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Cup week has come and gone for another year and for the Robert Dunn team, a new set of targets has been put in place. Most notable though is a northern assault to be headed by Franco Nelson. According to co-trainer John Dunn, "with the stakes that they have got on offer up there, you have to have a go really." Franco Nelson will be joined by trotter I've Got This, 3yr olds, Say My Name, Little Rascal,  Robbie Burns and Miss Daisy and good 4yr old No Doctor Needed.       The team will be stabled at John Street's new Lincoln Farms property which is simply "a brilliant facility," says John. "We are very lucky to have some boxes that we can lease there and hopefully it will be the start of big things up there." The team will be joined on their northern sojourn by regular travelling foreman Matt Bowden, a highly respected man within the stable. Four of the team - No Doctor Needed, I've Got This, Miss Daisy and Little Rascal are likely to be seen at Alexandra Park next Friday.  With minimum stakes of $12,000 on offer, it appears sound economics. Franco Nelson will have his first hitout the following week in the Manakau Summer Cup at Group Three level.      Three year olds Say My Name and Robbie Burns have both had their share of setbacks this season, with Say My Name having just the one race and Robbie Burns yet to race. "We've had our issues with both of them," reflected John, "but they do seem to be on the up which is good." Say My Name has been gelded since last racing and it will probably be after Xmas before he races. John is likely to be at Alexandra Park driving the team next Friday. Courtesy Of Robert Dunn Racing Stables - Check site here 

One of the hardest things to get right in the harness racing industry is the management of large syndicates and the issues that go with that. Most attempts at large scale syndication have faltered but one operator who seems to have got the structure right and is having success is the Go Harness group established by Noel Kennard. Run by Noel with the help of former HRNZ journalist John Robinson, the Go Harness syndicates were set up to try to make the cost of racing standardbreds more affordable to a wider cross - section of the public and they have succeeded in bringing a lot of new people into the industry. One of their first syndicates was the "Trotting For Fun" group which was established in late 2012. Initially the syndicate brought Saratoga off Wayne Feiss from Australia. Racing from the All Stars barn prior to being purchased, the son of Muscles Yankee was left with the All Stars team and has done a super job for the syndicate. Since his purchase Saratoga has had 15 starts for 5 wins and 4 placings for $38,378 in stakes. Saratoga was moved recently to the barn of Ken Barron to take advantage of the swimming pool there on the advice of Mark Purdon. When the syndicate was formed three other yearling fillies were leased from well known breeder Ivan McNicholl to round out the syndicate. One was injured as a 2 year old and retired to stud but the other two are on track to make their mark on the racetrack this season. Both remaining fillies are beautifully bred and have both qualified already. Harriet Of Mot is by Monarchy from the very talented Sundon mare Harriet Hughes who won five races from just 13 starts. Harriet Hughes ran second in the Group 2 Trotters Championship to One Over Kenny and third in the Group 1 Trotting derby as a 3 year old. The other filly Eilish Aimee is by Love You and is a half sister to Harriet Hughes as well as Earl Of Mot ($535,756)  Ella Powell ($118,495) and  is a three quarter sister to Amore Stride ($99,156). Eilish Aimee lines up for her first start tomorrow at Timaru and while it is a big ask for a 3 year old filly to do everything right first time, John Robinson knows the ability is there. "The trainers Craig and Aimee Edmonds have always had a high opinion of the filly and think long term she could go a fair way." "They have had most of this family through their hands and think Eilish Aimee has a big future," John said. A trial winner at Rangiora last Monday, Eilish Aimee impressed track watchers and driver John Dunn with a very professional display and that has given John Robinson some confidence heading into her debut run. "John was quite impressed with her on Monday and has taken the drive tomorrow." "Whatever she does tomorrow she can have a brief letup and come back in the new year after a short break," he said Harriet Of Mot is also qualified but won't be seen out just yet according to John. "She can still be a bit headstrong so we are in no hurry with her as she has the family ability," he said. John Robinson swears one of the keys to running large syndicates is the communication between the trainers and the syndicates management and he can't  praise Craig and Aimee Edmonds enough. " They are just great to deal with and keep us up to date on everything." " We don't have to ring them, they ring us which makes our job so much easier," John said  Large scale syndications are never easy to manage but the Go Harness team have obviously got the formulae just right judging by their results to date. Harnesslink Media     

Bit of the post Cup blues from last weeks tipsters with just Blair Orange, John Curtin, Tony Herlihy, Todd Macfarlane and Nathan Williamson nailing winners while the tipsters racked up seven placings as well. Jimmy Curtin went close with Juliette Bromac at Addington running second when paying $31 to win. This week there is plenty of racing in the south with four meetings and just one in the north and our tipsters have covered all the meetings. Due to the invited drivers series at Invercargill taking over the last six races there, we have no selections from our southern tipsters this week bar Nathan Williamson who is driving at Forbury Park.  Forbury Park - Thursday Night Matt Williamson - Thought Tachma was right in the zone and could win race 1 Nathan Williamson - Gives Strathmores Charm a real chance to go back to back in race 5 Tim Williams - Reckons with the big drop back in class Here We Go Again should win race 6   Alexandra Park - Friday Night John Curtin  (Harnesslink) - Reckons Hot Mach will be too good in race 1 Steven Reid - Likes Blinding Light  with a better barrier draw this week to win race 3 Todd Macfarlane - Rates Bourbon Street a big chance of clearing maidens in race 6 Scott Phelan - With Spanish Lustre scratched, his best drive is now Le Lua Invasion in race 9   Timaru - Saturday Afternoon  John Dunn - Likes Eilish Aimee to start her career on a winning note in race 1 Bob Butt - Rates Easy Rider a good chance to atone for Ashburton last week and win race 2 Steve Richardson (TAB) - Gives Major Patron a big show of turning his form around in race 3 Brad Williamson - Thought the standing start would make Goshawk an each way chance in race 7  Ricky May - Reckons Pay Me Art from the front line will be hard to beat in race 9 Terry Chmiel - Gives Stradowan a winning chance even off 10 metres , also in race 9 Gerard O'Reilly - Likes Jayceekay from the mobile to be too good and win race 10  Craig Thornley - Rates Real Life Hero a big chance to take out race 11   Banks Peninsula - Sunday Afternoon Robbie Holmes - Thinks Willie Shine is slowly turning the corner and can win race 1 Jim Curtin - Thought Franco Tyrone was a good chance to win race 12   Invercargill - Sunday Afternoon Maurice McKendry - Thought from barrier 3 Sheeza Shark would be tough to roll in race 8  Blair Orange - Rates Pepe Bromac,even from barrier 12 a chance to beat Sheeza Shark in race 8    Harnesslink Media

Robert Dunn sees a silver lining to Franco Nelson’s controversial Miracle Mile snub. Because now the New Zealand Cup runner-up can be the flagbearer for his North Island satellite stable which opens this week. Franco Nelson was passed over for a Miracle Mile invite at the expense of Terror To Love, who got the second Kiwi invite to next week’s A$750,000 race, even though Franco Nelson beat him twice last week. Dunn says while he would love to be going to Australian pacing’s richest sprint he isn’t losing much sleep over the snub. “Sure, we would love to have him there but we could also go over, draw outside horses like Beautide and have no chance,” admits Dunn. “That decision is made and we have Auckland to concentrate on with him now as well as the Hunter and Victoria Cups later in the summer.” Franco Nelson will have plenty of stable company when he comes north this weekend, with Dunn and son John, who train in what is basically an unofficial partnership, sending six horses north. They will be stabled at the new Lincoln Farms property in South Auckland after owner John Street moved his harness racing operation from West Auckland. “We are privelaged to get some room at John’s place because he does things well,” says Dunn. “And the time has come for us to have a more permanent base in Auckland. “I have a lot of Auckland-based owners who want to see their horses race up there as often as we can. “And it is getting harder to ignore the stakes at Alexandra Park and the fact they have smaller fields. “So Franco will lead our team up there with horses like No Doctor Needed and Say My Name among the six we are sending up.” The Dunns won’t be the first Canterbury trainers to set up a northern base and most fall over eventually as they struggle for horse numbers or staff who can replicate the main trainer’s success in their absence. The latest venture would seem to have a greater shot at success than most though as the horses will be in the care of Matt Bowden, who has had a wonderful strike rate looking after the stable’s horses on previous extended northern raids. “Matt will be the man up there but of course John and I will be making trips up, especially John who will drive them racenight a lot of the time. “The driving can be shared with Dexter if needs be too because he drives up there a lot of the summer. “We are really excited about it because it gives up more options with our horses. “We haven’t gone into it lightly and we want to make this a permanent thing.” Franco Nelson has come though his two Cup week placings well and is being set for a $30,000 race at Alexandra Park on December 5 before having races available to him almost every week until mid-January, especially as the Harness Jewels winner is eligible for Four and Five-Year-Old mixed racing. He is then likely to head to Victoria and on to the Inter Dominion in Sydney on March 1. The Dunns setting up shop in the north will be welcomed by Alexandra Park officials as they continue to struggle for numbers in their better pacing races. Trotting races have been of huge benefit to Alexandra Park field sizes, a huge factor in turnover figures, but pacing races stronger than mid-grade still struggle. The Dunns sit second equal on the trainer’s premiership with 20 wins for the season worth nearly $300,000 in stakes. The runaway leaders at the Purdon-Rasmussen stable, which has won 36 races from 106 starters and have already banked $994,239 for the season, with nearly 60 per cent of their starters finishing in the first three.   Courtesy of Michael Guerin - Harness Racing New Zealand

Over the last decade, the New Zealand Free For All on Show Day has lost some of its lustre as the distance was fiddled with and some of the best didn't front up after racing on harness racings big day on the Tuesday. This year however, the distance is back to 1950 metres and has drawn all the major Cup players from Tuesday bar For A Reason and promises to be an epic encounter. Adore Me has come through her New Zealand Cup run in great fashion and even though she has drawn barrier six after the scratchings she is a great chance to make it a double for the week. Mark Purdon is happy with where Adore Me is after Tuesday.  "She seems fine." "She had Wednesday off and a light workout today"  "The draw is not so good because they will probably go hard the whole way but we didn't think the Cup draw was that good and look what happened" he said. Terror To Love has drawn on the inside of Adore Me at barrier five after the scratchings and driver Ricky May is expecting a big run. " Terror has come through Tuesday really well and I expect him to go a big race." "He will cope with the quick backup better than most," he said. Drawn at four after the scratchings is the unlucky horse from Tuesday in Christen Me who after missing away was timed to run his last 2400 metres in an unbelievable 2:50.5 with his last mile in 1:53.3. Blocked for a run half way up the straight in the Cup, Dexter is sure to go forward and try to make up for the bad luck on Tuesday. Franco Nelson has drawn barrier seven after the scratchings and his driver John Dunn was philosophical about drawing outside the three big guns. "He has come through Tuesday's race really well but the draw means I am going to have to drive him with more of a sit." "I hope to hook on to Adore Me's back early and if they go to war up front, he should be powering over them at the finish," he said. As good as those four are the potential winners don't stop there with Seel N Print from barrier one a player while Messini, Gold Ace and Pembrook Benny are all more than capable of finishing in the money. For us it came down to the draw and Christen Me gets the nod from Adore Me, Terror To Love and Franco Nelson. Throw in Messini and Seel N Print for first four players. Harnesslink Media 

We thought it would be interesting to get the viewpoint of all our regular tipsters with regards how they see the New Zealand Cup this week and so the following selections are how they see the race. Maurice McKendry --- Adore Me -- Terror To Love -- Christen Me Tony Herlihy --- Adore Me -- Terror To Love -- Tiger Tara Sean McCaffrey --- Terror To Love -- Hands Christian --Christen Me Scott Phelan --- Terror To Love -- Adore Me --Christen Me Todd Macfarlane --- Terror To Love -- Adore Me -- For A Reason Todd Mitchell --- Terror To Love -- Adore Me -- For A Reason John Curtin --- Christen Me -- For A Reason -- Terror To Love Matthew Williamson --- Terror To Love -- Hands Christian -- Christen Me Nathan Williamson --- Terror To Love -- Christen Me -- Adore Me Brad Williamson --- Terror To Love -- Adore Me -- Christen Me Shane Walkinshaw --- Terror To Love -- Christen Me -- Adore Me Brendon McLellan --- Terror To Love -- Christen Me -- Adore Me Clark Barron --- Christen Me -- Terror To Love -- Hands Christian Tim Williams --- Adore Me --- Terror To Love --- Christen Me   Terry Chmiel --- Terror To Love -- Hands Christian -- For A Reason Steve Richardson --- Terror To Love --For A Reason -- Tiger Tara Robbie Holmes --- Christen Me -- Terror To Love -- Franco Nelson Gerard O'Reilly --- Terror To Love -- Hands Christian -- Tiger Tara  Craig Thornley --- Terror To Love -- Hands Christian --Jimmy Johnstone Jim Curtin --- Terror To Love -- Christen Me -- Hands Christian Ricky May --- Terror To Love -- Christen Me -- Hands Christian Blair Orange --- Terror To Love -- Christen Me -- Adore Me John Dunn --- Terror To Love -- Christen Me -- Franco Nelson                                                                 Cup Day Ringaround   With a lot of our regular tipsters involved in Cup Day we thought we would ask them for their best drive from their book tomorrow. Blair Orange - Quite bullish about the chances of Eyre I Come in race 1 Tony Herlihy -  Rates Tokohoka from the All Stars team as tough to beat in race 2 Gerard O"Reilly - Thought King Of Strathfield had freshened up nicely and could win race 3 Steve Richardson (TAB) - Like Gerard, Steve thinks that King Of Strathfield will win race 3 Ricky May - Very bullish about Dalton Bromac even fron barrier 9 winning race 4 John Curtin (Harnesslink) - Thinks Fly Like An Eagle can confound the pundits and win race 5 Matthew Williamson - Reckons Springbank Sam is a great place chance in race 6 Maurice McKendry - As you would expect, Maurice thinks Hughie Green will win race 7 Robbie Holmes - If Cyclone Kiwi steps Robbie thinks he will win race 8 Craig Thornley - Thought All Delight was a good place chance at odds, also in race 8 Jimmy Curtin - Thinks Te Kawau from barrier three will win  race 9 Tim Williams - Reckons Here We Go Again can overcome the bad draw and win, also in race 9 Nathan Williamson - Confident that Spash Cola is a big chance to win race 11 John Dunn - Rates No Doctor Needed very hard to beat in race 12 Terry Chmiel - Likes Happy Heidi to run the Quinella with No Doctor Needed  in race 12   Harnesslink Media

John Dunn knows what he needs to win tomorrow’s New Zealand Cup with Franco Nelson -- bad luck. Not for him, for Cup hero Terror To Love. Dunn drives Franco Nelson, who he trains in an unofficial partnership with his father Robert, and the flashy pacer beat many of his rivals tomorrow in last Wednesday’s rain-soaked Cup trial. Dunn drove him more aggressively than the big guns last week as he tried to establish where Franco Nelson’s head was at after a poor Flying Stakes performance. “He was terrible at Ashburton, he warmed up feeling bad and raced like it,” said Dunn. “But we have to turn the page on that and he was a lot better last week.” That, coupled with a wide draw, gives Dunn some confidence Franco Nelson can step safely or even quickly again and be a factor in the early lead negotiations. “He has been tricky from the stands this season but he can really get it right when he gets it right and if he steps well again we have to go forward.” But Dunn has been a player at group one level long enough now to know that even the best version of Franco Nelson might not be good enough tomorrow. “He is up to most of them but beating Terror To Love might be another thing,” he admits. “I was jogging on his back in the Canterbury Classic but when I pulled out and he heard us he went again and was too strong. “So he is the obvious horse I am worried about and maybe I can’t beat him unless he has some bad luck.” Dunn has an early pressure drive when last season’s champion filly Venus Serena takes on genuine open classers Fly Like An Eagle and Gold Ace in the free-for-all. “She has had four trials so the race won’t flatten her but I can’t believe she is a warm favourite against those horses.” He says his problem is Venus Serena can’t be taken hold of early so he has to go forward, which could be telling at the end of a hard 2600m mobile fresh up. Dunn rates No Doctor Needed in the last race his best drive of the day. Courtesy Of Michael Guerin - Harness Racing New Zealand

At the end of the day what happened in today’s Christchurch Casino New Zealand Trotting Cup trial at Addington is going to have very little, if any at all, influence on Tuesday’s edition of the great race. But such is the position that the traditional final hit-out before any second Tuesday of November that no matter what transpires it’s always worth allowing some column space for. Unlike the thoroughbred code where in days leading up to races like the Melbourne Cup you are on the search for horses who are getting to the line strongly and looking likely to see out a good two miles the harness equivalent is much different. Call it a final dusting of the cobwebs or even a chance to clear out the engine before the big event. So with that in mind it’s hard to give a real opinion on what should be taken from it. However you do need to know some things. Firstly, and probably most importantly, Terror To Love and Franco Nelson, the latter of whom won the heat,  both made the best beginnings they have all season. Both appeared a lot more relaxed around at the 2600 metre start and that calmness filtered down into when the barrier strand was released. “I’ve always said he can really fly the tape when he wants to and that showed it,’’ John Dunn said of Franco Nelson. “I hope he can begin that well on Tuesday, we could have led for fun if we wanted to,’’ Ricky May added about Terror To Love. A little less concerning though was that Adore Me did not make a good beginning. After her flyer at Ashburton, Mark Purdon must have been starting to think he was getting the barrier manners of the great mare in line, but that all came crashing back down this evening. “She was just wrong-footed when they said go,’’ he said. Despite her early misdemeanour the glamour mare managed to stage an impressive comeback to finish fifth – running by a plethora of Cup runners in the process. Her stable mate, Hands Christian looked strong running to the line and Tiger Tara was solid after trailing throughout. Christen Me, whom it was announced was only ever going to be there for a quiet run, was given exactly that. “He felt good, nice and relaxed and strong to the line.’’ So now the public work is all done and only the final preparations done in the peacefulness of home remain before everybody steps out onto Addington on Tuesday for the race they’ve all been working towards. Bring it on.  Courtesy Of Matt Markham - Harness Racing New Zealand 

Impressive Mach Three 4yr old No Doctor Needed looked ready for his cup week assignments, delivering a "freebie" victory on Friday at Addington in the hands of Matt Purvis. Resuming after a five month break, last season's Alabar Southern Supremacy Stakes winner had to be good, obliged to sit outside pacemaker Someardensomewhere throughout. He proved equal to the task, powering to the lead on the turn and then digging tough over the last 200m to hold on by 3/4 length. The overall time for the 1950m was 2.20, home from the 800m in 56 and the last 400m in 28.6, on a 1.55.5 mile rate. This was the son of Molly Darling's 5th win from just eight starts. He has been well placed by connections and enters cup week as a C2 horse. While it was the horse's first start for some time he was well ready for his resumption, having had three workouts and a trial. Plans past cup week are unclear at present and he may join a large contingent likely to head north over Xmas and New Year. With a huge number of opportunities for the 4yr olds in the second half of the season, he will be given his chance to again match up to the best of his age group. Courtesy Of Robert Dunn Racing Stables - Check site here     

Last week saw a big improvement from the week before but the team of tipsters are still not really at peak yet. Maurice McKendry, Sean McCaffrey, Todd Mitchell, Todd Macfarlane, Matthew Williamson and Steve Richardson from the TAB all nabbed winners while another five managed placings. As we countdown to Cup week, there are once again five meetings nationwide and we have selections for all of them. Forbury Park - Thursday night Craig Thornley - Likes Smart Caesar from a mobile to be hard to beat in race 4 Brad Williamson - Thought Pegasus Kommander from barrier 2 would be hard to beat in race 6 Nathan Williamson - Reckons Dwindle Mist is on the improve and can take out race 7   Auckland - Friday night John Curtin (Harnesslink) - Thought the central districts visitor Our Wicklow would be hard in race 1 Maurice Mckendry - Rates the chances of The Orange Agent in race 2 Scott Phelan - Thinks Chosen Path even from barrier 15 can win race 6 Zac Butcher - Likes Chachingchaching to upset Hughie Green in race 7 Todd Mitchell - Reckons Eyrewell Pegasus can overcome the 20 metre handicap and win race 8 Tony Herlihy - Likes stable runner Danger Mouse in the hands of Tony Cameron to win race 9 Todd Macfarlane - Thinks A Chance To Dream from barrier 1 could win race 10   Addington - Friday night Jim Curtin - Thought Juliette Bromac was a real chance of winning race 2 Tim Williams - Rates Have Faith In Me back to a maiden very hard to beat, also in race 2  Robbie Holmes - Rates Tehoro Ruby a chance to upset from the mobile in race 3 John Dunn - Likes Monumental to turn his form around in race 4 Terry Chmiel - Confident that Stradowan has improved from first up run and can win race 8   Riverton - Sunday afternoon Shane Walkinshaw - Rates Majestic Stride a real show of winning race 3 Matthew Williamson - Thought Alley Way even from 50 metres should be too good for them in race 5 Clark Barron - Thinks with natural improvement Sheeza Shark won't be far away in race 7 Dexter Dunn - Likes Courage To Fly to end his run of seconds and win race 8   Kaikoura - Monday afternoon Steve Richardson (TAB) - Thought star trialist Princess Galleon could win race 1 Blair Orange - Couldn't see Mighty Flying Major beaten in race 3 Gerard O'Reilly - Thought Carrickmannon could trouble Webb Ellis and Highview Freddy in race 4 Ricky May - Confident that Mel Gibson can go one better than his last start and win race 5 Sam Ottley - Thinks Price Of Fame will go very close also in race 5 Sean McCaffrey - Rates Norvic Nightowl a real chance in the Kaikoura Cup, race 8    Harnesslink Media

Last week we got a good old fashioned kick up the butt with just three of our tipsters selecting a winner and only six overall were in the money. Blair Orange, Terry Chmiel and Nathan Williamson furthered their good record as selectors whilst there were plenty of hard luck stories from others all over the country. They start with a clean slate this week and have come up with plenty of value for readers with plenty of runners whose form is not the best but who our selectors give a real chance to. Manawatu - Thursday night Scott Phelan - Even though he has drawn the second row thinks Art Magic should win race 3   Auckland - Friday night Todd Mitchell - Thought Elliesjet even from barrier 12 would be hard to beat in race1 Steven Reid - Very bullish about Unforgiving from barrier one in race 4 Steve Richardson (TAB) - Likes The Orange Agent to upset Unforgiving in race 4 John Curtin (Harnesslink) - Thinks Boizel even off 40 metres can win race 5 Tony Herlihy - Rates Downunder Stride from barrier one as hard to beat in race 6 Sean McCaffrey - Rates Le Lua Invasion a good chance against the fillies and mares in race 7 Maurice McKendry - Confident that Hughie Green will atone for last week and win race 8 Zac Butcher - Likes Saffron Castleton to turn her form around in race 9   Addington - Friday night Blair Orange - Rates Quaint Glen a big chance even from barrier 12 in race 2 Tim Williams - Confident that Adore Me's little brother Have Faith In Me can win race 6 John Dunn - Feedback from stable suggests Light Up Boss will win race 7 if driver at his best Brad Williamson - Thinks The Silver Fox just needs a change of luck to win race 8 Sam Ottley - Quite keen on Bird Of Paradise to turn her form around in race 10     Manawatu - Sunday afternoon Todd Macfarlane - Rates Hudy Haxwell a royal show on the second day at Manawatu Peter Scaife - Gives Johnny Vegas a big chance on the second day at Manawatu   Tuapeka - Sunday afternoon Dexter Dunn - Reckons Margarita can make it four wins from her last five in race 6 Matthew Williamson - Thinks Alley Way can go one better than last week and win race 7 Nathan Williamson - Likes stablerunner Onedin Mach to make it four in a row in race 8 Craig Thornley - Thought Drover's Eyre would be tough to roll in race 11   Ashburton - Monday afternoon Gerard O'Reilly - Confident that Never Fear can turn her form around in race 1 Jim Curtin - Thinks Star Of Dionysis is overdue and can win race 2 Ricky May - Keen on Brilliant Strike who has a decent draw for once to win race 4 Terry Chmiel -Thought That Guy Finn even in that super hot field can win race 6   Harnesslink Media

In just his 3rd start for the stable, big American Ideal 4yr old Superintendent showed that he was progressing the right way with a narrow victory over a fast closing Franco Harrison. After missing away early on, he was allowed time to find his feet before being sent to the lead by John from the 1200m. Allowed to dictate things from there, he was forced to fight hard in the straight to just repulse a late challenge. Sold to Australia as a younger horse, he failed to realise his true ability from limited opportunities. As a last hope he was brought back to New Zealand and assigned to the tutelage of Robert and John, who quickly liked what they saw. A big rolling type, Superintendent appears well placed to add to this tally over the coming months.    In other races for the day, it was Graduate Under Fire that looked a next upper after being narrowly beaten after being denied a run in the straight. In a driving finish, Graduate Under Fire and Return To Sender were both narrowly held out by a game Tuxedo Max. Both will have plenty of opportunities in the coming weeks. Meanwhile in the day's feature the Methven Cup, Pure Power closed the curtain on what has been a very successful career, running an honest race before heading to the retirement paddock. The race was won by a much improved Franco Ledger, over last year's winner Jimmy Johnstone. Courtesy of Robert Dunn Racing     Check site here  

Last week we had usual suspects tipping out the winners with Blair Orange, Gerard O"Reilly, Ricky May, Clark Barron and Steve Richardson all being successful while eleven of our other tipsters were in the money headed by Robbie Holmes with Nicalea ($6.30) at Timaru. This week we have five meetings to cover and our tipsters have covered them all. Cambridge - Thursday night Todd Mitchell - Thinks Take Charge from barrier two is a big chance in race 4 Steve Richardson - Keen on Speak Up who has been racing with merit at Auckland in race 5 Peter Scaife - Confident of a big run from V C Dell, also in race 5 Sean McCaffrey - Bullish about Strawberry Courage from the front line in race 6    Auckland - Friday night Todd Macfarlane - Thinks Hudy Haxwell is due a change of luck in race 4 Scott Phelan - Thought Le Lua Invasion would be tough to roll in race 5 John Curtin (Harnesslink) - Bullish about My Kiwi Mate in race 6 Maurice McKendry - Confident that Hughie Green can take the step up in race 7 Tony Herlihy - Likes Mighty Regal to go one better than his last start second in race 9 Steven Reid - Rates Sirius Star as well overdue for a win and thinks it will come in race 9 as well   Addington - Friday night Terry Chmiel  - Thinks with last weeks run under her belt that Oh Nova is ready to win race 3 Blair Orange - Confident Mighty Flying Major will be too good in race 4 Ricky May - Very bullish on the chances of Matty Groves in race 5 Craig Thornley - Rates Johny Rock a big chance, even from barrier nine in race 7 Brad Williamson - Quietly confident about the chances of Al Raza in race 8   Methven - Sunday afternoon Gerard O'Reilly - Rates Give Me Strength a huge chance back on the grass in race 1  John Dunn - Confident Return To Sender is primed to win race 5 Jim Curtin - Thinks stable rep Star Of Dionysis is a big chance in the junior drivers event, race 10   Wairio - Sunday afternoon Matthew Williamson - Likes Springbank Ruby to atone for her Timaru effort and win race 3 Brendon McLellan - Thinks oldtimer Suncrusher can teach the young ones a thing or two, also in race 3 Nathan Williamson - Confident of a big showing from the classy Jag's Invasion in race 4 Robbie Holmes - Thinks Smiling Star can make a race of it with Fly Like An Eagle in race 7 Clark Barron - Quite bullish about Shezacheapy who comes in fresh in race 8  Shane Walkinshaw - Draw a killer but still likes Double Rainbow in race 9   Harnesslink Media

One of the highlights of the harness racing trials at Addington today (October 13th) was the return to the track of the champion filly from last season, Venus Serena. Drawing barrier seven in a field chock full of class, Venus Serena dropped back to last early for regular pilot, John Dunn before sliding forward from the 900 metres to end up outside the leader Smiling Star at the 800 metres mark. Applying a bit more pressure as they turned for home, Venus Serena quickly put the issue beyond doubt, winning by 3/4 length from Vice Consul with Smiling Star and Willow next in line. Venus Serena covered the 1950 metres in 2:27.4 with closing sectionals of 56 and 27.4 Trainer Geoff Dunn couldn't get the smile off his face straight after the trial. " That was her first serious hit out this time in. I thought she would run out of condition in the last 200 metres but she looked to do it within herself and Johnny hardly moved in the cart," he said "She will derive enormous benefit from that trial. All going well, she will be ready for Cup week," he said  The big bangers from the Purdon/Rasmussen barn all lined up in the 2600 metres stand and all three look ready to rumble. Fly Like An Eagle in the hands of Natalie made a flyer from 40 metres and was third after 150 metres as Cyclone Kiwi set up a steady tempo in front. Messini, with Tim Williams in the bike ended up on the back of Fly Like An Eagle while Smolda with Mark Purdon doing the steering followed Messini. Passing the 900 metres mark Natalie lit the after burners on Fly Like An Eagle and the the quarter down the back was cut out in 27.4 As they turned for home Fly Like An Eagle surged clear but Messini who had followed him from the 900 metres mark nailed him about 100 metres out and then Smolda claimed them both for a narrow but impressive win. The 2600 metres from a stand was cut out in 3:14.1, a mile rate of 2:00.1 with the last 800 metres in 55 and 400 metres in 27.6  After the trial Mark Purdon signaled a change of plan with Fly Like An Eagle. " We are going to head to the mile at Wairio with him. Natalie was thrilled with how he went but felt he was a bit down on confidence at the moment after he lost form at the end of last season so that is why he is at Wairio instead of Methven," he said. Qualifiers - The standout was the 3 year old Mach Three filly Classical Art from the All Star barn who in the hands of Mark Purdon paced the 2000 metres from the mobile in 2:28, a mile rate of 1:59 with closing sectionals of 58.1 and 29.4. From an Artsplace daughter of the former champion filly Under Cover Lover, Classical Art looks to have inherited all the family ability Harnesslink Media

This Friday's Addington meeting features two interesting runners for the Robert Dunn stable in Wesley Silcox and Superintendent. Wesley Silcox is having just his 5th race start and already has an inpressive formline of three wins and a second from just four starts. Contrastingly, Superintendent is a six start maiden that started his career in the north, headed to Australia after an ownership change, before being "sacked" and ending up at the Woodend Beach stable of the Dunns. Having tasted defeat for the first time last start, (a good second to the highly rated Dalton Bromac) Wesley Silcox was then given a let-up before coming back in a month ago. He has worked towards Friday night's resumption with a workout last week and then a very impressive trial win at Rangiora yesterday. "He was pretty impressive alright," reflected co-trainer John. "We really ran some time down the back with the tailwind (a 26.7 quarter), before completing a last 800m in a tick over 55 seconds." "He has strengthened up nicely, even after only a brief break. He should definitely give a good account Friday." John has labelled Wesley Silcox as a real watch horse for punters following the stable over the next couple of months. Going back nearly two years ago, Superintendent was picked out as a promising 2yr old for the "Bunty" Hughes stable. He was good enough to run third in a heat of the Young Guns. This promise was duly noted and the horse changed hands for "big money" before heading to Australia and to the powerful McCarthy stable. To put it bluntly, the horse failed to measure up and was eventually "sacked". "Having paid the money that they had, the owners figured that it was worth another shot and sent the horse over to us," said John. "He'd had his last race in July so he didn't take a lot of work to be honest." Despite the horse's somewhat checkered career, his new trainers are quite upbeat about what he has shown to date. "Yea I like him," said John. "He's not a real speed horse and it is his size and strength that are standing out with him at the moment."   Superintendent has been fitted for his reappearance with two workouts, the most recent of which saw him run a convincing winner by 4 lengths. His closing sectionals of 800m 57.3 and 400m 28.6 would suggest that his maiden win should be close at hand. Like Wesley Silcox, he too is one to follow closely on Friday and over the next couple of months.   Courtesy Of Robert Dunn Racing - View site here             

Another five winners last week with Scott Phelan, Todd Mitchell, Maurice McKendry, Matt Williamson and Blair Orange doing the business while another eight selections filled a minor placing. This week there are four meetings countrywide and we have selections for them all. Forbury Park - Thursday night Matthew Williamson - Thinks Davey's Gift can go back to back in race 2 Nathan Williamson -  Thought Bettakatethanneva might upset them in race 8   Alexandra Park - Friday night Todd Macfarlane - Quite keen on Even Flo in race 1 after her smart last start third Todd Mitchell - Thinks a couple of gear changes will see Courtney John win race 1 Scott Phelan - Shooting for three in a row with the lightly raced Jazz It Up in race 2 Tony Herlihy - Keen on the chances of Grumpy Possum in race 4 Steven Reid - Likes Elliot Daniel to continue his renaissance in race 9 Maurice Mckendry - Thinks Wings Of a Prayer can take race 10   Addington - Friday night Blair Orange - Very confident McArdle Star can make it two from two in race 1 John Dunn - Likes Wesley Silcox to make it three wins from four starts in race 2 Terry Chmiel - Very keen on Parramatta in the Junior Drivers event, race 4 Steve Richardson (TAB) - Keen on the first starter Add No Interest in race 8 Jim Curtin - Thought that The Persuader was overdue in race 8 as well Brad Williamson - Thinks Queen Kenny will be very hard to beat in race 9 John Curtin (Harnesslink) - Likes Lookofalegend to leave maidens in race 10 Ricky May - Rates Brilliant Strike a huge winning chance in race 10 as well   Rangiora - Sunday afternoon Gerard O"Reilly  Thinks Cracklin Rosie is overdue a winning turn in race 5 Sam Ottley - Likes Sterns Arising to cap off some good form in race 8

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