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Smart 2yo old pacer Smooth Deal capped off a great night for Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen by winning the $90,000 Gr1 Breckon Farms Young Guns Cardigan Bay Stakes at Alexandra Park last night. Smooth Deal a future harness racing star was too good for his opposition in last night 2yo feature. Trainer and driver Mark Purdon was quite happy to settle near the back of the field and bide his time before launching wide at the 800m and then carreering away in the straight for the easiest of wins on the Bettor's Delight gelding. Stable-mate of the winner Virgil rushed home late for second after an early gallop and the Mike Berger trained Eagle Watch finished third after trailing. Purdon said after the race Smooth Deal was a smart pacer who ticked all the boxes. "He is pretty versatile. When I asked him to go around and lengthen out down the back he really strode out like a smart horse and just strode away at the top of the straight. "He is a great stayer and ticks all the boxes. Just a lovely horse," he said. Smooth Deal paced the 1700m in 2-03.4 a mile rate of 1-56.8. The last 800m was run in a quick 55.9 seconds and a closing 400m in 27.8. Earlier in the night Purdon also won the $75,200 Gr2 Delightful Lady Fillies Classic with the impeccably bred 2yo filly Sweet On Me who came from a difficult second row draw to outmuscle her rivals. in a 1-56.4 mile rate. Sweet On Me is out of the champion New Zealand Cup winning mare Adore Me who won 26 races from 36 starts. Sweet On Me(Sweet Lou - Adore Me)  looks to have inherited all of the family ability going on last nights impressive victory.     Harnesslink Media

The boss is back and that usually only means one thing: you can confidently take the short odds for Ultimate Sniper in tonight’s $250,000 Woodlands Derby at Alexandra Park. The star three-year-old pacer lost his unbeaten record in the Derby prelude last Friday when, after trailing, he hung in and paced roughly on the final bend, losing two lengths on eventual winner Jesse Duke. You can expect neither of those things — trailing or pacing roughly — to happen again tonight. Champion trainer Mark Purdon wasn’t in Auckland last week, he was busy putting the winning polish on his Miracle Mile night team in Sydney but he has been back this week and hands on with the Derby favourite. It is not that Purdon’s staff don’t do a great job when the boss is absent, after all they have won plenty of races in his absence including two last Friday, but Purdon is still Purdon and he picks up the smallest details others might miss. “I think he has a slight issue hanging from last week which we can fix for this week,” says Purdon. “I have put a Murphy Blind on him with a small hole in it to make him concentrate better. “I am confident he will be better and from that draw he will probably be in front. So he is clearly the one to beat.” Ultimate Sniper has looked a touch freakish this season and as good as stablemate Jesse Duke it is hard to see him beating him again. Another stablemate Another Masterpiece was scratched yesterday with an elevated temperature. Those looking for place and multis value should check out Bettorstartdreaming, who has the gate speed to find the markers early and follow close to the favourite which is the golden pathway to placing in major Alexandra Park saying events. Purdon has every reason to expect his heroics of last Saturday to be repeated tonight, with Smooth Deal looking a little too strong for his rivals in the $100,000 Breckon Farms Young Guns Final although Sweet On Me is going to have to overcome a tricky draw in the fillies final but she oozes class. But he has lost his big gun out of the City Of Auckland Free-For-All with Ultimate Machete’s huge frame finally giving up on him, with the multiple group one winner suffering suspensory damage which threatens his career. With him out of the race speedsters Star Galleria and Jack’s Legend become the two to beat, with the draw suggesting the former is the better bet. Michael Guerin

11 Group One wins in a career of 41 races is honour enough. Being in the first 5 in 37 of them and never finishing further back than 6th when she completed a race wasn’t bad either. And lets not forget those those 12 wins in a row from start one which had the harness world ga-ga. Dream About Me was certainly something special. Her first start and win was in a Sires Stakes heat at two and three starts later she won the Sires Stakes Final and then the Harness Jewels Diamond. She then went to Australia and was unbeaten there at two culminating in the Breeders Crown for fillies. She went back in the summer and won her first four starts went down to Tell Me Tales in 1.49.3 in the Robin Dundee before winning the NSW Oaks. She did not get back to Australia until this year when she lost her only race in Australia (1.49.3 mile behind Tell Me Tales) before winning the Ladyship. Three campaigns in Australia and the three leading female Group Ones, one for each trip. Not bad. If it wasn’t for Adore Me’s 1.47.7 win in the Ladyship Mile in 2015 that champion mare would have to bow to her “cousin” on the Australian front. Adore Me had to settle for second in the Ladyship Mile (to Vansumic in 1.51) on her first trip to Australia and won the G2 Brian Hancock leading into her success in that race in 2015. Dream About Me was well underdone when her winning streak was ended by Golden Goddess on her return from Australia but she won the Nevele R Final at her next start, added the NZ Oaks next start and was then cruelly beaten in the Harness Jewels flying home from a woeful draw for third After a warm up win at Ashburton at four she easily won the Junior Free for All on Cup Day before being set for the Auckland Cup. A four year old mare winning a 3200m staying race in 3.55.4 is something you don’t see every season, maybe not even every decade. “Splendour” went through a bad patch after that. Foot trouble ended an Australian campaign before it began and continued to plague her so that it was not until October she resumed now with Tim Williams She took time to hit her straps but was always in for the fight and when you are going down to Lazarus by half a neck in the Ashburton Flying Stakes you are doing something right. But nothing went right on Cup Day. Drawn on the second line and stopped in her tracks at the start she took no part. Ok so beating Lazarus was going to be a challenge but she was ready for the run of her life. After being fourth in the Free for All she was hit by more problems and was not seen on the tracks again until the following August, Beaten twice by Thefixer, she took out the time honoured Hannon Memorial and was beaten a mere head by Eamon Maguire who had a superior run before ensuring her strength as a stayer was in play in the NZ Cup going down very late to Thefixer (trail) and Tiger Tara a head and half a length from the winner. She posted a double at the Auckland Cup meeting including the Queen of Hearts which gained her an automatic start in the Ladyship but was well below her best in the Auckland Cup where the time of 4.03 was eight seconds slower than her winning time the previous year. But she went out on a high. The champion mare of New Zealand with her Standardbred Breeders win at Addington and champion mare of Australia with the Ladyship. It was a hell of a farewell. Dream About Me was a 1.50.1 miler and a 3.55.4 “two miler” . Just off of Adore Me (1.47.7 and 3.54.6) but not far off. $1.2m compared to Adore Me’s $1.67m. But really even being compared to Adore Me is as high a tribute to a mare in modern times you could find. Splendour was at her best in tough staying races rather than those of outright speed. It may be no coincidence her worst race in recent times was the Auckland Cup which was just a sprint home .She was resilient, coming back twice from major setbacks mostly to do with her feet which were of unusual design. Her limbs were as sound as a bell. Dream About Me was never the glamour mare Adore Me was. Because she was just so sheer bloody efficient in her work and in her races, utterly dependable, always giving her best, never quite demanding or hitting the headlines she so often deserved. But her power when others were fading, her determination when others were wavering, her resilience when others might have limped into the history books and that glorious finale -the lioness at the head of the tribe- those are things we will never forget.   Courtesy of All Stars Racing Stables

Nights like this make it all worthwhile for Mark Purdon.  Because it not the money or the glory that keeps Purdon away from home all summer. It is the satisfaction he feels when things go right and Purdon and partner Natalie Rasmussen can get the best out of their horses and do the right thing by their owners.  And things went all the way right on Saturday night a Menangle.  The All Stars trained four winners, three at group one level and most importantly the quinella in the A$1 million Miracle Mile as Spankem outsped stablemate Thefixer.  It was Purdon’s first driving success in the Mile, a race his brother Barry and brother-in-law Tony Herlihy had both driven the winners of before so Mark was thrilled to join the family honour roll.  “It is a race I’m glad I finally won because it is one I always wanted and it would have annoyed me if I retired one day not having got it,” says Purdon.  But personal glory is not what motivates Purdon to spend three tiring months on the road, with the Hall of Famer admitting his gruelling summer has sapped him.  “It has been hard,” says Purdon.  “I think the only time I have been home since early December was for the yearling sales and while it is great to have all these horses and to win big races traveling all the time isn’t easy.  “I think people see nights like what we had on Saturday and see the glamour but it has been a testing summer in some ways.  “But when you see the horses race that well and the thrill the owners and the staff get out of it, it is very, very satisfying.” As dominant as horses like Our Princess Tiffany (NSW Oaks) and Our Dream About Me (Ladyship Mile) were, Purdon still needed his rarest of training skills to get them there.  Both of that pair and Spankem were in doubt for this carnival just three weeks ago and part of Purdon’s mastery is his self-belief to change his plans at the last minute to suit how a horse feels.  Three weeks ago Spankem was coming home to New Zealand with a hoof abscess, now he is the Miracle Mile champion, with delayed flights also helping.  “I wasn’t surprised he won because his work last week was so good and his gate speed was a huge asset,” says Purdon.  “And he loved the big track and the speed racing. But he still had to be good to hold out Thefixer.” Spankem will now have a short break while Dream About Me retires a last-start group one winner. Our Princess Tiffany was breathtaking and has raced back to the head of the fillies ranks while All U Need Is Faith got a deserved listed win.  As for Purdon, he will make it part of the way home (Christchurch), flying into Auckland today to put the finishing touches on his team for Derby night at Alexandra Park this Friday.  The machine rolls on. Michael Guerin

Champion horseman Mark Purdon has added another Grand Circuit event to his record. Purdon took the winning drive behind star four-year-old Spankem to claim the $1 million Ainsworth Miracle Mile at TABCORP Park, Menangle when leading throughout to defeat stablemate Thefixer and Poster Boy in a time of 1:47.7. It’s the first time Purdon has driven a Miracle Mile winner. Back in 2016, Have Faith In Me scored for the All Stars stable when handled by Natalie Rasmussen. Amazingly, the Miracle Mile was considered as an afterthought after missing the recent Chariots of Fire, Spankem showed his class and toughness after claiming the Canadian Club Sprint qualifier a week ago before scoring last night (Saturday). Boasting three runners in the event, the All Stars stable finished 1st, 2nd and 4th in the country’s premier sprint race. Spankem, a son of Bettors Delight, becomes only the 7th four-year-old to win the Miracle Mile since its inception back in 1967 and joins the likes of Mount Eden, Gundary Flyer, Westburn Grant, Iraklis, Christian Cullen and Have Faith In Me. New Zealand Cup winner Thefixer showed early speed from gate two and headed off Poster Boy while Spankem pushed forward quickly from his wide draw (gate 6) and found the lead before the end of the first quarter. The opening split was timed in 26.9 seconds. Spankem settled perfectly in front with Thefixer sitting behind him while Poster Boy and Chase Auckland also rode the pegs. My Alpha Rock was left facing the breeze with his stablemate Yayas Hot Spot landing one out/one back cover while current Grand Circuit leader Tiger Tara sat last on the outside. Defending champion My Field Marshal drifted back to the rear soon after the start but lost contact with the field and dropped out and took no competitive part. It was later established that My Field Marshal had suffered cardiac arrhythmia. Passing the half, Spankem went through the second section in 28.2 seconds. No moves were being made and Purdon continued to dictate terms in front and Spankem traveled strongly. Heading off the back straight, the third quarter was posted in 27.2 seconds. Upon straightening, Spankem led the way with Thefixer coming to his outside in readiness to outsprint him while Poster Boy and Chase Auckland also starting to wind up. In the straight, Spankem held Thefixer with Poster Boy closing off well for third and Chase Auckland running fourth. Tiger Tara eventually dropped off slightly in the straight to finish fifth. The final split was timed in an astonishing 25.4 seconds – the fastest ever closing split ever recorded in Australia. The winning time is the third quickest in the event’s history, only My Field Marshal (1:46.9) and Have Faith In Me (1:47.5) have gone faster. Naturally, Purdon was thrilled with the result. “It’s a great result for the stable; having three runners engaged and they’ve all performed really well so it’s particularly pleasing for the stable overall,” Purdon said. “Personally, it’s a massive thrill to win this race; it has so much history and a certain aura about it so it’s great to finally win it.” He added. Purdon has had three previous drives in the Miracle Mile; Lazarus (3rd), Jack Cade (2nd) and Young Rufus (4th). Only one leg remains of the 2018/19 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit – the Gr.1 $200,000 Blacks A Fake Queensland Championship at Albion Park on July 20. Chris Barsby

THE fastest last quarter in the history of harness racing in Australia sealed the richest race ever run at Tabcorp Park Menangle tonight when four-year-old gelding Spankem won tonight's $1m Ainsworth Miracle Mile. Surging home in a 25.4s final quarter as part of a slashing 1:47.7 mile, Spankem gave champion reinsman Mark Purdon his first win - as a reinsman in the race - and his second as a trainer. And even more satisfying for the All Stars team is that they bagged the quinella in the Group One with New Zealand Cup winner Thefixer (Natalie Rasmussen) finishing second and their other runner, Chase Auckland (Luke McCarthy) fourth, just behind Chariots Of Fire winner Poster Boy (third). Typical of Australia's biggest harness race, few could tip the way the race would unfold. Thefixer led from gate two but handed up the lead to Spankem early in the race and from there Purdon never gave anything else a chance. Spankem scored a one and half-metre win over the stablemate with Poster Boy 7.5m back in third after getting clear when the race was all over. Tipped by many to make a clean sweep of Australia's greatest race, Tiger Tara scored the first surprise when he was taken back out of the gate and when he made his move going up the back straight the final time just couldn't get into the action. Tiger Tara eventually dropped off slightly in the straight to finish fifth. Purdon took particular delight in winning his first Miracle Mile in the sulky: "This is a massive thrill," he said. "This race and this meeting is equivalent to our New Zealand Cup meeting - and they don't get any better than this." Purdon paid tribute to Luke and Belinda McCarthy for letting the All Stars team stay at their Cobbitty base. "It's been a home away from home and all the horses settled in so well there - it's just been fantastic," he said. Sean Vella SVella@clubmenangle.com.au   7 9:28pm AINSWORTH MIRACLE MILE (GROUP 1 - GRAND CIRCUIT EVENT) 1609M $1,000,000 RBD. Mobile Results Pl  Horse Prize- money   Row & Br TAB # Trainer Driver (C = Concession) Mgn (m) Starting odds Stewards' Comments 1 SPANKEM NZ     Fr6 7 M Purdon, N C Rasmussen Mark Purdon   $ 4.40   PRS GS L   BAY GELDING 4 by BETTORS DELIGHT USA out of CRUSHEM (NZ) (HOLMES HANOVER USA) Owner(s): G J Kennard, P I Kennard, Breckon Racing Syndicate, J A Gibbs, A Gibbs, G A Woodham, K J Woodham Breeder(s): R K Wah, G Wah 2 THEFIXER NZ     Fr2 2 M Purdon, N C Rasmussen Natalie Rasmussen 1.70 $ 3.20 fav  PRS GS 3 POSTER BOY     Fr1 1 Emma Stewart Chris Alford 9.20 $ 4.80   PRS 4 CHASE AUCKLAND NZ     Fr3 3 M Purdon, N C Rasmussen Luke McCarthy 19.80 $ 11.00   PRS 5 TIGER TARA NZ     Fr7 8 Kevin Pizzuto Todd McCarthy 21.10 $ 4.20   PRS RAS 6 MY ALPHA ROCK NZ     Fr5 6 S P Tritton, L R Tritton Lauren Tritton 22.40 $ 81.00   PRS GS 7 YAYAS HOT SPOT NZ     Fr4 4 S P Tritton, L R Tritton Lachie Manzelmann 26.40 $ 151.00   PRS r MY FIELD MARSHAL NZ     Fr8 9 Tim Butt Anthony Butt   $ 14.00   PRS RAS TIRE R VXAR CR SDVC SD/ECG SD14D SD1T Scratchings   OUR UNCLE SAM 5 CRUZ BROMAC NZ 10 Track Rating: GOOD   Gross Time: 1:47:7 Mile Rate: 1:47:7 First Quarter: 26.9 Second Quarter: 28.2 Third Quarter: 27.2 Fourth Quarter: 25.4 Margins: 1.7m x 7.5m  

CHAMPION trainer Mark Purdon suggested he would have his ace mare Our Dream About Me fitter and ready to run the race of her life in tonight's Group One Ladyship Mile at Tabcorp Park Menangle. And Purdon wasn't kidding. Despite finishing second to Tell Me Tales at this track last week, Our Dream About Me looked a lot sharper and ready to roll at the south-western Sydney track tonight as she quickly took the lead from barrier two then defied all efforts to run her down. With Purdon himself in the sulky, Our Dream About Me dominated the best mares in Australasia to score a four-metre win in slashing 1:50.1, defeating the plucky Major Occasion (Anthony Frisby) with outsider Bridget Blue Chip (Lachie Manzelmann) a surprise third a half-head behind the runner-up. Our Dream About Me has now earned almost $1.4m in career earnings and gave Purdon his first win in what has become one of the highlight races on the Miracle Mile program each year. "She a special mare and it was a last minute decision to bring her here," explained Purdon after the race. "She had to find some of her best form to warrant the trip and she did that so we're glad we decided to proceed with talking this race. "She's done us proud and it was really an honour to win a race like this." Nothing could be taken away from the six-year-old mare and although her rivals chased hard they were in a different trace to this outstanding daughter of super-sire Bettors Delight. Sean Vella SVella@clubmenangle.com.au

Thefixer may look one of the most unlikely horses to complete pacing's greatest double. But at Menangle tonight he can become just the sixth horse to win the New Zealand Cup and Miracle Mile in the same season. The two races are the greatest, and richest, held in their respective countries with total stakes worth nearly $2 million, no small deal in the harness racing world. But winning both is worth more than money. It earns a horse entry to a club with only five members: Monkey King, Christian Cullen, Chokin, Christopher Vance and Master Mood. They all won the double back when both races were held in November, so form from one race could carry over to the other. Even then it is still a special feat, the Cup being a standing start over 3200m, the Miracle Mile a mobile sprint. They are the long and short of pacing greatness. But no horse has ever done what Thefixer is favoured to do tonight — win the Cup in November then the Miracle Mile nearly four months later. Not that it has been the smoothest of sailing in between. Thefixer was a poor seventh in the Hunter Cup just four weeks ago and his Mile chances looked shattered. But he has adapted to Australia and more particularly Menangle and the way he blew past arch rival Tiger Tara on his home track in the Mile prelude last Saturday suggested he is back to his NZ Cup peak. Add in barrier two and his gate speed on what is, by Miracle Mile standards, a relatively sedate front line and everything has fallen into place for Thefixer. "A month ago we looked in trouble but he has gotten better every step of the way since the Hunter Cup and is back to his best," says champion trainer Mark Purdon. "He is our top chance and if he leads I think Natalie (Rasmussen, driver) will be keen to stay in front." The Purdon-Rasmussen trio for the Mile, the others being Spankem and Chase Auckland, worked well together on Thursday and the boss rates them Thefixer, Spankem and Chase Auckland because of their respective open class experience levels. "And the biggest danger to us is Poster Boy, he is a very good horse." That discounts the Australian superstar of the season Tiger Tara but a mile on his home track has rarely seen his best work and wide barrier draws have been a horror show for punters in Miracle Miles. Purdon is very confident with Our Princess Tiffany (NSW Oaks) and Ashley Locaz (Bohemia Crystal) tonight but says Our Dream About Me's chances in the Ladyship Mile could depend on the start. "She raced a bit dour last week and to be honest I would have preferred barrier two or three rather than one, in case she gets crossed. "But I have given her shorter heat work sessions this week and put the winkers on her to sharpen her up and if she can hold at the start she is the one to beat." By: Michael Guerin Courtesy of he New Zealand Herald

If Tiger Tara is going to complete pacing’s Triple Crown at Menangle on Saturday he is going to have to do it the hard way. After capturing both the Inter Dominion and Hunter Cup this summer the NSW pacer will try to add the A$1million Miracle Mile to give him a sweep of Australia’s three most prestigious races. But this time there is likely to be a huge difference as the great stallion could struggle to secure his favoured pacemaking role. In both of his major wins this season and also the Victoria Cup in October, Tiger Tara was able to lead and driver Todd McCarthy able to increase the tempo over the last 1200m, particularly in the section between the 800m and 400m to get his rivals gasping. But his chances of dictating in the Mile on Saturday night look slim after he drew barrier seven with most of his favoured rivals drawn inside him. Poster Boy, winner of the Chariots of Fire nine days ago came up with the ace draw while Thefixer, who surprisingly divebombed Tiger Tara with sheer speed in beating him in a prelude at Menangle on Saturday night, has barrier two. Add in the wild card entry of Chase Auckland at three and Saturday night’s other Mile prelude winner Spankem from barrier six (after likely scratchings) and Tiger Tara not only has a lot of horses who will want to park him out but also some very quick sit-sprinters who could be sitting around him. The end result is the Tiger Tara is only on the third line of betting at $4.60 alongside Chase Auckland while Poster Boy heads the TAB market at $3.60 and Thefixer at $3.80. Thefixer was superb on Saturday as was Spankem while Chase Auckland snuck into the race after winning race two and because the two third placegetters in the Mile preludes were not deemed to be strong candidates. Thefixer will have co-trainer Natalie Rasmussen in the sulky even though she copped an eight-week suspension on Saturday night for her drive on Chase Auckland in the Chariots Of Fire a week earlier. Most importantly her suspension doesn’t start until after this week’s meeting so she is free to drive Thefixer, with Mark Purdon will drive Spankem and Luke McCarthy on Chase Auckland. Other big winners in the draws for Saturday’s star-studded meeting were Centenario in the NSW Derby and returning NZ star filly Our Princess Tiffany in the NSW Oaks. And Dream About Me will start from the ace draw in the A$200,000 Ladyship Mile in which pre-draw favourite Tell Me Tales fared terribly in the copping the outside of the front line. The field for the $1million Ainsworth Miracle Mile is.—- Poster Boy (1), Thefixer (2), Chase Auckland (3), Yayas Hot Spot (4), Our Uncle Sam (5), My Alpha Rock (6), Spankem (7), Tiger Tara (8), My Field Marshal (9), Cruz Bromac (10). Ems: Our Uncle Sam, Cruz Bromac.   Michael Guerin

Natalie has decided against appealing a heavy suspension over her drive behind Chase Auckland at Menangle last week. After Miracle Mile night next week she will be sidelined for two months at a time when a number of feature events such as the Woodlands Northern Derby on March 8 behind Ultimate Sniper plus a host of other features and wins. The case was heard on Saturday. “I had the certain feeling last week I was in for a suspension and probably a longer one. I was sure they had made up their minds about the charge so I was ready for something like this” “Appealing this sort of charge is a headache anyway with all the coming and going and while I will miss those good races I am rather looking forward to a break from the driving to be honest !” To add insult to injury Natalie was fined $400 on Saturday for her whip use on Thefixer. “I was charged with engaging with the shoulder which was a new one to me. I didn’t feel I’d done anything wrong.” The good news was that the Miracle Mile runners all came through their leadup race well. “Those three boys were especially fresh and good this morning around the paddock and I don’t think they have taken any harm at all.” Natalie said. “The draws are going to help. Luke has driven Chase Auckland a bit over here and is an ideal driver for a race like this” Mark and Natalie both paid a heartfelt tribute to travelling foreman Poi Bowden after Saturday’s success. “He is just such a good operator and a good judge. He was really big on Spankem all week and he knew what he was talking about” Mark said “It is just so important to us to have someone who can tell you exactly where the team is at. Its so valuable especially when we cannot be there all the time. He has played a big role in our success” Natalie was thrilled with the performance of Princess Tiffany especially as she was driven with some reserve. “I knew from Wednesday work at Addington she was ready so I was very confident actually. But I was conscious she hadn’t raced for some time and I didn’t want her to have a real gutbuster a week before the Oaks Final. As it happened she got it both ways. I waited until late but she just sprinted past them like the terrific filly she is. I don’t know what she ran her last quarter in but it was 26.5 off the front which is a good guide !” Ashley Locaz and Cruz Bromac will be in the G1 Bonanza next Saturday and All You Need is Faith in a Free for All having missed a Bonanza start. Ashley Locaz was brave again after being parked in Thefixer’s race and has come through it in his usual no nonsense style. If Mark had one reservation on the night it was Dream About Me, who, like Princess Tiffany, only flew over on Friday. “She went well enough and she ate up well overnight. But she was on and off the bit-more off than on-so that was something to work on” In a career of many firsts this was the first occasion when All Stars had won four races on one night at Menangle major meeting , though going close on occasions.   Courtesy of All Stars Racing Stables http://www.allstarsracingstables.com/

Chariots Of Fire champion Poster Boy was the biggest winner tonight after the barrier draw for the $1m Ainsworth Miraclle Mile. The Emma Stewart-trained four-year-old drew the dream No 1 barrier, right next to New Zealand Cup winner Thefixer, who drew two to add the icing on the cake to his Allied Express Sprint win earlier in the evening, which sealed a spot in the big race for the plucky Bettors Delight-bred five-year-old. Chase Auckland became the third pacer from Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen's All Stars stable (with Thefixer and Spankem) when given the surprise wildcard spot into the final field and he too got lucky again when he drew barrier three for next Saturday night's big Group One. The final field for Saturday night's biggest harness race of the year is: 1. Poster Boy by Somebeachsomewhere 2. Thefixer by Bettor's Delight 3. Chase Auckland by Auckland Reactor 4. Yayas Hot Spot by Jeremes Jet 5. Our Uncle Sam (em1) by Sportswriter 6. My Alpha Rock by Rock N Roll Heaven 7. Spankem by Bettor's Delight 8. Tiger Tara by Bettor's Delight 9. My Field Marshal by Art Major 10. Cruz Bromac (em2) by Falcon Seelster.   FOR FURTHER INFORMATION TELEPHONE CLUB MENANGLE RACING MANAGER DAVID WONSON ON 0438-398-251.   Mandy Madern  

BRING on Round Three! There is a horse that ain't too frightened of the mighty Tiger Tara . . . and his name is Thefixer. The New Zealand Cup winner darted up on the rails to beat Tiger Tara in November's New Zealand Cup and the Kiwi star, with star reinswoman Natalie Rasmussen aboard, was at it again at Menangle tonight winning the Allied Express Sprint, the first of two qualifying races for the Miracle Mile. Thefixer had to earn his stripes, coming from one-out and one-back to register another victory over Australia's best pacer, nabbing Tiger Tara right on the nine to score by a head in a 1:50.7 mile rate. While Tiger Tara will be revved up and ready for next week's return bout in the Ainsworth Miracle Mile, it was the way that Thefixer found the line which will have harness fans assured that next week's $1m Group One is anything but a one-horse race. Taken straight to the front by Todd McCarthy at the start from the inside barrier, it was expected to be a cakewalk for Tiger Tara, chasing his sixth win in succession. After a 28.1s first split of the mile, Todd was able to back off the speed with a 29.5 second split, suggesting the son of Bettors Delight would have too much pace in the run home. The speed went on with a 26.9 third split and as they dashed home in 26.2 Thefixer came with a dash and knuckled down over the last 100m to score by a head from 'The Tiger', with Cash N Flow (Luke McCarthy) one and three-quarter metres back in third place. The winner's stablemate Ashley Locaz was a close fourth. The second Sprint, the Canadian Club Sprint saw an upset right from the start when Kevin Pizzuto's other big hope Majordan bombed the start, losing almost 100m before finishing well out of the placings. The race went to New Zealand's No.1 stable, the All Stars, with Mark Purdon spearing Spankem straight to the front and leading all the way for an impressive victory. With little mid-race pressure, Purdon was able to back off the speed after a 26.1s first split with a 30.4 second quarter and a third split of just 29.4. That enabled the Bettors Delight four-year-old to dash home in 25.6s for a 1:51.5 mile rate in defeating outsider My Alpha Rock (Lauren Tritton) and the winner's stablemate Cruz Bromac (Natalie Rasmussen). That meant six of the eight spots in the Miracle Mile were decided with Club Menangle directors heading into conference to decide the rest of the field. Those already qualified were Newcastle Mile winner Yayas Hot Spot, Chariots Of Fire winner Poster Boy and the first two home in the two sprints, Thefixer and Tiger Tara, Spankem and My Alpha Rock.   FOR MORE INFORMATION TELEPHONE CLUB MENANGLE RACING MANAGER DAVID WONSON ON 0438-398-251.   Mandy Madern

Champion filly Princess Tiffany has been forced into an NSW Oaks tilt by the conditions of the restricted Nevele R fillies heat at Ashburton next week. Not being eligible for that race has affected her preparation for the 2700m of the Pascoe Northern Oaks and with full support from owners Braeden and Caroline Whitelock and Phil and Margaret Creighton Mark and Natalie have opted for the Australian campaign. The heats for the Oaks (2400m) are on February 23 (next Saturday) and the $A200,000 Oaks is on March 2 the day after the Pascoe Oaks. The Sires Stakes Board have made both the Methven and Ashburton heats Restricted to R70 rating and total earnings of $50,000 “to give middle and lower class fillies more opportunities in the series”. That means the only remaining South Island heats for Princess Tiffany and Kayla Marie are at Addington March 15; Forbury Park March 28 and at Addington 20. All Stars have won three of the last four NSW Oaks through Fight for Glory, Dream About Me and Partyon but was not earlier on the horizon for this year’s fillies. Princess Tiffany leaves next week with other All Stars Sydney aspirants to be confirmed but likely to include Elle Mac and Dream About Me.   Courtesy of All Stars Website http://www.allstarsracingstables.com/

 A testing workout on Wednesday morning has convinced co-trainer Natalie Rasmussen her glamour mares can bounce back in the $100,000 NZ Breeders Stakes at Addington tonight. And she says while Dream About Me may still be the stable's best mare Elle Mac is the one to beat in tonight's 2600m group one. The pair cost punters plenty when they led and trailed but were beaten out of a place in a similar race two week ago. Post-race blood tests suggested a virus which was just starting to come on and, after that was treated, the open class mares have had their workload upped this week.  Rasmussen has spent much of the last month in Australia with partner Mark Purdon preparing their stars for Victorian and NSW assignments but she returned this week to put the polish on some of the stable stars set to race at tonight's big Addington meeting. "I am sure the mares will go better than last start," she explains. "It was just one of those things. The blood tests before the race were fine but the one after wasn't, so it must have been coming on that day. "They are good now and I really liked how they worked on Wednesday morning." Rasmussen drove Elle Mac in that workout as she will tonight and says she narrowly favours her as the stable's best chance because of her front line draw tonight, whereas Dream About Me has to come off the second line. "I would like to think my mare could lead and I'd most likely stay there and that makes it harder for Dream About Me, even though she might still be the better mare." Dibaba, who caused the shock beating the pair last start, looks at least a place chance again but if Elle Mac leads and races up to her national record 1700m setting form of two starts ago it will take a big performance to beat her.  Rasmussen admits to being as happy but not as confident with Ultimate Machete in tonight's Summer Cup, even though he is clearly the best horse in the race. Good enough to sit parked outside and beat Tiger Tara last season, Ultimate Machete has raced sparingly because of hoof issues this season but worked well this week. "We know he is the best horse in the race but being drawn wide and it being 1980m he could have to work very hard so I can see it being a tricky race for him," says Rasmussen. "He is the top pick of our pair in the race but I can't say he is a good thing and if Funatthebeach got the sit on him he could outsprint him." The richest stake of tonight's meeting could come north as Barry Purdon-trained filly Havtime is the hot favourite in a moderate line-up for the $150,000 Sales Series Pace. Barry also has the firepower to dominate the main pace at Alexandra Park tonight, with Jack's Legend and On The Cards a great chance to repeat their last start quinella in the open sprint. Meanwhile, heavy support has seen the Purdon-Rasmussen trained Chase Auckland tighten to favouritism for tomorrow night's A$200,000 Chariots Of Fire at Menangle. "He will be a lot better for his three starts over there and is getting fitter all the time," says Rasmussen. "I will drive him off the gate hard to use his ace draw and hopefully lead or trail and I think he will be hard to beat but it is a strong field." NZ Cup winner Thefixer makes his Menangle debut a race earlier and will be heavily supported but Kiwi horses can often be vulnerable fresh up in fast mile races at Menangle so punters should be careful. Michael Guerin

A sensational mile victory by Bubbled Up in the Nevele R Fillies Series Heat 2 at Methven last weekend highlighted the success of another of the Breckon Farms harness racing syndicates.  Raced by The Perfect Ten Syndicate, Bubbled Up smashed the clock in a race record 1-55.9 on the grass surface at Mt Harding Raceway on Sunday and in doing so went very close to the 1-55 track record set by top pacer A.G's White Socks in the Green Mile in 2017. Driven by Tim Williams the effort of Bubbled Up was even more remarkable when you consider the filly had to do all the work herself, leading from the outset and also after being pressured hard by the two Robert Dunn trained runners during the race. At the finish the American Ideal filly still had half a length to spare from the speedy Greg and Nina Hope trained Kendra who flashed home late, with third going to another Hope trained runner Mossdale Art. Sundays win was special for Tim Williams as it gave him the milestone of his 400th winner from 3338 lifetime drives. The Perfect Ten Syndicate is the fifth such syndicate established by Ken Breckon of Breckon Farms, following in the footsteps of the already highly successful The Good Sports Syndicate, Super Seven Syndicate, The Top Ten Syndicate and Six of the Best Syndicate. Heat 3 of the Nevele R Fillies Series is at Ashburton on 23rd February with the $140,000 final at Addington on the 10th May. Bubbled Up winning at Methven on Sunday Breckon Farms have 26 yearlings entered for sale at this years inaugural National Standardbred Yearling Sale at Karaka, Auckland on the 18th of February 2019. Three of those yearling fillies are by American Ideal the sire of Bubbled Up. Lot 6 - Needamargarita is a filly by American Ideal from Fellamongstabeauty by Bettor's Delight from the Christian Cullen mare Goodlookinggirl. Lot 6 - Needamargarita Lot 6 - Needamargarita Lot 12 - Allamericanlover is a filly by American Ideal from Goodlookinbabe by Mach Three from from the Christian Cullen mare Goodlookinggirl. Lot 12 - Allamericanlover Lot 12 - Allamericanlover Lot 96, Simply Shaz, an American Ideal filly from Simply Stunning. This filly is a first foal from black type race winning Art Major mare. Lot 96, Simply Shaz American Ideal has produced ten millionaires in North America in total. Four have been fillies including his richest progeny American Jewel 1:48.2s ($1,834,823) and also the champion current North American three-year-old filly of the year Yourmycandygirl 1:48.2 ($1,497,000). American Ideal has produced the winners of over $87 million to date in North America. In New Zealand he is the sire of progeny that has earned $7.5 million to date and in Australia he has progeny earnings of over $10 million to date.  Therefore, American Ideal now belongs to the $100 million club an outstanding achievement. He best performing mare in New Zealand is The Orange Agent ($516,974) and in Australia, American Ideal has produced two millionaires to date. They are Bling It On 1:50.8 ($1,656,656) and Soho Tribeca 1:53.8 ($1,103,374)  Harnesslink Media

Canterbury trainer Michael House has equalled the NZ record for number of training wins at a meeting by training seven winners at the Manawatu Harness Racing meeting today. Seven wins at a meeting has only been achieved a handful of times in the past but what makes todays feat remarkable is House went within two narrow margins of making it a clean sweep of the nine race card. After winning the first five races he was beaten a neck into second in Race 6 by the Scott Dickson trained Westar Sam. In Race 7 he was beaten a head into second by another Scott Dickson trained runner in The Night Hawk, but he won the last two races to make it a record equalling seven win day. Leading driver Blair Orange drove six of the house winners giving him a personal best total, while Sarah O'Reilly drove a patient race to get the other house winner Shes All The Craze home in race 8.   Blair Orange driving Shillelagh home in the last to give Michael House seven training wins for the day.   Harnesslink Media  

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