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TORONTO, ON - Tuesday, November 26, 2020 - In response to the Federal Government introducing a Bill that proposes to legalize single event sports wagering in Canada, Woodbine Entertainment would like to congratulate the Government of Canada for considering the potential impacts to the horse racing industry. While the proposed Bill to Amend the Criminal Code would permit single event sports betting on most sports, Woodbine Entertainment is pleased that under the new proposed legislation, fixed odds wagering will not be permitted on horse racing. "On behalf of the entire horse racing industry and the more than 50,000 jobs it represents throughout Canada, I would like to congratulate the Government of Canada and Minister Lametti for clearly considering the interests of horse racing as related to the potential legalization of single event sports wagering," said Jim Lawson, CEO, Woodbine Entertainment. "We look forward to continuing to represent the views of the horse racing industry throughout the legislative process in the House of Commons and the Senate of Canada to ensure that our role continues to be supported and strengthened where possible," said Lawson. "This includes collaborating with the Federal and Provincial Government in future discussions regarding the impacts sports betting may have on horse racing while looking to enhance opportunities that would benefit the industry and the tens of thousands of people it employs." Woodbine Entertainment also offered its support for the legalization of fixed odds single event sports betting so long as it is provided an opportunity to be involved in a meaningful way. "For many decades, Woodbine Entertainment has legally operated single event wagering through a pari-mutuel model, earning the trust of bettors and government agencies, while developing safe and secure technologies that could also benefit single event sports wagering," said Lawson. "Throughout our future discussions with government authorities, we look forward to demonstrating how we can play a meaningful role in the execution of the legalization of sports betting that leverages our industry-leading experience and technology in single event wagering, while also offering a solution that would ensure any profits derived from sports betting remain in our economy." Operating without share capital, Woodbine Entertainment's sole mission as an organization is to sustain the Ontario horse racing industry and the tens of thousands of jobs it supports. About Woodbine Entertainment Woodbine Entertainment is the largest horse racing operator in Canada offering world-class horse racing at both Woodbine (Toronto) and Woodbine Mohawk Park (Milton) racetracks. Woodbine Entertainment also operates off-track wagering through its Champions teletheatre network, which includes WEGZ Stadium Bar in Vaughan and Greenwood in the Beach area of Toronto. Remote wagering is also available to customers through HPIbet (formerly HorsePlayer Interactive), the company's telephone, internet and mobile account wagering service, and Dark Horse, the company's innovative wagering app that uses artificial intelligence to help users make smarter bets right out of the gate. For More Information: Jamie Dykstra Director, Communications jdykstra@woodbine.com 647-400-6235

Welcome to the Harness Analyst segment where we preview all the harness meetings with tips and selections for all races. Harness racing hits Addington today with an eight race program starting at 5:36pm and we highlight some specials and value runners we think can give you a run for your money on a good day of racing. The content and data on this page is provided for informational purposes only Check below for all of the races today for Addington    Addington selections 25th November 2020 Best Bet: R8 Fire Fox Best Value:  R3 Bettor Grunter Race 1 Swell Time  looks the early leader in this field and should be hard to beat. Top selection here.…… Majorca disappointing last start out last start but driver change here and possible trailer early. Place claims best..… Longview Lady  last couple have been disappointing but better placed in this field. Include…… Folklore on her best day would be hard to beat here. Can run top three at good odds Selections:  Swell Time  (6),   Folklore (9),   Longview Lady  (8)   Majorca (5)   Race 2 Idle Stuartia in top form and this field is within his range. Another top three finish looks on the cards here.……. I Dream Of Jeannie plenty of ability and good win last start. Manners the only concern and winning claims here again…… Bright Glow disappointing last start but well drawn and can run top three at a decent price…… Puzzled maiden win was good but up in grade. Has winning claims. Selections:  Idle Stuartia (6),  I Dream Of Jeannie (8),   Bright Glow  (1),   Puzzled (3)   Race 3 Bettor Grunter good draw to work with and will head forward early. Last run ok and can win ….. Gayle Force tricky draw but in good form. Can run top three in this field….. Lady Matara has the game to beat a field like this but up slightly in grade. Needed….. Betterwithbling running on last start and drawn to get a cosy run on the fence. Winning claims Selections:   Bettor Grunter  (3),   Lady Matara (5),   Betterwithbling (2),   Gayle Force (7)   Race 4 What's Your Secret good draw to work with and should get a good run in transit. One of the leading chances here….. Braeview Kelly tricky draw but in good form and beat most of these last start. Can run win again with a cart into the race at the right time….. Avana has the game to beat a field like this but will need a good run in transit. Needed….. La Rosa run down after leading last start, but might go forward to lead again and be hard to beat. Winning claims Selections:   Braeview Kelly (8),   La Rosa (5),   What's Your Secret (1),   Avana (4)   Race 5 Spellbound conditions suit here and he should get a good run from the draw. Good winning claims.…. Arden's Reality disappointing last start but give another chance. Better than the form suggests and drawn well. Include…… I'm Tough running on ok last start and will be fitter. Tricky draw but can win..… Tyron's Bit Of Lemon a bit in or out with form but has the ability and drawn to get a run through from the second row draw. Needed Selections:  Spellbound (6),   I'm Tough (8),   Tyron's Bit Of Lemon (11),   Arden's Reality (1)   Race 6 Angus worked hard but stuck on last start. Hard to beat in this field if close enough turning for home….. Bad Hombre running on ok last start and should appreciate being back at Addington. Will need luck but can run top three here  ….. Lancewood Louie second row draw but getting fitter with racing. And money on last start  Look for him to be running on late and can run top three…. Tasman Tempest racing well and likely to go forward early. Winning claims if close to the speed all the way….. Selections:   Bad Hombre (7),  Tasman Tempest (5),   Lancewood Louie (10),  Angus (9)   Race 7 Count Eyre has been running some ok races with no luck and this race suits. Could upset with a run close to the leaders…. Majestic Sunset looks the early leader and ok last start. Can place if no midrace attackers  ….. Smokin Bandar good win last start but wider draw. Mobile will suit and can run top three with manners…. Majestic Chick racing into form and conditions suit here. One of the leading chances in the race…. Selections:   Majestic Chick (6),  Majestic Sunset (2),   Smokin Bandar (7),  Count Eyre (5)   Race 8 Fire Fox likely to head for the front and will run time. Should be top three here….. Jawbreaker(AUS) last start was massive in a strong field but wide draw a concern. Can win again ….. Star Watch good staying type suited to a fast run race which he will get here. He will be finishing on if the pace is on all the way. Include…. Carlos Bromac out of form but likely to get a good run on the fence. Can place at nice odds….. Selections:   Fire Fox (4),   Jawbreaker (6),   Star Watch (1),   Carlos Bromac (10)   Harnesslink Media

Plunge Blue Chip, who began her career as a two-year-old, was a harness racing champion of her era. Now retired to the breeding shed she was the first three-year-old trotter to go inside 1:50 and the fastest ever trotter on a half-mile track (1:51.3). One of only six female trotters in history to win a race in faster than 1:50, Plunge Blue Chip (1:49.4), along with her great adversary, Manchego, are the only two trotting mares to achieve the feat more than once. She also clocked 1:49.1 when a close second in The Allerage. It can rightly be claimed of Plunge Blue Chip that she is one of the best bred and best performed trotting mares in the last decade. As a two-year-old she won nine of her 10 outings and $404,690 in stakes including the $420,750 Goldsmith Maid in 1:53.1 at The Meadowlands and the $173,000 Matron Stakes at Dover Downs. She took her record of 1:49.4 at three years, winning a $128,500 division of the Delvin Miller Memorial at The Meadowlands, in which she defeated Manchego ($2,857,315). The time equalled the fastest trotting mile ever put up at the Big M and tied the season’s record. The Delvin Miller Memorial Plunge Blue Chip equalled her world record 1:49.4 performance in winning a Kentucky Futurity elimination at The Red Mile, defeating Atlanta and Manchego. Among her other successes at three were the $129,000 Hudson Filly Trot in 1:53.1 – the fastest trotting mile in Yonkers history when set – and the $225,000 New York Sire Stakes Final, while she recorded notable placings in the Breeders Crown, Hambletonian Oaks and Zweig Memorial. Plunge Blue Chip won the Miss Versatility Series, run at Delaware’s half-mile track, in 1:52.1 at four and in a world record 1:51.3 at five, in which she matched her world record-breaking effort in the $133,000 Joie De Vie at Tioga Downs a month earlier. Plunge Blue Chip winning the Miss Versatility Series Plunge Blue Chip nabbed her richest win of the year at her final start in the $140,000 TVG Free-for-all in a stake record-equalling 1:51.4 at The Meadowlands, brushing home in 27.1 to score by 1-1/2 lengths. In all, Plunge Blue Chip recorded 23 wins and 19 placings in 48 starts and finished up with a stake tally of $1,596,841 – an average of $33,268 per start.  Among the top trotters she met and defeated were Hannelore Hanover ($3,069,857), Atlanta ($2,859,610), Manchego ($2,857,315) and Emoticon Hanover ($2,044,663). “She can do everything. She can leave fast, she never breaks, and she is strong. She is always fighting to the wire,” trainer and part-owner Ake Svanstedt said. On the score of blood Plunge Blue Chip lacks nothing. Her sire Muscle Mass (1:53.4) was a champion with stake earnings of $229,000 and has been one of America’s top sires for some time. He figures as the sire of two of America’s greatest trotters in Six Pack 1:49.1 ($1,973,661) and Plunge Blue Chip 1:49.4 ($1,596,841) and, in all, he sired 90 in the 1:55 list, 137 $100,000 earners and the winners of more than $43 million. Plunge Blue Chip belongs to a noted female line, her dam Dunk The Donato being by Donato Hanover (1:50.1), Hambletonian winner and champion sire and broodmare sire from Irene’s Lucky Lady (1:54.3), by Winky’s Pine (1:55.2 son of Pine Chip) from Meadowbranch Irene, by Meadow Road (1:54.2), Swedish Horse of the Year and Elitlopp winner. Dunk The Donato, the dam of Plunge Blue Chip, is proving a successful broodmare. She is also the dam of Splash Blue Chip (1:58.3), who was placed in this year’s Breeders Crown 2YO Final, and Naco Blue Chip (1:57.3). Her grand-dam, Irene’s Lucky Lady, a winner of $138,117, ranked as a half-sister to the USA Trotter of the Year and dual Breeders Crown champion Mr Muscleman 1:51.1 ($4,032,206), the winner of a world record 30 races in 1:55 or faster. Lady Chaos (1:53.1), the winner of the recent Breeders Crown 2YO Filly Trot and Kentucky Sire Stakes and $560,803 in stakes, is a member of the same family as Plunge Blue Chip. Plunge Blue Chip can boast two strains of Valley Victory, the sire of the great Muscles Yankee, on the top side of her pedigree, while champion sires such as Andover Hall, Pine Chip, Donerail and Nevele Pride appear on the distaff side. Peter Wharton

An Open Pace and three eliminations for the Alan Horowitz Pace share the harness racing spotlight at Cal Expo on Friday night. The trotters and pacers are now in action every Friday and Saturday evening for a 44-day session, with 11 races this Friday and a first post of 4:55 p.m. The Open brings out the popular Allmyx'sliventexas, who has gone many sensational miles over this layout in his career for his owner/breeders Wayne and Rod Knittel and trainer Bob Johnson. He will be handled by Nick Roland. A 7-year-old son of Hi Hi Silverheel's out of the Distinguishedbaron mare Annie Get Your Gun, he has a lifetime mark of 1:50 that was established two years ago over the seven-eighths Hoosier Park oval. Allmyx'sliventexas got nice and tight for Friday's assignment with a sharp qualifier last weekend with Roland handling the lines. He blasted right to the front, carved out all the fractions and then came home in style by nearly five lengths in 1:56 3/5. Taking him on Friday are Dependlebury, Bngs Express, Ponda's Prospect, Super Pac Hanover and Gorgeous For Real. The Open goes as the fourth race on the card, while the Alan Horowitz eliminations occupy the first, eighth and tenth-race slots on the program. There is also an Open III Trot going as the third that features invading Mshindi for driver/trainer Tim Clevenger. $63,764 Single 6 carryover, reduced takeout wagers featured A $63,764 carryover in the Single 6 and a reduced 16% takeout rate on three of the most popular wagers on the card help spice up the action on Friday night. The 20-cent early Pick 4 and 20-cent Pick 5 as usual will feature the lower takeout, and this season Cal Expo has added the reduced 16 percent takeout rate to the 20-cent Pick 4 as well. Meanwhile, this weekend will find Alan Horowitz and Bill Conlin remembered with series events named in their honor. Alan Horowitz was a major force in California harness racing over the last several decades and a member of the California Harness Horsemen's Association (CHHA) Hall of Fame who passed away in 2017 at age 72. A $63,764 carryover in the Single 6 and a reduced 16% takeout rate on three of the most popular wagers on the card help spice up the action on Friday night. The 20-cent early Pick 4 and 20-cent Pick 5 as usual will feature the lower takeout, and this season Cal Expo has added the reduced 16 percent takeout rate to the 20-cent Pick 4 as well. Horowitz, who wore many hats in the business, started out as a partner with longtime friends Donald and Barbara Arnstine and Steve Desomer with a $25,000 claimer named Quaker Byrd. Quaker Byrd won his first race for the partners and Alan was hooked. Moving on, Alan would eventually become a board member and president of CHHA. In 1994, Alan was instrumental in bringing harness racing back to Cal Expo in the form of Capitol Racing and was also its successful general manager. He was serving as the Executive Secretary of the CHHA at the time of his retirement in 2013 and continued to stay in touch with the sport that he loved so much. Bill Conlin was the longtime sportswriter, editor and columnist for the Sacramento Bee who passed away in 1997 at the age of 84. With great wit, he covered sports (and more) for six decades, first at the Sacramento Union and then at the Sacramento Bee. He was a daily presence in the Bee's sports section until his retirement in 1985 By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness  

It has been a hectic few months for new Oamaru Harness Racing Club president David Ovens. Ovens stepped into the role earlier this year, having spent 10 years on the committee, including four years as vice-president. He took over from David Heffernan, who stepped down as president after 10 years in the role. “It was just time to put my hand up and help carry on,” Ovens said. Coming out of lockdown the club faced plenty of obstacles, including a reform of the racing industry. Harness Racing New Zealand underwent an independent review of the Southern racing area and Ovens believed the Oamaru club put forward a good submission. “I’d like to think we put forward a very, very good case. We also had Kurow and Waikouaiti with us, as they race at Oamaru. “We would like to think that we are in good position, just with the state of our track both harness and grass, our facilities, we’ve just got a perfect setting out there.” The Oamaru Racecourse tracks were assessed recently, and came up with “very high honours”. “They couldn’t fault it – it’s a great credit to our groundsman Dave Heffernan and his hard-working volunteers.” Ovens was determined to turn the racecourse into a hub for the community and create more of a family-friendly atmosphere. “We now have cross-countries, pony competitions, big wheels, racing, both harness and gallops, weddings.” It was hoped the club could obtain the Waimate Racing Club’s dates permanently. Oamaru was in a prime location, being half way between big racecourses in Christchurch and Invercargill, he said. The Oamaru Harness Racing Club hosted a race meeting on Saturday, and there was an “absolutely fantastic” turnout from the community. “The racing was excellent. There were very fast times for a grass track. “We had invited drivers, brothers in arms – a lot of families came out, had picnics and sat on the grass. The kids enjoyed themselves.” There were nine races throughout the day, and Peter Ferguson joined an elite group in New Zealand, bringing up his 2000th win. “Especially as a North Islander – it was a very special occasion.” The club will host two more meetings in the New Year. By Kayla Hodge Reprinted with permission of the Oamaru Mail

The latest fortnightly gavelhouse.com Standardbred auction features a bumper catalogue of 25 Lots including a quality draft as part of a Heartland Farm Reduction Sale. gavelhouse.com Standardbred representative Cam Bray is thrilled with the performance of the site and the momentum built over recent months “Judging by the site’s traffic people are now accustomed to tuning in fortnightly to see what our latest offering is like and we have been consistently clearing in excess of 80% of entries,” he said. “As we approach the end of the year, this latest catalogue is going to be exciting to follow over the coming week with Heartland Farm entrusting us with some quality stock as they look to cut back on numbers,” “There’s a good cross-section of stock and I believe something for everyone in the market looking to add to their operations.” Some highlights from the Heartland Farm Reduction include: Lot 1 - A colt foal by Betting Line from the black-print Art Major mare Spirit of Art. Her three to race all have black-print to their credit including Gr.3 Leonard Mem Stakes and Gr.3 WA Gold Bracelet winner Dracarys. Lot 4 – Divine Light. A yearling Skyvalley filly from a sibling to black-print winners Mr Chin, (I’m) Light Hearted and Vibhuti. Lot 7 - Perun. A yearling colt by Betting Line from the winning Dream Away mare Bianca. Lot 23 – Cathar. An incredibly well-related mare who is the dam of two black—print winners and is a sibling to seven to have achieved the same. Other highlights include: Lot 8 – Lawyer Girl. A Always B Miki yearling filly who is the last foal from the outstanding producer Van Seraa. Lot 10 – Carrera Sunshine. A two-year-old filly by Sunshine Beach, she is the first foal from the winning Bettor’s Delight mare All That Glitters. Lot 20 – Waingaro Ideal. In work until last week, Waingaro Ideal is a lightly raced, winning four-year-old son of American Ideal from the black-print mare Waingaro Lassie. The auction also features more broodmares, yearlings, unraced horses and racehorses. Bidding ends starting with Lot 1 from 7pm on Wednesday 2 December.  

Harness racing trainer Nancy Takter continued her training dominance by finishing first and second with Fortify and No Lou Zing in the $325,000 Progress Pace.   Overlooked in the wagering, Tim Tetrick left and settled in fifth behind Cattlewash.   It proved to be the perfect place to be.   Tattoo Artist and Yannick Gingras stretched out No Lou Zing, parking him through a sizzling 25.2 opening quarter.   No Lou Zing finally cleared before the half in 53 seconds.   Down the backstretch Tim Tetrick was able to coerce Cattlewash off the rail and was towed into a second over journey. Cattlewash inched closer but was unable to threaten No Lou Zing. They throttled up to the three quarters in 1:20.2, pacing a 27.2 quarter. Past the three quarter point Tetrick roused Fortify three wide.   However,the race fractions were not kind to No Lou Zing, the race favorite. He weakened in the stretch. Fortify (Sweet Lou) won by a half length in 1:48.2 and went off at odds of 10-1.     Fortify is owned by Diamond Creek Racing and was driven by Tim Tetrick. Nancy Takter is the trainer.   No Lou Zing finished a hard fought second for trainer Nancy Takter and driver Dexter Dunn.   Catch The Fire was third for driver Mile Wilder and trainer John Ackley.   After Tim Tetrick’s reaction was “ I liked the way he raced last week, I know I needed a trip in the final”.   “It all worked out because I was able to follow Cattlewash. However, I was disappointed he (Cattlewash) could not carry me further and I had to go three wide”.   Trainer Nancy Takter was overjoyed in the winner’s circle at finishing first and second. “He( Fortify) is a pleasure to be around and I got him this summer. The owners wanted to skip the Breeder’s Crown and I’m glad they did”. He will go back to Diamond Creek and return as a four old.”   Sunny Dee shines and wins the Fillies and Mares Open at Dover. Sunny Dee and Dexter Dunn enjoyed the perfect pocket trip as She’s Pukka N did all the heavy lifting, cutting all the race fractions as the field remained in single file throughout most of the mile. The fractions were 26.1 55.1 and 1:23.3. Dexter Dunn confidently moved Sunny Dee, the three to five wagering favorite, out of the pocket and attacked She’s Pukka N in the stretch.   Sunny Dee won by a measured neck in 1:50.1 as the three to five race favorite.  The last quarter was paced in 26.3. Sunny Dee (Sunshine Beach) is owned by Let It Ride Stables and Bottom Line Racing LLC.  Mike Hall is the trainer. She’s Pukka N. grudgingly, finished second, for driver Tony Morgan and trainer Brian Malone. Queen Of The Pride is trained by Kevin Lare for driver Pat Berry. Tim Tetrick won 5 races on the card including the $325,000 Progress Pace.   by Alex Kraszewski, for Dover Downs  

Well-liked Kyneton horseman Tony Xiriha doesn’t care one bit that he’s widely known in harness racing circles as “The X Man”. And there’s a simple reason for it. “Most people have trouble working out how to say my surname. It’s pronounced using Sh – but most people find ‘The X Man’ a bit easier!” he said. For the affable horseman, who celebrated his 56th birthday yesterday, he’s just grateful he is up and about and doing what he loves after getting “pretty smashed up” in a bad race fall at Stawell five years ago. “It’s hard to believe that one minute I was sitting upright behind a horse in a race and then I was out like a sling shot. We still don’t really know what happened. Perhaps I ran over another horse’s hoof...I really don’t know,” Xiriha said. After being air-lifted to Melbourne, Xiriha spent over a week in hospital. He suffered a broken right wrist (which is still held together by plates), a dislocated right shoulder, serious facial lacerations and a split forehead.  His injuries required 10 months of rehabilitation. “I was lucky that my wife Dale is a nurse, and our kids were great.  A good mate in Tony Trimboli was also fantastic. He would drop in to see how I was going, or give me a call,” Xiriha said. “One of the hardest things was that I lost my memory about a month after the racefall. It’s gradually got better, but I have to write things down or I’ll forget,” he said. “I still struggle every now and again. The pain in my arms and hand can be agonizing and my wrist still hurts if I get a puller to drive, but I’m doing what I love and that’s being around horses. “Next season I’ll renew my driver’s licence, but my plan is to give race driving away. I mainly want it so that I can keep driving my own horses at the trials.” Xiriha was introduced into harness racing in the mid-1980s by his uncle John Woodham.  (Woodham was still involved in the sport up until this season when he decided it was time to relinquish his licence.) “I worked at Broadmeadows at the Ford Motor Company and on my way home to Kyneton I would drive through Gisborne, where John had his trotting property,” he said. “I knocked off half an hour before John, who was a supervisor at a different factory. So, I’d harness up the horses and if John was a bit late getting away, more times than not we’d be doing them in the dark. There were quite a few occasions that I was hoping the horses could see okay! But we never had any worries at all. “John’s daughter Jody Woodham-Murdoch is keeping the family tradition going and still trains horses at Monegeetta.” When he bought his first block of land, a 12-acre property, Xiriha was just 18 years old. “My wife and I set it up and we then moved to our current 75-acre property, which has an 840m track. There’s always a heap of feed growing for the broodmares,” he said. “Our youngest in Ben has his stable hand licence and is enjoying doing fast work. Joel drove for three years and when he lost his claim, he gave it away.” Prior to his race meeting accident, “The X Man” had up to 24 horses in work. “I would do really well with horses that I’d get out of the claimers. I had a lot of them.  Now that I’ve slowed down a little, I’m only doing eight which includes three babies,” he said. Xiriha has held a trainer/driver licence since 1990 but didn’t work more than one or two at a time for the next decade. “I was operating an electrical contracting business and after finding it difficult to take even a few days of holidays, I closed it down in 2001,” he said. “It got to the point where I was unable to take even a day off and I was on the job seven days a week. I was just totally burnt out and I enjoyed the horses. So I decided to give them a go and if it didn’t work, I could always go back to my electrical trade. “I’m happy with the decision I made. As you get older you realise it’s not all about the money.” Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

The last couple of weeks have not been easy for Southland owner Brendon McIntyre. As an integral part of the What Ever Syndicate which raced Franco Ledger, he was saddened when the stallion died suddenly at Macca Lodge earlier this month. “It was a pretty good death if you’re going to have one. It was painless. I was always worried about him because he served mares naturally. If he got injured because of that someone was going to have to make a tough call one day,” McIntyre said. However his Somebeachsomewhere gelding Port Au Prince which won today may have helped soften the loss a little. Trainer Driver Peter Hunter settled the gelding at the back of the second half of the field before letting him slide forward with just over a lap to run to sit parked. “Pete talked about it before the race. If they slackened off he was going to get round them and take luck out of play.” When the leader Leconte started to get reined, Hunter took Port Au Prince to the lead and he went down to the finish to beat favourite Lynryd Skynryd by three and three quarter lengths. McIntyre who races the gelding with his wife Jaque bought Port Au Prince from breeder Ron Croon “We liked him at two, but racing didn’t get off the ground (for that age group) and when it did he was probably ready for a spell.” Franco Ledger is gone, but McIntyres, Peter Hunter and his wife Jo who is Brendon’s sister, have a promising two year old called Justalittlesip by the stallion. “He’s just having a spell at the moment but he’ll come back and we’ll give him an opportunity. He ticks all the boxes at the moment. From what we’ve been told and from what we’ve seen all the Ledgers have got great manners.”   by Bruce Stewart

He’s not ready for the free legged trotting game yet, but the well-bred Kiwitrix has put two good performances together wearing half-hopples. A last start third encouraged his trainer Nathan Williamson to leave the hopples on for today’s race and superbly handled by inform driver Ricky May, the four year old won easily at Ascot Park today. “We might have to fly Ricky down each week to drive him,” said Williamson. May got the gelding away safely and let him find his rhythm. With a lap to run May was in front and he didn’t have to move on the four year with the combination winning by three lengths. “He had the hopples on last start and trotted all the way. Two good runs from two starts, which is good. Concentration’s a big thing. He never breaks at home. We’ll just keep going the same way we’re going hopefully. He’s building a bit of confidence now.” Kiwitrix was bred by Williamson and his wife Katie and her parents Ross and Robyn Jones hold a share in the son of Trixton and Kylie Ree. Kylie Ree won four of her eleven starts including the Hambletonian Classic and Two Year Ruby. She was trained by Mark Purdon and Grant Payne. All of her foals have won races with She’s Allthe Craze winning eight. Kylie Ree is a dam of the very promising Son Of Patrick trained by Barry Purdon. Today’s win by Kiwitrix was one of three for Mid-Canterbury reinsman Ricky May. He also won on Swift Robyn and Onesmartfella.   by Bruce Stewart

Hayden Cullen has spoken of the “surprise” he felt when it was first mentioned that he take over the All Stars stables business at Rolleston. Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen stunned many in the sport when they announced last week that they were intending to take extended leave from the sport, and that their stable foreman Hayden Cullen and his wife Amanda would take over the business from January 1. It will be re-branded “Cullen Racing Stables”. HRNZ Marketing caught up with Hayden and Amanda Cullen as they look ahead to the biggest challenge of their working lives.     HRNZ Marketing

Two first starters at Ararat tonight is perhaps the first sign of a lot of firsts to come for trainer Mick Cole, who’s in the throes of a considerable stable expansion. The Bannockburn trainer-driver will debut Jasperine in the Ararat Pony Club 3YO Maiden Pace and Rocknroll Upton in the Pinky Point 2YO Pace, optimistic both will give a good show but also improve with racing. And they’ll soon be given every opportunity to flourish, with Cole moving stables at year’s end to greatly ramp up his training along with partner Laura Burnside (pictured with Rocknroll Upton) and stable manager Paul Warnock. “I am pretty excited about the next few years really,” Cole said, having recently purchased a new property to allow him to greatly upgrade his stables. “When I was kid growing up I was involved in harness racing. It was something I always wanted to get into later on in life as I slowed down with work.” Along with Burnside, his “partner of 11 years”, he did just that, establishing at Bannockburn and since 2014-15 training 269 starters for 28 wins, aided also by Warnock, who Cole said had been a “Godsend” and had a great “passion for harness racing”. “After five or six years in the industry (Laura and I) settled on this is what we want to do for the rest of our lives,” he said. “We are setting up a new training facility, which is five minutes up the road and we hope to be moving into that at Christmas time. “Over the next couple of years I want to expand the training business and the new property will give us the capacity to train 20-odd horses.” With their existing property recently sold, Cole plans to soon permanently relocate to the new stables at what was formerly Pinaroo Park’s breeding complex. In addition to the existing stabling they’ve built an 1100-metre fast track and most notably an 800-metre straight track, a crucial item on Cole’s wish list that was spawned after he spent a working holiday at Mark Purdon’s stables to “learn from the best”. “He was amazing,” Cole said. “He had a straight track and he showed us how to work on it. You can get the work into the horses without putting the stress into their legs and with the young horses you can teach them to stay in gait in the straight line.” Further time with the likes of Kerryn Manning, Geoff Webster and Anton Golino has also proven beneficial, learnings that Cole is ready to put into practice on a grand scale. It’s an uptick in activity that kicks off tonight. “I’d only had one or two horses racing recently, but seven have been at trials the last few weeks and five are racing this week, so it’s nice to be back at the track.” Cole’s first Ararat debutant is Jasperine, a three-year-old Artistic Fella filly out of Tiny Treasure for late owner-breeder Phillip Nott. Jasperine joined Cole’s team via trainer Tim Bolitho. “Tim had a fair few in work and asked me to get her ready to trial, which I did and so he said to keep and race her,” Cole said. “She is a really fast horse, she just has some manner problems that let her down a bit and she can get hot-headed in her runs. I just need to keep calm and the more experience she has racing the better she will get.” That education kicks off in race one tonight, which streams on Trots Vision at 6pm. “I wasn’t disappointed to see her off the second row. Hopefully she will settle down. We won’t be bustling her until there is a gap in the final straight,” Cole said. “If she’s holding it all together we’ll let her use her speed. It just depends on how she works on the day.” It will be a somewhat similar scenario for Rocknroll Upton, who has drawn inside the back row and will likely also be following others through with a quiet run before making his charge late. By A Rocknroll Dance out of Upton, the two-year-old gelding was sold by Rickie Alchin to Cole, who had previously snapped up and raced her sister, four-time winner Upton Girl. “She took a bit of time to come on but she raced really well until she had a stress fracture in her shoulder and had to be sent to the paddock,” Cole said. “I expect he will go better as he develops. He has shown already that he will probably be a better horse than his sister is. “He’s had two trials trials and sharpened up since his trial. He’s no superstar, but will be a good honest horse.” He debuts tonight behind gate one horse Danceforme for trainer Leroy O’Brien and reinsman Neil McCallum, and Cole is hopeful they will hold the front and give him an armchair ride into the race. “I think he should be thereabouts if he does everything right,” he said. “I don’t know if he can win it. He will need the one to lead and if he sits on his back he’ll be thereabouts.”   HRV - Michael Howard

QHR, Quick Horse Racing is excited to again bring you Fast10 Horse Racing being held at Addington Raceway on the last Friday afternoon before Christmas, 18th December 2020.  Fast10 Horse Racing debuted December 2019 as an exciting and innovative new concept to horse racing in NZ.  “We were overwhelmed by how those involved loved and welcomed the new concept. There was a real buzz in the stabling area and everyone worked together to ensure the racing ran to time. It was a thrill to see the crowd enjoying the excitement and we all had a lot of fun”, said Glenn Hames part owner and Director of Fast10 Horse Racing. QHR deliver Fast10 Horse Racing as a new and innovative concept of racing, with a new look to attract horse racing enthusiasts and engage new “fun loving fans” to this action packed event. The goal is to re-ignite the interest of fans, and bring new fans to horse racing similar to other sports like T20 Cricket.  Fast10 Horse Racing is run over sprint mobiles with ten races and ten horses in each race. It is faster and quicker than ever before, meaning half the time and twice the fun. Coloured saddlecloths and drivers’ caps make the horses easily identifiable and there are new betting options so you can purchase betting packs to see you through the afternoon.  Make sure you are part of the fun Fast10 Horse Racing - ideal for corporate Christmas break up’s and for all of you who are looking for an awesome fun packed Friday afternoon to wind down before Christmas. A grazing lunch starts from 1.30pm and live entertainment follows the last race. Fast10 Horse Racing where you can bet by form, or colours - faster and quicker than ever before in half the time, twice the fun. Corporate and individual packages available online  www.addington.co.nz - or phone Addington Raceway on 03 338 9094.   For more information contact: Glenn Hames: ghames.qhr@gmail.com or phone 027 203 2746 Tony Russell: trussell.qhr@gmail.com or phone 027 432 6522 Pure racing, Pure excitement, Pure fun

Huge run makes it 100 for Young-Grant Producing what commentator Justin Evans called “a huge run”, Aveross Majesty gave Jessica Young-Grant her 100th driving success at Oamaru on Saturday. Paying $11.30 and $4 the Denis O’Connell-trained trotter was worse than midfield turning for home only to unleash down the very outside to win by more than two lengths. It was the horse’s first win in eight starts and Young-Grant’s 100th since taking up race driving in 2009. Her achievement was overshadowed just four races later when Peter Ferguson won his 2000th, becoming just the eighth driver ever to do so.   Decade between drinks for Jo Herbert A milestone too for Jo Herbert who won her first race for over a decade when she piloted Blue Chip Delight to victory at generous odds ($29.80 and $6.70) in the Country Feasts pace at Motukarara on Sunday. It was her first win since Valhalla at Addington in 2009.   Wedding bells for racing couple Oamaru locals Matty Williamson and Charlotte Purvis have become the latest harness racing couple to tie the knot. They wed in Christchurch yesterday. They have one child together, 17 month old Sadie. Purvis has had just the one drive this season while Williamson had a winner, Hurricane Banner, at his home course on Saturday and 907 wins overall in a career dating back over a decade.   Quarter billionaires in North America Racing in North America has thrown up some astonishing figures. Trainer Ron Burke and driver Dave Miller have each pushed past the $US250-million mark in lifetime earnings, that’s nearly $NZ360m. Burke reached that lofty number when Baklouva finished second in the Governor's Cup Consolation at Meadowlands in New Jersey over the weekend, while Miller became a quarter-billionaire after scoring with the Ron Burke-trained Blue Diamond Eyes in the Three Diamonds. Burke is harness racing's leading all-time trainer in terms of earnings while Miller is second to John Campbell, who retired in 2017 after 10,667 wins and stakes earnings of $US299 million.   Winners are grinners at Geraldine All winning owners on course at Geraldine this Saturday will get a bonus for their victory. They will receive a $200 betting voucher to be collected and spent on course. There will be 11 races at Orari with the weather expected to be cloudy and 17 degrees.   HRNZ

Lively Shepparton horsewoman Donna Castles was taken to hospital after a heavy racefall on Monday, but says she'll be "all good to go again soon". Castles, who prepares a big team at Ardmona with partner Doc Wilson, was thrown into the air when another runner got its hoof wedged in her sulky during a scrimmage in race six at the Cobram meeting. "I did have a little sleepover in hospital for a night. They just wanted to keep me under observation because I landed on my back and hit my head," she said. "I felt like I was being flung about like a rag doll. I remember being really worried when my leg got stuck-but thankfully it was only for a split second and I got it free before I got tossed out." Castles was driving chestnut mare Dances in the Peter Enals Cobram Caravans Trot. They were positioned three back the pegs with about 450 metres to go and gave ground slightly before the trailing horse Itsarapt, who was racing fiercely for pint-sized Bec Bartley, put his front foot into the off-side wheel of Castles' sulky. Watch the race replay click here "I knew he was pulling hard and over-racing for Bec, but she was doing her best. His hoof jammed near the stay and I got thrown onto a shaft, then back to the seat, but then hit the shaft again and that was it for me," Castles said. "I really felt at one point that I was being dragged out to the front of Bec's horse, which could have been really bad." The popular reinswoman who is a regular at meetings in the Goulburn Valley region said it was only the second time she had ever been involved in a racefall in her career. "I've been pretty lucky. But I'm okay and hopefully I'll be back at it again soon. We've got two starters in the one race at Maryborough on Friday so fingers crossed I'll be there," she said. The Cobram event was won by father-and-son Steven and Ryan Duffy with four-year-old brown mare Majic Fair (Majestic Son-Clefairy (Extrovert), who has turned it all around this season with five wins and seven placings for over $27,000.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Harness fans are in for an early present this Christmas Eve. Because that is when Cambridge could be the surprise venue for the first clash of our two most exciting trotters. Trainer Tony Herlihy has confirmed that will be the next start for his excitement machine Bolt For Brilliance, who is back in work after a two week break. The four-year-old was sensational downing southern stars Cracker Hill and Ultimate Stride in the delayed Sales Series and Sires’ Stakes at Alexandra Park in October, breaking 55 seconds for his last 800m in the second of those two victories with a flat tyre. That had plenty suggesting he might be the best trotter in the country but then came the Dominion at Addington on Show Day and we all realised the title belongs to another horse until Bolt For Brilliance can beat him. Sundees Son was freakish bordering on arrogant in the Dominion, sitting parked to win in national record time, and now the two big names of New Zealand trotting are set to go head to head not once but twice. Cambridge will be the first venue, with Bolt For Brilliance to likely head their fresh for the Flying Mile on December 24 while Sundees Son will contest the $47,500 Lyell Creek at Alexandra Park on December 11. After Cambridge the two superstars will then clash again, all going well, a week later in the group one National Trot. Herlihy says the break Bolt For Brilliance had after his last-start stunner did him some good. “My fella had two weeks out and put on some weight,” said Herlihy. “He actually didn’t seem that tired even after those three big performances back to back, which is a good sign “But he enjoyed his break and is coming to hand nicely. “I’ll probably trial him a week before the Cambridge race, race there and then head to the National.” The Flying Mile will be Bolt For Brilliance’s first start at Cambridge since his debut when he finished second to Cheeky Babe when driven by Herlihy’s good mate Phil Williamson. He then raced three more times left-handed for two defeats before his sole left-handed win in the two-year-old Jewels at Addington. “He used to be not quite as good left-handed as he is at Alexandra Park but he is getting better and he does plenty of work at home left-handed,” says Herlihy. As tempting as the major races in Australia may be, Bolt For Brilliance will almost certainly stay in New Zealand this season. “With the travel restrictions I’d be very unlikely to head there and he has plenty of races back here, with races down south, the Rowe Cup carnival and even the Jewels.” Driver John Dunn says he is looking forward to taking on the younger contender to the trotting crown with Sundees Son. “I just hope we can keep him at his best up there,” Dunn says matter-of-factly. Sundees Son will headline a far smaller Dunn team for the north than punters may expect, with the stable’s open class pacers staying home. “Classie Brigade and Henry Hubert aren’t going up there for the Auckland Cup,” explains Dunn. “They have races here like the Green Mile, a free-for-all at Addington and the Central Otago Cup. “We have Need You Now up there already and she has the Queen of Hearts on Dec 11 and Sundees Son going up but a lot of our other better horses will stay home.”   by Michael Guerin

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