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With its back straight running adjacent to the Pacific Ocean, the South Bay Racecourse at Kaikoura has been hailed as one of the most scenic racing venues anywhere. “It’s like nowhere else in the world,” says Vice President Grant Anderson. And they do things differently to the big City meetings. “We don’t have a full-time care-taker we all just do it. There’s a huge amount of hard work put in by our committee.” Formed in 1914, the Club currently holds just one two-day meeting a year on Marlborough anniversary weekend (late October-early November). There’s a lower grade six-race twilight meeting on the Sunday, followed by the more traditional Kaikoura Cup meeting.   It is very much destination racing, with racing fans coming from all the South Island and beyond for what is a unique experience. Anderson said “We pack it out with 10,000 plus …   the campervans arrive Tuesday and that’s for the racing the following Sunday and Monday” It’s a key lead-up to the New Zealand Cup meeting at Addington the following week, and while the track is fast it can be tricky especially for horses back in the field because of its lack of camber. The race record for the Kaikoura Cup is held by Lazarus. In 2017 the $1.10 favourite, driven by Mark Purdon,  was parked for most of the 2400 metres only to clear out and win in 2:54.3,  a second quicker than the old mark.  Lazarus went on to win his second New Zealand Cup. A number of horses have done that double over the years with another Purdon horse Il Vicolo doing it twice in 1995 and 96. Others include Arden Rooney in 2015, and Trusty Scot as far back as  1978. Among the two time winners of the Kaikoura Cup are Master Musician (1992-93) and Smiling Shard (2010-11)  while last year’s  New Zealand Cup winner Cruz Bromac finished second to Classie Brigade only to go one better on that second Tuesday of November. With its seaside vistas and buzzing crowds Kaikoura is one of the more television-friendly venues for harness racing, and as Grant Anderson proudly says: “the people just keep coming back.”​   Harness Racing New Zealand

It's one of our most iconic harness racing events, and this year Mike Thorpe of Seven Sharp was oncourse to share the secret of what makes this day so special.

By Jonny Turner Inter-island trainer Robert Dunn created history by notching his 1500th win in New Zealand in sensation fashion when Heisenberg headed a stable trifecta just minutes after Classie Brigade won the Kaikoura Cup on Monday. Classie Brigade reminded punters he has the game and manners to be a New Zealand Cup contender with a fast beginning to set himself up for a front-running win with Dunn’s son, John, in the sulky. The perfect dress rehearsal for New Zealand’s greatest harness race took Dunn to career win 1449, before the trainer made triply sure he would reach 1500 wins. When the field turned for home in the Yearling Sales Aged Classic, there was almost no chance that it would not be a Dunn runner hitting the line first. Eventually, Heisenberg sealed the trainer’s milestone win, holding out his stablemates Stars Tonight and Franco Niven. Heisenberg winning the $50,000 Aged Classic Dunn’s 1500-win record includes 19 group 1 victories spread across some of New Zealand’s greatest races. The trainer said he rates the notching his 1500 wins and the style it came in at Kaikoura as big as any thrill he has had during his career of more than 40 years.  “To go one-two-three is quite amazing,” Dunn said. “That is right up there with all of my biggest thrills.” “To have three special owners – Ross and Angela Gordon, Dean and Allen Neumann and their wives Judy and Christine and their family and friends, and Ian Dobson.” “To have three of my biggest owners going one-to-three is something you only dream about really.” Dunn’s next focus will firmly be on both the Interdominions and next week’s New Zealand Cup Carnival. Beyond that, the trainer is looking to throw back to the days of Master Musician – the horse that put him on harness racing’s biggest stages early in his training career.   Dunn’s horses could revisit some of the destinations the winner of almost $2,000,000 took the trainer during his prolific career across Australasia. “We might have to do a bit of travelling this season, we have got a lot of nice horses coming through.” “Australia could be beckoning some of our trotters – but we will get through the Interdominions first.” Dunn’s 1500th win followed a wave of success from his family that has peaked in the past month. The trainer’s son, Dexter, confirmed his status as one of hottest reinsman in North America with two wins at the star studded Breeders Crown meeting in Canada, recently. Dexter’s elder brother, John, has been keeping up the family name in lights back home, recently passing 1100 driving wins. He sealed his father’s milestone win with Heisenberg with the same kind of well rated, front running drive he produced on Classie Brigade. Father and son could enjoy their biggest thrill in racing together if the 7yr-old can win the New Zealand Cup. With the same kind of beginning he made in his Kaikoura Cup win, Classie Brigade should put himself in a position to strike.   Classie Brigade winning the Kaikoura Cup The Robert and John Dunn combination sealed their brilliant day out at the picturesque Kaikoura Cup meeting by completing a hat-trick of wins in its final three races. John produced his third consecutive front-running drive to win with Jay Tee Tyron. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

TAB News Pick6 this week - $25K Pick Six Oamaru Thursday. $25K Pick Six at Alexandra Park Friday Bonus Quaddies Friday - Alexandra Park Night Harness: $10k BONUS LATE Quaddie Last 4 Races Sunday - Tuapeka Harness: $10k BONUS LATE Quaddie Last 4 Races   Alexandra Park News – Friday 25 October Alexandra Park Christmas at the Races  |  November & December Plan the perfect Christmas Party to celebrate the end of the year with Alexandra Park Christmas at the Races. Enjoy a delicious Christmas buffet surrounded by colleagues, friends and family. We’ve got premier harness racing action featuring the IRT Inter Dominion Championship and live entertainment after the last race. Don’t delay as this is our busiest time of year, head to alexandrapark.co.nz to get your tickets! IRT Inter Dominion Championship Series  |  November & December Witness the ultimate test of equine speed and strength at this years’ IRT Inter Dominion Championship Series at Alexandra Park throughout November and December. Start with the Welcome Cocktail Party being held at the Rydges Rooftop Terrace on Thursday 28th November. Then get absolutely engulfed in harness racing action with the IRT ID19 heats (29th November, 3rd December, 6th December). Don’t miss the Barrier Draw Brunch at The Alex Bar & Eatery on Sunday 8th December to get you amped up for the GRAND FINAL on Saturday 14th December where you’ll see the best of the best go head to head to take out the championship! Keen to find out more information? Go to www.id19.co.nz   Addington Raceway and Events Centre – Friday 25 October Hello Everyone, This Friday is the last race meeting prior to Cup Week!  Good luck to all horses and connections racing this Friday! It is all go!  The team are working hard for our biggest week!  We are track with our build schedule.  We have installed 3 marquees, 118 still to go!  Addington Cup Week Hospitality – wait listing only Corporate Hospitality  - is all sold out for both days.  If you are still looking for tickets, please call the lovely Joanne McMaster on 021 0298 5972 or email her on joanne.mcmaster@addington.co.nz and I am sure she will be able to assist.  LIMITED TICKETS LEFT -  TAB Trackside Retreat -  For the ultimate betting experience with friends or colleagues there is no better place to view all the top racing action.  TAB Trackside Retreat is positioned in a reserved area in The Edge Public Village directly in line with the 75m mark.  It has easy access to a private viewing area and direct views to the large screen.  10 SEATS LEFT - Reserved Seating Tickets – only $65 per person + booking fee - A reserved seat offers prime viewing to capture all the entertainment and thrilling racing action.  Anyone booking a reserved ticket is able to access everything that is available in the General Admission area!  SHOW DAY RACES – There will be no public surcharges, and entry will be by gold coin donation to Maia Health Foundation.   SPECTATORS BAR & BISTRO - A seat in Spectators to watch all the racing action on TV’s or via the exclusive outdoor area to the Lindauer Lawn.  You’ll have the opportunity to order one of Spectators famous pizzas amongst other delicious treats, snacks and refreshments off the menu. 2019 Spectators Bar & Bistro Ticket Prices: Adult (available 2 Sept until sold out) – $30 per person + booking fee Children (aged 14 years and under) – Free (limited tickets) There are numerous public areas available with your gold coin entry including the Lindauer and Blanc de Blanc Lawns, Twiggers and the Christian Cullen Lounge where tasty Kiwi treats and refreshments will be available. Have a great week everyone.  We look forward to hosting you soon!     Tuapeka at Forbury – Sunday 27 October TUAPEKA FAMILY RACE DAY AT FORBURY PARK THIS SUNDAY A wonderful day for the whole family is in store when the Tuapeka Harness Racing Club hold their popular annual family race day at Forbury Park in Dunedin this Sunday (27 October). 8 races are scheduled from 12.30pm with the feature event, the Tuapeka Lodge Cup, raced over a distance of 2700m for a stake of $15,000. Admission is free and in addition to ten high quality harness races the club will have plenty of fun for the whole family all day long. The first 100 children on course will receive a free Blueboy ice cream while there will also be plenty of free activities for the kids with a bouncy castle, mini jeeps plus a facepainter. While on course enjoy a meal at the Equinox Restaurant & Bar while their will also be a coffee vendor on course. If you are looking for something to do with the family on the Sunday of Labour Weekend then the Tuapeka Harness Racing meeting at Forbury Park in Dunedin is the place to be.   Harness Racing Waikato Melbourne Cup Day @ Cambridge Raceway  Join us at Cambridge Raceway and enjoy live coverage of The Melbourne Cup on the big screen followed by on course Harness Racing action. Our Public Bar provides the perfect spot for the live broadcast and promises to be a great afternoon (and evening) of entertainment.  All welcome on the day with FREE ENTRY to the public bar. There is also the option to click on the link to reserve a table for only $20 & enjoy a a bucket of 4x Corona on arrival.     Date: Tuesday 5th November 2019 Location: Public Bar (ground floor), Cambridge Raceway Timings: 12:00pm – Doors open 12:30pm – 5.30pm, Live coverage of the Melbourne Cup 6:09pm – First race 9.50- Last race Price: FREE ENTRY Book a table: $20 & receive a bucket of 4x Corona* on arrival  Head to- Cambridgeraceway.co.nz to book! *Alcohol will not be served to anyone intoxicated or under the age of 18. The owners of each race winner on the day will receive a special gift basket as well as well as hospitality in the Presidents Room where crayfish will be part of the menu. The first race is scheduled from 12.24pm and admission to the course is free.   Kaikoura Trotting Club – November 3 and 4 The Kaikoura Trotting Club is already preparing for the annual Alabar Weekend of Racing at South Bay Racecourse to be held this year on Sunday November 3 and Monday November 4. Working bees are underway, and the club are calling for trainers to please contact them in advance to arrange horse accommodation and assistance with any accommodation for trainers/drivers and owners. Minimum stake on Sunday’s twilight meeting is $8,000, with other races with stakes of $9,000 and $11,000.  The Club will pay all non-stake winners an additional $100 to assist in transport costs for this day. On Alabar Kaikoura Cup Day on Monday the minimum stake is $10,000. If anyone has any questions or wants to book their accommodation for horses please contact the club directly or Grant Anderson on 027 450 5468   Cheviot Harness Racing Club – Stallion Tenders The Cheviot Harness Racing Club has two stallion tenders on offer. DOWNBYTHESEASIDE – a son of Somebeachsomewhere Equal fastest 2yo in Standardbred history, paced 1.49 - Breeders Crown Final 2019/20 Service Fee RRP – $6,000+GST. PEGASUS SPUR – sire of Speeding Spur Sire of Speeding Spur – now competing at the highest level in the USA Sire of Paramount Gee Gee 2019/20 Service Fee RRP – $3,000+GST. Please send all tenders before then to kirsten_mcnabb@yahoo.co.nz     HRNZ

By Garrick Knight A national record run has forced trainer Steve Telfer’s hand with his stable star, Triple Eight. He took out the $30,000 Kerry Hoggard Memorial – Holmes D G in a thrilling finish with Mach Shard, the two capitalising on a break-neck speed that played perfectly in to their hands. Both started from handicaps but ended up getting sweet trips in the running line which allowed them to fight out the finish, Triple Eight prevailing in 3.17.2. It was a remarkable time that shaved 2.4 seconds off the previous mark, set by Vincent. Telfer purposely avoided nominating for the New Zealand Cup, saying the Inter Dominions at Alexandra Park at the end of the year were the clear focus. And while that still remains, Triple Eight will now head south for two races, contrary to earlier plans. “Looking at the programme at Auckland, and knowing he needs some good hard runs to prepare him for the Inter Dominions, we are going to send him south next week. “So, we’ll go to Kaikoura and then the junior free for all on Cup Day. “But that will be it; he’ll come home and prepare for the Inters after that.” Stablemate Check In will also head south to race, joining stablemates, Ivana Flybye and Flying Steps, who are already down there. Earlier in the night, one of the stable’s best three-year-olds, Mimi E Coco, resumed with an all-the-way win in the hands of David Butcher. She has classic potential according to Telfer, but will need to be expertly-managed to realise that. “It’s early in the season but she gives you that feel of a horse that will be up to the better fillies’ races later on. “She has a lot to learn though – at the moment she is a lot better in behind. “David was saying she was switching off and needed a horse up beside her to keep her mind on the job.” The name, according to her breeder and part-owner, Scott Plant, was chosen on a whim while he and his wife were on an overseas holiday. “Initially she was going to be called The Last Mach but my wife didn’t like that. “We were talking about in a café in the south of France and on the wall was a sign that said Mimi E Coco. “I said what about that? And she liked it so we went with it.” It’s actually Italian and language experts spoken to by HRNZ suggested it refers to ‘soulmates’ or a couple displaying extreme levels of love for one another.   Old friends combine with Sole Ambition Sole Ambition is one of those horses everyone would like to own. His front-running win on Friday night capped off a consistent run of form for trainer Barry Purdon, who owns the son of Bettor’s Delight with American-based expat Kiwi trainer, Chris Ryder. “I’ve known Chris for as long as I can remember – we got right back to the eighties when he was training here.” Ryder, who owns star trotter Oscar Bonavena with Purdon’s father, Roy, also has ownership interests in Henry Hu, Bad To The Bone and three other unraced horses in the stable. He looks like being the best performer to date out of former champion race mare One Dream, who has been somewhat disappointing at stud. There’s no real story to tell behind the rise of Sole Ambition – just a good, honest horse that keeps getting better, like all the stock of his sire. “He’s really stepped up recently and kept on improving,” said Purdon. Purdon was non-committal on the immediate future for the horse but says, at this stage, sending him to America to race for Ryder was not on the cards. Purdon had a decent night at the office with Thumbs Up clearing maidens and Sunny Glenis getting another win while he also had placings with Henry Hu, Wainui Creek and Mach Shard. The latter was narrowly beaten by Triple Eight again but lost no admirers in a New Zealand record run. “He’s a pretty damn good horse, I think. “We’ve been patient with him and he’s just continually gotten a bit better. “He’ll race here again on the 25th and then go south for the Cup trial and the Cup.” Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

It was a terrible weekend for two of New Zealand's best harness horses. Former Horse of the Year winners Lazarus and Monbet both suffered big setbacks and the immediate or even long-term futures of both are in doubt. Lazarus was a shock last in the Breeders Crown open male pace at Pocono Downs in the United States yesterday afternoon (NZ time) dropping out after leading to miss a place for only the second time in his career in the race won by his arch rival McWicked. Clearly the champion New Zealand pacer was ailing in some way and it will now be interesting to see whether his connections continue his campaign, bring him back for next season or if he is retired to stud. It wasn't a total disaster for New Zealand-breds at the Breeders Crown though with former Kiwi mare Shartin taking out the mare's open pace to cement her crown as North America's queen of pacing. While Lazarus's connections will mull over his options the trainers of NZ's best trotter Monbet have had that taken away from them as the seven-year-old, who was supposed to return to racing at Kaikoura today, has been sidelined indefinitely. Monbet has't raced for two years and trialled last Wednesday but was found to have a splint bone problem that will require an operation as doubts loom over whether he will ever make it back to the track. Meanwhile, the confusing road to the New Zealand Trotting Cup in 15 days' time takes its next step at Kaikoura today when leading hopes Eamon Maguire, Cruz Bromac and Star Galleria clash in the $50,000 Cup. All three are racing well enough to win but the start of the 2400m stand will be crucial as the flat Kaikoura track is no fun for those coming wide and if any of the trio were able to lead they would become the one to beat. Speeding Spur headlines a talented field for the main trot today, with his connections confident he can overcome a 10m handicap.   Michael Guerin

Kaikoura harness racing fixed odds movers as at 12:10pm   Race 1 - The only two runners wanted here are Belle Of Brooklyn $4.80 and Motu Better Be Quick $2.05 - $1.90 with that runner leading multi betting over the former runner.    Race 2 - The largest early bet is $2,200 Trouble Giero at $7.00 and he is now into $5.50. Miracle Rising $2.70 easily leads multi betting over Foreverman $3.70.   Race 3 - Shenandoah $2.20 - $1.75 is easily the best backed runner on the card early with the largest bets of $2,222 at $1.90 & $2,500 at $1.80 (X 2). Also well backed has been Nandolo $12.00 - $4.80.    Race 4 - Punters only want to be on Times Stride $2.00 - $1.85 and Hail Christian $3.40 - $2.80. Largest bets Times Stride $2,000 at $2.00, $2,222 at $1.90 & $2,500 at $1.80 and Hail Christian $800 at $3.25 & $1,000 at $2.80. Times Stride easily leads multi betting over Hail Christian.   Race 5 - Real Torque $8.50 - $4.50 easily leads win betting over Rainy River $12.00 - $10.00. Largest early win bets Real Torque $1,000 at $6.80 and Rainy River $500 & $300 at $12.00.   Race 6 - Pat's Delight $2.10 - $1.80 easily leads win and multi betting.   Race 7 - Bordeaux $2.30 is easily the best backed in win and multi betting with the next best backed in win betting Destiny Jones $8.50.   Race 8 - Lazarus $1.18 - $1.13 is obviously the best backed runner in win and multi betting (holding 95% of multi bets). The largest early win bet $3,000 at $1.15 Lazarus.    Race 9 - Major Hippie $5.20 - $4.80 leads win betting over Mongolian Hero $5.80 & Franco Texas $11.50 - $11.00.   Best backed multi runners in order: R8 - Lazarus $1.13 R6 - Pat's Delight $1.80  R7 - Bordeaux $2.30  R3 - Shenandoah $1.75  R4 - Times Stride $1.85  R1 - Motu Bettor Be Quick $1.90   R2 - Miracle Rising $2.70    Harnesslink Media Courtesy of Stephen Richardson (TAB)

The mindset of just one rival driver could determine whether Lazarus enjoys an effortless New Zealand Cup warm up at Kaikoura today. The country's best pacer is the $1.18 bookies favourite for the $50,000 Kaikoura Cup, his final race before his New Zealand Cup defence in 15 days. After two wins in as many starts this campaign and without stablemates Dream About Me, Have Faith In Me and Heaven Rocks among his six rivals today, anything but a victory for Lazarus would surprise and cause a shift in the New Zealand Cup market. But for all its beauty, the Kaikoura track can be a nightmare for punters as its flat bends enormously favour leaders and plenty of good horses have had their journey to the New Zealand Cup run aground at Kaikoura. Today that snag could be Titan Banner, a former stablemate of Lazarus racing in wonderful form now back with former trainer Graeme Anderson. Titan Banner led in the middle stages and parked Dream About Me to win the Methven Cup two weeks ago and has the standing start manners to attempt the same today. He is very quick from a standing start and could be the first of the favoured pair to the markers. Then the question of the race will be asked. Will his driver Dexter Dunn want to stay in front and run hard over the 2400m or will he be happy to concede that role to Lazarus should trainer-driver Mark Purdon come knocking, knowing there are richer targets in the weeks ahead? If the answer is the latter Lazarus's army of punters should be in for an easy ride as the champ has never been run past in a race, so if he leads he wins. But if Titan Banner parks him out then those taking the short odds could be in for an uncomfortable last lap. As much as Lazarus is probably two, maybe more, lengths better than Titan Banner, around Kaikoura the $1.18 is too short because of that question alone. Northerners Better B Amazed and No Doctor Needed have drawn wide and probably need fast beginnings to be factors in the race whereas the remaining two Purdon-Rasmussen pacers Waikiki Beach and Piccadilly Princess are still very much on the way up. The Cup isn't the only feature today in which Dunn might play catch me if you can as he pilots free-goer Bordeaux in the $30,000 South Bay Trotters Cup. The bold chestnut is sticking to standing start races heading into the Dominion on November 17 and won this race last year with step and run tactics. With the open class trotting ranks a mess without Monbet and Speeding Spur, Bordeaux has the chance over the summer to bank some serious coin if he can stay sound and keep his manners intact and victory today would earn him valuable respect for Cup week. Michael Guerin

There is some great harness racing action again this week, with the highlights being the Alabar Kaikoura Cup Flying and Majestic Son South Bay Trotters Cup at Kaikoura on Monday.  Gavin Smith had the best winning dividend last week when Great Things Happen won the mile race at Ashburton paying $4.10 and $1.70 on the tote. This week there is a good spread of selections split between the five meetings programmed. Note: We will keep adding to this page if more tips come in after the deadline, so check back often. Forbury on Thursday night Brad Williamson - Brad says his best chance this week is​ Our Gracie at Forbury in Race 1 Terry Chmiel - Terry is going for Overarm as his best chance this week at Forbury in Race 2 Geoff Knight - Geoff thinks his best chance this week is Silver Dale at Forbury in Race 6 Rory Mcllwrick - Rory thinks that Fiery Ferret would be his best drive this week at Forbury in Race 7   Auckland on Friday night Tony Herlihy - Tony thinks that Moving Money would be his best chance this week in Race 2 Stephen Richardson(TAB) - Stephen thinks that Step Up will be hard to beat also in Race 2 Racechat - Lance thinks Destined For Heaven is a good winning chance also in Race 2 Todd Macfarlane - Todd says his best chance would be George if he is on his best behaviour in Race 4 Andre Poutama - Andre is going for Will Take Charge as his best drive this week in Race 10   Invercargill on Sunday Blair Orange - Blair says that Sarah Burt would be his best drive this week at Ascot park in Race 1 Sheree Tomlinson - Sheree thinks her best drive this week would be Sundons Wish in Race 3 Brent Barclay - Brent thinks his best drive would be Erin Jaccka this week at Ascot park in Race 5 Matthew Williamson - Matthew is opting for Eja Patron as his best drive this week also in Race 5 Andrew Suddaby - Andrew is going for Larch as his best bet this week at Ascot park in Race 6 Shane Walkinshaw - Shane says his best chance this week is Sportzstar at Invercargill in Race 9 Nathan Williamson - Nathan says his best chance this week could be Franco Santino in Race 10   Kaikoura on Sunday Gavin Smith - Gavin is opting for Pembrookes Passion as his best chance this week in Race 4 John Morrison - John thinks his best drive this week is Dorie Delight at Kaikoura in Race 5   Kaikoura on Monday Mark Jones - Mark is going for Belle Of Brooklyn as his best chance this week in Race 1 Gerard O'Reilly - Gerard says his best drive this week is Motu Bettor be Quick also in Race 1 John Curtin - John thinks Donegal Davy Boyd will go close to winning at Kaikoura in Race 3 Ricky May - Ricky is going for Mongolian Storm as his best drive this week in Race 6 Harnesslink Reporter - thinks Bordeaux can go close to winning at Kaikoura in Race 7   Harnesslink Media  

The Kaikōura Trotting Club's two-day harness racing meet is back this weekend and is expected to be a big drawcard.  Last year was the first time the club had held a two-day meeting and thanks to good weather and the long weekend in Marlborough, visitors flocked to the South Bay race track.  Event manager Geraldine Stanbury said the Weekend of Racing on Sunday and Monday could be the biggest event Kaikōura has seen for a while. There will be two days of action-packed harness racing with a backdrop of rolling surf and snow-capped mountains. Milissa Ward, winner of the Rockgas Most Appropriately Dressed. (EMMA DANGERFIELD PHOTO) "It's an event not to be missed," she said. READ MORE: * Two consecutive days of racing at Kaikoura  * Kaikoura's first two-day race meet proves a hit with the punters  * Good crowds and weather for Kaikoura Race Day "The weekend represents all that is unique about harness racing with great horses, a great track and a great view."  Photo finish. (EMMA DANGERFIELD PHOTO) Glamour is back on with the Most Appropriately Dressed competition.  The Punters Club will again be on a roll. All ticket holders go into a draw to win seven nights accommodation at The Peninsular Resort in Mooloolaba. Traditionally Sunday is a family day and the six-race programme features junior and amateur driver races, with the first race starting at 2.52pm. Entry will be by gold coin donation with the proceeds going to the Mayoral Earthquake fund.  On Monday spectators need to be on the field by noon to see the first race set off at 12.09pm. New stables were put in over winter. There are now 22 new stables with gates for overnight stays, however, most horses are billeted out at local farms. Marlborough have been good supporters in the past and the event usually gets a few horses from the north. This year will be a bit different said Kaikōura Trotting Club president Willy Weaver. "Because the road is closed north to Picton we don't expect to see quite the same crowd from Blenheim." There were 112 horses entered last year, however, Weaver said entries don't close off until a few days before so it was hard to judge. "It's quite a fast track at the moment. "The wet weather would've made it a bit harder, and we've had the tractor on the track to condition it and it's still going fast."  By Pippa Brown Reprinted with permission of The Marlborough Express

2017 is set to be a year of change for Kaikoura’s iconic two days of harness racing on 29 and 30 October. The Weekend of Racing could be the biggest event held in Kaikoura since the November 2016 earthquakes. Two days of action-packed harness racing with a backdrop of rolling surf,seals and snow-capped mountains is on offer. The weekend represents all that is unique about harness racing in New Zealand: great horses, great track, great view. It is an event not to miss. All generations can enjoy the family day on Sunday 29 October, while Monday 30 October is home to the $50,000 Alabar cup. An entry fee is being introduced this year. On Sunday, the fee is a gold coin donation with all proceeds going to the Mayor's earthquake fund. On Monday, the entry fee for general admission is $10 per person, with under 18s free. People will be able to pay at the gate on arrival. Kaikoura Trotting Club, a volunteer club of diehard harness enthusiasts, see this year as an opportunity to make some changes and inject new ideas into the Weekend of Racing after a rocky year. There are hospitality marquees available for hire, new food options to feed the family, entertainment to keep things lively, and much more over the weekend. So many people have, and are, working incredibly hard to reconnect Kaikoura with the rest of the South Island. This is the perfect opportunity to pause and celebrate how far things have come by getting friends and family or work mates together to book a hospitality marquee. It’s a time for the whole community to come together to showcase the beauty of Kaikoura,and the amazing harness racing action at the South Bay Course. Join the Kaikoura Trotting Club and the Kaikoura community, in supporting harness racing in the region and celebrating a great weekend of family fun. For more information, visit theraces.co.nz/events or contact the Event Manager, Geraldine Stanbury, at kaikouratc@xtra.co.nz or on 021 351 615

Maybe there is a resistance to the All Stars New Zealand Trotting Cup stranglehold after all. Just when it looked like there was no one capable of stopping the onslaught of Lazarus, Have Faith In Me and Smolda in next Tuesday’s feature - Franco Nelson went next level on it and announced himself as more than just an outside chance of upsetting the blue and silver army in seven days time. His victory seaside at Kaikoura yesterday was nothing but encouraging with a view next week and was a continuation of the wonderful built up he’s been given by his trainer Robert Dunn and his son, John. And the best part of all? Neither Johnny nor Franco Nelson were supposed to be there yesterday. The Kaikoura Cup was never seriously on the radar until a couple of weeks ago for Franco Nelson, but a late change in plans saw him head to South Bay while Dunn was laid up on Saturday and looking very unlikely to drive. “I did something to my back up in Auckland on Friday night and it was pretty sore,” Dunn said. “Luckily I had a bit of help from some Kayla Marshall and Chris McGregor who did plenty of work on me on Saturday to try and get me right.” If there was still any discomfort, Dunn didn’t show it and when Franco Nelson put a couple of lengths on Smolda at the top of the straight, he would have been lucky to feel anything at all. “That was super, he just loved being out there and rolling along, he’s really in the zone. “I’ve got to give a lot of credit to the team at home for the way his going, especially Mitchell Kerr who has down a power of work with him. “We’re lucky to have good staff.” With his usual exemplary stand start manners Franco Nelson was able to find the front from his outside barrier draw and with a solid tempo being set by Dunn he ran his rivals into the dirt in a very slick 2:55.6 - just 0.1 seconds outside Sushi Sushi’s race record. Smolda was brave, albeit a little below his best, in running second after sitting parked and will improve immensely after missing some work due to his irregular bloods following his Methven win. The North Island’s sole Cup contender, No Doctor Needed, showed he’s no forlorn hope of sneaking a minor placing next week with a bold effort for third - a complete turn around on the majority of his lead up form in Auckland. “It was nice to not have to be the one who made sure the speed was true,” driver Scott Phelan said. “He’s gone great today, I’m rapt with the performance, now we just need a good draw next week.” Mossdale Conner was again solid, without being brilliant in fourth after securing a great trip in the trail throughout. All still isn’t well in the Tiger Tara camp either. He was beyond disappointing after being slow away and his performance left Gerard O’Reilly, Geoff Dunn and his owners Bob and Jennifer Sandford and John Gould shaking their heads. “We’re not sure what to make of it,” Bob Sandford said. “Physically there is nothing wrong with the horse. He has always raced better when he’s been up on the speed though. “We will press on to the Cup at this stage and hope for the best. “We’ve come too far now to back out.” Australian raider, Messini, was also on the disappointing list, finishing eighth, beaten over 11 lengths leaving his trainer Brent Lilley with a few issues to iron out in the next seven days.   Matt Markham

Kaikoura harness racing fixed odds movers as at 11:30am Race 1- James Dean $2.10 - $1.90 is the best backed in win and multi betting. Righteous Brother $4.80 - $4.50 is the only other runner attracting some interest.   Race 2 - Bulidinganempire $4.20 - $3.80 is the best backed on the win 'book' but the $1.70 favourite Maninthemirror is huge in multi betting.   Race 3 - The only runner wanted here in multi betting is the $1.70 favourite Afterdinnerspeaker $1.70. On the win 'book' money has come for Franco Hampton $4.80 - $4.50 and Gunpowder $17 - $16.   Race 4 - Only two runners wanted here early and they are Shillelagh $2.10 - $1.95 and Franco Texas $4.50 - $3.60.   Race 5 - An even betting race on the win 'book' with little change to the opening odds but a clear multi favourite is Donegal Bettorgretch $1.95.   Race 6 - Bordeaux $4.80 - $4.00 is starting to take money and is easily the best backed early over Amaretto Sun $4.60 and Harriet Of Mot $5.00.   Race 7 - Smolda $1.90 - $1.70 easily dominates win and multi betting with Titan Banner $5.20 - $4.20 the next best backed over Franco Nelson $8.00 - $9.00.    Race 8 - This was a tough race to price and punter's are also finding it hard to select the winner but best backed early are Tas Man Bromac $5.50 and Moon Rock $4.20.   Race 9 - Best backed on the win 'book' is Ultimate Fella $7.00 - $6.50 over Smithy $10.50.   Multi favourites in order & odds at 11:30am: R7 - Smolda $1.70 R3 - Afterdinnerspeaker $1.70 R1 - James Dean $1.90   R2 - Maninthemirror $1.70  R5 - Donegal Bettorgretch $1.95 A $10 multi bet on the above runners would return $182   In the Drivers Challenge Option 810 Dexter Dunn is into $1.45 following an $8,000 bet at $1.55 (opening odds).    Harnesslink Media Courtesy of Stephen Richardson (TAB)

At Riverton harness racing yesterday from the 9 races the early movers rerport produced 8 winners & if you spent $24 taking the last quaddie with the movers you would have had a $326 collect. Race 1 - Best backed in win & multi betting is Eagle Galleon $2.40 (won $2.20 tote) Race 2-  Ideal Rule $3.50 - $2.90 is best backed in win and multi bets.(won $2.60 tote) Race 3 - A quiet win 'book' but Dark Horse $1.65 is huge in multi betting.(won $1.50 tote) Race 4 - Tour Director $1.75 is all punters want here. Race 5 - Early betting confirms that this race is a two horse war with Terracotta $2.80 leading multi betting and Ariadne Lavra $2.70 (won $2.90 tote)leading win betting. Race 6-  Best backed is Will I Am $6.20 - $5.00 (won $2.70 tote) both in win and multi betting with Steiger $5.00 also attracting some support early. Race 7 - Bettor Enforce $8.60 is best backed on the win 'book' but the $2.30 favourite Pulp Fiction (won $2.30 tote) easily leads multi betting. Race 8 - Some good early support for De Vito $4.60 over Jayceekay $6.60 - $6.00 (won $4.70 tote) Race 9 - It Ain't The Money (won $14.50 tote)$11 - $9.00 is best backed on the win 'book' over Shelby Bromac $18 - $16 but Sportzstar $3.20 - $2.80 is huge in multi betting.   Kaikoura Sunday early Fixed Odds movers. R1 - McLovin $7.00 is then big mover but best backed is Chevron Express $2.80 - $2.60. R2 - Benji Mara $7.00 - $4.70 best backed here over Bailey's Rock $1.60 R3 - Extreme Guest $4.40 - $3.80 is best backed over Cimarron $7.50.   R4 - All the multi money is on The Kaik $1.70 - $1.60 with Alta Teresa $11 getting some support on the win 'book'. R5 - Benicio $1.45 is huge in win & multi betting with little interest on any other runner to take this race out. R6 - The big go here is Dark Ops $4.80 - $3.60 with Alvira Hest $3.90 the only other runner taking some money.   Harnesslink Media Courtesy of Stephen Richardson (TAB)

A happy horse, doing so well in his build up to the second Tuesday of November, has led John Dunn to alter his plans slightly. The Woodend Beach based Dunn, who runs the South Island branch of his father Robert’s training operation, wasn’t intending at being at Kaikoura on Monday with New Zealand Trotting Cup aspirant, Franco Nelson – but the former Cup runner-up is doing that well with life at the moment that Dunn was left with little choice. “He’s absolutely flying, I actually couldn’t be happier with him at the moment,” he said. “Initially I had said no to Kaikoura with him but the way he is at the moment I think he needs a race under his belt and we might not have got that if we waited for the Cup Trial on Wednesday.” A winner of the Hannon Memorial and then the New Brighton Cup, Franco Nelson’s lead up form has been exceptional thus far and is also giving an insight that leads towards the showy pacer putting everything out in the open when the Cup finally does roll around. Dunn has kept him ticking along nicely since his last appearance in the Canterbury Classic and a workout last week at Rangiora ticked all the boxes for the young horseman. “He felt super that day, it was a really good hit out for him and he probably felt the best he’s felt this time in I think.” Monday will be no walk in the park though with arguably one of the strongest Kaikoura Cup fields on offer in recent years. Franco Nelson will start three in from the outside fence with noted speedster early, Seel The Deal and No Doctor Needed outside him meaning Dunn will be hoping for another flying beginning. “That’s the key, it’s not an ideal draw but if he can begin really quickly we should be able to negate it a little bit. “A lot depends on the first wee bit, but if we end up settling back I’m not going to be too worried.” Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen, who have dominated all the Cup lead up races that Franco Nelson hasn’t won, will have a two-pronged attack in the race from Smolda and Titan Banner. Smolda missed Monday’s Ashburton Flying Stakes due to a slight issues in his bloods after his Methven Cup win but has been ticking along nicely since and is primed for a big run from the pole position on Monday. “He’s come through it all good, it was nothing serious but enough to make us say no to Ashburton,” Mark Purdon said. Titan Banner will return to the races after his Methven Cup, fresh up, third effort with a new driver. Blair Orange has been engaged to drive the gelding on Monday and then going forward to the New Zealand Trotting Cup providing things continue down the natural path. There will be interest too on Monday in the return to New Zealand of former All Stars runner, Messini. The Brent Lilley trained pacer will begin his Kiwi cup preparation in the Kaikoura Cup.   Matt Markham

The annual Kaikoura Trotting Club meeting will now be a two-day fixture. They will race on both a Sunday and Monday at the end of October this year.  The Sunday meeting on the 30th October will be a six race programme and will field races of lower class horses, while the traditional Monday meeting will be a ten race programme held the next day on October 31st and feature the Kaikoura Cup, trotters cup and the $50,000 NZ Yearling Sales pace. Last year Arden Rooney won the Kaikoura Cup before going on to win the New Zealand cup eight days later. Arden Rooneys Australian owner Merv Butterworth (Butterworth Racing Syndicate) will possibly have two horses participating in this years Kaikoura Cup. Both Didjamakim Bolt and Itz Bettor To Win are earmarked for the important lead-up race before competing in the New Zealand Cup in November.  Arden Rooney winning the Kaikoura Cup 2015     Harnesslink Media

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