A pileup in the sixth race at Westport yesterday which saw trainer-driver Murray Pash hit the deck put a dampener on what was an otherwise perfect day for the Richmond based horseman. Pash, who trained the second placed horse in the first race and trained and drove Beacon Hill to success in race five, was a part of a three horse pileup which saw himself, along with John Dunn and Samantha Ottley, dislodged from the sulky. The crash happened soon after the start with Glencarrigh, who was being driven by Sam Ottley, falling in front of Can He Pay (Murray Pash) and Benio Billie (John Dunn) who were both unable to clear the fallen runner. Ottley was flipped out of the cart while Pash, who was inside Ottley when the accident happened , was hit from behind and tossed inside the marker pegs on the inside of the track. Dunn was left with nowhere to go and ran into the back of Pash, which sent him torpedoing high into the air. Dunn was clearly sore but was quick to his feet, while there were immediate concerns for Pash and Ottley who remained on the track. Ottley, was quick to bounce back but was stood down for the rest of the day with concussion, while Pash was taken to hospital for observations before returning in time for the after-match function after the completion of the last race. The race, which was called off after the nasty incident, was re-run half an hour later with the horses involved in the crash late scratched. The event was taken out by Adore Me’s younger brother Ohoka Jett, while the aptly named Tough Enough, who is trained by Murray Pash, finished in second. “I knew the day was going to good to be true,” joked Pash. “But it was good to get a win with Beacon Hill as he has been very unlucky at times and the way Aracano and Tough Enough went they should have a good chance at Reefton,” added the bruised and battered horseman. By Mitchell Robertson
Records continued to tumble at Tabcorp Park Menangle today as star four-year-old Guaranteed continued his climb towards champion status with an amazing win in the $200,000 Form 700 Chariots Of Fire. Still it took all of master reinsman Gavin Lang's talents as Guaranteed was forced to do it tough, racing wide for almost the entire race before outstaying Ginger Bliss and Majestic Mach to win in an Australasian record mile rate of 1:50.4. That broke Christen Me's 1:50.5 record set in winning last year's Chariots. John Dunn's New Zealand hope Franco Nelson led the Chariots early as the field came out in a slick 27.3 seconds with fellow Kiwi Border Control (Luke McCarthy) having a brief lick for the front before settling back and looking for some cover. Despite a 28.8s split, Guaranteed provided that cover when he moved up to the outside of Franco Nelson and raced without cover for the rest of the journey. The gutsy Victorian worked to the front turning for home after a 27.5s third split and as they came home in 26.8 he simple refused to let anything get past him. No doubt Guaranteed is a four-year-old that will move into the Grand Circuit with ease and may be him we're talking about as an Inter Dominion favourite this time next year. Harness Racing NSW
She may not have the sheer speed of a mare like Adore Me, but Venus Serena has the staying ability to go down as one of the best fillies in New Zealand racing history. That was the opinion I was left under after the Mach Three megastar made mince meat of her rivals in the $125,000 Great Northern Oaks at Alexandra Park tonight. After being caught wide early, driver John Dunn worked Venus Serena forward to wrestle the lead of Rocknroll Arden with just under two laps to go. She then paced even clips in front, before dashing away for a supersonic 7 & ½ length win in a New Zealand fillies record time of 3-18.9, which shaved more than two seconds off the previous 2700m record held by Twist N Twirl. Rockroll Arden, who enjoyed a nice run in the trail, finished in second position, while Rockn Ruby, who edged out Pricillas Girl, was a further 4 and ½ lenghts away in third. Driver John Dunn was understandably astonished by the ease of Venus Serena’s win. “It’s pretty unbelievable how easily she is winning when you consider the times,” said Dunn. “After her two-year-old season I didn’t think she could get any better but she has proved me wrong and continues to step things up a notch,” Dunn enthused. Dunn was also full of praise for his uncle, and Venus Serena’s trainer, Geoff Dunn. “He does a terrific job with a small team and deserves every bit of success that he gets.” Meanwhile, driver Simon Lawson looks poised to get his first taste on big race success during the Auckland Cup carnival after winning both two-year-old events on tonight’s 10-race card. Lawson combined with Ray Green to win the PGG Wrightson Yearling Sales Graduate for colts and geldings with classy two-year-old Chachingchaching, before claiming the sixth heat of the Gotta Go Cullen Young Guns Series with talented filly Unforgiving. Both two-year-olds will compete in Group features on next week’s Auckland Cup night. By Mitchell Robertson
This week’s ring-around is smaller than usual as many trainers and drivers have been busy during the week with the sales. However, I am sure the ring-around will, like always, throw out a few winners. Andrew Armour: Believes Macardo is a good bet in the third race at Wyndham on Saturday. Craig Thornley: Thinks Franco Harrington, who was desperately unlucky at Waikouaiti, can make amends in the ninth race at Methven on Sunday. David Butt: Expects Lothario to be hard to beat in the third race at Timaru on Sunday. Gavin Smith: Rates Vincennes as a good each-way chance in the fifth race at Methven on Friday. Jim Curtin: Thinks the consistent Vitali is overdue a winning turn – Timaru, race one. John Dunn: Expects Lovemetwotimes to be tough to toss in the sixth race at Timaru on Sunday. Jonny Cox: Thinks Simply Susational is a good each-way chance from his ace alley in seventh race at Timaru on Sunday. Scott Phelan: Is bullish about the chances of Rocknroll Lass in the sixth race at Manawatu tonight. Stephen McNally: Has opted for the talented Trouble Rieu as his bet of the week. He competes in the third race at Timaru on Sunday. Steve Richardson (T.A.B): Has been impressed by No Doctor Needed at the trials. He makes his debut in the last race at Wyndham on Saturday. Simon Lawson: Will wait until Monday for his best bet – Bute Mach – Avondale, race ten. Tim Williams: Thinks smart last start winner Come On Jaccka can repeat the dose on Saturday – Wyndham, race ten. Mitchell Robertson (Harnesslink): Best bet – Franco Harrington –Methven, race nine. Each-way – Lovemetwotimes – Timaru, race six. Each-way - Tazzy's Devil - Alexandra Park, race eight. Value – Eyre I Come – Timaru, race three.
Mike Ward won the Group One New Zealand Messenger Championship in 1996, but Saturday’s victory by Majestic Time in the Group Three $25,000 Neumann’s Hambletonian Classic at Ashburton was his career highlight. Ward owned and bred Decision Time but Mark Purdon trained him for 10 days before that Messenger triumph. “I think this win is even sweeter because even although we also bred this filly, and our family also owns her, I did the training this time round,” the West Melton horseman said. Majestic Time was the fourth favourite in Saturday’s 1609 metre mobile trot and paid $9 to win. She and driver Ken Barron had 1-1/2 lengths and a length to spare over place-getters, Any Old way (Paul Nairn) and Thebestlove (Anthony Butt). Winner’s time: 1:58.6. Last 800m: 58.4. 27.8. Majestic Time is owned by Ward, his wife Pauline, daughter Susan, and son Craig. “I’ve always had a bit of time for her. That’s why I gave my kids a share in her. I didn’t want to give them a dud,” Ward said. The bay filly is by Majestic Son out of the Ward owned and trained five-win ($54,939) Sundon mare, Time To Shine. She left four foals but died last year while foaling to a Muscles Yankee filly. “It’s a real honour to win a big race like the Hambletonian. It’s a prestigious race, especially here in Canterbury. She will make a good broodmare one day,” 63-year-old Ward said. He said there was still one win he would now dearly love to win – the Group Three New Zealand Trotting Oaks at Addington on April 4. “It’s the only major race on the calendar where she will get to take on her on sex. She beat the boys and girls on Saturday and should be tough to roll against the fillies. “But this is racing and you can never take anything for granted because you just don’t know who is going to come out of the woodwork, especially from the North Island,” said Ward who is a builder by trade and works three horses at West Melton. Mark Purdon won the last three Hambletonian Classics with Paramount Queen (2013 in 1:59.7), Escapee (2012 in 1:59.5), and Kylie Ree (2011 in 1:59.9). Purdon might not have won yesterday’s big trot but he and co-trainer Natalie Rasmussen did claim their own Group Three prize on Saturday when he drove Follow The Stars to win the $25,000 Teltrack Sapling Stakes for 2-year-old pacers. Isaiah also won the same race from him in 1:57.2 last year, but Follow The Stars beat that time recording a blistering a 1:53.2. The Geoff Dunn trained Venus Serena was again brilliant in the third heat of the $15,000 Nevele R Fillies heat, recording the fastest mile of the day in a lightning 1:52.2. Driver John Dunn late last month told HRNZ the 3-year-old Mach Three filly was the best horse he had driven. She further endorsed that reputation on Saturday with her quickest career mile win, and 10th in 15 starts. Venus Serena has now banked $434,152 in stakes. Ashburton again proved to be one of the fastest tracks in New Zealand on Saturday when the 10 races carded all produced sub two-win miles. In fact Majestic Time’s 1:58.6 triumph was the slowest of the day. By Duane Ranger (Harness Racing New Zealand)
Last week the ring-around produced five winners, including both my best and each-way bet of the week. The best result was my each-way bet of the week in Mashika, who opened at a quote of $6.50 but was eventually backed into a $2.20 favourite. So, what’s winning this week? Anthony Butt: Thinks extremely talented two-year-old The Jazzman will be very hard to beat in Saturday’s Sapling Stakes at Ashburton. Blair Orange: Is bullish about the chances of Jay Dubb, who was an expensive purchase out of the barn of Mark Smolenski. The classy two-year-old is set to do battle in the first race at Winton on Friday. David Butt: Has opted for Eagles Nest, who looks a good each-way prospect in the Sapling Stakes on the back of some strong trial form. Gavin Smith: Thinks capable mare Vincennes will be hard to stop in the fifth race at Waikouaiti on Sunday. John Dunn: Thinks Princess Galleon only needs to trot to win the second race at Waikouaiti on Sunday. Jonny Cox: Rates the chances of the unpredictable but talented Chiola Belle. She competes in the tenth race at Waikouaiti on Sunday. Josh Dickie: Thinks Spanish Angel can break through for his maiden victory in the third race at Manawatu tonight. Mark Jones: Thinks stable newcomer Jaccka Len will prove very hard to beat in the twelfth race at Waikouaiti on Sunday. Matty Williamson: Likes the chances of capable three-year-old trotter Zhenya. She goes around in the fourth race at Rangiora today. Nathan Williamson: Rates Harry Mac as a good each-way prospect from his ace alley in race five at Waikouaiti on Sunday. Ricky May: Thinks Delightful Dash can go one better in the second race at Waikouaiti on Sunday. Scott Phelan: Likes the chances of Starry Delight in the second race at Manawatu tomorrow. Simon Lawson: Believes Ace Of Delight is his best drive of the week – Alexandra Park, race six. Steve Richardson (T.A.B): Has opted for On A Promise in the eighth race at Alexandra Park on Friday. Terry Chmiel: Thinks Rip Roaring should break his maiden status in the ninth race at Rangiora tomorrow. Tim Williams: Likes the chances of talented 3YO Bettor Buy It, who competes in the ninth race at Winton on Friday. Todd Mitchell: Expects Lost In Bangkok to be hard to beat in the fifth race at Alexandra Park on Friday. Mitchell Robertson (Harnesslink) Best bet – A Boy Named Rosie – Ashburton, race eight. Each-way – Smart Alex – Rangiora, race seven. Value – Hairy Maclary – Rangiora, race three.
Any questions over who is New Zealand’s best three-year-old filly can now be squashed. Because, after tonight’s performance in the PGG Wrightson New Zealand Yearling Sales Series Fillies Final at Addington, that title clearly belongs with Venus Serena. After doing a torrent of early work to find the front over northern filly Ideal Belle, further company soon arrived in the form of Libertybelle Midfrew. But, when it comes to a dog fight, few are better than Venus Serena, who proved that tonight holding Libertybelle Midfrew at bay to claim the $180,000 feature by 3/4s of a length. “I thought she may have got run down after working so hard early but she is just so tough and she never gives in,” said West Melton trainer Geoff Dunn. “It is one thing getting up to her, but another thing getting past,” he explained. “I knew when nothing sprinted up to her at the 400 metre mark that she would win.” Venus Serena paced the 1950 metre journey in a super 2-19.9, which was just 0.2 of a second outside the national fillies record held by none other than Carabella. The win was one of four for John Dunn, who was also successful aboard Kincaslough, Mashika, and smart two-year-old debutant Say My Name. Geoff Dunn was also delighted with the fresh-up win of his star colt Tiger Tara, who was an effortless 3 & ½ length winner in the C3-4 event. “He is just going from strength to strength,” enthused Dunn. “He will now head to Ashburton on the 8th of February, before heading north for the Great Northern Derby. Meanwhile, Dominion winner Master Lavros overcame an early scare, which saw him gallop and cause a false start, to win the Seelite Windows & Doors Summer Trotting Free-For-All at Group Three level. “The first couple of times (there were two false starts) I kept him back off the arm early, but that wasn’t helping him as he was trying to chase the gate too hard,” explained Jones. “So the third time I put him on the gate right from the start and he was perfect.” Master Lavros will race again from behind the mobile at Addington on February 15 before heading to Sydney for the Trans-Tasman Challenge. “All going well, he will also contest the Great Southern Star in Victoria,” said Jones By Mitchell Robertson
Venus Serena is not only the best filly that John Dunn has ever driven, but the 30-year-old said she was close to being the best pacer he had sat behind. The 3-year-old daughter of Mach Three looks destined to provide Dunn with another big-race victory when they line up in Friday’s Group One PGG Wrightson NZ Yearling Sales 3yo Fillies Championship at Addington Raceway. With a stake of $175,000, the 1950m mobile is the richest event on Friday’s 12-strong race-card. Up until her last start sixth at Alexandra Park on New Year’s Eve (the $150,000 Group One Alabar Stakes Final), Venus Serena had won her last three races in a row. “I was rapt with her run that night. I thought it was massive actually because she got an interrupted run and still ran on strongly at the end. “We got checked and ended up five deep on the fence and then she got on the three-wide train. She did well to get as close as she did. On that run and her workouts win on Saturday, I think she will be hard to beat again,” Dunn said. Venus Serena was full of running at last weekend’s North Canterbury workouts, finishing a head second behind the talented Smolda, who lines up in race seven on Friday. She paced the 2000m mobile in 2:25.9. Mile rate: a slashing a1:57.3 with slick last 800m and 400m sprints of 54.5 and 26.7 seconds. Venus Serena has drawn seven of 14 on Friday, and Dunn said he would be asking the question of her early in the race. “I’ll take the race as it comes, but I think I will be going forward with her fairly early on. I want to put her into the race,” the Canterbury reinsman said. Trained by Dunn’s uncle Geoff at West Melton, Venus Serena has now won eight of her 13 starts – three of them at Addington and three over Friday’s distance. The classy brown filly has provided Dunn (John) with three of his four Group One victories. They were the $150,000 2yo Fillies Diamond on Harness Jewels day at Ashburton on June 1, 2013; the $150,000 Sires Stakes 2yo Fillies Championship at Alexandra Park on May 3, 2013; and the $100,000 Caduceus Club 2yo Fillies Classic at Alexandra Park on April 19, 2013. “She’s a lovely filly. She’s certainly the best filly or mare that I have sat behind, probably the best male or female. She’s got amazing high speed and is an equally good stayer. “She raced really well over the shorter trips last season and I know she will cope with the longer distances as she gets older. She just feels like a top racehorse,” the Kaiapoi horseman said. Dunn is having one of his best seasons in 13 years of driving. He’s already driven 50 winners and placed 93 times from 326 drives in 2013-2014. He looks destined to beat his personal best tally of 102 wins recorded last year. Toughest for Venus Serena to beat will be the Barry Purdon trained and Tony Herlihy (MNZM) driven Ideal Belle, and the Nigel McGrath trained and Matthew Williamson driven Libertybelle Midfrew. The evening’s only Group One event – the $100,000 PGG Wrightson NZ Breeders Stakes for fillies and mares again looks an Adore Me benefit. The 4-year-old Bettor’s Delight mare has drawn ideally at four and Mark Purdon is likely to send her to the lead early and again give her opponents a pacing lesson. If successful it will be her 16th win in 18 starts and fifth from sixth this season. By Duane Ranger (Harness Racing New Zealand)
The ring-around was a bit quieter last week with just Andrew Armour, Anthony Butt, and myself tipping out winners. Of those winners, the best resulted was my each-way bet of the week in Dr Hook who romped in at odds of $6.70 and $1.80 Hopefully we can bounce back to top form this week. Anthony Butt: Has opted for Mah Sish, who will attempt to go back-to-back in the Hunter Cup on Saturday. David Butt: Thinks stable star Habibti will be hard to beat despite her wide alley - Addington, race ten. Dexter Dunn: Has opted for Jennalee, who was desperately unlucky last start. She competes in the third race at Forbury Park tonight. John Dunn: Has a lot of time for the smart two-year-old qualifier Say My Name, and expects him to be very hard to beat in the third race at Addington on Friday. Jim Curtin: Thinks Damon Runyon is a good each-way chance in the third race at Addington on Friday. Jonny Cox: Rates the chances of capable filly Goodness Gracious Me in the seventh race at Wyndham on Sunday. Ken Barron: Thinks Red Under Fire, who has been desperately unlucky lately, can break through for his maiden win in race six at Geraldine on Saturday. Mark Jones: Has opted for the talented Smart Caesar as his bet of the week. He will compete in the ninth race at Addington on Friday. Sam Ottley: Thinks capable trotter Spell is knocking on the door of another win – Geraldine, race eight. Simon Lawson: Thinks Electric Chapel can make it five straight win on Friday – Alexandra Park, race four. Steve Richardson (T.A.B): Likes the chances of Chillysjustastrutter in the seventh race at Alexandra Park on Friday. Tim Williams: Thinks Jocy Jaccka, with manners, will be hard to beat in the first race at Wyndham on Sunday. Todd Mitchell: Rates Cullies Delight as a good each-way chance in race seven at Alexandra Park. Mitchell Robertson (Harnesslink) Best bet – Tiger Tara – Addington, race six Each-way – Mashika – Addington, race eleven Value – Valmagne – Forbury, race eight.
Gun four-year Border Control dashed his last 800 metres in 53.9 last night, to not only claim victory C3-6 Pace, but also record the quickest ever last half run at Addington. “It is an absolutely phenomenal half isn’t it?” said co-trainer – driver Mark Purdon. “He must have jumped a shadow down the back or something, because I nearly lost him, so it was a good effort for him to regain his composure while going that speed and still win.” The extremely talented son of Bettor’s Delight, who also holds the overall New Zealand One Mile record of 1-50.6, will return to Addington on January 31st, before setting his sights on the Chariots Of Fire in Sydney. John Dunn (Donegal’s Guest) and Nigel McGrath (Classiesistar) were also more than happy with their charges, which finished in second and third respectively. Meanwhile, trainer-driver Mark Jones is not panicking over a gallop which saw Master Lavros run down the track at odds of $1.15. “He was better off to do it (gallop) in that race than the last time he was here (The Dominion),” laughed Jones. “He was just hanging the whole way, so we will make a gear change and come back here on the 31st for the Seelite Windows & Doors Summer Trotting Free-For-All. I’m not panicking yet.” In other news, Nicole Harris enjoyed her second career victory when winning aboard The Brigadier who was ultra impressive, while Nigel Charmers continued his good run in the Amatuer ranks, notching up his third win at just his sixth drive. By Mitchell Robertson
The ring-around continued its tremendous run of form last week, with long shot winners Platinum Princess ($7.80), Juneamy Castleton ($11.80) , and Happy Heidi ($7) all rolling home at good odds. Other winners tipped out in the ring-around included Lothario, Jaccka Lonny, Crackaheiny, Ton Tine, and Snow Fairy. So, let’s see what the good oil is this week Andrew Armour: Thinks Nureyev, who has finally landed a good barrier draw, will be extremely hard to beat in the fourth race at Invercargill on Saturday. Anthony Butt: Rates the chances of All Cash from his ace alley in race seven at Addington tonight. Blair Orange: Thinks Art Critic will be very hard to beat in the third race at Motukarara on Sunday. Gavin Smith: Believes Bettor Not Knowing is a strong each-way chance in race four at Addington tonight. Jim Curtin: Rates the chances of Damon Runyon who looks a strong each-way prospect in the last race at Addington tonight. John Dunn: Thinks Princess Galleon is capable of getting some money in the ninth race at Addington tonight. Ken Barron: Rates Red Under Fire as his best of the week. He competes in the second race at Motukarara on Sunday. Mark Jones: Rated Goodness Gracious Me as his best chance of the week, but because that race is a non-tote, he has opted for Sunoflindenny in the first race at Addington tonight. Matt Williamson: Rates the chances of Ultra Shock in the seventh race at Invercargill on Saturday. Nathan Williamson: Thinks The Wonkey Donkey can regain form in the third race at Invercargill on Saturday. Ricky May: Thinks Ranfurly Rulz will prove very hard to beat in the first race at Invercargil on Saturday. Sam Ottley: Has a lot of time for Spell, and thinks she will be hard to roll in the eighth race at Motukarara. Simon Lawson: Thinks Bettor Offer will be amongst the Barry Purdon fight in the last race at Auckland on Friday. Terry Chmiel: Believes Rip Roaring has a good chance of breaking his maiden status in the third race at Addington tonight. Tim Williams: Rates Come On Jaccka as his best chance of the week. He competes in the fourth race at Invercargill on Saturday. Mitchell Robertson (Harnesslink Best bet – Art Critic – Motukarara, race three. Each-way – Dr Hook – Alexandra Park, race eight. Value – Spell – Motukarara, race eight.
Last week was yet another good one for the ring-around with John Dunn, Mark Jones, Matthew Williamson, Ricky May, and yours truly all tipping out winners. Let’s see if we can repeat the dose this week. Blair Orange: Has opted for last start winner Best Bones. She goes around in the ninth race at Oamaru on Sunday. David Butt: Thinks Lothario, with manners, will take all sorts of stopping in race nine at Addington on Friday. Dexter Dunn: Thinks Jaccka Lonny will be hard to beat from his ace alley in race four at Invercargill today. Gavin Smith: Has opted for All Shook Up, who will do battle in the sixth race at Oamaru on Sunday. John Dunn: Rates the chances of Crackaheiny in the seventh race at Addington on Friday. Jonny Cox: Thinks Platinum Princess can get some money in the fifth race at Invercargill today. Ken Barron: Thinks Planet Princess is an each-way chance in race eight at Addington tomorrow. Mark Jones: Likes the chances of Juneamy Castleton, who should be hard to catch in the fourth race at Oamaru on Sunday. Matthew Williamson: Is bullish about the chances of Galleons Triumph, who also competes in the fourth race at Oamaru on Sunday. Steve Richardson (T.A.B): Thinks Hector McFeckle can trot and win the first race at Otaki on Friday. Simon Lawson: Has opted for Ton Tine, who looks a strong chance in fourth race at Otaki on Friday. Terry Chmiel: Thinks that Hi Jinx is a strong chance with right run in race seven at Addington Todd Mitchell: Thinks Snow Fairy will be very hard to beat in race five at Otaki. Mitchell Robertson (Harnesslink) Best bet – Superbowlcheerleader – Addington, race five Each-way – Happy Heidi – Invercargill, race two Value – Karen Dana – Oamaru, race one
The win of Elios, who toppled Christen Me in last night’s four & five-year-old Futurity Stakes at Cambridge, put the icing on the cake on what was an inch-perfect day for the potent Dunn duo. From the modest heights of a couple of maiden wins early on in the day at Blenhiem, things went from good to great for John and Robert Dunn when they combined to win the Marlborough Cup Prelude with Donegal’s Guest and then the Pelorus Classic with Franco Nelson. “I didn’t think my day could get any better after that but the win of Elios (driven by Brent Mangos) at Cambridge really topped things off nicely,” said John Dunn, who reined home five winners for the third time in less than a month.” “I really do have to thank my staff, I have been holidaying in Nelson for the past week, but luckily for me they brought the whole team up to Blenhiem in tip top condition. While the winning performances of Cullect A Guineas, Light Up Boss, and Robyn’s Raider were all very good, the performances of Donegal’s Guest, Franco Nelson, and Elios took centre stage. “Donegal’s Guest is just absolutely flying at the moment,” said Dunn. “He is a very happy horse who wants to be out there and doing it. “His runs prior to going on this circuit were good but he seems to have gone to another level now.” Through their respective Group Two wins, both Franco Nelson and Elios are guaranteed spots in the $200,000 Chariots Of Fire in Sydney on March 3, but while Elios is as good as there, Dunn says that Franco Nelson may bypass the four-year-old feature for a bid at the Inter Dominions. “Nothing is set in concrete at the moment, but we are definitely considering it,” said Dunn, who is stoked to have the Christian Cullen entire back on the job. “Around Cup time he was getting to the front and pulling up, but he has well and truly got his mind back on the job now.” “The draw worked out perfectly and after getting an easy time in front he was always going to take a lot of catching.” While many were unhappy that Franco Nelson was able to pick and choose between the Cambridge Futurity and the Pelorus Classic, Dunn says the plan was always to go to Blenheim. “We only left him in at Cambridge in case we couldn’t arrange travel to Blenhiem,” Dunn explained. “In the end Tony Shaw had to cut his holiday short to drive him down here, so he is another person that I need to thank.” By Mitchell Robertson
After a couple of weeks absence during the Christmas/New Year period, the ring-around is now back in action and ready to once again steer you in the direction of a winner or ten! Blair Orange: Thinks Bio Marinus will take all sorts of beating in the eleventh race at Blenheim on Friday. Craig Thornley & Terry Chmiel: Think the consistent Thorn In My Side will be tough to roll from her frontline position in race seven at Blenheim on Friday Gavin Smith: Has opted for four-win mare All Shook Up, who looks well placed in the ninth race at Oamaru today. Jim Curtin: Is bullish about the chances of Star Of Dionysis. He competes in the sixth race at Blenheim on Friday. John Dunn: Has opted for stable newcomer Light Up Boss. He competes in the fourth race at Blenheim on Friday. Mark Jones: Just needs to stay in the cart to win aboard Sunoflindenny in the fifth race at Blenheim on Friday. Matthew Williamson: Thinks the consistent Scotty’s Image can break his maiden status at Oamaru today. Ricky May: Has opted for Live The Dream in race six at Oamaru today. Scott Phelan: Thinks Rocknroll Lass is a good each-way chance in race one at Cambridge on Friday. Simon Lawson: Has opted for the consistent Ace Of Delight who has a strong chance in the second race at Cambridge on Friday. Stephen McNally: Gives Culinary Delight a chance in the sixth race at Blenheim on Friday. Steve Richardson (T.A.B): Might have found some value in the form of Westburn Courage. He competes in the Morrinsville Cup on Sunday. Todd Mitchell: Thinks classy three-year-old Cyclone Prince can atone in the Waikato Guineas at Cambridge on Friday. Mitchell Robertson (Harnesslink) Best Bet – Mixed Emotions – Oamaru, race ten. Each-way – Thorn In My Side – Blenheim, race seven Value – Somebeach N Clovelly – Cambridge, race five By Mitchell Robertson
It’s fair to say the last six weeks haven’t exactly gone smoothly for the Westview Racing Syndicates and their head Principal Nigel Armstrong. In fact, Armstrong even considered getting Lumos insured before the Nelson Summer Carnival. “Six weeks ago we had a two-year-old called Mapua Gladiator (Christian Cullen-Mapua Bay) die after rupturing a hernia,” said Armstrong. “I was actually there when it happened and it wasn’t pretty.” “Robert (Dunn) was away on holiday at Queenstown for the weekend and everyone was too scared to tell him as they knew he would rush back to Christchurch. He thought the world of the horse and was setting him for the Young Guns,” he added. Dunn then leased Kotare Kate (Royal Mattjesty – Kotare Karma) to the Westview No 7 Syndicate to replace Mapua Gladiator, only to have her die of a heart attack three days prior to her debut at Nelson. “Robert said she was working super and told us that she would win on the first day at Nelson,” revealed Armstrong. “Many of the members of the Westview No 7 Syndicate are new to racing so it hasn’t taken them long to learn the highs and lows of the sport.” Armstrong, who followed his father’s footsteps into ownership, enjoyed 19 wins as an owner last year. “The Westview Syndicates have been extremely successful and that is evident as we are now up to syndicate number seven,” said Armstrong. In fact we are yet to have anyone pull out of a single syndicate,” he added. Armstrong said that there were only two or three people that were in both the Westview No 7 Syndicate and the No 6 syndicate that owns Lumos. “His win on the second-day at Nelson was still a much needed tonic for everyone involved though.” Lumos’s emphatic 3 & ¾ length win followed on from his close-up second on the first day. “He can be a bit goofy out in front and he sometimes waits for his opposition. That cost him on the first day, so Johnny (Dunn) held him back to the field for as long as possible before cutting the ribbons on Sunday,” said Armstrong. “Robert thinks he is one of the quickest horses in the stable. He certainly hasn’t finished winning yet.” Armstrong said there have been a few offers on the table for Lumos, but at this stage the syndicate is keen to keep racing him. “It is more about the fun than the money,” said Armstrong. “He picks up a cheque most weeks, so we certainty aren’t going to lose anything by racing him.” Armstrong, who along with his ‘Westview groupies’ is often a brutal force in the Punters’ Competitions, last year designed a pair of silks in which all of the Westview horses now race in. “All of the horses that we race are trained by Robert Dunn, so we made our colours very similar to his and just incorporate the ‘Westview Racing’ Logo,” explained Armstrong. Other horses previously raced by the Westview team include Montecrengle, Fiery Achiever, and Ten Diamonds. They are also currently racing four-win pacer Comenche Meanwhile, the Dunn’s have had further bad luck with smart types Kotare Mahal and Rider On The Storm. “Kotare Mahal broke down badly after his last start at Addington and may need to be put down, while Rider On The Storm went in the suspensory again after just one comeback trial,” revelled John Dunn. By Mitchell Robertson
Blair Orange has opted to drive Border Control in Friday’s $40,000 Pelorus Classic. But, that is on the proviso that he gets the drive back on the very classy Saveapatrol. “Mark and Natalie are away holidaying in Brisbane, so I will take the drive on Border Control,” said Orange.”But they tell me I will retain the drive on Saveapatrol, which is a huge relief as he is a very good horse,” he added. The pair look like the horses to beat in the Pelorus Classic, with both of them eyeing up the automatic entry into the $200,000 Chariots Of Fire that is granted to the Pelorus winner. "I originally planned on taking Master Lavros and Saveapatrol over to Sydney in February, but there isn't a lot over there for Master Lavros leading into the Trans Tasman Challenge in early March, so Saveapatrol's trip may depend on the Pelorus result," said Mark Jones, who will take the drive on Saveapatrol on Friday provided that he can gain clearance. "He seems really well, but it is going to be a tricky race to win. It is a joke that Franco Nelson was allowed to choose between Cambridge and Blenhiem," he added. Also contesting Friday’s Waterlea feature are talented pacers Pacquiao and Franco Nelson. The latter is also targeting the Chariots Of Fire and has come up with the coveted ace alley for Friday’s assignment. Meanwhile, a class field has also been assembled for the 4 & 5YO Futurity Stakes which will also be run on Friday at Cambridge. “We have left Elios up there for that race to split him up with Franco Nelson in an attempt to get them both qualified for the Chariots,” said John Dunn. “He won’t beat Christen Me, but if he runs second and is the first four-year-old home he will get automatic entry,” he explained. By Mitchell Robertson