Search Results
1 to 16 of 331
1 2 3 4 5 Next »

There’s an air of confidence about the way Mark Jones is speaking of his exciting filly, Delightful Memphis, this season. And coming from a usually reserved and measured horseman such as Jones, that spells good signs for fans of the daughter of Bettor’s Delight with some hefty assignments in front of her in the next month. An impressive winner fresh up at Addington a month ago in a heat of the Sires’ Stakes Series, Delightful Memphis returns to Harness HQ again tonight for another heat - this time with just four other runners lining up against her. “Initially I didn’t think we would come back for another heat, but it’s worked out pretty well,” Jones said. “We knew we were going to draw the outside so that didn’t matter but it’s been made a lot easier by having a small field to go up against.” Jones is keeping the imposing filly’s racing spaced as much as he can as he tries to handle what could be a big season on the track and everything she’s done so far is keeping her boss impressed. “I’m really happy with her, she’s ticking along perfectly, I am definitely much happier this time around than what I was ahead of her first run.” The opposition tonight includes Spanish Armada who was, until the Jewels, the dominant filly of the crop. Partyon potentially moved ahead of her with her dominant performances, but she will provide a good yardstick for Jones when the clash horns tonight. “I think if we had picked up a few of the draws Spanish Armada had last season we might be the one with $300,000 in the bank, so I’m not concerned about her, but do respect her. “We can pick and choose our battle this week which is good. She showed she’s good coming off the speed but then last time she was just as good in front and ran away from them late.” Tonight’s meeting also sees the return of Eyre I Come from the Jones stable. The talented trotter, who has been plagued by injuries throughout his career takes on a handy field first up. “He’s a day to day proposition, so we are just taking it one step at a time, but I’m happy with him. “He’s probably only 80 per cent in terms of fitness but there are some nice races coming up for him in the next few weeks.” Two other stable stars are getting close to stepping out as well. Master Lavros will most likely make an appearance in between heats at Sunday’s Mt Hutt workouts at Methven before trialling at Rangiora while Whittaker is also progressing nicely. “We are looking at a race on the 16th for Master Lavros then up to Auckland if everything goes well. “With no Monbet it makes sense to go up and have a crack.” Whittaker is also being aimed at an Auckland appearance but his major target is the Harness 5000 early next year.   Super Selector - By Matt Markham Race 1: Delightful Memphis, Spanish Armada, Smiley Sophie, Major Rocket Race 2: Don Pierre, Eja Patron, Loose Cannon, Bettor Backim Race 3: Riccardo, Pirate Bay, Burst Out Laughing, Unice Enchantress Race 4: Kingdom Come, Debaneyre, Ruthless Success, .BK Dawn Race 5: Mighty Flying Major, American Tart, Letspendanitetogetha, Bronze Over Race 6: Tiger Thompson, Mikey Maguire, On The Rantan, The Fixer Race 7: Lavros Jack, Shona Mary, Topnotch Titan, Spots Gold N Girl Race 8: Mongolian Storm, Freedom Fighter, Bailey’s Rock, Sparkling Delight Race 9: Maninthemirror, Smouldering Ashes, Royal Jester, Eastwood Suzy Race 10: Gee Up Neddy, Twelve Monkeys, Donegal Bettorgretch, Eyre I Come Race 11: Blade, Lloydin Magic, Missinmemate, Stop Means Stop Best Bet: Riccardo (Race 3) Value: Gee Up Neddy (Race 10)

Samantha Ottley’s first winning drive at Alexandra Park on Friday (November 4) never panned out like she thought it would. Driving what she described as one of the fastest horses she had ever sat behind, Rocker Band simply out-sprinted her seven rivals in the $14,000 Movenpick Mobile for the R77 to R107 pacers. “There was talk that she would just lead and win but when I came out of the gate that wasn’t the case. I knew there were a couple of pacers who could fly the gate and when that happened I had to ease back,” 26-year-old Ottley said. The Mark Jones trained Harness Jewels winner, Rocker Band, was third last early from her six-draw and remained there until Ottley made her move with 900m remaining. “I had to take luck out of the equation. She was travelling well and I just had to put her into the race. Zac (Butcher) advised me that if there’s cheap sectionals run in sprint races here you have to be handy on the turn to win. That was great advice,” Ottley said. Rocker Band then sat parked down the back straight the last time and then in the home straight was simply too strong winning by three quarters of a length and pacing the 1700m mobile in 2:01.4 (mile rate a slashing 1:54.9) and last 800m and 400m in 55.5 and 27.5. “She can be a bit of a trick at times. Even though she relaxed early she did lose an a length of so turning for home. But then wow what a feeling to go up outside a good horse like Ideal Belle and go past her. “I’ve driven some real nice horses like Stylish Monarch, Stent and Pure Power in the past, but this mare would be the fastest horse I’ve sat behind. Her sectionals were so quick yet she felt so relaxed,” Ottley said. Rocker Band has now won 10 of her 28 starts and placed in five others for just under $175,000 in stakes. Her career highlight came at Cambridge Raceway on June 4 this year when she won the $150,000 Group One 4yo Mares’ Diamond. “That was a real thrill winning the Jewels but it was also great to win my first race at Alexandra Park. I must have been there five times now. It’s a lovely track to drive on. I just hope I can retain the drive,” Ottley said. She said she would love to sit behind the royally bred 5-year-old Rocknroll Hanover - Mainland Banner mare on at ‘The Park’ on December 31.. That’s when Rocker Band will line up in the prestigious Group One Rosslands Queen of Hearts Pace for our country’s best pacing mares. “I want to keep my bum firmly on the sulky seat that she drags around. In saying that I never expect it. Mark has been so good to me since I joined him just over a year ago. “When I went there I thought I would get the occasional drive, but he’s put me on everything, and I’m so humbled by that especially when he’s a world champion driver and is watching me drive his horses from the grandstand!  “I can’t thank Mark enough. His belief and faith in me has been phenomenal,” Ottley said. “Actually I would like to thank everyone who has supported. I’ve had such a good start to the season and I’m so grateful to all the owners and trainers who have put me on their horses,” she added. Ottley has already driven 16 winners ($110,334) this season and 219 ($1.7m) since her career started in 2008. She currently sits fifth on the national driving premiership, and is New Zealand’s top female driver – 10 clear of second-placed Natalie Rasmussen. Meanwhile, other highlights from Alexandra Park onFriday included two wins each from Brent Mangos, Barry Purdon, and Steve Telfer/Chris Garlick. Mangos trained and drove Mr Good And Evil to win the first race and then just over half an hour later he steered the Purdon trained Rariza to victory in race two. Purdon's other triumph came via the Zac Butcher driven $1.60 favourite Raptor's Flight in the third race, while Telfer and Garlick trained Rhythm N Blues (Scott Phelan) and Ideal Roman (Jack MacKinnon) to win races six and eight respectively. Morrinsville conditioner Daniel Erickson also trained his first winner when Todd Mitchell got Turbulent Flow up in the last stride to win the 10th event. Story on Erickson follows this week.   Duane Ranger

Young West Melton trainer Jason Lethaby geared up three horses at the Riverton meeting yesterday and all three won. Ideal Rule and Richard Le Fort, both trained by him won, while Ariadne Lavros trained by Mark Jones won the Southland Standardbred Breeders Fillies and Mares Mobile Pace. All three were driven by Samantha Ottley. Ideal Rule started the roll when she won the Net Ten EOM at Macca Lodge Fillies and Mares Mobile Pace beating Trendy's Bad Girl by one and quarter lengths.  "Running in a race for fillies and mares (Ideal Rule) was the main reason we came down. There hasn't been too many races like that at home and the other race for the big horse (Richard Le Fort) suited him being a non-preferencial race," said Lethaby. From barrier five Ideal Rule was posted without cover early before being covered up by Manuka Valley. Ottley got out when she wanted to and drove out the American Ideal filly to win by a length and a quarter.  Ideal Rule and Samantha Ottley winning                     Photo Bruce Stewart. "I was very confident with her. She'd been working and trialling real good so I knew if she got a good run she'd be pretty hard to beat and that's what happened," Lethaby purchased the filly at the 2015 Sale of the Stars for $6,000. She's was breed by David Jones of Rakaia and is out of the unraced Christian Cullen mare Cullens Rule.  "She qualified nice behind a few of Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen's nice ones. We were going to race her as a two year old but we decided to give her time. I think she'll do a real good job and we plan to qualify her for the Southland Oaks."  His second winner came two races later with Jereme's Jet gelding Richard Le Fort. Ottley blasted the five year old out of the gate and lead at the winning post for the first time. With 400 metres to run she pinched a break and that proved to be the winning of the race. He held on to beat Longevity by a neck.  Richard Le Fort (7) beating Longevity (white helmet) on the inside - Photo Bruce Stewart "We've had him for a year. We bought him off Mark Jones for a group of guys. It was their first race horse. He trialled up real good. He was such a big lanky horse we thought we're give him a month off and let him strengthen but he never came back any good. We had a couple of starts with him and he only went average so we sent him onto a hill block for eight months. We brought him back in in the middle of May and worked him up nice and quietly through the winter, and it's seems to have worked with him."    Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing

Delightful Memphis will have the luxury of seven-10 days off to freshen after winning the opening $22,000 Alabar Sires Stakes 3YO Fillies Heat in a harness racing jog at Addington on Friday, October 21. The smart daughter of champion sire Bettor’s Delight and Memphis Melody will be back for the third heat at Addington on November 25, then head to Auckland to fine tune for the final on December 31. There is also another heat of the series at Alexandra Park on December 9. Last season’s experience of racing well right-handed at Auckland will stand to her for the Sires Stakes Final. She was the runnerup in three stakes races in four Auckland starts behind Spanish Armada last autumn, and wound up her two-year-old season with a second to Partyon in the $150,000 Harness Jewels 2YO Diamond at Cambridge on June 4. Trainer Mark Jones had Delightful Memphis on song for the opening Alabar Sires Heat despite a week ago blowing out near the end of her Rangiora workout. She was untroubled to lead throughout from the ace draw for regular driver Blair Orange, who didn’t have to release the deafeners in the run to the line. Delightful Memphis came clear of Major Rocket (parked) by 2 1/2 lengths in a solid 2:22.8 for the 1950m (1:57.8 mile rate), with Blair letting her quicken over the last 800m in 56s and final 400m in a slick 26.6s. Major Rocket held out the Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen-trained stablemates, Smiley Sophie and Tachyon, for the minors. Delightful Memphis was recording her second win, after earlier winning her 2YO debut in the Group Three $25,000 Sweet Lou Leonard Memorial at the Cheviot meeting on February 28. She edged past the $100,000 mark with Friday’s win in her eighth career start for owners, Wayne Higgs, Simon Doull, Sir Loins Limted, Debra and Pete Smith, Kaysan Farming Ltd and BM & JH Holdings Ltd. By Jeff Scott Reprinted with permission of the Mark Jones site

Debbie Larkins gained her first win as an owner/trainer/driver when Rydgemont Milly downed visiting favourite Trouble Giero to win the Zilco/Carpet Plus Willy's Flooring Trot at Gore on Sunday. Larkins races the mare on lease and shares the training with her partner Mark Shirley. They'd previously had success with Strategic Miss (twice) and Another Windermere. Conrock, in April 2013 when trained by Shirley alone, provided Larkins with her first driving success. Rydgemont Milly is the first foal of the Sundon mare Domination, winner of 10 races when trained by Murray Tapper. It was Tapper who recommended Rydgemont Milly to Larkins and Shirley. “Murray broke her in, he said she would take time,” Shirley said, “she has high speed and that will carry her when she strengthens. She is a solid trotter.” The Gore win made up for the Monarchy mare's bad luck at the Northern Southland meeting where she enjoyed a good trip in the one-one on the back of favourite Sky Tower, until the 400. At that point the eventual winner Explosive Star arrived on Rydgemont Milly's outer to lock her in and then Sky Tower broke and carted her out the back. Dan Wilson gained his first win as a breeder/owner/trainer when Lucas capitalised on a perfect Brad Williamson drive in the Dwain's Service Centre/MLT Forest Lodge Tapanui Pace. From four off the gate, Lucas enjoyed the one-one until the 600. From there, he was pushed forward, took control before the turn and ran clear in the straight. “He's always had speed, he just needed the right run,” said Wilson whose only previous wins were as the owner-trainer of Hadrian, twice successful early in 2014. Wilson said he grew up with horses, his parents raced horses, his father Lindsay and Uncle Ian train and his sister is the partner of trainer Tony Stratford. Lucas is the only horse he has in work. The gelding is out of Village Kiwi, a mare Wilson acquired from her previous trainer the late Alan Scobie. Prior to breeding form her, Wilson raced Village Kiwi for a time from his father's stable and gained a third at Ascot Park. Earlier in the day Williamson had won the SBS Claimers Mobile on The Charging Moa and was the only driver to land two winners on Sunday. The Charging Moa, by 2008 New Zealand Cup winner Changeover from the 2008 New Zealand Cup fourth placegetter Specials Ops, had a claiming price of $10,000 and wasn't claimed. In fact, no claims were lodged for any of the runners. Ariadne Lavra, the only representative at Gore of Burnham trainer Mark Jones, did the business impressively in the Otamita Servicing Ltd stand-start pace. She was racing in Southland for just the second time, having contested the group three Caduceus Club Two Year Old Fillies Classic at Ascot Park in March. Brent Barclay was aboard that day when she finished third behind stablemate Delightful Memphis and the Purdon/Rasmussen rep Renske B. Barclay took the reins again on Sunday and had the daughter of Art Major in front after 350 metres. They were never seriously tested from then on and careered away in the straight to win by four and three quarter lengths. Other Canterbury trainers to taste success were Steve McRae from West Melton and Brent White of Temuka. McRae had three at the meeting and won the Colin Baynes Memorial Fillies and Mares Pace with Narelle Franco. She is the first foal of National Franco who a few years earlier won races at Ascot Park with Craig Thornley in the sulky. He was also the winning driver of Narelle Franco who is now four and was having just her second start, after finishing third on debut at Washdyke last week. “She was a bit weak last season but has strengthened up,” Thornley said. The stable also picked up a placing in the Gore Windscreens N Glass Mobile with Franco Tristan. The four year old looked the winner when he loomed up on the turn but had to settle for third. “He hit the front and pulled up,” commented Thornley. Victory went to Ultimate Fella, White's sixth starter on the day. Earlier, he'd gained a placings with Trouble Giero who finished runner-up to Rydgemont Milly, plus Dark Ops and Run To Hide who both finished third. The third of Dark Ops was behind Blazing Under Fire in the Jaccka Lodge Handicap. Blazing Under Fire, a C2 entire trained by Phil Williamson, was driven by junior Rory McIlwrick and recorded the day's biggest winning margin of six and a quarter lengths. The win was penalty free under the conditions of the race because Blazing Under Fire was driven by a junior. The win helped McIlwrick retain a margin of four wins over Sheree Tomlinson at the top of the national premiership.   Mac Henry

Mark Jones put his near perfect day at Methven yesterday down to one mitigating factor – Sam Ottley. The Burnham horseman enjoyed a gold letter day at the first grass track meeting for season, winning three races and picking up a second placing as well from his five runners for the day. And Ottley was on board all of them, continuing her golden start to the season as the combination between her and Jones continues to prosper. “I’ve got to give a lot of the credit to Sam,” Jones said. “She summed each one up perfectly and had them all in the right places at the right times, she really is driving as good as anyone going around at the moment in my opinion.” The Jones/Ottley combo kicked things off with Rocknroll Nevin, who despite running up the track down the back straight, was too good for her opposition – surprising her trainer slightly. “She was pretty good last week at the trials, but I probably didn’t expect her to win the way she did. “She’s always been a nice horse, and everything fell into place for her which helps.” The run continued in the very next race when Ammisaduqa backed up a very good trial at Methven eight days earlier with a strong victory over the 3000 metres. After a handy enough run on debut the Gotta Go Cullect gelding was driven confidently by Ottley and he won impressively by a length to break the maiden status. “He was the one I was most confident with I think, his trial last week really impressed me. “I didn’t give Sam any instructions, but she drove him perfectly.” When Perrisa led the feature pacing event of the day and was too tough for her opponents, things started to look even better than Jones could have dreamed of at the start of the day. The former claiming mare, who could have been picked up for a fair price a few weeks back, got her own way in front and ran away at the top of the straight. “We’ve had a few problems with her but the grass is her real go in life and when she gets her own way she’s pretty hard to peg back. “We’ll keep targeting grass track racing for her over the next few months before she heads to stud later in the season.” The three win haul was nearly four when Zena Mac was very good when finishing second behind Shadow Rider in the last. Jones has made a grand start to the season winning seven races from just 30 starters – and he’s pretty surprised about it. “It’s the smallest racing team I’ve ever had I think, but there’s some really nice young ones. “I’m looking forward to next season.” Ottley’s start to the season has been just impressive, she’s won eight races from 30 drives and continues to kick goals when given the chance. Jones reported yesterday that his star mare Rocker Band would be heading North this week for her immediate racing. “She’ll go to Barry Purdon and we will target the Spring Cup in a couple of weeks and then the Holmes DG a fortnight after that. “Alexandra Park have been great and really looked after us and the best part is she should get a race every week up there without having to take on the best of them.” Stable trotting star, Master Lavros, is progressing nicely towards resuming later in the year. The Dominion is off the table and Jones is looking at a first up run in the Green Mile at Methven in December.    Matt Markham

Harness Racing trainer Brendon McLellan is back in Canterbury and hoping to go one better than last year. The Southland horseman arrived in Christchurch on Tuesday night with a four horse contingent to contest winter racing at Addington and around Canterbury over the next month. The main target is the South of the Waitaki Winter Warmer Series which begins next week with the first heat and culminates at the end of the month with an $11,000 Final. The series is available for horses graded up to the C1 level before the close of nominations for the first heat on Friday, July 8 provided they were registered as being trained in the Southland region prior to May 1, 2016. McLellan had moderate success in the series last year with Wick winning two of the four heats before finishing second to the exciting four-year-old Tact Tate who has since gone on to do good things in Australia. “It’s a good series, especially with very no options at home other than Forbury,” he said. “It certainly makes it worth coming up and having a crack anyway.” Three of the McLellan team will line up tonight at Addington to kick off their campaigns. Maiden pacer Luciano meets an even looking maiden field early on in the night and is expected to improve with the run. “I’m picking he’d be a run short, he does go ok though and will improve.” Mr Handleman, who raced in a heat of the South of the Waitaki Series last year goes around in the junior drivers’ event with Craig Ferguson in the sulky. “He’s a bit of an in and out sort of horse. He’s got some ability, but he doesn’t always put it out on the track. “We’ve gone back to the stand because he can begin when he wants too. “He’s here for the Series so we will know where we are at after this week anyway.” The third runner is the consistent Vera’s Delight who has been handed a tough barrier draw of nine in a 1950 metre mobile event for fillies and mares. The field includes Glenferrie Classic, Smoke N Fire, Donegal Rundlescreek, My Cash and Kotare Kasai so won’t be an easy task. “She’s got a job in front of her from out there, it’s going to be pretty tough. “But she does go alright and is more than capable, she will take some benefit out of the run too.” McLellan is based at the Woodend Beach branch of the Mark Jones stable while in Canterbury and will split his time between there and his home base in Southland. He is travelling down to Forbury on Friday to drive Vera Mac from his own stable and also Robyn Kim in the opening race of the night. Meanwhile the $3,000 bonuses offered for the First 4’s at Sunday’s abandoned Marlborough meeting have been transferred to tonight’s meeting meaning there’s extra reason to get involved throughout the night. With big even fields there’s every possibility of a few jackpots during proceedings which could see pools get significantly large as the night progresses. Super Selector - By Matt Markham Race 1: Westy Boyz, Deva Jones, Fira Sunset, Brylin Rose Race 2: Rapid Flight, Stunning Deal, Dalness Mac, Sheeza GNP Race 3: Freedom Fighter, Art I Am, Regal Grin, Big Buddie Race 4: He’s Like The Wind, Matatoki, Jean Sebastien, We’ll Meet Again Race 5: Kashana, Glenferrie Classic, Smoke N Fire, My Cash Race 6: Superfecta, Franco Nate, Woosh Factor, Mighty Empire Race 7: Franco Cristiano, GI Joe, Hypervelocity, Innocent Artist Race 8: Amaretto Sun, Clover Mac, Gee Up Neddy, Tornado Valley Race 9: Letspendanitetogetha, On The Rantan, McClinchie, Gabby’s Star Race 10: Junior, Ballymore Boy, Returntorocknroll, Franco Hamilton Best Bet: Freedon Fighter (Race 3) Value: Kashana (Race 5) Longshot: Franco Hamilton (Race 10) Matt Markham

Harness Racing Jewels winning mare Rocker Band will get her chance to compete against the best of the best. The daughter of New Zealand Trotting Cup winning mare, Mainland Banner, was earmarked for retirement following her emphatic 4YO Diamond victory at last month’s Harness Jewels, but discussions between her trainer Mark Jones and owner Greg Brodie have led them down a different path all together. The fledgling mare will become a mother still with an embryo to be taken from her and partnered with champion stallion Bettor’s Delight before being placed in a surrogate mare. “Greg and I had a pretty big chat about her future and it’s his wish to continue racing her,” Jones said. “But by taking an embryo from her we get to safeguard anything that might happen in the future.” On the racing front the trainer/owner combination have settled on the Queen Of Hearts as the first major assignment for her five-year-old campaign. “We will give her a few starts here and see where we are at before making any other decisions. “Australia is an option for us if it proves to be too hard for her here. “She’s a C8 mare, and even with a new handicapping system she would still have to race the Cup horses. “I probably don’t give her enough credit, she’s capable of doing it but it will be a big ask.” There are plenty of other mares around New Zealand in a similar boat - particularly those Rocker Band beat in the Diamond like; Expressive Victor, Democrat Party and Better B Amazed. While the open class mares’ ranks weren’t overly strong this season they are expected to return to a high standard with the Dream About Me, Golden Goddess and Piccadilly Princess joining the ranks along with the return of The Orange Agent. “It’s going to be tough, but it’s better to die wondering than not try at all. “So we will give her a chance and see what happens. With the racing calendar we’ve got she could chop and change between here and Australia.” While the news that his outstanding mare would be returning to his stable and not to the broodmare paddock was welcomed by Jones, it hasn’t all been warm and fuzzy this week. Open class pacer Saveapatrol is back in the hospital ward for another three to six months after cracking another pastern. The big pacer who down Terror To Love to win an Invercargill Cup has been plagued with injuries throughout his career and the latest blow was nearly the last straw. Jones and owner Grant Hatton discussed the option of calling time on the gelding’s career but have instead opted to have a screw inserted into the pastern to see if that holds together. “It’s pretty disappointing, especially for Grant who has been so patient. “He’s out for at least three months.” With 52 wins on the board and the promise of a few more before the season is done, Jones is reflecting on another good 12 months at the coal face. “We managed to win two Group Ones which is fantastic but we have also well and truly exceeded expectations. “When I sat down at the start of the season I thought 20 was a good figure so to be close to triple that is something I’m proud of.” The Burnham and Woodend Beach horseman said the stable was in a real transitional phase at the moment with a large number of younger horses on the books with some of the racing team sold on to other interests. Matt Markham

Two of the forgotten stars of New Zealand harness racing are slowly but surely building towards a comeback in the first half of next season. Open class trotting stars, Stent and Master Lavros have both had their seasons cut short by injury but are pleasing their respective trainers in their build up towards making it back to the track. Stent, who was found to be suffering from a hole in his suspensory, has done six weeks jogging at the stables of his trainers, Colin and Julie DeFilippi. “He’s coming along nicely,” Colin said. “We had him scanned and given the once over last week and the vet was very happy with him so at this stage it’s all systems go.” After an initial preparation which involved a lot of walking and swimming, Stent was sent to the Methven Equine Centre for three weeks. The business which specialises in massage, swimming and agistment is situated a few kilometres east of Methven. “It was purely just to give him a bit of a break and in a way that he didn’t have to put too much pressure on himself. “It worked really well, he came back in great nick.” DeFilippi said that it was a case of so far so good in terms of soundness for the $1 million earner, but there is no rush to get him back to the races. “He’s due to step up his work in the next month and then we will look at getting into some serious fast work if everything is still OK. “We won’t be pushing him though, he will tell us if and when he is ready.” DeFilippi and Stent’s owner Trevor Casey won’t make any plans for the gelding until they know they have a horse who is 100 per cent which means that Cup Week in November isn’t a lock in. “The Dominion would be nice, especially to take on Monbet. “He’s clearly the best now, but we aren’t that far behind when we are right so it would be a great clash.” On the other side of State Highway One, Mark Jones is all smiles at the progress of this season’s Dominion Handicap winner, Master Lavros. The big gelding did an extensive stint in the care of noted thoroughbred trainer, Brian Court after he suffered a hind suspensory injury late last year. “He seems really good, he’s been out on the beach with Regan (Regan Todd) for the best part of two months now. “He never really went to the paddock, Brian Court had him for quite a while and he just did fitness on the water walker and treadmill.” Like DeFilippi, Jones is in no rush to get back to the track. “It would be nice to be ready for Cup Week, but the horse deserves to find his own way there if that’s the case. “We certainly won’t be pushing him that’s for sure.” Master Lavros will be scanned next Monday to find out whether or not he is ready to take the next step up in his work. Matt Markham

Exciting three-year-old Mattgregor is now racing the clock to be ready for the Queensland Derby next month at Albion Park. Connections were again forced to scratch their talented pacer yesterday (Tuesday) owing to an unfortunate setback which occurred on Monday night. The New Zealand bred gelding become cast in his box and ended up with a superficial wound on his hind leg which left connections with no option but to withdraw him from yesterday’s race. “Luckily, he didn’t do any major damage but we weren’t prepared to start him although we need to get some racing under his belt quickly because the Derby classics are just around the corner. All going well, hopefully he’ll be right to go next week.” Trainer Chantal Turpin said. It’s the second time in as many weeks that the speedy pacer has been scratched. Since arriving from New Zealand late last year after being purchased from the stables of respected Canterbury horseman Mark Jones, Mattgregor has won three of his four starts to date. All three victories coming at Albion Park and all in sub 1:54 time. Mattgregor has not raced since winning at Albion Park on December 22 where he paced the mile in a scorching time of 1:53.4. The Gr.1 $75,000 Queensland Derby is scheduled for July 16. Connections are also mindful of the UBET Picket Fence bonus of $20,000 if he can win three races in a row including the Queensland Derby. Chris Barsby

Harness Racing Driver Sam Ottley is enjoying the best week of her career at the moment. After her win with Rocker Band in the 4yo Diamond on Jewels day last Saturday, Ottley hasn't looked back and went on to record a treble at today's Nelson Harness Racing Club's meeting. It was three wins in the space of four races for the Woodend based reins women, which included a double for her employer Mark Jones. Although it all started with the upset of the day in Race 4, when Ottley reined home Feel Real for Kaiapoi trainer Glenn Scott paying a whopping $44.40 and $7.00. With the favourite galloping early, Sam had the 3yo Real Desire filly straight into the trail, behind the Jones driven, Southbrook. From there on it was just a small matter of having to get past Southbrook and first starter Regal Grin, who was ultra brave on debut for Ken Barron and the goHarness Buy, Race and Sell Syndicate. In the next it was Kowhai Monarch who got the chocolates for Ottley and Jones. The 4yo gelding by Monarchy is owned by J G & Mrs D J Hartnell and recorded his 3rd career victory when winning by 1 ¾ lengths over Clifden Clowers (John Morrison) and ¾ lengths to Yankee Commando (Murray Edmonds) in 3rd. Ottley left the best for last with her drive on Croft Bay, who was drawn awkwardly on the back row. Sitting near last with a lap to run, Ottley was off and gone to sit parked before being able to out toughen the rest of the field and recording a neck victory over Ardent Lustre (Blair Orange). All three runners will back up tomorrow for the 2nd day of the meeting, with Kowhai Monarch looking Sam's best chance to double up. Andrew Fitzgerald

Rocker Band’s greatest performance may have been her last. The dazzling Jewels winner came from a seemingly hopeless position on Saturday to give harness racing driver Samantha Ottley her first group one victory and kick off a day of drama for some of those who got locked up on the markers.   Favourites like Dream About Me and Pacing Major were luckless and stormed into minor placings after being locked away, but Lady Luck smiled on Ottley and Rocker Band after they were pushed to four back on the inside.   She unwound in a style her NZ Cup-winning dam Mainland Banner would have been proud of but trainer Mark Jones fears he now has nowhere to go with the mare.   “She comes back a class eight mare next season and there are really only three major races for her to be aimed at, and even they mean taking on The Orange Agent and Dream About Me,” says Jones.   “There just aren’t enough mares races for the best mares and most of them aren’t good enough to race the male cup horses.   “So she might be better off in the broodmare paddock, with her record and breeding.”
 Jones owns Rocker Band, a Rocknroll Hanover mare, but leases her racing right to Greg Brodie of Courage Under Fire fame.   “I am thrilled she won for Greg because he has been with me all the way along and also for Sam.   “Some people ask me why I don’t drive her myself but if I did I would have been worrying all week about what she needed in the race, instead of just training her.   “And I have been given plenty of opportunities so it is nice to give them to somebody else.”   While Jones is a former World Driver’s Champ, current title holder Dexter Dunn was also a winner on Saturday with both Donegal Bettorgretch and Field Marshal.   Field Marshall was typical Dunn, off the gate fast then controlling the tempo of the race, easing to his third group one on end for trainer Tim Butt.   Butt will bring him back next season for the Cup meeting but he may not be an ideal New Zealand Cup horse, with the plethora of mobile races in Australia appealing more.   Dunn’s drive on Donegal Bettorgretch was aggressive and broke the heart of leader Missandei before hot favourite Marcoola galloped when challenging her in the home straight.   His trainer Clint Ford said his case wasn’t helped by Marcoola having no lead up races and being too fresh, the problem causes by him winning his way through to class six in late April, making suitable races hard to find.   Donegal Bettorgretch has strengthened into a good filly and is a rarity on two counts --- being by champion pacing sire Bettors Delight and one of the few squaregaiters trained by Cran Dalgety. MIchael Guerin

With the big names falling out of contention for 4-year-old Diamond, Harness racing trainer ​Mark Jones believes Rocker Band is now a winning chance at the Harness Jewels - but there is a downside. The withdrawals of last year's three-year-old Diamond winner The Orange Agent (injured), Fight For Glory (retired), Start Dreaming (injured) and then Australian invite Arms Of An Angel (virus), there is no dominant favourite. Now the most open of the nine divisions, Jones knows there is probably eight or nine other trainers sharing his confidence.  Better B Amazed ($3.60), Expressive Victor ($4.20), Democrat Party ($4.60) and On The Town are the main pre-barrier draw hopes with Rocker Band at $9.50. Jones believes the draws with be crucial. "The second line wouldn't be too bad but we wouldn't want to draw wide as you need to be handy at Cambridge. "With her (Arms Of An Angel) coming out it's probably opened it up for eight or nine horses so it could be very even," Jones said. Sunday's Oamaru meeting is the last chance for potential Jewels runners to increase their season's stake money to qualify into the fields. The race has become much more of a priority to Jones and Rocker Band's owner Greg Brodie because of the defections of so many leading chances. Rocker Band, the daughter of Rocknroll Hanover and 2005 New Zealand Cup winner Mainland Banner, has been progressing nicely since her last-start 12th in the Group I Breeders Stakes on April 1, when she raced keenly for a good chunk of the 2600m trip. "Her record over a mile is pretty good and she's a speed horse," Jones said. Rocker Band's recent Rangiora Workout win Meanwhile, Tim Butt is a relieved man following duel Group I winner Field Marshal's recovery from a minor bout of colic on Tuesday. The Taylor Mile and Messenger winner was brilliant in his Auckland campaign and is a $1.55 favourite for the 4-year-old Emerald at the Jewels. Butt said you can never take anything for granted in the racing game and colic was an occupational hazard with horses but he was confident the minor setback was now behind the winner of eight of his last 10 races and 14 from 25 overall. "He'll just take it quietly for a couple of days but we kept the work into him after Auckland so that will help him," Butt said. Missing the Jewels would have been tough for Butt and owners Syd and Shona Brown, who bred the Art Major entire out of their outstanding race mare Foreal, because he missed much of his three-year-old season following a wind operation. Pre-barrier draw, Field Marshal looks the horse to beat but newcomer to the All Stars barn, Titan Banner, has been backed into $3.40.     "On form he looks like the best horse in the race but you still need a bit of luck in those big races." The All Stars stable looks to have both Group I features at Addington on Saturday in the bag with favourites in the New Zealand Oaks and 2-year-old Sires Stakes for colts and geldings. The All Stars barn of Mark Purdon​ and Natalie Rasmussen also looks likely to pick up a win across the Tasman to round out the day when High Gait, who will be driven by Darren Hancock, contests the Group II New South Wales Trotting Oaks. Christen Me should have enough class to win the Winter Cup (3200m) off 30m but front-markers New Years Jay and Titan Banner (off 10m) will make him work. Mat Kermeen

The clash of two talented 2yo fillies highlights the Auckland Trotting Clubs meeting at Alexandra Park tomorrow night. Spanish Armada starts from barrier 3 in the $150,000 PGG Wrightson Yearling Sales 2yo Fillies Final for the power Purdon/Rasmussen partnership. The Tab opening the Bettor’s Delight filly at $1.28 resembles how good the All Stars filly is. Already a multiple group winner, including the Young Guns, Sire Stakes and Caduceus Club Classic finals, Spanish Armada has earnt just over $200,000 in just the 6 life time starts. The All Star’s stable will line up another 4 runners in the Final, bringing their final number to 5 starters from the 7 fillies set to do battle. While it is now common to see the blue and sliver stars returning to the birdcage, Burnham trainer Mark Jones is looking to buck the trend. Jones will line up handy Bettor’s Delight filly Delightful Memphis, who has finished 2nd to Spanish Armada in 2 of the last 3 major races. While drawing out in barrier 5 with three All Star fillies inside her is not in her favour, she showed last week that with a tidy run, she has the point to point speed to upset favourite punters. Whoever wins tomorrow, the battle will continue at the Harness Jewels, where it is expected the 2yo section will be a highlight of a fantastic day of racing. Spanish Armada beats Delightful Memphis last start. Andrew Fitzgerald

Canterbury trainer/driver Mark Jones is set to step in the boxing ring again. Jones will be in action this Friday against Guy McMenamin in the “Corporate Chaos” at the Hornby Workingmen’s Club. While in the ring, Delightful Memphis and Real Torque will represent Jones in both ends of NZ.  Delightful Memphis will start in the Magness Benrow Sire Stakes Fillies Championship while Real Torque will line up in a heat of the Nevele R Fillies Series. _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  Australian Campaign confirmed for Christen Me. As expected Trainer Cran Dalgety and connections have decided to set their eyes on the Len Smith Mile at Menangle (Sydney) on the 26th June. While the Brisbane Carnival is also on the radar depending on how he comes through his Sydney campaign. _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ HRNZ NEWS Effective for the new racing season, commencing August 1st 2016; *Minimum programmed stakes for races will be increased from $5,000 to $6,000. *Clubs will be required to apply a stakes distribution model that guarantees a minimum of 2% of every programmed stake will be paid to all starters. *In addition, a Stakes Supplement Payment of $50 will be paid to all runners placed outside of the first four, in races with programmed stakes of less then $20,000. Andrew Fitzgerald

Talented 2yo filly Delightful Memphis will get her shot at Group 1 glory next week when she contests the $110,000 Woodlands Stud Caduceus Club Fillies Classic at Auckland. The connections of the Mark Jones filly, who last week was gallant in defeat after sitting parked almost the entire way, have stumped up the large $15,000.00 late payment fee. Jones was suitably impressed by the run last week and a start in the Caduceus Classic was an obvious choice. “She’s come through last week’s run really well, and with their only being three Group 1s for the 2yo fillies it makes sense to have a crack at this one while we are up here” said Jones. Blair Orange will take back the reins next week after Jones handled her himself last week. “Blair couldn’t drive her last week due to the premier meeting at Addington, but it worked out well as I didn’t mind driving her myself just to see how she handled that way around” “It’s an even bunch of fillies this year and it all comes down to whoever draws the best and receives the best trip, they can all run the time, you just have to be close enough at the 400m to win” said Mark. The late payment also makes Delightful Memphis eligible for the Peter Breckon Memorial Ladyship Stakes in December this year. Delightful Memphis is co owned by Wayne Higgs, cricket commentator Simon Doull, Sir Lions Limited, Pete & Debra Smith, Kaysan Farming Limited, BM & JH Holdings Ltd   Meanwhile the Paul Court trained filly Jewel on the Beach is unlikely to pay the late entry fee with connections set on featuring in next season's top races. Andrew Fitzgerald

1 to 16 of 331
1 2 3 4 5 Next »