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Everyone in the harness racing industry has an opinion on the pros and cons of most runners contesting the Harness Jewels races at Cambridge this weekend so we here at Harnesslink thought we would put our two cents worth into the mix. Not only will the best in the country compete for over $1.2 Million in prize money but punters will also get their chance to win big with several big betting pools available on this year's Harness Racing Jewels Day at Cambridge. Click here for up todate betting options from the TAB. Today we will look at the three 2yo divisions, that is the 2yo Emerald, the 2yo Diamond and the 2yo Ruby. THE EMERALD - TWO YEAR OLD PACING COLTS AND GELDINGS  1) ART UNION - (c, by Art Major - Sparks A Flyin - Sands A Flyin) Never out of the money to date and has drawn well but still needs to lift again to win this. Showed no gate speed last week from one which could lead to him being buried back on the inner.  2) BETTOR SPIRITS - (c, by Bettor's Delight - Spirit Of Eros - In The Pocket) Draw helps but too many here have the wood on him ability wise. Hard to see in first four. 3) HUG THE WIND - now scratched. 4) CHACHINGCHACHING -  (c, by Mach Three - Affairs Of State - Presidential Ball)  Drawn well and can fly the gate but has been run over in his last two with those tactics. Has won track and distance in 1:56.6 so first four player. 5) BEAUDINE BOAZ - (c, by Badlands Hanover - Beaudine Babe - In The Pocket) Seems a lovely horse but just a length or two down on the very best. Run down by Linda Lovegrace and Supersonic Miss at his last start so needs to lift to be a serious contender. 6) PARADISO - (c, Bettor's Delight - LC Tricky - Albatross) Very smart Aussie raider who with the scratching of Hug The Wind has seen his chances increase big time. Now comes into five and will go forward which is a big advantage at Cambridge. Only negative is it is his first race for two months. Don't discount. 7) EXPRESS STRIDE - (c, by Bettor's Delight - Lauraella - Christian Cullen) Game and consistent but draw is a major handicap. Will be running on and driver a big plus. 8) MIGHTY FLYING MAJOR - (c, by Art Major - Fleet's Pocket - In The Pocket) Has run some great races this season but always seems to find one or two bettor than him. Draw makes this mission impossible. SECOND ROW 9) PRESENT ONE - (g, by Santanna Blue Chip - Pride Of The River - Riverboat King) Nice maiden win at his only start but huge jump in class here. Not for us 10) STRIKE THE GOLD - (c, by Bettor's Delight - Hill Of Gold - In The Pocket) Has shown a bit of ability but too many here have the class edge. Not for us.   11) PRINCE OF POPS - (g, by Changeover - Slangevar - Cameleon) Has made it off the ballot into the field but that may be as good as it gets. Not fancied. 12) SAY MY NAME - (c, by Art Major - Shakeilah - In The Pocket) Gives 110% every start. Great close second to Alta Orlando two starts back. Definite first four contender but hard to see him winning from draw. 13) ICEOBAR - (g, by Courage Under Fire - Trammell - Badlands Hanover) Has really come to it in the last six weeks with two good wins in lesser company. Outside first four contender from draw. 14) FOLLOW THE STARS - (c, by Art Major - Smyrna Duruisseau - Cams Card Shark) He is the best horse in the race by a margin but has the worst possible draw. Has been outstanding all season but is going to have to be at his absolute best here to keep his winning record intact. COMMENT With the withdrawal of Hug The Wind, this race has really become an open affair. The best horse by a margin, Follow The Stars, has drawn so poorly that he now stands a real chance of being beaten by one of his key opponents capitalizing on a dream trip to upset him. Follow The Stars is still first pick and the horse to beat but the connections of Art Union, Paradiso and Say My Name must all fancy their chances of causing an upset with the right run. THE DIAMOND - TWO YEAR OLD PACING FILLIES 1) UNFORGIVING - (f, by Art Major - Pure Envy - Jenna's Beach Boy) Beat Linda Lovegrace earlier in the season and has won on the track in 1:57 but hard to see winning with the favourites drawing so well. First 4s 2) FIGHT FOR GLORY - (f, by Art Major - Breath Of Life - Village Jasper) Never worse than second all year and best draw for a while. She will be very hard to roll. 3) JOANNES DELIGHT - (f, by Bettor's Delight - Larrisa Rose - Falcon Seelster) Great win two starts back against most of these, but slightly disappointing last start when run down into fourth. Can bounce back and genuine winning chance. 4) BETTOR BE SUPREME - (f, by Bettor's Delight - Galleon's Supreme - Christian Cullen) ) Beaten less than a length last two runs in similar fields to what she faces here. Consistent type but hard to see winning this race. She is a definite first four chance. 5) DELIGHTFUL LANA - (f, by Bettor's Delight - Long Live Lana - In The Pocket) Scored two nice wins down South before coming North but has just battled in her last couple. A rough place chance. 6) KATE PERRY - (f, by Bettor's Delight - Karen Donna - In The Pocket) Super last start win over Joannes Delight and Fight For Glory aided by a masterful Dexter Dunn drive. If she can slot in early from six, she has the speed to run over them late. 7) NUAUA - (f, by Changeover - Forever Blue - Live Or Die) Unlikely to make field and probably six months to early any way. She should make a lovely three year old. 8) LINDA LOVEGRACE - (f, by Bettor's Delight - Linda Grace - In The Pocket) Only out of the money once in her career and that was when she drew 14 so drawing the outside of the gate is a real worry in a field of this quality. Last start was super, running home from off the pace in 55.6 to win easily. A big first four contender. SECOND LINE 9) CYCLONE KATE - (f, by Mach Three - Eyre To The Throne - Presidential Ball) Placed in young guns final but likely to get back on inner from draw. A rough place show. 10) BIRD OF PARADISE - (f, by Bettor's Delight - Times On My Side - Clever Innocence) Genuine filly but lacks the class to be a player here. 11) SUPERSONIC MISS - (f, by Mach Three - Bella Joy - Village Jasper) Has been "supersonic" all season. Beat Flight For Glory at her first lifetime start. Her last run for second after sitting parked with a last half in better than 56 was a great lead up to this race. A winning chance if she gets a run through on the back of Joanne’s Delight. 12) BETTOR THINK TWICE - (f, by Bettor's Delight - Ronna Lorraine - Christian Cullen) Has looked smart at times but beaten nearly 10 lengths at her last start by stable mate Kate Perry. Not for us. 13) ART EXHIBIT - (f, by Art Major - Mywayorthehighway - In The Pocket) Yet to win in ten starts and draw and the quality of the field means that won't change here. 14) DEMOCRAT PARTY - (f, by American Ideal - Champagne Party - Soky's Atom) Won the Young Guns Final in 1:56.1mr earlier in the season and she was top dog at that point. Wheels have fallen off a bit in the last couple of starts and draw no help but more than capable of being in the finish. COMMENT Fight For Glory and Joanne’s Delight are drawn to control the race but Kate Perry, Linda Lovegrace and Supersonic Miss all have to be given a chance to roll the favoured pair. If we had to choose one, we would lean towards Supersonic Miss but would not be surprised if one of the other four listed above won the race.  THE RUBY - TWO YEAR OLD TROTTERS 1) SIR HENRY CASTLETON - (g, by Monarchy - Castleton Gold - Evander's Gold) Seems solid but just lacks the class of a few of the others here. Still has a rough place chance from draw. 2) YOUGUNNAKISSMEORNOT - (f, by Love You - Dutch Annie - Continental Man) Bomb proof which is a big plus for a two year old trotter. She is yet to be further back than second in six starts. Manners will take her a long way. 3) PRINCE FEARLESS - (c, by Majestic Son - Fear Factor - Sundon) Manners are the key here. Big on ability but has broken at his last two starts. Big winning chance if he is on his best behavior. 4) MONBET - (g, by Love You - Diedre Don - Sundon) Looked the best juvenile around earlier in the season but not quite so sharp since a recent setback. Beaten by eight lengths at his last start by a couple he is facing here, but was super at a recent Cambridge workout. Each-way chance. 5) WANNA PLAY - (f, by Majestic Son - Miss Whiplash - Gee Whiz 11) Has gone ahead in leaps and bounds lately. Her manners are a lot better now and her last win before coming north was outstanding, running the 1950m in a brilliant 1:58.9mr. The one they have to beat. 6) ARYA - (f, by Angus Hall - Belle Galleon - Sundon) The complete package. Impeccable manners and high speed means she is always a chance in whatever she lines up in. 7) SPEEDING STAR - (c, by Pegasus Spur - Della's Speed - Chiola Hanover) Has been there about all season but just a length behind the top ones. A definite first four chance but hard to see him winning this. 8) SUNNY RUBY - (f, by Sundon - Bright Dierie - Britewell) Smart maiden winner at only start but this is a massive step up in class and from this draw she has a mountain to climb. SECOND ROW 9) THIS SKY ROX - (g, by Skyvalley - Roxie Heart - Sundon) Has shown glimpses of real talent but has never met a field of this quality. Not for us. 10) GEORGIES SMILE - (f, by Sundon - Bearhug - Wrestle) Manners have let her down all season and hard to see that changing here. 11) CYCLONE EMILY - (f, by Majestic Son - Cyclone Dani - Muscles Yankee) Bombproof but needs to find a few lengths to be competitive. Not fancied. 12) PRIMZ LUCK - (g, by The Pres - Howz Lucky - Sundon) Has looked very smart winning three race this season but recent health scare and draw make this a hard ask. Place best. COMMENT Manners are the key here and most of the major players tick that box here. We think if Wanna Play can reproduce her last start performance then she will be very hard to hold out. Arya, Yougunnakissmeornot and Monbet all look leading chances while Prince Fearless badly needs to rediscover his manners if he wants to play a part. Harnesslink media

ELORA, ON - Longtime harness racing Grand River Raceway patron Dave Purdy triumphed in the 10-week Winter Wednesdays Handicapping Tournament which concluded on April 30. Purdy had the highest cumulative hypothetical bankroll ($346.80) of nearly 200 players. The feat earned him $2,000. The Elora, ON horseplayer kicked off the contest on February 26 with hypothetical $2 win and place wagers on six simulcast races which grossed $154.20 and propelled him to the top of the standings. Although others closed-in, he clung to the top spot for the duration of the contest. Purdy has been a fan of harness racing for over 30 years and used to own and train Standardbreds. He has finished well in several of Grand River Raceway's handicapping tournaments over the years, including a $1300 payday for a fourth-place finish in the 2011 ROMP Handicapping Tournament with his team of three called Bet The Farm. Rounding out the Winter Wednesdays top five: Name of Player Prize  Bankroll Dave Purdy $2,000  $   346.80 Larry Pyear $600  $   326.60 Paul McTaggart $250  $   294.80 Brian Evans $100  $   278.40 Ron Uhrig $50  $  275.70   The free-to-play Winter Wednesdays Handicapping Tournament awarded $5,000 in weekly and grand prizes to 65 players. Grand River Raceway's next free handicapping contest kicks off on Opening Night of the 2014 Live Racing Season (Monday, June 2 - post time 6:30 p.m.). Complete standings: http://grandriverraceway.com/handicapping-tourney/. Kelly Spencer Mgr. Marketing & Communications Grand River Raceway

Following two very successful runnings of the Seasonal Super Series held at Addington in 2013 the New Zealand Metropolitan Trotting Club (NZMTC) will stage a third Super Series on Friday 2 May, 2014.   The two rounds of the Series held in October and December last year proved to be very successful with a good level of runners (an average of 13 starters) competing in both the finals and consolations.   It was encouraging to see a “spread” of winners from a wide range of trainers taking out their share of the stakes, providing a number of different owners with a healthy return. As well as some current top 20 premiership placed trainers including Robert Dunn, Terry and Glenys Chmiel, Ken Barron, Tim Butt, Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen cashing in, wins were achieved by Peter Bagrie, Brian Fahey, Gavin Cook, Craig Edmonds, Alex Hastie and Noel Taylor. Total stakes paid out in the new Series will result in $316,500 including the May round.   The third Series, to be staged also at Addington, will once again cater for lower grade horses with projected stakes totalling greater than $100,000 over six events.   There will be opportunities for:    C0There will be opportunities for:    C0 pacers at 21 December 2013 – Stake $23,500    C1 to C2 pacers at 21 December 2013 – Stake $23,500    C0 to C2 trotters at 21 December 2013 – Stake $23,500   Consolations for these races will be run should numbers warrant, with each consolation carrying a total stake of $12,500. All starters in the open race (final) are to receive a minimum stake of $500 and all starters in the consolations will receive a minimum stake of $250.   Field selection will be based on a points system.   To qualify to start in these races on 2 May 2014, a horse must have started in at least one race at a NZMTC meeting between 17 January 2014 and 24 April 2014. There is no enrolment fee payable.   It is the intention of the NZMTC that a similar series will take place later in the year on 8 August 2014 under like conditions.   Full details and conditions are to follow and will be able to be viewed at www.addington.co.nz from Friday 21 February. Alternatively, please call Brian Rabbitt or Richard Bromley of Addington’s Racing Department on (03) 338 9094.   Ged Mooar Marketing & Commercial Manager Addington  

Following last week’s announcement by Racing Queensland (RQ) to increase the Metropolitan penalty threshold to $15,000, we continue to receive feedback regarding the change. The Queensland Harness Racing Board (QHRB) first raised the proposal to increase the threshold in line with other states in November 2013 and then sought feedback from stakeholders and industry groups. Feedback was received supporting both an increase to the threshold and for it to remain at the current level. All feedback was duly considered by the members of the QHRB before the decision to increase the threshold was voted upon. The QHRB considered that the benefit of increasing the threshold outweighed any potential drawbacks. The decision was made to benefit the wider harness racing industry in Queensland and in particular owners. The QHRB placed particular value on the ability for Queensland horses to race in Career Penalty assessed races locally for greater prizemoney than that offered in most other states. Additionally, the potential for Queensland horses to race interstate in lower assessed Metropolitan Penalty racing when travelling was also considered a benefit of the change. As an example; A horse that starts a campaign out as an M1 C11 R11 competes under the existing threshold and wins an M1 assessed race, then an M2, an M3, and finally M4 with one of these being the $16,000 final. Its total earning would be circa $31,700 and would end the campaign a horse assessed M5 C15 R15 throughout Australia. Under the new system the same horse would win a Q1 assessed race, a Q2, a Q3, and a Q4 with one of these being the $14,999 final. Its total earnings would be circa $31,000 and would end the campaign a horse assessed Q5 C15 R15 in Queensland, however outside Queensland it would be assessed as M1 C15 R15.   This leaves the opportunity for four metropolitan graded wins outside of Queensland before reaching the same mark. This could amass a potential prizemoney earning of between $40,000 and $50,000. As with all changes introduced by RQ, the implementation will be monitored to ensure that the foreseen benefits are realised. RQ will continue to work with RISE to implement this change. Racing Queensland  

A free berth in the 2014 World Harness Handicapping Championship (WHHC) - that's the prize for the winner of the 'Pick & Pray Free WHHC Qualifier' handicapping contest The Meadows Racetrack & Casino will conduct Saturday, July 20, as part of a harness racing card that features eliminations for the $600,000 (est.) Delvin Miller Adios.

Ok harness racing fans, after seven weeks I have picked horses in 44 races with only 19 winners, not that good. I had two out of five winners last week which made for a $3.00 overall loss. We are in the minus earning column still at (-$4.30) going into this weekend.

Slow and steady has gotten Mark McKelvie, the 2012 HANA Harness Handicapping Champion back on top in HANA Harness' 2013 Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge sponsored by the Hambletonian Society, Chicago Harness, IHHA, Meadowlands, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs, with a net profit of $7.50 for the four Grand Circuit Stakes this past week.

Ok harness racing fans, after seven weeks I have picked horses in 39 races with only 17 winners, not that good. I had three out of five winners last week which made a $6.00 overall profit. We are in the minus earning column by only (-$1.30) going into this weekend.

Harness racing experts may have thought Smilin Eli couldn't lose, but Sally Hinckley wasn't convinced and it turned out she was right as she earned $138 by supporting Corky in the Earl Beal Jr. stakes to cap off a big night in HANA Harness' 2013 Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge sponsored by the Hambletonian Society, Chicago Harness, IHHA, Meadowlands, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs, as she jumped from seventh to fourth place with her $233.50 profit at Mohegan Sun Pocono Downs.

Grand River Raceway has launched its first online handicapping contest, The Grand River Raceway Challenge (GRRC).

With two strong two-horse entries in the TVG/Meadowlands FFA trotting series which was the sole event this past week in HANA Harness' 2013 Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge sponsored by the Hambletonian Society, Chicago Harness, IHHA, Meadowlands, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs, reality was there was little opportunity for anyone to make a significant move.

In a weekend where there were nine harness racing stake races to be played with a minimum of $270 to be wagered, the potential for movement in any handicapping contest was clear.

In a weekend with six wagering events in the 2013 HANA Harness Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge sponsored by The Hambletonian Society, Chicago Racing, IHHA, Meadowlands, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs, Rusty Nash managed to stretch his lead over the other handicappers thanks to his net profit of $39.05 for the week.

In a weekend with six wagering events in the 2013 HANA Harness Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge sponsored by The Hambletonian Society, Chicago Racing, IHHA, Meadowlands, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs, Rusty Nash managed to stretch his lead over the other harness racing handicappers thanks to his net profit of $39.05 for the week.

The contestants of the 2013 HANA Harness Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge sponsored by The Hambletonian Society, Chicago Racing, IHHA, Meadowlands, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs welcomed the change in scenery this week with many of the challengers being successful one or both days this weekend.

The contestants of the 2013 HANA Harness Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge sponsored by The Hambletonian Society, Chicago Racing, IHHA, Meadowlands, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs will welcome the change of scenery this coming weekend, when the handicapping contest visits Hoosier Park and Harrah's Philadelphia for as a group they have been finding thus far the Meadowlands a tough nut to crack.

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