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Boom Kiwi-bred filly My Sweetchilliphilly was a late scratching at Menangle in New South Wales yesterday (Tuesday) after casting a shoe. The winner of all five starts in emphatic fashion, the two-year-old daughter of Betterthancheddar is still on target for the rich Australasian Breeders Crown semifinals at Bendigo, Victoria, on August 19. She was due to clash with classy Mark Purdon-Natalie Rasmussen-trained gelding Sicario ($1.06), who bolted in at Menangle (1609m, mobile) yesterday in her absence, after leading for driver Luke McCarthy.  The Somebeachsomewhere flyer has now won six from nine starts and is also heading for the Breeders Crown. He clocked 1:55.1, the last 400m in 26sec. NSW-based co-trainers Shane and Lauren Tritton elected to play it safe with the unbeaten My Sweetchilliphilly, who is a half-sister to seven-win Kiwi pacer Max Phactor. “It’s nothing serious,” Shane Tritton said. “We don’t want to take any chances with her. “We decided to wrap up her foot [on Monday] and keep her in cotton wool for a few days.” Despite missing the outing, My Sweetchilliphilly will be in peak condition for the semis, according to Tritton. Mid-Canterbury breeder Melissa Tapp always believed My Sweetchilliphilly would be special. Tapp, 31, runs a 2000-cow dairy farm at Hinds with her husband Jimmy Illingworth and they also have a band of five broodmares, including Tact Philly, the dam of My Sweetchilliphilly and Max Phactor, who ran fourth in the 4YO Emerald at the Harness Jewels last season. My Sweetchilliphilly reeled off four straight wins to open her career, including the $A50,000 Group One Gold Tiara at Bathurst by 20.9 metres. Tapp bought her unraced dam Tact Philly (by In The Pocket) at an Auckland sale in foal to champion sire Bettor’s Delight for “way under the stud fee’’ and the mare was later mated with new Alabar Stud stallion Betterthancheddar (1:48), a champion three-year-old in the United States and the fastest ever stallion son of Bettor’s Delight. The result was My Sweetchilliphilly, who was sold to an Australian owner after being developed by West Melton horseman Greg Payne. “We thought she was something pretty special, but how special we didn’t know. Mark Jones [Canterbury trainer] trialled her and said if the [Australian] sale fell through he would take her,’’ said Tapp. “We didn’t get as much as we would have liked, but the market was a bit down at that stage. It was just a matter of numbers and we had to keep moving some along. She was a real cheap buy for them and hopefully they come back again.’’   NZ Harness News http://www.theinformant.co.nz/

The Oamaru Harness Racing Club holds their first meeting of the new season on Sunday. Only a seven race card is on offer but the fields are very even and there will be some good racing on the day. We highlight the pick six held on races two through to seven inclusive, which is for a guaranteed pool of $25,000   Leg 1  The two Robert Dunn trained runners look to have the wood on this field and we favour Bite The Bullet who ran home well last night at Addington in fast sectionals. Dreams To Reality is a danger and possibly Hannity who improved last start on the track. Leg 2 A tricky leg of pick six here with a number of chances from the standing start. We like OK Im Bad, Vera's Delight, Diamond Life, Sands Of Love and Out Of Aces any of which could win with the right run. Leg 3 An even field of trotters and many chances. Favorite Alderbeck has to be the main chance and she has the form to get the win here. Zachary Binx has a lot of ability but was making mistakes last season. If he is on his game then a big danger to the favorite. All Setlled Down, Sam Galleon and Stylish Duke can all be a threat if the favorites make a mistake. Leg 4 This race could be dominated from the front and Run Boy Run and Earthquake both have the speed to lead with their good draws. Dangers are the two Peter Robertson trained runners in Gunpowder and Woodlea Shawn. Leg 5 Say Your Pres is the top selection here after a nice run fresh up at Addington. Samantha Ottley takes the reins and Mark Jones thought this one was his best hope this week. I could see her leading and being too good for this field.  Tijuana Taxi and Clover Lady look the main dangers. Leg 6 This race looks to have the best anchor of pick six in Alta Shelby. He raced with merit against some classy two year olds last season and was spotted putting in some nice late work at recent trials in Canterbury. He has gate speed and should win if he can find the front early. Suggested pick six. Leg 1      4,5,6 Leg 2      2,4,5,9,10 Leg 3      4,5,6,7,8 Leg 4      1,3,5,11 Leg 5      2 Leg 6      4 Cost $30 for 20%   Harnesslink Media

In a perfect world, Mark Jones wouldn’t be taking Say Your Pres to Addington tonight but the lure of a concession victory for the three-year-old trotter was enough to get him interested in heading out at night in the middle of winter. Under the current handicapping system, a win tonight for the talented young trotter would net half the rating points that it would next week when she will be a four-year-old, so Jones is looking to make a bit of hay while the sun is shining. “She’s probably not 100 per cent screwed down just yet,” he said. “But she’s good enough to win it I think, her workout the other day was pretty good.” The daughter of The Pres won at her second start back in February but subsequent starts have failed to net positive results, Jones was never worried though and knew it was only time that was holding him back from the finish product. “It’s a family that gets better with time and I know that she will. “She’s actually better this time in than she was last time, so hopefully we are headed in the right direction.” Jones will don himself in the white helmet and the vest tonight himself to drive the filly and his expectations are reasonably realistic from behind the mobile arm. “Like I said, she’s good enough to win it, but if she doesn’t she’ll only keep getting better.” Say Your Pres is the only runner from the Jones stable engaged tonight, but the former World Driving Champion will be in action on four occasions in a rare night of outside driving. “I’m making a comeback, either that or they must be really short of drivers.” Jones has hopped in the sulky just 84 times this season and will register the least amount of drives in a season for his entire career when the season ticks over next week. “I’ve been focussed on the training and the selling side of things, I still enjoy getting out there and driving, but it’s just not the priority.” He teams up with an old comrade in Dean Taylor for two of his other drives tonight with Scotlyn Mach and Scotlyn Justis and both are solid each way chances. “You know what you get with Dean’s team and they both have good draws so hopefully they can be there or thereabouts.” His other drive is the talented, but enigmatic, Cullenmore for another good supporter in Andrew Garters. Matt Markham’s Addington Selections Race 1: Sunrise Spur, Elvis P, Family Night, Girlz N Boyz Race 2: My Nikayla, Donegal Lucy Anne, Theboyslightup, Shebang Race 3: Say Your Pres, Diana Harbour, Shpeedy, Rocknpop Race 4: Black Art, Earthquake, Shesa Tricky Bridge, Flamboyant Race 5: Especial, Vera’s Delight, Jody Direen, Pantastic Race 6: Alpha Rock, Christopher Banner, Lovetodream, Hypervelocity Race 7: Cullenburn, Mikey Maguire, For The Corz, Woodlea Shawn Race 8: Ronald J, Hey Yo, Idle Monkey, Donegal Bettorgretch Race 9: Van Laddie, Revving, Tupelo Mississippi, The Tin Soldier Best Bet: Cullenburn (Race 7) Value: My Nikayala (Race 2)

High profile New Zealand harness racing trainer / driver Mark Jones' Winter Carnival aspirations suffered a blow when high class mare Rocker Band went to join millionaire pacer Bling It On as a patient at Gatton University. Trot enthusiast Chris Barsby explains what happened. "After arriving last week and joining her stablemates Delightful Memphis and Kowhai Monarch, the Mark Jones trained mare was struck down by acute case of travel sickness and was rushed to Gatton for further treatment,'' Barsby said. "She was very crook when she arrived and Scott Miller (host trainer) was rather concerned. After his vet checked her over, he recommended we send her to Gatton.'' "Since being there she has stabilised but we may have found another issue with an abscess in her back region and it may require an operation,'' Mark Jones said. Rocker Band was being considered for a number of features in the coming weeks, open class events plus the $20,000 Fleur De Lil Ladyship Stakes on July 8. The Rocknroll Hanover mare, a daughter of New Zealand Cup winner Mainland Banner, finished a luckless third in the Group 3 $31,800 Frith Stakes at TABCORP Park, Menangle on June 17. The proven Group One winner is raced by Gold Coast businessman Greg Brodie, of Courage Under Fire fame and has enjoyed little luck on Australian soil this campaign. "It's disappointing but her health is the most important thing because she is so valuable as a broodmare, she's a great race mare while her pedigree is as good as anything in this part of the world. "I was looking at a number of features with her in Brisbane but the focus is getting her back to full health. "I can't thank Scott enough for the effort he went to last week, he went above and beyond and basically saved her. I'm forever thankful to him for that." Jones said. Female talent rises EQUALITY of the sexes was hammered home last Saturday night with three female drivers taking out half of the 10 race program. Doubles were enjoyed by Madi Dux and Trista Dixon with Isobel Ross scoring in the opening event. What was an exclusively male world half a century ago has become the land of opportunity for the girls. We have come a long way from suffragette Emily Davison throwing herself to her death under the King's horse Anmer in the English Derby of 1913 in the quest for women's votes. Welcome boost ONE for the good news basket was the announcement that Racing Queensland (RQ) will enhance returns to racing industry participants in 2017/18 by increasing prize money. RQ CEO Dr Eliot Forbes said commercial decisions made by the new RQ Board have led to better than forecast financial results allowing for the budget increase next year. RQ has a strategic goal over the next three years to boost prize money in a sustainable manner and to continue to invest in significant infrastructure projects across all three codes, while working with clubs to improve attendance and commercial returns. From a harness racing perspective, with a $505,000 slice of the pie, Redcliffe's Wednesday and Thursday programs will be increased with the eight race programs to consist of five races at $4450 and three races at $3450. Additionally, an extra 2YO QBRED Breeders Series has been added, which will culminate with two $25,000 finals, one for colts and geldings and one for fillies and the QBRED win bonus scheme will be enhanced with 4YO's now eligible for a $2500 bonus for their first 4YO win (this is in addition to the existing $7500 on offer for eligible horses first 2YO win and 3YO win). With the July program already published, there will be some additional money for that month, with the schedule above, kicking in from August 1. Marburg reminder DON'T forget that Marburg races next Saturday. The Pick the card comp has jackpotted to $1100, there's a monster raffle, $100 gate entry betting voucher and a valuable piece of locally crafted jewellery will head the Funny Money auction after the last race. Admission is $5 for adults, pensioners and students $3 and racebooks are $3. Handy tips SELECTIONS for Albion Park tonight. R1: Quinella 1-4: Our Hi Jinx (A. Sanderson) and Major Cam (M Neilson). R2: Quinella 1-12: Bettabe Perfect (P. McMullen) and Written In Red (P. Diebert). R3: Quinella 2-4: A Good Chance (G. Whitaker) and Our Leonardo (K. Dawson). R4: Box trifecta in four 3-4-11-12: Miss Irish Rose (B Graham)-Summertime Lizzie (A. Sanderson)- Bettor Than Special (M Neilson)-Joys A Babe (G. Dixon). R5: Box trifecta in four 1-10-11-12: Hughie Green (J. Cremin)-Avonnova (A. Sanderson)-Spare Me Days (B. Hewitt)-Watch Pulp Fiction (C. Turpin). R6: Quinella 8-15: The More The Better (M. Purdon) and Nui Noc Tien (L. McCarthy). R7: Quinella 3-6: Leos Best (G Dixon) and Mattgregor (P. McMullen). R8: Box trifecta2-5-6: Delightful Memphis (L McCarthy)-My Casino Belle (B Hewitt)-Takara Truffle (M Neilson). R9: Quinella 11-12: Get In The Groove (G. Dixon) and Bacchus Raucous (T Moffat). R10: Box trifecta in four 1-3-4-7: Senitas Success (A. Sanderson)-Kowhai Monarch (M. Jones)-Riene Des Gitans (P. McMullen)-Melpark Royal Son (J Cremin). Honour board From an overall training and driving perspective, some weeks are a feast and some weeks a famine across the greater Ipswich footprint. It looked like the latter last week with local trainers and drivers having input to one or both disciplines for no less than 25 winners spread across six meetings. The leader board, while containing no unfamiliar names, produced a change with Nathan Dawson logging six wins in the sulky with Pete McMullen close up on five. Chantal Turpin made sure that the Patrick Estate stable maintained its current form, leading in five winners for the week. Most pleasing were Steve Bunz with Change The Nation, and Rob Gorman for Trevor Lambourn scoring with Just Leave. Albion Park, June 23: One Last Roll (Narissa McMullen for Mark Rees); Heavens Hint (Nathan Dawson for Stewie Dickson); Wicked Time (Adam Sanderson for Vicki Rasmussen); Shareapassion (Pete McMullenfor Chantal Turpin); Bull Market (Pete McMullen for Chantal Turpin). Albion Park, June 24: Annika Magic (Matt Elkins for Kerry Smith); Rory Mach (Darrell Graham); Miss Irish Rose (Adam Sanderson for Ian Gurney); Mattgregor (Pete McMullen for Chantal Turpin). Redcliffe, June 26: Magnussen (Lachie Manzelmann for Brittany Graham); Ima Sea Storm (Nathan Dawson for Graeme White); Change the Nation (Nathan Dawson for Steve Bunz); My Change Of Heart (Nathan Dawson for Ricky Gordon); Just Leave (Rob Gorman for Trevor Lambourn). Albion Park, June 27: Northern Muscle (Denis Smith); Bettabe Perfect Pete McMullen for Chantal Turpin); How We Roll (Gary Whitaker for Bill Crosby); I'm Born To Rule (Gary Whitaker for Kenny Rattray). Redcliffe, June 28: Kalinda (Pete McMullen for Chantal Turpin); My Wingman (Nathan Dawson for Ricky Gordon); Corey William (Nathan Dawson for Peter Greig). Redcliffe, June 29: Slippery Jade (Gary Whitaker for Bill Crosby); Doolittle Dandy (Leonard Cain for Ricky Hart); Bob Gage (Gary Whitaker for Ron Sallis); I'm Johnny Jet (Darrell Graham). TROT TACTICS with Denis Smith Reprinted with permission of The Queensland Times

Star New Zealand mare Rocker Band is the latest casualty for the Brisbane harness racing winter carnival. The carnival officially starts this Saturday night at Albion Park with a host of feature events scheduled while the next three weeks is the time to shine for the Sunshine State. Unfortunately, Rocker Band will miss the entire carnival. After arriving last week and joining her stablemates Delightful Memphis and Kowhai Monarch, the Mark Jones trained mare was struck down by acute case of travel sickness before being rushed to the Gatton University for further treatment. "She was very crook when she arrived and Scott (Miller) was rather concerned, after his vet checked her over, he recommended we send her to Gatton. Since being there she has stabilised but we may have found another issue with an abscess in her back region and it may require an operation." Jones said. Rocker Band was being considered for a number of features in the coming weeks, open class events plus the $20,000 Fleur De Lil Ladyship Stakes on July 8. The Rocknroll Hanover - Mainland Banner finished a luckless third in the Gr.3 $31,800 Frith Stakes at TABCORP Park, Menangle on June 17. The proven Group One winner is raced by Gold Coast businessman Greg Brodie, of Courage Under Fire fame and has enjoyed little luck on Australian soil this campaign. "It's disappointing but her health is the most important thing because she is so valuable as a broodmare, she's a great racemare while her pedigree is as good as anything in this part of the world. "I was looking at a number of features with her in Brisbane but the focus is getting her back to full health. "I can't thank Scott enough for the effort he went to last week, he went above and beyond and basically saved her. I'm forever thankful to him for that."   Rocker Band has joined millionaire pacer Bling It On as a patient at Gatton University. Chris Barsby

The racing future of Hunter Cup winner Bling It On remains uncertain after a nasty fall in his comeback race at Albion Park on Saturday night. A pick-up drive for Kiwi reinsman Mark Jones from a thrill to a nightmare when Bling It On was looming into the race on the final bend, but copped a check and crashed heavily to the track. It was an ugly fall and Bling It On appeared to land heavily on his knees. The Craig Cross-trained star was rushed to the Gatton University veterinary section where his legs, especially his knees, were cleaned and treated. “In short, he’s got two badly injured knees,” owner Peter O’Shea said. “The left knee is in a splint and the right one is heavily bandaged. He will spend at least the next two weeks at Gatton University recovering. “The vets think he will be ok as long as there is no infection.” Stable spokesman and regular driver Luke McCarthy said making Bling It On comfortable and giving him every chance to recover was the first priority. “He’s obviously out of the rest of the Winter Carnival, but beyond that time will tell as far as racing again,” he said. The race was Bling It On’s first start since the Miracle Mile at Menangle in late February. Bling It On’s crash was just one ingredient of a truly odd race. The first twist came when experienced driver Chris Petroff, aboard the leader Hokonui Ben, appeared to mistake the laps and go for home when there was still a lap to run. Stewards suspended him for six weeks. Petroff’s drive played a big part in the race being run upside down with a 57.7sec middle half, which suited grand old stayer Avonnova who simply out-toughed his rivals in a 60.1sec last half and 30.6sec closing quarter. The rising 11-year-old Avonnova has posted two wins and two seconds from four runs since being plucked out of retirement by trainer Ian Gurney. Adam Hamilton

Triple Queensland Horse of the Year Avonnova proved triumphant in the Listed $25,500 Lucky Creed Open Pace at Albion Park tonight (Saturday) in the most dramatic circumstances. The mobile start 2680m mobile start feature was packed with action, largely owing to the fall of race favourite Bling It On at the home turn. The millionaire pacer was handled for the first time by stand-in driver Mark Jones and was making his move wider on the track before being checked by Watch Pulp Fiction and then falling heavily. Driver Pete McMullen was later suspended for three weeks. Having his first start since being unplaced in the Miracle Mile back on February 25, the Craig Cross trained star was taken off the gate at the start and settled towards the rear of the field while the pace was genuine throughout. Hokonui Ben led the event and repelled challengers from both Ideal Scott and Alleluia before giving ground quickly with a lap remaining. Driver Chris Petroff was later suspended for six weeks. Entering the back straight on the final occasion, Ideal Scott held a narrow lead from his stablemate Avonnova while Alleluia, Joys A Babe, Watch Pulp Fiction and Bling It On sat just off the pace. With many feeling the pressure at the top of the straight, Bling It On looked set to unleash his trademark sprint before coming to grief. Bling It On quickly got to his feet before being attended to by officials before then being sent to the Gatton University for further analysis on his knees. Sadly, his Brisbane winter carnival is now over. At the finish, Avonnova lasted by a 1m from Alleluia while Joys A Babe finished a neck away in third. The mile rate was 1:57.3. “It was tough performance but a race filled with drama, it got a bit crazy at the home turn.” Winning driver Shane Graham said. It was back to back victories in the Lucky Creed for the Ian Gurney trained free-legged star after winning last year in a nail biting finish over Ultimate Art. The ten-year-old Art Major gelding has now banked more than $900,000 in prizemoney and is exempt from ballot in the Gr.1 $200,000 UBET Blacks A Fake at Albion Park on July 15. Next week, the Listed $25,500 Wondais Mate will be staged over the 1660m. Hoofnote; Driver Shane Graham was suspended for two weeks for his drive aboard The Charging Moa from the $15,000 Seymour Rising Stars Championship Final, race two on the program. Chris Barsby

The Queensland winter working holiday for harness racing trainer driver Mark Jones is off to a great start. And that’s before it actually starts. The former world driving champion touched down on Brisbane soil last Sunday night and greeted his pair of troops in Delightful Memphis and Kowhai Monarch on Monday morning. Both Delightful Memphis and Kowhai Monarch travelled by road from Sydney and took no harm while classy mare Rocker Band remained behind to contest the Gr.3 $31,800 Garrards Frith Stakes at TABCORP Park, Menangle on Saturday before heading north. Jones heads to Albion Park this Saturday night and looks likely to strike early. “We’re off to a good start and both horses have arrived in good shape and look ready to kick-off their Brisbane campaign this weekend. Both have come up with good draws and should prove very competitive, obviously it’s hard to line up the form of the rivals but I’m told they look well placed.” Jones said. Classy filly Delightful Memphis is the ace in the pack for Jones and will chase the Listed $25,000 Egmont Park Stud Provincial Oaks at Albion Park on July 1 before starting in the Gr.2 $75,000 Queensland Oaks the following week. A last start runner-up behind arch rival and freakish filly Spanish Armada in the Gr.1 $150,000 Diamond on Jewels day at Ashburton in 1:52.1 on June 3 will start from gate three in the final event, the APHRC Winter Carnival Begins July 1 Mares Pace over the 1660m. Boasting a record of 6 wins and 15 minor placings from 22 starts to date, Delightful Memphis has finished as runner-up behind Spanish Armada on ten occasions. It was expected Spanish Armada was also Brisbane bound before injury forced a change of plans. And that news has Jones with an extra spring in his step. “Look it’s very disappointing for connections and fans alike that we won’t see this super filly competing but it certainly gives us a chance of securing a big race victory. The whole reason for this trip for us was to pick up an Oaks title and when it was announced that she was also coming, we certainly had reservations. “You can’t run and hide forever and obviously we made the trek across the ditch, we’re here now and things have certainly fallen in our favour. This run this weekend will have her ready for her two main targets. “We’ve been so close in many major events this season but it would be great to end her three-year-old term with an Oaks victory, I think she deserves it.” An added bonus for Jones this weekend is securing the drive behind millionaire pacer and Craig Cross trained Bling It On in the Listed $25,000 Lucky Creed Open Pace. The Hunter Cup winner resumes and is being readied for the Gr.2 $50,000 Garrards Sunshine Sprint on July 8 followed a week later by the Gr.1 $200,000 UBET Blacks A Fake. “I wasn’t expecting this drive, it came as a real shock and I’m quite humbled by it actually, he’s a mighty horse with a great following. “He’s had a couple of trials and looks nicely drawn off the front-line (gate 5) but there looks to be a number of hardened runners in the field.” Regular reinsman Luke McCarthy has elected to remain in Sydney where he has a number of key bookings including the richly talented three-year-old colt Vincent for Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen in a semi-final of the Breeders Challenge series. Chris Barsby

Former World Driving Champion Mark Jones is headed to Brisbane for the winter carnival. And the star harness racing horseman will bring a talented trio to the Sunshine State. Spearheading his team is the richly talented three-year-old filly Delightful Memphis, a last start runner-up behind archrival Spanish Armada in the Gr.1 $150,000 Diamond on Jewels day at Ashburton last Saturday. It was the 10th time Delightful Memphis has filled that role against her nemesis during her career. And while Delightful Memphis has beaten Spanish Armada this season, it’s quickly developed into one of New Zealand’s great rivalries in recent times. Delightful Memphis touched down in Sydney today (Wednesday) and will complete her journey to Brisbane this weekend. “The Brisbane trip has been on the radar for some time and while it’s likely Spanish Armada is now headed this way too, we’re going to stick solid and give it another shot. It might be different on neutral ground and with a more aggressive racing style this time around.” Jones said. The Bettors Delight filly will race on Saturday week (June 17) at Albion Park before taking in the $25,000 Provincial Oaks (July 1) followed by the $75,000 Queensland Oaks (July 8). Boasting a record of 6 wins and 14 seconds from 22 starts, Delightful Memphis has paced a lifetime best time of 1:51.9 this season when successful at Wairio. “Her season has been very good with the exception of running into Spanish Armada far too many times, I thought her run was very good in the Jewels and probably a little stiff not to hold the lead which put us one extra spot back on the inside. Her effort to make ground on the other filly in a 25.5 final quarter was quite unbelievable. “She’s come through that race really well and the trip away shouldn’t worry her, she’s a seasoned traveler and should actually thrive on the Australian style of racing. I’ve driven at Albion Park and they don’t back off, I think that will suit my filly. “Obviously barrier draws will play a huge part in the race but I’m confident my filly can turn the tables on Spanish Armada. I think it will be rather interesting in the coming weeks.” Jones is also sending proven Group One winning mare Rocker Band and last start TABCORP Park, Menangle winner Kowhai Monarch to Brisbane. Rocker Band, a regally bred daughter of Rocknroll Hanover from the New Zealand Cup winner Mainland Banner, will trial tonight (Wednesday) at Bathurst under the watchful eye of Ashlee Grives. At her most recent start, Rocker Band finished second behind star performer The Orange Agent in the Gr.1 $100,000 Queen of the Pacific at TABCORP Park, Melton on May 20. Jones has a number of options for Rocker Band during her Brisbane campaign. The last time Jones competed in Brisbane was back in 2013 when successful aboard Caesar Augustus in the Albion Park Invitational Drivers Championship. Chris Barsby

Senorita Margarita broke a fourteen year old track and Southland harness racing record when she won at Ascot Park yesterday. The three year old filly by Vintage Master has only been in the south for six weeks after being leased out of Mark Jones stable. Her 2-46.5 for the 2200 metre stand bettered Precious Title’s 2-47.1 set in 2003. The time also created a new all-comers record. Now trained by Kirstin Barclay, Senorita Margarita began well and lead all the way for stable driver Andrew Suddaby. “She stepped good. We weren’t too sure how she would go from a stand because both of her workouts had been from the mobile. I got her on the right foot and she went away good,” he said. Suddaby was quick to assess the situation and with Spoilsport on his back - the rest of the field split into two bunches and strung out, he didn’t allow the chasers to make up any significant ground. “I didn’t think I was going that quick but running 2-46 is probably why they were strung out. I had a look a few times and we were (the first two) out by a wee way so I just kept the pedal to the metal and it worked in the end.” The winning margin was three quarters of a length with Ideal Art running second. Senorita Margarita winning        - Photo Bruce Stewart “At the top of the straight I thought the others were going to get past me. She may have knocked off a bit and was waiting on the others. If we’d gone another 100 metres I still think she would have held them out (anyway).” Senorita Margarita is out of the nineteen win Holmes Hanover mare Oaxaca Lass. Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing  

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

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