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The best indication of how remarkable Ultimate Sniper has been in this Inter Dominion pacing series is his own stablemate Cruz Bromac. Because after three wonderful runs in the series Cruz Bromac would make a compelling Inter Dominion Final favourite yet Ultimate Sniper is actually odds-on to win the title and nearly $3 tighter than Cruz Bromac in the pre-draw market. The All Stars pair wrapped the final round of the series at Alexandra Park last night by winning their heats, securing the top two spots on the points table and at the head of the market. After two huge but luckless runs on the first two nights Cruz Bromac was dominant last night, re-taking the lead from Thefixer and never looking in danger of defeat. Considering he won the New Zealand Cup less than a month ago you can make a strong case he can win the $500,000 final next Saturday. But while he has been good, very good and excellent in his three heats, Ultimate Sniper has been unbelievable, unbelievable and okay, we are starting to get used to this, but unbelievable again in this three heats.  After two monster wins in his first two heats Ultimate Sniper was expected to loop the field, sit parked and win the first heat last night. It didn’t pan out that way and he was stuck three wide for the last lap and looked to be labouring at the 600m mark, $1.40 punters thinking the bubble may be about to burst. But driver Natalie Rasmussen was foxing, conserving energy and when she asked the four-year-old to get busy in the home straight he was equal measures brave and brutal. He is in that zone some horses find themselves in during an Inter Dominion and is $1.90 to win the final before tomorrow’s barrier draw while Cruz Bromac is $4.80. Champion trainer Mark Purdon drove Cruz Bromac last night and beaming at how the athletic pacer has bounced through the series but is adamant Ultimate Sniper is their best chance in the final. “Cruz is going great but what Snipe has been doing in the heats makes him our best chance, he has been enormous.”If Ultimate Sniper draws well tomorrow and looks any chance to wresting the lead in the final he could get as short as $1.50. But if he draws the second line and Cruz Bromac, who has good gate speed, draws to lead the market gap will close. Australia has ended up with three in the final as has Barry Purdon, whose training performance to get A G’s White Socks, On The Card and Mach Shard into the great race a stunning effort considering where they sat two weeks ago. Barry also has Marcoola through to the $150,000 trotting final where Mark could potentially have he favourite in Winterfell. The latter was outstanding trotting a national record for 2700m winning the later trotting heat last night and looks a happy horse, hitting the ground more squarely and racing more generously last night. The other trotting heat was won in professional style by Temporale, who used his gate speed to lead and control. The trotting final looks more open than the pacers, with up to seven winning chances and two Australians in the mix. The pre-barrier draw field for the $500,000 Inter Dominion pacing final on Saturday is.—- Ultimate Sniper, Cruz Bromac, A G’s White Socks, Chase Auckland, Thefixer, Mach Shard, Ashley Locaz, Sicario, San Carlo, Triple Eight, On The Cards, My Kiwi Mate. Em: Classie Brigade.   Michael Guerin

Harness racing star Ultimate Sniper proved again how good he is by remaining unbeaten through the heats of this years Interdominion Championships at Alexandra Park. In fact how can they beat him in the final? Tonight, he again sat three wide on a hectic pace before powering home to win when most horses in his position would be going backward at the 600m. Driver Natalie Rasmussen was not worried when caught wide in midfield. "The race did not pan out like I thought it would," she said after the race. "But he is such a good horse. People do not realise how quick he is. He is tough and quick. "When the pace went on down the back I was not getting involved in that, but he can just sit out there doing it quite comfortable. "Then when I asked him to go in the straight he really just had another gear" All Stars stables grabbed the quinella when Chase Auckland ran a close second, with Aussie raider Colt Thirty One running a good race for third. The time for the 2700m Mobile was a slick 3-16.1 with a quick last 800m in 54.8 seconds.   Harnesslink Media

Breeding authority Peter Wharton presents all the harness racing news on breeding from Australia, New Zealand and North America every Friday brought to you by Garrard’s Horse & Hound.   WA classic winner from strong NZ family   Sangue Reale, the upset winner of the $125,000 WA 4YO Classic – the first Group 1 of the season – is an Art Major gelding from Christisimo, a Christian Cullen mare from the noted Krina family.   It was his seventh success and pushed his stake earnings over the $140,000 mark. Christisimo, the dam of Sangue Reale, was a capable racemare winning 10 races including four at Gloucester Park, earning $48,618 and taking a mile record of 1:57.2.   Watch the Sangue Reale race click here.   At the stud she has left three winners from three foals of racing age – all inside 1:58 – including the multiple Group winner Miss Sangrial 1:55.7 ($199,714).   The next dam, Bellisimo, left eight individual winners, four of whom earned $100,000 headed up by the Queensland Derby winner Torbelo 1:56.1 ($147,360) and The Gammalite winner The Cavalier 1:56.8 ($248,434).   She is also the grand-dam of the top Western Australian pacers Ohokas Bondy 1:53.6 ($388,148) and Code Red 1:55.1 ($132,639), the Leonard Memorial winner Dancing Diamonds ($343,276), and the exported Mr Ricky 1:52.6 ($173,250).   Bellisimo, who was unraced, was by Smooth Fella from Krina Bella, by Lordship from the Van Dieman mare Bellajily, winner of the 1963 NZ Derby.   Others from this branch of the Krina tribe have been Be Happy Mach, the reigning Australian 2YO Colt of the Year, the dual NZ Sires Stakes champion Imagine That, Happy Hazel (NZ 3YO Filly of the Year), Heza Thrill (1:49.1), Keep It Up (SA Derby) and the NZ 2YO Filly of the Year Krina Bella, the fourth dam of Sangue Reale.     Interdom heat winner from good broodmare   Ultimate Sniper, a Bettor’s Delight four-year-old and a winner of both his Inter Dominion heats, is out of Reality Check, a fine racemare with a stake tally of $139,495, who is proving a champion broodmare.   Reality Check is also the dam of Ultimate Machete 1:51.9 ($823,896), a four-time Group 1 winner now standing at Alabar Stud, and his half-sister Major Reality 1:50.9 ($434,455), a classics winner in WA.   Reality Check is an Armbro Operative mare from Maureen’s Dream, by Lordship from Tuapeka Dream, by Lumber Dream from the Light Brigade mare Mains Lady.   This is the Bonnie Belle family which produced the inaugural Inter Dominion champion Logan Derby.   Ultimate Sniper winning his heat on night one.     Smart filly by Sweet Lou   A star three-year-old filly in Western Australia so far this season is My Sweet Deal, who was bred in New Zealand by Charles Roberts and is raced and trained by David Hunter. She won at her first five appearances this term and has won seven out of 10 lifetime.   A filly by Sweet Lou, My Sweet Deal is out of American Sweetheart, by American Ideal from the Il Vicolo mare Sweet Vicky, a daughter of Soky’s Sweetheart, the dam of former NZ 2YO of the Year Sweet Talking Man 1:57.2 ($244,479), the top Victorian pacer Wartime Sweetheart 1:54.5 ($284,936) and the NZ Group 2 winner Stylish Sweetheart ($157,409), who, in turn, left a top ranking pacer in Gomeo Romeo 1:53.2 ($340,193), winner of the Taylor Mile and Cambridge Futurity.   Stylish Sweetheart is also the grand-dam of the NSW Breeders Challenge and Blacks A Fake winner Let It Ride 1:49.4 ($378,745).       Circus Flyer is star matron   When the Bettor’s Delight four-year-old Flying Finn won the opening race at the Auckland Inter Dominion Championship carnival, he credited his dam Circus Flyer with her third winner this season.   Flying Finn has won four races to date and boasts a record of 1:54.8.   Others to win from Circus Flyer this season have been Raptors Flight (1:52.7), who won her first seven starts in Victoria, and the three-year-old Major Jellis (1:55.7), who is unbeaten in two outings this term.   Circus Flyer is a Falcon Seelster mare from Soleil D’or, by In The Pocket from Corbie, a daughter of the grand producer Black Watch.   Flying Finn winning the opening race at this years ID19     First win for Restrepo   Restrepo, a well performed Art Major horse from a half-sister to a top racemare in Innocent Eyes, and who is now standing at Goodtime Lodge in western Victoria, was recently represented by his first winner in the three-year-old gelding Urbadboy.   Having only his second start, the gelding overcame interference to win decisively. Restrepo has been only lightly used at the stud so far, and he has had very few runners.   Urbadboy is the first foal of his dam, Dulcies Dilemma (1:58.7), a Jet Laag mare from Dazzling Dulcie, by What’s Next from the Classic Garry mare Winger, whose produce includes the Bathurst Gold Chalice winner Northern Frontier 1:56.6 ($136,248).       Melton double for leading breeders   Prominent breeders Bill and Anne Anderson, of Lauriston Bloodstock, had a red-letter night at Melton last Saturday. The couple bred a winning double with the former Group 1 winner Hurricane Harley (Bettor’s Delight-Sugarland), who they also race, and Kasbah Kid (Art Major-Kabbalah Karen B).   The Anderson’s will be offering an Art Major half-brother to Hurricane Harley and a Bettor’s Delight half-sister to Kasbah Kid at the Melbourne APG sale in February.   Hurricane Harley                                                     Stuart McCormick photo     Former Kiwi star at stud in US   The Bettor’s Delight horse Bit Of A Legend 1:49.8h ($2,557,371) has been retired and will stand his first season at Midland Acres, Ohio next year for a fee of $2,500.   A half-mile track specialist, Bit Of A Legend won 53 races in four different countries – New Zealand, Australia, USA and Canada – and took his record of 1:49.8 in the $200,000 Battle of Lake Eerie at Northfield Park, Ohio.   His other major successes in North America were the $609,000 George Morton Levy Memorial, $260,000 Joe Gerrity Memorial, $150,000 Molson Pace and the $150,000 Bobby Quillen Memorial.   As a two and three-year-old he won 13 of his 24 starts including the Australasian Breeders Crown, the NZ Yearling Sale 2YO Open Pace and the Great Northern 3YO Stakes.   By Bettor’s Delight, Bit Of A Legend is out of the Soky’s Atom mare Soky’s Legend, and hails from a strong American family whose members include Nero and Seahawk Hanover, both Dan Patch Award winners for 3YO Colt of the Year.   Bit Of A Legend                                                                                 Georgia Panagi photo     Blue blooded filly   Shesskylah, who is unbeaten in two starts this season – she rated 1:55 over 1650 metres at Bendigo – is a three-year-old filly who can claim some worthwhile blood.   By Alta Christiano, by Christian Cullen from Right This Time, by Fake Left, she is out of the Classic Garry mare Yeronga Songbird, an outstanding racemare of the 1990’s whose successes included the NSW Oaks, Victoria Sires Stakes 2YO Final and Bathurst Gold Tiara.   Yeronga Songbird was 24 when she left Shesskylah, who is her 13 th foal and sixth winner. Alta Christiano, the sire of Shesskylah, had a record of 1:54.2 and was the winner of the WA Derby and NZ Kindergarten Stakes.     Promising sire’s absence a loss   The smart come-from-behind success of Hellofalass at the recent Menangle midweek meeting further demonstrated the loss of Breeders Crown winner All Speed Hanover to breeders.   With only a few representatives racing, he sired another Menangle winner in Make Haste (1:53.9), the SA Sale Graduate Pace winner Shardonant (1:59.8), The Tooth Fairy and last season’s Victorian three-year-old winners Just Speed, Speed Dating, What A Pleasure and Allvictory Hanover.   Hellofalass, a four-year-old mare and one of All Speed Hanover’s only crop, is out of the What’s Next mare Beulah Belle, whose dam Saraburi (by Classic Garry), was a half-sister to nine winners including the prolific WA cups winner Allwood’s Chief and the Victoria Sires Stakes 2YO champion Exhilarator.   Hellofalass was bred by Graham and Janine Taylor, who stood All Speed Hanover at their Stonegate Farm, Nathalia in northern Victoria.     Victorian pacers for America   The recent Melton winners Audi Hare NZ, Raptors Flight NZ and Yankee Roller have been sold and shipped to America. The trio were all members of David Aiken’ Avenel team.   Audi Hare                                                           Stuart McCormick photo            Audi Hare, a seven-year-old Mach Three gelding, won 11 races in Victoria including the Breeders Crown Open Pace and the Gordon Rothacker Memorial Championship and was placed in the 2018 Inter Dominion Consolation.   Raptors Flight, a six-year-old gelding by Bettor’s Delight, won at his first seven appearances on Australian soil, while Yankee Roller (by Rock N Roll Heaven) won 11 races including the Group 2 Vicbred Platinum Homegrown 3YO Classic.       First foals by Jilliby Kung Fu   The first foals of the Four Starzzz Shark horse Jilliby Kung Fu are starting to hit the ground and are really looking the part.   The multiple Group 1 winner has mixed racing with stud duties for the last two years and has 10 foals on the ground and has already served 20 mares this year.   “They are very correct and are natural pacers,” trainer Marg Lee said.   Jilliby Kung Fu won a trial impressively at Ballarat last month and is close to another racetrack campaign.   Jilliby Kung Fu                                                Stuart McCormick photo       by Peter Wharton

Young Sydney raider Rickie Alchin faces one of the toughest tests of his harness racing career on the big stage tonight but is confident his star trotter Tough Monarch can bounce back in Auckland. Eight-year-old Tough Monarch (Monarch USA-Tough Tussle NZ (Wrestle NZ) has drawn the pole position in the fifth qualifying heat of the NZ Inter Dominion Trotting Championship at Alexandra Park. "There's some pretty good form everywhere you look, but that's what you would expect competing in a race at the highest level," Alchin, 32, said. Alchin said Tough Monarch had recovered nicely from his last start fifth at the same track just three days ago. "He's actually come through extremely well from that outing-I'm really happy with him and looking ahead with a fair bit of excitement," Alchin said. Tough Monarch started off his Kiwi campaign in the best possible way last month with a win at Addington in the $100,000 Group One Trotting FFA when handled by NZ ex-pat Anthony Butt. They were also game as ever when second in the $300,000 Canterbury Dominion. But the classy Aussie gelding then performed way below his best in the first round of the Inter Dominion heats on November 29, leading up before dropping out and being beaten 30 metres by Winterfell. "That was a mystery, but we've now moved on. We were okay at our next run which was a fifth earlier this week and we didn't enjoy much luck," Alchin said. "He got a little inconvenienced by a galloping runner and was doing his best work over the concluding stages. I thought he stuck to his guns in trying to make ground from up the back." Alchin said tonight's longer trip of 2700 metres wouldn't faze his stable star at all. "He won a Group Three at Melton a few months ago and that was over much the same journey," he said. "We've come up with a lovely barrier draw with the one alley, so hopefully things work out for us and we make it through to the big final. I feel he's going as good as ever." In early markets, Tough Monarch is on the fourth line of betting at $8.80. The Barry Purdon trained Marcoola (twice runner-up in both of his heats) is around $2.50; with other Kiwis in Temporale (excellent win last start) at $3.10 and Habibi Inta (solid second on Tuesday) having support at $6. Tough Monarch (left) and his Australian buddy Big Jack Hammer stepping out for a workout at the Clevedon property of John and Joshua Dickie Tough Monarch has now had 59 starts for 21 wins and nine placings for $309,000. He is owned by a syndicate comprising Alex and Ryan Kay, Peter Gadsby, Charlie Montebello, Vincent McDonald and the estate of the late Michael Van Rens. The group has owned a number of great horses over the years, headed by superstar Smoken Up (74 wins, 54 placings $3.6M) and The Falcon Strike (41 wins, 17 placings $1.2M). They also raced Tough Tussle, dam of Tough Monarch, who won more than $100,000 and competed successfully from 2005 to 2008 at Harold Park, Globe Derby and Moonee Valley. The Alchin team is now stabled at the barn of John and Joshua Dickie at Clevedon, on the Wairoa River, 35 minutes from Auckland. Tough Monarch's heat is timed for 8.53pm (Auckland, NZ time) which is 6.53pm (Australian Eastern Daylight time).   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

By Jonny Turner    Trainer Paul Nairn is confident the scales have tipped the right way he as his balancing act of trying to peak Habibi Inta for the Interdominion trotting final continues in the third round of heats on Friday night. The master squaregaiting trainer clearly had Habibi Inta where he wanted him ahead of the 6yr-old’s brilliant seven and a half length demolition of his rivals in last month’s Dominion. That version of Habibi Inta has been noticeably absent during the first two heats of the Interdominions, where he has produced a sixth placing that had punters scratching on night one and a solid, but unspectacular second placing on night two. Nairn admitted the task of peaking Habibi Inta for his epic Dominion win and then managing his recovery for his Interdominion tilt has been a tricky balancing act. And the process of letting Habibi Inta recover from his Dominion bid and then travel to Auckland and prepare for the series had an effect when the horse produced his sixth on night one. “It is one of those ones where, sure when you first look at it you think he was a wee bit disappointing,” the trainer said.  “But when you analyse everything, with the run he got, it wasn’t too bad.” “Maybe he was just a shade below his best, but you can understand coming through cup week and a big preparation for that.” “Obviously I can’t have him 100% for every start, so all in all I was happy enough on the first night.” Peaking a horse for both the Interdominion and New Zealand Cup carnival is a tricky task many of New Zealand’s best trainers are facing. The balancing act of how extract the best out of their horses, while giving them down time appears to be a catch 22. “If you keep going and don’t back off and keep the work up to them and they go no good, you say you’ve been too hard on them,” Nairn said. “But, if you back off and freshen them up and they don’t go super, you say you’ve been to soft on them.” “So, all in all I have happy enough with that first night run, to be honest.” Two massive factors have changed since night one and they are set to let Habibi Inta’s fans see a version closer to his best on night three. Firstly, the horse has progressed well through his solid second behind Majestic Man on night two. And Nairn is expecting to see further improvement from the horse as he attempts to peak for the series final. “I was quite happy him on Tuesday night, obviously the winner was a bit too good for us, but my fella got to the line strongly.” “He got a soft run, but I think he has improved a bit from it.” The second and most crucial factor aiding Habibi Inta is his step back in to the same distance range in which he delivered his massive Dominion win. It is something both the trainer and his driver, Blair Orange, think will have big effect on his Interdominion momentum. “Blair - like myself - we both feel that the extra 1000m this Friday and next week will really suit.” Habibi Inta looks the horse that will most appreciate the step from 1700m on night two to 2700m on night three in heat one on Friday night. Massive Metro looks the trotter that will relish the distance increase the most in heat two on Friday. The Michelle Wallis and Bernie Hackett trained squaregaiter has produced credible placings over unsuitably short distances in the first two heats of the Interdominions. Those needing a reminder of Massive Metro’s staying prowess just need to cast their memories back to December of last year. In his most notable staying performance, Massive Metro beat series rivals Marcoola and Temporale at Alexandra Park in the group 1 National Trot. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

R6, 8.24pm, Fifth pacing heat, 2700m mobile: Ultimate Sniper (11) has been so dominant it is pointless finding one to beat him. He has raced three wide for over half the two heats he has won and probably only has to sit parked to win this. Chase Auckland (1) got buzzed up early then trailed and was ok on Tuesday so logical danger, if any. Colt Thirty One (2) has had a nightmare series but still good enough to factor in top three here while San Carlo (10) should love the longer trip. First4 hopes to stablemates On The Cards (4) and Mach Shard (8). Suggested bet: You can take the shorts Ultimate Sniper to win but 11-1/2/4/10 might be a trifecta and First4 play.   R7, 8.53pm, Fifth trotting heat, 2700m mobile: Temporale’s (4) gate speed means he hold the aces because he can probably lead and choose to stay there or trail. Did win a Rowe Cup so has stamina. Marcoola (8) may actually be better suited drawn wide and could launch mid-race. Hard to work out whether he is at his best so his odds too short but could go a blinder. Habibi Inta (2) was better on night two and should be fitter and suited to the longer trip. Don’t be surprised if he goes close. Paramount King (6) has been massive both nights and can win so the early tactics could be interesting while Tough Monarch (1) has a First4 hope sticking to the markers. Suggested bet: Temporale (4) each way taking the short way home.   R8, 9.24pm: Sixth pacing heat, 2700m mobile: Stablemates Thefixer (4) and Cruz Bromac (2) have had no luck in the series and one of them should win. They could even lead and trail but after having had two quiet runs in the heats Thefixer should have plenty of energy in the tank. It is doubtful there will be punishing attacks so if he leads he is on top but with one run at them up the passing lane it could just as easily by Cruz Bromac. A G’s White Socks (10) has been stunning in the series so far and drawn to get midfield outer run but it might be hard to give the other favourites a start. Bling It On (6) never got a gap on Tuesday and will have to go forward at some stage as he sits in the cusp of making the final field. Classie Brigade (12) and My Kiwi Mate (5) can get some but hard to see them winning. Suggested bet: Thefixer to win.   R9, 9.54pm: Sixth trotting heat, 2700m mobile: As good as Winterfell (5) and Majestic Man (9) have been winning heats this is the chance for Massive Metro (5). He was huge night one, never a winning chance night two and might have enough gate speed to be master of his own destiny over a trip he won the National Trot in record time last summer. Winterfell (6) had no luck on Tuesday and could even find the front here, which might be enough to get him home in a no pressure race. Majestic Man (9) seems to love The Park and was dazzling both nights so can win but odds too short giving the other pair a start.  Big Jack Hammer (4) might get to the marker pegs and into the final so a First 4 player. Suggested bet: Winterfell to win, save Massive Metro.   Michael Guerin

Night three of an Inter Dominion is about two things: motivation and reality. Because while of connections of the 44 horses still in the series all basically want the same thing at Alexandra Park tonight — victory — what they need is different. Probably two thirds of the qualifiers for Saturday week’s $500,000 pacing final are set in stone barring huge form reversals in tonight’s final round of heats, with six to eight rivals chasing the last four slots. In the trotting series there looks to be seven winning chances for their $150,000 final and they are all as good as in the group one already. Of course everybody would like another win tonight, such the nature of competitive sport and the Interdoms can be an expensive time off the track so money comes in handy. But there are still differing levels of motivation going into tonight’s four heats. Some have to get good points otherwise their series is over. Others know they are in the final and that is where reality kicks in. Take A G’s White Socks for example. He has been incredible in this series for trainer Barry Purdon and driver Maurice McKendry and both would love him to clean sweep the series. But he is obviously safely in the final and tonight is in a heat where two New Zealand Cup winners in Cruz Bromac and Thefixer are expected to lead and trail. Purdon is adamant barrier two on the second line is perfect for A G’s White Socks because he should be midfield on the outer without having to work. But is McKendry really going to take off and attack potential Thefixer, knowing he almost certainly won’t beat him if he does? And if he does break him doesn’t that just make him vulnerable to Cruz Bromac, let alone give A G’s White Socks a headache a week out from the a final worth almost 17 times more than tonight’s race? Sure, they want to win. But the reality is he may not be able to if the race pans out as many think and it might be silly to try and find out. The same could apply, although not quite as dramatically, to Majestic Man in the last trotting heat. He has been sensational during this series but can’t lead from the second line so why would Brad Williamson send him mid-race to attack Winterfell or Massive Metro, potentially giving him a gutbuster for no profit. In a smaller field he can still win but in a race likely to lack tempo his odds will be too short. On the flip side of that coin are horses like Bling It On, San Carlo and Classie Brigade, who need to move and get forward before the sprint goes on, wanting at least top-six finishes to qualify for their finals. They have motivation to be in the finish, even if they can’t win. Motivation plus reality in the final round of heats of an Inter Dominion over 2700m, equals back those who can win without flattening themselves. Oh, and Ultimate Sniper, who the normal rules don’t seem to apply to just now.   By Michael Guerin

By Garrick Knight    Ray Green is getting used to the idea that he just might have the best three-year-old in the land. Copy That was the run of the race in the Group 1 Sires Stakes Final at Addington on New Zealand Cup Day, running second by a nose after doing a power of work. Race favourite One Change sprint-laned for the narrow victory but the talk out of the race was the run of the second horse. “He’s always had enormous ability,” said Green. “But with it came a little bit of waywardness. “We’ve mastered that to a point now and the improvement has been noticeable.” Green, from Pukekohe, actually owned Copy That himself but sold him to Australian stable clients, Merv and Meg Butterworth, in the winter for a tidy sum. The son of American Ideal has further increased his value since then, but Green isn’t worried. “We got good money at the time and he’s probably worth double that, if not more. “But my name’s Ray Green, not (Lincoln Farms owner) John Street, so we took the money and ran.” Copy That returns to the track at Alexandra Park tonight in the $25,000 Northern 3YO Stakes but after a scratching has been shunted to the inside of the second row. A trial last Saturday was sound and Green is optimistic that both Copy That and stablemate Line Up are ready to run big races. “They’ve both trained down good and I’m pretty happy with them.” One Change is in to go for Canterbury trainers Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen, as are his stablemates, Flying Even Bettor and Smooth Deal. “You don’t get away with a cheap run when them guys come to town, so I’ve got mine pretty ready,” said Green. He is nothing if not a realist in his twilight years, but he’s pretty adamant that with the right runs, both colts are capable of winning Derby-level races this season. “I couldn’t be happier to have these two colts in the barn. “They are right up there with the very top echelon. Both are Australian owned and will eventually end up there, but for now I’m happy to have them here. “I know Copy That went better down south, but there’s actually nothing between them.” The scratching of Above N Beyond has not helped Copy That, who bookies opened a $4.80 second favourite last night, alongside Smooth Deal. One Change opened the $2.80 elect with Line Up on the fourth line at $7.50. The third favourite at $6.50 is Bad To The Bone, who trainer Barry Purdon says will greatly benefit from a handy draw. “He’s never had a draw so I’m looking forward to seeing what he’ll do this week from a decent alley. “He’s a really nice horse and definitely up to the best ones of his age.” Purdon has a monopoly on the $30,000 Northern Breeders Stakes one race later with star mare Belle Of Montana a prohibitive $1.40 favourite ahead of stablemate, Wainui Creek ($4.20). Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Garrick Knight    You’ve got to hand it to Steve Telfer. The Ardmore trainer has been dealt three cruel blows that have devastated his carefully-laid Inter Dominion plans with stable star Triple Eight, but he’s not hanging his head. “I’m not frustrated, that’s just the way it goes sometimes,” he said. “You just have to take the good with the bad.” After getting caught wide early from an awkward draw on night 1 last Friday, Triple Eight flew home from well back for an unlucky sixth placing. On Tuesday, in the second round of heats, he drew even wider, over a shorter distance and ended up being stuck four and five wide the last lap. “Then he got a flat tyre for the last 500 metres as well, which was not beneficial.” In a series where every finishing position matters, and a $500,000 final is on the line next Saturday night, it was a tough pill to swallow for connections. Tonight, in the third and final round of heats, Triple Eight has drawn the inside of the second row, following out Star Galleria, who dropped out to finish last on Tuesday. With gate speed on the front line from Cruz Bromac, Bling It On, Atomic Red and Thefixer, Triple Eight maps to be stuck four back on the markers or worse. “We’re really reliant on what Star Galleria does but I don’t envisage that it’s going to work out too well for us,” said Telfer. “It’s a shame because tonight he gets out to his preferred distance and he’s very well within himself. “He’s come through the runs good and I’m happy in that regard. “It’s just been a tough series that hasn’t gone our way.” Triple Eight is still only three points off the 12th horse though, and Telfer is thinking a top three finish would be enough to sneak him in the back door to the final. “Top two definitely, top three probably, so he’s still a chance. “He’s a better stayer than a sprinter, and these next two 2700-metre races were always going to be his go.” If things don’t go his way, Telfer will cop it on the chin and turn the page. “We took our chances and missed the New Zealand Cup to set him for December. “And if we don’t make this final, we still have the Auckland Cup two weeks later.” Telfer actually has Dance Time closer to qualifying for the final after running fourth at bolters’ odds on Tuesday. “He’s way better over the short trip and that was his best chance to get points the other night. “He’s drawn outside of the back row which won’t help but if he did get a drag in to it, there’s no reason why he couldn’t run in the first six and maybe qualify for the final.” Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

Data analysts have delved into ID19, revealing the likely heroes and heartbreak kids as we near night three of the classic trots series. Based on calculations, not only are dual heat winners A Gs White Sox (currently 34 points) and Ultimate Sniper (34) assured Inter Dominion pacing final qualification but so are Chase Auckland (28), Cruz Bromac (28) and Mach Shard (24), while Thefixer (21) only needs to start to advance. That's half the pacing field finalised. The cut-off mark is likely to be highly contingent on whether the bonus points for finishing first, second or third are cannibalised by the series' leaders or claimed by those on the brink or in the lower reaches. If the series' leaders continue to dominate, 21 points (pacing) and 18 points (trotting) will likely earn qualification, but that could soar to as much as 23 and 19 in the event of a series of upsets. HOW ARE YOU DOING IN TROTSTARS? CLICK HERE FOR RESULTS Of the remaining pacers, projections have Ashley Locaz, My Kiwi Mate, San Carlo, Bling It On and Classie Brigade advancing along with Triple Eight, who rounds out the final 12. TeamVic's Sicario and Dance Time are projected to be next best on 18 points, just missing qualification and therefore reliant on a scratching for a start. The projections were based on bookies' expectations of horses' performances in tomorrow night's final round of heats. To amass at least 23 points and be all but assured qualification, the projected qualifiers would need to finish in the following places or higher: Ashley Locaz 6th, My Kiwi Mate 10th, San Carlo 8th, Bling It On 4th, Classie Brigade 7th and Triple Eight 3rd. In the trotting ranks, where 12 of the 20 entrants will advance to the December 14 Inter Dominion Trotting Championship, analysts predict at least 18 series points will be required to qualify. Already meeting that mark are Majestic Man (25 points), Paramount King (25), Marcoola (24), Temporale (23), Winterfell (23), Massive Metro (22) and Habibi Inta (18 points). Going on likely finishing order in tomorrow night's heats, TeamVic's Big Jack Hammer is projected to advance to finals night with Bonnie Highlander, Destiny Jones, Tough Monarch and Valloria. Monty Python, predicted to run 7th and acquire five points in the final heat, is projected to be unlucky number 13. To amass at least 19 points and be all but assured qualification, the projected qualifiers would need to finish in the following places or higher: Big Jack Hammer 6th, Bonnie Highlander 7th, Destiny Jones 7th, Tough Monarch 5th and Valloria 5th. The below table gifts a full run down of what it takes to reach finals qualification in tomorrow's final night of heats. Pacers Horse Current total Pts Req (23) Pos. to Qual Ultimate Sniper 34 -11   A G's White Socks 34 -11   Cruz Bromac 28 -5   Chase Auckland 28 -5   Mach Shard 24 -1   Thefixer 21 2 12 My Kiwi Mate 19 4 10 San Carlo 17 6 8 Classie Brigade 16 7 7 Solid Gold 16 7 7 Ashley Locaz 15 8 6 Sicario 15 8 6 Bling It On 13 10 4 Dance Time 13 10 4 On The Cards 13 10 4 Triple Eight 12 11 3 Star Galleria 12 11 3 Our Uncle Sam 9 14 2 Conviction 9 14 2 The Devils Own 9 14 2 Another Masterpiece 8 15 1 Check In 8 15 1 Atomic Red 7 16 1 Colt Thirty One 6 17 1 Henry Hubert 4 19 Out Trotters Horse Current total Pts Req (19) Pos. to Qual Majestic Man 25 -6   Paramount King 25 -6   Marcoola 24 -5   Temporale 23 -4   Winterfell 23 -4   Massive Metro 22 -3   Habibi Inta 18 1 10 Bonnie Highlander 14 5 7 Destiny Jones 14 5 7 Big Jack Hammer 13 6 6 Monty Python 12 7 5 Tough Monarch 12 7 5 Valloria 12 7 5 C K Spur 10 9 3 Sertorius 10 9 3 Pres The Belle 8 11 2 Ronald J 7 12 2 Didjabringthebeers 6 13 1 Kenny's Dream 6 13 1

Desperation will be the main objection of those connections who are hoping to make the Inter Dominion Grand Final. What is in their favour is that most of the top scorers have earnt points on the first two night’s making way for several “on the line” runners to sneak in. PACERS - HEAT FIVE This heat looks to be dominated by the All Stars barn who have the top two hopes - unbeaten Ultimate Sniper and Chase Auckland. Ultimate Sniper (11) couldn’t have been more impressive in both victories and looks the winner once again. Chase Auckland (1) is as honest as the day is long and following two second placings, looks the leader and the logical second elect. For trifecta and first four players, Ashley Locaz (7) seems well suited over the 2700 metre trip and San Carlo (10) after having no luck to date is a distinct place possibility. Nothing has gone right for Colt Thirty One (2) who is unlikely to cross Chase Auckland, but should he be able to gain nice cover, could easily figure in the placings. Mach Shard (8) has been racing really well but will have to contend with the dreaded outside front line draw. SELECTIONS : (11) ULTIMATE SNIPER, (1) Chase Auckland, (10) San Carlo, (2) Colt Thirty One. PACERS – HEAT SIX Cruz Bromac (2) after two outstanding placings looks a clear pick, however Thefixer (4) produced a fantastic effort to finish a close up fifth last Tuesday, rattling home from near last to smash the clock behind A G’s White Socks. The surprise packet A G’s White Socks (10) continues to blossom with each run and is certainly one of the major chances.  Once again there are several trifecta and first four hopes including Star Galleria (1) who should receive a soft trip from his favourable gate and Triple Eight (9) who is similar position from inside the second line. My Kiwi Mate (5) looks likely to make the Grand Final and can again be placed off a cold sit to figure in the placings. The same could be said for Bling It On (6) who deserves a change of luck. Classie Brigade (12) is probably a rough chance after drawing poorly. He was given little peace in front when fourth behind Ultimate Sniper. SELECTIONS : (2) CRUZ BROMAC, (4) Thefixer, (10) A G’s White Socks, (6) Bling It On. TROTTERS – HEAT FIVE Habibi Inta (2) battled on gamely for second to Majestic Man on Tuesday after following him throughout and looks well placed here. Paramount King (6) was gigantic on Tuesday when third behind Temporale and has come through the series in fine fettle. Temporale (4) was a narrow victor over Marcoola on Tuesday after leading for most of the way and never runs a bad race. Marcoola (8) has looked unlucky in both runs behind Temporale and Winterfell after being held up on both occasions. Unfortunately the draw has not helped his chances here, but is still in the mix. SELECTIONS : (2) HABIBI INTA, (9) Majestic Man, (5) Massive Metro, (6) Winterfell. TROTTERS – HEAT SIX Majestic Man (9) has got better and better with every run and despite drawing solo on the second line, should receive a sweet passage and is a serious threat. Massive Metro (5) is going great guns with two excellent placings and looks winning chance. Winterfell (6) a big winner on opening night can mix it with the best and is another who won’t be far away at the finish. The barrier draw has not been kind to Big Jack Hammer (4) who has not adapted to the reverse way of going. Should he gain a sit close and handy, he could be a rough place possibility. Destiny Jones (1) has been racing honestly and is a rough place chance. Kennys Dream (3) galloped away on Tuesday. Should he do everything right, he also is a rough place chance. SELECTIONS : (9) MAJESTIC MAN, (5) Massive Metro, (6) Winterfell, (1) Destiny Jones   Len Baker

There were three harness racing divisions of the second leg of the Holiday Trot Series contested on Wednesday afternoon at Saratoga Casino Hotel. Each division went for a purse of $7,500 as the participants had their last chance to accrue points towards next Wednesday’s $20,000 Final. Jimmy Nickerson’s Awol Hanover (Donato Hanover) and Phil Fluet’s Barn Star (Conway Hall) became two-leg winners as they each completed back-to-back jacks on Wednesday. Barn Star could well head into next week’s Final as the one to beat after prevailing in 1:58.2 for the second straight start. Fluet trains and drives the four year old who came into the series with just one win on the season but now owns three following a pocket-sitting victory on Wednesday. The fastest winner in each leg, Barn Star is poised to square off with Awol Hanover in the $20,000 Final after that one cruised to the front-end in leg two and never looked back. Jay Randall piloted the Nickerson-trained trotter who held off a late charge from rival JS Trotting Bob (Fluet) to secure his second victory in as many tries in the series, stopping the timer in 2:00 on Wednesday. The final division of the day saw a mild upset as Aventure (Muscle Mass) came from off the pace to prevail with leading driver Billy Dobson in the sulky. Aventure had been winless in 2019 before a surge in the stretch on Wednesday saw him score a victory in 2:00 and punch his ticket to next week’s Final. The win for Aventure came at odds of 6-1 and served as the third on the card for Dobson. Live racing continues on Thursday afternoon with a first post time set for 12 Noon.      Mike Sardella

CHESTER, PA - Perhaps the end of the 2019  harness racing season a week from this Sunday will be the only thing that can derail the Tim Tetrick Express at Harrah's Philadelphia, as the recent electee into the Hall of Fame added four more winners on Wednesday afternoon at the southeast Pennsylvania oval, including victories in both co-features and a win in one of the two co-featured contests. Both the trotter SVF Cash Deposit and the pacer Bigonpersonality N made successful brushes down the backstretch for Tetrick en route to their triumphs in the $16,000 top-level events. The Bettor's Delight gelding Bigonpersonality N ran his record to 3-for-4 in North America with a 1:53.3 victory, 2½ lengths to the good of Missile Seelster, for trainer Jim King Jr. and the partnership of Richard Poillucci and Jo Ann Looney-King - the Superfecta of Shartin N fame. The Cash Hall gelding SVF Cash Deposit is also a recent addition to the local scene, though he only came from as far as Running Aces in Minnesota. But he looked very good Wednesday while taking a new mark of 1:56.3, 4¾ lengths ahead of favored pacesetter Choco Charlie, for owner Elvin Zimmerman, who had been training the improving diamondgaiter before turning him over to the care of Justin Lebo before this start. The veteran Muscle Mass gelding Rubber Duck won his third straight in the trotting sector of the $14,500 co-featured class, with Tetrick moving him to the lead in front of the stands and then just riding along behind as the favorite won by 4½ lengths over first-over Perfect Stick. The winner of $585,949 posted a sharp clocking of 1:53.4 in the cool conditions for trainer Jennifer Bongiorno and owners Blair and Erna Corbeil. The only headliner Tetrick missed was the $14,500 pace, in which the Tellitlikeitis sophomore gelding Ollie's Ztam overcame a 34-day layoff in rallying from the pocket for driver Yannick Gingras to catch a strong pacesetter in Quality Bud by a neck in 1:51, equaling his lifetime mark. Ron Burke has taken over the training of the promising sophomore for Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC, J&T Silva- Purnel & Libby, and Frank Baldachino. Tetrick has now posted 44 victories during the last nine cards on which he has competed at Philly. From Harrah's Philadelphia

By Jonny Turner    With sprinting trips behind her and her airways clear, the real Destiny Jones can stand up in the third round of Interdominion heats on Friday night. The Canterbury trotter gets conditions to suit after battling back to full health to produce two sound fifth placings in the first two heats of the Alexandra Park series. Destiny Jones was lucky to even be in both of those races after pollen in the spring air was responsible for the mare’s failures in both the trotting features at the New Zealand Cup Carnival. It was not until after her Dominion run that vets handed trainer Dean Hunter the explanation for why her his mare’s form dropped off so badly after her excellent runs for second in the Ashburton Trotters Flying Mile and the South Bay Trotters Cup.  “I wasn’t even sure if we were going to make it up to the Interdominions, the way she was after the Dominion,” Hunter said. “But, we managed to treat her and get a clear hear lungs and get a vet clearance the Wednesday before the first night.” “I was still unsure how she was going to go on the first night, but she hit the line good and came through the run super.” “On the second night we got a bad draw over 1700m and we didn’t have much show bar going back and crunching home and she did that.” Being able to put his horse’s illness behind him with two sound Interdominion runs is not the only reason Hunter can look forward to night three with some confidence. The step up to 2700m and drawing barrier 1 gives the trainer even more reason to smile. “It will be a big help to her stepping up in distance,” Hunter said.  “She has got the draw and hopefully she can capitalise on it.” “She should have enough speed to hold early and then we have got the choice of who we might hand up to.” Destiny Jones does not just go in to the second of Friday night’s trotting heats after thriving during the series.  Her recent illness is practically a distant memory since arriving at the Stonewall Stud stables of Steve Telfer. “She has actually thrived since she has been up here.” “She is really bright and Steve and I am really pleased with her.” If Destiny Jones can bounce back to the form she showed before she suffered allergy problems she would almost certainly run a top five placing again and qualify for the Interdominion trotting final.  She just needs a little bit more luck than she had at Ashburton when carted backwards before running home strongly behind Marcoola.  “I think if she wasn’t held up — she wouldn’t have beaten the winner — but she would have got a lot closer to him.” “And her run at Kaikoura was great too, she did a little bit more work than Habibi Inta and he was able to run past her.” “But, she went a very good race.” Destiny Jones faces no easy task to win on Friday night. She faces the white hot Majestic Man, All Stars trotter Winterfell and fellow staying specialist Massive Metro in her heat. It looks a tough ask for the mare to crack a top three placing, but the TAB’s promotion of paying out on the first four placings on fixed odds place bets in the Interdominion heats boosts punters chances of getting paid exponentially. Destiny Jones has been rated at $5 in the fixed odds place market for Friday night’s race.  Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

Kiwi Bloke, a slow developer who was unplaced at his first 15 starts in New Zealand, has blossomed over the past 12 months and looks set for a strong effort at his debut at Gloucester Park when he contests the Westral Venetian And Honeycomb Blinds Handicap. The comparatively inexperienced six-year-old has developed into a reliable standing-start specialist, with five of his six wins coming in stands. His final seven starts in New Zealand produced two wins (in stands), two seconds and one third and he has had five starts in Western Australia for Oakford trainer Ross Olivieri and reinsman Chris Voak for four wins (three in stands) and one third placing. At his most recent outing, at Pinjarra last Monday week, Kiwi Bloke broke for just one stride soon after the start before dashing to the front after 150m and setting a solid pace to win by three lengths from Burning Shadows, with slick final quarters in 27.5sec. and 27.6sec. Kiwi Bloke is by Courage Under Fire out of the Falcon Seelster mare A Good Kiwi Chick, who raced nine times for four wins, one placings and $15,897. A Good Kiwi Chick’s claim to fame is that she is a half-sister to Kiwi Ingenuity (by Christian Cullen), who amassed $516,821 in stakes from 11 wins and eight placings from 27 starts. She was a brilliant three and four-year-old and at her only Australian start she finished fourth behind Monkey King in the Miracle Mile at Menangle in November 2009. The clash between Kiwi Bloke and Always An Honour should be a highlight of the 11-event program. Always An Honour, a New Zealand-bred four-year-old, is trained by Justin Prentice and will be driven by Gary Hall Jnr. He is also a standing-start specialist, with five starts in stands producing four wins and a third placing. At his most recent outing, Always An Honour dashed over the final 400m sections in 27.9sec. and 28.8sec. to win a 2503m stand at Bunbury on November 16 by more than nine lengths. Adding interest to Friday night’s race will be the return to racing after a ten-month absence of the Ross Olivieri-trained Jimmy Mack, who will start off the 10m mark with Chris Lewis in the sulky. Jimmy Mack warmed up for this assignment when he set the pace and sprinted over the final quarters in 28.7sec. and 27.8sec. in winning a 2116 standing-start trial by eight lengths from Packed Carefully on Sunday morning.   Ken Casellas

As one of the most successful harness racing reinswomen of all time, Lisa Justice seems quite content these days to be turning her interests simply to training. And if a recent lightning visit to Shepparton in Victoria is any indication, more success is just around the corner for the accomplished horsewoman. Justice competed with distinction as a trailblazer for women for nearly three decades from the 1980s. She is now based at Cobbitty 60 kms south-west of Sydney with her partner Michael Doltoff, who is private trainer for the highly successful Sloys Racing empire. The pair showed their expertise with a one-two result in their hit and run visit to Shepparton, with four-year-old horse Fanning (Shadyshark Hanover-Wholelota Rosie (Classic Garry), trained by Justice, posting a runaway victory in the first race, the $7000 Guardline Security Pace. They then followed up with a second by Doltoff's Major Crisis (Art Major-Operative Ways (Presidential Ball) in race two. Justice said while she would dearly love to return to race driving, "I think the bird may have flown". A car accident in January 2013 left her with serious injuries including to her neck, left hand and right shoulder and she's endured a long road to recovery, with three lots of surgery to her hand alone. "I would really like to say I'm not finished. But with all the injuries, I think my driving career is pretty much over," she said. "It's a bit of a shame because I've driven 996 winners and it would be awesome to get to the 1000 mark. But it is what it is." There is very little that Justice didn't achieve as one of Australia's top reinswomen, mixing it with the best in Inter Dominions, Hunter Cups and Miracle Miles, countless country cups and as a regular at metropolitan tracks in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and Brisbane, as well as across the Tasman. "I think I may have been the first woman to win a Group race in New Zealand," Justice said. "I enjoyed the Kiwi style of racing and one of my favorite memories is driving square-gaiter Lenin to a Inter heat win before running third in the final," she said. "Racing in the Inter Dominion Trotting series was just great. I was lucky to be part of a few. Lenin also took me to a Melbourne Mile win and the prestigious Gramel in South Australia. "Rainbow Knight was a brilliant pacer I loved driving. Thinking about his APC Championship win in Brisbane still gives me goose bumps, while Tip Top Prince was another champion horse." While the Doltoff-Justice team came up short of the dream "double" result at Shepparton from their road trip, Major Crisis was far from disgraced, running into a smart one in Iolanta from the Mick Stanley barn. "It was an eight-hour road trip down, but both horses travelled well and did their best," Justice said. "One of the main reasons was to chase the Vicbred bonus with Fanning, so we got that and now I'll be able to pay for some of my surgery," she said. "We've left Fanning with Rodney and he should be competitive for him in Victoria." Rodney Petroff, of Lancefield, was the winning driver of Fanning Doltoff, who is regarded as a fine judge when it comes to breeding, has been selling off some of his strong 35-member team as a fresh bunch of youngsters come through. "We've been educating a heap and there are some nice ones among them," Doltoff said. "While we're busy spending time educating them, it's a good practice to only race a small team," he said. The Doltoff stable is most excited with smart filly Keep Rockin, while Let's Go To Brazil is another with big wraps. Justice cut her teeth as a driver at Adelaide's Globe Derby Park, and in her SA hometown Inter Dominion in 1997, I'll never forget how close she was to snatching victory with Rainbow Knight at huge odds. Brian Hancock sent Our Sir Vancelot to the front in a rush early and dashed away with a big advantage turning for home. Justice had all kinds of bother trying to get in the clear and perhaps had an opening appeared a bit earlier, the record books may have shown a different result. For the past 10 years, she has been working with Ranvet, concentrating on horse nutrition in both harness racing and thoroughbred circles.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

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