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Australian harness racing fans...You have been warned! Not only will Follow The Stars be back next season, he will be better, stronger, faster.   Okay, Six Million Dollar Man reference aside, that was the call from New Zealand trainer Mark Purdon, who believes Follow The Stars will improve following a good break.   Having proven himself the Southern Hemisphere’s premier freshman, Follow The Stars is poised for  a stellar campaign as a three-year-old. Not only will he tackle the various majors on the Shaky Isles, he will return across the Tasman for several features such as the Victoria and New South Wales Derbys.   Purdon also plans to be back at Tabcorp Park Melton for the Australasian Breeders’ Crown – a race  Follow The Stars made his own last Sunday. “There is something special about this horse,” Purdon declared. “He has a real X-factor about him. “I would say he is more than up with the best two-year-olds I’ve trained...he is the best. “He will go home and have about eight to 10 weeks off now, then I’ll get him ready for our Derbys at home. “After that he will be back in Australia for the Derbys and the Breeders’ Crown again.”   Purdon’s “he is the best” statement is huge considering the outstanding two-year-olds he has  prepared. Headed by Il Vicolo and Light And Sound, the list includes Fly Like An Eagle, Lennon, Major Mark, Mr Nickel and The Court Owl – all multiple feature race winners.   As for Purdon’s plans, they represent a bleak season for Aussies as Follow The Stars already boasts an unblemished record from six mainland starts. Furthermore, the latest was the colt’s most impressive. Pushed forward from the outside of the front row, Follow The Stars worked to the lead as his talented stablemate, Kept Under Wraps was eased to take a trail. Never in danger of being beaten, the son of Art Major provided Purdon with an ‘armchair’ drive as he cruised to a soft five-metre win from Kept Under Wraps. My Field Marshall, which was three-wide without cover from the bell, was seven metres away third.   “That was a great run,” Purdon said. “I couldn’t have scripted it any better. “After he got to the front without doing too much work he was never going to be beaten. “He just did it so easy and had plenty in reserve at the finish.” Covering the last half in 55.7 seconds, the two-year-old rated 1:56.7 for the 2240 metres.   Raced by similar connections to Kept Under Wraps, Follow The Stars extended his record to an  impeccable 10 wins from 11 starts for earnings of $455,410.   Paul Courts    

Winning harness races has become a habit for the leading dual code trainer Graeme Rogerson. In partnership in the harness racing side of the business with former leading harness trainer Peter Blanchard, this duo of top horsemen continue to produce a steady stream of winners from their base at Tuhikaramea in the Waikato. Last night at Cambridge the duo added another winner to the list when Art I Special won the the Support Local Promotion handicap pace with the added bonus that Graeme owns the horse as well. This 5 year old son of Artsplace went straight to the top after 100 meters in the hands of promising junior driver, Dylan Ferguson and though pressured a couple of times during the running had enough in reserve to hold out the late challenge of Westburn Courage which was driven by his father, Peter Ferguson. It was the third win this season and fourth overall from 24 starts for this promising pacer who has also netted eight minor placings. He covered the 2200 meters stand in 2:48.7, a mile rate of 2:3.4 with closing sectionals of 57.7 and 28.4. As with a lot of the Rogerson/Blanchard  team, Art I Special is bred to be good. He is from Vicario, who apart from being the dam of two outstanding horses already in Stunin Cullen 1:54.1 ($1,493,716) and Coburg 1:56.8 ($205,176) is also a half sister to another top liner in Il Vicolo 1:56.7 ($1,580,948). Art I Special may never reach the heights of his famous siblings but he does look to have something to offer in the next few months going by the manner of his win last night. Harnesslink media

Stylish gelding Isaiah Artois has the $125,000 Golden Slipper on July 18 firmly in his sights after giving a bold frontrunning display to score a decisive victory in a drama-filled International Health Pearl Classic at Gloucester Park on Friday night. All honours were with Isaiah Artois, third favourite at 15/2 who was produced in great shape by Byford trainer David Thompson and was driven with aggression and confidence by Colin Brown. But there was a sad tale of woe, with the 2/1 on favourite The Odd Lover having his off-side sulky tyre punctured 100m after the start. In Nyrobi overraced badly when the mobile barrier released the field and Gary Hall jun. had a hectic time trying to settle the youngster who was virtually uncontrollable. Hall had a battle in trying to steer In Nyrobi as he attempted to guide him towards the outside fence. As he desperately tried to manoeuvre In Nyrobi away from behind The Odd Lover (racing three wide) In Nyrobi's near front leg clipped the wheel of The Odd Lover's sulky. Kim Prentice then dashed The Odd Lover forward to move into the breeze after 550m. Mister Atomic had galloped at the start and Morgan Woodley sent Nitro Lad into the lead before Isaiah Artois surged to the front after 200m. Punters realised that there was a serious problem when Prentice took a sustained look at The Odd Lover's off-side sulky wheel as the field raced down the front straight to receive the bell. The tyre was flattened, but stayed on the rim. However, the tube had become loose and had become wrapped around the axel. The Odd Lover, under the massive disadvantage of having to pull his disabled sulky, began to wilt half-way down the back straight in the final circuit and as Prentice was easing him back towards the rear approaching the home turn The Odd Lover was tightened and broke into a gallop. He finished 105m behind the winner in eleventh position. Steve Johnson, the breeder and owner of Isaiah Artois, was delighted with the victory and paid tribute to the professional care of Thompson and his wife Karen as well as the skill of Brown. "We came here tonight expecting that the Odd Lover would be extremely hard to beat," he said. "And I feel a little bit sorry for Kim Prentice, having to carry a flat tyre." After a reasonable lead time of 37.7sec., Isaiah Artois had the luxury of coasting through the first 400m section of the final mile in 31.4sec. before covering the next quarters in 29.4sec., 29.8sec. and 30.1sec. He rated 1.59.7 over the 2130m and defeated 11/2 second fancy Artillery Major by a length, with almost a length to Kasey Kahne (15/1) in third place. Artillery Major finished solidly from fifth on the pegs at the bell and Kasey Kahne came from seventh with a lap to travel. Isaiah Artois has had six starts for four wins and two thirds for stakes of $74,698. He is by Art Major and is the second foal out of Endless Journey (by American stallion Die Laughing) who had nine starts in Western Australia as a two and three-year-old in 2006 and 2007 for two minor placings and stakes of $2560. Endless Journey is a half-sister to Like A Dame, the dam of top-flight seven-year-old David Hercules, who had set the pace and beaten Im Themightyquinn 30 minutes before the win of Isaiah Artois in the Pearl. Endless Journey is out of Victorian-bred mare Hold Tight, whose five winners included Fake Embrace, winner of the Sales Classic for two-year-old colts and geldings at Gloucester Park in March 1994. Fake Embrace earned $240,249 from 37 wins and 40 placings from 178 starts. David Hercules claims a mighty scalp In ancient times the mythical Greek divine hero Hercules was famous for his strength and was acclaimed for slaying, bare-handed, the ferocious Nemean lion, a vicious monster who was considered indestructible. The modern-day Hercules appeared in the form of David Hercules at Gloucester Park on Friday night when his victim was Australasia's greatest pacer Im Themightyquinn. Im Themightyquinn was considered a certainty by most pundits, but he had his colours lowered by David Hercules, who proved too speedy for his illustrious rival in the 2130m KA Cleans And Flushes Pace. David Hercules, resuming after a spell, charged straight to the front from the No. 2 barrier and he relished his pacemaking role before beating Im Themightyquinn by just over two lengths, with Dundee Three finishing strongly from seventh on the pegs at the bell to be 10m away in third place. Im Themightyquinn, favourite at 2/1 on, started from barrier three and raced without cover for the first 550m before Toretto assumed the position in the breeze. Morgan Woodley rated David Hercules perfectly, and after opening quarters of the final mile in 30.9sec. and 29.1sec. the West Australian-bred seven-year-old gave his rivals very little chance by sprinting brilliantly over the final two quarters in 27.3sec. and 27.6sec. Im Themightyquinn, driven for the first time in a race by Clint Hall, started a three-wide move towards the end of the back straight in the final circuit. He finished solidly, but found the task beyond him. Woodley admitted he was more than pleasantly surprised at the splendid first-up performance from David Hercules, a clear second favourite at 5/2 at his first appearance for just over three months. "He exceeded my expectations," he said. "I went out thinking that if I could pinch an easy time early he might have a good chance of finishing close with Im Themightyquinn. My suspicion was that Im Themightyquinn, with race fitness under his belt and the way he has been racing in such a rich vein of form, would prove a little bit too good for us. "The lead time (37.6sec.) and the leisurely first quarter (30.9sec.) allowed me to be really up tempo from the 1200m and make it very hard for anything from behind. He certainly did exceed my expectations and I was very happy with him and the most positive thing to come out of it is that I think that he will improve. "I believe it was the winning move, sprinting the third quarter in 27.3sec. It wasn't premeditated, it wasn't a plan; it just seemed like the right thing to do. So I rolled the dice and threw caution to the wind down the back straight and tried to pinch a good break. "As we turned into the back straight the last time I had a look over my shoulder and saw that Im Themightyquinn still hadn't pulled out off the back of Toretto, and I thought, well now's my chance. If I can pinch a couple of lengths here and he has to be going sideways while I'm going forward, well I can really make a race of it. "Fortunately David Thompson had the horse right, and this made my drive look good. A lot of times you can try things like that, but if the horse isn't up to the mark they will wilt over the final stages and you will have egg on your face. So credit is due to David for having the horse so forward. "David Hercules ran out a little bit in the home straight, but that is not something that's of great concern. If it was the first time he had done it, then I would be worried. It seems to be quite a consistent thing with him. He has raced with block blinkers on from time to time and, who knows, moving forward, it might be the case that he goes back and has some form of eye-wear to keep him a little more focused and straight. "He's quite a large horse and I think that some of this is probably because he is running too quickly for his frame. Im Themightyquinn is pint-sized compared to David Hercules." David Hercules, owned by David Botha and Jeneen Johnson, has amassed $820,304 in prizemoney from 30 wins and 31 placings from 88 starts. The Parade, a model of consistency A wide barrier did not prove a disadvantage for talented filly The Parade, who maintained her wonderful consistency when she sustained a powerful burst from last to win the 1730m Electromix-Electrolytes And Sweat Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Despite her excellent form, including her second to the brilliant Libertybelle Midfrew in the WA Oaks last month, many punters overlooked her claims and she started at a gift price of 7/1 from the No. 6 barrier on the front line. Boyanup trainer Justin Prentice wisely restrained The Parade back to last at the start, while polemarker and 5/4 on favourite Harper Grace was put under plenty of early pressure, first from Maddy White (5/1) and then Jungle Jewel (8/1). This resulted in a fast opening quarter of the final mile in 28.2sec. After a second section in 30.1sec., Harper Grace led from Jungle Jewel at the bell, with My Samantha Jane (11/1) next on the pegs and Maddy White in the one-out, one-back position. Prentice started a three-wide move 950m from home and The Parade sustained a strong burst to take the lead with 250m to travel. The final sections went by in 28.9sec. and 29.8sec. and the winner rated a slick 1.56.3. She won by 2m from My Samantha Jane, with 5m to Maddy White in third place. Harper Grace weakened to finish fourth. The Parade has earned $108,144 from seven wins and eight placings from 20 starts. She is by American stallion Real Desire and is the first foal out of unraced Badlands Hanover mare Hearty Lass, whose dam Atomic Lass produced former champion Auckland Reactor (53 starts for 32 wins, four placings and $1,837,043) and Taihape Tickler, who had 113 starts for 19 wins, 19 placings and $183,919. The Parade's win completed a double for Prentice, who was successful earlier in the night with the Ken Kirke-trained The Pacing Priest. Finbar Abbey and Arousing win for Olivieri and Voak Veteran New Zealand-bred pacer Finbar Abbey, who holds the unique distinction of being the only horse to have won a race in Australia in which outstanding four-year-old Alta Christiano tasted defeat, gave Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri and reinsman Chris Voak the first leg of a double at Gloucester Park on Friday night when he finished strongly to win the 2503m Ironvita Blood And Oxygen Handicap. The pair completed the double when Arousing was successful in the second qualifying heat of the Neutra Syrup Netralises And Removes Lombardo Pace. Finbar Abbey, a 4/1 chance, began speedily from the 10m mark, and after racing wide early, slotted in to the one-out, one-back position, with Bartowski setting the pace from Gallileo in the breeze. Shardons Rocket, the 30m backmarker, surged forward, three wide, in the first lap before eventually getting to the front 1270m from home. This relegated Finbar Abbey to sixth in the one-wide line, but Voak remained patient before he switched Finbar Abbey three wide at the 600m mark. Finbar Abbey dashed to the front 50m from the post and won by a length from 5/1 chance Ohoka Courage, who was eighth at the bell and followed the last-lap three-wide run of the winner. Heez Orl Black, the 6/4 favourite, who moved to the breeze 950m from home, wilted to fifth. Finbar Abbey, who won the 2902m Easter Cup from Polak and Alta Christiano on April 17, has flourished under Olivieri's care and looks set for further successes. The eight-year-old has had 105 starts for 15 wins and 24 placings for stakes of $127,281. He had 63 starts in New Zealand for five wins and 14 placings before arriving in Australia. Arousing, second fancy at 4/1, made the most of the prized No. 1 barrier when she set a moderate early pace before covering the final 800m in 57.5sec. to beat 5/4 favourite Jungle Genie by one and a half lengths. This ended a losing sequence of nine and boosted her earnings to $102,696 from ten wins and 24 placings from 92 starts. Jungle Genie was not suited by the dawdling pace and did a good job to come from seventh at the bell. Olivieri and Voak kept up the good work at Gloucester Park on Saturday night when 5/2 chance Hes Ritehererightnow finished strongly to win a 2503m stand from Ardens Southee. Elson and Young strike purple patch Owner-trainer Gary Elson and reinsman Kim Young completed a wonderfully successful week when they combined to score an upset victory with 44/1 outsider Reuben Brogden in the2536m Min-A-Vit Racing And Breeding Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. This followed wins with two-year-old Mister Ardee and three-year-old Class of Tara at Pinjarra on Monday and two-year-old Arturus at Gloucester Park on Tuesday. Reuben Brogden, a New Zealand-bred five-year-old, started from the outside of the back line and he was last in the field of 12 after a lap before storming home from the rear at the bell to snatch a last-stride victory by a head from 5/4 favourite Slick Chapel, with Vapour (9/4) a close third after appearing certain to win when he led clearly on the home turn. Polemarker Im Terrific set the pace until Lauren Jones sent Vapour (sixth at the bell) to the front at the 400m mark. Gary Hall jun. then issued a spirited challenge with Slick Chapel, who had followed Vapour's three-wide run in the final circuit. Vapour began to wilt in the closing stages and was overhauled by Reuben Brogden and Slick Chapel. The final 800m was covered in 59.5sec. and Reuben Brogden rated 1.58.4. Young drove vigorously in the home straight and earned a $400 fine from the stewards for an incorrect whip action. Reuben Brogden, who finished third to Im Victorious in the Golden Nugget Championship at Gloucester Park in December 2012, has been lightly raced and his win on Friday night improved his record to 36 starts for 14 wins and ten placings for stakes of $114,936. The son of American stallion Real Desire, Reuben Brogden was placed twice from three starts in New Zealand in October 2011 before coming to WA. He is the first foal out of Presidential Ball mare Ruby Choozday, who had eight starts for one win, two placings and $5970. Spectacular debut by Spectactular New Zealand-bred five-year-old Spectactular, a standing-start specialist in his home country with five wins in stands, revealed sparkling early speed from behind the mobile at Gloucester Park on Friday night when made an impressive Australian debut with an effortless victory in the 2130m Mecworma And Bot Worming Paste Pathway Pace. Produced in fine fettle by leading trainer Gary Hall sen., Spectactular, hot favourite at 3/1 on, gave Gary Hall jun. an armchair drive as he bowled along in front before sprinting over the final 400m in 27.8sec. to win by just over four lengths from polemarker Kristoff, who had trailed him throughout. Spectactular rated 1.57.4 to improve his record to nine wins and six placings from 37 starts for stakes of $64,862. By Christian Cullen, he is the eighth foal out of New York Motoring mare Tact Hayley, who was placed at five of her 11 starts before being retired to the breeding barn. Halls maintain their dominance with two trebles The all-conquering combination of master trainer Gary Hall sen. and champion reinsman Gary Hall jun. maintained their outstanding form with another three winners at Gloucester Park on Friday night. They were successful with Black Aquila (5/2), Spectactular (3/1 on) and My Hard Copy (2/1 on) and then they combined with another treble at Gloucester Park on Saturday night, scoring with Massive Attack, VC Manoeuvre and Soho Lennon. Black Aquila, a newcomer to the Hall stable, gave a powerful display to win the 1730m Protexin Multi Strain Probiotic Pace from Desirable Guy and Roy Bolt. He started from the No. 5 barrier on the front line and raced three wide for the first 550m before moving into the breeze outside the pacemaker Roy Bolt. Black Aquila moved on terms with the leader 450m from home before taking a clear lead 150m later and racing away to score by a length and a half at a 1.56.8 rate after the final 800m was covered in a slick 57.3sec. Owned by Michael Young, Courtney Burch and John Young, Black Aquila showed early promise when he won the group 1 Sales Classic for two-year-old colts and geldings at Gloucester Park in April 2011 when he defeated Polak and El Machine. The son of Totally Ruthless, he is bred to be a good winner. He is the first foal out of the unraced Il Vicolo mare My Date With Destiny, whose dam Baltic Flight produced Baltic Eagle, whose 40 starts produced 21 wins, seven placings and stakes of $746,980. Baltic Eagle's wins included the WA Pacing Cup, Fremantle Cup and interdominion championship in Christchurch early in 2003, the FTC Members Sprint in November 2003 and the Celebrity Mile at Gloucester Park in December 2004. New Zealand-bred four-year-old My Hard Copy maintained his outstanding form when he was untroubled to set the pace and win easily from strong-finishing stablemate Our Arlington and Black Pontiac in the 1730m Horsport Rehydration And Recovery Pace. My Hard Copy set a cracking pace and reeled off quarters in 28.4sec., 28.9sec., 29sec. and 27.9sec. He now has earned $146,047 from 14 wins and 13 placings from 40 starts. The Pacing Priest prevails A pre-emptive strike by reinsman Justin Prentice paid dividends when he guided the injury-plagued The Pacing Priest to a narrow victory in a punishing finish to the 2503m Sootha Nerves And Stress Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The well-supported New Zealand-bred eight-year-old (9/2) started from the inside of the 10m line and settled down in tenth position on the pegs before Prentice seized the initiative by dashing the gelding forward, three wide, after 750m to move outside the pacemaker Turbo Gold (40/1) with 1450m to travel. Prentice was content to leave The Pacing Priest in the breeze until he urged the gelding forward to take the lead 250m from home. The Pacing Priest then fought on doggedly to score by a metre from 9/2 chance Bubbles And Bling, who came from 11th at the bell and followed the three-wide run of Trojan Bromac before going four wide at the 300m mark and finishing strongly. Turbo Gold held on to finish third. The Pacing Priest, who is trained at West Swan by Ken Kirke, ended a losing sequence of ten and improved his record to 45 starts for ten wins, 13 placings and $110,451 in prizemoney. by Ken Casellas  

Barry Purdon has gone to the bench and called in a super-sub for Friday night's Group I New Zealand Derby at Addington. One of the most successful horseman in Derby history, Purdon has enlisted champion reinsman Ricky May to drive his charge Sky Major in the $175,000 event. Initially the North Island horseman came south with a view to driving the Group I winner himself, but May's availability proved too good to pass up on. "I want to give the horse the best possible opportunity," Purdon said yesterday. "Ricky is one of the best in the business, it makes sense to use him. "He knows all the opposition and their racing styles and he's one of our best in the big races." Purdon's record in the Derby is exemplary, although he hasn't started a horse in New Zealand's greatest three-year-old race since The Cavalier (11th), who he trained in partnership with Scott Phelan, ran in the 2008 edition, and then you have to go back to 2004 to find his next starters; High Calibre (9th) and Derek Bromac (11th). Purdon's five winners came during the 90s, including a golden period where he and his father Roy won four consecutive editions of the race with Kiwi Scooter (1992), Mark Roy (1993), Ginger Man (1994) and Il Vicolo (1995). He was successful on his own accord with Holmes DG in 1998. For May, the race hasn't been quite so kind. He's yet to claim a victory in 22 attempts with just three placings on Spring Alot (2004), Colonel Anvil (1999) and Happy Patron (1986) all he has to show for his efforts - a remarkable statistic considering some of the three-year-olds he has driven in his career. A brave fifth placing in last week's Flying Stakes gives Sky Major more than an outside chance of beating some of his talented opposition, although an outside barrier draw hasn't exactly helped. "We haven't had a great run of barrier draws with him," Purdon said. "But it could turn out to be a good one if there is plenty of speed in the race, Ricky's patient driving style could work right in our favour. He was super last week I thought, he just had to do too much work, but he has come through that run really well. "Now we just need that luck to fall our way." While one Purdon had to scratch his head at yet another average barrier draw, another was smiling after some good fortune. Purdon's brother Mark will line up four horses in the race as he shoots for his third consecutive victory and his 12th victory overall as either a trainer or a driver. And all four have drawn inside the first five marbles with Messini going from barrier one, Aldo Rossi barrier two, Isaiah barrier four and Alleluia barrier five. Gun three-year-olds Locharburn and Tiger Tara had mixed results in the draw stakes with Locharburn drawing six and Tiger Tara one on the second line. By Matt Markham (Courtesy of THE PRESS)              

It was an easy decision for the Executive of the New Zealand Standardbred Breeders’ Association and sponsor PGG Wrightsons’ to make, awarding Scuse Me bred and owned by Charles Roberts with the Prestigious Broodmare of Excellence award. Scuse Me’s progeny reads like a ‘who’s who’ of racehorses and the mares are going on to breed champions of their own. She was chosen due to her overall lifetime contribution to the breed. This award ranks her as one of New Zealand’s top broodmares of all time and took into account her successful racing career, that of her progeny and descendants following. Scuse Me who is nearing old age at 20 years old, is by B G’s Bunny out of Super Smooth. During her race career, Scuse Me won the Group 1 Great Northern Oaks and recorder her fastest recorded mile rate, 1.53.3, set at Alexandra Park when winning the Group 2 Noel Taylor 4YO Mile. Retired after the 1998 season all of Scuse Me’s progeny that went on to race have won, with superstar mares Imagine Me and Adore Me being the pick of the bunch. Below is a summary of her progeny, outlining their achievements on the track and as broodmares: Megabucks by Life Sign born 1999, winner of 5 races before being exported to the United States where he went on to record a mile rate of 1.49.6. Splendid Dreams by Dream Away born 2001, winner of 2 races. Dam of multiple Group race winners Hands Christian and Christen Me both by Christian Cullen. La Filou by In The Pocket born 2002, winner of 1 race. Dam of winners Fagan by Dream Away and The Dip by Bettor’s Delight. Coca Vicola by Il Vicolo born 2003, winner of 1 race. Dam of winner Makah Warrior by Sands A Flyin. Pardin Me by In The Pocket born 2004, winner of 1 race in New Zealand. Exported to Australia where he won a further 10 races. Imagine Me by Dream Away born 2005, winner of 9 races including Group 3 North Island Breeders Stakes. Dam of one foal yet to race. Toledo by Christian Cullen born 2006, winner of 7 races. Exported to Australia in 2012. Abide With Me by Christian Cullen born 2007, winner of 4 races. Idolise Me by American Ideal born 2008, winner of 3 races. Exported to Australia in 2013. Adore Me by Bettor’s Delight born 2009, winner of 12 races including five at Group One: HarnessJewels 3YO Diamond, Canterbury Breeders NZ Oaks, Nevele R Fillies Series Final, Northern Oaks andSires Stakes Fillies Championship. Congratulations Charles on breeding a wonderful mare and we wish you continuing success in the seasons to come. Kiely Buttell Executive Manager, NZSBA

Even our greatest trainer knows when he is facing a mission impossible. So while Mark Purdon couldn’t be happier with Fly Like An Eagle as the New Zealand Trotting Cup looms, he isn’t expecting the speedster to break Purdon’s personal Cup drought. Remarkably for the man who has trained so many of New Zealand’s champion horses and has a string of premierships, Purdon hasn’t trained the winner of our greatest race since Il Vicolo defended his title in 1996. That is 17 years without a New Zealand Cup winner and Purdon realises that almost certainly won’t change on November 12. “I am happy with him (Fly Like An Eagle) but those other two are in a different class to the rest of us,” he said. The “other two” are Christen Me and Terror To Love, who dominate betting on the cup as well as Monday’s next lead-up, the $60,000 Flying Stakes at Ashburton. Most of the Cup’s major players clash on Monday, with the most notable absentee being Caribbean Blaster, who is back working well after a virus and will race in Sydney tomorrow week on his way to Addington. Besotted, who is on the cusp of making the Cup, will miss Ashburton to head to Kaikoura a week later but all the other big names meet on Monday is what is traditionally the best form guide to the Cup. And even with a line-up including Franco Ledger, Mah Sish, Suave Stuey Lombo and Fly Like An Eagle, anything beating both Christen Me ad Terror To Love would be a huge upset. The pair have gapped their rivals in their two races so far this season, with Christen Me narrowly the victor on both occasions and he has the best of the draws on Monday. He will start from barrier four, with Terror To Love at six and NSW visitor Suave Stuey Lombo drawing the ace. Fly Like An Eagle’s task has been made even harder by being on the unruly in the 10-strong elite field. While Purdon doesn’t hold out great hopes of beating the two champions, he is in no hurry to rush his freakish filly of last season Adore Me into the big time even though she beat many of the Cup contenders in a trial on Tuesday. Adore Me left even Purdon stunned by downing Mah Sish, Mach Banner, Jimmy Johnstone and Fly Like An Eagle in a 2400m standing start trial even after she galloped early and lost 20m, erasing the handicap start she had over them. “She did get a nice tow into the race later but it was still a big win,” said Purdon. “It was good to see her go like that because it gives us options in the next month if she needs more racing. “But I am taking it as comes with her and ideally will stick to the mares races as much as possible.” That plan has already hit its first speed bump, with Adore Me’s presence scaring her fellow mares away from her comeback race on Monday. That has forced her into a strong intermediate class 2400m standing start race, where she has the often tricky ace draw on the front line. While her raw class will still see her start a hot favourite, taking on the likes of Mach Banner and Beach Bunny, even with a decent handicap start, will make for a harder return than planned. Meanwhile, Purdon has confirmed Alleluia, who will look to remain unbeaten in three starts on Monday, as his drive for the Sires’ Stakes Final on Cup day, meaning partner Natalie Rasmussen will take the reins behind last season’s Sales Series winner Isaiah. By Michael Guerin (Courtesy of Harness Racing New Zealand)

Champion five-year-old Im Victorious remained unbeaten in his current campaign when he sped over the final 800m in 56sec. to defeat bold frontrunner Sneakyn Down Under in the $35,000 Cowden Ltd James Brennan Memorial at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Pinjarra trainer Michael Brennan, no relation to James Brennan, the founding president of the West Australian Trotting Association, after whom the Brennan Memorial is named, has high hopes that Im Victorious will continue on his winning ways when he contests the $35,000 Members Sprint over 1730m next Friday week and the $35,000 Navy Cup over 2536m a fortnight later. Im Victorious is unbeaten at four starts at Gloucester Park since resuming from a spell and he looks set to be a star in group 1 feature events later this season. Starting favourite at 5/2 on, Im Victorious began from the outside of the back line in Friday night’s 2130m event and Justin Prentice was quite content to settle the New Zealand-bred gelding at the rear while Please Release Me began speedily from the No. 2 barrier, got to a length lead over the polemarker Lord Lombo, but was unable to cross to the pegs. Brad Stampalia allowed 7/1 second fancy Sneakyn Down Under time to settle before sending the veteran to the front after 650m. Im Victorious was seventh in the one-wide line at the bell and Prentice waited until 650m from home before sending Im Victorious forward, three wide. Sneakyn Down Under dashed over the third 400m section of the final mile in 28.1sec. before Im Victorious got to a narrow lead with 130m to travel. Sneakyn Down Under fought back with great determination and was beaten by only one metre, with Lord Lombo 5m away in third place. Leda McNally maintained her splendid form by running on from ninth at the bell to be fourth. Im Victorious rated 1.55.8 in notching his 11th win from only 16 starts at Gloucester Park. Im Victorious, who is still on target for a trip to Melbourne to contest the Victoria later this year, boosted his earnings to $428,460 from 17 wins and two second placings from 24 starts. A jubilant Brennan was full of praise for Prentice and Im Victorious, saying: “To the owners of Im Victorious, the ride continues, boys, JP, you’re a champion, and the horse was again very, very good tonight, and we’ll just keep moving forward.” YOUR GOOD FORTUNE EMERGING AS A STRONG SUMMER CARNIVAL PROSPECT The recent prediction of part-owner and co-trainer Greg Bond that Your Good Fortune would go right through the classes and develop into a serious contender for the rich summer carnival feature events gained further impetus when the New Zealand-bred five-year-old scored a fighting victory in the $25,000 final of the Warwick Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Hot favourite at 3/1 on, Your Good Fortune was driven aggressively by Colin Brown and burst to the front 220m after the start before setting a solid pace and then revealing grand fighting qualities to stave off a spirited late challenge from the 10/1 second fancy the Ragpickers Dream. The Ragpickers Dream started from the outside of the back line and he settled at the rear before Gary Hall jun. set him alight with a three-wide burst 450m after the start which took him to the breeze after a lap had been completed. The Ragpickers Dream challenged the pacemaker approaching the home turn and got his nose in front about 80m from the post. But Your Good Fortune refused to surrender and he fought back tenaciously to win by a nose, with polemarker Artesian Boy 13m farther back in third place after enjoying the run of the race behind the leader. The final 800m was covered in 57.1sec. and Your Good Fortune rated 1.56.8m over the 2130m. The son of Bettors Delight won at three of his seven starts in New Zealand and has raced superbly for trainers Greg and Skye Bond in WA where his 23 starts have produced 11 wins and seven placings. He has earned $175,804. Brown and the Bond team have made a solid start to the 2013-14 season. Brown has had 35 drives for 14 wins and four placings and shares top spot on the Statewide reinsmen’s premiership table with Shannon Suvaljko, who has had 59 drives for 14 wins and 15 placings. The Bond team shows the way on the Statewide trainers’ premiership table, with 17 winners and 15 placings from 65 starters. Gary Hall sen. is in second spot with 12 winners and 13 placings from 54 runners. SWIMMING DOES THE TRICK FOR LUCIE BOSHIER Early this year Lucie Boshier’s racing career was in doubt when she had spurs on a back hock and front knee. It was too late in her career to operate and trainer Chris Brew was having problems in keeping her sound. Then her New Zealand part-owners Andrew Stuart and Rebecca Sutorius suggested that the mare change stables to be prepared by a trainer who had a swimming pool on his property. So it was then decided to send Lucie Boshier to the Boyanup stables of Dennis Roche where Roche was able to give the mare plenty of swimming exercise in his pool. The change had an immediate effect, with Roche gaining a first-up win with Lucie Boshier when Brew drove her to a fast-finishing victory at Gloucester Park in the final week of July. Then followed five unplaced runs before Lucie Boshier returned to top form with a narrow win over her former stablemate, the Chris Brew-trained and driven mare Kotare Ash in the 2130m Freo, Onetogo Mares Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Lucie Boshier, who started from the outside of the front line and at 23/1, was driven for the first time by Matt White, who replaced Brew, who was committed to driving his own nomination, Kotare Ash, the 9/1 equal second favourite in an event in which polemarker Chloe Vargarita was favourite at 3/1 on. Shane Butcher was able to send Chloe Vargarita through the lead time in a modest 38.4sec. when Lucie Boshier was trapped five wide before being restrained by White. But when Chris Lewis dashed Hermattjesty Mulan forward after 250m, White decided to urge Lucie Boshier forward, three wide. Kotare Ash was in last place after 450m and Lucie Boshier moved to the breeze 150m later. Kotare Ash then sprinted fast and Brew issued a strong challenge after a lap had been completed. Kotare Ash got a length in front, but was unable to cross to the pegs as Butcher drove Chloe Vargarita hard to retain the lead. It was then that White had Lucie Boshier in the box seat, one-out and one-back. Kotare Ash got the upper hand and got past Chloe Vargarita about 90m from the post. But Lucie Boshier sprinted fast to get up and snatch victory by a nose, rating 1.57.7 over the 2130m. A winner at three of her 36 starts in New Zealand, Lucie Boshier has had 18 starts in WA for eight wins and a head second from 18 starts. She now has earned $107,969. It was an exciting climax to an interesting race on Friday night which gave Brew’s wife Kalina a quinella result. She is the principal owner of Lucie Boshier, who she races in partnership with Stuart, Sutorius, Jason Payne, Brad Hallows, Mark Pink, Barry Starcevich and K. J. Cameron. Kalina Brew is the sole owner of Kotare Ash. Brew said that maintaining Lucie Boshier’s fitness had been a balancing act for Roche, who had the task of having the mare fit enough and sharp enough to race competitively with a program of swimming and restricted work on the track. “She requires a lot of work and Dennis has got to know the horse and this was her best run for him.” Lucie Boshier, a six-year-old by Elsu, is now going to stud and Brew said that if she got into foal quickly she would be able to resume training and racing. “If she gets in foal we can race her for another hundred days and she could be a player in the feature events for mares over the summer carnival,” he said. Brew said he was setting Kotare Ash for the feature events for mares, including the Nepean Conveyors Mares Classic in December. “First, she will have a short freshen-up before being prepared for the races for mares,” he said. “Kotare Ash is a nice mare, but I think she is a notch below Leda McNally and Bettor Cover Lover. But the track here is a great leveller, so she is a chance for some sort of prizemoney, perhaps, down the track.” ROJEN CRUZ GIVES Chris Voak THE LAST LAUGH Some of Chris Voak’s mates could hardly conceal their mirth when the young reinsman outlaid $3000 to claim Rojen Cruz last March when the veteran pacer had a losing sequence of 29 stretched over a barren period of three years and two months. But the 25-year-old Voak is enjoying the last laugh. The ten-year-old Rojen Cruz took his prizemoney in six months for his new owner to $34,612 when he scored an effortless win in the 2130m Chris Carr Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. These handy and well-deserved proceeds have come from four wins and five placings from 18 starts. The Victorian-bred gelding now has earned $85,405 from 15 wins and 23 placings from 94 starts. Rojen Cruz is trained at Oakford by Ross Olivieri and Voak drove him to wins at Northam and Gloucester Park, while Chris Lewis was successful with him at Bunbury in July and was again in the sulky for Friday night’s victory at 11/1. Voak had driven Rojen Cruz the previous Friday night when he finished gamely to be second to El Machine. But he opted to take the drive behind the Bob Mellsop-trained Chaldea in Friday night’s race in which that gelding also started at 11/1 and enjoyed an ideal passage, one-out and one-back, before finishing on to be third. Noted frontrunner Blissfull Boy set the pace and Lewis had no hesitation in dashing Rojen Cruz forward from barrier four to work hard in the breeze. Rojen Cruz got his head in front 570m from home before he powered away to win by three and a half lengths from 50/1 chance Takeabow, who was eighth at the bell before finishing fast. Heez Orl Black, favourite at 3/1 on, settled in sixth position in the one-wide line before Gary Hall jun. sent him forward, three wide in the middle stages. Heez Orl Black moved to third at the bell, but was kept out wide for the next 500m by Rojen Cruz. Heez Orl Black got to second passing the 400m mark before wilting and dropping back to finish seventh. Rojen Cruz, by the American stallion Sports Town, is the fifth of ten foals out of unraced mare Vera Cruz, whose only other winners have been Exotic Cruz (one win, at Gawler in November 2004, from three starts) and Cruzin A Falcon (one win, at Echuca in September 2011, from 35 starts). This all goes to show that Voak must be a pretty good judge of horseflesh. REJUVENATED WHERE AND WHEN GIVES Kiara Davies HER FIRST CITY-CLASS SUCCESS A nine-year-old pacer with a losing sequence of 25 (since scoring his only win in WA, by a nose at 53/1 at Northam 14 months ago) was sent out a hot favourite at 7/4 on in a full field of 12 in a Metropolitan-class event at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The veteran gelding Where And When has been despised by punters throughout his career in WA since arriving from South Australia in the winter of 2011. His average starting price on the tote in his 33 WA starts (for one win and three placings) before Friday night’s event was $58. In his previous 13 starts he went out at long odds, including $141, $86, $51.10, $108.20, $144.20, $118.90, $108.60, $68.50 and $130.80. This remarkable turnabout resulted in Where And When, taking full advantage of the prized No. 1 barrier, scoring an effortless victory. He set the pace and sprinted over the final 800m in a sparkling 28.4sec. to win by three lengths from 7/1 chance Three Quarter Drive at a 1.59.4 rate over 2130m. And his wonderful win gave 23-year-old Kiara Davies her first Metropolitan-class training success. She is a talented driver who is in splendid form in the sulky and is leading the Garrard’s Junior Concession Drivers’ Challenge series. Davies has worked as a full-time stablehand for Wanneroo trainer Debbie Padberg since last March where she trains Where And When (who is owned by her father Graeme) and Arts Gangsta, a handy pacer she has driven to wins at Kellerberrin, Narrogin and Pinjarra. “Dad bought Where And When from Adelaide and he gave him to me to train earlier this year, just for a bit of fun,” Davies said. “Where And When is a gentle giant and beautiful horse to work. He had a throat operation about 18 months ago to cure an epiglottis entrapment and is not troubled by that problem now.” Where And When, who won 11 times at Globe Derby Park before arriving in WA, is not fashionably bred. But he does have one claim to fame. He is the first foal and only winner out of Misty Wings, who failed to be placed at her only three starts, in New South Wales in late 2002. Misty Wings is out of Luscious Lady, a full-sister to Scientific, who raced 41 times for 21 wins, eight placings and stakes of $173,273. Scientific won a 1609m heat of the 1986 interdominion championship at Brisbane’s Albion Park, beating Bag Limit by a nose, before finishing second in a 2100m heat to the mighty Village Kid. SPEEDY BEGINNING PAVES THE WAY FOR OUR BOY SU’S WIN New Zealand-bred seven-year-old Our Boy Su relishes racing in September. He notched his fifth win in the month of September when he gave a splendid frontrunning exhibition to beat Cheeryrose and Four Grinners in the 2130m TABtouch Pathway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. His first two wins were at Alexandra Park in Auckland in September 2010 and he was successful at Cambridge in September 2011. He resumed racing after a brief spell when he led and won over 2100m at Bunbury on September 21 this year. Our Boy Su, trained at Waroona by Bob Mellsop, was a solidly-supported second favourite at 2/1 on Friday night in a race in which former Victorian performer Ima Grumpy Jasper was favourite at 7/4 for his West Australian debut. Mellsop gained an important advantage over the opposition when he got Our Boy Su away speedily from the No. 2 barrier, easily beating out noted frontrunner Ima Grumpy Jasper from barrier three. Mellsop was able to give Our Boy Su an easy time in front with the gelding coasting through the first two 400m sections of the final mile in 31.3sec. and 30.4sec. before dashing over the final two quarters in 29.1sec. and 28.6sec. He rated 1.58.8 in beating Cheeryrose, who ran on well after trailing the pacemaker throughout. Four Grinners fought on well to be third after racing without cover for most of the way. Ima Grumpy Jasper raced in sixth place in the one-wide line before starting a three-wide move approaching the bell. He faded badly to finish last and the stewards reported that the gelding had pulled up sore in the off foreleg. Our Boy Su looks certain to prove to be hard to beat when he contests an M0-class event. He has earned $81,943 from ten wins and 15 placings from 52 starts. He raced 37 times in New Zealand for six wins and 11 placings and his 15 WA starts for Mellsop have produced four wins and four placings. He is by Elsu and is the sixth foal out of Star Fleet, who won once from 14 starts and has produced Our First Lad (ten wins and $63,830), Fleeting Imagery (six wins and $28,746) and Star of the Ball (eight wins and $68,331). BANANA DANA REMAINS UNBEATEN FROM THE No. 1 BARRIER Smart eight-year-old Banana Dana has drawn the coveted No. 1 barrier only four times in his 53-start career for Woodvale trainer Darren Duffy and he has set the pace and won at each of those four races. He maintained his perfect record from the inside barrier when Brad Stampalia drove him to an easy all-the-way win over Benjamin Banneker and Me Old Mate in the 1730m Trevor Itzstein Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. It was a carbon copy of a 2130m event the previous Friday night when Stampalia was in the sulky for the gelding’s win over Wrongly Accused and Sir Swanky. Banana Dana, favourite at 7/4 on, had a comfortable time in front in the early stages and coasted through the first two 400m sections of the final mile in 30sec. and 29.8sec. with Wrongly Accused in the breeze. He sped over the final two quarters in 28.7sec. and 28.2sec. and rated 1.56.1. Bred in New Zealand, but having all his 53 starts in Western Australia, Banana Dana has earned $139,949 from 14 wins and 13 placings. He is the seventh foal out of unraced Holmes Hanover mare Samantha Franco, whose dam Smarty Pants had 51 starts for ten wins, seven placings and $54,715. Smarty Pants produced Smart Son, who raced in New Zealand, Australia and America, earning $347,805 from 41 wins and 59 placings from 226 starts. Another of Smarty Pants’ progeny, Vanderel had 87 starts for 14 wins, 23 placings and $164,163. Vanderel finished third to Il Vicolo in a group 1 classic for two-year-olds at Addington in May 1994 and won a group 2 four-year-old championship at Forbury Park in January 1996. THIS TIME DYLAN ERUPTS TO SNATCH LAST-STRIDE VICTORY Improving eight-year-old New Zealand-bred gelding This Time Dylan charged home to dead-heat for first with Demon Possessed at Gloucester Park last Friday week and he went one better on Friday night when he erupted from sixth at the 100m mark to snatch a last-stride victory by a nose over Turnpike Cruiser in the 2503m Colin Cowden Handicap. Trained by Gary Hall sen. and driven by his son Gary, This Time Dylan started off the 10m mark and was at 9/2 with frontmarker Turnpike Cruiser and 30m backmarker Shardons Rocket at 7/2. Four runners galloped at the start and Chris Lewis sent Turpike Cruiser to the front after 550m. This Time Dylan raced wide early and Hall dashed him into the breeze in the first circuit before having him in the box seat, one-out and one-back, behind Shardons Rocket. Shardons Rocket gained a narrow lead by a head 570m from home, but Turpike Cruiser fought back to regain the lead. He just failed to hold on and beat the fast-finishing This Time Dylan. This Time Dylan has been lightly raced. He had eight starts in New Zealand for three wins and he now has won five times from 19 WA starts. He has earned $54,735 from his eight wins and five placings. EL MACHINE PROVES FAR TOO GOOD Bargain pacer El Machine maintained his sparkling form when he annihilated his 11 rivals in the 2130m final of the Frank Fuller Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Trainer Kade Howson gave El Machine, the 3/1 on favourite, time to settle before dashing him past Atomic Chip and Soho Aintree and into the lead 450m after the start. From then on it was a procession and El Machine sped over the final 800m in 56.9sec. to win by six lengths from Atomic Chip (16/1), with 60/1 outsider Mister Roberto running home strongly from eighth at the bell to be third. The winner rated 1.57.1. El Machine, an Elsu five-year-old, was bred in WA and was purchased as a yearling for just $5000 by Howson and fellow-reinsman Michael George. The gelding has now earned $105,954 from 14 wins and 12 placings from 38 starts. OLD AGE IS NO BARRIER FOR CONQUER ALL Eleven-year-old Conquer All proved conclusively that age is no barrier when he outclassed his younger rivals in the 2503m Brian Atkin Trotters Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Conquer All, trained at Pinjarra by David Young and driven by his brother Shane, was a 7/1 chance who began like a flash from the 20m mark, and taking advantage of the early erratic behaviour of three of his eight rivals, charged to the front after 350m. From then on it was easy going for Conquer All, who trotted through the first 400m section of the final mile in a leisurely 32.3sec. Then followed a 30.7sec. quarter before the old gelding trotted faultlessly over the final 800m in 59.6sec. to win by just over three lengths from 7/2 second favourite Hot Holiday, who plugged on doggedly after working hard without cover. Sandakan Lombo, aiming to complete a winning hat-trick, galloped badly at the start and raced at the rear with Idle Maple (who also galloped at the start). Heez Speedy Gonzalez (11/2) led for the first 350m before breaking badly 50m later. Conquer All has been a good moneyspinner and he has earned $150,846 from 16 wins and 20 placings from 98 starts. by Ken Casellas  

This Friday night at Addington sees a high quality of horse flesh on display throughout a 12-strong harness racing card including four Group races.

It would be a fair enough statement to say; former New Zealand harness racing champion Elsu, hasn't to date, made the impact at stud that many thought he would. Sure he has left 168 NZ bred winners and some handy types like Anvil Best Ever, Stormy Sirocco, Miss Elsie, Wee Brother and Lucie Boshier; however, nothing that resembles his freakish ability or Nelson Mandela sized heart.

Addington Raceway and Events Centre and The New Zealand Metropolitan Trotting Club is pleased to announce Breckon Farms and All Stars Racing as the new joint naming rights partners for the 2012 Easter Cup on Saturday 7 April. The Group 1 harness racing event carries a stake of $100,000.

Astute Elmore harness racing trainer Keith Cotchin enjoyed a happy day at Charlton on Monday November 14, winning a double with Living Life Lombo taking the Rothacker Medal November 19 Pacers Handicap for C1 or better class over 2100 metres and Bebop the Charlton & District Community Bank Pace for C3 & C4 class over the same journey, both driven by Greg Sugars.

Harness racing was held at Horsham on Monday October 24 and as usual, Great Western's Kerryn Manning was in the winners circle during the day, taking the Moore Bulk Haulage Pace for C2 & C3 class over 2200 metres with The Adriatic and the Westvic Race Pix Pace for C1 class over the same distance aboard Ruffiano.

Woodend beach training specialists Greg and Nina Hope had a day to remember at the Nelson Harness Racing Club's meeting held today (Friday June 10) at Richmond Park in Nelson. The husband and wife partnership produced three winners on the ten race program, beginning with Gretna's Best in race two which ran out a comfortable winner in the hands of Dexter Dunn.

Legendary harness racing trainer Mark Purdon will join forces with smart pacer Russley Rascal this Saturday night (April 30) at Tabcorp Park in Menangle in an attempt to win his first ever Chariots Of Fire. There wouldn't be too many Group One races that have escaped Purdon's clutches, but the historic Aussie four year old race is one such event.

At the always popular Maryborough harness racing meeting on Wednesday March 30. Parwan (Bacchus Marsh) co-trainers Craig Demmler and Jodi Quinlan each provided a winner, with Illawong Sister Styx (Demmler) taking the Emerson Printing 3-Y-0 Pace over 1690 metres & Lombo Flashlight (Quinlan) the Maryborough Toyworld Pacers Handicap for C0 class over 2190 metres, both handled to perfection by Jodi.

The usual Thursday Restricted grade harness racing fixture was held at Tabcorp Park (Melton) on Thursday, throwing up some odd results during the afternoon. The local area was well to the fore with Ross and Kylie Sugars taking the Provideo 3-Y-0 Pace over 2240 metres with La Bella Aurore and Andy and Kate Gath the Vermont Panels Trotters Handicap for TR0 & TR1 class over the same journey with Louey Louey Louey.

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