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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mark Jones is in the final stages of making a change that could take his training career to a whole new level. The Burnham horseman is going through the process of setting up a stable in Sydney in an effort to maximise returns for his owners and ensure longer, more fruitful, racing careers for their horses. After a lot of testing the water and planning Jones will look to, in the next few weeks, confirm that he will establish a stable at the same property as leading trainers, Shane and Lauren Tritton at menangle “Right now it seems to be the best thing to do by my horses and by my owners,” Jones told HRNZ on Friday night. “I’ve got a lot of horses in my barn at the moment who are close to reaching their mark here and are becoming harder and harder to place but with the systems in place over in Australia I can pretty much start fresh with most of them and we can have another go from scratch.” Jones cited horses like Kowhai Monarch and real torque who would likely travel to Australia and start low-down in the grades with races available to them each and every week for decent money. “The amount of money that they could earn is quite impressive, of course it’s not guaranteed, but it’s possible. “The costs of doing it from over there are pretty reasonable too. I think I worked out that it would be about 90 cents a kg per day for a horse’s feed and the costs of being where I am looking at going aren’t that expensive either.” While Australia would become a main focus, Jones would still look to be fully operational back in New Zealand and travel to Australia most weekends to race at Menangle on a Saturday night. “I can fly out of Christchurch in mid-afternoon and be over there well in time for the first race and then can come back home again the next day if I want to. “I’d have a stable foreman running the operation for me during the times I am not there so everything will keep ticking over as normal" It’s not just Jones’ more low-key horses that will benefit either. His current star three-year-olds, Delightful Memphis and Whittaker could both return at the start of next season over there in the maiden grades,which is quite incredible considering what they have done in their careers. Class mare Rocker Band could rejoin his stable too and thus further the lifespan of her racing career before she heads to the broodmare barn. But it doesn’t stop there either. Jones is look at his options to take on other horses from other stables for trainers who are in a similar boat to what he is. But he’s got a few stipulations. “The current trainers percentage over there is 7.5 per cent, I would probably look at making that 10 per cent and see five per cent of it go back to the original trainer so they are still getting something out of it. “I don’t want other trainers owners, but I would be happy to take a horse for someone if they thought it would suit the racing over there and maximise it's earnings and there are plenty of horses that would suit" Jones will head over to Australia to look to finalise plans and get the ball well and truly moving on the new venture and he will do so having the backing of a number of horses from his own stable, who are already being earmarked for the move as well as others from stables around the country. “I’ve got a few horses from other trainers who will probably come over with me initially which will be good because we will be able to see how it will all work and then go from there.” While many in the industry are currently airing frustrations about the new handicapping system, Jones said that while it is a part of his decision, ultimately he was doing what he thought was best for the most important people in his eyes. Harnesslink media  Courtesy of HRNZ

The combination of Mark Jones and Samantha Ottley has been one to follow in the south this season and they look to have the closest there is to an anchor in the pick six at Wyndham on Sunday, with Whittaker in the last. After sitting parked, Whittaker was dominant at Invercargill in the C0 grade. The step to C1 is unlikely to worry him and the three draw should only make it easier. A junior drivers race kicks off the six and it is hard to go past Don Domingo from the two gate. He was cut down by Raukapuka Ruler taking the passing lane to make it three in a row last week at Addington but should be harder to get past here. Don Sebastion, Bettor Enforce and Glenburn Joy are others worthy of inclusion. Race seven is the second leg and looks a bit harder but despite being unproven from a stand, Rakarover has got to go in. He has drawn three, ironically, his first front-row draw this year, and first time inside six in his career, but looks well equipped to cope. Equally as unknown from a stand is Southbound Train who looked okay when third on debut at Wyndham, although four and a half lengths behind Rakarover. Vera Mac, Navajo Art and A Smart Excuse were second third and fourth from a stand at Invercargill last week while former local Jimmy Nga is well versed from behind the tapes. Power Surge is a risk on debut but has stand-start workout form from Canterbury last year. Shezza GNP was beaten last week in her first run for the season. From one off the gate again, this time second up, she looks the one to beat in the third leg with Aidan Junior the hardest. Race nine is shaping up like a battle between Kayteeoh Denario and RR Sand Dollar with Dexter up against Blair. The one draw in the Equine Stakes didn't work out for Kayteeoh Denario who was crossed and shuffled. With a wall in front of her turning in, she waited then flew for third. Expect Dexter to make the draw work better for him. RR Sand Dollar sprinted hard from the 800 last week and just went down. Other Canterbury runners worthy of inclusion are Dancing In The Dark, Layton's Lass and Aymar. Seaswift Joy can do no wrong and looks the best in race 10 on her adopted home track. However, it is her first from a stand so for insurance look to Rakarolla from 10 metres, along with and Statham and Highview Freddy off 20. Mac Henry

The Alabar Southern Supremacy Stakes is shaping up to be a real beaut this year and the Mark Jones trained Whittaker added his name to the list of candidates for the harness racing Group Two feature on Diamonds Day in late April. In the McKnight and Brown Mobile Pace driver Sam Ottley settled Whittaker five back on the outside with Lilac Flash taking the early leaders role before Manuka Valley took over. This left Whittaker parked.  "It wasn't the plan to be there. They went hard early and were playing a bit of mickey mouse up front so I thought we'd stay out of it. He's a pretty relaxed horse and it didn't worry him being there," said Ottley. With 1200 metres to run Lilac Flash was taken out of the trail to the lead again. At the 400 Ottley had Whittaker up challenging Lilac Flash with the main danger Grand Rainbow on Whittaker's back. On straightening Ottley let the Sportswriter gelding loose and he ran home too well to beat Grand Rainbow by a length and three quarters with another three quarters of a length back to Lilac Flash. The winning time was 2-40.9. Whittaker and Sam Ottley easily winning at Ascot Park today - Photo Bruce Stewart. "The mile rate surprises me because he just did it so comfortably. He knocked off at the end with nothing around him but he was doing it easily." Whittaker was purchased at the 2015 Australian Classic Yearling Sales in Auckland by Nigel McGrath for $20,000 when named Melman. He was initially trained by Mark Jones's mother Leone winning a workout and qualifying as a two year old in May 2016. He was then purchased by Greg Brodie.  "He's only had three starts and couldn't have done more in all of them. He is a lovely horse. He's exciting and hopefully he can go a wee way. He's got high speed - lightning quick really."    Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing

The well performed Rocker Band has joined the Clevedon stable of Barry Purdon. Rocker Band, owned by Greg Brodie, has won 10 races including the Harness Jewels for 4-year-old mares at Cambridge from the Burnham stable of Mark Jones. Rocker Band has been campaigning in the Auckland area since the end of September, compiling a win and five minor placings in seven starts. She ran second to Chase The Dream in the Futurity Stakes at Cambridge last time. Gotta Del, a dashing winner on grass at Cromwell last Sunday, has been transferred to the Rakauhauka (Southland) stable of Clark Barron. Gotta Del was previously with Ken and Tony Barron at West Melton. Rakarazor, who won a Sires’ Stakes heat for 3-year-old fillies at Forbury Park last year when trained by Barron for Brendan Fahy, has transferred to the Cobbitty (New South Wales) stable of John McCarthy. Rakarazor was a winner at Alexandra Park last month when trained at Papakura by Gareth Dixon. “She (Rakarazor) will target the Golden Guitar series,’’ said Dixon. A heat and final of that series at Tamworth was won last year by Cyclone Kate, part-owned by Dixon and trained by McCarthy. Cyclone Kate, who won six races in New Zealand, has added another 10 in Australia. She has won three feature races for mares at Menangle and taken a record of 1.50.8. Extreme Guest, a winner at Washdyke on January 6, has been sold to patrons of the Victoria stable of David Aiken. Extreme Guest was trained at Temuka by Brent White for his last win. The Extreme Three 6-year-old won two races from the Robert Dunn stable. Franco Hamilton has been bought out of the White stable by Kumeu owner-trainer Tim Vince. Franco Hamilton won at Forbury Park and Winton last month in four starts after being bought by Peter McDermott, of Christchurch. Tayler Strong

The Rowe Cup carnival in Auckland is the next major aim for returning open class trotter, Master Lavros. Despite being surprisingly beaten by Monty Python at Omakau early in the New Year, the big gelding’s trainer, Mark Jones, wasn’t phased and is pressing on with his plans as he looks towards Auckland. After his stunning fresh up win at Addington in December, Master Lavros just never quite looked as dominant when at Central Otago and Jones couldn’t quite pinpoint why. After leading throughout the majority of the event, Master Lavros was collared in the shadows of the post by Monty Python who had enjoyed the run in the trail behind him. “It was disappointing to be beaten, I thought with the run he probably should have won,” Jones said. “But it’s going to happen from time to time, the most important thing is he’s sound and healthy.” There were some thoughts to head to Australia with the two-time Dominion Handicap winner but the Omakau result put to bed any chances of that. Jones will instead focus on keeping the free-wheeling trotter ticking over through the rest of this month with some options available at Addington in the coming weeks. There are Free-For-All trots on January 27 and also February 17 as well as a host of handicap races in which Jones can target. “The main aim is to keep him happy and sound and hopefully we can get him to Auckland. “We will make that the main aim now and really push towards that.” Whether or not he can recapture his best open class form remains to be seen, but even the thought of his big hulking frame back in the feature trotting races will be a welcomed prospect considering the current state of affairs in our open class ranks. Meanwhile, Saveapatrol, another Jones trained runner on the comeback trail continues to progress nicely as he comes back from yet another injury in his disrupted career.   Matt Markham

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