The stewards report from Saturday nights Hunter Cup reads like a harness racing report from the front line at a war. Numerous people and horses were examined, censured or fined and we have to say how refreshing it is to see a group of stewards who seem to take their jobs so seriously. There were so many unanswered questions after the race but reading the stewards report has clarified a lot of those issues for us. We here at Harnesslink are never slow to point the finger at a lack of oversight at times of what happens on and off the track by stewards throughout Australasia. In this case we think they have done an outstanding job and hope they continue the standard of Saturday night's report into the future. The one interesting feature of the report which was unclear is the inquiry into the conduct of Emma Stewart towards the stewards after race 9. A little bit more clarity would have been appreciated. Stewards Report RACE 8 –DEL-RE NATIONAL FOOD GROUP HUNTER CUP (GROUP 1) (3280 SS) Arden Rooney NZ, Adore Me NZ, Restrepo, Im Corzin Terror NZ and Washmepockets NZ all began badly and each will be drawn wide for standing start races. Adore Me lost considerable distance while galloping and took no competitive part in the race. Christen Me NZ raced roughly after the start and inconvenienced Guaranteed. Flaming Flutter broke after the start and will be drawn wide in future standing start races. Philadelphia Man over-raced in the middle stages. Easy On The Eye was inclined to pull hard in the middle stages. Driver Joshua Aiken was fined $200 under Rule 168(1) which deals with careless driving in that he drove Smudge Bromac NZ forward at the 250m when held up behind Philadelphia Man resulting in Philadelphia Man carrying a flat tyre for the remainder of the race. Im Corzin Terror NZ was inconvenienced when Terror To Love and Guaranteed gave ground before being held up behind Washmepockets in the early stages of the home straight. Driver Kerryn Manning was fined $500 under Rule 156(2) for using her whip with a free hand prior to the 200m. Ms Manning was also fined $500 under Rule 156(3)(b) for her excessive use of the whip, which included her whip action in the early stages of the home straight and a breach of Rule 156(3)(f) for two strikes after the winning post. In assessing penalty, the level of the breaches and status of the race were major considerations. Driver Luke McCarthy was questioned about the tactics he adopted on Restrepo, particularly his decision to shift three-wide at the 1800m and challenge for the position outside the leader before restraining to the rear. Mr McCarthy explained that he thought Terror To Love would not get the parked position from Guaranteed and made the decision to be the first trailer in the three-wide line. When it became clear that Terror To Love obtained that position, Mr McCarthy had lost his position in the running line and tried for the parked position knowing that Terror To Love had done some work and may surrender. When it became clear driver Ricky May was intent on holding that position Mr McCarthy tried to gain a second three-wide trial which did not eventuate before restraining to the rear of the field. A post-race veterinary examination failed to reveal any significant abnormalities and given Restrepo was beaten 186m, the horse will be required to trial satisfactorily prior to future nominations being accepted. Guaranteed ($6.80) also gave ground over the latter stages after working three-wide between the 2300m and 1400m to be beaten 62m into eleventh place. A post-race veterinary examination revealed Guaranteed to be suffering from a suspected respiratory infection identified by abnormal lung sounds. As such Guaranteed was stood down pending clearance by way of a veterinary certificate. Driver Ricky May could not offer an explanation for the performance of Terror To Love ($7.40), stating that it was one of the worst performances of the horses career. Terror To Love worked three-wide with cover from the 2300m to obtain the position outside the leader for the final mile before giving ground over the latter stages and being beaten 71m into twelfth place. Mr May advised that he was instructed to work forward when given the opportunity and sit parked. Mr May said that with those tactics in mind he did not consider Restrepo was a suitable horse to surrender to when the opportunity arose. A post-race veterinary examination revealed a delayed recovery. An inquiry was adjourned into the conduct of trainer Emma Stewart upon leaving the Stewards Room after Race 9.
Harness racing followers on this side of the Tasman have been hearing for a few years now how Australian breeders were producing more and more of their elite age group and aged performers and that in the not to distant future they would overtake Kiwi breeders as the major supplier of elite level horses in Australasia. Those same Australian breeders must be looking at this weekends Hunter Cup and wondering what to make of the fact that eleven of the fourteen runners have that little tag of NZ beside their name. Of the four favourites heading into tonights $400,000 Hunter Cup, three have that same NZ tag. Christen Me, Adore Me and Terror To Love are all rated huge chances to take home the Cup with the only Australian given a chance being the Emma Stewart trained Guaranteed by Artsplace from the outstanding Australian mare Jadah Rose.. The other two Australian breds in the field are also in the Emma Stewart barn in Restrepo (second dam the NZ mare Cerebrand by Lordship) and Philladelphia Man (third dam the NZ mare Sue Adios) whcih are both just a yard behind the top quartet. Ever since the harness racing industry began in New Zealand over 100 years ago, New Zealand breeders have been selling their fillies and mares to Australia but always retaining more than enough of their best bred stock to allow the breed to thrive in their own country. Each country has had periods where they seemed to be getting the upper hand but for most of the last 100 years the Kiwi breds have held the upper hand. When you consider that there are hundreds of well bred Christian Cullen, Mach Three and Bettor's Delight mares still to join the broodmare ranks in New Zealand and that dominance over the Australian breds looks set to continue. With the ongoing results achieved by New Zealand bred stock in Australia, the breeding side of the Industry in New Zealand looks to have a great future. Harnesslink Media
Another champion to be crowned king (or queen) of the Hunter Cup Del-Re National Food Group Hunter Cup night has arrived as we enter the final night of HRV's TAB.com.au Summer of Glory carnival. Christen Me won last week's Victoria Cup and will be out to become the first horse since Blossom Lady to go back-to-back in the Hunter Cup tomorrow night. Kiwi mare Adore Me is the favourite for the race, heavily backed after she caught the eye flashing home for third in the Victoria Cup. With hot weather forecast and heaps of trackside entertainment on Hunter Cup night there has never been a better time to get trackside at the trots at Melton! DEL-RE NATIONAL FOOD GROUP HUNTER CUP Saturday night, February 7. Group 1, 3280m, stand start. 9.30pm 1: PHILADELPHIA MAN ($13w $3.28p) Ticks: Horsham Pacing Cup win was full of merit when too strong for Restrepo and Arden Rooney. Drawn the pole. Prolific winner (11 wins from his last 13 starts). Crosses: Some say his bubble may have burst having been rolled his last two starts after 11 straight victories. 2: ARDEN ROONEY ($26w $4.8p) Ticks: Loves the stand-start racing (11: 6-1-2) and will have no worries with the marathon trip. Crosses: Was well beaten behind Restrepo in the Hamilton Pacing Cup and Restrepo is a $14 shot here. 3: ADORE ME ($2.6w $1.30p) Ticks: She's a first-class mare who produced the best run outside of the winner in the Victoria Cup and will be clearly suited to the longer trip. Crosses: She's a mare. They don't win the Hunter Cup too often. 4: CHRISTEN ME ($3.8w $1.53p) Ticks: Victoria Cup winner, Miracle Mile winner, easy Bendigo Cup winner. He's on fire. Crosses: Struggling to find one. 5: RESTREPO ($14w $3.47p) Ticks: Suited by the distance. Burst back into winning form with an enormous Hamilton Pacing Cup win from stand-start conditions two runs back. Crosses: Finished well-back in the Victoria Cup and despite his obvious talent he's only won two races since late November 2013. 6: UNCLE WINGNUT ($101w $20.04p) Ticks: Having a super season with strong runs in the Pure Steel last time out (third), the Horsham Cup (fourth) and the Cranbourne Cup (fourth). Crosses: Yet to win in 11 goes from behind the strands and seems a rung or two below the best ones here. 7: FLAMING FLUTTER ($41w $8.61p) Ticks: Excellent stand-start record (6: 4-0-1). Has in-form reinsman Greg Sugars. Has been racing in super-consistent form. Crosses: Probably a season away from being able to win at this level. 8: EASY ON THE EYE ($41w $8.61p) Ticks: Trained and driven by powerhouse New South Wales combination in Shane Tritton and Lauren Panella. Secured invite into last year's Miracle Mile. Crosses: Finished down the track in last year's Hunter Cup, drawn slightly awkwardly as loves to bowl along in front. 9: IM CORZIN TERROR ($26w $5.76p) Ticks: Stays all day and has a good record at the stand-start conditions (10: 3-3-1). He ran on well in this race last year and was close-up in the Kilmore Cup from the stand behind Guaranteed. Crosses: Has finished behind the top-liners at Horsham, Bendigo and last time out in the Victoria Cup. 10: WASHMEPOCKETS ($301w $58.14p) Ticks: Honest as the day is long and always puts in. Has his own Twitter account. Crosses: Just doubt he's up to this class. 11: GUARANTEED ($6.5w $2.04p) Ticks: Gavin Lang has chosen to stick with Guaranteed and would have had the choice of the three Emma Stewart trained runners. In ripping form throughout this campaign. Crosses: Will have to work around at some point but aside from that he's got far more ticks next to his name than crosses. 12: FRANCO LEDGER ($31w $6.71p) Ticks: Lethal sprint on him. He ended Philadelphia Man's winning streak at Shepparton when absolutely sprouted wings in the home straight. Is a 13-time winner from 21 goes at stand-start. Crosses: New Zealand form not as strong as say Terror To Love, Adore Me or Christen Me. 13: TERROR TO LOVE ($6.5w $2.04p) Ticks: Three-time New Zealand Cup winner so class is no worries and loves staying races. Crosses: Didn't fire in the Victoria Cup last start and found a way to get beaten in a four-horse Ballarat Cup two starts back. 14: SMUDGE BROMAC ($101w $20.04p) Ticks: Racing in career-best form. Broke the track record in the Yarra Valley Cup last December. Stable knows how to win a feature race. Crosses: Class the big query at this stage and being ODS hasn't helped his cause. ACCESS MARKET FOR THE DEL-RE NATIONAL FOOD GROUP HUNTER CUP $300,000 Quaddie Pool Guarantee Tomorrow night's Hunter Cup Quaddie will carry a guaranteed pool of minimum $300,000 thanks to Summer of Glory sponsor, the TAB. Cash Grab Machine Have a Quaddie on Saturday night's Hunter Cup meeting (min $10 spend) and present your betting ticket to TAB Grab staff for your chance to win entry into the TAB Grab Booth, where $5,000 worth of vouchers await at Tabcorp Park Melton! Special bonus offer There is also a special bonus offer for TAB customers this weekend. Have a fixed odds win bet on the Group 1 Hunter Cup, with your TAB account or TAB rewards card, and if your horse runs second or third, you'll score a Bonus Bet up to $50 or equivalent TAB Rewards points. Bet at the track, your local TAB outlet, via the TAB smart phone app or online at tab.com.au WIN A $50 TAB VOUCHER Here’s your chance to win a $50 TAB Voucher. To enter, tell us who you think will win the Del-Re National Food Group Hunter Cup on Saturday night. All entrants that pick the winner will go into a random draw and whichever lucky entrant is drawn, wins the $50 TAB Voucher! Entries must be in by no later than 8:30pm on Saturday night 7 February. One entry per person. Must be over 18 years of age to enter.Email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject WIN. The winner will be notified via email on Tuesday.
Harness racing can be very cruel at times with luck playing its part but leading reinsman Ricky May is still shaking his head after his drive Terror To Love yet again drew a bad marble when the Hunter Cup draw was made on Tuesday night. Fresh off drawing the outside of the gate in the Victoria Cup, Terror To Love drew barrier thirteen for the 3280 metres Hunter Cup on Saturday but Ricky is confident that the horse can play a part. "You are dictated to a certain extent by what happens in front of you when you draw the the second line but we must be due a change of luck," Ricky said. Restrained off the gate by Ricky last week, Terror To Love settled last and was still there as they turned for home before making ground stylishly late in the piece. Ricky toyed with the idea of going forward last week before deciding to go back but felt there would be plenty of mid race pressure which of course never eventuated. This week is a lot more to Terroe To Love's liking with the standing start and the 3280 metres right up his alley and Ricky just hopes to avoid any problems early in the piece. Even though he finished ninth last week Ricky was impressed with Terror To Love. " He felt absolutely super last week, as good as he has ever felt and that has given me a lot of confidence heading into this weeks race." " Graham has told me he is as good as he can get him so I give him a huge chance." " He has already proven this season that he can do a lot of work and still win so the draw is not as bad as it seems," Ricky said. With his great standing start record coupled with his record over 3200 metres in New Zealand, you take Terror To Love lightly on Saturday night at your peril. PS: When contacted today for his best drive over the weekend for the weekly ringaround, Ricky quickly nominated Terror To Love as his best drive, draw and all. Harnesslink Media