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One of the hottest favourites of Jewels day could be in for far more of a war than punters expect. Because rival trainer Mark Jones has declared his filly Delightful Memphis will park out $1.25 chance Spanish Armada rather than concede the $150,000 three-year-old fillies final. Delightful Memphis must be sick of the sight of Spanish Armada, having run second to her nine times in the last 14 months in one of the great two-horse dominations of recent New Zealand racing. But she has beaten her home a couple of times, including once at Auckland in December, albeit with Spanish Armada was unlucky. The pair worked in private with fellow Jewels rival Partyon at Addington on Monday morning and Jones is adamant Delightful Memphis had Spanish Armamda covered after coming off her back. But that isn’t the only reason he will be instructing driver Blair Orange to stay in front from the ace draw on Saturday. “Her work on Monday was great even though we all know Spanish Armada is better on raceday,” said Jones. “But I couldn’t be happier with my filly. She has had a long season and the only time she has really felt 100 per cent on top of her game was in Auckland before Christmas and I honestly think she is back to that now. “Her recent work has been super and the fact she missed the Oaks last start because she was a bit crook probably helped her. “So we know she is well enough for a hard run and the shorter distance helps us because Spanish Armada is such a good stayer. “I think everybody knows Spanish Armada is the better filly but we have the draw to park her and that is our best chance of winning. “It also means the others back in the field will probably be reluctant to move because they won’t be able to get parked, whereas if we let Spanish Armada run to the front then there will be more moves. “That would mean we give up our advantage to not only one horse but a couple. So it makes sense to stay in front.” Delightful Memphis got as long as $8.80 with TAB bookies this week, a very generous price and over double the quote she has been with other bookmakers betting on the Jewels. The pair look set to dominate the front end of Saturday’s race after their best performed rivals, Bonnie Joan and Jewels defending champion Partyon, drew the second line. Trainer Mark Purdon was happier with Partyon’s work on Monday after two moderate recent performances and she downed both Delightful Memphis and Spanish Armada at last year’s Jewels, but that was when leading. Saturday could be Delightful Memphis’s last start in New Zealand as she is booked to fly to Australia next Tuesday for a three-race Queensland campaign before racing in Sydney next season. “I’d love to win a Jewels with her before she goes,” says Jones. “I’ve only won the one, with Rocker Band last season, so they are hard to get." Michael Guerin  

A second line draw for the likely pre-post favourite and an outside of the front line draw for her high class stable mate has done enough just to throw some murky cloud over Friday night’s Group One New Zealand Oaks at Addington. Last Friday night’s Nevele R Fillies Final winner, Spanish Armada was handed the outside of the second line as she shoot for a second Group One victory in seven days while Partyon has been given the much despised barrier of nine from behind the mobile arm. While a step up to 2600 metres should negate many of the issues for Spanish Armada, who has shown she is good enough to do work in her races and still find the required at the business end of a race, it does leave the door slightly ajar for her rivals. In particular Bonnie Joan, who showed she’s as good as anything else going around at the moment with her bold dead-heat effort for second with Delightful Memphis last Friday night behind Spanish Armada. With high early speed the Cran Dalgety trained filly should be able to get across and find the markers before any of her rivals in the $150,000 event. Delightful Memphis hasn’t been quite as well served in the draw as what she was a week ago, despite picking up the same marble. The Mark Jones trained filly will start from the inside of the second row for the second time in a week, but doesn’t have the luxury of following a favoured runner through on Friday night. Northern Oaks runner-up, Juice Brogden will bring fresh legs to the party after missing the Nevele R Final for her trainer Nicky Chilcott and will have the advantage of drawing inside Bonnie Joan with the potential to follow her across. With more than $750,000 worth of stake money up for grabs on Friday night there will be plenty of attention on Addington. Trotting star Enghien will make an appearance, and start a short priced favourite in the $80,000 NZ Yearling Sales Series Final for the three-year-old trotters while Alta Maestro and Spankem look well drawn to dominate the $170,000 Sires Stakes final for the two-year-old male pacers. Elle Mac, the unbeaten two-year-old filly will have to overcome an outside of the front line draw if she is to keep her winning record intact and win the NZ Yearling Sales 2YO Fillies Final. The night’s open class feature, the Winter Cup will see a number of those pointing towards next month’s Harness Jewels having another hit out with Piccadilly Princess needing a top three finish if she is to make her way into the Top 12 for the Four-Year-Old Diamond category. Matt Markham

Tonight’s Group One Nevele R Fillies Final at Addington is more about opportunities than it is chances for Delightful Memphis. The outstanding daughter of Bettor’s Delight will get her chance to finally crack a big race in the $140,000 feature tonight, but even her trainer Mark Jones knows there’s going to need to be quite a few things falling her way if she is to get past the might of Spanish Armada and Partyon in the first of two three-year-old filly features over the next two weeks. “You could say we have had our opportunity to beat them in the past, particularly Spanish Armada,” Jones said. “And we haven’t been able to do it which makes it quite tough to say that we might be able to do it this week. “But it looks like we are going to have the right draw to give ourselves a chance and I think if I’m being realistic a top two finish would see us over the moon.” Unsighted since finishing second to Bonnie Joan in the Southland Oaks a fortnight ago, Delightful Memphis has been ticking over at home and her trainer can’t fault her preparation, despite being disappointed in the Southland Oaks performance. “I thought she probably should have won it from the trail, but it wasn’t to be. “She’s trained on really well since and we are going into this week pretty much exactly where we want to be so the rest is up to the horse on the night really.” From one on the second row, following out Spanish Armada, the path looks clear for Blair Orange to throw out the tow-rope and hope for the best. At worst he should settle three-back the fence with it being hard to imagine that Natalie Rasmussen, who is driving Spanish Armada, handing up to anyone other than her stablemate, and hot favourite Partyon. “That’s the way it looks like it should pan out, we just probably have to hope that Natalie decides to stay in front. “That will give us our best chance.” Rasmussen may be keen to make a statement with Spanish Armada ahead of next week’s Oaks and then the Harness Jewels, and over the 1950 metres she gets the perfect opportunity to do that. In her 16 start career, Spanish Armada has never been beaten when she’s turned for the judge in front with four of her five defeats coming from when she’s raced off, or outside the speed. With mobile flyer, Bonnie Joan drawn up on the outside of the second row, it makes it hard to see anything else throwing a cat among the pigeons and trying to cross the All Stars pair early so the first leg of a three-year-old filly triple crown should run pretty much to script. Jones has a chance in tonight’s other feature, the $200,000 NZ Yearling Sales Series Final with recent stable acquisition, Major Lucky. Purchased out of the All Stars stable by Greg Brodie and set to head to Australia the half-brother to More The Better isn’t that far behind the top four-year-olds but will need plenty of luck from his second row barrier draw tonight.   Matt Markham’s Addington Selections Race 1: Heaven Rocks, Classie Brigade, Piccadilly Princess, Buster Brady Race 2: Springbank Lachie, Paramount King, One Muscle Hill, Stress Factor Race 3: Mighty Santana, Dancing In The Dark, Rocknroll Magic, Vera’s Delight Race 4: Hilarious Magic, Bushido, Warloch, Sails Race 5: Wilma’s Mate, Gee Up Neddy, Habibi Inta, Tornado Valley Race 6: Lemond, Destiny Jones, Gershwin, Springbank Eden Race 7: Jack’s Legend, Donegal Carrickfinn, Sparkling Delight, Mongolian Hero Race 8: Spanish Armada, Partyon, Delightful Memphis, Bonnie Joan Race 9: War Spirit, Redwood Invasion, Muscles Galore, All Settled Down Race 10: Alta Maestro, Spankem, Aloka, Star Commander Race 11: Don Domingo, Whittaker, Rocknroll Princess, Late Mail Best Bet: Heaven Rocks (Race 1) Value: Don Domingo (Race 11

Southland harness racing trainer Kirk Larsen knew he had Bettor Ops right for today's bMac Sheetmetal Southern Country Cups Final at Diamonds Day.. “You always get a bit nervous when everything is going so good. I felt today he was 100 per cent,” he said. The four year old gelding stepped well and was soon setting the early pace. Larsen then handed up to the Mark Jones trained Glenferrie Classic. That runner took Bettor Ops to the passing lane and he shot up to beat the pacemaker by a head. “He was travelling good the whole way. It was just a matter of getting the gap. He ran up the passing lane really well but he can knock off, which he did today. I’m glad he hung on as he could have easily got beaten.” Bettor Ops beating Glenferrie Classic         - Photo Bruce Stewart. The gelding is raced by Sydneysiders Reg Turner and his son David and Larsen says although Bettors Ops might not be suited by the Harness Jewels distance of 1609 they will probably start in the group feature. However there are also other options. “We’ve gone this far so we’ll probably carry on. There’s a $40,000 race that the Sires Stake Board put on so we’ll probably look at that. The owners are from Sydney and they’re pretty keen to get him over there but he’s an M2 horse now so that could make it a wee bit different. He’s probably going to find it a bit easier here.” The win today, his fourth, elevates him to sixth in the 4 Year Old Emerald. Larsen says Bettor Ops has been a work in progress but he's improved a lots from when he first began racing. "He had a lot of trouble with his gait early on and even today he was getting onto his knee on the bends a couple of times especially on the first bend. But he’s getting better all the time.” Larsen previously won the Southern Country Cups final in 2004 with Howard Bromac.  Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing        

The late great Derek Jones achieved the feat with Rewa Scott in 1953. His son Peter did it in 1985 with Tussle, and grandson Mark Jones matched the accomplishment with Master Lavros in 2014. Now Leonne Jones, the wife of Peter, will be attempting to become the first solo female trainer to win the prestigious Rowe Cup at Alexandra Park on Friday night with Gee Up Neddy. "I'm very proud of her but in saying that Leonne did most of the work with Tussle when she won the Rowe Cup back in the mid-1980s,’’ Peter Jones said. "It was Leonne's idea to start "Neddy" in the Rowe Cup. It was her that convinced me to enter the horse and go for it. She said if we weren't in this year we might never nail it again.” By that the 60-year-old Canterbury horseman meant the race was very winnable. "The big guns like Monbet, Speeding Spur and Mark's Master Lavros aren't there so that makes it a very even field. "The horse is improving all the time and even though it is going to be tough to win it, he won't disgrace himself," Jones said. Jones decided not to renew his licence at the start of the 2015-2016 season. "Leonne taking over then meant I didn't have to do all the thinking and could just drive the team in work for her. Leonne is the brains and voice of the stable. "It's worked out real well. Leonne has done a fantastic job with the horses for years now and the only difference the winners are now in her name," Jones said. "I had some minor health problems and it's all worked out well," he said. Jones is staying in the North Island with Jim Cole at Pukekohe. His wife is training their team back in Yaldhurst. "If the brains trust of Jim Cole, myself and Leonne can't drum up a Rowe Cup winner together then no-one can," Jones joked. "You will be unlikely to get her on the phone back home either. She's a workaholic," he added. Jones was right about his wife. She was busy working the team when HRNZ tried to contact her (three times) but Jones said that was typical of his wife. "Leonne has always been such a harder worker both in the stable and at home. She often puts the horses before herself. I'd love her to win the Rowe Cup, If anyone deserved that she does," Jones said. Jones (Leonne) has trained 15 winners in two seasons - eight this season and seven last year. She has also had 21 place-getters and won $118,134 in stakes. Gee Up Neddy has provided Jones with two of her winners this season - at Phar Lap Raceway onDecember 29 and Addington Raceway on March 16. From 2010-2011 to 2014-2015 Jones also trained another 55 winners with husband.   Duane Ranger

The battle for female, three-year-old, pacing supremacy will return tonight at Addington with New Zealand’s three best fillies locking horns for the first time since they met in the Harness Jewels last season. And the three stars; Partyon, Delightful Memphis and Spanish Armada all meet under different circumstances in the heat of the Nevele R Fillies Series. Partyon comes in off the back of a shock defeat last week while Delightful Memphis is riding the crest of a wave after two impressive recent performances while Spanish Armada has just been doing what she does best and that’s consistently racing with distinction. For Partyon it’s a shot at redemption after she was beaten for the first time in her career at Forbury Park last week. “It wasn’t an ideal race for her first up on,” Mark Purdon said. “Sitting parked in those conditions, when running that sort of time just proved too much.” Natalie Rasmussen takes the drives on the rangy filly tonight and with the requirement a first or second placing to make the Nevele R Fillies Final it’s expected she will look to take luck out of the equation and try and dictate terms from the front. That leaves Delightful Memphis in an interesting position. The Mark Jones trained filly has been stunning in her last two starts down in the deep south including a breath-taking New Zealand record time win off a handicap against the older horses last time. That back up a 1:51 mile win a fortnight before. She’s qualified for the Nevele R Fillies Final, so there’s not quite as much pressure on Jones to get a result but the Burnham horseman will be keen to see whether or not recent racing has improved his charge enough to really push the two top fillies. Matt Anderson has been gifted the plum drive on Spanish Armada for tonight and the youngster will be looking to make the most of his opportunity albeit from an outside of the front line draw. Beaten one in her last six starts, the dour filly won’t have any problems making her own luck tonight although she is in a similar boat to Delightful Memphis in that she has already qualified for the final on May 12.   Super Selector for Addington Race 1: Woodstone, Majestic Moment, Spurred By Success, Ed Wood Race 2: Locked Out Of Heaven, El Gran Senor, Got A Beauty, Black Art Race 3: Crusher Collins, Grand Princess, Jaw D Nancy, One Over Da Skye Race 4: The Devil’s Own, Mach Shard, Cole Porter, Bailey Major Race 5: Power Surge, Errol Finn, Kayteeoh Denario, Titanium Race 6: Partyon, Delightful Memphis, Spanish Armada, Utmost Delight Race 7: Real Obsession, Franco Rebel, Mighty Santana, North Carolina Race 8: Sugar Cane, Beg Hall, Geena’s Success, Chivasion Race 9: Mighty American, Midfrew Tarpediem, Vera’s Delight, Enchantee Best Bet: Partyon (Race6) Value: Sugar Cane (Race 8)   Matt Markham

Trainer Mark Jones, who has won races on four different tracks in the past week, has Kowhai Whiz angling to extend his record at Forbury Park on Thursday night. Jones won a race at Menangle last Saturday with Kowhai Monarch, a half brother to Kowhai Whiz. Jones had won at Addington the previous night with Eyre I Come and added wins at Winton with Delightful Memphis and Rangiora (the 2-year-old trotter Castlereagh) on Sunday. “The results have been pleasing in the past week with four wins and two New Zealand records,’’ said Jones. “It makes up for losing Master Lavros and Saveapatrol.” Eyre I Come trotted 3.12.6 for 2600m and Delightful Memphis posted 2.55.5 for 2400m. Master Lavros has a hole in a tendon and Saveapatrol has gone amiss again. Kowhai Whiz finished eighth at Addington last Friday when resuming from a three month break. He was a winner at Forbury Park in October and has been placed in his other three starts at Forbury Park this season. “He (Kowhai Whiz) is a nice honest trotter suited to smaller fields,’’ said Jones. Kowhai Whiz (off 40m) has seven rivals tonight in race 3. Father Christmas (50m), a last start winner from a 40m handicap at Invercargill and Its Elvis (10m), who won at Forbury Park last week, could offer stern opposition. Kiwi Monarch was the first winner for Jones from a Menangle stable he has set up with Ashlee Grives, who drove the gelding. Grives has been based at Bathurst. Trainer Mark Purdon has one drive at Forbury Park tonight - Partyon in the heat of the Sires’ Stakes. Partyon  is unbeaten in 10 starts including the Harness Jewels at two, the New South Wales and Northern Oaks. She has won a workout at Ashburton on March 28 and finished second to Moonrock in a trial there on April 4 since her Northern Oaks win on March 3. Purdon trained and drove Sicario  and Motu Premier to win at Menangle on Tuesday. The 2-year-old Sicario ran 1.53.8, the fastest time in three heats of the Australian Pacing Gold. Motu Premier ran 1.53. The up and coming 3-year-old Bakari is now the sole stable representative for trainer Graeme Anderson in race 8 at Forbury Park. Motu Time To Shine has been scratched and she will go for a spell. “He (Bakari) is very well and if he goes away he is capable of running some time,’’ said Anderson. Stablemate Delightful Jay will wind up her current campaign in race 6. She is in foal to Washington VC and ruled out of further racing until the outcome. The 4-year-old mare has run creditable minor placings in two starts since she won at Forbury Park on March 9. Anderson has Titan Banner, All Star Magician and Hopes And Dreams engaged at Addington on Saturday. Eamon Maguire, who established his class with a third in the New Zealand Derby, is being aimed at the $45,000 Southern Supremacy Stakes Final on April 30. Honour The Bet (race 4) remained in the care of Anderson after finishing second to Miss Fandango at Forbury Park last Thursday.   Tayler Strong

Nothing Delightful Memphis does surprises driver Blair Orange and when she smashed the New Zealand Three Year Old Fillies record at Winton yesterday it wasn't a surprise either. Her time of 2-55.5 for the 2400 metre stand was over four seconds better than the previous record of 2-59.9 recorded by Talkerup at Ashburton. The time was also a new track and Southland record for three year old fillies and the fastest 2400 metre stand ever recorded on the Central Southland Raceway. The time also beats Adore Me's open mare record of 2-56.0 recorded at Ashburton in 2014. Sure, Orange had concerns about Delightful Memphis, a three year old filly fronting up against the hardened mid-grade horses for the first time. But that wasn't the only concern.  "The stand was always going to be a concern. She'd never had one (standing start practice) at the trials, workouts or anywhere but she went away really nice today," he said.   Once away Orange settled the Better's Delight filly in the outside running line. With 600 metres to run when he saw Royal Counsel starting to make a three wide run, he decided it was time to go and progressed forward three wide. With 400 metres to run he'd joined pacemaker Torrid Bromac and these two cut away rounding the final bend. Half way down the lane Orange pulled the ear plugs and Delightful Memphis sprinted away to easily beat Bettor Ops by a length and a quarter.   Easy as - Delightful Memphis winning at Winton     - Photo Bruce Stewart. "We settled close to the front so her speed was always going to bring her into it whenever she needed. I just let her slide from the 600 and she kept it up all the way to the line. Her forte is probably her speed. A couple of times I 've asked her to run tough and she's always hung on in there. She's pretty versatile and you just drive her the way you need to in a race."   The win cements Delightful Memphis as the early favourite for the Nevele R/ Macca Lodge Southland Oaks Final on Diamonds Day at Ascot Park on Sunday 30th April. This year's final is one of the most competitive in years. The Bettor's Delight filly now holds two Southland records, having broken the Southland 1609 metre mobile record at the Wairio meeting at the end of last month. The win was her sixth for owners Wayne Higgs, former New Zealand Cricketer Simon Doull, Sir Loins Limited and Debra and Pete Smith   Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing  

Canterbury trainers Mark Jones and Regan Todd are both chasing the features at Winton on Sunday with favoured runners and both have realistic chances. Todd's representative in the $20,000 final of the Southern Belle Speed Series for mares four year old and older is Kayteeoh Denario who has the right credentials to win. On hand for the first race of the series at Winton in December, Kayteeoh Denario drew one but was crossed and shuffled. She had a wall in front of her turning in, waited, then flew for third.  At Wyndham on 5 February for the third heat, she was clearly superior when winning in 1:54.9, and didn't race again until the Addington meeting on the last day of March. From the 13 draw over 1950 metres, the mare sat back, joined the three-wide line, bided her time and ran home strongly for second out wide.  “She seems on song for this week,” Todd said, “we ran at Addington with the Southern Belle in mind, with a bit of luck she won't be far away.” Glenferrie Classic, daughter of Mainland Banner and part-owned in the south, is the Jones entrant. She won the Winton heat in December in 1:55.9 and raced on until a disappointing result in the Waikouaiti Cup on 12 February.  As preparation for Sunday, the four year old reappeared at the Addington trials on 27 March. In the hands of Jones and up against the stars in murky conditions, the mare sat fourth in line until asked to sprint from the 400. Waikiki Beach, who had dictated in front, reeled off a final 400 on the easy track in 27.8 and although Glenferrie Classic chased in vain, she looked solid to the end. Another Canterbury visitor in contention is the Brad Mowbray-trained Ultimate Desire who also contested the December heat at Winton. Drawn outside on the second line, the daughter of Real Desire ended up parked for the majority of the trip and was swamped late finishing sixth in 1:56.3. In the second heat, at Ascot Park, Ultimate Desire drew the outside of the front line, was parked briefly, got the one-one then snuck into the trail down the back. No explosive finish but she kept on for third. Another outside-of-the-front line draw at Ashburton on 4 February but with Dexter Dunn in the sulky she was soon in the one-one, applied the pressure across the top and held to win in an impressive 1:52.6. Although she goes from the outside of the front again on Sunday, Dunn will have the reins. “Dexter asked where we were going and when he knew, he was happy to stick with her,” Mowbray said. “She's good enough to lead or follow and Dexter's the expert, I'll leave it to him.” In her latest start, Ultimate Desire took on the top liners in the group one Breeders Stakes, again went from wide on the front line, sat back and ran home gamely along the poles for sixth. In the $14,000 Winton Businesses Cup, all eyes will be on top filly Delightful Memphis. Last time on the track, on Wairio Mile Day, she ran home from the back of the small field to stop the clock in a provincial record 1:51.9. On Sunday she has to go from a stand in public for the first time in her career.  In her favour, Delightful Memphis will be alone on the 20 metre back-mark and she has the services of top driver Blair Orange. Given a safe and not too tardy beginning, class should be enough to see her retain her unbeaten record in Southland. Just by starting, she will become eligible to run in the group two Southland Oaks at Ascot Park on April 30. Todd's Cup entrant is Torrid Bromac who was previously with Steven McRae and ran fifth behind Heaven Rocks and Classie Brigade in last season's Southern Supremacy Stakes. He has the services of Dunn on Sunday. “Dexter drives a few for me, he's never driven Torrid Bromac but I was talking to him at the trials and he's got the job,” Todd said. “There was no race for him at Addington so we thought we may as well have a crack. He's race hardened and should be competitive in that field. Take Delightful Memphis out and its fairly even. He goes from four on the 10 metre mark, outside the locally-bred half-brother to Fight for Glory in G I Joe. The Butterworth-owned four year old, now with Brett Gray, hasn't raced since July but won a workout at Wyndham in 3:02.8 last Saturday, beating race rivals, Bettor Ops and The Big Boss.   Mac Henry

Mark Jones only had to look from left to right last night to see just how unforgiving the racing game can be at times. On his right stood Eyre I Come, his latest Group One winner having just surprised more than a few when he unwound with some purpose to win the Fred Shaw Memorial New Zealand Trotting Championship at Addington. Then, to his right, stood his champion trotter, Master Lavros. With one hind leg slightly raised in the air and his balking frame being supported by his other three legs, the big gelding stood quietly while veterinarians fussed around him. Jones stood quietly too. Watching intently, all while knowing full well what the verdict was going to be. “I felt him break down the 600 metre mark,” he said. A suspected suspensory injury was diagnosed although Jones still wasn’t ruling out more serious damage. And just like that, the career of a grand trotter was over. “Probably my biggest regret will be that he’s not going out sound,” Jones added. Despite the injury, Master Lavros still showed all his incredible braveness to pick himself up off the canvas to run a gallant third beaten by narrow margins by Eyre I Come and Wilma’s Mate. “But true credit to him, his leg went a long way from home, but his heart carried him all the way to the winning post and he fought so incredibly bravely. “He was travelling so good at that point too, I really believed I was going to win it going down the back straight.” While gutted by the prognosis of Master Lavros, Jones was trying to put on a brave face for everything else, including the win of Eyre I Come. “It’s bloody hard. I want to be over the moon that this horse as won, because he’s been through so much as well and his owner has been so patient, but there’s a lot of mixed emotion.” The result of Eyre I Come was a fitting result for part owner Grant Hatton who shares in the ownership of the horse with Merv and Meg Butterworth. Hatton’s star pacer Saveapatrol, who has also had a lot of injury troubles, was set to make his resumption at the meeting but another setback has left his career in limbo too, extending the rough week for Jones. “It’s been 48 hours from hell, but this is going to go a long way to fixing it,” and ecstatic Hatton said. A day to day prospect, Eyre I Come looked set to be a major player in the open class ranks when he burst onto the seen. Many remember his win in the two mile trot on Cup Day fondly, but since then it’s been battle after battle. Beautifully handled by Blair Orange last night, the gelding stalked the pace and unleashed through a gap at the top of the straight and wore down Wilma’s Mate and Master Lavros in the shadows of the post. “It’s a shame he’s had such a bad run of injuries, because he’s such a good horse,” Orange said. The win gave Orange his second Group One open class trot success after Superbowlcheerleader won the ANZAC Cup in 2014. Both Jones and Orange paid huge credit to Woodend Beach stable foreman, Regan Todd who has done a huge amount of work with both trotters. Eyre I Come will now head north for a further depleted Rowe Cup Carnival where, if the opportunity presents itself again, a further big race win isn’t out of the question.   Matt Markham    

He knew she was better than average, but even Mark Smolenski couldn’t help but be surprised by the debut effort of Miss Ethel Sunshine last week. And the filly, who credited Auckland Reactor with his first New Zealand success as a stallion, will get the chance to show her trainer again when she steps out in the time-honoured Leonard Memorial this afternoon at Addington. It will be another step up for the rangy filly, but everything she did on debut would suggest she is more than capable of handling the challenge from the inside of the second row. “She probably doesn’t show that much at home,” Smolenski said. “But we did draw a bit of confidence from a trial run at Ashburton where she ran a bit of time and you always know you are going ok when Dexter is happy with things.” Dexter is, of course, Dexter Dunn and Smolenski has long given up on being surprised when the champion reinsman gets on one of his horses and says they are in with a show. “He’s done it a couple of times on my horses before, he’s jumped in the sulky and said that he thinks we can win this when I have been thinking we didn’t have much hope. “And he’s usually pretty right too.” Dunn will have to call on all his skills with Miss Ethel Sunshine from the barrier draw especially with her apparent strongest rival, Liberty Rose, drawn up well on the front line. The Mark Jones trained filly made up stacks of ground behind Miss Ethel Sunshine to finish second and with a little more luck this week, she’s expected to be quite hard to beat.  The Geoff Dunn trained, Rohza, who was third in the same race has the advantage of the inside barrier draw which will see her come right into contention although a lead all the way approach would leave Miss Ethel Sunshine most likely sitting on her back. Today’s other feature, the Cheviot Cup will see Locharburn back in action. The big pacer, who has been plagued by injuries all season, will reunite with Dexter Dunn for the race, starting off 35 metres. Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen have a strong hand in the race with Motu Premier and Alta Ronaldo both in action while Maverick and the Robert Dunn pair of Alta Orlando and Letspendanitetogetha have all got chances as well. Super Selector – By Matt Markham Race 1: BD Khaosan, Izmok, Bonnie Highlander, Spurred By Success Race 2: Debnita Rose, Little Bad John, Sharknado, Scotlyn Harry Race 3: The Foot Tapper, Agatha Tyron, Sugar Cane, Daiquiri Race 4: Rena Bay, Algranco Albyone, Patanjali, Honour The Bet Race 5: Redwood Invasion, Brad’s Kenny, Missandei, Idle Monkey Race 6: Trailer Park Girl, RR Sand Dollar, Port Delight, Ollayntambo Race 7: Quite A Moment, Eyre I Come, Everybody Knows, Belle’s Son Race 8: Locharburn, Motu Premier, Alta Ronaldo, Alta Orlando Race 9: Miss Ethel Sunshine, Liberty Rose, Rozha, Sheeza Sport Race 10: Cable Beach, Gotta Go Ya Hu, Celestial Arden, The Honey Badger Race 11: Articulight, She’s A Flyin, Hard Day’s Night, Booming Jet Best Bet: Cable Beach (Race 10) Value: Redwood Invasion (Race 5)

The babies come out to play tonight at Addington, but who holds the strongest claims is a relative unknown. Three races on the card are for solely the two-year-olds with a race for the trotters, one for the fillies and another for the colts and geldings - and all come with the usual tag of punter beware as anything is possible. The two-year-old trot, which opens up the night, is probably the easiest of the three based on the fact that most of the field have been to the races. Sundee’s Sun, who won on debut a fortnight ago, is a back while Majestic Hurricane and BJ Lindenny who placed behind him are also there. Well Defined, who is trained by Kevin Townley, got a few things wrong on debut, but did appear to have a good motor so followers will be hoping for a clean round this evening. In the first of the pacing events for the babies, the Robert Dunn stable holds a good hand with two impressive trial and workout performers in Tuapeka Trick and Henry Hubert. Tuapeka Trick is a Bettor’s Delight colt owned by the Westview Racing No.17 syndicate and he was looked above average when winning a trial earlier in the month. Henry Hubert is unbeaten in public, but will start from the outside of the front line in an event that also includes Sapling Stakes placegetter, Cullenburn and an All Stars first starter, Ashley Locaz. The two-year-old fillies event is a little tougher to work out with 12 fillies doing battle. Mark Jones has a strong hand in the race with two fillies, Liberty Rose and Sheeza Sport with the former looking impressive when winning a trial at Ashburton in a slick last 400 metres. American Banner, who has come up with the one draw has also been in good fettle at the workouts and trials. While the two-year-olds will create plenty of interest, the three-year-old trotters will also draw attention when they race for $17,500 in the Lone Star Sires’ Stakes 3YO Trot Prelude. Enghien, who was so good at Geraldine on Sunday, is back to take on Habibi Inta in what should be an instalment in the enthralling battle of these two exciting trotters for the season. Super Selector - By Matt Markham Race 1: Majestic Hurricane Well Defined, Sundee’s Sun, BJ Lindenny Race 2: Canderdel, Ranfurly Rulz, Eastwood Cheiftain, Highland Reign Race 3: Lanikai, Bettor To Be Tricky, Bailey’s Knight, Wanted Man Race 4: Henry Hubert, Tuapeka Trick, Ashley Locaz, Cullenburn Race 5: Algranco Albyone, The Best Christian, The Director, Mt Hutt Harry Race 6: Enghien, Habibi Inta, Needle, Chevron’s Express Race 7: American Banner, Liberty Rose, Betterthansparying, Chromozone Race 8: Franco Tai, Righteous Brother, Torrid Bromac, Culley Backy Race 9: Our Quinn, She’s A Flyin, Bird Of Paradise, Crackamoa Race 10: Redwood Invasion, The Foot Tapper, Dusky Eyre, Prestine Race 11: Cleaver Green, Buldinganempire, January Jones, Nicky Anew Best Bet: Cleaver Green (Race 11) Best Value: Our Quinn (Race 9)

Art Major went within a whisker of usurping super sire, Bettor’s Delight on the second day of selling at the New Zealand Premier Yearling Sales in Christchurch yesterday. Alabar principals will have been over the moon to calculate the statistics of their marquee stallion as he went stride for stride with the seemingly untouchable Woodlands Stud resident on what was a slightly improved day two. With 30 lots on offer, Art Major’s progeny produced an aggregate of $892,000 for the day - with an average of just over $40,500 and a clearance rate of above 73 per cent. Bettor’s Delight had 37 lots in the book with three withdrawn but still managed to a total of just over $1 million in sales for the day with an average of over $41,000 and a clearance of just above 70 per cent. Four of the day’s five top lots were by Art Major - the highest of them a colt from Rocknroll Arden who fetched $155,000 when purchased by Cran Dalgety. Cheer The Lady’s first foal, a colt, went for $150,000 to clients of Brent Mangos while half-brothers to start four-year-old’s Lazarus and Chase The Dream both went for $120,000. The only Bettor’s Delight to split them was a filly from Gotta Go Harmony who was purchased by Mark Jones for a band of his owners for $120,000. Jones joined the party late in bidding for the standout filly before eventually grabbing her following some healthy bidding. For Nigel McGrath, the $120,000 he found to secure the half-brother to Lazarus, who was a rig, was breaking new ground. “It’s the highest I’ve paid for one,” McGrath said. “I was the underbidder on the brother to Partyon on Monday so this is a bit of a consolation. “McGrath was still in the process of finalising ownership for the colt.” Trevor Casey stamped his authority early when grabbing the half to Chase The Dream, who incidentally was also a rig. Cheer The Lady’s first foal will remain in New Zealand after Brent Mangos played the role of purchaser for one of his clients. “I actually drove the mare a few times, and she has left an outstanding colt. “It’s getting into big territory for us, but we decided this year to cut back on the number of horses we buy and focus on some bigger prices so to get this one is reallypleasing.” All counted there were seven lots on the second day that fetched six figure totals. Greg and Nina Hope were proactive on the trotting front, buying three lots for the day including a close relation to one of their current stars, Enghien. They paid $54,000 for a Dream Vacation colt from Another Love who herself was purchased in foal from the sale of the late Carl Middleton two years ago then they also went to $50,000 to grab a Revenue colt from Harriet Hughes, making the colt a half-brother to Harriet Of Mot. There was a slight lift in sales on the day from Tuesday’s opening day in Christchurch. The two days ended with an average of just over $27,000 and a surprising clearance rate of 77 per cent. More than $11 million was spent over the three days   Matt Markham

Two confident John Dunn drives netted perfect results in two of the big races at Addington on Friday night. Dunn grabbed the Premier Mares Championship with Better Be Amazed and also took home the Summer Cup with Captain Dolmio. North Island visitor, Better Be Amazed - who is trained by Steve Telfer and Chris Garlick - picked up a much deserved big race win after producing so many great efforts in similar races during her career. “She deserves it,” Dunn said. “She just keeps going.” Dunn worked around the field during the mid stages and held too many guns for C A Penny and the pace-making, Ultimate Desire who filled the minor placings. Earlier in the night though Captain Dolmio announced himself as a future open class star with his front-running effort to win the Summer Cup. The Southland owned pacer ran a hot field into the dirt and will now be pointed at the Easter Cup. “He’s got a great heart, and he did that all tonight with a bandage hanging round his legs. “The two miles of the Easter Cup should really suit him too.” Dunn was also over the moon with the effort of Alta Orlando who flew home late for fourth. The stable also picked up a win with Letspendanitetogetha who helped extend the Robert Dunn lead on the trainers’ premiership. Mark Jones had double the reason to smile following the night’s feature trot. Jones trained the winner, Eyre I Come, but also took great satisfaction out of the performance of Master Lavros, who was mighty in defeat with his effort for third. The Burnham horseman refused to let the performance of his star trotter stand in the way of Eyre I Come’s effort though. “I’m rapt for Grant Hatton, he’s just in love with the horse,” Jones said. “And it’s been a testing one for him, because we’ve been told by more than one person that he would never race again. “The ability has always been there, he’s just had some bad luck with injuries, both of his knees are buggered.” Eyre I Come looked the goods a few years back when he produced a stunning performance to win on Cup Day but that’s when the bad luck started. He will now head towards Auckland and a shot at the Group One double of the ANZAC Cup and the Rowe Cup. Master Lavros will be there too. “He will probably have 10 days off now and then come back for Auckland, I was very happy with him tonight.” Master Lavros was attacked throughout the race by Marcoola, but kept fighting strongly, going down for second narrowly to Everybody Knows who split the Jones pair. Spanish Armada made light work of her $146,000 assignment in the opening race of the night - NZ Yearling Sales 3YO Fillies Final. The Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen trained filly, who was driven by Rasmussen, led from arch-rival Delightful Memphis and showed all her class to win comfortably. “She’ll be on a plane to Auckland this week,” Rasmussen said. “I’m really happy with her at the moment.” Spanish Armada has now won 10 of her 13 career starts and picked up more than $540,000 in stakes.   Matt Markham  

A $15 chance for tonight’s Premier Mares’ Championship at Addington, Hopeful Harriet isn’t being given much hope of success. But that’s not stopping the dour mare’s trainer, Regan Todd, from thinking she can get herself in on the action if things happen to fall in the right places for her during the Group 2 $40,000 event. A brilliant winner of the Marlborough Cup two starts back, the diminutive mare has shown a real liking for a dog fight and may get conditions to suit tonight from a good barrier draw. “Her win at Blenheim showed she is capable of doing it,” Todd said. “I wouldn’t read too much into her last start, in fact I think we will forget it, and just base it on what she did when she won. “I’ve been really happy with her work this week so hopefully we are on the right track.” Drawn barrier three, Hopeful Harriet has the slight disadvantage of having two speedy mares drawn inside her in Bronze Over and C A Penny, but there’s some confidence she can hold her own out of the gate if she needs to. “I’ll be leaving it to Robbie (Close), he can judge things once they are out there. But if we had to ask her to run a bit early I think she would. “Ideally it’s a case of getting ourselves into the best possible spot and seeing what happens from there. “But I’d like to think she’s a bit of a chance, it’s not a field of stars, just some nice honest mares.” Todd has just one other runner engaged at the meeting in Righteous Brother who, despite some strong recent efforts was opened at $33 last night due to the fact he takes on an incredibly strong field including the likes of; The Honey Badger, Rakapuka Ruler, Don Domingo, A G’s Whitesocks and Cash N Flow. “He’s probably a place chance at best in a field like that, but he’ll begin quick and put himself in the race.” Todd will be able to get his most high-pressure moment of the night out of the way early too when Master Lavros steps out in the Summer Trotting Free-For-All. As the pseudo trainer of the two-time Dominion winner, Todd knows better than anyone how the big trotter is progressing. And he’s been pretty happy this week. “I’ve noticed he’s stepped up a bit since that last run, his work yesterday (Wednesday) was very good I thought. “But it won’t be easy from out wide over 1950 so we will just be happy if he does everything right and gets around safely and pulls up sound.” Life won’t be easy for Master Lavros though with Marcoola returning to the mix for the event while other good performers like Harriet Of Mot and Everybody Knows are also engaged in the race. Super Selector - Addington - By Matt Markham Race 1: Spanish Armada, Delightful Memphis, Trendy Bromac, Pick My Pocket Race 2: Bailey’s Knight, Let It Ride, Hilarious Magic, Articulight Race 3: Le Reveur, Hey Yo, Habibti Ivy, Gershwin Race 4: Mrs Browns Boys, The Valiant, Culley Backy, Our Quinn Race 5: Marcoola, Master Lavros, Everybody Knows, Harriet Of Mot Race 6: Tiger Thompson, Gotta Go Ya Hu, Real Obsession, Wanted Man Race 7: Classie Brigade, Captain Dolmio, Christen Me, Locharburn Race 8: Rakapuka Ruler, Don Domingo, A G’s Whitesocks, Cash N Flow Race 9: Heaven Rocks, Ears Burning, Cable Beach, Buster Brady Race 10: Queen Bee Bardon, Better B Amazed, CA Penny, Hopeful Harriet Race 11: Chevron Express, All Settled Down, Lavros Jack, Redwood Invasion Race 12: Franco Hampton, Bettor To Be Tricky, Molly Sims, Makers Mark Best Bet: Tiger Thompson (Race 6) Value: Hey Yo (Race 3)

What’s in a name? For the 3-year-old pacer Whittaker third time lucky. Whittaker who posted his third win in four starts when successful at Wyndham last Sunday has had three registered names. The Sportswriter – Anarchy colt was named Melman by Taupaki breeder Ann Cooney and sold for $20,000 at the 2015 Australiasian Classic sale to Weedons trainer Nigel McGrath. Melman joined the stable of Leonne Jones at Templeton and his new owner Todd Halliday, of Rangiora changed the colt’s name to Tadpole’s Legacy at the end of April. The colt won his first public outing under that name in a trial at Ashburton in May, qualifying in 1.58.3. He won a workout at Rangiora the following month. He was then bought by Greg Brodie, of the Gold Coast who was granted permission by Harness Racing New Zealand to change the name of the colt to Whittaker. The new name memorialised Bill Whittaker, the long-time racing writer of the Sydney Morning Herald. He died in 2009. The third change of name coincided with the switch of the colt to the Burnham stable of Mark Jones. “It is most unusual to have a name change after a horse has trialled for the obvious reason that punters could be misled but the new owner (Brodie) was insistent with his application to the board (HRNZ) that Tadpole’s Legacy was inappropriate,” said John French, who is in charge of registrations at HRNZ. Whittaker won first up at Addington in July, and then finished second there the same month. He then resumed racing with a win at Invercargill three weeks ago. Mr Brodie raced Rocker Band from the Jones stable. She won a Harness Jewels race for 4-year-old mares at Cambridge in June, Rocker Band was recently transferred to Barry Purdon and won the Group 1 Ladyship Cup at Melton last Saturday in her second Australian start, after a win the week prior. Brodie raced Courage Under Fire, winner of his first 24 races including the New Zealand, Great Northern, New South Wales, Victoria, Australia and Queensland Derbies when trained by Bruce Negus. Sly Flyin, winner of 29 races and $911,000 was another big winner in his white and light blue colours. I can recall a name change for a horse raced in the late 1970s by the then Prime Minister Rob Muldoon and Transport Minister Colin McLachlan. The gelding was registered as Rastus when they bought him but his name was changed to Johnny Lincoln. A gelding by Jersey Hanover from Valerie Globe, he won two races when trained by Graham Holmes and another for Jack Carmichael before being sold to the United States. Tayler Strong

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