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A mystery illness has left David Butt’s Jewels dream hanging by a thread after he initially feared he had a stroke last week. The Canterbury horseman will have to pass a doctor’s examination to be allowed to drive the well-fancied Wilma’s Mate at Saturday’s $1.2million meeting at Ashburton. Butt was hospitalized last Thursday after suffering from severe dizziness when he woke up. “I couldn’t get my balance and felt like I was going to fall over when I tried to walk,” said the Inter Dominion-winning reinsman. “Too be honest, I was scared I had had a stroke because I had never felt anything like that before. “For the first few days I was dizzy and couldn’t stand light or noise but the doctors tell me I have been suffering from vertigo. “They said it is relatively common and now I have had it I keep hearing from other people they have had it to. But it was a real shock.” Butt says many of the symptoms have now cleared, with the return of his balance the next and most important step. “It is getting better but I am still not driving work at home. “The stipes (stewards) know and they have told me I have to get a clearance from the doctor on Friday to be able to drive on Saturday. “The strange part is the doctors can’t tell me exactly what has gone wrong. “The two most likely reasons are a head knock or a virus of some type and I haven’t had any head knocks so the virus sounds the most likely reason. “If that has what caused it the doctors said I could have had it for a while lying dormant.”  Butt has two scheduled Jewels drives with Wilma’s Mate the second favourite for the $100,000 four-year-old trot after drawing the ace. “I’d love to drive her because I really think she can win but obviously I won’t be driving her if I’m now right. “So the doctors will tell me on Friday but it has improved quite a lot the last few days.” For all his success Butt has driven just one Jewels winner, One Over Da Moon, at Ashburton in 2013 for Wilma’s Mate’s trainers Paul Nairn. Should he not be able to take the reins on Saturday his son Bob would seem the most likely replacement as he won races on Wilma’s Mate last season. Wilma’s Mate is the $4 second favourite for her division on Saturday, with Southland  mare Dark Horse still at $2.50 with the New Zealand TAB, though she opened $4.50 with Australian bookmakers post-draw last Friday. The big shortener in the that market has been Marcoola, with last season’s champion three-year-old trotter into $4.20 after looking more aggressive at the Ashburton workouts on Saturday. Michael Guerin

Mark Purdon wasn’t too worried, but the punters who have backed Heaven Rocks into short favouritism for Saturday 4YO Emerald might have been a little concerned about what transpired at the Ashburton Workouts on Saturday. The $1.50 favourite for the $150,000 event on Saturday, was beaten by two of his three-year-old stablemates at the annual Jewels workouts on Saturday after leading for the last 1000 metres. Back again too was the hitch in his gait that must make even the calmest of his fans nervous, but while to those watching on it didn’t look pretty, sitting behind him Mark Purdon wasn’t all that concerned. “I still thought he went good, it was what he needed,” Purdon said. “It’s my first drive of him for a while, so it was good to get a perspective on where he is at and I just felt he was reaching for his hopples a wee bit up the straight which would explain that rolling action he had going on.” Heaven Rock’s was first collared by More The Better who had sat outside him from the 800 metre mark. And then the pair were both picked up late by Stars Align who had led early then trailed his stablemate. “They are both really nice horses,” Purdon said. “It’s a shame More The Better has drawn out wider than the others on Saturday because it will make it that much harder for him.” The All Stars team also gave a big tick to two-year-old pacer, Ashley Locaz who won impressively earlier in proceedings while other Jewels contenders to impress on the day included Lady Chatto, Star Commander and The Black Prince. But, If there was a statement to be made ahead of saturday’s Harness Jewels meeting, then Clint Ford made it. Ford’s outstanding trotter, Marcoola, has been one of the mystery horses of this year’s Jewels meeting due to injury seeing him out in the paddock for most of 2017 and a poor fresh up run, by his usually high standards, at Addington earlier this month.. But in one minute and 56.5 seconds on Saturday afternoon, Ford and Marcoola elevated themselves right back to the top of the pecking order for Saturday’s, $100,000 Four-Year-Old Ruby with a brutal display against some of his key rivals. Clearly not there for a quiet run, Marcoola well and truly blew any cobwebs out of the system with a rugged performance that left some quality flesh behind him gasping for air as he ran his rivals off their hooves in the one mile heat. “We made the fatal mistake last year of going too easy on him leading into the Jewels,” trainer Ken Ford said. “Instead of heading to Cambridge to get a good run under the belt we went to Pukekohe and didn’t quite get the run we needed which left us wanting the next week. “So we were never going to make the same mistake again, he was here today for a good blowout and he got that.” Surged forward from an outside barrier draw, Marcoola found the front and never looked back, trotting through the first 800 metres in 59 seconds to be 10 lengths clear running off the back straight. That margin extended even further at the 400 metre mark, and although clearly tiring inside the final furlong, he was doing the necessary to hold of his rivals to win in 1:56.5. “He cops racing pretty well, so that should bring him right on,” Ford said. Marcoola will start from out wide in the Four-Year-Old Ruby, but judging by Saturday’s effort, he won’t be leaving anything to chance. Missandei emerged late from the pack to run an encouraging second, but all were playing second fiddle to Marcoola who stole the show. Matt Markham

Brad Williamson has chosen to drive Majestic Man in the 2-year-old trotters section of the Harness Jewels at Ashburton on Saturday. Brad was given the choice of drives by his trainer father, Phil, who also Springbank Lachie and Majestic Connies in the race. Brother Matthew is driving Springbank Lachie and another brother, Nathan will take the reins on Majestic Connies. “It was a tough decision. They are all good horses. I drive Majestic Man and Springbank Lachie at home,’’ said Brad. “Springbank Lachie was a bit sick after his last start second (eight lengths behind One Muscle Hill in the Yearling Sales Final) but he seems right again.” Brad (22) drove Springback Lachie to impressively win the NZ Trotting Stakes and Majestic Man to a last start win the Sires’ Stakes Championship. He has driven Majestic Man in two other wins from four starts. Matthew drove Majestic Connies in his last start win at Invercargill. He was also aboard BJ Lindenny, runner up to Majestic Man in the SS race. Brad (22) has had four drives in the HJ with his best effort a third on Monnay when there was a section for 5-year-old trotters at Ashburton in 2013.   Trainer Graeme Anderson was pleased with Eamon Maguire after driving him to win workout at Forbury Park on Sunday in preparation for the 3-year-old pacers section of the Harness Jewels. Eamon Maguire led for the last 1200m and he was not extended to return 2.44 for 2200m (mobile), the last 800m in 58.1. He finished a length clear of stablemates Elusive Flight and Sovereign Banner. “It was just what he needed. He is very well and on target but couldn’t have got a worse draw (nine – the outside of the front line),’’ said Anderson. Eamon Maguire has made his mark among the 3-year-olds this season with a dashing win in the Southern Supremacy Stakes final, a third in the NZ Derby and second in the Sires Stakes Sophomore Classic. Break Dance, who has not raced since she won at Alexandra Park on April 28, won a workout at Ashburton on Saturday. There is a race to suit the Amber Hoffman-trained mare at Invercargill on Saturday week. War Horse, a newcomer to the stable, won a workout at Forbury Park on Sunday. Tayler Strong

If there are racing gods, it appears they take multi bets. Because either that or a remarkable set of coincidences have seen many of the long-term favourites draw almost perfectly for next Saturday's Harness Jewels. And while there is often a twist in the last week heading into the Jewels, there could be as many as seven odds-on favourites at Ashburton’s $1.2million meeting. Of the six odds-on favourites before the draw, all have drawn the front row for their mobile mile assignments, with four of them to start from barrier three or inside. The two others, Enghien (barrier seven in three-year-old Ruby) and Spanish Armada (likely to start from six in the three-year-old Diamond) are not natural gate flyers so are probably better suited drawn wider on the front line. The huge winners from the draws were Piccadilly Princess, who gets the ace in the four-year-old mares’ pace while Spankem will be red hot in the juvenile boys pace from barrier two. Ultimate Machete is perfectly placed at barrier three in the three-year-old male pace while last-start disappointment Elle Mac will be odds-on again from barrier two in the juvenile female pace, especially with key rival Dizzy Miss Lizzy drawn the inside of the second line. That leaves probably two truly open punting contests in the two-year-old and four-year-old trots, where the more favoured runners have had mixed luck with the draws. The hardest horse of the entire meeting to price must have been Heaven Rocks in the four-year-old make pace even though he was always going to be starting from the unruly. While most horses conceding a start to near open class rivals around Ashburton over a mile would have no chance, he is a freakish talent and will still be first pick for many. He was as low as $1.50 in pre-draw markets and remained there but with stablemate Waikiki Beach drawn to try and lead from barrier six expect pressure to come on his $4.20 opening quote. Heaven Rocks will have his final public work at the Ashburton workouts today where he takes on nearly forgotten stablemate More The Better, who heads to the Jewels without a race start in nearly three months. But the most anticipated workout today will be the three and four-year-old trot, where Lemond and long-time Jewels favourite but dramatic last-start failure Marcoola clash in a field that also contains Habibti Inta, Chevron Express and Missandei. Wilma’s Mate will contest a handicap trot head while northern three-year-old trot entrant C K Spur will take on the pacers at tomorrow’s (Saturday) Pukekohe workouts. By Michael Guerin Here are the full fields for the Harness Jewels; Ashburton Trotting Club Inc         Saturday  3  June Radio    Meeting:   HARNESS JEWELS 2017 (Day 1) at Ashburton Raceway Chairperson of Stewards: Nick Ydgren Compressed Report TAB Minibook TAB Booklet Custom Racebook Runner Index Track Map Track Weather Radio Trackside   TAB details (Meeting 8): Doubles - Races 2 & 3; 4 & 5; 6 & 7; 8 & 9 Trebles - Races 1, 2 & 3; 4, 5 & 6; 7, 8 & 9 Terminating Pick6 - Races 4-9 inclusive guaranteed to $100,000 terminating Quaddie - Races 2-5 inclusive with a starting pool of $10,000; 6-9 inclusive First4 - Races 1; 2; 3; 4; 5; 6; 7; 8; 9 all with a starting pool of $10,000          Race 1 [11:47am] ASHBURTON GUARDIAN 2YO DIAMOND (MOBILE PACE) (Gr1)  $150,000, 2YO FILLIES, 1609m  Race 2 [12:22pm] NEUMANNS TYRES & THE TYRE GENERAL 2YO RUBY (MOBILE TROT) (Gr1)  $100,000, 2YO, 1609m  Race 3 [12:57pm] WOODLANDS STUD 4YO DIAMOND (MOBILE PACE) (Gr1)  $150,000, 4YO MARES, 1609m  Race 4 [1:32pm] MID CANTERBURY TROTTING OWNERS ASSN 3YO DIAMOND (MOB PACE) (Gr1)  $150,000, 3YO FILLIES MOBILE, 1609m  Race 5 [2:07pm] CHRISTCHURCH CASINO 3YO RUBY (MOBILE TROT) (Gr1)  $100,000, 3YO, 1609m  Race 6 [2:42pm] COMMODORE AIRPORT HOTEL 2YO EMERALD (MOBILE PACE) (Gr1)  $150,000, 2YO COLTS & GELDINGS, 1609m  Race 7 [3:17pm] McMILLAN FEEDS 4YO EMERALD (MOBILE PACE) (Gr1)  $150,000, 4YO GELDINGS & ENTIRES, 1609m  Race 8 [3:52pm] McMILLAN FEEDS 4YO RUBY (MOBILE TROT) (Gr1)  $100,000, 4YO, 1609m  Race 9 [4:27pm] HANLEY FORMULA 3YO EMERALD (MOBILE PACE) (Gr1)  $150,000, 3YO COLTS & GELDINGS, 1609m   Race 1 [11:47am] ASHBURTON GUARDIAN 2YO DIAMOND (MOBILE PACE) (Gr1)  $150,000, 2YO FILLIES, 1609m    Racebook    Gear    Front Line Limit      Race History    Jewels Leader Board   For 2-year-old pacing fillies. Book Form Age Sex     Name   Rating Draw Hdcp Driver Trainer   1 610 2 f     Chevrons Reward   R53 1 Front Gavin Smith P B Burrows   2 11114 2 f     Elle Mac   R85 2 Front Natalie Rasmussen M Purdon & Ms N C Rasmussen   3 623285 2 f     Caitlyn Clarke   MR55 3 Front Zac Butcher B Purdon   4 236558 2 f     A Lister   MR50 4 Front Mark Purdon M Purdon & Ms N C Rasmussen   5 17732 2 f     New York Rain   R61 5 Front Joshua Dickie J W Dickie & J I Dickie   6 04641 2 f     Angel Of Harlem   R55 6 Front   R B Ward   7 210993 2 f     Bettor Joy   R59 7 Front Dexter Dunn C T Dalgety   8 314576 2 f     Purest Silk   R57 8 Front Brent Mangos B M Mangos   9 2327 2 f     Shenandoah   MR54 9 Front Tim Williams M Purdon & Ms N C Rasmussen   ---------------------------- Second Line ---------------------------- 10 151 2 f     Dizzy Miss Lizzy   R68 10 Front Blair Orange N R McGrath   11 112F4 2 f     Lady Chatto   R63 11 Front   T G Butt   12 5331 2 f     Repartee   R54 12 Front Nathan Williamson Mrs K V Price & F J Price   13 21354 2 f     Sweet Mary   R54 13 Front Matthew Williamson B K Mowbray   14 602050 2 f     Reklaw's Gem E1 MR45 U1 Front John Dunn R J Dunn            Notifiable Gear Changes:    No Gear Changes      Horse Movements:    Caitlyn Clarke to Jeff Whittaker at Springston, New York Rain to Bob Butt at Woodend Beach         Race 2 [12:22pm] NEUMANNS TYRES & THE TYRE GENERAL 2YO RUBY (MOBILE TROT) (Gr1)  $100,000, 2YO, 1609m    Racebook    Gear    Front Line Limit      Race History    Jewels Leader Board   For 2-year-old trotters. Book Form Age Sex     Name   Rating Draw Hdcp Driver Trainer   1 323P0 2 c     Majestic Hurricane E1 MR51 1 Front Blair Orange K & T Barron   2 12 2 g     Springbank Lachie   R60 2 Front   P M Williamson   3 110360 2 g     Sundees Son   R56 3 Front John Dunn R J Dunn   4 12 2 f     Aoraki   R56 4 Front Ricky May G P & Mrs N M Hope   5 31 2 g     Majestic Connies   R54 5 Front   P M Williamson   6 450670 2 g     Imperial Whiz   MR44 6 Front Alan Clark A L Clark   7 1121D5 2 g     Paramount King   R56 7 Front Joshua Dickie J W Dickie & J I Dickie   8 722552 2 g     BJ Lindenny   MR52 8 Front   D J Bennett   9 41 2 g     Marquis De Sade   R52 9 Front David Butt P C Nairn   ---------------------------- Second Line ---------------------------- 10 143410 2 c     One Muscle Hill   R63 10 Front Mark Purdon Mrs N C Molander   11 811827 2 g     Castlereagh   R56 11 Front Samantha Ottley M P Jones   12 46314 2 f     Renezmae   R55 12 Front Dexter Dunn J D Harrington   13 321223 2 g     More Shades Of Gold   R56 13 Front Todd Mitchell D W & Mrs C McGowan   14 1011 2 g     Majestic Man   R65 U1 Front   P M Williamson            Notifiable Gear Changes:    No Gear Changes      Horse Movements:    Paramount King to Bob Butt at Woodend Beach, One Muscle Hill to Mark Purdon & Natalie Rasmussen at Rolleston, More Shades Of Gold to Brad Mowbray at Russley         Race 3 [12:57pm] WOODLANDS STUD 4YO DIAMOND (MOBILE PACE) (Gr1)  $150,000, 4YO MARES, 1609m    Racebook    Gear    Front Line Limit      Race History    Jewels Leader Board   For 4-year-old pacing mares. Book Form Age Sex     Name   Rating Draw Hdcp Driver Trainer   1 126452 4 m     Piccadilly Princess   R120 1 Front Mark Purdon M Purdon & Ms N C Rasmussen   2 775490 4 m     Cullen Who   R75 2 Front Ken Barron K & T Barron   3 132452 4 m     Hopes And Dreams E1 R70 3 Front   G J Anderson   4 121380 4 m     Hard Days Night   R56 4 Front Kimberly Butt(J) Mrs L M Jones   5 240088 4 m     Bronze Over   R88 5 Front Bob Butt R J Butt   6 660565 4 m     Arden's Choice   R96 6 Front Zac Butcher B Purdon   7 572352 4 m     Queen Bee Bardon   R67 7 Front Craig Thornley B A Waldron   8 136416 4 m     Ultimate Desire   R81 8 Front Dexter Dunn B K Mowbray   9 253000 4 m     Cmeerock   R68 9 Front Tim Williams R J Dunn   ---------------------------- Second Line ---------------------------- 10 911652 4 m     RR Sand Dollar   R74 10 Front Blair Orange P T Court   11 259320 4 m     Glenferrie Classic   R75 11 Front Samantha Ottley M P Jones   12 12P101 4 m     Rocknroll Princess   R73 12 Front David Butcher S G Telfer & C D Garlick   13 122177 4 m     Kayteeoh Denario   R68 13 Front   R W Todd   14 802098 4 m     Hopeful Harriet   R64 14 Front   R W Todd            Notifiable Gear Changes:    No Gear Changes      Horse Movements:    Arden's Choice to Jeff Whittaker at Springston, Rocknroll Princess to Robert Dunn at Woodend Beach         Race 4 [1:32pm] MID CANTERBURY TROTTING OWNERS ASSN 3YO DIAMOND (MOB PACE) (Gr1)  $150,000, 3YO FILLIES MOBILE, 1609m    Racebook    Gear    Front Line Limit      Race History    Jewels Leader Board   For 3-year-old pacing fillies. Book Form Age Sex     Name   Rating Draw Hdcp Driver Trainer   1 211222 3 f     Delightful Memphis   R101 1 Front   M P Jones   2 222116 3 f     Patanjali E1 R64 2 Front Stephen McNally T S & Mrs G S Chmiel   3 121557 3 f     Juice Brogden   R68 3 Front Nicky Chilcott Miss N A Chilcott   4 6X5302 3 f     Major Rocket   R62 4 Front   C T Dalgety   5 321611 3 f     Gotta Go Dali Queen   R84 5 Front Maurice McKendry F D Cooney & T R Hopkins   6 691149 3 f     Delishka   R71 6 Front Matthew Williamson B K Mowbray   7 131411 3 f     Spanish Armada   R110 7 Front Natalie Rasmussen M Purdon & Ms N C Rasmussen   8 231376 3 f     Seaswift Joy   R88 8 Front Jim Curtin M I Shinn   9 35X363 3 f     Utmost Delight   R69 9 Front Zac Butcher S J Reid   ---------------------------- Second Line ---------------------------- 10 317458 3 f     Step Up   R65 10 Front David Butcher S G Telfer & C D Garlick   11 533485 3 f     American Empress   R62 11 Front Sailesh Abernethy J M Young   12 115144 3 f     Partyon   R110 12 Front Mark Purdon M Purdon & Ms N C Rasmussen   13 111122 3 f     Bonnie Joan   R98 13 Front   C T Dalgety   14 334110 3 f     Shezza GNP   R73 14 Front   K & T Barron            Notifiable Gear Changes:    No Gear Changes      Horse Movements:    Juice Brogden to David & Catherine Butt at Woodend Beach, Utmost Delight to Paul Court at West Melton, Step Up to Robert Dunn at Woodend Beach, American Empress to Steven McRae at West Melton         Race 5 [2:07pm] CHRISTCHURCH CASINO 3YO RUBY (MOBILE TROT) (Gr1)  $100,000, 3YO, 1609m    Racebook    Gear    Front Line Limit      Race History    Jewels Leader Board   For 3-year-old trotters. Book Form Age Sex     Name   Rating Draw Hdcp Driver Trainer   1 213975 3 c     War Machine   R58 1 Front Derek Balle D M Balle   2 732242 3 g     President Roydon   R62 2 Front   M Purdon & Ms N C Rasmussen   3 921132 3 f     Chevron Express   R82 3 Front   C T Dalgety   4 480131 3 f     Ruthless Kayla   R60 4 Front Samantha Ottley K T Fairbairn   5 121543 3 g     C K Spur   R74 5 Front Joshua Dickie J W Dickie & J I Dickie   6 218690 3 f     Regal Love   R60 6 Front   M Purdon & Ms N C Rasmussen   7 111111 3 g     Enghien   R110 7 Front Ricky May G P & Mrs N M Hope   8 51D 3 f     Kissmeimloaded   R58 8 Front Jack MacKinnon(J) J A MacKinnon   9 284310 3 g     War Spirit   R56 9 Front   K D Townley   ---------------------------- Second Line ---------------------------- 10 153551 3 g     BD Khaosan   R58 10 Front Jonny Cox T D Bagrie   11 909272 3 c     Habibi Inta   R66 11 Front Blair Orange P C Nairn   12 354642 3 f     Needle   R70 12 Front Colin DeFilippi C J & J DeFilippi   13 528202 3 g     Muscles Galore   R52 13 Front John Dunn C D & Miss A D Edmonds   14 333201 3 f     One Bid Buys E1 R55 14 Front Megan Teaz J L & Mrs M A Teaz            Notifiable Gear Changes:    No Gear Changes      Horse Movements:    War Machine to David & Catherine Butt at Woodend Beach, Kissmeimloaded to Robert Dunn at Woodend Beach         Race 6 [2:42pm] COMMODORE AIRPORT HOTEL 2YO EMERALD (MOBILE PACE) (Gr1)  $150,000, 2YO COLTS & GELDINGS, 1609m    Racebook    Gear    Front Line Limit      Race History    Jewels Leader Board   For 2-year-old pacing colts & geldings. Book Form Age Sex     Name   Rating Draw Hdcp Driver Trainer   1 204 2 g     Bright Diamond   MR50 1 Front Gavin Smith G D Smith   2 211131 2 c     Spankem   R85 2 Front Mark Purdon M Purdon & Ms N C Rasmussen   3 208X 2 c     Royal Tribute   MR49 3 Front   P T Court   4 8478 2 g     Bailey Major   MR48 4 Front Tim Williams M Purdon & Ms N C Rasmussen   5 310 2 c     Star Commander   R54 5 Front   N R McGrath   6 42 2 c     Liberal Arden E1 MR51 6 Front   T S & Mrs G S Chmiel   7 13327 2 g     The Black Prince   R57 7 Front Todd Macfarlane T A Macfarlane   8 42148 2 c     Aloka   R62 8 Front Blair Orange N R McGrath   9 131124 2 c     Alta Maestro   R85 9 Front   R J Dunn   ---------------------------- Second Line ---------------------------- 10 128512 2 g     Ashley Locaz   R60 10 Front   M Purdon & Ms N C Rasmussen   11 142362 2 c     Culpeka   R59 11 Front Brent Mangos B M Mangos   12 33633 2 c     Fizzing   MR52 12 Front   C T Dalgety   13 292355 2 c     All U Need Is Faith   R59 13 Front   M Purdon & Ms N C Rasmussen   14 651213 2 c     The Devils Own   R75 14 Front Natalie Rasmussen M Purdon & Ms N C Rasmussen            Notifiable Gear Changes:    Royal Tribute: BL-Off    Legend      Horse Movements:    The Black Prince to Jamie Gameson at Burnham         Race 7 [3:17pm] McMILLAN FEEDS 4YO EMERALD (MOBILE PACE) (Gr1)  $150,000, 4YO GELDINGS & ENTIRES, 1609m    Racebook    Gear    Front Line Limit      Race History    Jewels Leader Board   For 4-year-old pacing geldings & entires. Book Form Age Sex     Name   Rating Draw Hdcp Driver Trainer   1 306630 4 g     Don Domingo   R69 1 Front Blair Orange K & T Barron   2 1015X3 4 g     Mr Mojito   R107 2 Front Kerryn Manning Ms K E Manning   3 742212 4 g     Bettor Ops   R86 3 Front Kirk Larsen K N Larsen   4 617345 4 g     Eldolar   R72 4 Front Scott Phelan Miss A M Donnelly   5 869141 4 g     Buster Brady   R105 5 Front Dexter Dunn K J Austin   6 442223 4 g     Waikiki Beach   R128 6 Front   M Purdon & Ms N C Rasmussen   7 254157 4 h     Ears Burning   R96 7 Front Nigel McGrath N R McGrath   8 222203 4 g     Mo Casino   R69 8 Front Zac Butcher S J Reid   9 512116 4 g     Cash N Flow   R100 9 Front Tim Williams M Purdon & Ms N C Rasmussen   ---------------------------- Second Line ---------------------------- 10 213352 4 g     Sparkling Delight   R73 10 Front Gerard O'Reilly G D O'Reilly   11 723423 4 g     Crackamoa   R67 11 Front John Dunn R J Dunn   12 414516 4 h     Max Phactor   R82 12 Front David Butcher M G Berger   13 341019 4 g     Mighty American E1 R70 13 Front   K & T Barron   14 P11211 4 g     Heaven Rocks   R120 U1 Front Natalie Rasmussen M Purdon & Ms N C Rasmussen            Notifiable Gear Changes:    Mr Mojito: BL-On    Legend      Horse Movements:    Buster Brady to Regan Todd at Woodend Beach         Race 8 [3:52pm] McMILLAN FEEDS 4YO RUBY (MOBILE TROT) (Gr1)  $100,000, 4YO, 1609m    Racebook    Gear    Front Line Limit      Race History    Jewels Leader Board   For 4-year-old trotters. Book Form Age Sex     Name   Rating Draw Hdcp Driver Trainer   1 420429 4 m     Wilma's Mate   R104 1 Front David Butt P C Nairn   2 901524 4 g     Trouble Giero E1 R62 2 Front Stephen McNally B J White   3 213101 4 g     Gentleman Sir   R80 3 Front David Butcher L C Driver   4 1P1011 4 m     Dark Horse   R89 4 Front Nathan Williamson N P Williamson   5 062223 4 m     Sundons Flyer   R67 5 Front Blair Orange B R Negus   6 902121 4 g     McLovin   R71 6 Front Amber Lethaby R H Jenkins   7 4157X0 4 h     Marcoola   R115 7 Front Clint Ford K B Ford   8 212416 4 g     Temporale   R102 8 Front Tony Herlihy A G Herlihy MNZM   9 015836 4 g     Justamollyarcher   R55 9 Front Sheree Tomlinson(J) R H Jenkins   ---------------------------- Second Line ---------------------------- 10 312664 4 g     Lemond   R89 10 Front Colin DeFilippi R O Paynter   11 972145 4 g     Beg Hall   R61 11 Front Kimberly Butt(J) T G Butt   12 502851 4 m     Missandei   R82 12 Front Samantha Ottley B R Negus   13 565411 4 g     Eagle Galleon   R53 13 Front Dexter Dunn R E Wilson   14 741103 4 g     Red Hot Poker   R60 14 Front John Dunn G C Telfer            Notifiable Gear Changes:    No Gear Changes      Horse Movements:    McLovin to Mark Jones at Burnham, Temporale to Mark Purdon & Natalie Rasmussen at Rolleston, Lemond to Colin & Julie DeFilippi at Broadfield         Race 9 [4:27pm] HANLEY FORMULA 3YO EMERALD (MOBILE PACE) (Gr1)  $150,000, 3YO COLTS & GELDINGS, 1609m    Racebook    Gear    Front Line Limit      Race History    Jewels Leader Board   For 3-year-old pacing colts & geldings. Book Form Age Sex     Name   Rating Draw Hdcp Driver Trainer   1 833352 3 g     Rhythm N Blues   R71 1 Front David Butcher S G Telfer & C D Garlick   2 502236 3 c     Mongolian Storm   R76 2 Front   P T Court   3 132212 3 c     Ultimate Machete   R110 3 Front   M Purdon & Ms N C Rasmussen   4 181X21 3 g     Thefixer   R85 4 Front   M Purdon & Ms N C Rasmussen   5 232125 3 c     More The Better   R102 5 Front Mark Purdon M Purdon & Ms N C Rasmussen   6 869716 3 g     Jack's Legend   R83 6 Front Barry Purdon B Purdon   7 111167 3 g     Let It Ride   R84 7 Front Craig Thornley T G Butt   8 215123 3 g     Forgotten Highway   R80 8 Front Nathan Williamson M P Kerr   9 113312 3 g     Eamon Maguire   R100 9 Front Dexter Dunn G J Anderson   ---------------------------- Second Line ---------------------------- 10 591101 3 c     Mongolian Hero   R91 10 Front   P T Court   11 622294 3 g     A G's White Socks E1 R77 11 Front Ricky May G P & Mrs N M Hope   12 121400 3 g     Tiger Thompson   R73 12 Front Jim Curtin B K Mowbray   13 809811 3 c     Stars Align   R95 13 Front   M Purdon & Ms N C Rasmussen   14 184224 3 g     Shineonucrazydiamond   R72 14 Front Nathan Purdon(J) C T Dalgety            Notifiable Gear Changes:    No Gear Changes      Horse Movements:    Jack's Legend to Jeff Whittaker at Springston

Alan Mason and Neville Simpson, life members of the Oamaru Harness Racing Club, have extended their association as owners of Majestic Connies, the 2-year-old trotter who qualified for the Harness Jewels with his win at Invercargill on Saturday. Majestic Connies joined his stablemates Majestic Man and Springbank Lachie among qualifiers for the $100,000  Harness Jewels. The trio are trained  at Oamaru by Phil Williamson, who has also qualified on a time basis the 2-year-old trotter The Commando (CR Commando – Castleton’s Jewel) this season. Majestic Connies, Majestic Man and Springbank Lachie are by Majestic Son, who has seven progeny qualified for the 2-year-old trotter section of the Harness Jewels. Majestic Son has sired Harness Jewels trotting winners King Denny(at three and four) and One Over Da Moon (at two). Williamson bought Majestic Connies for $9000 at the PGG Wrightson premier yearling sale last year when  the colt out of Sunny Connie colt was offered by Mike Stevens and the estate of his wife, Glenis. Mason, Simpson, Peter Evans, a member of the committee of the NZ Metropolitan Trotting Club and the Wagovi syndicate (managed by Gordon Stewart, of Cromwell) subsequently became the owners. “I have now won 21 races racing trotters out of the Williamson stable,” said Mason. Lets Get Serious, Galleons Triumph, All Action Man and Hengroen are among his winners. Lets Get Serious has been the star performer with 10 wins, including the 2006  NZ Trotting Championship. Lets Get Serious, whom Mason bought for $2500 as an unraced rising 3-year-old at a mixed sale in Christchurch was sold to Joe Muscara, of New York  when rising six. Lets Get Serious was exported and won 28 races in the United States and Canada. He returned to NZ to win two races as a 9-year-old at Alexandra Park for Mark Purdon and Grant Payne before returning to North America to win another four races, taking his total to 44 and $1 million in stakes. Simpson, who has been involved with the administration of harness racing in Oamaru for 50 years, won races with the trotters Supernatural (four) and Royal Braemar (three) in the 1980s. He bred Supernatural (by Jack Chance), a half brother to Royal Braemar (by Regal Yankee). Supernatural was trained at Duntroon (north Otago) by Stewart Sutherland and won his first race at Invercargill in 1983. Majestic Connies is the second foal of Sunny Connie, who won two races, both at Forbury Park as a 4yr-old in 2011 when trained by Robert Anderson. She was driven in those wins by Matthew Williamson, who drove Majestic Connies in his win. Her first foal, Sunny Monarch (by Monarchy) qualified as a 3-year-old last season. Sunny Connie is a half sister by Continentalman to Dragons Den, who won six when trained by Anderson and one in Perth. Driving engagements for the Williamson 2-year-olds in the Harness Jewels have yet to be decided. “I have three sons (Matthew, Brad and Nathan) and they will have first call,” said Phil. Matthew also drove BJ Lindenny to finish second to Majestic Man, driven by brother Brad in the $55,000 NZ Sires Stakes Championship at Addington last Friday. That win justified the $6000 late entry fee by owners the Griffins syndicate. Brad has also driven Springbank Lachie to win the NZ Trotting Stakes. Springbank Lachie was showing symptoms of a cold after he finished second, eight lengths from One Muscle Hill in the Yearling Sales Final at his subsequent start and he has been treated. Zoey’s Gift, the winner of two of her five starts and third in the NZ Trotting Oaks last time out for the Williamson stable has been transferred to Australia by Sydney owners Emilio and Mary Rosati. Zoey’s Gift was sent to Auckland for the Northern Oaks but she did not come to hand in two workouts. Tayler Strong Harness Racing New Zealand

For many of harness racing’s biggest names the most important goal today isn’t a win at Addington or Alexandra Park. Because while both premier tracks race tonight, the focus for many will be where their stars draw in next week’s Harness Jewels. The draws for the $1.2million day will be conducted just after noon and should be on the HRNZ website by 12.30pm. For most heading to the Ashburton super meeting, the draws will be the difference between a possible placing or just making up the numbers. Mike Berger is a prime example. The Cambridge trainer races Max Phactor in the feature at Alexandra Park tonight before he flies south next week for the four-year-old Emerald. “For horses like ours the draw is everything,” admits Berger. “We know we might not be able to beat Heaven Rocks or even Waikiki Beach but if we draw well and he can use his gate speed he can run a place for sure. “But if he draws poorly he could go 1:52 and have no chance.” Berger says the much-improved entire deserves his shot, especially after finishing fourth to Lazarus in the Taylor Mile. “One of the reasons we are going is the new race, the Uncut Gems, is worth $40,000 down there two weeks after the Jewels and he could also start in that.” While Max Phactor has the gate speed to be perfectly suited by the 1700m of race seven tonight, Berger surprisingly rates Lusty Mac his better chance in the race. “She is one of the best horses I have ever trained, but she has had her issues along the way. “If they go hard she can win, even from the widest barrier draw.” Driver Zac Butcher will also have his eye on the HRNZ website this afternoon before heading to The Park. “I think I’ve got four Jewels drives and the draws will be crucial,” he offers. “If a mare like Arden’s Dream can draw well then we have a chance of beating Piccadilly Princess. If she doesn’t then it becomes a lot harder. “The same goes for Caitlyn Clarke, Jack’s Legend and Utmost Delight so its always interesting when you see where you draw for the Jewels.” While Butcher won’t be getting too confident about his drives next week, he rates Opoutama in race eight tonight as very hard to beat. “She has good gate speed and it has taken horses like Juice Brogden and Gotta Go Dali Queen to beat her lately so this race looks ideal.” By Michael Guerin

As a dam, she’s already considered as being highly successful, but the real calling for Rob The Nest may just come as a grand-dam if this year’s Four-Year-Old Ruby at next week’s Harness Jewels is anything to go by. The dam of super trotters, Sonofthedon and Thedonson, will have three of her descendants contesting the $100,000 4YO Ruby at next weekend’s Harness Jewels meeting in Ashburton. Eagle Galleon, Wilma’s Mate and Ruby leader, Temporale will all line up on June 3 and will do so as cousins with all three coming from half-sisters who all hail from Rob The Nest. Former Harness Racing New Zealand chairman, Gary Allen, who bred Wilma’s Mate’s dam, Mybrotherwasastar and Eagle Galleon’s dam, Galleon’s Assault and also raced Rob The Nest was particularly proud of the achievement. “For three half-sisters to all have a runner in the Jewels is quite an effort,” Allen said. “It’s been a wonderful family for a long time.” Neil Munro, who raced Rob The Nest with Allen, bred Whosinthenest who is the dam of Rowe Cup winner Temporale. For Allen, Jewels Day and the 4YO Ruby will bring dual roles. For the first time he will be able to enjoy the day as a racing enthusiast away from the shackles of being a required for a dignitary role as part of the HRNZ board. There as a breeder, Allen is also in as an owner with Eagle Galleon. The Robert Wilson trained four-year-old began the season as a maiden but will find himself next week taking on horses who have won multiple Group One races in their careers. “It’s very exciting to have him there,” Allen said. “In the last month or so, he has very much matured as a racehorse, we never probably thought he would be a chance of making it to be honest. “But he’s got better each time he’s stepped out and it’s going to be very exciting to have him a part of the day.” Dexter Dunn has been booked to drive the horse but Allen was being very realistic about his chances. “I think it would be a pipedream to think that we could win it, but if he’s running on at the finish I will be over the moon.” Eagle Galleon is a $101 chance in the Ruby while cousins Temporale ($5.20) and Wilma’s Mate ($3.90) are much more favoured. By Matt Markham

Here are the harness racing shadow fields for the nine Group 1 races being held at the Ashburton Trust Harness Jewels next Saturday, June 3. Please note these fields could be subject to change - depending on any withdrawals before the final field is drawn at noon tomorrow NZT. These final fields will be available on www.hrnz.co.nz around 12.30pm tomorrow (Friday). If you have any questions please feel free to contact myself on the details below or Darrin Williams on 03 964 1192. Click here to view the fields.  

The trainer behind the most hyped horse of Harness Jewels day has labelled her odds ridiculous. Because while trainer-driver Nathan Williamson thinks he can win the four-year-old Ruby with the appropriately-named Dark Horse, he is adamant she doesn’t deserve to be the $2.40 favourite. Dark Horse is one of the more exciting trotters to come out of Southland in a decade, having won five of her eight starts this term, her three defeats coming when she galloped. Her last two wins have seen her clock serious 2700m and 2200m mobile times, including a last-start thrashing of NZ Trot Champs winner Eyre I Come at Winton. Williamson, the son of champion trainer of trotters Phil, knows he has something special in his care. “She is an excitement machine, the best horse I have trained by some way,” he said. “She has dazzling speed and I’d love to think she can win the Jewels. “But I can’t believe she is the $2.40 favourite, that is ridiculous. “She is up against a Rowe Cup winner (Temporale), Lemond almost won the Anzac Cup, Wilma’s Mate has won a Derby and a Breeders Crown and Marcoola has almost beaten Monbet. “My mare is on the up and maybe we can beat them but there is no way we deserve to be favourite. If she was $4 I could understand it, but I’d have her $8.” While the latter would make Williamson the most popular bookmaker in harness racing, the four-year-old trot market at the Jewels is one of the most confused. Marcoola is a proven open class star but raced miles below his best at Addington last Friday, Lemond and Temporale have the form on the board at the highest level, Wilma’s Mate’s racing style always leaves her vulnerable to bad luck and forgotten Jewels winner Missandei has re-emerged by beating all of that quartet at Addington last Friday. Friday’s draw will be crucial, with horses like Marcoola and Temporale hard to catch should they draw to lead, but Williamson says while Dark Horse has become a thrilling sit-sprinter, he is is willing to turn that racing style on its head at Ashburton on Saturday week. “Last start she drew inside Eyre I Come, who is a fast beginner, so it gave me a chance to trot her off the gate and see how she handled it. “She was very safe in an opening 400m in 28.1 seconds so I am sure she can come off the gate quicker. “That gives me some confidence that is we draw well I could lead on her and I heard Clint Ford (Marcoola) say last week his fella could trot a 1:55 mile, well I am sure my mare could too.” Michael Guerin

The most anxious wait for many Harness Jewels punters has ended on an unexpected high -- and that could see Piccadilly Princess start the hottest favourite on next week’s $1.2million day. The defending champion has snuck into the $150,000 four-year-old Diamond for mares on the last weekend of qualifying, her luckless second in the Winter Cup at Addington last Friday seeing her qualify 12 of the 13 starters. That will have had plenty of punters around Australasia breathing a huge sign of relieve as Piccadilly Princess had been at short at $1.35 in some markets. But those who took the short odds had nervous times as Piccadilly Princess went into last weekend outside the 13 and with trainer Mark Purdon concerned she was racing slightly below her best. Up against the likes of Waikiki Beach and Classic Brigade off a 20m handicap on Friday and with two Jewels rivals racing poor opposition over the weekend and therefore able to sneak past her, Piccadilly Princess’s defence was in a precarious position. But she thrilled Purdon with a huge second, securing her way into the group one mile at Ashburton and with two weeks to get over the run. Once it became clear at Sunday night’s cutoff that she was in the race, Piccadilly Princess shortened from a high last week of $2.20 back into $1.50 with the TAB and could even start shorter if she fares well on Friday’s Jewels barrier draws. The tricky wait for those who took the short odds about Piccadilly Princess came about because while she has raced at the highest level and won the A$200,000 Ladyship Mile in Sydney this season, only New Zealand earnings count to Jewels qualification. Which means to earn the right to defend her title Piccadilly Princess has had to race the likes of The Orange Agent and Heaven Rocks, while many of those trying to beat her out of the Jewels were racing in lowly rating 50-60 races. She is one of four defending champions who will return this season but two of the others have also struggled. Partyon’s Northern Oaks win gets her in the three-year-old Diamond, but had she missed that classic six days after winning the NSW Oaks, she too would have been in danger of missing out through a lack of NZ earnings. Their stablemate More The Better faces a different problem, with no suitable lead-up races to Ashburton because he is rated 102, meaning he would have had to race virtual open class horses to get ready. He has instead been restricted to trials and workouts and if he does line-up on Saturday week it will be without a race since the Northern Derby three months ago. Definitely heading to the the Jewels as the second Australian invitee to make the trip is former Kiwi pacer Mr Mojito, who sealed his trip with a third in a feature race at Melton on Saturday night. He will wear the Aussie green Jewels colours along with two-year-old trotter One Muscle Hill as they strive to become the first Australian-trained winners of a Jewel. But Victorian mare Rockstar Angel has been pulled out of the four-year-old Diamond after tying up in her work on Saturday. With most of the long-term favourites now safely qualified the TAB has six odds-on favourites pre-draw, with Heaven Rocks, Piccadilly Princess, Ultimate Machete, Spankem and Spanish Armada from the All Stars joined in the red by Greg and Nina Hope’s Enghien, who is $1.50 to win the three-year-old trot. The most open markets are the two and four-year-old trots, with the two-year-old Diamond thrown into confusion after hot favourite Elle Mac underperformed when fourth at Addington last Friday. The draws for the Jewels will be held Friday at noon with the traditional Jewels workouts at Ashburton on Saturday.  Michael Guerin

Top Aussie trainer David Aiken is bracing himself for a hectic next month. And it could still include a raid on the Harness Jewels with his classy four-year-old mare Rockstar Angel. Throw in the fact his two stable stars Lennytheshark and Hectorjayjay are close to racing again and there is plenty on Aiken’s plate. First, let’s get the very latest on Rockstar Angel and what hope she is on contesting the depleted 4YO Diamond at the Jewels? “I had a long talk with Brendan (James, owner) this morning and there’s definitely a chance she will head across,” Aiken said. “We had a bit of a minor setback with her, but she seems really well again now. “It comes down to this. She’s fast-working this Saturday then there is a race for her at Menangle on Saturday week. “It’s possible, if she runs really well at Menangle, then the flight leaves from Sydney to Auckland on the Monday after that race.” Aiken is leaving the final decision to James. But with Golden Goddess out and Piccadilly Princess seemingly racing below her best, it will surely be tempting to put Rockstar Angel on the plane. Now Aiken’s other “rockstars”, Lennytheshark and Hectorjayjay. “Hectorjayjay is set to go. I thought about given him two runs before the Len Smith (June 25), but I’ve settled on a trial and one race,” Aiken said. “At this stage he’ll trial not this weekend, but next and then he race in the Young Pedro free-for-all at Melton on June 9. I like that two week gap from there into the Len Smith.” Lennytheshark is also set to have just the one lead-up run before the Len Smith. “He’ll run in the Golden Mile at Menangle, which is the night after Hectorjayjay runs in the Young Pedro,” Aiken said. Beyond the Len Smith Mile, Aiken said it was “90 per cent” likely both Lennytheshark and Hectorjayjay would head to Queensland for the Group 1 winter double in the Sunshine Sprint and Blacks A Fake. “You can’t keep them apart forever. The Len Smith and the two big races in Queensland suit both horses so we’re happy to run them against each other,” Aiken said.   Adam Hamilton

Star mare Golden Goddess is the latest big name Harness Jewels casualty. Owner Merv Butterworth confirmed the plan to return to NZ for a Jewels tilt were over after she flopped at Melton last Friday night. "She pulled up with a cough and her heart rate was right up," he said. "We've decided to give a spell now in Melbourne to the Jewels is out, sadly." Golden Goddess sat parked in quick times, but wilted badly from the home bend when beaten almost 50m in 10th place behind The Orange Agent last Friday night. Her setback is a boost for glamour stablemate A Piccadilly Princess, who is battling to make the cut for a spot in the Jewels 4YO Diamond final. It wasn't all bad news for Butterworth over the weekend with his classy four-year-old Motu Premier winning the free-for-all at Menangle last night. Butterworth Jewels' focus now turns to Melton next Saturday with the return to racing of Mr Mojito. Now with Kerryn Manning, Mr Mojito head across for the Jewels providing he pleases connections first-up in the Group 2 4&5YO Championship on Saturday.   Adam Hamilton

Punters who have taken the short odds on offer for Marcoola to become the Four-Year-Old Ruby at next month’s Harness Jewels will have heartened by what transpired at Tuesday’s Ashburton trials. Unsighted since his well-beaten effort behind Eyre I Come at Addington back in February, the Ken Ford trained trotter looked right back on top of his game with an effortless performance against modest opposition on Tuesday. A slight injury concern has plagued last season’s leading three-year-old trotter for the best part of the last two months but there was no signs of it causing concern in the trial. “He felt good and strong,” driver Clint Ford said. “It was good to get that run into him.” Off a 40 metre handicap, Marcoola was into his work quickly and while not bustled by Ford he worked his way around the field inside the final 800 metres before blasting away from his rivals to win by eight lengths in a corrected time of 3:04 for the 2400 metre stand. “If you’d asked me how quick it felt like we were going I wouldn’t have said that, he made it feel like it was more like 3:10, he did it all pretty easy.” The Ford clan had an eye on a race next week at Addington for a resumption as they prepare for the Jewels, but that may be put on ice for another week with an eagerness to make sure everything is spot on before they tackle a race. “I’m going to get him checked over and then we can make a decision from there.” Rated a $2.40 chance to win the Ruby on June 3, Marcoola’s task has been made a little harder by the continued rise of others in the age group. Friday night’s Rowe Cup winner, Temporale will be there as well as other proven Group One performers, Lemond and Wilma’s Mate while progressive types, Dark Horse and McLovin are also capable. Earlier in the day at Tuesday’s trials, New Zealand’s two best three-year-old fillies went to the line locked together. Spanish Armada eventually got the judge’s nod over Partyon, but both performances were spot on as they prepare for a plethora of riches available to them over the next month.   Matt Markham

ANONIMITY is a thing of the past for Ange McDowall.  The dairy farming hobby horse trainer and her brilliant, unbeaten juvenile pacer Lumineer are the talk of the sport.   Lumineer’s effortlessly easy win in last night’s $322,000 Group 1 Australian Gold final has opened all sorts of doors for McDowall  …. Including an invite to the Harness Jewels at Ashburton.  HRNZ’s Darrin Williams spoke with a slightly-overwhelmed McDowall this morning and confirmed the Jewels invite.  “We would love a special horse like Lumineer to come for the Jewels,” he said. “He could be the first Aussie-trained Jewels winner.    “Ange seemed thrilled to get a call with an invite to the Jewels. She’s taking the horse back from Sydney to Victoria tomorrow (Monday), will see how he is when he gets home and discuss (the Jewels) with the owners.  “He’s not in the Vicbred series, only the NSW Breeders Challenge. The Jewels would fit perfectly if they skipped the Breeders Challenge and set him for the Breeders Crown.   “I’d expect to hear back with Ange’s decision in the next week or so.”  The proactive Aussie TAB quickly added Lumineer to the Jewels market as a $4.50 shot.  Lumineer made it five wins from as many starts when he speared straight to the front from gate six and settled beautifully in front for young gun driver Jason Lee – McDowall’s second cousin – to steady through a soft 31.9sec second split.  The race was effectively over then, especially with the main danger, Mark Purdon’s Sicario back at the rear and spotting the leader at least 30m start at the half mile.  Lumineer quickened slightly for a 28.7sec third split, but knowing the easy run he’d had, Lee went for home at the top of the long Menangle straight.  The son of Sportswriter zipped home in 26.6sec and looked to win with plenty in reserve by eight metres over Stefsbest with another 3.2m away to Jilliby Lorenzo in third spot. It was a Victorian trifecta.  They ran the mile in 1min54.4sec.  Sicario, unbeaten in his previous three runs, never looked a winning chance when he got so far back in a leader-dominated race. He closed strongly late to finish fourth, almost 16m from the winner.  McDowall said she was always content in the run.  “You never get too confident, but Jason told me thought the horse would fly out and lead. He was right. Then, once he got that easy second quarter I thought he’d be very hard to rundown,” she said.  “We stayed up here (at the Menangle track) for the week between the semi and final and he’s thrived. I think the trip away has been really good for him.  “He’s come through it really. I’ve got a big bruise on the side of my knee to show that … he lashed out and kicked me this morning.”  McDowall praised Lee’s drive.  “He’s so relaxed and has so much confidence in the horse. He knew he’d had an easy in run in front, which is why we he went for home as early as he did,” she said.  And what about that big victory salute?  “We had a big group of family and friends up for the race and Jason said he heard them cheering and thought he should give them something back,” McDowall said.    Adam Hamilton

Ben Waldron is going to let the Harness Jewels come to him, as opposed to going out and chasing it. The Ashburton horseman is taking the if it’s meant to, it will happen approach with his star mare Queen Bee Bardon ahead of the Four-Year-Old Diamond in June on his home track because he knows that if you try and chase it, you’re more than likely going to come unstuck. Queen Bee Bardon currently sits just outside the Top 12 for the Four-Year-Old Diamond with just a few weeks of qualifying time remaining, but she’s within reach of making the field for the $150,000 event if she can pick up a win at some point in the coming weeks. “At the end of the day, if it happens it will be great,” Waldron said. “But I’ve been in this position before with horses where you have to chase a spot and it hasn’t worked out that well for us, so we are going to take the casual approach and hope for the best. “I’ve always said though if you are good enough to make your way into the field, then you are good enough to go and compete and it’s a bonus this year because the Jewels are on the back-door step.” Without the pressure of chasing stake monies, Waldron would be quite happy to see his big pacer driven conservatively at today’s Ashburton Trotting Club meeting thanks to a wide barrier draw over the 2400 metres. The daughter of Gotta Go Cullen has given her trainer and her connections, Gordon Guthrie, Michael Crequer and Renee Williams a few headaches in her short career to date, but the promise is there of some exciting times ahead. “We have had a few battles, she got a virus and it took her a long time to come back from that, but we are getting somewhere, she’s a lot better than what she was. “The key now is getting her to relax better for us in her races, she tends to like to charge out of the gate and then gets quite keen. “I’m not one to give instructions to drivers, but I would think Craig will be quite keen to go back early and see what happens.” Craig is Craig Thornley who has struck up a strong combination with the mare and will drive again today. Drawn eight in a strong field the hope is that a good speed up front will bring Queen Bee Bardon’s speed into play late in the race and she can get home over the top of her opposition. Ashburton Selections by Matt Markham Race 1: Sea Rover, Star Pride, Woodstone, Jana’s Wishes Race 2: Chevron’s Reward, Nicky Anew, Tara Tutaia. Real Obsession Race 3: Sundee’s Son, Castlereagh, Majestic Man, Stress Factor Race 4: Warloch, Spondulicks, Time Traveller, Burning Rubber Race 5: Cindy Bromac, Chloe, Vera’s Delight, Midfrew Tarpediem Race 6: Elmers Hoofing It, Paravani, Time’s Stride, Mega Watt Race 7: All Settled Down, Muscles Galore, Beg Hall, Just A Dude Race 8: Queen Bee Bardon, Christopher Banner, Shineonyoucrazydiamond, Nolan Sackett Race 9: Missandei, McLovin, Royal Shine, Trouble Giero Race 10: Mac Almighty, Mighty Santana, Titanium, Julia Lady Race 11: Pirate Bay, I Am Yours, Novak, Zimfandel Best Bet: Elmers Hoofing It (Race 6) Value: All Settled Down (Race 7)

Former buzz Kiwi pacer Mr Mojito is close to launching the next chapter of his career. And that chapter could well include a trip back to his homeland for a crack at the Harness Racing Jewels. The former Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen-trained pacer has followed the same path as many of Merv and Meg Butterworth’s horses and switched to Kerryn Manning’s barn. The move came after a frustrating Perth campaign late last year when Mr Mojito never looked comfortable around the tight Gloucester Park where he raced three times for a win, a fifth and an 11th. “He didn’t like the track, but he still wasn’t at his best over there,” Butterworth said. “We gave him a good break and now he’s just about ready to race again. “Grant (Campbell, Manning’s husband) put a smile on my face the other day when he said Mr Mojito gave him the feel of a very nice horse.” Butterworth said Mr Mojito was likely to resume early next month. “I’d say that first week of May is when you’ll see him back,” he said. “The Harness Jewels is where we’d love to head with him. If they invite him, we should have time for a couple of runs here before going across.” In contrast, Butterworth said he was leaning towards bringing his classy four-year-old mare Golden Goddess across from Auckland to Victoria for a string of feature mares’ next month. “That’s how I’m leaning at the moment. First I’m hoping she can a cheeky race against Lazarus this weekend,” he said. “If she comes to Victoria, she will stay with Mark and Natalie for those races. Then we’ll decide whether goes back to NZ with them or stays here and goes to Kerryn and Grant.”   Adam Hamilton

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