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Harness racing driver Kyle Marshall has been suspended after the JCA found he had diminished the chances of Crackared, a horse he drove in to 10th place at Alexandra Park on the 16th of November 2018. As well as the three day suspension Marshall was also fined the sum of $250. He is allowed to resume driving after the completion of racing on the 11th Decmber 2018. Full details below: NON RACEDAY INQUIRY Informant: Mr J Muirhead - Senior Stipendiary Steward Respondent: Mr K Marshall - Open Horseman Information No: A10255 Hearing Date: 30 November 2018 Hearing Venue: Alexandra Park Judicial Committee: A Smith (Chair) – A Godsalve (Committee Member) Rule No: 869(3)(g) Also Present: Mr S Mulcay, Stipendiary Steward Mr N McIntyre, General Manager of Stewards Charge: Diminishing Chances Plea: Denied WRITTEN RESERVED DECISION DATED 4 DECEMBER 2018 This Non Raceday Inquiry relates to a race (Race 2) at the Auckland Trotting Club race meeting at Alexandra Park on 16 November 2018. Following the running of race 2 “E & M Hopkins Who Dared To Dream MBL Pace 2200m”, an Information was filed pursuant to rule 868(2).  The informant, Senior Stipendiary Steward J Muirhead, alleged that Mr K Marshall ‘failed to take all reasonable and permissible measures to ensure his horse (CRACKARED) was given full opportunity to win the race or obtain the best possible position and/or finishing place during the middle stages by electing to challenge the leader which resulted in CRACKARED tiring to finish in 10th place beaten 28.6 lengths.’ Rule 868(2) provides; Every horseman should take all reasonable and permissible measures at all times during the race to ensure that his horse is given full opportunity to win the race and or to obtain the best possible position and/or finishing place. Mr Marshall signed the Information A10315 indicating he did not admit the breach and wished to defend the charge. Due to the serious nature of the breach Mr Marshall was advised of his rights to seek an adjournment to take advice and/or prepare submissions if required. Further to this it was established that Mr Marshall wished to call a witness, Ms Cheree Wigg, the trainer of CRACKARED, but she had left the racecourse for the evening. The JCA Committee adjourned the hearing to be re-heard at a date and time confirmed by the JCA Executive Officer. The adjourned date for the hearing was determined to be Friday 30 November 2018 at 4.00pm. Prior to the reconvened hearing, advice was received via a letter from M Godber, General Manager, RIU to Mr J Muirhead that pursuant to rule 1108 (2) Mr K Marshall was to be served with a further charge in relation to his drive on CRACKARED on 16 November. The new charge was a breach of Rule 869(3)(g). The Hearing was reconvened at Auckland on Friday 30 November 2018. The hearing commenced with the Committee confirming with Mr Marshall that he was in receipt of the new Information A10255 and confirming that he had signed the information on the 22 November 2018. Mr Marshall endorsed the Information indicating that he did not admit the breach and wished to defend the charge. Information A10255 alleged that Mr Marshall drove CRACKARED in the middle stages of the race in a manner capable of diminishing the chances of his mare winning. Rule 869(3)(g) provides; No Horseman in any race shall drive in any manner capable of diminishing the chances of his horse winning Senior Stipendiary Steward, J Muirhead sought permission from the Committee to withdraw Information A10135 under rule 1105. The Committee hearing this Non Raceday Inquiry is the same Committee as the Raceday Committee. The Committee viewed the subject race 'live' and heard some submissions on that night when these matters were put before it. It was therefore our decision to leave both Informations 'in situ' until a time in the hearing had been reached when we believed we could properly decide if we could proceed with Mr Muirhead’s request and withdraw one of them. Mr Muirhead produced a detailed summary of the RIU’s submissions, The following Documents were furnished with the Committee and entered as Evidence. Mr Marshall also received the same documents. • A copy of RIU submissions • A copy of information A10255 • A letter to Mr Muirhead from M. Godber (General Manager RIU) authorising Mr Muirhead to charge K Marshall with a breach of Rule 869(3)(g) • A copy of the race result along with sectional times • A copy of previous race results of CRACKARED • A copy of the Veterinary Surgeons report on CRACKARED • A copy of CRACKARED’s race performances SUBMISSIONS (Informant) 1 Background 1. Stipendiary Stewards conducted an investigation into the driving tactics adopted by Mr Kyle Marshall, licensed horseman, the driver of CRACKARED in Race 2, the Eddie & Marge Hopkins “Who Dared To Dream” Mobile Pace, 2200m at the Auckland TC’s meeting on the 16 November 2018. 2 The video coverage of the race was interpreted as follows. 2.1 CRACKARED drew barrier draw 2 behind the mobile gate outside MISTY MEMORY (Junior Horseman L Whittaker) which drew barrier 1. Both horses showed high gate speed and contested the lead. 2.2 Mr Marshall desisted from his challenge for the lead with CRACKARED about 400m after the start allowing MISTY MEMORY to ease the pace in the lead on the running line. The first sectional (591 metres after the start) known as the “lead time” was an extraordinary 40.1 sec. 2.3 The next sectional between the mile (1609m) and the 1200m was run in 32.3 sec with the lead horse MISTY MEMORY reducing the pace. 2.4 From inside the 1400 CRACKARED was allowed to be improved forward by Mr Marshall and at about the 1300 metres was racing on par with MISTY MEMORY and again Mr Marshall challenged for the lead. His mare is unable to complete the challenge but despite this Mr Marshall encourages his charge with the whip and reins and continues to attempt to improve forward placing his mare under extreme pressure, beyond its capability, from the 1200 metres until well inside the final 1000 metres, approximately 950 metres. 2.5 CRACKARED was inclined to lay in under pressure passing the 900 metres losing some momentum. This sectional between the 1200m and 800m (3rd quarter of the last mile) was run in a quick 28.9 secs. From inside the 1200 metres WHITEHAVEN BEACH (C Smith) improved 3 wide to Mr Marshall’s outside. This horse was travelling more easily improving forward at a rate with which he could not compete with. But despite this, Mr Marshall, continued to pressure his mare instead of giving it some respite. CRACKARED after rounding the bend balanced up improving marginally inside the 800 metres racing one out without cover. 2.6 Approaching the 500 metres the mare had had enough and was weakening and was no longer competitive. The Stewards say Mr Marshall had set his mare a task beyond its capabilities leading up to this point of the race. This he has done through displaying bad judgement driving in a manner capable of diminishing the chances of his mare winning. 2.7 Of particular concern was his decision making process between the 1300 metres until approximately the 950 metres considering the exceptionally fast “lead in time” for this race. 2.8 CRACKARED from inside the final 400m was quickly drifting back through the field, momentarily placed in tight quarters at approximately the 300 metres by improving runners, before continuing to drift back finishing in 10th placing 28.6 lengths in arrears of the winner.(appendix 1) 2.9 CRACKARED was vetted following the race in question. The duty vet found no abnormality which could have contributed to the mare’s lack of performance other than it was still blowing hard on examination 15 minutes after the race which Stewards suggest is consistent with being over exerted during the running. 3. Race Sectionals for Race 2, ATC 16/11/18 • 3.1 Lead Time 40.1 (fastest leadtime recorded this season to date) • 3.2 1st 400m last mile 32.3 • 3.3 2nd 400m last mile 28.9 • 3.4 3rd 400m last mile 30.2 • 3.5 last 400m last 29.7 4. Lead Times for 2200m mobile races at Alexandra Park. 32 Mobile 2200m races this season 2018/19 to date with the average Lead Time being 42.6sec, the fastest being 40.1 sec and the slowest 45.6 sec. 5. Race 2 class rating of R42 to R49. 6. CRACKARED’s Race Performances attached. 7. Rule 869(3)(g) “No Horseman in any race shall drive in a manner capable of diminishing the chances of his horse winning” Further to these submissions Mr. Muirhead advised the following; CRACKARED was subject to a Horse Incident/Examination Report at the request of Stewards. This came about due to concern around Mr Marshall’s drive, the fact that the horse stopped quickly and it was the win favourite for the race. The vet advised the Stewards there were no abnormalities with the horse, and during her examination 15 minutes after the race it was noted that the horse was still blowing hard. The Stewards believe that this was due to the exertion that the horse was put under during the race. Mr Mulcay submitted evidence by way of a written summary of the films, these details are recorded below. Mr Mulcay took the opportunity to exhibit the alleged breach via the films. He identified the horses MISTY MEMORY driven by L Whittaker and CRACKARED driven by Mr Marshall. 1. The event was over 2200m from a mobile start 2. MISTY MEMORY (L Whittaker) drew barrier 1 and CRACKARED (K Marshall) drew barrier 2. 3. Both runners showed gate speed with CRACKARED being driven along but was unable to cross MISTY MEMORY, which was not placed under any discernible pressure to hold the lead. 4. K Marshall persisted with the challenge for the first 400 metres before relenting and easing to sit back off MISTY MEMORY racing down the back straight however the lead time was run in an extremely fast 40.1 seconds. 5. K Marshall then allowed CRACKARED to roll forward approaching the 1400 metres to race on terms with the leader entering the front straight to receive the bell with the first quarter of the last mile being run in 32.3 seconds. 6. Driver C Smith then shifts WHITEHAVEN BEACH out off the back of CRACKARED passing the 1200 metres and improves forward to the outside of the two leaders with K Marshall then commencing to urge CRACKARED forward in an attempt to again wrest the lead from MISTY MEMORY and continued applying pressure until entering the turn near the 950 metres where WHITEHAVEN BEACH was able to cross CRACKARED before then improving to the lead. It is this section of the race that the Stewards take issue with Mr Marshall’s drive which has resulted in the amended charge under rule 869(3)(g) being laid. 7. The 2nd quarter was completed in a fast 28.9 seconds – primarily due to Mr Marshall’s decision to drive CRACKARED forward to attempt to wrest the lead and Stewards submit that driving in this manner was not only capable of diminishing CRACKARED’s chances of winning but in fact did diminish the mare’s chances of winning given that it was clearly under pressure near the 500 metres before commencing to give ground. 8. CRACKARED was then inconvenienced briefly when BANNER OF ART (J Abernethey) shifted ground to its inside near the 400 metres but was clearly a spent force before weakening further to finish in 10th place beaten 28.6 lengths in an overall time of 2.47.0 which was approx. 6 seconds slower than the winner. 9. CRACKARED subsequently underwent a post race Veterinary examination which revealed no clinical abnormality Mr Mulcay also had the following to add. The decision of Mr Marshall to drive forward at the1200 metres in combination of the early exertion of CRACKARED when challenging for the lead over the first 400m resulting in an exceptionally fast lead time of 40.1 seconds, was not only capable of diminishing the chances of his mare winning, but it did diminish the chances of his horse winning. Mr Mulcay said that Mr Marshall had other options available to him at this stage of the race. He stated one option was to allow WHITEHAVEN BEACH to improve around him without trying to again take the lead off MISTY MEMORY. Mr Mulcay’s opinion was that this was a far better option however Mr Marshall elected to drive forward. Mr Mulcay identified that at approximately the 950m CRACKARED commenced to lay in and lost some momentum, as WHITEHAVEN BEACH crossed to the lead. Mr Mulcay showed that as the field passed the 800 metre point Mr Marshall sits back for a brief period before again attempting to drive forward. Mr Mulcay said CRACKARED is a spent force approaching the 500m and starts to give ground. Mr Mulcay made comment and provided a summary of CRACKARED’s recent racing history. The detail provided analysis of CRACKARED’s previous position in running, with some lead up times and sectionals. Mr Mulcay made particular reference to a previous performance by CRACKARED, when driven by Mr Marshall, with CRACKARED winning on the 14 September 2018. Mr Mulcay explained the race was conducted at Auckland, was over 2200m and CRACKARED drew barrier 2, the same as the race in question. Mr Mulcay listed and advised the leadtime that particular night was 43 seconds. The first quarter 32.0 sec, 2nd quarter 31.2 sec, 3rd quarter 28.2 sec,4th quarter 28.1 sec. Mr Mulcay submitted that in this particular race on 14 September Mr Marshall was able to get an uncontested lead on CRACKARED and record a comfortable lead time of 43 seconds which is almost 3 seconds slower than the night in question. He said that the 2nd quarter which was the section of the race of concern to the Stewards, which had resulted in the charge being laid was a further 2.3 seconds slower than the night in question. Following the comfortable tempo in the race on the 14th of September, CRACKARED was able to sprint home to win the race. Mr Mulcay advised that these race comparisons highlighted the difference in drives by Mr Marshall on the horse CRACKARED and that this was taken into consideration by the Stewards when determining to proceed with the charge under 869(3)(g) During cross examination Mr Marshall queried the Stipendiary Stewards as to whether CRACKARED had been vet checked after her previous races given her performances and beaten margins. In response Mr Mulcay advised the vet checks were discretionary and it was unlikely that CRACKARED had been vetted in her previous starts. Mr Muirhead added that Stewards were drawn to CRACKARED’s performance as she was the win favourite and due to the manner in which she was driven, which was seen as not appropriate. He also stated that when the Stipendiary Stewards look to consider serious charges, they will vet check a horse to eliminate any potential health issues. In response to a question from the Committee Mr Muirhead confirmed that a driver could request a vet check on the horse they were driving if they were concerned with its performance. SUBMISSIONS - (Respondent) Mr Marshall confirmed to the Committee that he had decided not to call any evidence or witnesses on his behalf. Mr Marshall confirmed that he had previously driven CRACKARED in its performance on 14 September and it won easily. Mr Marshall queried the relevance of the evidence in relation to the early stages of his drive, with regard to the fact that the Information stated that the charge related to his drive on CRACKARED in the middle stages of the race. It was suggested to Mr Marshall by the Committee that what may transpire in the early stages of a race could have a bearing on what occurs later in a race and all evidence could be considered. Mr Marshall advised that he had recently had CRACKARED in work at his stables and had driven her in work so “knew what she was like and she could be a hard horse to drive” Mr Marshall advised that the plan was to lead, as the horse was a better leader than it was a chaser which was exhibited when he had won previously on CRACKARED and he said that CRACKARED felt good during the warm up. Mr Marshall said he had done the form for the race and the horse drawn inside him, MISTY MEMORY (L Whittaker), had shown no previous speed in any of its races. On this basis Mr Marshall said that he thought his best chance to win the race was to lead. Mr Marshall explained that as he left the gate, he got CRACKARED going to try and cross MISTY MEMORY and got half a length ahead of MISTY MEMORY, however half way around the bend he realised he wasn’t going to get the front, so he pulled back. Mr Marshall acknowledged they did go a quick lead time but suggested that was the lead horse, not CRACKARED which was a length off MISTY MEMORY as the lead time was recorded. Mr Marshall said that they then eased the pace to run 32.3 for the next quarter. AS the field raced past the 1200m Mr Marshall identified WHITEHAVEN BEACH “Pull out” in attempt to move forward to the lead. Mr Marshall reiterated his early comments that he thought CRACKARED was a better leader than a chaser. Mr Marshall said he did not want to hand up to WHITEHAVEN BEACH and wanted to stay parked. He also said that he realised that he couldn’t hold the lead which was his intention, so eased back. At this stage in the race Mr Marshall thought CRACKARED was going easily but suggested that with WHITEHAVEN BEACH going past CRACKARED, that “her mindset may have changed” which had happened in previous races. Mr Marshall said he tried to get her back on the bit for a few strides but she did not do this and commenced to give ground. He said that the general rule is that you should not drive your horse out unless you are going to finish in the top 5 and he had horses outside him, so stopped driving and persuading his horse. Mr Marshall also commented that he had locked wheels and was trying to get out of people’s way by pulling his horse back. In cross examination Mr Muirhead referred to Mr Marshall’s comments in regard to CRACKARED being a better leader than a chaser. Mr Muirhead said that the trainer of CRACKARED, Ms C Wigg, when questioned on 28 November regarding CRACKARED’s performance stated on record (recorded in the Stipes report) that CRACKARED performed best when surrounded by other runners. Mr Muirhead asked Mr Marshall whether instead of going forward at the 1200m given the fast 40.1 lead time whether he had a plan “B”. Mr Marshall said that he felt he was only running for 100m of the 400m and his plan “B” was to sit parked. In this regard Mr Marshall said he felt that he had done less work than both the horse inside him (MISTY MEMORY) and the horse outside him (WHITEHAVEN BEACH) at the 1200m and felt that he had not diminished the chances of his horse during this stage of the race. Mr Marshall contested that he had not run the 40.1 sec. lead time, as he was not the leader when the lead time was taken. Mr Muirhead conceded that CRACKARED may have been a length off MISTY MEMORY, when the lead time was taken but this still attributed to a time of 40.3 secs which is still very fast. In response to a question from the Committee in regard to the early stages of the race, Mr Marshall confirmed that he was aware that he was going a lot quicker than he would normally have driven early, on a horse of CRAKARED’s class. SUMMARY - Mr Muirhead Mr Muirhead put to the Committee that CRACKARED had used all of its reserves early and as a result it could not be competitive in the later stages of the race. He also said that by not taking into consideration the extraordinary fast lead time of the race, Mr Marshall showed bad judgement by attacking MISTY MEMORY again for the lead between the 1200m and the 950m. In the opinion of the Stipendiary Stewards Mr Marshall did not show good judgement and exercise a plan “B”, which should have been to take a more conservative and less aggressive approach in the middle stages, to give his mare every opportunity of winning given the early lead time. Mr Muirhead said that Mr Marshall persisted with his tactics when he should not have, it was apparent a long way from home that CRACKARED was struggling and that this was a result of Mr Marshall’s driving not the horse’s performance. Mr Muirhead said that Mr Marshall made a bad decision to continue on, when he knew or should have known that he could not reach the lead and he should have restrained his horse. Mr Muirhead submitted that based on the balance of probabilities Mr Marshall had over driven and over competed with his horse in the middle stages of the race and therefore has diminished his mare’s chances of winning the race. Mr Muirhead said that the view of the Stipendiary Stewards is that the charge should be upheld under rule 869(3)(g) which states No Horseman in any race shall drive in any manner capable of diminishing the chances of his horse winning. Summary - Mr Marshall Mr Marshall said that at no stage during the race did he believe he diminished his horse’s chance of winning and generally if the race was considered a speed duel two drivers would be charged. Mr Marshall said that when he won on CRACKARED the winner’s time was a length slower than this race. Mr Marshall stated that when he left the gate he did a bit of work, restrained his horse and then went to plan “B”, realising they had gone quickly he buttoned off to a slow quarter, which evened things up and gave his horse a breather. Mr Marshall said that when WHITEHAVEN BEACH came alongside him he wanted to maintain his position to give his horse the best chance during the last 1000m. Mr Marshall said he did not believe he diminished his horse’s chances at this stage of the race and at the 600m his horse knocked off, with Mr Marshall choosing not to continue driving it out. Mr Marshall said the type of horse CRACKARED was meant that when it was beaten it was beaten and in the last 400m he locked wheels and tried to get out of people’s way. After hearing all evidence, the Judicial Committee granted permission to the Stipendiary Stewards under rule 1105 to withdraw information A10135. Reasons for Decision The Committee identified that from the mobile arm Mr Marshall drove his horse CRACKARED forward with the intention of leading. Sitting on Mr Marshall’s inside was MISTY MEMORY driven by L Whittaker who was clearly not going to relinquish the lead. CRACKARED got approximately 1 length ahead of MISTY MEMORY but was unable to cross to the lead. The early tactics adopted by both drivers resulted in the field being strung out very quickly and resulted in a very fast lead time of 40.1 seconds. (the fastest recorded at Alexandra Park this season). After easing through the next quarter we observed again Mr Marshall pushing forward at the 1300m in an attempt to take the lead. As CRACKARED drew alongside the leader MISTY Memory, the horse on CRACKARED’s back, WHITEHAVEN BEACH, came forward into a 3 wide position and put more pressure on the leading horses, eventually crossing them and getting down to the markers. During this part of the race we observe Mr Marshall driving his horse aggressively in a manner intent on holding or crossing to the lead. The quarter was again run a quick 28.9 seconds. It is of concern to the Committee that after sitting parked in a very quick lead time that Mr Marshall did not attempt to gain cover or provide his drive with a more economical run with the intention of being competitive at the finish of the race. Instead Mr Marshall seemed determined to continue to push forward despite other options being available to him. After considering all of the evidence and examining the films of the race it is the Committee’s decision that Mr Marshall’s drive fell well below the level expected from a senior driver and that in doing so he did diminish the chances of his horse winning and therefore was in breach of rule 869(3)(g) Penalty Submissions Mr Muirhead asked that the Committee have regard for the gravity of the offence, including the charge, the importance and outcome of the race and whether race goers were affected by the offence. He said CRACKARED finished 10th, 28.6 lengths from the winner. CRACKARED was the win favourite and clearly Mr Marshall’s drive affected the outcome of the race. Mr Muirhead said it was a low grade race and this could be considered when assessing penalty. In relation to Mr Marshall defending the charge, Mr Muirhead said that no discount could be given in mitigation. Mr Muirhead produced Mr Marshall’s record which showed no previous breaches of this rule in 1500 drives in New Zealand and as such Mr Marshall is an experienced horseman. Mr Muirhead said that the Stipendiary Stewards viewed this as a negative when assessing penalty as an experienced horseman should be less likely to make a mistake of this nature. Mr Muirhead made reference to the requirement to maintain the Integrity and public confidence in Harness Racing. He suggested that drivers’ decisions need to be made in a manner so as not to diminish their horses’ chances of being competitive. Mr Muirhead submitted that in this instance the Stipendiary Stewards would suggest that a starting point of 15-20 drives be applied due to a driver breaching rule 869(3)(g) and displaying bad judgement. He also said that the Stipendiary Stewards would ask that a suspension is imposed. Mr Muirhead referred to the JCA guidelines in relation to a breach of rule 869(3)(g) the guidelines are as follows; 869(3)(g) – Diminishing Chances • Miscounting Rounds                  15 Drives or $750 fine • Race Duelling                            40 Drives or $2000 fine • Incompetent Driving                  60 Drives or $3000 fine Mr Muirhead put it that the Stewards’ view was that it was a low end breach in terms of the offence and that Mr Marshall had displayed bad judgement in the wrong part of the race. In the Stipendiary Stewards’ opinion a bad judgement offence should have a similar starting point to that of miscounting rounds. Mr Marshall said that he would prefer a fine and agreed with Mr Muirhead that it was a low level breach. Mr Marshall said that if a suspension was to be imposed he would prefer to take any suspension immediately. The Committee also clarified with Mr Marshall that it was his right if he chose to defend a charge and would not be penalised for doing so.  Reasons for Penalty The JCA penalty guideline in relation to a breach of Rule 869(3)(g) provide the following; 869(3)(g) – Diminishing Chances • Miscounting Rounds                15 Drives or $750 fine • Race Duelling                           40 Drives or $2000 fine • Incompetent Driving                 60 Drives or $3000 fine In this particular case the Committee had to determine where the starting point should commence based on the specific circumstances of the breach. The Committee felt that on this occasion the incident could not be compared to race duelling despite Mr Marshall showing poor judgement. As such the committee has set a starting point accordingly. The committee set the starting point at 17 drives. There were no aggravating factors. The Committee sees the level of the offence at a low level and has regard for Mr Marshall’s overall good driving record. In determining how many drives would equate to a 1 day suspension, the committee viewed and analysed Mr Marshall’s recent driving record, where it was apparent the Mr Marshall was averaging 2-3 drives in Auckland and 5-6 Drives in the Central Districts. Having taken all factors into consideration the committee determines that an appropriate penalty to be that of 3 days. In addition to this Mr Marshall is fined $250. Penalty Mr Marshall had his Open Horseman licence suspended after the completion of racing on the 30 November until after racing on 11 December. In addition to this a fine of $250 is imposed. Costs There was no application for costs submitted by the RIU. As this matter was heard on Raceday there will be no order for costs from the JCA. A Smith Chair

Welcome to the Harness Half Hour podcast brought to you by HRNZ marketing. Jess Smith brings the latest harness racing news and interviews with colorful and interesting industry participants from New Zealand and around the world. This week's show features Craig Thompson, Bob Butt, Kyle Marshall, Brad Reid and Bookie Richard Wilson.   Jess Smith

The fourth annual Hilux Rural Games were held in Palmerston North last weekend, and included the second annual running of the Harness Racing New Zealand Harness Gearing Up Competition. A field of six competitors, including last year’s winner Jay Abernethy, went head to head in time trials to find the two fastest qualifiers to make the final on the day, with the finalists being Dylan Ferguson and Kyle Marshall. The contest was to gear up a pacer with basic harness minus the sulky, and Ferguson managed a narrow victory over Marshall clocking in at 2m50s. Marshall was second and Jay Abernethy was third. Thanks also to the other competitors Jo Stevens, Allen Pyers and Ken Tarrant. Ferguson was presented with the trophy, the Cranbourne Cup trophy won by Blossom Lady during her illustrious career, along with prizes presented by Toyota’s General Manager of Marketing, Andrew Harris. During the afternoon members of the public were invited to have a go at gearing up a harness horse under the watchful eye of our horsemen and provided a great hands on memory to a captive audience. The contest was keenly followed by a strong crowd of Palmerston North locals and also tourists who flocked to see horses at the games. All Black great Sir Brian Lochore was also present to witness the final, admitting he was a keen follower of the racing industry and enjoyed following harness racing. He was able to spend time with the competitors following the event. A huge thanks must go to the Manawatu Harness Racing Club team of John Doody, Allen Pyers and Dan Lynch for the organization of the competition and running of the event with Andre Neill. The event provided the perfect entrée leading in to the Palmerston North Gold Cup Festival to be held at the end of this month. HRNZ Marketing

The mare that was named after the character ‘Fizz’ on Coronation Street can notch up her eighth career win at Cambridge Raceway tonight. Fizzi Lizzi goes into the $7,000 Furnware Industries Bodyfurn Handicap for the R60 and faster pacers with a nice workout win at 'The Raceway' on Saturday. "She's a reliable little mare who steps well and doesn't have a problem sitting parked. Back-marker Bettor Spirits (35m) will be the toughest to beat and even though she's beaten some of those old claimers before, it's never a given from 25 metres behind,"Hamilton-based MacKenzie said. He said he was delighted with where the McArdle mare was at, but half expected her to win her Workout last Saturday. "She's had a few niggles in recent seasons and all four of my wins this season have come via her. "I gave her a couple of weeks off and she has come back nice and strong. I would have been a bit surprised had she not won on Saturday," Mackenzie said. James Stormont will drive her on Thursday but Kyle Marshall did a good job of steering her to a one-and-a-half length victory over Sypda in Saturday's 2200m mobile for the R51 and faster pacers. Fizzi Lizzi currently has a R88 rating brought largely on by her three consecutive wins at Cambridge Raceway in November and December. On Saturday she stopped the clock (off the front) in 2:47.1 (mile rate 2:02.2) and came home in 58.8 and 29 even. "The small field (eight) should help her, but in saying that the speeds they go up front these days turns a 25m handicap into 40m. "I know she can step okay and she loves the track and distance and is race-fit, so yes I think she can go close," the Waikato horseman said. Three of Fizzi Lizzi’s four wins this season have been over Thursday’s 2700m distance, and five of her of seven wins have come at Cambridge, including three over the distance. Her standing start record is also impressive: 6-3-2. "She's the only one I've got in work. I'm also breaking in a Bettor's Delight youngster," said Mackenzie who works Fizzi Lizzi on the Tuhikaramea galloping track. The mare copped her name thanks to Myross Bush breeder Debbie Smith, who loves watching Jennie McAlpine - the actress who plays ‘Fizz’ on Coronation Street. Smith and her husband Mark have owned and operated Shard Farm Standardbreds since March 2004. They have put thousands of hours into their breeding empire, but Smith (Debbie) admits she was in and out of the Fizzi Lizzi breed within a month. “We bought the mare, Averil’s Atom (by Soky’s Atom) privately off Sylvia Purdue after the Sales. That wasn’t long after Sylvia’s husband John passed away. Mark O’Connor bought her and then bred from her after we had her for about a month. “The only horse we bred from the mare was Fizzi Lizzi but we then sold her as a weanling to Rod,” Smith said. Fizzi Lizzi is owned by MacKenzie, Jaymz Mackenzie-Hooper, Catherine Smith, and Nancey Taylor.   Duane Ranger

Rangiora trainer Andrew Stuart believes his Wellington Cup winner (yesterday), Pay Me Visa, can back up and win tomorrow’s (Sunday) Otaki Cup as well. The 5-year-old McArdle gelding was an easy winner of the Kapiti Coast Harness Racing Club’s feature from 10 metres behind at Otaki yesterday (Friday), and will start from the same handicap in the Otaki Cup. Both races were worth $10,000 but tomorrow’s Otaki Cup is a 3000m stand compared to the 2200m stand he won yesterday. “I’ve always believed in him. In fact when the previous owners pulled out of the ownership when he was three I took over.  “I have no doubts that he can back up. He proved that at Nelson earlier this month when finishing a good third on the first day and then winning two days later on the same track,” Stuart said. “I have a lot of faith in him, and he has proved me right. Not too many horses win seven races,” he added. Stuart has claimed several Country Cups in the South Island but the Wellington Trotting Cup was his first in the North Island. “I’m proud of him. Any Cup is a good Cup to win. He’s an honest wee horse who can sometimes hit his knee, but lately he’s been putting his legs in the right places. “I was rapt with his run yesterday. The 3000m stand won’t bother him on Sunday. He’s won five races from the stand now. The big roomy tracks suit his racing style and I think people forget he has gone a 1.56 mile at Rangiora,” Stuart said. Kyle Marshall drove Pay me Visa splendidly on Friday. They never really looked like losing, pacing the 2200m stand in 2:53.3 (mile rate 2:06.7) and home in 60.9 and 31.5.  Pay me Visa was the $3.80 favourite and had three-and-a-quarter lengths and a neck to spare over roughie Extra Guinness (Brent Weaver) and Fleeting Grin (Peter Ferguson). Stuart never made the trip north. Instead leaving the bay gelding in the hands of Pat and Mike O’Brien in Blenheim. “I left him in Blenheim and Mike took him north. Mike has done an awesome job with him and young Kyle has done equally as well. I couldn’t be happier. he’s the only horse I sent north,” Stuart said. Stuart said he also got one over his good thoroughbred training mate, Gary Vile. “He trained Jacksstar (Cameron Lammas) to finish second in the recent Wellington (galloping) Cup, and I went one better. I might have him on about it. “I know the Wellington Cup is no longer raced at Hutt Park, but there’s a lot of history about the race, and it’s an honour to win the second Cup back after a recess. It means a lot,” Stuart said. The North Canterbury conditioner said Pay Me Visa would continue to race in all the Country Cup races in the North island, starting with the Tauranga Grass Cup on February 5. Meanwhile, the other highlight of the meeting came from South Auckland reinsman, Sailesh Abernethy, who drove three of the eight winners on Friday’s card. He won behind the Keith Chittenden trained Above The Rest in the first race; the Murray Gibbs trained Cerberus in race three; and the Doug Gale trained P Tomado in the fourth event. Older brother Jay, also won behind the Todd Macfarlane trained Millview Sienna in race two. The toughest for Pay Me Visa to beat in tomorrow's Boundary/Deans & Associates Otaki Cup will be the Arna Donnelly trained Eldolar (Mark Johnson) and the Andrew & Lyn Neal trained back-marker (30m) Beyond The Silence. Duane Ranger

Arna Donnelly created her own piece of harness racing history last season, and after a beneficial two days at Manawatu Raceway this week the Cambridge horsewoman is nearing another personal milestone. Last season Donnelly was New Zealand's leading female solo trainer with a personal best 22 wins. With three winners at the Manawatu Harness Racing Club’s meeting on Tuesday and Thursday of this week, Donnelly is now just 10 short of 100 career training wins. Kyle Marshall drove Eldolar to win on both days, while her winning drive behind Sexy Rexy (Thursday) took her career driving tally to 154. Marshall was on fire at Palmerston North. On day one he drove Eldolar and the Fred Mitchell trained Jack Bates to victory, and then two days later the 22-year-old South Auckland driver won behind Eldolar and then the Dave Iremonger trained Desert Storm, and the Mitchell trained Aces N Eights. “Kyle did a great job behind Eldolar. He’s driving really well at present and I’m chuffed with the way he is driving the gelding. “Both Eldolar and Sexy Rexy are nice horses. I will talk to the owners and could possibly give Eldolar a freshen-up now, and Sexy Rexy could start at Cambridge on Christmas Eve,” Donnelly said. The 36-year-old Waikato horsewoman said Eldolar was owned by Craig Good, who also owns stablemate, Imajollywally. “He won real well on the first day and then I had a few question marks over him as to whether he would back up or not. I was pleasantly surprised with the way he backed up. “He proved to me that he has got a bit of bottom to him because he did a bit of work in the race. That is encouraging,” said Donnelly. Marshall trailed Bobbie's Girl and Scott Dickson, early with Eldolar in the 2000m mobile from his ace draw and then went around to lead down the back straight the first term. Marshall rated the 4-year-old son of Elsu perfectly for the remainder of the $8,100 Focus Planning R49-R56 Mobile winning by half a length in 2:33 even. That time was 1.2 seconds quicker than what he recorded when winning by three lengths on day one. Eldolar paced a 2:03.1 mile rate and came home in 60 even and 29.8. he was the $2.10 favourite compared to his $2.40 favourite odds two days earlier. "He's a nice horse with a promising future. He gave me a good feel on the first day and I thought he would go close again on Thursday. I think he can win a few more," Marshall said. Eldolar has now won two of his 16 starts and placed in three others for $12,328. He was bred by Mrs P M Morrison and C F Turner. Sexy Rexy was equally impressive. after winning the $8,500 Paul Claridge Electrical Handicap for the R50 and faster trotters. The 4-year-old Pegasus Spur gelding started from his unruly two draw in the 2000m stand, and Donnelly had the 4-year-old safely away settling him fourth last in the 11-horse field. Donnelly then went and sat parked at the bell before holding his 10 opponents out by one-and-a-half lengths. Sexy Rexy stopped the clock in 3:21.4 (mile rate 2:09.6) and trotted her final 800m and 400m in 62.1 and 31 even. He was the $5.60 third favourite and came into the race with a nice win at Cambridge Raceway on December 1. “He’s got a lovely gait and I’ve got quite a bit of time for him. It was a massive effort really because he’s just a baby. He gives me the impression he won’t have too many problems taking the next step up,” Donnelly said. Donnelly is working a team of 17 at Cambridge. She said her two Manawatu winners were nice horses but still had some way to match the feats of No way Else, who had recorded seven wins and more than $56,000. She also liked Whale Rider who has won two of his 11 starts and placed in four others. “I’ve got quite a nice little team but none of them would be winning is it wasn’t for my good staff and loyal owners. You are nothing without them. I’m so grateful to my team back home. They do a huge job and every time we win it’s a team effort,” Donnelly stressed. Duane Ranger

Kyle Marshall has carried on straight from where he left off in the Australasia Young Driving Championships in Perth. Less than a week after driving two winners across the Tasman and finishing fourth – four points behind winner, Todd McCarthy (NSW), Marshall was back in the winner’s circle at the Manawatu Harness Racing Club’s meeting at Palmerston North last night (Tuesday). The 22-year-old Franklin reinsman was the most successful driver at the nine-race meeting, steering the Arna Donnelly trained $2.40 favourite to win race three, and then two races later he drove the Fred Mitchell trained $13.20 seventh favourite Jack Bates to victory. Eldolar was having his second start back for Donnelly in the $7,000 Life Members Maiden Pace after an eight month spell. The Elsu gelding resumed at Cambridge Raceway on December 1 with a close-up second behind Taihape Sunset. It was his first look at Manawatu Raceway and his first start over the 2000m. “He’s still a bit green but he won very well. He’s got a lot to learn but should win at least a couple more. He felt real strong,” Marshall said. Eldolar started from the widest second row draw (12) and Marshall worked the 4-year-old to sit in the lane the second last time. In the home straight Eldolar left his nine opponents to it winning by an increasing three lengths and pacing the 2000m mobile in 2:34.2 (mile rate 2:04 even). His final 800m and 400m sectionals were 60.8 and 28.9. It was his first career win in 16 starts and the way he cruised home it won't be his last. "I think he will be my best drive on Thursday. He’s got the feeling he will go on with it,” said Marshall. Jack Bates (2) was also impressive winning the $7,000 Happy 80th Birthday George Mouldey Mobile for the up to R56 rated pacers. Marshall settled the 8-year-old P Forty Seven gelding in the one-one before looming up three-wide on the turn and then pacing away to win by one-and-quarter lengths. Jack Bates paced the 2500m mobile in 3:15.9 (mile rate 2:06.1) and home in 62.3 and 30.7. It was Jack Bates' third win in 49 starts on the track and his third from 32 attempts over the distance. All up he's now won six of his 131 starts and just under $50,000 in stakes. “He’s an honest little horse who is racing well. He got all the favours in the running and obliged. Fred had him spot on,” said Marshall. Marshall has now driven eight winners from 79 starters this season. This is his first season in the open driving ranks and he’s now driven 81 winners from 952 starters. he’s also placed 165 times and won $571,619 in career stakes. His best season was last year when he reined home 39 winners from 383 starters ($264,717). Meanwhile Marshall said that competing in the recent Australasian Young Drivers Championship was the highlight of his career. “When I first started out as a junior this was my main goal. It was always something I wanted to achieve and I was running out of time. “I’m just grateful to all the owners and trainers who made it all possible for me on their horses in my last year as a junior (2015-2016),” Marshall said. "I'm also grateful for all the drives I'm getting in New Zealand as well, and that includes Manawatu," he added Duane Ranger

It was a case of close, but no cigar, for the Kiwi quartet in the Australasian Young Drivers’ Championship. The kiwi four of Robbie Close, Matt Anderson, Kyle Marshall and Brad Williamson all finished in the top six in the week-long competition in Western Australia. The competition was taken out by New South Welshman, Todd McCarthy. Close and McCarthy went into the final night of racing at Gloucester Park on Friday night locked together, while four other drivers could have snared the major prize with a victory – dependent on other results. The race was taken out by hometown hero, Stuart McDonald who was well down on the leader board which left the door open for any number of drivers to claim the top prize. For the Kiwis, Matt Anderson gave himself the best chance of snatching a victory with his third placing, but it wasn’t enough with McCarthy, who finished down the track, claiming more points than close to give him a total of 73 points and the series win. Close and Anderson were the next best on 71 points each – with the defending champion, Close, getting the nod for overall second placing on a countback while Anderson had to settle for third. Marshall, who produced consistent results throughout the series was next in fourth while Nathan Dawson of Queensland finished just ahead of Brad Williamson in the next two spots. All four of the Kiwi contingent tasted success in the nine-race series with six of the races falling to the foursome. Close, Williamson and Marshall are all out of the junior ranks now but Anderson has a chance of getting himself to the next championship in two years with his time in the junior ranks set to extend for another couple of seasons. Final Standings: Todd McCarthy (NSW) – 73 Robbie Close (NZ) – 71 Matt Anderson (NZ) – 71 Kyle Marshall (NZ) - 69 Nathan Dawson (QLD) - 67 Brad Williamson (NZ) – 65 Jayson Finnis -(SA) – 61 Stuart McDonald (WA) - 46 Jason Lee (VIC) - 41 Wade Rattray (TAS) – 30   Matt Markham

Harness racing junior driver Robbie Close is still leading the way in the Australasian Young Drivers’ Championship. After the second day of racing at Pinjarra yesterday, kiwis Matt Anderson and Kyle Marshall both walked away with wins, while Brad Williamson managed a pair of placings. Anderson started with favourite Im Rockaria in the first heat. He had the son of Rocknroll Hanover parked early before leading the rest of the way and winning easily. Ive Got It All driven by New South Wales representative Todd Mcarthy, was second and Brad Williamson running third behind Art Lover. Matt Anderson donated his driving fees to the Ronald McDonald House. Kyle Marshall won the second heat with Sir Slick from the second row and beat C C Chevron, who was driven by Nathan Dawson.  Brad Williamson again took a placing behind All The Torque. Australasian Young Drivers’ Championship Point Table: Robbie Close (NZ)            49 Todd McCarthy (NSW)   47 Matt Anderson (NZ)       40 Kyle Marshall (NZ)           38 Nathan Dawson (QLD)    36 Brad Williamson (NZ)     32 Jason Lee (VIC)  3 (9)       30 Jayson Finnis (SA)            24 Stuart McDonald (WA)   18 Wade Rattray (TAS)         16   Harnesslink Media

The chance to pit themselves against some of Australia’s best young talents and experience harness racing in another country has some of New Zealand’s youngest driving stars excited about the week ahead. Robbie Close, Matt Anderson, Kyle Marshall and Brad Williamson departed New Zealand yesterday (Thursday) to head to Western Australia to compete in the biannual Australasian Young Drivers’ Championship - charged with the hopes of a country on their young shoulders. The Kiwi quartet, along with six of the best youngsters in Australasia will go head-to-head in a 10 race series over the next week, with the final race of the series held on Inter Dominion Grand Final night at Gloucester Park. For Close, the most experience of the four, it’s an exciting prospect. “I can’t wait to get over there and get into it,” he said. “It’s a real honour to represent your country and I feel very privileged to have been given the opportunity.” Despite losing his junior driver licence at the end of the 2015-2016 season, Close is allowed to compete in the series by virtue of the fact he is the defending champion of the Series and that he still fits into the required age bracket. “I never even really thought about it to be honest so it was pretty overwhelming to get the news.” Close won the Series when it was held in New Zealand two years ago in a brilliant display of driving and he will be looking to repeat the dose in Western Australia. “It’s a very strong crop of drivers, there is some real experience in there. Guys like Jason Lee and Todd McCarthy have driven in some pretty big races so it’s going to be a real test on their home turf. “But any of us four Kiwi guys are capable of giving it a really good shake I reckon, and it’s going to be a great group to be a part of and to spend some time with.” Just one win shy of 150 career wins, Close said he had searched out the advice of some New Zealand drivers who had experienced racing in Western Australia and been busying himself with watching plenty of racing. “I hit up the likes of Dexter Dunn and Gavin Smith about what it’s like and they were great and I’ve tried to watch as many races as I can from over there too.” For Anderson, who is still a relative new face in the driving ranks, the prospect of the experience is leaving him fizzing. “It’s going to be a really good experience to tick up and I’m looking forward to getting over there and doing my best to get some results on the board.” Like Close, Anderson has spent plenty of time pouring over videos and has plans to talk to his boss Mark Purdon, who is currently over there, when he arrives. “Mark and Natalie have three horses over there are the moment so I’ve been watching them race and looking at the racing pattern pretty closely. It’s completely different to the New Zealand style of racing, that’s for sure.” The competition kicks off on Friday night at Gloucester Park with the first heat at 11.15pm (NZT) before competition moves to Bunbury on Saturday for a further two races. There are then further heats at Pinjarra, Northam and Narrogin before it’s the final race of the series on Inter Dominion Grand Final night at Gloucester Park on December 9. Matt Markham

Brad Williamson will follow his brothers, Nathan and Matthew as a New Zealand representative in the Australasian Young Drivers Championship. Brad, along with Robbie Close, Kyle Marshall and Matt Anderson is representing NZ in the series which commences at Gloucester Park, Perth on Friday night (2/12/16) in conjunction with the Inter-Dominion series. The quartet are due to travel to Perth on Thursday. Heats are also run at Bunbury, Pinjarra, Northam and Narrogin in Western Australia with the series winding up at Gloucester Park on Inter-Dominion Final night, December 9. Brad is booked to drive at Invercargill the next day. Brad was the leading New Zealand junior driver last season with 70 wins; Close won the Australasian series in New Zealand last year; Marshall was the leading North Island Junior Driver last season and Anderson had the top UDR. It will be the first time Brad has driven in Australia. “I am looking forward to the trip. It should be good experience. I am hoping for some good horses with good draws,” he said. “I have discussed it a lot with Matthew over the last fortnight because we work together (at the Oamaru stable of father, Phil). He has told me about different rules that apply in Australia and a few other things.” Matthew finished second to Josh Dickie in the 2011 series in New Zealand and Nathan finished third to Danielle Hill (South Australia) and Stephen Reed (Western Australia) when the series was staged in Queensland in 2009. Matthew was the leading New Zealand Junior Driver in 2012-13 with 113 wins and Nathan was twice runner up to Dexter Dunn and second to Gavin Smith in New Zealand Junior Driver premierships. Matthew teamed with Dickie and Zac Butcher for the 2011 series, He finished seventh in the 2013 series in Queensland. Nathan was paired with Dunn and Bob Butt in 2009. Brad has made the transition to the ranks of open drivers with 12 wins this season. His trip to Australia has ruled him out of the “Brothers in Arms” series at his home track at Oamaru on Saturday (3/12/16). He was to have paired with Matthew. Nathan will continue his association with Matthew, a combination that won the series on grass last year and 2013. The Dunn brothers, Dexter and John have been replaced with the Hunters, Hamish and Peter as Dexter has driving commitments in Perth. The other brother combinations at Oamaru on Saturday are David and Philip Butcher (victors in 2010 and 2011); Ken and Clark Barron (successful in 2012), Jay and Sailesh Abernethy (2014), Gerard and Leo O’Reilly.   Tayler Strong

Kyle Marshall says that competing in the 2016 Australasian Young Drivers Championship in Western Australia early next month will be the highlight of his career. “Only winning it will beat this achievement, because when I first started out as a junior this was my main goal. It was always something I wanted to achieve and I was running out of time. “I’m just grateful to all the owners and trainers who made it all possible for me in my last year as a junior (2015-2016),” Marshall said. For the last two year’s Marshall has been the North Island-Driver-Of-The-Year, but it was his career best 39 wins last season which saw him qualify as the North Island’s representative in Australia along with fellow Kiwis – Robbie Close (defending champion), Matt Anderson (New Zealand), and Brad Williamson (South Island). Wade Rattray (Tasmania), Stuart McDonald (Western Australia), Nathan Dawson (Queensland), Todd McCarthy (New South Wales), Jason Lee (Victoria), Jayson Finnis (South Australia) complete the 10-strong line-up. The 10-race series starts on December 2 and finishes on December 9 – the night of the Group One $1.1m TABtouch Inter Dominion Grand Final night at Gloucester Park. “I am so looking forward to this. I have been for a very long time. I was rapt when I knew that I had qualified. It’s going to be an absolute honour representing the North Island and New Zealand over there. “Every win has been special in my career and I’d love to win a few heats. I love this sport so much. Again I can’t thank the owners and trainers enough for getting me to Australia. I get such a thrill out of seeing them all win. That’s one of the main reasons why I love harness racing,” Marshall said. The Cambridge born and educated 22-year-old has been working for Brent Mangos for the past three months and said it was good to be working up here in Auckland. “So many horsemen have been so good to me and I’m learning a lot from Brent. I guess it all started with Dad (David) though. If he hadn’t got a few horses together for me to drive early on I may never have had a junior career. “I owe him the biggest gratitude,” Marshall said. Marshall said he was looking forward to driving in Australia again after spending a couple of seasons at Brent Lilley’s stable in Victoria where he drove 36 winners. “I spent 18 months with Brent and I can't thank him enough for all the help and advice he gave me while I was there. I think I came back a better driver because of that,” Marshall said. Marshall got interested in harness racing via Cambridge Kidz Kartz. “Then I used to help out at John Dickie's after school and on weekends and that’s when I knew this is what I wanted to do," Marshall said. He got his junior driving licence in the 2010-2011 and went win-less in his first season before driving five in his second. All up he’s nailed 79 winners from 945 starters and placed 165 times for $562,369 in stakes. In his first season as an open driver he has so far saluted the judge six times. One of his best drives came in this this year’s Wairarapa Cup when he steered Mischief Maker to a memorable victory for Pukekohe trainer Paul Chalklen.   The 10-race 2016 Australasian Young Drivers Championship programme is: 2nd December - Heat at Gloucester Park. 3rd December – Two heats at Bunbury. 5th December – Two heats at Pinjarra. 6th December – Two heats at Northam. 8th December – Two heats at Narrogin. 9th December – One heat at Gloucester Park (TABtouch Inter Dominion Grand Final night).   Duane Ranger

Master Monarchy’s win at Manawatu Raceway yesterday (Sunday) has seen the talented trotter break into the 4-year-old Ruby Trot Harness Jewels grand final field at Cambridge Raceway on June 4. Ranked 10th, and with one week still remaining for qualifying, his trainer Stephen Doody said the brown gelding won’t now be lining up until early June. “If he makes the final I’ll line him up and try and run second behind Monbet. It will all depend on the draw if that happens. The draws are so vital at Cambridge over a mile. “If he doesn’t make it I’ll line him up at Alexandra Park the night before the Jewels Final and then I will put him out for a spell,” Doody said. Master Monarchy collected $4,000 for his crushing six-and-a-half length win in Sunday’s $7,000 Wright Handicap for the C2 and faster trotters. It took his season earnings to $27,399.50 - $5,294.50 more than 12th-placed Great Things Happen. Doody has had 10 Jewels finalists but never a Jewels winner, and with Monbet in this year’s Final, he believes he will have to wait at least another year to win his maiden Jewels crown. “Nothing will get near Monbet. He is in a class of his own. My wee fella goes good but he’s a long way from that class. I’ll spell him over the winter then bring him back next season for more northern racing,” Palmerston North-based Doody said. Master Monarchy and Doody made a safe start from their 10m handicap on Sunday and settled near the rear and then were third going down the back straight the last time – and stalking the leaders. In the home straight they simply left their opposition to it bolting away to a big victory. They were the $3.40 favourites and it was the brown Monarchy gelding’s third straight win at Manawatu Raceway and fifth overall. Master Monarchy is owned by Doody and Tony Jack. “He trots all right but I’m not getting too carried away with him. He’s a nice wee horse who has done a good job this season, after two unsuccessful starts last season. “He’s a not a big horse but he’s got a big heart. I think he will come back much stronger, and even better as a 5-year-old,” Doody said. Meanwhile, one of the highlights on the first day was Kilkeel Lady’s sixth win in 114 starts. The Sutter Hanover mare and driver Kyle Marshall sat parked, yet were too strong for their eight C1 and C2 pacing opponents. “She showed good gate speed and then when it mattered she dug deep. We were a bit lucky that Kotare Kasai and John (Dunn) worked hard in the race which helped. We were three-wide and then parked, but Colin’s mare showed a lot of heart,” Marshall said. The Colin Butler trained brown 6-year-old was the $5.60 third favourite on Thursday and paced the C1 and C2 Mares 1609m metre (mile) mobile in 1:58.6 and home in 60.5 and 29.7. She had half-a-neck and half-a-head to spare over Kotare Kasai and Atchoo (Jim Curtin). It was Kilkeel Lady’s third win this season and sixth overall – five of which have been at Manawatu Raceway. By Duane Ranger

Last week was one of the better weeks overall for a while with our tipsters not far off all weekend. Six selected winners with Kyle Marshall leading the way with the $6 shot, JC Jock while Scott Phelan, Blair Orange, Tim Williams, Nathan Williamson and Ricky May also got the job done. What was so frustrating was the tipsters had eleven placegetters including ten second placings over the weekend. This week however we only have three meetings around the country and quite a few of our regulars are not in action this weekend but as usual it would pay to follow the tipsters selections on the first day at Blenheim on Friday to the second day on Sunday. Forbury Park - Thursday night Shane Walkinshaw - Thought Jetsdream just needed an ounce of luck to win race 2 Brendon McLellan - Thinks Mr Handleman is a chance at huge odds, also in race 2 Craig Ferguson - Rates Lamborne Road a big chance to bounce back and win race 5 Nathan Williamson - Thinks Betta Go Fernco can turn it around and win, also in race 5 Brad Williamson - Hopes to celebrate his 21st birthday with a win on Elusive Flight in race 7 Gavin Smith - Gives the two year old Late Mail a big chance of winning race 9 Matthew Williamson - Rates Springbank Eden a chance of upsetting them in race 11   Blenhiem - Friday afternoon Bob Butt - Quite keen on the chances of the first starter Dusky Eyre in race 1 Ricky May - Rates Delightful Jack as well overdue and thinks he will win race 2 John Dunn - Very bullish about the chances of stable runner Mr Meddle in race 6 Blair Orange - Gives Expresso Martini a big push to win race 7 Terry Chmiel - Thinks Art Exhibit is ready to strike and will win race 8     Franklin - Friday night Scott Phelan - Thinks Ideal Roman is a big chance from barrier two in race 1 Todd MacFarlane - Rates I Am The One a good each way prospect in race 4 John Curtin - Thought Bettormack second up from a break would win, also in race 4 Todd Mitchell - Reckons The Tracker can carry on his winning streak in race 5 Steven Reid - Gives Franco Nikau a chance of rolling them at big odds, also in race 5 Steven Richardson (TAB) - Rates Chosen Path fresh up a big chance of winning race 6 Kyle Marshall - Thought Kilkeel Lady from barrier two could upset them in race 10   Harnesslink Media

Last week was a mixed bag but two very wet tracks at both Ascot Park and Methven didn't help with the conditions hampering a lot of runners. We managed five winners with the best dividend going to Bob Butt at Methven with Ancient Moonlight while others to select winners were John Dunn, Tim Williams, Nathan Williamson and Scott Phelan and we also had five placings as well. This week there are only the four meetings and we cover them all. Manawatu - Thursday night Kyle Marshall - Gives Soul Hanover a great each way chance in race 2 Todd Mitchell - Thinks on his runs to date they can't beat Alta Leroy in race 8    Auckland - Friday night Tony Herlihy - Thought Uandmebabe would be hard to beat from her good draw in race 7 Scott Phelan - Very bullish about the chances of Bettor B Amazed, also in race 7 Maurice McKendry - Gives the two year old Shandale a big chance of winning race 8 Steven Reid - Rates Aquickone on her work this week as the one to beat in race 9   Addington - Friday night Terry Chmiel - Thought Danny Del Vito from barrier one could upset them in race 1 John Dunn - Gives Culinary Delight a big push to return to the winners list, also in race 1 Bob Butt - Looking for the trifecta in race one where Bob thinks Gracious Me will be hard to beat Robbie Holmes - Thought Aile Rouge could get a piece of it at good odds in race 2 Brad Williamson - Very bullish about the chances of the very smart Father Christmas, also in race 2 John Curtin (Harnesslink) Reckons Waikiki Beach will beat Chase The Dream and win race 4 Blair Orange - Thinks Habibti Ivy will match it with the boys in the Derby and win race 5 Gerard O'Reilly - Thought Tiger Tara would be improved this week and a each way chance in race 6 Matthew Williamson - Knows Alley Way is up against it this week but a great place chance in race 7 Tim Williams - Keeps giving out Have Faith In Me and he keeps winning, this week in race 8 Ricky May - Rapt with the run of Dalton Bromac last week and won't have him beaten in race 9   Invercargill - Sunday afternoon Brendon McLellan - Reckons Leigh Major must be due a change of luck and can win race1 Steve Richardson(TAB) - Really likes the chances of Denn Nee Nose Best in race 3 Clark Barron - Gave Real Raider a big chance to clear maidens in race 4 Nathan Williamson - Thought Franco Tyson would be a great each way chance at good odds in race 8   Harnesslink Media

Scott Phelan claimed his second Otaki Cup in three years on Sunday but admits he hasn’t had a great deal of luck on the grass since first donning the silks back in 2000. “I think Sunday’s win was my first grass track victory this season. I haven’t won a lot of Country Cups either. I think the only other one was also the Otaki Cup a couple of years ago,” the gifted South Auckland reinsman said. That was in fact behind the Anne-Marie Best trained Tijuana Bromac in 2013. But Phelan was at his driving best when steering the Steve Telfer and Chris Garlick trained Sweet Art to victory in the 2015 edition of the Railway Hotel Otaki Cup on the grass. Two days earlier they finished a three-length fifth in the Cup Prelude won by the Tijuana Bromac and Sailesh Abernethy. “She’s the sort of horse that if she can get to the front early she can be hard to beat. She paced along at a solid tempo out in front on Sunday and felt really good turning for home. “At the finish she had plenty in hand. She’s the sort of horse that doesn’t have a lot of high speed but she’s a tough mare who can out-grind them,” Phelan said. The 32-year-old sent the Steve Telfer and Chris Garlic trained Sweet Art straight to the front from their one draw and dictated all the pace to win the 3000m standing start event by 1-3/4 lengths from roughie Cougar Bromac (Stephen Doody). Beckinsale and Kyle Marshall were three quarters of a length back in third. Sweet Art paced the Kapiti Harness Racing Club’s feature event in 3:58.2 (mile rate 2:07.7) with final 800m and 400m sprints of 57.8 and 28.9. It was the daughter of Art Major’s mare’s fifth win in 33 starts. She was the fifth favourite of 14 and paid $9.10 to win. Phelan, who is one of the best front-running drivers in New Zealand, dictated all the pace from the outset with the 4-year-old. His hands again proved to be the winning of the race. “I think she’s the sort of horse who would go real well in Australia, but I am not sure if that is in the owners’ plans or not. “I think the Wairarapa Cup is. It’s a $15,000 race and is one of her immediate targets and is a race which is well within her grasp,” Phelan said. Sweet Art was bred and is owned by Stonewall Stud. The Geoff Small trained and David Butcher driven Major Change was the only horse to win on both days of the KCHRC’s two-day meeting. On Friday the Art Major gelding justified favouritism ($3.60) by winning the Palamountains Scientific maiden pace, and then he had 2-1/4 lengths to spare in the Personnel Touch Mobile for C1 pacers on Sunday. He paid $3.10 to win and is a promising 3-year-old who can go on with it. Duane Ranger - Courtesy of Harness Racing New Zealand PS - Scott gave Sweet Art as his best drive of the week on the Harnesslink ringaround last week. Fifth on the first day, those who stuck with the ship would have loved the $9:10 dividend on Sunday.  

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