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Al Raza N (Mark MacDonald, $13) roared through the lane Friday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $40,000 harness racing filly and mare Open Handicap Pace. It didn't appear to be a closer's race after odds-on number Mosquito Blue Chip (Dan Dube) worked around Pasultimatedelite N (George Brennan) and dawdled through early intervals of 28-flat and 57-flat. Even when longshot Know it All (Eric Abbatiello) offered a stern, backside challenge, it was only into a 28-second (1:25) three-quarters. Despite the comfy fractions, "Mosquito" was about to be swatted. She was swallowed up from all sides early in the lane, with a third-over (from post position No. 7) Al Raza N closing fastest from sixth turning for home. She picked off Pasultimatedelite N by three-quarters of a length in 1:53.2, with McCovey Cove N (Jordan Stratton), Jag Out (Steve Smith) and Know it All settling for the remainder. Mosquito Blue Chip faded to sixth. For third choice Al Raza N, a 6-year-old Down Under daughter of Gotta Go Cullect owned by (trainer) Augie Abbatiello's Durazzano Stable LLC, it was her fifth win in eight seasonal starts. The exacta paid $44.40, with the all-Kiwi triple returning $153. A friendly reminder from Yonkers Raceway that Saturday evening’s (Apr. 30) Pick 5 wager begins with a tidy carryover of $4,999.04. The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager comprising races 7 through 11 during every racing program. It has no consolation payoff, meaning if no one selects all five winners (as was the case Friday evening), the entire pool (minus takeout) moves to the next program. Frank Drucker

A happy Al Raza has harness racing owner Augie Abbatiello feeling pretty cheerful himself. Al Raza, a New Zealand-bred female pacer, is the lone undefeated horse through three weeks of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series at Yonkers Raceway and the 6-year-old mare will look to make it 4-for-4 when she faces six rivals in Friday's penultimate preliminary round at The Hilltop. "She is a real nice mare," said Abbatiello, who also trains Al Raza. "Most of the horses from New Zealand get very hot, but she has nice manners. She gets turned out every morning and she likes company, with the other ones out in the paddock. That is important. She is very relaxed and very nice. "You want to keep her happy. The longer you keep her happy she will give you everything you want. I like her very much." Al Raza, who leads the Matchmaker series standings with 225 points, will start from post seven in Friday's third of three $40,000 divisions. David Miller will drive Al Raza, who had Jordan Stratton in the sulky in her three wins in the series. Stratton, though, is committed to driving regularly for trainer Peter Tritton, who also has a horse (New Zealand-bred For The Ladies) in the third division. Horses receive 25 points for entering the Matchmaker each week, then 50 points for a win, 25 for second place, 12 for third, 8 for fourth and 5 for fifth. The top eight horses in the standings qualify for the $125,000-added final on April 23. Sell A Bit, another New Zealand-bred import in Tritton's stable, has two wins in the series and starts Friday in the second division. Mach It A Par, who is third in points behind Al Raza and Sell A Bit, is in the first division. Rounding out the top eight in points are Yagonnakissmeornot (in Friday's second division), Venus Delight (first division), For The Ladies (third division), Krispy Apple (third division), and Skippin By (second division). Al Raza, a daughter of stallion Gotta Go Cullect and the Mach Three mare Al Zahra, was an award-winning 4-year-old in New Zealand and made her debut for Abbatiello in September 2015. In addition to training horses, Abbatiello is the owner of the Pine Bush Training Facility in upstate New York. Tritton is stabled at the farm and Abbatiello used Tritton's Down Under contact, agent Peter Larkin, to get Al Raza. "I watched a lot of her races and I liked the way she comes at the end, she has that extra gear and flies off," Abbatiello said. "That's why I bought her. I gave her a couple months off, I took my time with her, and she has been very good." The 64-year-old Abbatiello, who is distantly related to the family of harness racing legend Carmine Abbatiello, was born in Italy and moved to the U.S. in 1969. Abbatiello's ownership stable name, Durazzano, is a reference to his hometown in the province of Benevento in Italy. Abbatiello, who is active in real estate development, automotive repair, and restaurant businesses, bought his first horse in the mid-1980s. "I do a little bit of everything," said Abbatiello, who is currently training a dozen horses. "This is my hobby. I just liked the game and my family likes the horses. We used to have horses in Italy too. We just kept going." In 2007, Abbatiello bought an abandoned horse farm and turned it into the Pine Bush Training Facility, located approximately 20 miles north of Goshen and 80 miles from Manhattan. The 130-acre property includes a half-mile track, indoor pool, and 18 five-acre paddocks. "This place came up for sale and I looked at it and fell in love with it," Abbatiello said. "I figured it would be a good place to train the horses. The place is beautiful. I do a lot of the work myself too. When I finished, I looked and thought, wow, I accomplished something. I'm the kind of person who likes to do things right or not do them at all. "We really enjoy this. It keeps me occupied. I love being out there doing the racetrack and taking care of the horses." Among other successful horses for Abbatiello is 10-year-old male pacer Life Up Front, who has earned $554,279 since joining his stable in 2011. On Saturday, Life Up Front gave Abbatiello his 150th win as a trainer. Al Raza will try to add to that total on Friday. Since she arrived in the U.S., the mare has won seven of 17 races and earned $169,450. The plan is to race Al Raza in the Matchmaker this week, then skip the final preliminary round to rest for the championship. "She's very healthy and I just have to hope it works out for the final," Abbatiello said. "After that, we'll give her a little time off and then race in the Open. We take it as we go. I think she can make money as long as she stays healthy." And happy. Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications

Fooling no one, Yonkers Raceway's Blue Chip Matchmaker continued Friday night. Three compacted, $40,000 legions of harness racing lasses comprised a 'sloppy' third of five preliminary rounds...and if you're name isn't Jordan Stratton, there's really no reason to continue reading. The first event saw 1-2 favorite Krispy Apple (Jason Bartlett) caught wide early, paying a pretty (:26.4, :55.4) price for the lead. Regil Elektra (Tim Tetrick) then moved from fourth, disposing of the leader after the 1:24.3 three-quarters. Regil Elektra owned a three-quarter-length lead into the lane and hung in there gamely, but was mowed down late by a from-last For the Ladies N (Stratton, $40.40) in 1:53.1. The longest shot on the board-from post position No. 5-won by a neck, with Jungle Genie N (Matt Kakaley) third, while Krispy Apple faded to lead among the half-dozen. For the Ladies N, a 7-year-old Down Under daughter of Jereme's Jet owned by Harry von Knoblauch and trained by Peter Tritton, is now 1-for-5 this season. The exacta paid $140.50, with the triple returning $884. Friday's second Matchmaker event had owner, trainer and driver double-up with Sell a Bit N ($7.10), who herself made it a series two-fer. Negating her outside six-hole, the second choice worked around Skippin' By (Yannick Gingras), then laid down the law (:27.4, :56.4, 1:25.2, 1:53). Venus Delight (Bartlett), as the 3-5 choice, moved to challenge from third, but never came close. Sell a Bit N won by a length-and-a-quarter, with Venus Delight second and Skippin' By third. Sell a Bit N, a 6-year-old Down Under daughter of Julius Caesar, is now 2-for-6 this season. The exacta paid $12.20, with the triple returning $55. The evening's final series soiree saw Stratton and just-over-even-money Al Raza N ($4.10) complete an evening/series hat trick, respectively. Watching early from post No, 4, series points leader Al Raza N was content to have Yagonnakissmeornot (Dan Dube) retake from Request for Parole (Gingras), with early intervals of :27.4 and :57. Anndrovette moved from third down the backside, towing Al Raza N along for the ride in and out of a 1:25.1 three-quarters. Entering the lane, Yagonnakissmeornot was about to give up the ghost. Al Raza N moved widest and defeated the lass on her back, Mach it a Par (George Brennan), by a half-length in 1:53. Anndrovette held well for third. Al Raza N, a 6-year-old Down Under daughter of Gotta Go Cullect owned by Durazzano Stable and trained by Agostino Abbatiello, it was her fourth win in four five starts. The exacta paid $9, with the triple returned $41.60. “(For the Ladies N) was definitely helped by fast fractions and a short field, while the other two (Sell a Bit N and Al Raza N) always race well,” Stratton—now an honorary Kiwi—said. “I’ve been fortunate they haven’t drawn in against one another.” Yet. Friday night's Pick 5 wager, beginning with a carryover of $8,041.75, attracted $24,967 of new investments. After takeout, $26,767 was divvied up to those who had the correct sequence. The "phrase that pays" was 4/7/2/6/4, returning $545.25 for each winning half-a-buck wager. Saturday night's card brings the third round of the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series. Four, $50,000 divisions (races 6 through 9) comprise this go-round, with reining Harness Horse of the Year Wiggle It Jiggleit debuting in the third event. Frank Drucker

Yonkers Raceway’s Blue Chip Matchmaker continued Friday night. It was “second verse same as the first,” with three consecutive, $40,000 harness racing divisions comprising the encore round. The evening’s opening event saw Sell a Bit N (Jordan Stratton, $5.50) take full advantage of a rare good starting station. In play from post position No. 4, she held sway (:27.3, :56.3, 1:24.3, 1:52.1). Pylon-procuring Request for Parole (Yannick Gingras) chased around the oval, ducked inside and missed a neck, while Mach it a Par (George Brennan), last week’s 39-1 upsetter, was third after a hard challenge down the backside.     Venus Delight (Jason Bartlett), the wagering favorite by a mere $30, wound up a non-threatening fourth.   For slight second choice Sell a Bit N, a 6-year-old Down Under daughter of Julius Caesar owned by Harry von Knoblauch and trained by Peter Tritton, it was her first win in five seasonal starts.  The exacta paid $26.40, with the triple returning $87. Friday’s second Matchmaker event had Yagonnakissmeornot (Dan Dube, $5.70), as the second choice, do it from first-up. Away third from post No. 2, she saw season-debuting Anndrovette (Tim Tetrick) and 11-10 choice Skippin’ By (Gingras) take early turns (:27.2, :56.2). When “Yagonna” first moved off the cones nearing the 1:24.3 three-quarters, she didn’t appear all that interested. Skippin’ By owned a length-and-a-half into the lane before Yagonnakissmeornot read the memo. She surged past late, winning by a neck in 1:53.3. Anndrovette, probably a bit short, was a passing-land third, beaten a half-length,   For Yagonnakissmeornot, a 7-year-old daughter of The Panderosa co-owned (as Allard Racing) by (trainer) Rene Allard, Yves Sarazin and Kapildeo Singh, it was her first win in three ’16 starts. The exacta paid $10, with the triple returning $38.60. The night’s final series event was won by an off-the-pace Al Raza N (Stratton, $8.60), who had some numbers to “run at” and did just that. As was the case a week ago, Al Raza N was content to spectate early. She watched as Krispy Apple (Bartlett) and 13-10 choice Lady Shadow (Corey Callahan) were both sent out (:26.4, :55.2).as the rest of the lasses gapped behind them. Secrets Out N (Brian Sears) did close ranks from third and move to challenge, but never came close. Delightful Dragon (Brent Holland) gapped that one badly in and out of the 1:23.2 three-quarters, which did no favors for the eventual winner. Al Raza N, sitting seventh and racing from third-over, launched her bid before the final turn. She was fifth entering the lane, but just powered by. The final margin was a length-and-a-quarter in 1:52.1, matching her life-best. It was Krispy Apple nosing a tiring Lady Shadow for second, with a from-last Regil Elektra (Tetrick) and Delightful Dragon settling for the remainder. For third choice Al Raza N, a 6-year-old Down Under daughter of Gotta Go Cullect owned by Durazzano Stable and trained by Agostino Abbatiello, it was her third win in four seasonal starts. The exacta paid $32, the triple returned $89 and the superfecta paid $1,274. Saturday night’s card brings the second round of the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series. Five, $50,000 divisions (races 5 and 7 through 10) comprise this go-round.   Frank Drucker

Conditions at the harness racing meeting at Winton Raceway today were perfect for quick times on the big 1400 metres track and right  throughout the day, times were recorded by lower graded horses that are usually associated with what we refer to as cup class horses. Still even with the perfect conditions it came as a bit of a surprise later in day when the well performed three year old filly Nek Time won race nine over 2400 metres in a new New Zealand All Comers record of 2:53. That took 1.3 seconds off the old record held by Hannah Jaye for mares over the distance and is 1.5 seconds quicker than the colts and geldings record currently held by Rider On The Storm. It is the first time that 2:54 has been bettered for 2400 metres in a race in New Zealand. And Nek Time had a far from easy run when setting the record.  From three on the second line, Nek Time settled five back in the running line as Celestial Arden and Blair Orange held the lead from barrier one. Driver Dexter Dunn set Nek Time alight with 1500 metres to go and she quickly looped the field and grabbed the lead at the 1300 metres. Dexter kept Nek Time bowling along in front at a good clip and it was obvious a long way out that the only serious challenger she faced was Celestial Arden who was hard on her back. As they straightened for the run home, Celestial Arden immediately took the passing lane and appeared to have the momentum to pass Nek Time but Dexter got the filly to lift and she came clear the last bit to win by one and a quarter lengths. Nek Times 2:53 for the 2400 metres was a mile rate for the distance of 1:56 and she finished the race off with super closing sectionals of 55.5 and 26.9. Todays win was number five for the daughter of Gotta Go Cullect at start 17 and along with six placings she has now banked just over $62,000 to date. Ever since her very good run for fourth to Dream About Me in last seasons Harness Jewels, Nek Time has been on the up. She has the ability to sub 27 quarters with ease and can stick on as well and looks well capable of being a major player in the upcoming three year old fillies classics with a run to suit her talents   Post Note - The perfect race conditions today helped Erin Jaccka run 1:53.9 for 1609 Metres when winning the maiden pace for fillies and mares. The daughter of Mach Three was having just her third lifetime start and her 1:53.9 effort is a new track record for three year old fillies at Winton.  Harnesslink Media  

Yonkers Raceway's harness racing Blue Chip Matchmaker series began Friday night, with the sport's best pacing mares embarking upon a six-week odyssey. Three consecutive, $40,000 events comprised the opening round. The series starter saw Al Raza N (Jordan Stratton, $15.20) snap 9-10 fave Krispy Apple (Jason Bartlett) right nearing the wire in a season's-best 1:52.3. Hazmatt (Brian Sears) was third, with Delightful Dragon (Brent Holland) and Skippin' By (Yannick Gingras) settling for the remainder. It was a certified scrum early with Krispy Apple making the lead by looping Regil Elektra (Tim Tetrick). Regil Elektra was out again, winning the :27.1 opening quarter-mile. Soon after, Sandbetweenurtoes (Jody Jamieson), having dropped in third, made her second move, leading at a :55.4 intermission. Down the backside, Krispy Apple took out and third and went by a defenseless Sandbetweenurtoes with the greatest of ease. The people's preference opened 3¼ lengths by the 1:23.4 three-quarters and had a couple of lengths entering the lane. However, she couldn't close the sale. Al Raza N, unhurried from post position No. 2, moved from third-over (second-up after Krispy Apple cleared the lead), continuing to make up ground. Advancing to third in and out of the final turn, she wore down her target by a half-length. The roster was rounded out by a shuffled-out Regil Elektra and a dropping-anchor Sandbetweenurtoes. For fifth choice Al Raza N, a 6-year-old Down Under daughter of Gotta Go Cullect owned by Durazzano Stable and trained by Agostino Abbatiello, it was her second win in three seasonal starts. The exacta paid $44, with the triple returning $316. Friday's second Matchmaker event saw rank outsider Mach it a Par (George Brennan, $81) do her best Middle Tennessee State impression, picking off defending series champion Venus Delight by a nose in 1:53.2. Venus Delight had engaged, then overhauled, 4-5 fave Secrets Out N (Sears). That one, after getting away third, controlled the crowd (:27.4, :57, 1:25.2) until early in the lane before faltering. Mach it a Par, from post No. 6, operated from second-over. She and Venus Delight battled for the tiara, with the former just getting to the latter. Yagonnakissmeornot (Dan Dube) lost some contact in the pocket but managed third, with Sell a Bit N (Stratton) and Cheyenne Robin (Corey Callahan) settling for the minor moolah. Secrets Out N faded to sixth. For Mach it a Par, a 6-year-old daughter of Mach Three co-owned by D'Elegance Stable IX, Carmine Iannacone, T L P & Gandolfo Stables and trained by Richard Banca, it was her first win in six seasonal starts. The exacta paid $721, with the triple returning $1,699. Mach it a Par, off a sale/barn change, had been off nearly four weeks (with a "sick line" in between). The evening final series event was won by a down-the-road Lady Shadow (Callahan, $7), who overcame an outside post No. 7 and widened late. Lady Shadow had to wait her turn, finally getting around 7-5 favorite Gallie Bythe Beach (Matt Kakaley). From there, she had little issues (:27.4, :56.3, 1:25, 1:53.4), prevailing by 2¼ lengths. "Gallie" chased from the pocket and saved second, with Jungle Genie N (Bartlett), first leader Inittowinafortune (Tyler Buter) and For the Ladies N (Stratton) grabbing the smaller envelopes. For second choice Lady Shadow, a 5-year-old daughter of Shadow Play co-owned by David Kryway, Carl Atley, Edwin Gold & BFJ Stable and trained by Josh Green, it was a season-debuting victory.. The exacta paid $17, the triple returned $74.50 and the superfecta paid $568. Saturday night's card brings the opening round of the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series. Six, $50,000 divisions (races 4,5,6,7, 9 and 10) each feature seven Free-For-Allers. YONKERS’ SATURDAY PICK 5 FEATURES $3,500 CARRYOVER A friendly reminder from Yonkers Raceway that Saturday night’s (March 19) Pick 5 wager begins with a tidy carryover of $3,500.50. The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager comprising races 7 through 11 during every racing program (or earlier if less than 11 races). It has no consolation payoff, meaning if no one selects all five winners (as was the case Friday evening), the entire pool (minus takeout) moves to the next program.  Saturday’s gimmick includes the last three divisions in the opening round of the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series (races 7,9 and 10). Frank Drucker

The four year old gelding Culley Backy provided Methven trainer Michael Heenan with a well overdue win yesterday when he was successful in the Thomas Freight Pace at the harness racing meeting at Reefton. Facing the starter yesterday for the eighteenth time,Culley Backy had already been placed six times in his previous seventeen starts and had had little luck throughout his short career. Taken straight to the front yesterday by leading driver Ricky May, Culley Backy set a solid tempo in front and had them all in trouble as they straightened for home and when Ricky asked for the big effort, the son of Gotta Go Cullect shot clear and won with with plenty in hand by 2 1/2 lengths. Culley Backy paced the 2000 metres from the stand in 2:38.6 with closing sectionals on the grass of 59.6 and 29.1. Michael was relieved that Culley Backy had finally put a complete performance together. " He has promised to do that for a while to be honest but he rarely gets the rub of the green this horse and it was nice to see him in front today and out of trouble for once." " He has had a lot of little issues that haven't helped the cause as well but we seem to be getting on top of these at the moment," Michael told Harnesslink yesterday afternoon. Michael and his wife Di bought Culley Backy off local Methven trainer Danny McKendry as a three year old. " Danny likes to sell his horses that he develops while they are still three year olds but Culley Backy had had a couple of setbacks and it was getting late in the season when we bought him." "Danny quite liked him which is always a good recommendation as he is a great judge, " Michael said. Culley Backy qualified quite impressively at Ashburton last year but a shoulder injury has taken a lot longer to come right than initially envisaged which has hindered his progress. Varying his training routine to help his recovery, Michael discovered that Culley Backy can trot quite impressively. " He looks to have a fair bit of upside as a trotter in my opinion and I will be switching him over to trotting full time in the near future." " I may give him a start in an upcoming Junior Drivers event as a pacer but after that I will concentrate on sorting out his switch to trotting. "I gave him a run at the qualifying trials as a trotter and he missed away badly but made up a huge amount of ground after that and was well inside the time required so the ability is there" " He only broke because he touched himself behind so sorting that issue is the first priority at the moment," Michael said. Harnesslink Media  

Lucan Hanover made it two-in-row in the $30,000 Preferred pace on a balmy Monday, Feb. 29, on the Leap Year edition of Dover Downs harness racing. Unlike last week when Lucan Hanover enjoyed a 2-hole trip to score a nose victory, this week after overtaking Mustang Art with Sean Bier after a :26 opening quarter, Corey Callahan took over guiding Lucan Hanover, a six-year-old Western Ideal-Lauren Order gelding, the rest of the way in front and then pulling away with a: 27.1 final panel to a decisive 1:49 conquest over some of the sport's top-class pacers now racing. Tony Morgan and Doctor Butch closed along the passing lane to nip Mustang Art for second. The win was the 20th of his career for the $825,626 lifetime winner. Blazing Bobby Sox, owned by Art Stafford and trainer-driver Art Stafford Jr., won for the fourth time this year notching a career fastest 1:50.2 triumph in a $15,500 4&5-Year-Old Winners-Over Male pace. Sectionline Rock (Tim Tetrick) closed well to pick up second money. Apollo Seelster (Yannick Gingras) was the show finisher. It was the 12 lifetime win for Blazing Bobby Sox, a The Panderosa-Liamatters five-year-old gelding. Robert Cooper Stables' Go Collect N was an impressive 1:51.2 winner in another pace for young horses winning the $13,500 event for his third win in five races since arriving from New Zealand. Corey Callahan steered the winner for trainer Dylan Davis. Since arriving in North America, the Gotta Go Collect-No Parking N gelding has in addition to three wins, three seconds in his seven starts. Swappertunity (Jim Morand) finished second for the second straight time. Rednickyachtclub (Allan Davis) was third. In another $13,500 division Yannick Gingras drove JT to a 1:52.2 score for trainer Ron Burke and owners Weaver Brucsemi and Burke Racing Stable. An altered son of Badlands Hanover-Snowhite Beach, it was his second straight win in five races. Ima Rebel (Morgan) closed swiftly along the passing lane for second. Roll Big (Callahan) was the third finisher. Local favorite Just A Jolt made it to the winner's circle for the first time in 2016 in his seventh start as Tim Tetrick got the Village Jolt-Just Wait Kate gelding away quickly and never looked back for a 1:50.3 victory to win a $12,500 Mile pace. Four Staces (Callahan) finished second with Papa Ray (Allan Davis) going a tough trip for third. Meet leading driver Corey Callahan and leading trainer Dylan Davis had three wins each, Tim Tetrick, Art Stafford Jr. and trainer Eric Ell had two wins apiece. FASHION SHOWDOWN VERSUS SEVEN IN $20,000 MARES OPEN Fashion Showdown, an impressive 1:51.1 winner in last week’s $20,000 Mares Open Handicap faces seven rivals on Tuesday, March 1 at Dover Downs. Post time is 4:30 p m. Corey Callahan will drive Chris White’s Fashion Showdown, a winner of three Opens already in 2016. Among her opponents, Jeff Clark’s Springforth, with George Dennis driving, has been right there in recent starts with a win, three seconds and a third in her last six starts. Another competitor in top form is Lou Catana and Vince Bradley’s Matinee Dragon handled by Jonathan Roberts. Not to be overlooked are Sage N, a two-time winner in her last three races, and Tim Tetrick piloting from the outside for C.V Iannazzo, JFE Enterprises and Triple D Stables, Bob Bailey’s sharp Duneside Chella with Tony Morgan, John McGill’s hard-hitting No Respect, and from the rail, B Stern and Vic Kirby stepping up in class for owners Steve Moss, Hal and Helene Solomon and trainer Leigh Raymer. A $15,500, a $15,000, a $14,000 and $12,000 distaff paces for 4&5-year-olds, top a strong undercard. Dover Downs races Monday through Thursday starting at 4:30 p.m. No Live racing on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.  Watch the races and enjoy dining in the Winners Circle Restaurant. Call 302-674-4600 for reservations. Simulcasting of harness and thoroughbred racing is available daily from 12 Noon until 12 Midnight at Dover Downs where there is no charge for parking and admission. Reservations are suggested for the Winner’s Circle Restaurant and for those planning to stay at the 4-star Dover Downs Hotel. Call 302-674-4600. Marv Bachrad

Local harness racing owners Robert and Sharyn Symon are enjoying watching their Gotta Go Cullect filly Nek Time perform not only on the big stage at Addington but also on their home turf in Southland.   Trained by Terry and Glenys Chmiel at Leeston, the three year old has been at the top of her game. From nine starts this season she's won three races and has run second and third twice.   In today's Hydroflow Fillies and Mares Mobile Pace Nek Time drew wide at barrier eight but Chmiel pushed the go button and after 500 metres she was in front. From that point she pricked her ears and enjoyed the front running role.   "I sort of had to go forward because I thought Dexter Dunn (driving Talkerup) would be hard to beat." "He had the second line so I wanted to get in front of him." "She jogged it today. It was pretty windy down the back but she did it pretty easy," said Terry Chmiel.      She's been one of the big improvers in the three year old pacing fillies ranks in the south and that hasn't gone unnoticed by her co-trainer.    "Since we won the other night she's come on leaps and bounds." "She's just getting better and better." "In the last month or so she's also grown a hand."   Nek Time is out of the one win Jenna's Beach Boy mare Braithwaite and was bought as an unraced two year old off Stephen Boyd. Her pedigree goes back on the dam side to open class mare Classiebawn.   "The first time I trialled her I knew she was a nice horse" Terry said.   The Symons were on-course today to celebrate the win.     "They don't spend a lot of money." We've been through the good times and the bad." "They do put their hand up and have been very loyal owners," said Terry.   The longterm goal for Nek Time is the Nevele R/Macca Lodge Southland Oaks Final on Diamonds Day at Ascot Park on Sunday 17th April.   "She's coming back in a fortnights time (Northern Southland meeting) and if she doesn't run in the money she'll have to run the following week and stay on for the Southland Oaks." So how does Chmiel rate this filly?  "She's the best filly I've trained." There's a couple of nice fillies out there but who's to say we haven't got better too," Terry said.   But Chmiel admits that Nex Time is very much a ladies horse.  "She's a bit of an old madam." "She's got speed but she's tough too." "In the paddock if she doesn't like you she won't go near you and she'll chase you out of the paddock." "Glenys does most of the work with her at home." " All the credit goes to Glenys really." "Glenys just spoils her and she loves it,"  Terry said. Bruce Stewart - Southland Harness Racing - Check site here

Terry and Glenys Chmiel have always held Nek Time in high regard since they purchased her privately for stable clients as an early two year old. The daughter of Gotta Go Collect has always looked well above average and her fourth in the Harness Jewels at two was just reward for a filly that never had much luck at times last season. Prior to tonights race at Addington Raceway, she hadn't been further back than fourth in seventh starts at three but had disappointed co -trainer Glenys Chmiel at Marlborough recently. " Even though she went near enough,I thought on her work she would win at least one of the days." "It was only when we got home that we found that she had a bad lung infection so her runs under the circumstances were super." " Her work at home since she has been treated has been really good so I thought she would be hard to beat tonight," Glenys said.  With Terry committed to stablemate Franco Tai, who better to warm the seat  that Dexter Dunn, the countries leading driver.  In the first score up, Nek Time went into a wild gallop and caused a false start but Dexter had no hesitation in staying in his original barrier of three in the second attempt at a start. " The gallop in the score up on the first attempt was my fault as she was a bit fresh and I put her on the gate way to early." " I was confident she would be fine on the second attempt if I didn't rush her on to the gate," Dexter told Harnesslink post race. Sent straight to the front by Dexter at the restart, Nek Time took a trail behind stablemate Franco Tai after 200 metres but was out again 200 metres later to reclaim the lead. Going past the 800 metres mark, Dreamy Damien and Colin De Filippi went up and looked Nek Time in the eye and they sizzled down the back straight in 26.9. Going past the 400 metres Nek Time had shook off Dreamy Damien but the challengers were coming wider out. Half way up the straight RR Sand Dollar stuck its neck in front but Nek Time refused to lie down and lifted inside the last 100 metres to fight back and claim an outstanding victory. Not only was the manner of the win top class but the times she ran were just superb. Nek Time covered the 1950 metres in 2:19.2, a mile rate of 1:54.8 with a brilliant last 800 metres of 54.5 and 400 metres of 27.6. Glenys was all smiles as she ungeared the filly. " This filly has very high speed but she is also as tough as they come." " She doesn't know how to give in and I knew she would fight back, " Glenys said. Terry wasn't sure if she had  got up from where he was on Franco Tai. " I couldn't tell from where I was but I know how tough she is." " You can get up to her but getting past her is another matter,"  Terry said. The Chmiels were especially happy to have taken out the $40,000 PGG listed event. " That is the biggest stakes race we have won as trainers so its a real thrill, "Terry said. The manner of the victory tonight suggests Nek Time is a live chance in some of the bigger fillies races later in the season. Harnesslink Media.  

A lot of of the harness racing pundits looking at today's Westport Cup were convinced that those off the back marks would find it difficult to win the race due to the leader bias of the Paterson Park track.   It is a good thing Cullect A Guinness can't read as the lone back marker on 30 metres turned in an outstanding staying performance to take this years Westport Cup.   John Dunn settled the big son of Gotta Go Cullect well back in the field early before getting on the three wide line and working himself into the one by one with just over a lap to run.   Coming out on the point of the turn, Cullect A Guinness dashed clear and while a couple closed late, he never looking in danger of being beaten.   Cullect A Guinness paced the 3200 metres on grass in 4:11.8 with closing sectionals of 61.3 and 29.5.   It was Cullect A Guinness's seventh win at just his fourteenth start and took his earnings over the $50,000 mark.   John Dunn was impressed with the performance.   “This horse never fails to impress this time in.”   “He won his first race two and a half years ago but then broke down.”   “We gave him plenty of time to get over his problems but when we brought him back in he looked terrible so we turned him out again.”   “This time in he has just gone from strength to strength”   “I got a nice drag around to get handy but when I pulled him out he just went straight past them.”   “I may have been a bit hard on him in the straight as he was running away from them at the line”   “He has just absolutely bolted in,” John said.   One thing that has been noticeable all this campaign has been the tendancy of Cullect A Guinness to get his head around at right angles during the running.   “He won't accept any gear to straighten him up so it is just something you have to put up with,” John said.   It is Murphy's law that as soon a stallion dies or is withdrawn from service that his progency excel on the track.   With Gotta Go Cullect back in work with Jay Abernethy, it shouldn't be a surprise that Cullect A Guinness is on the rampage through the grades.   Cullect A Guinness     Harnesslink Media

It is a fact of life in harness racing that having a season or two away from the track due to injury or illness can be career ending for some horses who never recapture their former glory once they comeback. Having a horse attempting a comeback after six and a half years on the sidelines due to injury and stallion duty would seem a herculean task but that is what the former age group star Gotta Go Cullect is attempting at the moment. Brought outright by Alabar (NZ) Ltd for stud duties when injury brought his racing career to a premature end , Gotta Go Cullect was given every show by breeders in his six years at stud. He has served 550 mares in those six seasons which has resulted in 399 live foals on the ground. As of today he has produced 45 winners including such smart types as Al Raza 1:52.1 (H) ($149,977), the Southland Oaks winner Royal Counsel, 1:54.2 ($88,202), the current form pacer Cullect A Guinness, 1:55.1 ($39,690 and Harrysul 1:57.1 ($45,056) but overall his numbers have fallen short of what is required in today’s hugely competitive stallion market and the numbers of mares he served each season has dropped accordingly. Alabar head honcho Graeme Henley was at a crossroads as the 2015-2016 breeding season drew close on what to do with Gotta Go Cullect – especially with the imminent arrival of high profile new recruit He’s Watching meaning Alabar needed to free up a stallion paddock. " I’d previously had a couple of approaches from Jay Abernethy to lease the horse and when I weighed it all up that looked to be the best option for Gotta Go Cullect going forward." "Especially with Jay having a water treadmill to get him fit without having to put pressure on his legs." " Jay had driven Gotta Go Cullect in his first five starts for four wins and a second and has a genuine fondness for the horse and was keen to be reunited with him." " Gotta Go Cullect has had six years as a stallion." "He’s kept himself fairly fit but without the stress of training and racing. As a result his legs were looking great when he went to Jay's." " The reports from Jay have been very positive and I think at this stage it is highly likely we will see Gotta Go Cullect back at the races early in 2016. We’re really grateful to Jay for looking after Gotta Go Cullect and hope it goes well for them both" Graeme said.   Gotta Go Cullect was an outstanding two and three year old racing against quality horses such as Stunin Cullen, 1:53.7 ($1,493,716), Highview Tommy 1:54 ($1,021,904) and Tintin In America 1:53.2 ($934,305) and while it is unrealistic to expect him to race at that level again at this stage of his career, class will ensure he won't disgrace himself where ever he lines up. Harnesslink Media

A profitable start to the summer got a whole let better for Cullect A Guinness on Sunday afternoon at Rangiora Raceway as he dominated a very good field to win the Summer Cup by an impressive five and a half lengths. Backed into favourite for today's cup over the 2600m on the grass, Cullect A Guinness made a great beginning from his 10m handicap and was soon up disputing the pace as they headed down the straight for the first time. After a brief tussle for the lead with Jerry Garcia he was able to take the front with just under a lap to go and then dominated the race from the top as he had done at Oamaru a fortnight ago. Going down the back straight he faced some fresh challenges from first Royal Counsel and then Star Of Dionysis, but he always looked to be travelling well within himself. Turning for home, all chasers appeared flat and when driver John Dunn asked him for the supreme effort at the 200m, the response was instant. The further he went, the bigger the gap became. Star Of Dionysis for tenaciously for his second placing, as too did Royal Counsel for third. Stablemates The Royal Garden (5th) and Mach Cruiser (8th), were both seen running home with purpose in the straight. Today's win was the 6th from just 13 starts for the Gotta Go Cullect 5yr old. With a further five placings also, he is doing a tremendous job for his owner/breeder, Peter Higinbottom, having banked just under $40,000. There are few more genuine pacers going around in the Canterbury region at the moment than this fellow, which has graduated to C5 with today's win, meaning that a coast campaign would seem unlikely, but will be something that Robert and John will be discussing. Well done to Peter, John and Robert on a great win, which tops off a very good weekend for the Robert Dunn stable with the four wins overall. Robert Dunn Racing Stables  -  Check site here

The harness racing meeting at Rangiora on Thursday saw the debut of the four year gelding Star Fantasy for the old team of Benny Hill and Ricky May. The son of Gotta Go Cullect drew badly on the second line but was very well supported by the betting public off the back of a series of impressive trial runs in Canterbury. Three wide with cover for most of the last lap, Star Fantasy burst down the outside late to win narrowly without being knocked about by driver Ricky May. Developed in Southland by Nathan Williamson, Star Fantasy qualified for Nathan at Gore at the end of August. " I owned a part of him and I am in the process of developing new stables so he was for sale right from the start." "I always thought a bit of him and it doesn't surprise me he won first up" Nathan said. Ricky May was bullish about the chances of Star Fantasy before the race and predicted a bright future for him post race. " He is very green and has lots to learn so there is a lot of upside to him." " I didn't really ask him for too much in the straight as he was always going to win anyway." " Once he gets a bit of ringcraft, he could go a fair way," Ricky said. Trainer Benny Hill  was more than happy with Star Fantasy's first up effort " He has got a lot to learn but there is plenty to like about him." " He just needs to be taken quietly at this stage or you could undo all the good work." " Ricky is the perfect driver for a horse like this" " We will just see how he comes through this race first but we may head to Ashburton next week,"Benny said. In the process of rebuilding his team at the moment, Benny has several promising young horses in the pipeline that will be seen out at workouts and trials in the next few weeks. Harnesslink Media  

YONKERS, NY, Friday, October 9, 2015 - There's a new leading lady in town. Harness racing odds-on favorite Al Raza N (Jordan Stratton, $3.90) ground down triple millionairess Anndrovette (Jason Bartlett) Friday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $48,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. In her first start at the adult table, Al Raza N, from post position No. 2, was her usual unhurried self. Outside numbers Anndrovette and Cinamony (George Brennan) both were put into play, with the former seating the latter. After early intervals of :27.2 and :55.4, Al Raza N took out of fourth. She engaged Anndrovette toward a 1:23.2 three-quarters (:27.3 third quarter), with Anndrovette owning length lead into the lane. However, Al Raza N was far from done, going past by three-quarters of a length in a life-best 1:52.1. Cinamony, who angled off the pylons for the drive, couldn't match strides and settled for third. Envious Hanover (Brent Holland) and Justhaven'tmetuyet (Eric Carlson) settled for the remainder. . For Al Raza N, a 5-year-old Down Under daughter of Gotta Go Cullect owned by Durrazzanno Stables and trained by Augie Abbatiello, it was her sixth win in 16 seasonal starts (3 wins and a second since arriving stateside). The exacta paid $29.60, the triple returned $153.50 and the superfecta paid $923. Saturday afternoon (special post time 2 PM), it's the return of the International Trot. The million-dollar event, back for the first time in two decades, goes as the fourth race (approx. post 3:10 PM), There's a $75,000 guaranteed pool Pick 5 (races 2 through 6, with $25,000 'seed money'), a hat giveaway, winning country trip contest, Oktoberfest on the track apron and much more. The 10-horse field for the 1¼ -mile classic... PP HORSE (COUNTRY) DRIVER M/L 1 Creatine (USA) Johnny Takter 4-1 2 Papagayo E (NOR) Ulf Ohlsson 5-1 3 Rod Stewart (ITA) Enrico Bellei 12-1 4 Timoko (FRA) Bjorn Goop 6-1 5 Bee a Magician (CAN) Brian Sears 3-1 6 On Track Piraten (SWE) Erik Adielsson 10-1 7 Natural Herbie (USA) Verlin Yoder 8-1 8 Mosaique Face (SWE) Adrian Kolgjini 6-1 9 BBS Sugarlight (NOR) Johan Untersteiner 6-1 10 Oasis Bi (ITA) Orjan Kihlstrom 8-1 Frank Drucker

Ballarat based Jaimie-Lee King had the last laugh on her rivals when four year old Major In Art/Laughing Meadow gelding Major Laugh blitzed his rivals in the Fishers IGA Pace at the Arrat trots on Tuesday. Trained at Smythes Creek by “boss” Emma Stewart, Major Laugh raced and driven by Jaimie-Lee starting from the extreme draw settled at the tail of the field, with polemarker Under Your Thumb kept honest all through the race by the favourite Four Starzzz Fella outside him. Send forward four wide in the last lap, Major Laugh followed Zermanion three wide in the back straight, before sprinting like a gazelle four wide to lead on the home turn, scoring by 9.5 metres over Our Sir Ivanhoe along the sprint lane after trailing the pacemaker and being held up at a vital stage, with Nobetterthanthis (one/one) third. The mile rate was 1-58.1. A winner at Mildura on June 3 when making his Victorian debut after racing mostly around the Hunter Valley, Major Laugh returned a mile rate of 1-58.1. Two relatively unknown participants of the sport were successful on the night – Bunkers Hill (Ballarat) based owner/trainer Alan Holman combining with Zac Steenhuis to land the Hygain Feeds Vicbred Pace for C1 class over 2195 metres with $61.80 chance Blude Master and Gordon’s Larry Lynch the Eastick Homes Pace for C1 class over 1790 metres with Graceful Art at $40.60. Blude Master a five year old gelded son of Attorney General and Bludegirl having start number 23 and first since April 2014 after taking a lift, was taken back at the start from outside the front row to settle at the tail of the field. Under pressure in the final circuit to follow Extra three wide, Blude Master hard driven gradually made ground and when Go Betweens four wide outside him joined in approaching the home turn, grabbed the bit and went with him to set sail after the leader Blissful Spanker. In a race than changed complexion over the concluding stages, Blude Master prevailed by a nose from Go Betweens in a mile rate of 2-01.7, with Blissful Spanker 1.6 metres away in third place.  Five year old Metropolitan/Private Affair mare Graceful Affair trained by Larry Lynch racing under the banner of Lynch Harness Horses, possied mid-field in the running line from the extreme draw with local Michael Bellman in the sulky. Held up in the last lap with horses all around her as the leaders Our Bedrock and Bellas Jet kicked clear appearing to have the race to themselves, Graceful Affair came with a withering burst of speed down the centre of the track to score by 1.2 metres over Bellas Jet which raced in the open for the majority of the journey, dropping in for a breather approaching the home turn. Saab Magic flashed home late from three back the markers after also being held up prior to the home turn to be 1.5 metres away in third place. The mile rate was 1-59.4. Great Western’s Peter Manning combined with Glen Craven aboard 4-Y-0 Christian Cullen/Precious Delight gelding Precious Cullen to snare the Ararat RSL Red Poppy Bistro Pace for C0 class over 2195 metres in 1-59.2. Sent forward three wide out of gate four to cross Space Keeper running into the first turn, Precious Cullen coming off a fifth at Horsham on June 17 when badly held up on debut, ran his rivals ragged in defeating Mister Untouchable which faced the breeze for the final circuit, with Eyesrromin (four wide last lap) third.  Huntly (Bendigo) trainer/driver Anthony Crossland has Kiwi bred 4-Y-0 Love You/Sun Goddess gelding Dieu De Lamour racing in peak form, bringing up his third victory in the last four starts by taking the Ararat Vet Clinic Trotters Mobile for T0 & T1 class over 2195 metres. Biding his time four back in the moving line from the extreme draw, Dieu De Lamour when eased three wide in the last lap exploded to the front prior to the home turn, scoring by a huge 56.5 metres in 2-03.3 over Copa Comaida which led from the pole, with Truscott Sun 5.8 metres away in third place after racing in the open for most of the trip. Terang’s Matty Craven experiencing his best season ever, had an armchair drive aboard Grinfromeartoear/Classic Malibu five year old gelding Roy George in the AME System Pace for C4 to C6 class over 1790 metres, leading all of the way from gate two in accounting for Xavier Jack which trailed and Myrniongfirecracker (one/three) in a rate of 1-58.8. The winning margin was 11.8 metres. Burrumbeet trainer Ash Herbertson took advantage of a concession for Bolinda’s Josh Duggan aboard in-form 6-Y-0 Metropolitan/Ellovalooka mare Metrofromelle to capture the David O Jones Mitre 10 Pace for C2 & C3 class over 2195 metres. Settling three back in the running line from a solo second line draw, Metrofromelle was soon off and running to park outside the pacemaker Forced Out (gate two) where Duggan was content to dictate the tempo. Taking a slender lead on the final bend, Metrofromelle outstayed her rivals to score by a neck over Our Supreme Guy along the sprint lane after following Forced Out who finished 2.9 metres away in third place. Great Western trainer Brad Hunt who assists at Peter Manning’s stable, was successful with Grinfromeartoear/Big Time Babe gelding If The Mood Suits in the E. W. Bulte Timber & Hardware 3-Y-0 Pace over 2195 metres when making his third appearance at the races. Driven by Glen Craven, If The Mood Suits (gate six) was restrained as gate sped away, going back to the tail of the field. Still a long way off the leader Katsina which had crossed the pacemaker Second Hands approaching the home turn, If The Mood Suits came from the clouds on straightening to record a 1.4 metre victory in advance of Sisulu Success (one/three – three wide last lap) and Lavish Smile (one/two) in a rate of 2-02.7. Perhaps the biggest winner of the night was Gotta Go Cullect/Princess Of Stars colt Rockstar Confusion on debut for Armstrong duo Brooke Hansen and Tim O’Brien in the Chally’s Bar & Bistro 3-Y-0 Trotters Mobile over 2195 metres. Driven by Maryborough’s Ash Matthews, Rockstar Confusion although rocky in the score-up, led from the pole only to gallop running into the first turn appearing to throw away any chance of figuring in the finish, which allowed Uwouldntbelieverit to take over. Still a mile off the leader Strazeele which had crossed to lead for the final circuit, Rockstar Confusion showed a terrific turn of speed in the last lap to get close to the front runner on straightening and in a ding-dong duel all the way up the running, gained the judge’s nod by a half head in 2-05.7. Hanging On A Dream finished 35.6 metres away in third place off a mid-field passage. Len Baker  

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