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This years Harness Jewels is done and dusted for another year and the harness racing has been covered in great detail by all and sundry. So Harnesslink thought we would review all the other aspects of the day as we saw them. * Big kudos to Stacey Markham and her team from Harness Racing New Zealand for putting on a near flawless display of promotion and marketing for this years Harness Jewels. It showed that it is possible to get everybody on the same page with a bit of give and take and the team should take a bow for a job well done. *On big days like this it is not uncommon for the media room to have plenty of grizzles and moans about things but yesterday was quite the opposite. Nothing but compliments for the Ashburton hosting club and for once the journalists were looked after in style. Believe me it is a really stressful day for journalists and to be looked after so well made the day a lot easier for all concerned. Lets hope that is the standard at all Harness Jewels meetings from now on. * The only quibble the media had all day was down to being denied entry with our passes to the stabling area. Those lovely officious security people really do need to take some people management skills courses before they are registered to work in the community. I suppose they had a job to do but it is the manner in which they do that job that needs attention. * One thing that was spot on on the day was the track which was in fantastic condition. A lot of the leading drivers we spoke to during the day were fulsome in their praise for what a great racing surface the track manager had delivered. * The absence of several leading racing journalists such as Barry Lichter was disappointing in the extreme but something the industry is going to have to get more and more used to. The Fairfax restructuring that is underway meant half the journalists there yesterday are having to reapply for their jobs at present. Specialized racing journalists are an endangered species and the coverage we receive in the mainstream media is about to be cut severely. It looks like only Harness Racing New Zealand and Harnesslink will be left standing when the dust settles. * As someone who covers all the major race meetings it can get a bit repetitive at times when you are interviewing the same people again and again. So it was really refreshing yesterday to watch the connections of Sunny Ruby after her brilliant win in the three year old Ruby. Fred Fletcher was bouncing around like a twenty one year old and the whole extended family were in the same frame of mind. It was a timely reminder of why people race horses. Amanda Tomlinson reinforced that feeling later in the day with a display of emotion not often seen these days. * Hats off to Greg O'Connor for his outstanding and impartial coverage in the leadup to and on the day of the Harness Jewels. Greg manages to put forward his opinions without feeling the need to denigrate or ridicule some of the runners and its that professional impartiality that connects with so many in the industry. *Finally we would like to thank all the tech guys that got us back up and running after we went down after race one. Murphy's law to go down on the big day but with their help we got back on track late in the afternoon. Harnesslink Media

MarkPurdon and Natalie Rasmussen have decided Have Faith In Me, the sensation of the 2014-2015 harness racing season will be allowed to miss his upcoming Australian campaign and instead head for the spelling paddock.   "He has come off the Australian list" Mark said on Sunday   "He has come through the race great but it might be time he had a break after what he has already achieved this season. "   Have Faith In Me has rewritten the record books this season as the only one of his age to win the Sires Stakes, both Derbys and the PGG Wrightson Sales Series and the Harness Jewels.   It has been an incredible ride for All Stars and Mark and Dennis Dunford.   Mark, the Purdon version, got the youngster for $50,000 as a yearling because some critics thought there might have been chinks in his armour.   Nobody has been on record this season as saying they were among them.   The fact that Have Faith In Me put on an out of  character rodeo act on his way to the birdcage on Jewels day was given a low key explanation by Mark.   "I think it was because his head was up a bit high."   "I was further back on Follow The Stars and couldn't tell anyone straight away but I am sure that is all it was."   "He is such a laid back horse it is out of character for him"   Mark thought one of his unluckiest runners on the day was Petite One.   "She was a good fourth but if I had done things a little bit better she could have been third or better."   "I was wanting to get on the back of Monbet when he went forward but she didn't quite have the speed to be where we should have been and it was probably my fault."   "It was a big effort for a filly"   If you thought Natalie and Mark celebrated all night Saturday think again.   "We had a few drinks with friends on the way home but once we got there we weren't going anywhere" said Mark.   The trainers will host staff and friends at a dinner Sunday night as thanks for the staff job leading up to the Jewels and on the day.   It is typical of their professionalism that both were on hand at the low key Ashburton meeting on Sunday driving maiden two year olds far from the glitz and glamour of Jewels day.   Just one more reason for their unprecedented success.   Courtesy of David McCarthy - All Stars Racing Stables    Check site here  

There have been plenty of brilliant fillies in the history of harness racing in New Zealand but after today's run in the Group 1 Harness Jewels $150,000 three year old Diamond at Ashburton, The Orange Agent could well be the best of them all.   Away well from barrier two to lead early for driver Maurice McKendry, The Orange Agent brushed the first quarter in 27.1 and the first half in 55.1 as several of her race rivals had a wee look at the favourite.   Steadied through the third quarter of 30.1, Maurice pushed the go button at the top of the straight and the daughter of American Ideal burst clear and then comfortably held off the pack, still having a length to spare at the finish.   Fight For Glory and Natalie Rasmussen went another great race to again finish second to The Orange Agent while Start Dreaming and David Butcher confirmed the high opinion held of her with a tough run for third   The Orange Agent paced the mile in a brilliant 1:51.1 which took one second off the New Zealand record held by Venus Serena.   More impressive was the fact that after an opening 800 metres in 55.1, The Orange Agent still brushed her last 400 metres in a sizzling 25.6 and that was on a chilly day not conducive to really quick times   Maurice was all smiles on returning to the birdcage.   " She felt tremendous today, so a lot of the credit must go to trainer "Bunty" Hughes."   " The way she felt on the corner, I thought it would take something special to beat her."   " She pricked her ears with 50 metres to go so she still had plenty in the tank," Maurice said.   Weather the Australians get to see this speed machine has yet to be decided but if she does cross the Tasman the Australians are in for a treat.   Harnesslink Media  

The harness racing season always throws up some rough results from time to time and in today's Group 1 $100,000 four year old Ruby at the Harness Jewels at Ashburton it almost happened again.   Hot favourite King Denny with Mark Purdon in the bike led from barrier one and kept up a steady tempo through the first 800 metres while a lot of his more favoured opposition did things wrong and were out of contention early.   Coming to the home turn the well supported Belles Son broke and from then on it looked like King Denny's race to lose.   Clear half way up the straight, suddenly the horse who had sat on his back the whole way Zachary Binx with Amanda Tomlinson in the bike appeared on his inside in the passing lane.   The closer it got to home the closer Zachiary Binx got but at the line he was still half a neck in arrears.   Poppymalda and Nathan Williamsom flew out of the pack late to grab third in front of an unlucky Harrysul   While King Denny paid $1:50 to win, Zachiary Binx paid a whopping $18.70 for a place.   Winning his second Harness Jewels by a small margin, the Majestic Son gelding trotted the mile in 1:55.9 with closing sectionals of 55.9 and 26.8   Mark Purdon was more relieved than anything post race.   " I was getting a bit worried the last bit."   " He just knocked off when he was clear and I had a bit of trouble getting him going again."   " He can do that every now and again but at least we still held on ," Mark said.   Amanda was smiling as though she had won the race.   " How close did I get," was all Amanda wanted to know post race   King Denny has had a great season mixing it with the very best in the latter half of the season and should be in for a big season at five.   King Denny was the fourth winner of the day for the Allstars training duo of Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen.   Harnesslink Media  

Harness racing is a very competitive sport especially when it comes to the two year olds but that hasn't stopped the All Star barn dominating the age group in the last few years in New Zealand.   Today the training pertners Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen had four starters in the Group 1  Harness Jewels $150,000 two year old Emerald at Ashburton and by the end of the race they had claimed the trifecta which is a real feather in their caps.   Salty Robyn and Laureen Panella worked to the front early before handing up to Chase The Dream and Natalie Rasmussen who kept up a steady but not spectactular tempo.   Code Black and John Dunn ended up in the parked position giving cover to Lazarus and Mark Purdon.   Chase The Dream turned for home in front but was quickly claimed by Lazarus and then Motu Premier and Tim Williams flashed late to grab second off a game Chase The Dream who ended up third   A minor highlight of the race was the run of the Australian bound Code Black who looped the field from the outside of the front line and stuck on for a game fourth.   Not only was it a trifecta for the All Star barn, it was also a first four for the champion sire Bettor's Delight with all the first placegetters by him.   Lazarus paced the mile in 1:52.9 with closing sections of 54.8 and 25.1 which made it hard for horses back in the field to make ground.   Mark was reserved as always post race.   " He was unlucky last start but got a lovely run today and that's what made the difference."   "There is nothing between Lazarus and Chase The Dream ability wise and it is only the run they get that makes the difference," Mark said.   The All Star barn has dominated juvenile racing in New Zealand this season and took out five of the six placings in the two year old pacing races today.   Harnesslink Media  

Many harness racing trainers in New Zealand focus on trotters rather than pacers and one of the most successful in that regard is the Weedons horseman Fred Fletcher.   Whenever Fred lines a trotter in any of the classics it pays to take notice as he has had a great run for longer than I care to remember.   Today at Ashburton he lined up the smart Sundon filly Sunny Ruby in the Group 1 Harness Jewels three year old $100,000 Ruby and although the formline was impeccable, she went out at odds of twelve to one.   Away well to lead from barrier two for driver Gavin Smith, Sunny Ruby took a trail soon after behind the well performed Prince Fearless.   Monbet and Ricky May breezed up at the 500 metres mark and slowly started to wear down Prince Fearless.   Just when everyone was acclaiming Monbet the winner, Gavin Smith angled Sunny Ruby wider on the track and flew late to win a lot more easily than it looked.   Monbet battled on bravely for second in front of the pacemaking Prince Fearless.   Warm favourite Speeding Spur galloped wildly soon after the start and then produced a massive performance to run fifth just under seven lengths from the winner    Sunny Ruby trotted the mile in 1:54.7 which took a massive 1.8 seconds off the previous New Zealand record for a three year old trotter held by Prime Power.   Gavin Smith was quick to heap praise on Fred post race.   " Fred has done a great job with this filly to get her to race a lot kinder and he deserves a lot of the credit for today's win."   " I got a lovely run on the back of Prince Fearless and I thought I was a chance at the 200 metres when she was travelling so well."   "She has tremendously high speed if saved for one run," Gavin said.   Todays Harness Jewels win by Sunny Ruby was Fred Fletchers third and just further added further lustre to his reputation as a great trainer of trotters.   Harnesslink Media  

Harness racing glamour mare Venus Serena has always been looking over her shoulder for a Barry Purdon trained runner throughout her career.   Last season it was Ideal Belle who beat her in the Oaks and pushed her so close in last seasons Harness Jewels.   This year in the Group 1 $150,000 four year old Diamond at the Harness Jewels at Ashburton the new challenger was another Barry Purdon trained runner in Lancewood Lizzie.   Drawn one off the front line,driver Zac Butcher hustled her out of the gate early and lead for the first 800 metres before handing up to the favourite Venus Serena and John Dunn.   These two went clear as they turned for home and Zac waited and waited before launching up the passing lane at the 200 metres mark with Lancewood Lizzie.   They quickly grabbed Venus Serena and dashed away for an easy win with Venus Serena battling on gamely to be clearly second.   Sweet Art never left the inner the whole journey as she sat on Lancewood Lizzie's back and fought on gamely for third in front of Willow who finished well late.   Lancewood Lizzie paced the mile in a swift 1:52.7 with closing sectionals of 54.7 and 25.4   Zac Butcher was full of compliments for trainer Barry Purdon on returning to the birdcage.   " Barry always has them spot on for the big day."   " She felt super the whole way and I handed up to Venus Serena as she was the horse to beat."   " I was pretty confident at the 200 metres mark as she was travelling super and once I moved into the passing lane, she picked her up pretty easily actually, Zac said.   John Dunn was rapt with the run of Venus Serena.   "I couldn't have asked for any more, she has gone super," John said.   One sad note post race was that Gracious Star was found to have suffered multiple fractures of the right front pastern and she was humanely euthanised.   Harnesslink Media  

Harness racing never has such things as past the post certainties but High Gait was about as close as you could get in the two year old Group 1 Harness Jewels $100,000 Ruby for trotters at Ashburton today.   High Gait was five for five and had looked nigh unbeatable heading into today's race although stablemate Missandei had made a race of it at their last meeting.   Missandei and Mark Purdon got out well from barrier two and grabbed the lead while quite a few had a gallop early.   Before too long High Gait and Natalie Rasmussen had worked around to sit outside her stablemate and the pace then dropped right off which suited the duo in front.   The race then basically turned into a sprint up the straight with Missandei holding her more highly rated stablemate High Gait by half a head with Wilma's Mate running on well for third in front of a big finisher in Cyclone Chief.   The mile was cut out in 2:01 with the last half in 59.4 and quarter in a swift 26.8.   Mark Purdon was thrilled with the progress of the Angus Hall filly.   " She has just kept improving and from the draw I had to go forward."   " She was going really well on the corner but I was never that confident that I could hold High Gait at bay"   "Its great for Trevor who raced her mother and bred this one," Mark said.   The disappointment of the race was Conon Bridge who galloped in the back straight.   " I don't why he did that.'   " He just dropped his head right down and lost his balance and galloped," Bob Butt told Harnesslink post race.   Two races down and two quinellas for the All Stars barn so far.   Harnesslink Media    

The Harness Jewels are the one harness racing meeting each year where all the best age group horses gather and do battle.   Ashburton is the scene of this years Harness Jewels and the race to kick off the programme was the Group 1 $150,000 two year old Diamond.   The hot favourite was the unbeaten Dream About Me who was four for four going in to the race and had trialed brilliantly on the track last Saturday.    Away well from the outside gate, Dream About Me and Tim Williams went forward on the back of her stablemate Northern Velocity and made it to the death seat outside Luisanabelle Midfrew with 800 metres to go.   As they went past the 400 metres mark Tim asked Dream About Me for her best and she shot clear.   Half way up the lane she looked to knock off at the same point as Arden's Choice and Natalie Rasmussen made her claim but once she saw the challenger Dream About Me grabbed the bit and drew clear for an emphatic victory.   Dream About cut the mile from the outside of the front line in a new New Zealand record time of 1:53.3 with closing sectionals of 55.5 and 26.2.   Arden's Choice was just as clearly second in front of Killer Queen from the Ray Green barn while Nek Time and Terry Chmiel ran on late for fourth.   Tim Williams was fulsome in his praise of the daughter of Bettor's Delight.   " When she got to the death seat as easy as she did, I was confident she would be hard to beat.   When I pulled the plugs she went clear but then knocked off as she couldn't see Arden's Choice coming.   I had to shake her up but she responded like the top filly she is, Tim said.   The run of the "Scuse Me" breed in New Zealand in the last few years has been fantastic and in Dream About Me they have another superstar.     Harnesslink Media

The All Stars barn via Dave McCarthy preview their runners at the harness racing meetings every week.   This week of course is the Harness Jewels meeting at Ashburton on Saturday (May 30th) and with their kind permission we reproduce here the comments for the 23 runners the All Stars barn have in on Saturday      HARNESS JEWELS- Rated out of 10 as a winning chance with the comment by the driver of the horse on Staurday     Race 1 - Two Year Old Diamond   Northern Velocity (7)   Form: Won Sales Final at Addington.   Comment:   7- "I would rate her a 7 and a good one. Equal second best of ours on form. " (Mark)   Dream About Me (9)   Form: Just keeps winning and bold in trials last week.   Comment: 9 " The draw seems a problem though she has never really had good draws. Doing everything right and I am hoping she will just be too good for them" (Tim)   Arden's Choice (11)   Form: Good in 1.54 MR after getting back early at Auckland. G1 winner previous.   Comment: 6 "She might be better than that but as a win chance it is going to be very hard from that draw. I think it is the worst draw of the lot in some respects because it is harder to get on the three line line" (Natalie)   Race 2 - Two Year Old Ruby   Missandei (2)   Form: Looked the winner last time until stablemate came on the scene. This her best draw yet.   Comment: 7 "Gets better with each run and this is the best draw she has had if she can hold up early" (Mark)   High Gait (12)   Form: Huge run last time to come from impossible possie to win.   Comment: 9 "I don't like the draw but she can follow Missandei out which is a help. She is working terrific and only the draw stops her from being my best for the day" (Natalie)   Race 3 - Four Year Old Diamond   Willow (12)   Form: Three on end is hard to beat even if some easier than this.   Comment: 8 "Again a draw I am not thrilled about but she is following some useful early speed. She is good enough to make her own luck and she tries so hard she could offer some value" (Natalie)   Race 4 -  Three Year Old Ruby   Prince Fearless (3)   Form: Raced solidly in the north and at Addington without being quite as impressive as formerly.   Comment: 8 "I am very pleased with him and his work has been excellent. He likes Ashburton and is at his best in sprint type races.  He is a danger" (Natalie)   Petite One (10)   Form:  Returned to near her best at Addington winning well.   Comment; 6 "She seems well but that draw is going to make things hard for her against the boys and they will probably be too strong." (Mark)   Race 5 - Three Year Old Diamond   Supersonic Miss (9)   Form: Faded after hard run in the Oaks. Nearly landed third in G1 start before.   Comment: 5 "It looks tough for her from out there especially with the pace inside. You can only hope you get on to a train when she would be competitive but it won't be easy" (Mark)   Linda Lovegrace (10)   Form: Been running on strongly from bad draws. Has a moderate one again.   Comment: 7 "She can run home strongly over a mile as she has shown here before. Blair will drive his own race but if she got the run she can be at least in the finish" (Natalie)   Fight for Glory (11)   Form: Outstanding in the NZ Oaks and tested  The Orange Agent in the Nevele R Final after being parked.   Comment: 7  "I really don't like that draw. I reckon even 12 would have been better. We are in behind some speed certainly but she has to have luck to get a crack at them which is why I have her down a bit as a win chance. She is doing everything right at home" (Natalie)   Classical Art (14)   Form: Ran on in Oaks after enjoying nice trail. Likes this trip   Comment: 5 "It is going to be hard to win from there. But she is very well and she could surprise a few. Mark said after he worked her Wednesday if she had drawn the front line she could be right in it. The mile will really suit her where she can go hard all the way. Might be a place bet at odds" (Tim)   Race 6 - Two Year Old Emerald   Motu Premier (2)   Form: Consistently placed at highest level including the Sapling Stakes here earlier.   Comment: 6 "A couple of our others might have it on him for brilliance but he has a bit going for him even though a place looks more likely. I think he has the gate speed to get a nice trip from a good draw and he is a genuine horse. He will try all day. " (Tim)     Chase the Dream (4)   Form: Winner of the Sires Stakes Final at his last start and other juvenile features earlier.   Comment: 9 "He is my best drive of the day I think. He can speed out of the gate and he is as tough as. The draw is going to be a big help for those abilities (Natalie)   Lazarus (7)   Form: Brilliant late run for second in Sires Stakes Final after easy win in Sales Pace.   Comment: 8 "A brilliant horse so you use him out of the gate if you need to or use him during the race. Has an ideal draw. He is probably a bit quicker than Chase The Stars but not quite as  tough at this stage. He can win but Chase The Dream will be tough to beat" (Mark)   Cash n Flow (11)   Form:  Finished on in Sires Stakes Final and a late arriving two year old with ability (Jim Curtin to drive)   Comment: 6 "A really lovely horse but he is going to find it hard to beat the top one from where he is" (Natalie)   Race 7 - Four Year Old Ruby   King Denny (1)   Form: Beat all but Master Lavros at Addington in lead up race.   Comment: 9 "I would say my best chance on the day. He has trained on well has a nice draw which gives him options and no Master Lavros or Stents in this time" (Mark)   Race 8 - Four Year Old Emerald   Isaiah (13)   Form: Faded after tough run last time and has trained well this week   Comment: 4 "I suppose that sounds harsh but it is just that for this race he is in a bad place from the draw and personally I don't think a mile is his best trip " (Natalie)   Messini (14)   Form: Outstanding win at Addington back to left handed track last start.   Comment: 8 "He is just back to the best form he showed in Australia really. The mile will not bother him. He's a tough customer and he has a shot at them" (Mark)   Race 9 - Three Year Old Emerald   Hug The Wind (1)   Form: Outstanding win in class racing at Addington showed his real class.   Comment: 6 "I just don't think he is quite with the other two at this stage. He has the draw and has the gate speed to hold up. If I landed in front I would probably stay there as long as I could because that is his best chance of upsetting them. He was terrific last start but this is a way stronger field " (Natalie)   Have Faith In Me (4)   Form:  First race since late March when he won the NZ Derby. Trials since.   Comment: 9 "I don't think the lack of racing will be a problem for him. He has had two good hitouts at trials and has done it easily. The thing about him is that he loves to be out there and really enjoys his racing. From the draw there are options and while I was reluctant to put a number on him he should be the one to beat" (Tim)   Follow the Stars (5)   Form: Runner up in three Derby's this season and three wins in easier company in Australia to fit him for this. Worked well this week.   Comment: 8 "I don't think that he can beat Have Faith In Me all things being equal. The pecking order is fairly well established now. For all that he seems very well and he has been enjoying his work. He is a class horse even if there seems to be one better at the moment " (Mark)   Lightfingered (13)   Form: Battled into fifth at Addington last start. Has made strong progress this year however.   Comment: 3 "I don't like to put a number on him. I am just grateful I have been given an opportunity to drive on the day and behind a horse I know won't let anybody down. Sure there are stars in there but I like to think he will go a pretty good race" (Matt)     Courtesy Of Dave McCarthy - All Stars Racing Stables - Check site here  

Harness racing trainer Steve Dolan is back in Group I company and hungry to make sure it's where he stays. The Russley trainer has Mr Franklin in the four–year–old Emerald and Tintinara as the first emergency for the three–year–old Diamond at Saturday's Harness Jewels at Ashburton on Saturday. Neither will have punters running for the tote with wallets in hand, but for Dolan it is a giant stride in the right direction. He knows the ebb and flow of harness racing all too well. A few short years ago his stable was heading for greatness with star pacer Franco Jamar contesting the Inter Dominion final, Miracle Mile, Harness Jewels and New Zealand Derby. By Courage Under Fire out of Jamel Franco, Franco Jamar went on to win 20 races, eight in his three–year–old season alone, and earn more than $380,000. He also had the likes of Dream Out Loud, Castellina Lover and Candy Styx who were winning races for fun but things soon slowed down. The race wins have kept coming for Dolan but not on the big stage. "It's like a rugby player, it's nice to play at club level and do well but playing test rugby at the very highest level is the ultimate and I'm desperately keen to get back to racing horses at that very high level." But with two runners in Jewels contention Dolan is starting to climb back up the ranks. I'm aspiring to get back to where I was a few years ago when I had a couple of open class pacers in the stable and a three–year–old filly contesting the Group I races," Dolan said. "I'm looking to grow the stable and find those horses that can contest those classic races." He is realistic about the chances of Mr Franklin who needs a stack of luck against the likes of Tiger Tara, Sky Major, Messini and Ideal Success. Raced by Mark Wotton, Mick Braithwaite, Neil Struthers, Wayne Milligan, Simon Consedine, John Gould and Tim Sissons, the Grinfromeartoear gelding has a horror barrier draw to contend with starting from the outside of the front line. "It will be a big thrill for the owners to be in the race but they are realistic and know they we are probably not much of a chance of winning," Dolan said. Dolan said the Jewels was never the aim with Mr Franklin but after a consistent season and a few withdrawals they began to realise they were a good chance of making the field. He would love Tintinara to get a start but said they are also realistic about her chances if she does make the field.  "We are realistic that the likes of Fight For Glory and The Orange Agent are a class above, they are top class fillies." By Mat Karmeen Reprinted with permission of the Christchurch Press

In his own words, harness racing owner Duncan McPherson OAM is “living the dream” with his three-year-old colt Aldebaran Eagle, who will race in the New Jersey Sires Stakes Final at the Meadowlands on Sunday morning Australian time. The son of Muscle Hill / Letsjusttalkaboutme ran third in his heat in 1:52.4 and will come out the five gate in the $US100,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes Final for three-year-old colts and geldings over a mile. “It’s an incredible experience,” a beaming McPherson said. Aldebaran Eagle will be driven by Corey Callahan and is trained by Jonas Czernyson. McPherson, the Principal at Aldebaran Park, has a passion for harness racing that has no bounds and will also get a huge thrill out of having Excellent Boku competing at Sweden’s Solvalla racetrack on the Elitlopp program on Sunday. Raced in conjunction with Michael Taranto, who also has a big week ahead with Australian and international runners – including Livin The Life in the New South Wales Trotters Derby – Excellent Boku was purchased to ultimately be exported to Australia. And as if the weekend wasn’t going to be jam-packed enough for McPherson, he will also line up Aldebaran Ay in the 2YO Ruby at the rich Harness Jewels program at Ashburton. The Colin De Filippi trained and driven filly has drawn outside the front line in the $100,000 race. By Cody Winnell

Twitter is one of the best things in the world, just ask a group of harness racing owners who have a share in Harness Jewels hopeful Burnaholeinmypocket. In fascinating sign of the technological times, five mates from the Victorian country town of Horsham bought a 25 per cent share in Burnaholeinmypocket via twitter. “Twitter is a great way to keep people updated and connect,” trainer Andy Gath said. “I posted a tweet saying I had some shares available in a well-bred Bettors Delight yearling and it all happened from there.” Horsham boy Brad Sudholz rang his mate, Damien Kilpatrick, told him about Gath’s tweet. “I direct messaged Andy on Twitter, said we were keen to know more and quickly pulled together a group of five of us to take 25 per cent of the colt,” Kilpatrick said. “A few of us had been talking about getting back into horses after a couple of years out, so Andy’s timing was perfect.” Kilpatrick and Sudolhz recruited Sudholz’s father, Ken, Jeremy Schmidt and Matt Schier to take five per cent each and make-up their quarter ownership of Burnaholeinmypocket. “I’d never met any of the guys before they tweeted me,” Gath said. “It’s great to have a mix of newcomers to my stable racing this horse with some regulars in Wayne Gowland, John Lugg, Helen Dunne and Trent Cooper.” While Gowland, Lugg, Dunne and Cooper are Ashburton-bound for Saturday, the Horsham crew will gather to watch on TV in their hometown. “It’s disappointing, but the timing doesn’t work. Most of us have commitments here and still play local sport, so we can’t make the trip,” Kilpatrick said. “But don’t worry. We’ll be cheering as loudly as anyone, just from Horsham.” Kilpatrick and friends as more excited about Burnaholeinmypocket’s future than what he’s done so far. “Andy never had a huge opinion of him, but it’s grown. I think the Breeders Crown semi win was the start of the excitement and it’s still growing,” he said. “All along, Andy’s said he’s a slow maturer and we won’t see the very best of him until he’s four or five. If that’s the case, we’re in for some fun times.” But Kilpatrick is also a realist when it comes to the enormity of Saturday’s challenge. “It was always going to be hard, but drawing the outside over a mile with the big guns drawn so well makes it almost impossible,” he said. “Our aim is a top five finish, knowing we’ve got a horse who is still on the way up." CODY WINNELL COMMUNICATIONS AND MEDIA MANAGER

Harness racings big day  (Harness Jewels) on Saturday (May 30th) at Ashburton is nearly here and Harnesslink is doing a runner by runner preview of each division. Here is our preview of the Group 1 $150,000 3YO Emerald for three year old colts and geldings.   1) Hug The Wind  -  (Bettor's Delight - Dreaming Spires by Dream Away)   Starts: 16    Wins: 6    Secs: 6    Thirds: 2    Life: $252,457 His last start win at Addington was sensational, sitting three wide for most of the last mile which he ran in 1:55 even. The two runs before that after he came back from Australia were poor by his high standards but the last run showed he was right on song for this. Has high gate speed so can make his own luck from here. Include in everything   2) Livura   -  (Live Or Die - Zitura by Union Guy)   (Emerg 1) Starts: 20    Wins: 3   Secs: 1    Thirds: 4    Life: $34,077 Nice three year old who has been doing a good job in grade racing lately. Huge step up here in class and even if he made it back into the field from the ballot, it is very hard to see him being a first four contender in this race   3) Art Union  -  (Art Major - Sparks A Flyin by Sands A Flyin) Starts: 28    Wins: 13     Secs: 5    Thirds: 2    Life: $167,664 Was in great form in the spring but as the season has gone on he has not maintained that level. Likes to lead and set the tempo but won't get the lead off Hug The Wind so will have to settle in the running line. Hard to make a case in his present form for him to be a major player here even from the draw. First four player at best here.   4) Have Faith In Me  -  (Bettor's Delight - Scuse Me by BG's Bunny) Starts: 12    Wins: 7   Secs: 2    Thirds: 0    Life: $475,381 The best three year old in the country and ready to prove the doubters wrong once again on Saturday This is his first start for two months and a lot of pundits have suggested he is vulnerable in this race but his workout win last Saturday was super impressive and he looks ready to resume where he left off in the Derby. Has the best all round game of the favoured runners and is the clear top pick here.   5) Follow The Stars  -  (Art Major - Smyrna Duruisseau by Cams Card Shark) Starts: 22    Wins: 16    Secs: 5    Thirds: 0    Life: $664,452 Outstanding three year old who has been unlucky enough to strike a near champion in Have Faith In Me in his year. Has only missed a place once in twenty two starts and is race fit after a short Australian campaign. Have Faith In Me has had the wood on him this season when they have met and the gap has got bigger as the season has gone on. Clear second pick here but struggle to see how he beats Have Faith In Me   6) The Faithful  -  (Bettor's Delight - Running On Faith by Soky's Atom) Starts: 14    Wins: 3    Secs: 3    Thirds: 1    Life: $38,855 Has fashioned a tidy record in grade racing and not disgraced in the Northern Derby. However his form appears to have tapered off a touch lately. Great trainer/driver combo means you should never write him off completely but outside first four player at best here   7) Bettor Spirits  -  (Bettor's Delight - Spirit Of Eros by In The Pocket) Starts: 31    Wins: 7     Secs: 4    Thirds: 7    Life: $136,234 Very smart northerner who has been unlucky to draw wide outside of the favourites. Very consistent and has an all round game but the draw is just a killer here. Will have to go back or slide across and give the favourites a start and from there it is hard to see how he is a major contender. Outside first four contender here.   8) Chachingchaching -  (Mach Three - Affairs Of State by Presidential Ball) Starts: 24    Wins: 6     Secs: 3    Thirds: 2    Life: $101,579 Another smart northerner who has been given the visitors draw here. His form turned around mid season when David Butcher became his regular driver and he has been a different horse since. Another horse that if he had drawn well he would have been a strong first four player but from out here he is an outside first four player at best.   9) Burnaholeinmypocket  -  (Bettor's Delight - Kelly Maguire by Christian Cullen) Starts: 14    Wins: 6     Secs: 4    Thirds: 1    Life: $54,593 Smart Australian raider who has blazing gate speed but that isn't going to help him much out here in the grandstand. He is dammed if he goes forward and he is dammed if he doesn't. With a good draw he would have really put some spark into this race but hard to make a case for him from out here. First four player at best from the draw                                                                                                    SECOND LINE   10) Brilliant Strike  -  (Shadow Play - Christian Star by Christian Cullen) Starts: 18    Wins: 7   Secs: 2    Thirds: 5    Life: $84,180 Has had a big season, mixing it with the very best and proving very competitive. Late change of driver a bit hard to understand but loses nothing with Blair Orange in the bike. Much prefer him over a distance a lot longer than this and even though he should end up only three back on the inner at worst, you just get the feeling his best races this season are behind him. First four contender at best   11) Titan Banner  -  (Art Major - Corporate Banner by Soky's Atom) Starts: 9    Wins: 5    Secs: 3    Thirds: 0    Life: $29,291 Smart horse in the making here but this race against the best three year olds in the country may just be coming a bit early in his career for him to shine. Really good second to Hug The Wind at his last start but the winner was clearly superior on that occasion. Dexter has stuck with Art Union as you would expect so he has a new driver here in Ricky May so no difference there. Outside first four player at best   12) Prince Of Pops  -  (Changeover - Slangevar by Cameleon) Starts: 24    Wins: 6     Secs: 5    Thirds: 1    Life: $61,597 Has furnished a tidy record but mostly away from the better three year olds. Not sure that a mile is a distance that suits his talents either and from wide on the second line he really has his work cut out here. Hard to see how he could run in four from the draw.   13) Lightfingered  -  (Bettor's Delight - La Filou by In The Pocket) Starts: 8    Wins: 4     Secs: 0    Thirds: 2    Life: $31,801 The baby of the All Stars barn contingent but has fashioned a tidy record to date. Didn't look happy in the slush at Addington at his last start and prior runs were full of merit. However the draw has taken him out of the race here and hard to see how he gets into the race from wide on the second line.   14) Little Rascal  -  (Panspacificflight - Evita Franco by Live Or Die) Starts: 17    Wins: 4     Secs: 4    Thirds:3    Life: $49,292 Been based in the north most of the season and has been racing really well for a while now. Better with one run at them but hard to see from the outside of the second line how that will play out here. Draw has been terribly unkind and as a result it is hard to see how he gets into the race from out here.   SELECTIONS Have Faith In Me is the clear first pick here. A lot of pundits are suggesting that Follow The Stars has closed the gap on his stablemate but that wasn't evident at the workouts last Saturday. Follow The Stars is just as clearly second pick and from the draws it does look a two horse war. The way the draws have come out, Hug The Wind has every opportunity of making this an All Star trifecta. His last win at Addington was his best run this season and makes him a serious contender here. For trifecta and first four takers, throw in Art Union, Bettor Spirits, Burnaholeinmypocket and Brilliant Strike. Harnesslink Media

The Harness Jewels are the pinnacle of the season in New Zealand for many in the industry and this years version at the harness racing meeting at Ashburton on Saturday (May 30th) promises to be a beauty. Harnesslink has decided to do a runner by runner preview of every division. Here is our preview of the Group 1 $150,000 4YO Emerald for 4YO colts and geldings.   1) Ideal Success  -  (American Ideal - Maheer Glen by Holmes Hanover)   Starts: 27    Wins: 9    Secs: 2    Thirds: 2    Life: $60,630 Under rated type who has won nine races but away from the metropolitian tracks in the main Faced a lot of these in the New Zealand Messenger and went super, running on well late to be only three lengths from the winner after being last on the corner. Showed a bit of tow off the gate at last Saturday's workouts so should be able to hold up from a front line which doesn't have a lot of speed in close. Draw means he is a trifecta and first four player    2) Quick As A Trick  -  (Lis Mara - Quick Atom by Soky's Atom) Starts: 30    Wins:8   Secs: 3    Thirds: 3    Life: $79,148 Another horse who has won eight races but again most of them were away from Addington. Has looked really smart at times but has disappointed just as much. Last Friday nights run was average at best and not a good rehearsal for this week. Hard to make a case for him as a first four player.   3) Take After Me   -  (Holmes Hanover - Give Or Take by Live Or Die)    Starts: 22    Wins: 2     Secs: 8    Thirds: 2    Life: $30,658 A two win horse who looks right up against it here. Has yet to face a field of this quality and this is not the race to change that. Has made it back into the field from the ballot but we can't see him being competitive here.   4) Te Kawau  -  (Bettor's Delight - Haylin Express by Christian Cullen) Starts: 30    Wins: 11   Secs: 7    Thirds: 6    Life: $109,174 Lovely big horse who is honest as and will give a big sight here. Not sure if a mile is really his go but the quicker they go the whole way, the more chance he has. Will outstay most here so has to hope for plenty of mid race pressure to bring the speedsters back to him. Include in everything.    5) Milligan  -  (Grinfromeartoear - Outkast by Panorama) Starts: 51    Wins: 5    Secs: 10    Thirds: 8    Life: $46,874 Consistent gelding who always gives of his best but that won't be enough here. This is a huge step up in class from what he has been racing down south. Hard to see how he can run in four in a field of this quality.   6) Tiger Tara -  (Bettor's Delight - Tara Gold by Dream Away) Starts: 35    Wins: 11    Secs: 9    Thirds: 6    Life: $417,174 High class four year old who went two beauties up north in the Taylor Mile and the Messenger. His last run at Addington was super and he thrives on racing so will be better this week. Will head to the front and be hard to catch. Include in everything.    7) Dalton Bromac  -  Scratched   8) Provocative Prince -  (Grinfromeartoear - Catherine Zeta by Village Jasper) Starts: 30    Wins: 6     Secs: 7    Thirds: 5    Life: $61,106 Very consistent horse who takes winning form into this but not at this level. If he had drawn a good barrier then he would have been a first four player. Hard to see him as a first four contender from out here.   9) Mr Franklin  -  (Grinfromeartoear - Sheza Gem by Christian Cullen) Starts: 35    Wins: 5     Secs: 4    Thirds: 6    Life: $46,223 This campaign he has been in career best form but still doesn't win out of turn. Would like him over something a bit longer as well. The draw is the killer blow and makes his task way too hard. Can't make a case for him to be a first four contender                                                    SECOND LINE   10) Onedin Mach  -  (Mach Three - Stylish Onedin by Stand Together) Starts: 32    Wins: 9   Secs: 4    Thirds: 6    Life: $58,328 Has had his issues this season but does get a draw he can work with here. Looks like he will end up three deep on the inner at worst which makes him a first four contender. Dexter in the bike won't hurt the cause as well   11) Sky Major  -  (Art Major - Sky Beauty by In The Pocket) Starts: 39    Wins: 14    Secs: 7    Thirds: 6    Life: $670,189 The horse they all have to beat here. Loves the mile distance having won seven times over it in his career to date and right in the zone at the moment. Zac Butcher in the bike is just a bonus and hard to see him not giving this a big shake. Clear first pick here    12) Mighty Major  -  (Art Major - Isabella Anvil by Christian Cullen) Starts: 16    Wins: 6     Secs: 5    Thirds: 1    Life: $43,181 Another horse that needed a bit of help at the barrier to be a contender here. Mixed it with Dalton Bromac earlier in the season but hasn't quite been as sharp as that recently. Great driver in Blair Orange in the bike but still only an outside first four contender at best here.   13) Isaiah  -  (Art Major - EJ Becks by In The Pocket) Starts: 37    Wins: 13     Secs: 5    Thirds: 11    Life: $584,942 Was in devastating form earlier in the season and was an unlucky third in the Chariots Of Fire at Menangle. Not seen at his best at Auckland due to a foot issue but as Messini showed last week, it never pays to under estimate the All Stars barn on producing them fresh and ready to run. At his best he is right in this up to his neck and has Natalie in the bike so that is a big plus. Include in everything   14) Messini  -  (Art Major - Mesmerizing by In The Pocket) Starts: 39    Wins: 16     Secs: 9    Thirds: 2    Life: $304,884 Career best run last week to win in super time at Addington after two poor efforts at Auckland  where he didn't handle that way round. If the same Messini turns up at Ashburton then he is definitely a contender here. Does have blinding speed if held up for one run and likely to get that kind of run from out here. Include in everything. SELECTIONS The clear first pick for us is Sky Major who is in great form and loves the distance. Tiger Tara is the danger to him from the draw as he can make his own luck from the front line and is a clear second pick here. Three horses in Te Kawau, Isaiah and Messini are the next three horses in the pecking order and it is hard to favour one ahead of any of the others. Throw in Ideal Success, Onedin Mach and Mighty Major for those first fours Harnesslink Media

Harness racings big day (Harness Jewels) is fast approaching on Saturday (May 30th) at Ashburton and Harnesslink has decided to do a runner by runner preview of each division. Here is our preview of the Group 1 $100,000 4YO Ruby (Mobile Trot)‚Äč for four year olds.    1) King Denny  -  (Majestic Son - A Touch Of Sun by Simon Roydon) Starts: 23    Wins: 9    Secs: 4    Thirds: 0    Life: $208,554 Last years best three year old who has gone to a higher level this season. Has high gate speed and tough as old boots so how they beat him from barrier one I don't know. Has been mixing it with the very best such as Stent and Master Lavros with great credit and from barrier one he looks the winner. A clear top pick here   2) Belles Son  -  (Majestic Son- Belle Galleon by Sundon) Starts: 14    Wins: 7   Secs: 0    Thirds: 0    Life: $56,318 The find of the season amongst the four year old trotters and has gone from strength to strength lately with six consecutive wins, each one better than the last. He is very tough and showed good speed as well in his last win. A big player here but hard to see how he rolls King Denny. A must include for Quinella, trifecta and first four takers   3) Valerie  -  (Majestic Son - Xena Hest by Pine Chip) Starts: 21    Wins: 14     Secs: 2    Thirds: 1    Life: $68,797  -  Scratched   4) Majestic Time  -  (Majestic Son - Time To Shine by Sundon) Starts: 22    Wins: 8   Secs: 5    Thirds:3    Life: $102,161 High class mare who has been in good touch this season without looking as sharp as she did at three. Did win her last start but that was at Oamaru and not against a field of this quality. Does like the track and distance but only a trifecta and first four player here.   5) Poppymalda  -  (Armbro Invasion - In The Sun by Sundon) Starts: 13    Wins: 5   Secs: 3    Thirds: 1    Life: $30,273 She has had a great last twelve months and looks headed to the top. Not the complete package yet but getting there slowly. Does have high speed and may surprise a few here. Include in first fours.   6) Lucky Fortune  -  (Brylin Boyz - Howz Lucky by Sundon)  Starts: 19    Wins: 5    Secs: 2    Thirds: 3    Life: $43,500 Showy horse with ability to match who needed a handy draw to be a player here. Does have high speed but draw makes this very hard for him Outside first four contender at best here.   7) Harrysul -  (Gotta Go Colluct - Smooth Nosey by Smooth Fella) Starts: 12    Wins: 4     Secs: 0    Thirds: 1    Life: $21,846 Won four in a row earlier in the season and looked very smart but form has plateaued a bit since then. Not going bad races but not looking like a Harness Jewels contender either. Workout at Ashburton last Saturday was okay without being anything special. Outside first four chance at best    8) Mum's Pride -  (Monarchy - Teachers Pride by Evander's Gold) Starts: 13    Wins: 8     Secs: 1    Thirds: 1    Life: $99,112 Outstanding trotter headed to the top but has a couple of things against him here. The draw is one issue but more importantly is the setback through illness he suffered lately means he may not strip 100% on Saturday, race fitness wise. Still the main danger to King Denny but hard to see him beating the favorite due to those issues we mentioned   9) Eyre I Come  -  (Majestic Son - Landora's Special by Sundon) Starts: 18    Wins: 3     Secs: 2    Thirds: 1    Life: $40,530 The enigma of this field for sure. Has a truck load of ability but his manners have let him down on numerous occasions. Looked to becoming into a nice vein of form but did gallop as the gate went at last Saturdays workouts. The may have due to the gate being so slow in the run up to the start because he trotted beautifully afterwards. First four chance if he does everything right                                                                                                    SECOND LINE   10) Zachary Binx  -  (Sundon - Zsa Zsa by Armbro Invasion) Starts: 25    Wins: 4   Secs: 2    Thirds: 2    Life: $30,048 Has won four races this season and looked smart doing it but form has dropped away bigtime lately. Going to get a lovely run on King Denny's back but that won't be enough to make him a contender here. Hard to have.   11) Father Christmas  -  (Love You - Juliana by Sundon) Starts: 19    Wins: 5    Secs: 3    Thirds: 4    Life: $37,380 Smart trotter who has hardly put a foot wrong all season. May lack a touch of the high speed of some here but will keep going and should get a good run on Belles Son's back. Outside first four player here.   12) All Royal Gal -  (Monarchy - Roydon Action by Sundon) Starts: 31    Wins: 4     Secs: 4    Thirds: 2    Life: $44,697 Is in career best form at the moment but the draw has ruined her chances. Needed all favours with the barrier to be a contender here and wide on the second line makes things very difficult. Hard to have from this barrier.   13) Trouble Rieu -  (Great Success - Cong Chua Rieu by Sundon) Starts: 37    Wins: 7     Secs: 8    Thirds: 6    Life: $76,766 Forget his last start in the slush at Forbury Park. His five prior runs were all first class and but for the draw he would have been a must include in everything. Even from out here he has a rough chance of running in four. The smokey to boost up those first fours    14) Santorini Sunset E1 -  (Majestic Son - Sunning by Yankee Reb) Starts: 23    Wins: 4     Secs: 1    Thirds: 0    Life: $25,475 Not lacking in ability, just in ringcraft at this stage of his career. Form at the moment is a bit of a concern but can throw in the odd smart run out of the blue when he is on his game. Starting from the unruly in a field of this strength means it is very hard to see him as a first four contender.   SELECTIONS Clear first pick is King Denny. Has gate speed to lead from barrier one and hard to see anything here running past him after that. Mums Pride and Belles Son look the logical pair to fight out second and third and it is hard to separate the pair to be honest. After that we would include Majestic Time, Poppymalda, Eyre I Come and Trouble Rieu for trifectas and first fours Harnesslink Media

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