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By Jonny Turner Trainer-driver Jim Curtin will seek more New Zealand Cup week success with his small team at Ashburton on Thursday. The Templeton horseman closed out New Zealand Cup day when producing his lightly raced pacer Tango Tara to win its last race. Curtin looks a big chance of scoring a race to race double by winning the next event of the New Zealand Cup Carnival - the first event at Ashburton. He starts Zigzagzoo in a 2400m maiden trot, following the horse’s good first up run behind impressive Kaikoura winner, Madam Sass. “He did go really good up there, I was really pleased with him,” Curtin said. “I was a bit worried about how he would trot the bends, but he was pretty good.” Zigzagzoo’s Kaikoura effort came in his first start since he raced New Zealand’s best 2yr-old trotters, last season. The Majestic Son squaregaiter went sound races finishing in behind the placegetters in races won by Ultimate Stride and Muscle Mountain. His first up effort showed Zigzagzoo had returned stronger from his winter break. “I think he has come back a bit stronger - he is quite a big horse and I think he could be even better when he gets a bit older,” Curtin said. Zigzagzoo could head towards this season’s 3yr-old trotting features if his form warrants it. The trotter can help his cause in today’s race if he can hold out fellow 3yr-old, Vacation Hill. The Kevin Townley trained squaregaiter also comes in to Thursday’s race after a last start second placing. Bookmakers think Zigzagzoo can, rating him the early $3 favourite, ahead of Vacation Hill at $4.60. Curtin also starts Kayla Maguire in race 9 at the Ashburton meeting. She finished down the track in her first start for the second at Methven, recently. The 4yr-old may need another start to show her best after doing too well during her winter spell. “She is going to need a couple of runs because she has been carrying a bit of extra weight.” “She is in a bit of an awkward place in the handicaps at the moment, racing horses that have won a few races.” Race 9 features an exciting clash between emerging 3&4yr-olds. 3yr-olds Cloud Nine, A Delightful Act and Pink Flamingo Run each go in to the 2400m mobile event as last start winners. 4yr-olds Nirvana Beach and Portalerge come in to race 9 after running good second placing in their last starts. Nirvana Beach and A Delightful Act opened equal $3 favourites with bookmakers. Tango Tara’s neck win over the favourite Taxman has earned him some quiet time. Curtin will bypass Friday’s Show Day meeting at Addington and target the quieter surrounds of Geraldine, later this month. “I never intended to back him up on Show Day because he has had quite a few runs in a short time with going to the trials.” “We might look at the Geraldine meeting with him.” Tango Tara helped keep his family’s name in the spotlight after his close relation, Tiger Tara, missed his first New Zealand Cup carnival in six years. Tango Tara is by A Rocknroll Dance from a half sister to the dam of Tiger Tara, who is by his sire, Bettor’s Delight. Tango Tara shows some traits of Bettor’s Delight stock as a fair track worker, who steps his game up significantly on race day. Niggling injuries, which Curtin described as wear and tear problems, meant the 4yr-old was spelled in January after making a brilliant start to his career. Tango Tara is over those problems and Curtin is hopeful the horse can continue to fulfil his potential. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

Harness racing amateur driver Peter Cook had his first driving success when reining home Bettor Backim at long odds in the first race at Rangiora today(Sunday). Peter the secretary of the New Zealand Trainers and Drivers Association, gave eight year old gelding Bettor Backim (Bettor's Delight - Exotic Soky) a cozy run midfield on the fence before exploding up the inner and running away form the opposition in the run home.  Bettor Backim won by more than three lengths and paced the 2600m journey in a slick 3:15.8 with a closing 800m in 58.9.  Trainer Sue Blake trained the $239.00 quinella when Red Under Fire held on for second from the trail for driver Warren Frost who was also seeking his first amatuer winner. Driver Jim Curtin reined a double when he was successful with both Coral Beach and She'sa Tricky Bridge.  Coral Beach (Tintin In America - Beach Guest) was having her second start and was too strong for the opposition when leading all the way in quick time in Race 4. She'sa Tricky Bridge (Stonebridge Regal - Itsa Trick), trained at Prebbleton by John McDermott, adopted front running tactics again for Jimmy and held on to beat the trailing horse Articulight by half a length. Trainer Robbie Holmes also trained a double when he won the last two races with Redwood Invasion and The Kiwi Way. Redwood Invasion (Sundon - Annsmenan) was confidently driven by Gerard O'Reilly, who thought Redwood Invasion was his best drive of the day.  Gerard had the seven year old son of Sundon in front after 800m and he never faltered, winning easily from the trailing Belmonts Greatest. The Kiwi Way was another to lead all the way when holding off the fast finish from English Rose in the last race of the day. Out of the great mare and eleven race winner Kiwi Ingenuity, The Kiwi Way was driven to the lead early by driver Robbie Holmes and won in a time of 3:17.0 for the 2600m with a closing 800m in 58.9. Earlier in the day Speedy Mach led all the way in the hands of Sheree Tomlinson to win his fourth race in the space of six starts. Harnesslink Media    

He knew it was coming so Jeff Whittaker didn’t mind waiting a little longer for the real Christian Who to show up. And when the royally bred filly showed immense speed at Ashburton to run down her rivals with a 25.9 quarter on Sunday the Springston horseman could rest easy in the fact his opinion was spot on the mark. “We’ve always had a bit of time for her,” he said. “But it’s been a case of allowing her to grow into her big frame, she wears a 63-inch hopple. “It probably took longer than what I thought it would, but the writing was probably on the wall in her two previous starts where she found the line so well.” The third foal of former outstanding filly and then racemare, Natal Franco - Christian Who has plenty going for her both on the racetrack and in the breeding barn when the time comes down the track. Whittaker trained the dam for her last three starts after she did the majority of her racing for Southland’s Vin Devery. A naturally quick mover with a high turn of foot, Natal Franco has definitely left some of those traits in the daughter of Christian Cullen. Princess Arts, who won seven, is the only other foal from the mare to make it to the races. Matty Williamson was in the bike, as he was the start before, on Sunday and Whittaker wanted to give credit to the mares’ two previous drivers in his son Josh and also Jimmy Curtin. “They did a lot of the work with her in getting her confidence up and allowing her to mature. “Matty has clicked with her well in the last two starts, and she went super for Josh the start before that too.” With a small team of six in work, Whittaker is happy with where his numbers are at. Trotter Another Chapter isn’t far away from another win and is actually in a very similar boat to Christian Who. “She’s a big girl too at 17 hands and is still maturing into herself. “The talent is there when she gets it all together though for sure.” Although there’s a nice race team in the wings, Whittaker was most excited about the prospects of his two sons, Josh and Luke who will both be in the junior driver ranks from the start of the new season. Josh is already an established driver but Luke will begin his career on August 1. “Luke has just shifted up to work for Tony Herlihy in Auckland after spending a month in Australia with Delightful Memphis for Mark Jones. “It will be a great experience for him. “And Josh is being kept really busy with his equine dentistry work, the trainers around the country are really getting behind which is fantastic and something we are really thankful for.” And the best part about the boys being based in separate islands? There’ll be no family arguments over who gets the drive when Dad lines one up at the races. “That’s a bit of a bonus really.” Matt Markham

Ruthless Kayla and Paravani qualified for the Harness Jewels at the eleventh hour with wins at Oamaru on Sunday. “The order of qualifiers (based on stake earnings in New Zealand this season for the Jewels has now been finalised and the owners of the top 20 horses in each category have been notified,’’ said Darrin Williams, Racing Manager at Harness Racing New Zealand. Acceptances close on Friday (May 26) at noon with confirmation of the final fields of a maximum of 13 horses for the meeting at Ashburton on Saturday, June 3. One Muscle Hill (2-year-old trotter)and Mr Mojito (4-year-old pacer) are the confirmed Australian invitees and an invitation is still out to Rockstar Angel (4-year-old pacing mare). The 3-year-old trotting filly Ruthless Kayla backed up from finishing third to Enghien and President Roydon in the New Zealand Yearling Sales Final at Addington on Friday, albeit a neck and nine lengths from the winner, who was not at his best on a hard surface. Ruthless Kayla won decisively against three-win horses at Oamaru, her second win. She raced handy and finished a length and a quarter clear of She’s Allthe Craze, who came from four back  on the inner with a neck to Red Hot Poker, whose effort was outstanding after leaving stride at the start and losing some 50m. He is in the 4-year-old section of the Harness Jewels. “She (Ruthless Kayla) just keeps getting better,’’ said Kevin Fairbairn, who trains Ruthless Kayla for Ross Simpson, of Karamea Farm, Leithfield (north Canterbury). Fairbairn bred Ruthless Kayla and sold her for $7000 to Simpson through the 2015 PGG Wrightson premier yearling sale. She is by Muscle Mass from Ruthless Jenny, a Britewell mare who won the listed Greenlane Cup at Alexandra Park in 2005 and finished third in a NZ Trotting Championship. It is the family of Tyrone Scottie, who won the NZ National Trot twice; Clover Don (24 wins) and Clover Mac, winner of the group three Coulter Crown at Melton on Saturday. Fairbairn gave Ruthless Jenny to Simpson in 2014 and the latter has bred a filly by Bacardi Lindy for whom Simpson is the NZ agent for frozen semen. Bacardi Lindy is the sire of Dark Horse, a HJ candidate in the the 4-year-old trotter section. Muscle Mass is the sire of five qualifiers for the 3-year-old trotter section. Fairbairn, who trained Whatsundermykilt (2006 Dominion Handicap), qualified Magical Mel for the 4yr-old pacing section of the Harness Jewels in 2012. Jim Curtin, who won the 4-year-old section of the Harness Jewels in 2012 with Franco Emirate, has  the 2-year-old gelding Paravani, a maiden winner at his third start, Paravani a gelded son of Christian Cullen and Enchanter Franco, was a $10,000 purchase by Curtin in the 2016 premier yearling sale when offered by Paul Renwick. Enchanter Franco is a half sister by Badlands Hanover to Elisit Franco (by Falcon Seelster), the dam of Franco Emirate, who was by Christian Cullen. Franco Emirate won his first eight races. Ewen Pycroft, who is among the eight owners of Paravani, drove trotter Stormy Morn in early wins at Greymouth and Addington in 1979 when a junior driver with the stable of Trevor Thomas. Stormy Morn won 32 races. Malik had his third win from six starts when he overcame the unruly position over 2600m (mobile) in a 13-horse field. The 3-year-old Somebeachsomewhere – Slipinn colt is trained by Paul Court for breeders Graham Court, of West Melton, Les  Purdon, Ann-Maree Lund, her sister Jo Lund and Peter Lucas, all of Auckland. The Lunds took over horses after the death of their father, Bob in 2015. Malik is the fourth foal of Slipinn, the winner of four races. Her first two foals are Raffaello,a winner and Aquickone (five wins). Denham Maguire, the highly regarded 3-year-old in the Nathan Williamson stable, was scratched on Sunday due to a blood disorder. Astral Ruler was a late scratching due to showing signs of a cold. Tayler Strong    

A brief look at some of the happenings from the past week in the world of harness racing. POUTAMA CLOSES IN ON 100 Popular North Island junior driver, Andre Poutama moved to within striking distance of his 100th career winning drive with a victory on Reine Des Gitans on Friday night at Alexandra Park. The Pukekohe based junior took his season tally to 29, a personal best, in the process. Currently fourth on the national junior drivers’ premiership, Poutama is just two wins behind his closest rival, Craig Ferguson with less than a month of racing remaining in the season. MUSCLE MASS AVAILABLE DOWN UNDER Nevele R Stud were pleased to announce that they have secured the rights to provide frozen semen from outstanding trotting sire, Muscle Mass to New Zealand breeders this breeding season. The sire of the 2YO Ruby quinella last month in Custodian and Heavyweight Hero, Muscle Mass is expected to be in high demand and already Nevele R has insisted breeders book early as only a limited amount of semen is being made available to both New Zealand and Australia. LIVE TO TELL LEADING IRON HORSE Burnham pacer, Live To Tell, has one hand on the title of the 2015-2016 season’s Iron Horse. The Bruce Negus trained pacer, who raced twice at Forbury on Friday night, has lined up on 40 occasions so far this season - has won twice and placed on four occasions. She will race again on Thursday night at Addington as will her closest rivals, Hudson Sally who has had 38 starts. Hudson Sally is also nominated for the Oamaru meeting on Sunday. DUAL ROLE FOR ONE OVER DA MOON Brilliantly bred trotter, One Over Da Moon will be available to breeders this season. The highly talented square gaiter who won the Ashburton Trotters’ Flying Mile earlier this season will serve a dual role for his owners Lex and Heather Williams. As well as spending time in the breeding barn, he will also continue to race - initially with Paul Nairn before returning to the the North Island and into the care of Tony Herlihy. A son of brilliant mare, One Over Kenny, One Over Da Moon lacks for nothing in the breeding department and will hold strong appeal for breeders across Australasia. DJOKOVIC CHASING FOUR IN A ROW While his namesake might have bowed out of Wimbledon earlier this week, it’s full steam ahead for Djokovic on Friday night. The Luk Chin trained trotter will be looking to go one step further than the usual game, set and match when he shoots for his fourth consecutive win against a handy field of trotters at Alexandra Park. The son of Sundon will have his 80th start on Friday night. MILESTONE WATCH A number of horseman around the country are currently sitting close to notable milestones in their careers. Jimmy Curtin is just two wins shy of 1500 driving wins in New Zealand, Phil Williamson is four wins short of 500 while Dean Taylor is currently on 492 training wins. In the North Island, Steven Reid is on 990 career wins. On Friday night at at Forbury Park, popular Southland horseman, Brent Barclay reached 600 driving wins for his career with a double. He reached the target when he won the Forbury Sprint Series with Risk Factor before Bettor Go Hurry took him to 601 wins. SOUTH OF THE WAITAKI SERIES KICKS OFF Nominations for the first heat of the Macca Lodge Trained South of the Waitaki Series which is this Friday night at Addington are strong. 14 horses have been nominated for the event, which is open to horses who are three-year-old and older and handicapped at C1 and below prior to nominations closing for the first heat provided they were trained south of the Waitaki river prior to May 1 this year. There are three rounds of heats held over the month of July with an $11,000 final at the end of the month. The first ever series, held last season, was won by Tact Tate.   HRNZ MEDIA

The last time popular Canterbury trainer/driver Jim Curtin ventured north to the mighty Manawatu Raceway was back in February of 2015. He picked up a driving/training win with The Persuader, while he also saluted the judge with Miss Middleton for Palmerston North trainer Stephen Doody.   Curtin travels north with 1 stable runner Atchoo and while she has drawn badly she doesn’t appear the worst chance. “We had to come north to find a suitable race for her; she’s not too good from the tapes. I thought she would be a good chance but it’s a hard draw so we are hoping for some luck” said Jim. Interestingly enough, Curtin has driven 7 trebles at the Manawatu track, and he is a regular to salute the judge. “7 trebles are pretty nice but I’ve had some luck on the track and hopefully it continues” Jim also had a further 6 drives and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him salute the judge with any of them. Jim Curtin & The Persuader winning at Manawatu back in February 2015. Robert & John Dunn travel north with a strong team of 4 runners, which includes last start Forbury winner The Royal Garden and while the son of Mach Three climbs a grade for this assignment he slots in well and looks mighty tough to beat. While earlier on in the night Mr Meddle, a 5yo Live Or Die gelding comes up with the plum draw, and looks the likely leader in an even C2 field. He was only beaten 2.5l by Beyond Belief, which has since ran 2nd in a hard race. That form should make Mr Meddle a leading chance on both days of the meeting The Royal Garden's last start win Andrew Fitzgerald

Templeton harness racing trainer Jim Curtin was very confident going into the C1 pace at Rangiora yesterday that his smart three year old Hickstead would be hard to beat. And so it proved with Hickstead going away well from the stand and working to the front after 200 metres. From there Jim controlled the tempo and when he asked the son of Mach Three to go as they turned for home, he quickly put daylight between him and the competition and cruised down to the line for an effortless victory. Jim has always had an opinion of Hickstead and with every subsequent run, Hickstead is showing why. " He is just getting better with each run." " His manners are super which is always a big plus and as he learns the racing game he just keeps improving," Jim said. Bought for $26,000 at the 2014 yearling sales, Hickstead impressed in a handful of starts at two and has stepped up again at three. " He is  a bit unusual for a Mach Three in that he is very laid back." " Most of the Mach Three's can get a bit hot but he is the exact opposite. " Nothing gets him too excited, he is so laid back" " I would rather have a horse that way than one who gets all stirred up," Jim said. Immediate plans for the horse have yet to be settled but he won't be joining the Curtin team on their annual pilgrimage to the West Coast at Christmas. " He would handle the grass as good as gold but he is a bit too smart to be taking to the Coast." " We will just look around for races closer to home for him," Jim said. With his great standing start manners and his continual improvement there are plenty of opportunities around Canterbury for Hickstead to build on his impressive record. Harnesslink Media 

As any harness racing trainer will tell you, manners are a big plus when it comes to raceday. The ability to do things right gives a horse so many more options and generally these days if you haven't got good manners, you will struggle Jim Curtin's smart little three year old Hickstead is a prime example of a young horse who seems to have all the ringcraft necessary to fully utilise his talent. At Friday night at Addington Raceway, Hickstead stepped straight to the front and ran them along early, eased in the middle stages and then brushed home in 56.7 and 27.9 for a comfortable win. The son of Mach Three from the former smart racemare Il Informed 1:58.3 ($80,423)  was purchased out of the 2014 New Zealand Premier Sale at Christchurch for $26,000 and has always shown above average ability at trials and workouts. A winner at two,Highstead started this season with a close second at Addington but had mixed luck at his next two before Friday night's win. " He went really good first up for the season and then I took him to the Sires Stakes heat at Forbury Park but he went very average and was disappointing." " I think I may have backed him up too soon as he is way better than that," Jim told Harnesslink recently. From there Jim lined him up at Methven where he finished fourth and Jim blames himself for not finishing closer. " I should have gone before Mark's (Purdon) horse came around so he did well to finish as close as he did." " Even at Addington on Friday night he was having a look at everything and gawking about." " I think he is better in behind than in front at the moment," Jim said. Jim has no immediate plans for Hickstead though he is being aimed at the Sires Stakes consolation in late November. " He is such a busy horse at home, always on the go."  " With his manners and ability I think we are going to have some real fun with this one,"  Jim said. Harnesslink Media

Our harness racing tipsters are having a bit of the winter blues at the moment with less than inspiring results some weeks. Last week saw only two of our tipsters pick winners with Sean McCaffrey and Nathan Williamson doing the honours but we did have eight placegetters and some of those such as Shane Walkinshaw's pick, Takitimu Express paid good money ($4:20) This week we have four meetings in the country and we have picks for them all. Forbury - Thursday night Nathan Williamson - Thought Spinyback was overdue and could win race 2 Shane Walkinshaw - Thinks on his work this week, Jetsdream will win race 4 Craig Ferguson - Gives Mordecai a good chance of going back to back in race 6   Auckland  - Friday night Steven Reid - Reckons Concorde even from barrier 8 will be hard to beat in race 2 Scott Phelan - If Superimposed has any luck from his bad draw,he thinks he can win race 2  Todd Mitchell - Thinks the millionaire Vulcan can add to the bankroll in race 6 Steve Richardson (TAB) - Thought Vice Consul from the front line could win race 7 Tony Herlihy -  Gives The Almighty Johnson a big chance of winning race 8 John Dunn - Rates Return To Sender as hard to roll in race 9 Mark Jones - Thought Rocker Band would be very hard to beat, also in race 9   Addington - Friday night Bob Butt - Quite bullish about the chances of the two year old Matatoki in race 1 Terry Chmiel - Thinks Maddison Hill can upset them in race 2 Tim Williams - Gives Bird Of Paradise a big show even from the second line in race 6 Gerard O'Reilly - Reckons Zin Zan must win one shortly and thinks it will be in race 7 Ricky May - Thought the southern raider Tetrick would be hard to beat in race 8 Brendon McLellan - Agrees with Ricky that Tetrick will be hard to beat in race 8 Matthew Williamson - Reckons Springbank Eden can get the chocolates in race 9   Timaru - Sunday afternoon  Blair Orange - Thought the first starter My Cash would be hard to beat in race 3 Gavin Smith - Very bullish about the chances of Great Things Happen in race 4 Brad Williamson - Reckons Kylie Castleton can bounce back and win race 6 Jim Curtin - Gives Insignificant a chance to upset them at odds, also in race 6  John Curtin - Thought Naughty Maravu only needed some luck for a change to win race 8 Robbie Holmes - Thinks Contractual Issues will be hard to hold out in race 10   Harnesslink Media

The All Stars barn via Dave McCarthy preview their runners at the harness racing meetings every week.   This week of course is the Harness Jewels meeting at Ashburton on Saturday (May 30th) and with their kind permission we reproduce here the comments for the 23 runners the All Stars barn have in on Saturday      HARNESS JEWELS- Rated out of 10 as a winning chance with the comment by the driver of the horse on Staurday     Race 1 - Two Year Old Diamond   Northern Velocity (7)   Form: Won Sales Final at Addington.   Comment:   7- "I would rate her a 7 and a good one. Equal second best of ours on form. " (Mark)   Dream About Me (9)   Form: Just keeps winning and bold in trials last week.   Comment: 9 " The draw seems a problem though she has never really had good draws. Doing everything right and I am hoping she will just be too good for them" (Tim)   Arden's Choice (11)   Form: Good in 1.54 MR after getting back early at Auckland. G1 winner previous.   Comment: 6 "She might be better than that but as a win chance it is going to be very hard from that draw. I think it is the worst draw of the lot in some respects because it is harder to get on the three line line" (Natalie)   Race 2 - Two Year Old Ruby   Missandei (2)   Form: Looked the winner last time until stablemate came on the scene. This her best draw yet.   Comment: 7 "Gets better with each run and this is the best draw she has had if she can hold up early" (Mark)   High Gait (12)   Form: Huge run last time to come from impossible possie to win.   Comment: 9 "I don't like the draw but she can follow Missandei out which is a help. She is working terrific and only the draw stops her from being my best for the day" (Natalie)   Race 3 - Four Year Old Diamond   Willow (12)   Form: Three on end is hard to beat even if some easier than this.   Comment: 8 "Again a draw I am not thrilled about but she is following some useful early speed. She is good enough to make her own luck and she tries so hard she could offer some value" (Natalie)   Race 4 -  Three Year Old Ruby   Prince Fearless (3)   Form: Raced solidly in the north and at Addington without being quite as impressive as formerly.   Comment: 8 "I am very pleased with him and his work has been excellent. He likes Ashburton and is at his best in sprint type races.  He is a danger" (Natalie)   Petite One (10)   Form:  Returned to near her best at Addington winning well.   Comment; 6 "She seems well but that draw is going to make things hard for her against the boys and they will probably be too strong." (Mark)   Race 5 - Three Year Old Diamond   Supersonic Miss (9)   Form: Faded after hard run in the Oaks. Nearly landed third in G1 start before.   Comment: 5 "It looks tough for her from out there especially with the pace inside. You can only hope you get on to a train when she would be competitive but it won't be easy" (Mark)   Linda Lovegrace (10)   Form: Been running on strongly from bad draws. Has a moderate one again.   Comment: 7 "She can run home strongly over a mile as she has shown here before. Blair will drive his own race but if she got the run she can be at least in the finish" (Natalie)   Fight for Glory (11)   Form: Outstanding in the NZ Oaks and tested  The Orange Agent in the Nevele R Final after being parked.   Comment: 7  "I really don't like that draw. I reckon even 12 would have been better. We are in behind some speed certainly but she has to have luck to get a crack at them which is why I have her down a bit as a win chance. She is doing everything right at home" (Natalie)   Classical Art (14)   Form: Ran on in Oaks after enjoying nice trail. Likes this trip   Comment: 5 "It is going to be hard to win from there. But she is very well and she could surprise a few. Mark said after he worked her Wednesday if she had drawn the front line she could be right in it. The mile will really suit her where she can go hard all the way. Might be a place bet at odds" (Tim)   Race 6 - Two Year Old Emerald   Motu Premier (2)   Form: Consistently placed at highest level including the Sapling Stakes here earlier.   Comment: 6 "A couple of our others might have it on him for brilliance but he has a bit going for him even though a place looks more likely. I think he has the gate speed to get a nice trip from a good draw and he is a genuine horse. He will try all day. " (Tim)     Chase the Dream (4)   Form: Winner of the Sires Stakes Final at his last start and other juvenile features earlier.   Comment: 9 "He is my best drive of the day I think. He can speed out of the gate and he is as tough as. The draw is going to be a big help for those abilities (Natalie)   Lazarus (7)   Form: Brilliant late run for second in Sires Stakes Final after easy win in Sales Pace.   Comment: 8 "A brilliant horse so you use him out of the gate if you need to or use him during the race. Has an ideal draw. He is probably a bit quicker than Chase The Stars but not quite as  tough at this stage. He can win but Chase The Dream will be tough to beat" (Mark)   Cash n Flow (11)   Form:  Finished on in Sires Stakes Final and a late arriving two year old with ability (Jim Curtin to drive)   Comment: 6 "A really lovely horse but he is going to find it hard to beat the top one from where he is" (Natalie)   Race 7 - Four Year Old Ruby   King Denny (1)   Form: Beat all but Master Lavros at Addington in lead up race.   Comment: 9 "I would say my best chance on the day. He has trained on well has a nice draw which gives him options and no Master Lavros or Stents in this time" (Mark)   Race 8 - Four Year Old Emerald   Isaiah (13)   Form: Faded after tough run last time and has trained well this week   Comment: 4 "I suppose that sounds harsh but it is just that for this race he is in a bad place from the draw and personally I don't think a mile is his best trip " (Natalie)   Messini (14)   Form: Outstanding win at Addington back to left handed track last start.   Comment: 8 "He is just back to the best form he showed in Australia really. The mile will not bother him. He's a tough customer and he has a shot at them" (Mark)   Race 9 - Three Year Old Emerald   Hug The Wind (1)   Form: Outstanding win in class racing at Addington showed his real class.   Comment: 6 "I just don't think he is quite with the other two at this stage. He has the draw and has the gate speed to hold up. If I landed in front I would probably stay there as long as I could because that is his best chance of upsetting them. He was terrific last start but this is a way stronger field " (Natalie)   Have Faith In Me (4)   Form:  First race since late March when he won the NZ Derby. Trials since.   Comment: 9 "I don't think the lack of racing will be a problem for him. He has had two good hitouts at trials and has done it easily. The thing about him is that he loves to be out there and really enjoys his racing. From the draw there are options and while I was reluctant to put a number on him he should be the one to beat" (Tim)   Follow the Stars (5)   Form: Runner up in three Derby's this season and three wins in easier company in Australia to fit him for this. Worked well this week.   Comment: 8 "I don't think that he can beat Have Faith In Me all things being equal. The pecking order is fairly well established now. For all that he seems very well and he has been enjoying his work. He is a class horse even if there seems to be one better at the moment " (Mark)   Lightfingered (13)   Form: Battled into fifth at Addington last start. Has made strong progress this year however.   Comment: 3 "I don't like to put a number on him. I am just grateful I have been given an opportunity to drive on the day and behind a horse I know won't let anybody down. Sure there are stars in there but I like to think he will go a pretty good race" (Matt)     Courtesy Of Dave McCarthy - All Stars Racing Stables - Check site here  

Our harness racing tipsters had another so so week although to be fair they did have a lot of close second placings over the four meetings. There were five winners selected with Clark Barron continuing his hot run at the moment along with Bob Butt, Tony Herlihy, Shane Walkinshaw and Tim Williams and they also had seven placings as well, a lot of them at good odds. This week we have five meetings but none in the deep south which has affected our number of tipsters a bit. Forbury - Thursday night Nathan Williamson - Thought Chantrey back to his favourite track could upset them in race 3 Brendon McLellan - Gives new stable runner Continental Boy a good chance of winning race 5 Shane Walkinshaw - Likes the chances of smart 3 year old Robyn's Bad Boy winning race 6 Matthew Williamson - Rates Hezabluechipboy a big winning chance in race 8  Steve Richardson - Thought The Edge Of Reason could upset them at good odds in race 9   Auckland - Friday night  Maurice McKendry - Really quite keen on the chances of the out of form Sir Richie in race 1 Todd MacFarlane - Gives the 2 year old Cyclone Chief a good chance of winning race 2 Sean McCaffrey - Thinks Yagunnakissmeornot can bounce back to winning form in race 4 Todd Mitchell - Rates Charming Lavra a big chance of winning again, also in race 4 Steven Reid - Confident that Shedontloveme will go one better this week and win 6 John Dunn - Thought Barry was due a change of luck and could win race 8   Addington - Friday night Terry Chmiel - Reckons Saint Michel with the help of the mobile will win race 2 Bob Butt - With two runs under his belt, thought Any Old Way was ready to win, also in race 2  Brad Williamson - Looks like a trifecta as Brad thinks The Silver Fox will win race 2 Tim Williams - Rates the debutante Cash N Flow as very hard to beat in race 5 Jim Curtin - Thought One Over Da Moon on his Rowe Cup run would win race 6 Gerard O'Reilly - Thinks King Of Strathfield has been going great and could win, also in race 6 Scott Phelan - Rates Bettor B Amazed a big winning chance even from barrier 9 in race 7 Blair Orange - Gives Bracken Ridge a big show of turning his form around and winning race 9   Thames - Sunday afternoon Tony Herlihy - Very bullish about the chances of Mighty Regal in race 4   Ashburton - Sunday afternoon Ricky May - Rates the first starter Cable Beach very highly and thinks he will win race 4 John Curtin - Thought Gracious Star and Michelle Neilson would make it two in a row and win race 6   Harnesslink Media

Last week wasn't one of our best but the missing link was our southern tipsters who had a shocker at Winton last Saturday. Everybody else was thereabouts with their selections with Jim Curtin, Todd Mitchell, Maurice McKendry and Ricky May tipping us into winners and we had seven placegetters as well. This week there are only four meetings in the country and we have selections for them all. Taranaki - Thursday afternoon John Curtin (Harnesslink) - Gave Sheza Springfield a big chance of clearing maidens in race 3 Peter Scaife - Likes Prime Legal to improve on his first day run and win race 4 Scott Phelan - Rates Better B Amazed as very hard to beat in race 9 Sean McCaffrey - Thought Styx It To Em was right in the zone and would win race 10   Addington - Friday night John Dunn - Very bullish about the chances of Boom Gate in race 1 Blair Orange - Gives Goodness Gracious Me a big chance in race 2 Steve Richardson (TAB) - Thought Jaccka Justy would be hard to beat in race 3 Tony Herilhy - Thinks Hug The Wind will be very hard to beat from barrier 1 in race 6 Tim Williams - Very keen on the very smart Have Faith In Me, also in race 6 Todd Mitchell - Reckons Prime Power is at his best and will win race 8   Ascot Park - Saturday afternoon Shane Walkinshaw - Likes the chances of Geordie Sivad to make it two in a row in race 4 Brad Williamson - Thought Mokosun from the front line would be hard to beat in race 5 Brendon McLellan - Gives Leigh Major a big chance in race 7 Nathan Williamson - Very bullish about the chances of Statham in race 8 Clark Barron - Not sure if Bonnies Khaleesi can beat Statham but a great place bet, also in race 8   Methven - Sunday afternoon Matthew Williamson - Likes the chances of the first starter Toot Toot in race 1 Bob Butt - Quite bullish about the chances of Ancient Moonlight in race 3 Jim Curtin - Gives Trial Separation a big chance of leaving maidens in race 4 Terry Chmiel - Really keen on the chances of Another Delight, also in race 4 Ricky May - Thought Jack Hammer would be very hard to beat in race 8 Gerard O'Reilly - Thinks Break Dance is a big chance to make it two in a row in race 9   Harnesslink Media

The Greg Brodie sponsored invited drivers competition at the harness racing meeting at Waikouaiti today was keenly fought out between ten drivers from all over New Zealand as well as a couple from Australia. Lance Justice and Amanda Turnbull crossed the Tasman for the competition and were joined by David and Zac Butcher from the North island as well as a good cross section of the leading drivers from Canterbury down to Southland. There were two parts to the competition with the individual title at stake as well as the team competition with six established drivers making up the experienced team and the six younger drivers making up the youth team. Points were available from 12 to the winner down to 1 for last in each heat. The first heat was taken out by Zac Butcher on the Margo Nyhan trained Canndew with Aveross Rustler and Dexter Dunn finishing second and Scanreco Bay and Ricky May third.  The second heat saw Booster trained by Nathan Williamson make it four in a row with Ken Barron in the bike while Flagpole and Craig Ferguson ran into second ahead of Balagio and Jim Curtin. Heat three was for the one win grade and saw the Steven McRae trained No Mas with Amanda Turnbull in the bike home first just ahead of Livy Franco and Zac Butcher and Red Under Fire and David Butcher The fourth heat was for trotters and another Steven McRae trainer runner in Indiana Jones was too smart with Craig Ferguson in the bike in front of Blue Don and Zac Butcher with Anothersuperstar and Matthew Williamson in third. Heat five was taken out by the recent addition to the Graeme Anderson barn in Onedin Mach who had Ricky May in the bike in front of Destined For Glory and Dexter Dunn with Graduate Under Fire and Jim Curtin running into third. The last of the six heats for the invited drivers was taken out by the Greg and Nina Hope trained Bobby T with Ken Barron in the bike in front of Sammy The Bull and Craig Ferguson who ran second with Scotlynn Justis and Matthew Williamson in third. When the points were all tallied up, Zac Butcher had romped home with 51 points, well clear of Ken Barron and Craig Ferguson on 44 points. For his efforts Zac was presented with a commemorative scroll and a $2000 cash prize courtesy of sponsorship from Greg Brodie and he gets to hold the Greg Brodie Drivers Challenge Trophy for twelve months. The youth team were too strong for the experienced team coming out on top by 243.5 points to 229.5 points. Points for each team were as follows:                               Youth Team                                                                         Experienced Team                               Zac Butcher - 51                                                                  Ken Barron - 44                               Craig Ferguson - 44                                                            David Butcher - 43.5                               Matthew Williamson - 43                                                     Lance Justice - 38                               Amanda Turnbull - 38                                                         Allan Beck - 36                                Samantha Ottley - 34.5                                                        Ricky May - 35                               Dexter Dunn - 33                                                                 Jimmy Curtin - 33                               Total Points - 243.5                                                            Total Points - 229.5       This is the second year that the invited drivers competition has been held and if today's event is anything to go by, it has a great future. Harnesslink Media    

Last week was an improvement from the week before with our tipsters selecting six winners along with eight placegetters so not far away from a great result. Clark Barron, Todd Mitchell, Zac Butcher, John Curtin, Matthew Williamson and Maurice McKendry all got their selections home first to carry on the good strike rate that most of that group have. This week we are covering the four meetings with declared fields but we would suggest that anyone backing a horse at Westport on Friday follows their selection through to Reefton on Sunday. Forbury - Thursday night Terry Chmiel - Gives Moment Of Love a big chance of turning her form around and winning race 4 Brad Williamson - Very bullish about the chances of Mokosun in race 9   Westport - Friday afternoon Jim Curtin - Likes the chances of Insignificant even off 30 metres in race 2 Robbie Holmes - Thought As Kiwi As was due a change of luck and could win race 4 Gerard O'Reilly - Reckons Breakdance can turn her form around and win race 5 Steve Richardson (Tab) - Thought the durable Ideal Arden would be hard to beat in race 7 John Dunn - Rates Geisha Girl a huge chance to make it three in a row, also in race 7 Bob Butt - Gives Georgie Mach a big winning chance even from the unruly mark in race 8   Auckland - Friday night Maurice McKendry - Reckons Yagunnakissmeornot can carry on her winning way in race 2 Blair Orange - Thinks Barry with a drop back this week would be very hard to beat, also in race 2 John Curtin - Gives Chase The Dream a big chance of upsetting Lazarus in race 3  Scott Phelan - Thought First Home, even from barrier eight could upset them in race 4  Tim Williams - Rates Dream About Me a big chance to make it three from three in race 5 Todd Mitchell - Gives Prime Power a great chance of going back to back in race 7 Ricky May - Thinks Jason Rulz is a great place chance from barrier two in race 8 Tony Herlihy - Rates San Diego Love coming in fresh a big chance of winning race 9   Gore - Sunday afternoon Brendon McLellan - Gives Taranto a good chance on grass to win race 2 Matthew Williamson - Thought Falcon Asset would be hard to roll in race 6 Nathan Williamson - Reckons Statham has kept improving lately and will win race 7 Shane Walkinshaw - Thought with a drag into the race Viscountess could get some of it, also in race 7 Clark Barron - Gives Flight Deck a good chance of making a winning debut in race 10

Another one of those weeks where we were there abouts without getting the rub of the green, with a lot of the horses selected by our tipsters having little luck. Five managed to get home first but another five ran second which about sums up the luck at the moment. Blair Orange, Robbie Holmes, Tony Herlihy, Nathan Williamson and the boss John Curtin all picked winners and special mention for the boss who is going for three in a row this week. Our tipsters have gone near and far this week from Winton in the south to Tabcorp Park Melton in Melbourne. Winton - Thursday afternoon Brad Williamson - Rates Mokosun a big winning chance even off 20 metres in race 4 Clark Barron - Thinks Mass Invasion is overdue a change of luck and can win, also in race 4   Shane Walkinshaw - Thought Princess Arts from the draw could roll the hotpot On The Town in race 8 Brendon McLellan - Gives Repeat After Me a great chance of running in three in race 9     Manawatu - Thursday night Kyle Marshall - Reckons Unmissable is ready to win her second race at Manawatu in race 5 Peter Scaife - Rates Mach Cullen from barrier one a big chance to turn his form around and win race 7   Amberley - Friday afternoon Bob Butt - Rates last weeks impressive debutant Supershakes hard to beat in race 3 Robbie Holmes - Gives Bridget Blue Chip from her handy draw a chance to upset them in race 5 Gerard O"Reilly - Thought Always Yours would take all kinds of stopping in race 6 Jim Curtin - Rates Star Of Dionysis back to the grass a big chance to win race 8   Auckland - Friday night Steven Reid - Thought  Clarius could continue his good form and win race 1 Tony Herlihy - Likes Walkinshaw to improve on his debut run and win race 4 Maurice McKendry -  Thought his two year old Shandale would have a big show, also in race 4 John Curtin (Harnesslink) - Rates Our Dainty Lady very hard to beat in race 6 Scott Phelan - Thinks Better B Amazed will be awlfully hard to beat in race 9   Ashburton - Saturday afternoon Tim Williams - Rates Chase The Dream a big chance to win the Sapling Stakes on debut (Race 5) Blair Orange - Thought Goodness Gracious Me could top off a string of placings with a win in race 9   Tabcorp Park Melton - Saturday night Ricky May - Was rapt with "Terrors" run last week and thinks he can win the Hunter Cup   Wairarapa - Sunday Afternoon Todd Mitchell - Rates Te Kawau very difficult to beat in the Wairarapa Cup.   Waikouaiti - Sunday Afternoon Nathan Williamson - Rates Grey Power a big chance on the grass to win race 5 Matthew Williamson  - Thinks if Bet's Sun trots all the way he can beat his brother in race 5 Craig Thornley - Likes the chances of Dream Big to bounce back and win race 8.   Harnesslink Media

Harness racing can be cruel at times as a lot of our tipsters found out last week when a lot of the selections had little luck on raceday. Both Playaway and Sweet Art had no luck on the first day at Otaki but both won on the second day so it does pay to not drop them in a hurry, Our best performer last week was Steven Reid who nailed Clarius at Otaki at $13:40 and he was unlucky not to make it a double for the weekend on the second day, again at good odds. Other selectors to pick winners were Ricky May, Peter Scaife,Scott Phelan, Blair Orange and Brad Williamson and we picked up three placings as well and a string of fourths. This week we have selections at Motukarara, Blenhiem, Auckland, and Invercargill and Gate Pa. Don't let the selections for Blenheim slip under your guard on Sunday if they miss on Friday. Motukarara - Thursday afternoon Robbie Holmes - Gave us two he couldn't separate. At the Mott it is Willie Shine in race 8 Ricky May - Thought Cullen Keefe could get back on track in race 10 Craig Thornley - Rates Franco Hammond highly and thought he could win again, also in race 10   Blenheim - Friday afternoon Jimmy Curtin - Likes the chances of the Brian O'Meara trained Mach Winger in race 2 Gerard O'Reilly - Thinks Royal Caroline is due a change of luck and can win race 3  Robbie Holmes - The second of his selections this week is the talented Cyclone Kiwi in race 9 Blair Orange - Rates Take After Me a big chance of making it two wins in a row in race 11   Auckland - Friday night Tony Herlihy - Gives Uandmebabe a big show even from the second line in race 2 Maurice McKendry - Rates Hanoverdakash a great each way bet in race 3 Scott Phelan - Thought that Prince Of Pops could bounce back after a brief break and win race 4 John Curtin (Harnesslink)- Thought Gamma Lady on her workout win last weekend would win race 5   Steve Richardson (TAB) - Rates Charleston Belle a big chance to take out race 9 Todd Macfarlane - Knows the draw is dead against him but still likes Simply Stunning, also in race 9    Invercargill - Saturday afternoon Nathan Williamson - Thought if Splash Cola could get around the first bend then she would win race 1 John Dunn - Gives Alta Las Vegas a big rap even from barrier eight in race 3 Clark Barron - Gives I'm Full Of Excuses a big chance of taking out race 4 Matthew Williamson - Thinks Alley Way on last weeks run should win race 5 Brad Williamson - Thought he might be able to upset big brother with Father Christmas, also in race 5 Shane Walkinshaw - Rates Acolyte off the mobile a big chance to turn his form around in race 8 Tim Williams - Thought Meticulous had trained on great this week and would win race 9   Gate Pa - Sunday afternoon Peter Scaife - Confident that a shoeing change will have recent import Winsome Luck winning race 2 Todd Mitchell - Thought Shardon's Pearl would carry on the good work and win, also in race 2 Sean McCaffrey - With no Gold Ace or Adore Me about, he thought Norvic Nightowl could win race 9     

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