple Eight down over the final two furlongs and he nailed a very brave Mach Shard, who sat parked throughout, in the shadows of the post. So, are we about to see the horse scale the heights of the open class ranks and become a serious threat to the All Stars army? Telfer isn’t getting carried away yet, but he does have ambitious plans. “We’ve mapped out a plan for him and that will include the Inter Dominions, Auckland Cup and then a trip to Aussie in the new year. “I don’t think I’ll be tempted to late nominate for the New Zealand Cup – you just can’t do it all. “To prepare for a big race like that, then return to Auckland for three races in a week, then possibly a final and the Auckland Cup, it’s just too much. “We’ll keep him at home and prepare for a big summer up here – that’s the best option for us.” After only one “soft” trial in the lead up, Telfer expects firm improvement heading forward, with the Holmes D G in a fortnight’s time the next logical aim. “He looked to be getting tired 100 out so I expect he will get a lot of benefit out of it.” Last night’s win was also the first start for a bunch of new Australian owners that purchased a quarter share in Triple Eight over the winter. The group, headed by Victorian commercial breeder Shannon Nixon, now race Triple Eight with his breed, Scott Plant, and Jill and Steve Stockman’s Stonewall Stud. While only finishing sixth, Star Galleria put up a superb performance off his 20-metre handicap to get as close as he did. Trainer/driver Steven Reid was ecstatic post-race. “I’m rapt with that; when they slowed to a 32 quarter that took us out of it, otherwise we might have been a chance of winning. “He’ll come back here in two weeks, over the 2700, a lot fitter horse, and be very hard to beat.” Reid also reported that a scope earlier in the work had cleared the horse of any recurrence of a throat issue that required minor surgery in November of last year. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Garrick Knight It may have said he ran last, but a quiet workout at Cambridge last Saturday told Andrew Neal everything he needed to know ahead of Credit Master’s resumption at Alexandra Park on Friday night. Local spies clocked him home in 56 seconds under a stranglehold and, sure enough, that translated to race night success when he upset hot favourite Lemond six days later in the night’s $23,000 feature trot. “Yeah, it was nice,” said Neal. “And I knew he would improve from it because he needed the run.” Credit Master blasted off the gate to lead and never looked like being headed, the clock stopped in 1.56.9. “I thought he would lead because he’s always shown us good speed. “As it turns out I didn’t really have a choice; he just bolted.” Neal and training partner/wife, Lyn, nominated Credit Master for the Inter Dominions yesterday, believing he is finally in the right head space to deliver on his potential. “We only did it because it’s here and it will help the numbers. “We have no big expectations with him and he will need to continue to improve but tonight was a great start.” The ability has never been in question with the now six-year-old son of Muscles Mass, it’s been his capacity to deal with life that has caused the Neals frustration. “He has mental health issues,” said Neal, seemingly only half-joking. “He worries about everything, especially on race night. “At home he is usually quiet as a lamb, but he gets himself so worried coming to the races. “That’s why we brought his little mate along to for the trip tonight – it helps keep him happy and in a good space.” By coincidence, the little chestnut stablemate, an unqualified three-year-old trotter, has some interesting breeding. “He’s a half-brother to Lemond.” The Neals, who have had a fairly quiet time of it on the racing front over the last 12 months, are about to roll out a plethora of three-year-olds, including four high-quality pacers. “We’ve already had Ideal Agent and Louie The Horse win as two-year-olds last season and they are both back at the workouts stage. “There are two more coming up that are just as good, we think.”   Marshall repays Casey’s faith Having one of the country’s leading owners send you horses is the dream for any young trainer trying to make it in the game. So, when Kyle Marshall produced a quinella at Alexandra Park last night for Canterbury owner Trevor Casey, it’s fair to see he was proud as punch. Casey, who raced champions Lazarus and Stent among many others, sent Cambridge-based Marshall Bettor Sensation and Pembrook Charlie after their previous trainers moved them on. The pair ran one-two in a $15,000 R40-55 mile, Bettor Sensation smoking through a gap late to peg back his smaller stablemate. “I was really happy to get the quinella for Trevor,” said Marshall, who drove Pembrook Charlie. “I got to know him when I was in Australia working for Brent Lilley and Trevor had horses in the stable. “I drove a few of his horses over there and he always said he would send me a horse to train one day. “To have the support of someone like him means a lot to me. “It’s just a shame we didn’t have two sets of the ‘Lone Star’ colours for the photo.” Bettor Sensation has always shown ability, he’s just struggled with getting himself organized early in his races, meaning he’s always had to be driven cold. “We are still working him out and making a few gear changes as we go. “He’s never been able to get going early but he led at the workouts a few weeks ago and there are still a couple of things I think we can do to further improve him.” Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Garrick Knight A matter of weeks in to her new role, Kimberley Blakemore is enjoying life as forewoman for the Auckland arm of Michael House’s stable. With the guidance of Pukekohe trainer Steven Reid, Blakemore is managing the dozen or so horses House has in the north. “I’m absolutely loving it; it’s nice to be able to run the barn and sort of do my own thing,” Blakemore told HRNZ. “Reidy writes up the board every day and checks in with me on how the horses were that day and it’s all going really well. “We are all working really good as a team and I’m just grateful for being trusted with the responsibility.” Blakemore drove Warloch to victory in a junior drivers’ race a fortnight ago and will hunt her second driving win for her new boss at Alexandra Park tonight. Santanna Mach is a newcomer to the north and is having his first start right-handed, but Blakemore says she cannot foresee any likely issues in the first on the card, another junior drivers’ event. He brings strong Addington form in to the race but has lucked out with a draw on the inside of the second line. “He’s settled in great.” “He’s a lovely big horse and I don’t think right-handed will bother him whatsoever. “I’m just hoping for a bit of speed on early in the race, which will really suit him, but we will need things to go our way from the awkward draw.” Bookies opened Santanna Mach at $12, behind warm favourite Megastar ($2.40), who will be driven by Dylan Ferguson for trainer Robert Dunn. House has a three-strong attack on the night’s R56-67 mile, headed by race favourite Delightful Major, who had been backed in from an opening quote of $3.60 to $3 by Friday night. He made up a stack of ground coming wide in a similar race two weeks ago and Joshua Dickie sticks with the ship this time. But Blakemore is going with stablemate Warloch ($12) from the coveted ace draw while Shillelagh ($26) will need a lot of luck from barrier eight. “I would say Warloch is the best chance as he’s got the handy draw and if he does no work early, I can see him getting over them all at the finish.” Rounding out the team is Final Delight, who came in for a lot of support at the last mile night on September 13 following an impressive workout win in the hands of Reid the Saturday prior. Things didn’t go his way that night, being forced to sit parked in the race won by the exciting Line Up, and Blakemore is expecting a better performance in a modest field tonight. “We are happy with him and he’s drawn this week to get cover and not do it tough which will definitely suit him. “He’s a good chance if things go his way.” Bookies have Final Delight, who will be driven by Zachary Butcher, at $12. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

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