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Harness Racing Waikato was over the moon with the way Jewels Day 2016 unfolded. In fact HRW described the day as the best Jewels meeting it had ever hosted. HRW president and Harness Racing New Zealand executive member Rob Lawson said the brilliant weather conditions in New Zealand and poor weather in Australia ensured a massive off-course turnover. It also meant the largest Australian TV audience for a Jewels meeting. Jewels betting with the Australian TABs on June 4 was up over A$1million on last season, jumping from A$663,013 to a massive A$1,696,1467. On-course Turnover was $311,000 however that is a slightly misleading figure in that it includes inter-track betting. That saw HRW even out-perform the Ellerslie and Wanganui thoroughbred meetings run at the same time, a result Australian harness racing bosses wouldn’t dare dream of in their country. The skyrocketing turnover was enormously boosted by the Queensland Oaks meeting at Eagle Farm as well as other Australian gallops meetings being abandoned because of torrential rain, meaning the entire Jewels meeting moved to the premium Australian racing coverage channel, Sky1. "The weather was spectacular. The Track outstanding and we received many favourable comments from the drivers about the state of the track. The Facilities were again presented in pristine condition which was a real credit to our grounds staff. The racing was of the highest order. We couldn't have asked for anything better," Lawson, a Waikato-based licensed trainer said. "The Sky 1 exposure in Australia ended being a complete bonus that will benefit the entire industry going forward," he added. Lawson said HRW was pleased to be able to present to the entire harness industry a successful event that highlighted our great sport. "We are yet to crunch all of the numbers but are confident that it will be a financial success with benefits flowing through all North Island harness participants. Our predominant staff in Kerry Wells and Mike Weston once again showed how capable they are in presenting an outstanding showcase of harness racing," Lawson said He said total domestic turnover was $2.442 million, which was the second highest in Jewels history. "Export Turnover (Australians betting on the Jewels) was $1.7 million – the highest turnover in New Zealand harness racing history. And in other HRW news, Lawson said former Auckland Trotting Club marketing and assistant racing manager, David Branch will join HRW on August 1 as Business Development Manager. "David is returning from England especially for the job. We are excited to have on board someone of David’s capabilities and knowledge in our team. David’s prime task will be to grow the revenue earning opportunities of harness racing in the Waikato and surrounds, and push us into the future with regards to facilities, income, and entertainment. "This is a fresh new additional position and will see David work alongside Kerry and Mike to project Cambridge Raceway and harness racing in the region into a new era. Lawson said he was also excited that John Coulam has joined him on the HRNZ executive. "I am delighted to have another HRW person on the Executive with me. It will strengthen the representation from this region and also John’s business acumen will be an asset to the Board," Lawson said. "Not to mention that he is a 'good guy’ with a real passion for harness racing," he added. Duane Ranger

Harness Racing Jewels winning mare Rocker Band will get her chance to compete against the best of the best. The daughter of New Zealand Trotting Cup winning mare, Mainland Banner, was earmarked for retirement following her emphatic 4YO Diamond victory at last month’s Harness Jewels, but discussions between her trainer Mark Jones and owner Greg Brodie have led them down a different path all together. The fledgling mare will become a mother still with an embryo to be taken from her and partnered with champion stallion Bettor’s Delight before being placed in a surrogate mare. “Greg and I had a pretty big chat about her future and it’s his wish to continue racing her,” Jones said. “But by taking an embryo from her we get to safeguard anything that might happen in the future.” On the racing front the trainer/owner combination have settled on the Queen Of Hearts as the first major assignment for her five-year-old campaign. “We will give her a few starts here and see where we are at before making any other decisions. “Australia is an option for us if it proves to be too hard for her here. “She’s a C8 mare, and even with a new handicapping system she would still have to race the Cup horses. “I probably don’t give her enough credit, she’s capable of doing it but it will be a big ask.” There are plenty of other mares around New Zealand in a similar boat - particularly those Rocker Band beat in the Diamond like; Expressive Victor, Democrat Party and Better B Amazed. While the open class mares’ ranks weren’t overly strong this season they are expected to return to a high standard with the Dream About Me, Golden Goddess and Piccadilly Princess joining the ranks along with the return of The Orange Agent. “It’s going to be tough, but it’s better to die wondering than not try at all. “So we will give her a chance and see what happens. With the racing calendar we’ve got she could chop and change between here and Australia.” While the news that his outstanding mare would be returning to his stable and not to the broodmare paddock was welcomed by Jones, it hasn’t all been warm and fuzzy this week. Open class pacer Saveapatrol is back in the hospital ward for another three to six months after cracking another pastern. The big pacer who down Terror To Love to win an Invercargill Cup has been plagued with injuries throughout his career and the latest blow was nearly the last straw. Jones and owner Grant Hatton discussed the option of calling time on the gelding’s career but have instead opted to have a screw inserted into the pastern to see if that holds together. “It’s pretty disappointing, especially for Grant who has been so patient. “He’s out for at least three months.” With 52 wins on the board and the promise of a few more before the season is done, Jones is reflecting on another good 12 months at the coal face. “We managed to win two Group Ones which is fantastic but we have also well and truly exceeded expectations. “When I sat down at the start of the season I thought 20 was a good figure so to be close to triple that is something I’m proud of.” The Burnham and Woodend Beach horseman said the stable was in a real transitional phase at the moment with a large number of younger horses on the books with some of the racing team sold on to other interests. Matt Markham

Harness Racing Trainer Paul Court has a Blenheim winter double in mind to wind down Expressive Victor's stellar season on a high.  Court will start the Harness Jewels runner-up in the Winter Cup Prelude on the first day of the Marlborough Harness Racing Club's double header and she is likely to go again in Sunday's Winter Cup. Expressive Victor was given a week off following her second in the four-year-old Diamond behind Rocker Band. She has not been sighted publicly since but her West Melton-based trainer is confident she is forward enough to be competitive on both days Waterlea. "If anything she might be better for the run on Friday, but I wouldn't be coming if I didn't think she could (win)," Court said. Expressive Victor starts off 10m in Friday's Prelude but being the reliable and speedy beginner she is from the stand, the winner of seven races should be able to find the front if Blair Orange wants it. Court believes Expressive Victor is versatile and is not concerned if she does not lead. The daughter of Changeover raced by the De Novo Syndicate has chalked up five wins and six minor placings from 16 starts this season to exceed Court's expectations. "We always thought she was a pretty handy horse that could win two or three pretty quick but she just keeps stepping up." But Expressive Victor has not been the only bright point of Court's first season training on his own accord. Before Thursday night's Forbury Park meeting, he had already tallied 25 winners and could not be happier with how the season has panned out. He spent seven seasons training in partnership with his father Graham - highlighted by three consecutive New Zealand Trotting Cup victories with champion pacer-turned-sire Terror To Love. Thirty winners for the season looks possible but Court is not targeting any specific number. "I'm over the moon really. I didn't think about how many we might get beforehand, I just like to let it play out and see what happens. "I've been really happy with how many runners we have had in the Group races and how competitive we have been in them," Court said. Court also has a couple of leading hopes in c1 races over 2300m on the first day at Blenheim. Hypervelocity​ (race 6) and Courage To Live (race 9) both start from barrier two and although Court is not brimming with confidence, he rates both winning chances. The Bruce Hutton-trained Ideal Arden, who won the Nelson Winter Cup Prelude and Nelson Winter Cup will look to repeat the double in Blenheim. Highview Freddy​ ran two placings behind Ideal Arden at Nelson with stablemate Graduate Under Fire finishing just in behind with two top five finishes for the Robert Dunn stable. "Highview Freddy would have to be the pick of them just on that Nelson form," stable representative John Dunn said.      The highlight for the Dunn stable will be the return of exciting pacer Franco Cristiano​ who makes his makes his comeback from a long injury layoff in the c2-c3 pace over 2300m. The three-year-old was one of the main challengers to the All Stars colts before fracturing a pedal bone earlier this season. "He's pretty forward, he's had two nice trials," Dunn said. Mat Kermeen

Harness Racing bosses are hoping an Australian betting bonanza on the Jewels helps increase premium coverage of the industry there. Betting with the Australian TABs on the Jewels at Cambridge on June 4 was up over A$1million on last season, jumping from A$663,013 to a stunning A$1,696,1467. That saw it even outperform the Ellerslie and Wanganui thoroughbred meetings run at the same time, a result Australian harness racing bosses wouldn’t dare dream of in their country. The skyrocketing turnover was enormously boosted by the Queensland Oaks meeting at Eagle Farm as well as other Australian gallops meetings being abandoned because of torrential rain, meaning the entire Jewels meeting moved to the premium Australian racing coverage channel, Sky1. But HRNZ racing manager Darrin Williams says while that undoubtedly aided turnover on the Jewels, they hope it boosts punter awareness of the quality of the New Zealand product in Australia. “Getting on Sky1 for the day was a huge boost, and we thank them and everybody involved for making it happen,” says Williams. “But we would love to think this won’t be the last time. “Our elite harness racing product is very good and we were already going to have a number of the Jewels races on Sky1. “So after they got such great turnover results we are hoping we can get Sky1 coverage again for the Jewels and meetings like the New Zealand Cup.” Williams worked hard to get five Australian-trained horses invited to the Jewels, only to have four fall away through health or loss of manners/form. “But we won’t stop inviting them and the bridges we have built have been huge. And now with all the exposure it has had we are sure it will continue to grow.” The increased turnover doesn’t go directly back to the Cambridge club or even Harness Racing New Zealand but into the Racing Board’s general international turnover. But it does show administrators on both sides of the Tasman how profitable harness racing coverage can be when the best meetings are giving reasonable lead-in times on television, something Australia’s best harness meetings are often denied. No major changes are expected to the Jewels format next year, with Ashburton already locked in for its two-yearly hosting and the distance certain to stay at a mile even after occasional calls for Cambridge to move to 1700m races. Michael Guerin

Mark Purdon Well naturally Jewels day was a great one for us, and it was a great feeling after all the hard work we and the staff had done in the leadup. Those couple of weeks before are so important and our team in the north made a big contribution. The highlight? I think overall it would be HEAVEN ROCKS. The other wins were all outstanding for one reason or another but he gave me the feel of a really good horse. So he will earn his go at the Breeders Crown now. We have Custodian, Partyon and Pacing Major going over to join My MacKenzie and Waikiki Beach. The Jewels are being talked about. I feel that it might be time to try them at Alexandra Park and Addington for two years just to see if it can draw bigger numbers. That would mean a change in distances but I don't think that would be too much of an objection. I just feel after 10 years it might need some adjustment to help it grow because it is a great concept. Being at tracks with full facilities might be part of the answer. It makes me smile a bit when people say we are dominating the big races and stakes and nobody else is getting a look in.  We might have won a lot of money last Saturday but we came home to a lot of bills. In fact we recently commissioned a survey of our business over two years (2014 and 2015) and you would be surprised how narrow the margin of profit in training horses is and our rates are higher than most. Our staff ratio is high because when you have valuable horseflesh you have to look after that investment and you don't take shortcuts.  There are all sorts of other costs like track maintenance when so many horses are being trained on it. I am not saying we are complaining given our success but it is interesting to see all your costs laid out versus income instead of just thinking you are doing better than you are. Natalie and I leave on Wednesday for a month vacation starting in New York and we are really looking forward to a break after all that has been going on . We will be back before the Breeder's Crown heats up but we will miss the Breeders Challenge.   Natalie Rasmussen There wasn't really any of our horses in the Jewels you could say were disappointing. Two were definitely unlucky. Dream About Me and Pacing Major were just beaten by the draws they had and there is not much that could be done about that on the day. However that does bring up one change I think should be considered for the Jewels -not having a second row. I know it will affect the size of the field but there might be too many horses racing at Cambridge as it is. My feeling is that the Harness Jewels are a championship and within reason should be treated as such and every horse should have its chance. Even if they started more on the front it would be better, or at least fairer. Other than that the concept seems good enough.  I think people expect it to retain the status of the Breeders Crown but the BC races can be worth over $300,000 and that makes a difference ! Yes Mark and I have had an expert survey of our business done and it was an eye opener. Basically if the horses aren't racing we are barely making anything  on training. The outlook for the industry is not that good at the moment and if our stable is not showing any margin on training costs when our rates have to be at the top of the market then how bad it must be for those whose horses aren't winning the big stakes ? The problem is not a new one. It is all about stakes being relatively static over 10 years or so but costs of services continuing to rise.  And owners have other costs besides just training rates. Of course we have high overheads because we only want to do things one way and that is properly. That is the only way to approach running a business like ours. But its a mistake to think, as many people do, that just because we have won a lot of money it means a huge profit. You should see some of the bills we have to deal with!   I am not complaining because we have had a good season and are luckier than most but it helps you understand how those trying to make a living training without a topliner have to battle away just to survive. Hopefully it will improve but that is not likely in the short term. But Mark and I can put our concerns out of the way during our trip and I am looking forward to the break. Reprinted with permission

Any change to the current Harness Jewels format has been shut down by Harness Racing New Zealand (HRNZ) CEO Edward Rennell. As reported by Stuff's Matt Kermeen, Rennell was quick to make it clear that the mile starts and standard barrier draws were to remain, although a debrief will be held by HRNZ in the coming weeks. Many trainers and drivers have called for the distance to be moved from 1609m to 1700m to increase the run into the first bend at both, Ashburton and Cambridge. Cran Dalgety, who was successful with Donegal Bettergretch on the weekend, was a firm backer of the change in distance to allow those drawn wider, more distance to cross before booming into the first bend. An extra 91m run in to the first bend could make all the difference for those that draw the outside of the front row, or even those that draw on the back row. It's no secret that draws are a major factor in any group race, but especially for the two tracks we hold the Jewels on, that extra run in could be the difference for some runners. Preferential barrier draws, as well as not allowing Group 1 winners were other suggestions thrown around, but the Jewels is supposed to be the day where the stars of each age group clash. Both would take away from the day. Thanks to the abandonment of several meetings in Australia on Saturday, all nine races were shown on Sky 1 in Australia. While turnover numbers are yet to be known, there is no doubt that being able to showcase our top product on Sky 1 will have helped turn over, and helped the overall image of New Zealand Harness Racing in Australia. While there were complaints from some people about the late notification of the change in race times, this was a small price to pay, compared to the exposure for our industry. Cambridge Raceway and all the organizers should be congratulated for a smoothly run day and a outstanding night in the Club House. Having that venue available to gather a wide range of racing people from the lower South Island to Auckland is defiantly the highlight of the Cambridge Jewels. Personally, this years Jewels was the best Jewels event I have been to and I can't wait to go back. Andrew Fitzgerald.

Rocker Band’s greatest performance may have been her last. The dazzling Jewels winner came from a seemingly hopeless position on Saturday to give harness racing driver Samantha Ottley her first group one victory and kick off a day of drama for some of those who got locked up on the markers.   Favourites like Dream About Me and Pacing Major were luckless and stormed into minor placings after being locked away, but Lady Luck smiled on Ottley and Rocker Band after they were pushed to four back on the inside.   She unwound in a style her NZ Cup-winning dam Mainland Banner would have been proud of but trainer Mark Jones fears he now has nowhere to go with the mare.   “She comes back a class eight mare next season and there are really only three major races for her to be aimed at, and even they mean taking on The Orange Agent and Dream About Me,” says Jones.   “There just aren’t enough mares races for the best mares and most of them aren’t good enough to race the male cup horses.   “So she might be better off in the broodmare paddock, with her record and breeding.”
 Jones owns Rocker Band, a Rocknroll Hanover mare, but leases her racing right to Greg Brodie of Courage Under Fire fame.   “I am thrilled she won for Greg because he has been with me all the way along and also for Sam.   “Some people ask me why I don’t drive her myself but if I did I would have been worrying all week about what she needed in the race, instead of just training her.   “And I have been given plenty of opportunities so it is nice to give them to somebody else.”   While Jones is a former World Driver’s Champ, current title holder Dexter Dunn was also a winner on Saturday with both Donegal Bettorgretch and Field Marshal.   Field Marshall was typical Dunn, off the gate fast then controlling the tempo of the race, easing to his third group one on end for trainer Tim Butt.   Butt will bring him back next season for the Cup meeting but he may not be an ideal New Zealand Cup horse, with the plethora of mobile races in Australia appealing more.   Dunn’s drive on Donegal Bettorgretch was aggressive and broke the heart of leader Missandei before hot favourite Marcoola galloped when challenging her in the home straight.   His trainer Clint Ford said his case wasn’t helped by Marcoola having no lead up races and being too fresh, the problem causes by him winning his way through to class six in late April, making suitable races hard to find.   Donegal Bettorgretch has strengthened into a good filly and is a rarity on two counts --- being by champion pacing sire Bettors Delight and one of the few squaregaiters trained by Cran Dalgety. MIchael Guerin

What a day for champion harness racing sire Bettor's Delight, not only has he sired the winner of three pacing jewels winners, he is also the sire of Donegal Bettorgretch who was victorious in the Harness Jewels $100,000 Group 1 Sovereignty 3YO Ruby Trot. “Even with the favourite galloping, I still felt this fella was travelling better than him and would have won anyway. It's a great result for Murray Boyd and Cran.” said Dexter Dunn. Those comments from our leading driver, Dexter Dunn, say it all, after the Cran Dalgety trained trotter recorded her first Group 1 victory. “If you had said to me 10 or so years ago when I started out that I would be training trotters I would have scoffed and laughed at you. Bloody things I thought! I once said, if you ever see me racing or breeding trotters, shoot me – and now look at me, I've got one of the favourites for the Jewels” Boyd said. Donegal Bettorgretch took her earnings to just over $80,000, from 13 starts. Winning Time & Margin: 1-57.00MR, with a ¾ lengths back to Wilma's Mate in 2nd and 3 ½ lengths back to Conon Bridge in 3rd. Donegal Bettorgretch Andrew Fitzgerald  

The Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen harness racing team finished off their Harness Jewels day that they dominated with an extra special 4 ¾ length victory by Heaven Rocks in the $150,000 Group 1 Sweet Lou at Woodlands 3YO Emerald. The Rock N Roll Heaven gelding put his best foot forward today, as he boomed to the front to make it 5 wins from 6 races contested. Heaven Rocks gave part owners Phil and Glennis Kennard their first victory of the day. “This horse has a massive future, he 's a big horse and a big striding fella, he covers the ground so easily” said Mark Purdon. With a last half of 56.5 he never looked like getting beat as he kept up quickly sectionals. For the first time the stable has won every two and Group One pacing event in the 2016 running of the Jewels. “That's an amazing feat and I owe it all to my staff. I came here today thinking three wins would be a pass mark, but to win five of the nine is incredible. “You are nothing without staff, and this is an All Stars day. I'm absolutely delighted” said Purdon. Winning Time & Margin: 1-52.4 MR, with a 4¾ lengths back to Major Ben in 2nd and a nose back to Motown in 3rd. Heaven Rocks Andrew Fitzgerald  

Dexter Dunn is fast becoming the biggest fan of Harness Jewels harness racing at Cambridge. The unparalleled horseman notched up his sixth Cambridge Harness Jewels victory, and his second for the day, when he produced a perfect drive on Field Marshal to get the Tim Butt trained pacer home for victory in the 4YO Emerald. “I’m quite liking this place at the moment,” Dunn said. “I’ve had a bit of luck here that’s for sure.” The victory was Dunn at his front running best. He snuck a 29 second quarter in down the back straight the final time which he said was the winning of the race. “Being able to get that wee breather in then really helped, although Ricky (May and Usain Colt) really came at us late and I thought we were in a bit of trouble. “But he kept fighting, he really deserves this when you look at the season he’s had.” Tim Butt said that the speedy pacer would now head to the paddock for a well-deserved spell for six weeks before being slowly brought back up. “We will have no preconceived plans, I’m not sure about the New Zealand Cup, but he will be at Cup Week in some capacity,” Butt said. “He’s still a big immature horse who has a bit to learn, he’s getting there though.” Owned by Syd and Shona Brown of Otago, who also bred the entire from their former great female pacer, Foreal, Butt said winning another big race for them was special. “They are great people and great owners. Syd’s dad was a great galloping trainer and he’s a great stockman too. “They’ve done all the work with this horse from very early on so it’s great to be able to put the final polish on for them and get success.” Usain Colt went close to the upset of the day when he snuck up the markers to run a narrowly beaten second. “I thought I had him at the top of the straight,” Ricky May said. Titan Banner put in a herculean effort to run third after working overtime down the back straight while Australian raider, My Kiwi Mate was a brave third. Winner: Field Marshal - Driver: Dexter Dunn - Trainer: Tim Butt - Owners and Breeders: Shona and Syd Brown. Time: 1:53.15 - Margin: Long Neck - 800m: 55.9 - 400m: 27.1 - 2nd: Usain Colt - 3rd: Titan Banner Matt Markham

The All Stars stable of Mark Purdon​ and Natalie Rasmussen have now lined up runners in three races at Cambridge and won them all. Their third winner of Jewels day has come in race five, the Group I $150,000 three-year-old Diamond with Piccadilly Princess for stable driver Tim Williams. Golden Goddess and Rasmussen won the battle for the lead but Williams settled his filly perfectly in the trail and when she got her chance up the passing lane she bolted through to win by half a length over Golden Goddess. "I'm very lucky to be working for such a wonderful stables, and being able to drive some super horses for great owners. Credit needs to go to all the staff, as we couldn't do this without them all" said Tim. "We got a perfect trip, but it was never going to be easy considering the filly in front is very talented" Race favourite Dream About Me was flying home late to finish third, half a length behind Golden Goddess, but after drawing the inside of the second line she was always struggling. Purdon and Dream About Me were stuck four deep on the fence for most of the trip. Piccadilly Princess paced the mile in 1:53.09, 56.8, 28.5, with 1/2 length back to Golden Goddess (Natalie Rasmussen) and 1/2 a length back to a super unlucky Dream About Me in 3rd. Mat Kermeen/Andrew Fitzgerald  

Winner: Monbet - Driver: Ricky May - Trainers: Greg and Nina Hope - Owners: Greg & Nina Hope & Morrie Molloy - Breeder: Greg and Nina Hope. Time: 1:56.6 - Margin 1 and 1/4 lengths - 800m: 57.2 - 400m: 28.8 - 2nd: Le Reveur - 3rd: Reine Des Gitans Greg Hope isn’t sure if Monbet can come back a better horse next season, but he’s pretty sure he doesn’t have too. The standout trotter signed off on his stellar four-year-old season with his second Harness Jewels victory in the exact same time he ran when he won the 2YO Ruby two years ago. And while the great season is now over, Hope, who trains with his wife Nina, is already looking forward to the next one. “I’m not sure he can come back better next season, but I don’t think he probably has too,” he said. “He takes everything in his stride and just does what he needs to do.” The Ruby ran pretty much to script with Sunny Ruby leading them a merry chase while Monbet settled early before launching inside the final lap – Ricky May never really looked panicked and when he asked for effort at the top of the straight, Monbet strode clear. “Then he knocked off,” May said. “You’ve got to keep him up to the task, he’s one of those horses who doesn’t stretch himself any more than he has too.” Just before May moved there was a heart-in-the-mouth moment when Paramount Dream, who was in front of Monbet, galloped. “It got pretty close and I thought we might have been in trouble there for a moment.” Monbet will head to the paddock now, but he’s got the chance to win one more big title before the season is over. On July 30 he will be awarded Four-Year-Old Trotter of the Year, Trotter of the Year and there is a real possibility he could take home the major prize of Horse of the Year. “He deserves it, I know I’m biased, but not many horses do what he’s done this season.” Le Reveur was the best of the beaten brigade, sprinting up strongly from the trail to finish second for Bob Butt. Reine Des Gitans emerged out of the pack to finish third at massive money. Royal Shine finished fourth but was disqualified in the room after the race for galloping too far at the start. Matt Markham

The salute said it all as Rocker Band and harness racing driver Sam Ottley came flying down the outside to take the $100,000 NRM Evolve 4yo Diamond. For her first Harness Jewels drive, Ottley produced an absolute special to manoeuvre the Rocknroll Hanover mare off the pegs coming into the back straight. It was that move that would secure Ottley her biggest victory to date. “This is right up there with the greatest day of my life, infact I think it is the greatest day of my life” said Sam Ottley Owned by Greg Brodie of Australia, Rocker Band took her record to a handy 9 wins and 5 minor placings from just the 24 starts. Early speed from Miss Daisy (John Dunn) and Lusty Mac (Phil Butcher) is exactly what the Mark Jones trained mare asked for. Todays win was Mark's first Jewels training victory. Mark Jones said “I've trained horses for Greg for years, but i've never actually met him before. It was a great drive from Sam, she deserved a shot at it and she delieved". Winning Time & Margin: 1-53.39MR, with a neck back to Expressive Victor (Blair Orange) in 2nd and ½ length back to favourite Democrat Party (Nathan Williamson) in 3rd. Rocker Band Andrew Fitzgerald

There are plenty of previews floating around for the Jewels so let’s make this quick. Andrew Fitzgerald looks through the Jewels card including selections from Matt Cross and Cambridge based Junior Driver Dylan Ferguson Race 1 [11:45am] NRM EVOLVE 4YO DIAMOND Obviously this race has opened up a lot with the removal of Arms Of An Angel several weeks ago. That scratching saw jewels leader Democrat Party tumble into favourite from an opening quote of around $10, the 4yo American Ideal mare is now a $2.70 chance with the NZ TAB. Lusty Mac has enough gate speed to put herself into contention, she should receive a handy trip and with her great course stats she is worth an each way bet at $10 FF & $3 FF. Selections: Andrew Fitzgerald 5-2-1-12 Matt Cross 5-9-2-1 Dylan Ferguson 9-5-2-1 Suggested bet: Democrat Party WIN / Lusty Mac PLACE   Race 2 [12:20pm] MITRE 10 MEGA CAMBRIDGE 2YO RUBY A clear cut top pick in the 2yo trot, with Enghien a well backed favourite. He did get as short as $1.14 at one stage, but with a mistake behind the mobile arm at the recent workouts, his quote has got out to a nice enough $1.40 FF. Custodian is the horse I can see providing the upset to Enghien. The All Stars team have only had him for a short time, but you can no doubt expect a wee bit of improvement, with his top line gate speed I expect to see him strolling along in front. The $4.80 FF and $1.25 FF are juicy enough for me to have a crack at. Selections: Andrew Fitzgerald 5-3-1-4 Matt Cross 3-5-4-1 Dylan Ferguson 5-3-8-7 Suggested Bet: Trifecta/First4 – 3,5/3,5/1,4/1,4 Race 3 [12:55pm] RA & JV YARNDLEY 2YO DIAMOND   Only three runners you need in this for me, Spanish Armada, Partyon and Delightful Memphis. I can’t split these 3 fillies, and I think it will definitely come down to whoever gets the best run. Partyon looks like she is the one who is drawn to receive the trip and with Mark Purdon in the cart you would expect her to roll forward and lead up. Her recent Cambridge workout was good, with her rolling along nicely in front. Currently $3.40 $1.20 FF Spanish Armada $1.65 / $1.07 FF have both been super in the feature races of late, dominating most of them. She has a tricky draw to work with, but she has the class to overcome it, while it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Delightful Memphis $4.00 / $1.25 FF run straight by them if she was able to get a good drag into it. Selections: Andrew Fitzgerald 7-4-10-3 Matt Cross 4-7-10-3 Dylan Ferguson 4-10-3-7 Suggested bet: Trifecta 4,7/4,7,10/4,7,10   Race 4 [1:28pm] STALLIONS AUSTRALASIA 4YO RUBY One of the battles of the day this one, and the draws have thrown just a wee bit of doubt into everyone’s minds. No doubt in my mind that Monbet will once again show that he is the best trotter in Australasia. Drawn the outside, Ricky May will have no choice but to press forward and park himself outside his main rival Sunny Ruby. Monbet has great staying power and if May does decide to drive him like that and drill Ruby down the back then it will be game over and punters will run to the tote to collect their $1.16 FF price. The $1.25 looked to be to be an absolute steal for Sunny Ruby to run a place, but if it pans out how I think it will then that offers no value at all. With the draw Bob Butt has to work with, it’s possible that Le Reveur $2.80 Fixed Place could lob the one by one spot in behind Monbet. Selections: Andrew Fitzgerald 8-3-2-10 Matt Cross 8-2-9-11 Dylan Ferguson 2-8-9-10 Suggested bet: Le Reveur PLACE   Race 5 [2:03pm] DUNSTAN FEEDS 3YO DIAMOND The three All Star runners once again have the field covered. These fillies are classes above the rest and you would expect them to fill the Trifecta once again. Piccadilly Princess on top for me, if Tim Williams is able to slot her into the trail behind Golden Goddess, I feel she might just be able to sneak up the pegs and cause an upset of some sorts. Dream About Me has a terrible draw to work with, but we all know how good of a driver Mark Purdon is and I can see him getting away from the fence into a handy position. Golden Goddess should lead up and I wouldn’t expect Natalie to be handing up over the mile trip. Selections: Andrew Fitzgerald 2-9-3-1 Matt Cross 9-3-2-4 Dylan Ferguson 9-2-3-4 Suggested bet: First4 2,3,9/2,3,9/2,3,9/1,4   Race 6 [2:38pm] NRM EQUI-JEWEL 2YO EMERALD     Another Jewels race dominated by the Purdon/Rasmussen team, although this race has extra interest, with their two favoured runners drawn badly in barriers 9 and 12. While it shouldn’t get in the way of them still grabbing another victory, there are a couple worth place bets in the field. Mitch Maguire $3.00 FF Place and The Lone Ranger $3.80 FF Place are the two I think are worth a bet. The former showed great gate speed and put up a great fight to finish 4th against the Purdon team last start. With the use of the ace barrier draw, he will be able to boom along and hopefully he can sneak into a top 3 spot. While The Lone Ranger made an early mistake in the same race but put in a handy effort after that. With a good trip in transit, he can pop up into a first 4 spot. Selections: Andrew Fitzgerald 9-12-1-2 Matt Cross 12-9-1-4 Dylan Ferguson 12-9-1-4 Suggested bet: Trifecta 9,12/9,12/1,2,4,10 Race 7 [3:13pm] SOVEREIGNTY 3YO RUBY TROT It should just be a turn up and win job here for a top line trotter in the making, Marcoola, trained by West Melton trainer Ken Ford and driven by son Clint. The son of Sundon has been dominate in the 3yo trotting ranks this season, with connections even turning down large, life changing offers. The TAB have him $1.15 FF and from the barrier draw of 5, you would expect Clint to roll forward and find the front. No one will be silly enough to try and park him out and Clint will be able to cruise to the front. When he lets this stunning colt go at the top of the straight, all the rest of this field will see is the back of Clint Ford’s helmet. Selections: Andrew Fitzgerald 5-1-3-6 Matt Cross 5-3-6-13 Dylan Ferguson 5-6-1-10 Suggested bet: First 4 -    5/1,3,6/1,3,6,13/1,3,6,9,10,13   Race 8 [3:48pm] NRM ASSET 4YO EMERALD What a field of 4yo colt's and gelding's we have here, given extra interest with the only Australian invitee My Kiwi Mate. Titan Banner on top for me, he opened a staggering $26 in the futures market opened by the NZ TAB. After a defeat and a victory over Christen Me, his quote is now $2.90 FF, even after he was throw barrier 8 to work from. Even though he will have to do a stack of work, I won’t be surprised to see him out toughing most of the field and winning. Field Marshal is the obvious inclusion after drawing beautifully in barrier 1, with the services of Dexter Dunn; he will look to continue on his picket fence line form with another feature win. $1.65 FF Selections: Andrew Fitzgerald 8-1-5-2 Matt Cross 1-8-5-2 Dylan Ferguson 1-10-8-5 Suggested bet: First 4 – 1,8/1,5,8/1,2,5,8,10/1,2,3,5,8,9,10   Race 9 [4:28pm] SWEET LOU AT WOODLANDS 3YO EMERALD What a way to finish the day off, with a hugely talented bunch of 3yo colts and geldings. Classie Brigade finds himself at the top of my list, I expect him to improve off his last run even from a tricky draw. The draw might work out okay if he can follow Heaven Rocks across and then receive some cover then I think he offers great value. We have seen Heaven Rocks beat most of this field before, but his manners are a huge problem and I just can’t consider taking the $1.95 on offer for a horse who could either gallop behind the gate or into the first bend. Selections Andrew Fitzgerald 6-7-4-1 Matt Cross 7-5-4-6 Dylan Ferguson 5-6-9-7 Suggested bet: Classie Brigade Each way/ Trifecta – 6,7/4,5,6,7/1,4,5,6,7   Andrew Fitzgerald

If there is to be any chance of a stable success on jewels day, it will most likely have been in the 4yr old Diamond for the mares. Miss Daisy and Dalness Xchange are two quality mares and while needing that ounce of luck on the big day, can get a major slice of the prize. Miss Daisy has always been a notch below the very best mares, but her stocks have increased steadily this season as some of the real class mares of her age - especially The Orange Agent and Fight For Glory - have been resigned to the sideline through injury and retirement. In her lead-up race last week at Alexandra Park she was stunning in fillies and mares company, blasting the gate from a wide draw and then being untroubled to lead throughout. While this week's race is a major step up, from her good draw she will get all favours with options to either stay in front, or to hand up to one of the more favoured brigade. She is sure to be ultra competitive here. Stablemate Dalness Xchange has done very well this season and has a Group One placing in top mares company at Addington in her form four starts ago. She rarely runs a bad race and if she can get forward early from an awkward draw, she would be far from a forlorn hope for driver Colin De Filippi. Eyrish Mist is a newcomer to the stable, transferred this week by owner Ricky Allen. He contests the 2yr old Ruby for the trotters (Race Two) and from his unruly barrier, will need mistakes by others and be on his very best behaviour. While he shows a lot of promise he may be a season away from his best. Billy Badger (Race Six) contests the 2yr old Emerald for the colts and geldings. From his wide second line draw, he will need every bit of luck for driver Dexter Dunn and deserves to be at long odds. The final two stable runners on the day are Little Rascal and Robbie Burns in the 4yr old Emerald. Both horses are in form, but have had contrasting luck with the draw. Little Rascal from two looks sure to go forward early. He may end up in a good spot and could be a nice place hope at odds. Robbie Burns has had no luck at all drawing wide on the second line. He will rely on a cracking pace up front and a nice drag into it to have any chance. He too is a place hope. Robert Dunn Trotting Stables

Greg Hope will arrive at Cambridge Raceway tomorrow a lot more confident than when he left it last Saturday.   Because the Canterbury trainer now believes juvenile trot favourite Enghien is set to do things right in his $100,000 division of Jewels Day.   Enghien has been the red hot favourite since destroying almost all of his opponents tomorrow in the Sires’ Stakes Trot at Addington two weeks ago, giving the likes of Custodian and Habibi Inta a huge start and thrashing them.   That suggested he only has to bring that form and manners to race two tomorrow to win but the manners component looked far from a done deal when he galloped away wildly from behind the mobile in a simple two-horse workout at Cambridge last Saturday.   That sent a shiver down Hope’s spine but he has rested easier since Enghien was far more professional during private use of the mobile starting gate at Cambridge on Wednesday.   “We have worked on a few things and he was great,” says Hope, who trains in partnership with wife Nina.    “He was far more relaxed and now I am too because I am more confident he will go away safely.”   For all the genius of Custodian’s new trainers Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen and the freakish ability of Habibi Inta’s mentor Paul Nairn, a well-behaved Enghien looks the first good thing of the day tomorrow.   Even hotter will be his stablemate Monbet who looks certain to complete his stunning season by overcoming a wide draw in the four-year-old trot, with Hope thrilled with New Zealand’s best trotter. Michael Guerin

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