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

Hall-of-Fame galloping trainer Graeme Rogerson notched up his second harness racing win of the season at Cambridge Raceway on Sunday, and in doing so he said he still loves training standardbreds and will always have a few in his Hamilton barn. Todd Mitchell wore the familiar red, blue and green Rogerson colours to victory behind a 3-year-old son of Bettor's Delight gelding, named Flash Boy. They had a neck to spare over Bettor Buy A Rose and Zac Butcher. The 3-year-old bay paced the Turf Bar Maiden in 2:47.8 for the 2200m mobile. He came home in 59.4 and 25.8 and produced a 2:02.7 mile rate. That was his first win in two starts. It was also Rogerson's first victory since Little Bro and Hayden Cullen won at Cambridge on November 17. Prior to that his last two victories came via Easy For Cullen and Steve Phillips won at Rotorua on January 24 last year. Prior to that his previous solo victory came via Muscle And Power (David Butcher) and Cambridge Raceway on August 18, 2011. “I don‘ t get to the trots much these days but I still enjoy watching them on TV and training a few. I’ll always have a trotter or two – I like them. We’ve got a few young ones coming through next season. “I’m looking forward to them going around. As for this fella, well Mark Purdon had Flash Boy. He had a throat infection and Mark sent him to us. Our vet saw to him and he’s come back good this campaign,” Rogerson said. “I think he’s capable of going on with it,” he added. Rogerson has only had 26 starters to the races this season compared to 500 (46 wins) in 2011, or the 717 starters (98 wins) when he was at his peak with Steven Reid in 2009-2010. All up Rogerson has trained 344 winners and netted more than $2.3m in stakes since he first took out his licence in 2007. They comprised 51 winners ($369,418) as a solo trainer in 2009, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2016 and this season. Rogerson trained a further 108 winners ($680,223) when he trained in partnership with Peter Blanchard from 2012 to 2016. He also conditioned a whopping 168 winners ($2.2m) in 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 with Steven Reid. Rogerson started training standardbreds with Peter Simpson in 2007-2008 and 2008-2009. They won 17 races together and $189,464 “I’m very busy with galloping. As you well know I have a horse or two there as well. Warren Rich, Hayden Cullen and Michelle Northcott oversee the standardbred arm of our operation. “They will tell you about some of the nice ones we will have going around. We have lots of babies including three or four trotting yearlings,” Tauherenikau-based Rogerson said. He did make special mention of a couple of up-and-comers They were a 3-year-old Bettor's Delight - Tanisa Bromac filly named Trinity Bromac; a Monarchy - Santorini yearling filly named Estelita and a brown Monarchy - Banana Smoothie yearling filly named Splitting Image. “Quite a few of them show a lot of promise. With all our young ones and nine above average trotters I think we will be in for a much better season after August,” Rogerson said. Duane Ranger

When the eldest son of 2005 New Zealand Cup winner Mainland Banner won at Cambridge Raceway on Thursday night it continued a long and successful association with Bruce Tarry and the Mitchell family. Tarry, who co-owns Stunin Banner, wasn’t on track to watch the 8-year-old entire notch up his 16th career win in the $9,000 Furnware Industries R60 & faster handicap due to the severe weather warnings. “I live at Mangawhai Heads and was going to come down but when I rang Todd he said Cambridge could cope with the rain but the strong winds could have posed problems. He wasn’t sure at that stage if the meeting would progress. “I like to get and watch my horses run as much as possible, but this time Iremained a bit cautious and stayed at home. It was a great training and driving effort by Todd. We were delighted,” Tarry said. Stunin Banner started from the 10m handicap and led after 100m due to the only horse off the front line (Romanite) breaking at the start. Mitchell then controlled the pace throughout to hold on and win by three quarters of a length and a length over Ideal Roman (David Butcher) and Lola Jones (Todd Macfarlane). The son of McArdle paced the 2700m stand in 3;26.7 (mile rate 2:03.1) and came home in 56.9 and 28.1. He was the $16.70 seventh favourite (of eight). "He's been a nice horse to claim. Todd claimed him from Graeme Rogerson at the Cambridge meeting last May,and he's done a good job for us since. I think we paid $6,000 for him and we've so far got about $10,000 to $15,000 in the bank," said Tarry. The retired businessman owns Stunin Banner with Mitchell, his partner Catherine Cameron, and Murray Gower. He was bred by Ian Dobson. Tarry said he had raced horses with Mitchell's father Robert for many years and got to know Todd through that connection. "I think Todd had one of his first drives behind one of my horses back in the early 1980s and then when his Dad retired from training I sent my horses to Todd. "I go back several decades with the Mitchells and they have always been very professional horsemen and treated our horses very well. That was a great front-running drive from Toddy on Thursday," Tarry said. Stunin Banner has now had 81 starts for 16 wins, 17 seconds and 12 thirds. His stake earnings currently sit at $129,987. Mitchell has now had three wins and five placings (plus three fourths) from 16 starts with the bay. Stunin Banner is the second of five foals left by the 17-race ($684,579) Christian Cullen - Corporate Banner mare, Mainland Banner. Foal number four Rocker Band (by Rocknroll Hanover) was born via embryo transfer. She has so far won 10 of her 32 starts including this year's Group One $100,000 Ladyship Cup at Melton's Tabcorp Park on February 17. "We always knew Stunin Banner was from a good family and he has given us some happy times. I think claiming is great for harness racing. It gives everyone the same drink out of the well," Tarry said. Tarry, a former galloping owner, said he loved harness racing because of its people. "They are down-to-earth friendly people who are all trying to make a buck. I love the game and will never forget winning my first Group One with Linda Lovegrace. "I'm hoping Spandau Ballet will follow suit," Tarry said. Stunin Banner will line up next at Cambridge Raceway in a fortnight. There were eight races at Thursday's Harness Racing Waikato - Bay of Plenty meeting and eight different stables were successful. David Butcher was the most successful reinsman with two wins behind the Craig & Tony Jamieson trained $5.90 fourth favourite, BK Superstar in race one; and the Ray Green trained $1.40 hotpot, Onedin Amethyst, in the second event.   Duane Ranger  

The best chance for a southern hemisphere bred son of the champion sire Bettors Delight to make it at stud down under would appear to Harnesslink to be Gold Ace. A great looking entire who was able to mix it with the best in the age group classics in New Zealand, Gold Ace went on to win the Golden Nugget in Perth at four before winning the $150,000 New Zealand Free For All as an older horse He then went back to Australia where he won the Cranbourne and Shepparton Cups and was placed behind Christen Me in a Hunter Cup before finishing a great second to Adore Me back in New Zealand in 1:51.8 as he wound down a wonderful career. Purchased out of the 2009 Australasian Classic Yearling Sale for $27,000 by the Graeme Rogerson - Steven Reid training partnership, Gold Ace is bred on the hugely successful Bettors Delight - In The Pocket cross which has had so much success in Australasia. Gold Ace's dam was Hill Of Gold  and she has certainly been that for her owner A handy race mare for Geoff Small, Hill of Gold has excelled in the broodmare paddock. Apart from Gold Ace she has also produced the very smart race mare Gold Elite 1:57.3 ($70,037) and Strike The Gold 1:55.8 ($63,721) who raced in the classics last year against Have Faith In Me and Follow The Stars. Her last yearling to go through the sales ring in 2014 was Dark Energy, a full brother to Gold Ace who made $75,000. Hill Of Gold is closely related to the brilliant juvenile Smiling Shard 1:53.7 ($1,178,793), Sly Flyin 1:53.6 ($911,689) and Kiwi Ingenuity 1:52.1 ($523,200) so the family has been having a great run in the last twenty years. Gold Ace made his race track debut at Forbury Park in March 2010 as a two year old and while not dominant at that age, he did produce several smart performances. We think his best run was when he won the  $30,000 Sires Stakes Consolation at Addington. All up at two, Gold Ace won $23,740 but when he reappeared at three he was a different horse. Now trained solely by Steven Reid,  Gold Ace was at his best at three,winning 10 races including the $253,000 PGG Sales Race, $200,000 NZ Derby, $165,000 NZ Sires Stakes Final and the $150,000 Harness Jewels. All up he won over $500,000 at three in a season which was notable for his clashes with another rising star,Terror To Love. The pair met six times at three with Gold Ace winning four and dead-heating in another so even though there was not much in it on the track, Gold Ace was too strong in most of their meetings and was named three year old of the year. Never one to miss a challenge, Steven Reid set Gold Ace for the A$175,000 Golden Nugget final at Perth early in his four year old season in which he duly obliged. Staying with the Halls in Perth, Gold Ace so impressed Gary Hall sen that he made a A$1,000,000 offer for the entire but the owners said no. For the rest of his four year old season, Gold Ace had the appearance of a horse that just hadn't got over that big trip to Perth. He won the $40,000 Superstars final at Addington over Terror To Love and was placed in both the Noel Taylor Mile and the NZ Messenger but just seemed half a length down on what he had been previously. At five the highlight of the season was the win in the $150,000 NZ FFA at Addington over Terror To Love and a great second to Christen Me in the $100,00 Noel Taylor Mile. From there Steven and the owners moved Gold Ace to the McCarthy barn in Sydney where over the next 14 months he won over $250,000 with his best wins coming in the $100,000 Cranbourne Cup and $50,000 Shepparton Cup while he was also a great third to Christen Me in the $400,000 AG Hunter Cup. Brought back to New Zealand as a seven year old as he wound down before heading to the stallion barn, Gold Ace produced one of career best runs at the 1000 metres Cambridge Raceway. Sent forward from the gate by driver Todd Mitchell, Gold Ace tried to run them off their feet over the mile and it took the champion mare Adore Me to grab him late in a new track record to defeat him. Gold Ace was timed in 1:51.8 which is his best recorded time and he did it at start 67. So when you look at Gold Ace you see a horse who is by a champion sire in Bettors Delight from a top maternal family, who raced for six seasons, earned just under one and a quarter million dollars and was still trucking as good at the end of his career as he was at the start. The bonus is when you look at the individual in the flesh as Gold Ace is letting down into one magnificent looking entire. Standing at the outstanding Nevele R Stud in Christchurch, Gold Ace will be given every opportunity to prove that he can make it as a sire and it would surprise us if he didn't make his mark.  Harnesslink Media

Graeme Rogerson has had a lot of highlights all over the world with his thoroughbreds but today he saw the other side of racing when his outstanding trotter Rare Opportunity won on harness racings premier day at Addington. Now in the stable of Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen, Rare Opportunity settled second last in the ten horse field and driver Mark Purdon stayed there until 1600 metres from home when he started to work slowly forward. Slightly checked by a breaking Experiment in the straight with a lap to go, Mark worked him forward to the death outside Saratoga with 800 metres to go.  From there Mark pressed the go button and grabbed the lead as they turned for home but had been tracked the whole way by King Of Strathfield and looked a sitting duck. But Rare Opportunity never looked like flinching in the straight and was still a length in front at the finish. He trotted the 2600 metres in 3:20 with closing sectionals of 59.8 and 29.4. Mark Purdon was suitably impressed with the run. "He actually was checked with a lap to go but still found when I asked him. "He has developed a bit more speed lately and has been improving all the time," he said. Rare Opportunity is a 6 year old gelding by Pegasus Spur and todays win was his eight from 38 starts. The All Stars barn is renowned for getting the best out of their charges and Rare Opportunity is another example of their skill at improving older horses. Harnesslink Media     

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

Champion harness racing reinsman Dexter Dunn may be home and hosed in the National Drivers’ Premiership, but the battle among the juniors is still on in earnest. And although Samantha Ottley’s recent link up with the powerful Dunn stable has made her a warm favourite to take this year’s junior drivers’ title, a double from Sailesh Abernethy at Cambridge last night has brought him right back into contention. Abernethy, who is now on 41 wins, just one win behind Ottley, guided Hudey Haxwell to an all of the way victory in the first race on the card, before doubling the dose in the fourth event when adopting similar tactics aboard the Andrew Grant trained Heart Of Jessie. Abernethy has three drives at Alexandra Park tonight, while Ottley, who has already set a record for the most wins by a junior female reinswoman in a season, has numbers on her side, with five drives at Forbury Park tonight and six drives at Rangiora on Sunday. Meanwhile, Amatuer driver Michelle Northcott nearly pulled off a remarkable double when finishing second aboard Easy For Cullen in the last race on the card.  The dual-coded Northcott, who is employeed by Graeme Rogerson, had earlier in the day flown down to Otago’s Wingatui Thoroughbred meeting, where she was victorious in an amatuer riders’ event aboard a galloper she owns herself in Mr Nobody. By Mitchell Robertson  

Dylan Ferguson achieved the biggest win of his career when he won the $25,000 North Island Country Cups Final at Hawera on Easter Monday. The 17-year-old won the C3-Oc pace behind the Pat and Mike O’Brien trained outsider, Beckinsale. It was the 4-year-old mare’s eighth win from 50 career starts, and fourth this season. For Ferguson it was his 11th win since starting his driving career at the start of the season. He’s also placed 34 times in 191 drives. “This is my biggest win by far. I’m really happy for Pat and Mike because they have supported me a lot. I’m also pleased that Dad drove Lifesofine (seventh) which freed me up for the drive behind Beckinsale,” Ferguson said. Beckinsale stepped well from her 10m handicap and Ferguson settled the daughter of Falcon Seelster three and then four deep on the inner. When the moves were made Ferguson managed to get off the markers and flew down the outside to get up and win the 3000m standing start event by three quarters of a length and a neck. Kippenberger (Simon Lawson) and favourite River Polka (Tony Herlihy MNZM) were second and third. Beckinsale, who was the $46.50 eleventh favourite, sprinted her last 800m in 60.8. Her winning mile rate was 2:17.6. “She hasn’t had things go his way recently but this time everything worked out well. We got an economical run early on which allowed her to sprint when it mattered. “It was a brave run. She is much better than what her price suggested. She was always travelling well and brought out her A-game this time,” Ferguson said. “I thought she’d go well because he seemed really happy in her warm-up,” he added. The Waikato horseman, who is employed by Graeme Rogerson and Peter Blanchard at Tauherenikau, said he was enjoying his first season of driving. “I’m getting a lot of opportunities to drive thanks to Graeme, Peter, Mike, Pat, and of course Dad. There have also been so many other owners and trainers I’m grateful to for giving me the chance to drive their horses,” he said. It’s been five months since Ferguson drove his first winner. That was on his favourite horse – Carlos at Cambridge Raceway on November 17. Ferguson left Cambridge High School at the end of Year 11 (sixth form), but if he had it his way he would have left the day he started. He said school got in the way of the horses because he had his mind set on following in the footsteps of his father Peter - and becoming one of New Zealand’s finest reinsmen. He said 2013-3014 was all about learning and taking advice from the horsemen and women around him. “I’ll just keep trying to win races and see what happens from there. I’d like to give the New Zealand Junior Champs a crack,” he said. Meanwhile, Beckinsale is owned by Pat O’Brien and was bred by the Astaire Standardbred Breeding Company. She is the second foal of five out of the seven-win Presidential Ball mare, Ballroom Babe. By Duane Ranger (Courtesy of Harness Racing New Zealand)

David Butcher might be off the scene for six months after pulling pectoral muscle away from the bone, but that doesn’t mean there will be one less Butcher on the New Zealand harness racing scene. Butcher’s nephew Shane arrived home from Perth last Thursday after spending almost three seasons driving In Western Australia. The 22-year-old drove 50 winners there in 2012-2013 and almost 100 since leaving these shores in 2011. He is keen to carry on that success in New Zealand. “I’d like to get as many drives as I possibly can. I’m going to give David and my grandfather (John) a hand, and hopefully break in a few from the Sales. “I’d love to get all David’s drives. That would be a dream, but I’m not a dreamer. I’m realistic and not many reinsmen are as good as him. He’s one of New Zealand’s best and I wish him a speedy recovery. He’s a fantastic driver,” Butcher said. Butcher is the youngest son of David and Philip Butcher’s Cambridge-based sister, Pauline. His older brother Stephen is an amateur driver, while middle brother Matthew, who is a hairdresser, has never been interested in a racing career. Born in Hamilton and educated at Cambridge High School Butcher left school and worked for Tony Herlihy and then Steven Reid before joining the Graeme Rogerson team in Tauherenikau. He then had a stint with Todd Mitchell before flying to Perth in 2011. “I got a job working with David Thompson at Byford thanks to Simon Lawson. Simon was in Melbourne while David was campaigning David Hercules there. “They got talking and because of that I ended up in Western Australian. I worked for David for about a year before joining Gary Hall in Perth. “I ended up being his number one claim driver but in the end I got tired and homesick and wanted to be with family and try my luck back here,” Butcher said. Apart from driving dual Inter Dominion winner Themightyquinn in track work, Butcher said the best horse he drove on race-day was the New Zealand bred son of Washington VC and Jane Halsey – Hokonui Ben. He has so far won 17 of his 52 starts and more than half a million dollars in purses. As for Butcher’s biggest win – that came on January 4 last year in the Group Two $30,000 Western Australia Trotters Cup when he steered the Hall trained Makati Maximus to a six metre victory. The son of Brylin Boyz and Sounds Good (NZ) was a $2 favourite that night. “It was great working for one of Australia’s best horsemen, but you would be working and travelling every day or night of the week, and to be honest I missed home quite a bit. “I really want to make a good go of it back here. I’m open to everyone for drives. I want to freelance as much as I can,” said Butcher. Before leaving for Australia Butcher had 12 winners and 44 placings from 303 New Zealand junior drives. He also won $115,610 in stakes. Since arriving back in his homeland he has had five average drives – two at Cambridge (8th and 5th) last Thursday night, and three at Stratford on Sunday, where he finished fifth, 10th, and eighth behind Jonny Wilkinson in the Stratford Cup. “It will be great to get that first win behind me. I really enjoy being back home with family and driving here again,” the likeable reinsman said. By Duane Ranger (Harness Racing New Zealand)

Hunterville horsewoman Abbie Bligh enjoyed her first training success when Sunbrite upset at huge odds of $65.70 & $10.20 at Wanganui yesterday. Bligh, who has been involved in the racing industry for 20 odd years, got her trainers earlier in the season. She had started Sunbrite, the only horse she has in work, four times before yesterday’s win. “It was a huge thrill and a very exciting day,” said Bligh. Bligh said that the win did come as a bit of a surprise, although she did think Sunbrite’s prior run hinted a win was on the horizon. “He went really well when he finished fourth at Manawatu, so I was hopeful he could finish in the money yesterday.” “He is usually a good beginner so I told Saliesh (Abernethy) to head straight to the front. In the end he gave him a great trip,” she added Megan Teaz drove Sunbrite in his first three starts for Bligh, but when she couldn’t drive the gelding at Manawatu on Thursday, Bligh asked Abernethy to take the reins. Bligh gained experience with horses working for Trevor Harris in Bulls before working for Stephen Doody about nine years ago. She has since been back working for Harris, but is now employed by Scott Dickson. “Scott has been great and really encouraged me to get my licence,” said Bligh. “He previously trained Sunbrite and told me he would be a great one first horse for me to train. After yesterday, I’m guessing he was right.” Ferguson father & son Quinella Peter Ferguson and son Dylan combined with Graeme Rogerson and Peter Blanchard for their first Quinella yesterday. Dylan Ferguson, who works for Rogerson and Blanchard, ranged up strongly with Change Gear and the 200 metres and looked the winner, but dad was only foxing, kicking back strongly with stable newcomer Spectacular to win by a neck at the line. Meanwhile, grass track specialist Millview Sarah was successful in the Wanganui Cup. By Mitchell Robertson    

Roughly two and a half decades ago Ken Webber played an instrumental role in setting up the stellar driving career of Peter Ferguson. Today, twenty five odd years later, he has kick-started the driving career of Peter’s son Dylan, by providing him with his first winner in the form of ten-year-old pacer Carlos, who was successful at Cambridge today. “Dad said that Kenny (Webber) helped make him as a driver, so it was great to get my first ever winner for him,” said Dylan Ferguson. Carlos, who is a bit of a Ferguson family favourite having won seven races while trained by Peter, was sent to Ken Webber so as he could be worked on the treadmill. “He is ten-years-old now so his legs aren’t quite as good as they used to be,” said Ferguson. “He is definitely one of my favourite horses and mum (Wendy) still owns him so that added to the thrill today,” he added. Ferguson settled Carlos last on the back off a hot tempo up front, before coming with a barnstorming finish to beat Prime Legal, who was driven by his dad, and Dougie Maguire. He celebrated the win with an epic victory salute. “I’d been practicing that one for a while now,” laughed Ferguson. “It’s great to get that first one out of the way.” Ferguson, who is yet another driver to come out of the Kidz Kartz ranks, said that he was very thankful for all the support he has been given to date. “I’ve driven at four meetings now and on each occasion I’ve had five drives, which has been absolutely great,” Ferguson enthused. “Everyone has also been very helpful by giving me pointers on what I could perhaps do better next time,” he added. Ferguson, who is employed by Graeme Rogerson and Peter Blanchard, has now had 20 drives for a win and four thirds – But I expect him to add to that tally pretty quickly now that he has the monkey off his back. By Mitchell Robertson

Top North Island harness racing driver Peter Ferguson, who has been dubted the 'King of Manawatu' on numerious occasions, was once again to the fore in Palmeston North tonight, bagging four winners, and three placegetters from a full book of drives. Ferguson was succesful for Waterlea trainers Mike & Pat O'Brien on three occasions, with Blythcliffe, Prime Legal and Jacqueline Franco all coming up truimps. He also won the feature race for the night aboard the Graeme Rogerson and Peter Blanchard trained Stunin Banner. The son of New Zealand Cup winning mare Mainland Banner has now won on seven occasions from 30 lifetime starts.  Todd Mitchell also broke through for a double, while junior reinsman Andre Poutama had a good day at the office winning a race, and claiming three placings. Meanwhile, John Robinson was rewarded for his patience when winning the maiden trot with Door Slamer in what was his 46th raceday start. The Manawatu Trotting Club will do it all over again on Sunday, the second-day of their October meeting. To view the full results for tonight's meeting click here. By Mitchell Robertson  

Brent Mangos came within one win of achieving a personal milestone at Cambridge Raceway last Thursday (August 22). On the eve of his 50th birthday the South Auckland reinsman won four of the nine races at the Waikato Harness Racing meeting. ‘Mango’ drove the winners of the first three races – Te Kawau, Quite Easy Damit, and For Your Eyes Only – as well as nailing the last event with Lambrusco. He also had two seconds and a third from his seven drives. “I’ve won four races at a meeting four or five times now. It was a satisfying night because I’ve been quiet the last couple of months. I haven’t been driving as much as I would have liked,” Mangos said. After the first two races Mangos had driven a double for Palmerston North trainer Stephen Doody, and also won for Graeme Rogerson and Peter Blanchard in the final race. He was also victorious with the 3-year-old Christian Cullen filly he trains with Hayden Cullen, named For Your Eyes Only. “She’s quite a tall filly and has needed time. She had enough ability as a 2-year-old but just wasn’t strong enough. “She’s a nice type but I think her best will come after Christmas,” Waiau-Pa based Mangos said. Meanwhile Mangos is gearing up for a West Australia campaign for his stable star Better Cover lover. “She will have two trials, the first at Alexandra Park on September 14 and then at Cambridge the following week. “I’m taking five to Perth at the end of September or early October depending on flights. ‘Betty’ will have three mares’ races in Western Australia before coming back for the Queen Of Hearts in Auckland. “Then she will follow a similar programme to last year. After Alexandra Park she’ll compete in the two Group One mare’s races at Addington before heading to Sydney again to take on the mares over there,” Mangos said. He said Three Blind Mice, Agent Ninety Nine, and The Black Forest were all booked to join ‘Betty’ while Three King’s journey across the Tasman was still to be confirmed. Mangos hinted that this would more than likely be 6-year-old Bettor Cover Lover’s last year of racing. He said he never really considered the New Zealand Cup option. “I know she would go a great race in the Cup but you have to be realistic and go where the money is. You don’t get a lot for finishing fourth or fifth in the Cup,” he said. Mangos is working a team of 20 ain Franklin – a young team comprising mostly two and three-year-old pacers. “We have a young team and have had to start again, and so far some of the young ones are showing a lot of promise. “We qualified three at Alexandra Park on Saturday. Cheers Kathy and Bettor Bianca went seven and six seconds under the qualifying mark, while Tout Noir went more than seven seconds under when winning his qualifying trot. “I’ve got a lot of time for him. He’s a 3-year-old black gelding out of the good Straphanger mare Strapless. One of the Tony Milina breed,” Mangos said. The vodeos of Brent Mangos winning drives are attached. By Duane Ranger Courtesy of Harness Racing New Zealand

The Manawatu Harness Racing Club staged its meeting at Manawatu Raceway this afternoon (Thursday December 13, 2012). The Graeme Rogerson and Peter Blanchard trained On The Razzle won the feature pace (see video). Results were:

You can see why Michelle Northcott is ranked among the best amateur harness racing drivers in the world. The Waikato horsewoman represented New Zealand in the Ladies World Cup For Amateur Drivers in September.

It might have been a night that Zac Butcher won't forget in a hurry but 766 kilometres north of Christchurch's Addington Raceway his father David was quietly letting his son know that he will have to work even harder if the 21-year wants to achieve a lifetime harness racing goal.

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