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*This week’s ring-around was delayed in order to include the New Zealand Cup meeting Last week was a good one for the ring-around with David Butt, John Dunn, Jonny Cox, Mark Jones, Nathan Williamson, and Scott Phelan all tipping out winners – So hopefully we can carry that sort of form into this week. All trainers-drivers were told that it was preferred that they tip a horse that is racing on Cup Day, but were given the option to tip at any other meeting.  So, let’s see what they came up with: Andrew Armour: Likes the chances of Sharpenuff in race two at Wyndham on Sunday. Anthony Butt: Thinks Peak has continued to go forward since his Ashburton Trotters’ Mile win, and expects him to be hard to beat in the New Zealand Trotting Free-For-All on Cup Day. Blair Orange & Mark Jones: Think the impressive Saveapatrol will prove very hard to beat in race eight on Cup Day. Craig Thornley: Has opted away from Cup Day, tipping out Givenchy Franco in race ten at Wyndham on Sunday. David Butt: Thinks last start winner Lothario is at least an each-way chance in race three on Cup Day. John Dunn: Rates the chance of Kotare Mahal who has been in brilliant form of late. He will compete in the Show Day Futurity on Show Day Ken Barron: Said that Pacquiao was his best chance on Cup Day, but that he rates Change Time at Ashburton on Thursday as his best of the week.  Matthew Williamson:  Believes Yankee One will take some beating in race eleven on Cup Day. Nathan Williamson: Has opted for talented trotter Springbank Sam. He competes in the New Zealand Trotting Free-For-All on Cup Day. Ricky May: Thinks Mossdale Connor will take improvement out of his fresh-up second, and therefore expects him to be very hard to beat in the last on Cup Day. Terry Chmiel: Rates the just of Hi Jinx, who was ultra impressive when winning two starts back. He competes in the last race on Cup Day Todd Mitchell: Believes the ace alley gives Cyclone Prince a great chance of claiming Group One glory in the Sires Stakes Final on Cup Day. Tim Williams: Is not driving on Cup Day – but he does like the chances of The Lutts in race two at Wyndham on Sunday. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Mark McNamara (Cup Day commentator): Thinks classy pacer Didjamakem Bolt will have four straight wins next to his name after the ninth race on Cup Day. Matt Markham ( The Press): Has opted for Harry Johnstone as his best bet of the day on Cup Day. The Northern raider looks well placed in race eleven on the card. Justin Le Lievre (The Informant): Like trainer Mark Jones and driver Blair Orange, thinks Saveapatrol will be very hard to roll in race eight on Cup Day. Mitchell Robertson (Harnesslink) Best bet: Arden Rooney – race five. Each-way: Elios – race twelve. Value: Sundown In Paris – race three. By Mitchell Robertson

Blue colours and white stars were once again to the fore today at Rangiora, but this time they were the colours of Nigel McGrath and not Mark Purdon. The Weedons trainer combined with driver Anthony Butt for wins with Ultimate Major, Strawb’s Ideal Act, and Burning, while Butt was also successful on the Mark Jones trained Major Sam, giving him a Quaddie. The giant Stawb’s Ideal Act, who worked overtime and still proved too strong at the finish in a mile rate of 1-58.8, will now go forward to the C1 Graduation Final on Cup Day, where he has come up with an unfavourable draw of 16, while Burning, who was also a good winner, will contest the C0 Graduation Final on Show Day. But, perhaps McGrath’s most impressive winner of the day was Ultimate Major, who steered clear of the graduation series and instead gave a weaker bunch of maidens a seven and a half length hiding. The impressive three-year-old was one of two winners for young sire Major In Art, the other was Major Sam, who was also driven to success by Anthony Butt. Below is the field for the C1 Graduation Final on Cup Day made up of the first four horses in each of the three heats:   Race 2 [12:25pm] HYDROFLOW GRADUATION SERIES FINAL (MOBILE PACE)  $20,000, 3YO & OLDER C1 TO C2, 1950m    Racebook    Gear     For C1 to C2 3yo-&-older pacers. For Horses who contested the C1 Graduation Series Heats at the Rangiora HRC Meeting on Thursday, 7th November 2013 Book Form     Name Draw Hdcp Driver Comment 1 352944     Fiery Lustre 1 Ft   Did okay late at Rangiora on Thursday but some here look a bit smarter. 2 1X1323     Pacquiao 2 Ft Ken Barron Another tidy effort on Thursday but below his top standard. E/w claims. 3 30X433     Lumos 3 Ft John Dunn Lost no friends with his effort for 3rd on Thursday. Winning claims. 4 X17526     Irish Kath 4 Ft   Never fired at Rangiora on Thursday. Looking to others in this field. 5 30X893     Bona Ventura 5 Ft   Was seen doing some good work late on Thursday but luck needed here. 6 12     Jack Black 6 Ft Dexter Dunn Gave then plenty to think about in front on Thursday. Well worth a look. 7 907X36     Beaudiene Brilliance 7 Ft   Safely held in his heat at Ranng. Hard to see him turning things around. 8 1X5411     Major Sam 8 Ft   Aided by a brilliant Anthong Butt drive on Thursday. Eachway claims. 9 104332     Raesawinner 9 Ft Blair Orange Only collared late at Rangiora on Thursday. Has claims but horror draw. ---------------------------- Second Line ---------------------------- 10 521X41     Major Moment 10 Ft Gavin Smith Tidy heat winner on Thursday but this looks to be a tricky draw. 11 222735     Handlebar Hank 11 Ft Jamie Keast   12 1244     Burning Ambition 12 Ft     13 1X1552     Mach's Gladiator 13 Ft Brett Thomas(J)   14 14     Boltmaro 14 Ft     15 3X5135     Highview Highlander 15 Ft Colin DeFilippi   16 11     Strawb's Ideal Act 16 Ft     By Mitchell Robertson

Last week the ring-around produced just the four winners, so there were some slim pickings for ring-around followers. However, the ring-around rarely has two bad weeks in a row – so expect this one to be a good one. For the record, those who tipped out winners last week were: Blair Orange, Nathan Williamson, Steve Richardson (T.A.B), and Todd Mitchell. Blair Orange: Thinks smart trotter Notaboutthemoney will get the money in race three at Addington on Friday night. David Butt: Has also gone for a trotter in race three at Addington in Lothario. All things being equal, the pair should make up the quinella. Gavin Smith:  Thinks The Burning Question is a place chance at what should be lucrative odds in race eight at Addington on Friday. John Dunn: Has opted for Kotare Mahal as his best bet of the week. The smart pacer goes around in race six at Kaikoura on Monday. Jonny Cox: Thinks Smoke N Grin, on the back of a bold debut second, is a strong chance in race five at Ascot Park on Sunday. Ken Barron: Rates the chances of capable pacer Still Laughin. He resumes in race six at Kaikoura on Monday. Mark Jones: Thinks Major Sam is a strong each-way chance in race five at Addington. Matthew Williamson: Was impressed with Windermere Lad last start, and thinks he will take some stopping in the Riverton Cup on Sunday. Nathan Williamson: Has a strong book of drives at Ascot Park on Sunday, but rates Royal Squeeze as the best of them. She goes around in the first race on the card Ricky May:  Has a lot of time for Helena Jet and thinks she will take all sorts of beating in race eight at Addington. Scott Phelan: Rates the chances of speedy mare Pepper Pots.  She competes in the seventh race at Cambridge tonight. Simon Lawson: Is bullish about the chances of Valencay in race three at Cambridge tonight. Steve Richardson T.A.B:  Who has been in good tipping form of late, has this week opted for Mary Anastasia. She resumes in the sixth race at Cambridge tonight. Todd Mitchell:  Has opted for Continental Auto as his bet of the week. She looks well placed in race two at Cambridge tonight. By Mitchell Robertson

Geoff Dunn warned Harnesslink readers earlier in the week that he was worried about Venus Serena’s lack of raceday fitness and the way he thought the race may pan out in today’s heat of the Alabar Sires’ Stakes at Forbury Park and, unfortunately for those who backed her into a $1.80 favourite, he had reason to be concerned. The top filly of last season was left parked, and was unable to overhaul the Purdon – Rasmussen pair of Willow and Secret’s Out in the home stretch. The former trialled her stablemate, and dashed up the passing lane for an easy 1 & ¼ length win. The daughter of Bettor’s Delight is now unbeaten from three starts. Natalie Rasmussen once again did the driving on the talented filly. She has now, remarkably, driven 11 winners from 15 drives this season. Both of the Purdon-Rasmussen fillies are now guaranteed spots in the $160,000 final, which will be run on New Years Eve. Meanwhile, Comply Or Die was rewarded for consistency when taking out the $15,000 Tuapeka Cup. The Live Or Die five-year-old stepped well for trainer-driver Ken Barron, and was allowed an easy time in the van, before kicking too strongly for Better To Be Bad, Devil May Care, and Bettor’s Brigadier, who was huge in fourth after losing the best part of 50 metres at the start.  In other harness racing news today, Peter Ferguson was again in top form at Manawatu winning three races, highlighted by Stunin Banner, who handed out a 13 length hiding to his 3-6 win opposition Junior reinsman Andre Poutama also backed up his first-day form, reining home two winners and a further two placegetters. By Mitchell Robertson

Last week was just an average one for the ring-around with only John Dunn, and Sean McCaffrey tipping out winners, but this week I am sure it will bounce back to its brilliant best. Anthony Butt:  Has opted for the capable three-year-old Major Sam. He competes in the sixth race at Addington on Friday. Blair Orange: Is extremely bullish about the chances of Someardensomewhere, who baring bad luck, will be winning the ninth race at Forbury Park on Sunday. Craig Thornley: Thinks that if U Dream is on her best behaviour, she can win race five at Ashburton on Monday. David Butt: Likes the chances of Stig, who will attempt to win his third Ashburton Trotters’ Flying Mile on Monday. His run last start had plenty of merit and from all reports, he has worked on good since. Gavin Smith: Thinks All Shook Up is atleast an each-way chance in the first race at Ashburton on Monday. John Dunn: Has opted for smart filly Venus Serena, who resumes in the seventh race at Forbury on Sunday. Jonny Cox: Is torn between Washington Flier and Homeforabubbly. Both runners compete at Forbury on Sunday. Joshua Dickie: Thinks Showtime Lady could offer some value in the second race at Alexandra Park. Ken Barron: Rates the chances of Red Hot Toddy, who has been super in winning her last two starts. She looks the one in race sixth at Forbury Park. Matthew Williamson: Is big on the chances of Yankee One, who made a super return to racing at Addington on October 11. Look out for him in the third race at Ashburton on Monday. Nathan Williamson: Has opted for Livvy Franco, who looks a good each-way prospect from the ace draw in race six at Forbury Park on Sunday. Ricky May: Found it hard to pick one in what is such a good week of racing, but in the end opted for Lady Godiva. She looks a great chance in race nine at Addington on Friday. Sean McCaffrey:  Who tipped a winner in his first attempt last week, has opted for Sodeska. The capable trotter will compete in race seven at Alexandra Park. Simon Lawson: Has selected the consistent Hot Mach, who is set to do battle in the first race at Alexandra Park on Friday. Steve Richardson (T.A.B): Likes the chances of Hi Jinx in the first race at Addington on Friday. Todd Mitchell: Thinks Te Kawau should be winning the second race at Manawatu tonight. Tim Williams: Is bullish about the chances of Brindy, who should have benefited greatly off his fresh-up third. He looks the one they all have to beat in the last race at Forbury on Sunday. *More horses may be added to the ring-around later in the day. By Mitchell Robertson

A Points System, instigated by the Greater Canterbury Branch, is set to be trialled at Addington on November 1. The points system is purely used for field selection, mainly for maidens and one win horses. The two races that are being trialled at Addington on November 1 are: 4  -  4YO & OLDER C0 MOBILE PACE   1950m   Of $5000 ($3000, $735, $315, $145, others $80.50). For C0 4yo-&-older pacers. Field Selection based on a Points System approved as a trial by HRNZ for this race. Refer Special Condition 6. Acceptance fee: Nil 6  -  4YO & OLDER C1 PACE   2000m   Of $5000 ($3000, $735, $315, $145, others $80.50). For C1 4yo-&-older pacers. Field Selection based on a Points System approved as a trial by HRNZ for this race. Refer Special Condition 6. Acceptance fee: Nil 6. FIELD SELECTION BASED ON ASCENDING POINTS SYSTEM: If there are Sufficient Acceptors for this race it will be Selected in Ascending Points Order based on the following Formula. All Horses being allocated 20 points, then: 1st in last 5 starts + 10 points, 2nd in last 5 starts + 6 points, 3rd in last 5 starts + 4 points, 4th in last 5 starts + 2 points, 5th in last 5 starts 0 points, 6th to last place in last 5 starts - 2 points. Penalty Free Wins in last 5 starts are Points Bearing. If a tie for points arises Club discretion will apply. In the event that there are Sufficient Acceptors for this Race to be split it will be split into two even-sized fields. Owner, Trainer and Driver splits will not be taken into consideration. This is a Conditioned Race where First and Second Preference Regulations and normal Selection Critera policies will not apply. To find out more about the Points System visit the NZ Harness Racing Trainers and Drivers association website. The Greater Canterbury Branch has also issued an appeal to the trainers and owners to support more claiming races in the region. The Canterbury region has the most number of horses, but the least amount of registered claiming horses. By putting a claiming price on your horse, clubs will have a pool of horses to target. All prices will be accepted, with an aim of running races for horses with a claiming price up to $100,000 , although it is expected that the majority of horses will be in the $2000 to $25,000 bracket. This is also explained in further details on the NZ Harness Racing Trainers and Drivers association website. By Mitchell Robertson

Following his recent election to Chairman of the Greater Canterbury Branch, Ken Barron has formulated a wish list (or I should probably say in the current corporate atmosphere ‘business plan'), which he hopes to achieve during his reign. He is realistic enough to understand that some of these goals will be easier to attain than others, but knowing Ken, he will not die wondering! To read Ken's full 'buisness plan' on the NZ Harness Racing Trainers & Drivers click here.

After twelve days of holiday in balmy Bali, there is plenty to recap. So, here goes... *Wastney knocks down six figures Marlborough based -owner, Brian Wastney, has slammed down a six figure offer for the impressive Rangiora winner (August 18) Strawbs Ideal Act.   The tall four-year-old son of American Ideal was going to, as his trainer-driver Nigel McGrath put it, “Hurt them!” before he scrambled and lost 20 metres at the 250 metre mark. Yet he still managed to regain his composure and power home for 1 & ¾ lengths win over capable maiden, Vice Chairman. The skip was put down to his hopples being too long for the easy track conditions. The offer is said to have been made by a prominent Queensland owner. The impressive type will now line up next week in a Junior Drivers event, where he will attempt to give Nicole Harris her first win. *First driving win for Matt Anderson Junior reinsman, Matthew Anderson, claimed his first winner at the same Rangiora meeting in what was just his second raceday drive.  His first drive resulted in a second on the same horse that gave him win number one – Highview Ember. The 21-year-old, who has got no family involvement in the sport, got into racing through some of his class mates at St Thomas of Canterbury College. His early education in racing was with former Amateur Driving Champion, Gavin Cook, before spending two years with Dean Taylor. When Robbie Close changed stables nine months ago and went to Greg & Nina Hope’s, Anderson took the vacancy he left at Robbie Holmes. “Robbie and Carla are great to work for and have taught me a lot.” “I also owe a big thank you to Highview Ember’s owners Hamish Scott & Kim Lawson. It wasn’t actually a Junior Drivers race so it was very good of them to give me the opportunity.” Anderson was also thankful to his sponsor, major galloping owner, Ray Coupland. *NZ bets of the week ring-around/ Keeping Up Joneses: To the writers of the dozens of emails we received regarding the disappearance of these two segments – don’t threat! They will both be back next week. *For the record: The last ring-around produced six winners and two quinellas. The biggest win divvy came courtesy of Simon Lawson and Surreal Moment ($10.80). While the quinella with Josh Dickie’s tip, Hezadoo Early, returned a tidy $23.70. *Greater Canterbury AGM 2013 A small but select group of members attended the recent AGM of the Greater Canterbury Branch, along with Edward Rennell and Andrew Morris from HRNZ. Subjects discussed included handicapping, turnover, nominations, and opportunities for fillies and mares and lower grade trotters. A suggestion that four year-old awards be handed out for the past season was also made. As reported previously Anthony has decided to stand down as Chairman of the Greater Canterbury Branch, and Ken Barron was voted in to replace him. Anthony’s' shoes will be very difficult ones to fill; he has been extremely active and pro-active as Chairman, both in the public eye and behind the scenes, being part of numerous Committees on a wide range of matters, and handling countless other issues and dramas that have cropped up during the years of his tenure. He has graciously agreed to continue to be part of the Committee, and will no doubt contribute much more in the future. To the read Peter Cook’s full report on the meeting on the NZ Harness Racing Trainers & Drivers Association website click here. by Mitchell Robertson

The New Zealand Handicapping System may undergo a revamp, after it was unanimously decided at a Canterbury horsemen’s meeting back in May that changes need to be made.

Congratulations to David Butt, John Dunn, Jonny Cox, Matthew Williamson and Tim Williams who tipped out winners last week.

Congratulations to Andrew Armour, Anthony Butt, Blair Orange, David Butt, John Dunn and Matthew Williamson who all tipped out winners last week.

Congratulations to Blair Orange, Jonny Cox, Ricky May and Terry Chmiel who tipped out winners last week.

Last week was the most successful week for the South Island best bets segment to date.

Congratulations to Andrew Armour, Blair Orange, Jim Curtin and Terry Chmiel who picked out winners last week. The best result was a $13.10 winner tipped out by Andrew Armour- Bedtime. Can anyone top that this week?

It may not have been in record-breaking time, like the last New Zealand harness racing driver to reach 1000 wins - Dexter Dunn - but it was still an outstanding achievement when 'The King' Ken Barron brought up his milestone at tonight's (Thursday April 11) Forbury Park meeting.

Congratulations to David Butt, Nathan Williamson & Ricky May who tipped out winners last week.

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