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Kiwi-bred two-year-old filly Platinum Revolution has been the latest Australian raider added to the list for the 2018 Harness Jewels to be held at Cambridge Raceway on Saturday 2 June. A Group Three Pink Bonnet winner, Platinum Revolution has accepted an invitation into the 2YO Diamond with a record of three starts, two wins and a third. The win in the Pink Bonnet in early March was over the distance of one mile, in which she recorded a time of 1.54.7. Trained by Shane and Lauren Tritton of Sydney and owned by Rob Jones, Shane was thrilled to receive the invitation and did not hold back on his opinion of the filly. “I’m very happy with Gucci (Platinum Revolution). She has come back better this preparation and is undoubted the best two-year-old filly I have trained,” he stated. “She is versatile and tough and we are very excited to be bringing her to the Jewels.” The daughter of Changeover has a unique to connection to another Australian, now claimed as an honorary Kiwi by the New Zealand racing industry. She was co-bred by commentator Mark McNamara, along with his wife Katie, her father Steve and their good friend Aaron Goadsby. Her dam, Champagne Franco, was lightly raced having just two career starts but won on debut at Rangiora in 2011 for then trainer/driver Mark Jones. Platinum Revolution is her second live foal and first to race, and her career has been keenly followed by her breeders. “I’m really happy for the horse more than anything,” said Mark.  “She was the most beautiful natured yearling an absolute pleasure to have around.” “All the credit has to go to Matt Cross, he broke her in. And to the team at Mark Jones stable who did the early work with her.” “I knew when Shane bought her she was going get her chance but to know now she’s coming for the Jewels is extremely exciting. Her Mum got some extra hay this morning.” Whilst Mark cannot make the Jewels this year, his wife Katie will be present at the meeting to cheer Platinum Revolution home for her breeders. Which is fitting given she gifted the filly her name. “Katie named her. The ‘Platinum’ came from the dam’s ‘Champagne’ factor, and ‘Revolution’ is from the sire ‘Changeover,’” explained Mark. “Katie was away when the horse left, so she is looking forward to seeing her again.” Platinum Revolution joins an impressive Australian assualt on the Jewels in 2018, with invitations already accepted by Custodian, Wobelee, Carla’s Pixel, Shez All Rock and Jilliby Kung Fu. 2018 could potentially see the first year the Australians take a Jewels victory. Jess Smith

Many are saying Saturday's Northern Southland Trotting Club harness racing fields are the best seen in the south for a long time and they're not wrong. The sight of a fresh crop of two year olds; split into fillies and colts and geldings races, is in itself great to see and that's just the start of the story here. The inaugural Haras des Trotteurs Southland Trotting Oaks has carded a field full of depth and is proof of the emergence of Majestic Son as a sire of quality squaregaiters. Six of the eleven starters in Saturday's feature for trotting fillies are by Majestic Son. And there's no doubting that Wintonian Michelle Caig will be on-course just to see Renezmae, a horse she bred and raised. Renezmae, the likely favourite, won the Group One Breeders Crown for two year old fillies in Australia last season. After racing tough at Ashburton in the Hambletonian Classic last month she ran a brave fourth. The trip away and the race at Ascot Park will improve her chances for the New Zealand Trotting Oaks in a fortnight. But a win on Saturday won't surprise either. There is no doubting that trotting is on the climb in this country and this inititive is one of the many good things to come out of the Southland region this season. The New Zealand Standardbred Breeders, led by John Mooney and Brad Reid, have been to the forefront in getting this $20,000 race off the ground and the Australian based Hara des Trotteurs have been quick to support the fillies feature. Another inititive this season in the south has been the Nuggets Series. Starting in August, all heats have been worth $12,000 and all winners and second placegetters have become eligible to race in the $20,000 final at Ascot Park on Saturday. All winners, with the exception of Ardtoo, have fronted up and it a race that looks like a preview for the Southern Supremacy Stakes Final on Diamonds Day at the end of next month. The highest rated horse by a mile is the Mark Jones trained The Bus at R81. He's won six races this season with the next best rated horse being Zealand Star (R70) the winner of three. This for me is the race of the day with favourite horses like Franco Santino drawing wide and The Bus and the highly rated Lawrence having to content with second line draws.  Then we get to the three; Group Three races, on a day where there seems to be no undercard. The Yaldhurst Hotel Northern Southland Trotting Cup has had many great winners over the years including Mossdale Connor, Isaiah, Terror To Love (twice), Stunin Cullen and Bondy. More The Better will probably be the favourite for Saturday distance feature. As a three year old, he really came on late in the season and put together a winning sequence of four while campaigning in Australia. His wins there included the Group Two Queensland Derby. He comes into this 2700 metre race fresh but having won two trials. He's won his only standing start in Australia last season.  The Group Three Southern Lights, sponsored by Pryde's Easifeeds, is another mouth watering affair. The return of Dark Horse, who has been fitted for her return to racing at the Winton Workouts, will bring many to the track.   Harriot Of Mot, who has a few ex- Southlanders as owners, looks to be her main rival. She won this race in 2016. Smokey Mac, who currently leads the four year old ranking for the Harness Jewels also lines up in this feature. Trainer Brett Gray will get a good idea as to where he's at by racing against the better class trotters.  The Caduceus Club of Southland, who sponsor The Super Nuggets Final, also sponsor the two year old fillies feature with Alabar Stud. It also carries Group Three status. This race has been around for sixteen years and some of the early winners were Western Dream and Beaudiene Bad Babe. More recently Joanne's A Delight, Delightful Memphis and Dizzy Miss Lizzy have won. There are some other intriguing battles as well on the day with Hail Christian up against Swamp Major in the last race and quality up-and-coming trotters BD Love, Zoey's Gift and Jaw D Nancy squaring off. The weather forecast looks good so all roads lead to Ascot Park on Saturday for what should be a bumper day of harness racing. See ya there.  Bruce Stewart Southland Harness racing  

Mark Jones has joined an elite group of harness racing trainers by training the winners of 500 races. Jones was sitting on 497 wins before the Nelson two day meeting kicked off on Friday.  He won with Saveapatrol, and the The Bus on Friday and then again with The Bus in the Nelson Cup yesterday to bring up his milestone. The Bus (Art Major - Rondel Franco) was impressive on Friday for driver Samantha Ottley, running a 1-59.0 mile rate to easily account for a rating 54 to 69 field. He was even better yesterday rating a 2.00.5 mile rate from a stand over the staying test of 3000m. Cable Beach was just as impressive in second after leading for driver Dexter Dunn but he could not withstand the late burst from The Bus who beat him by a neck at the line. Saveapatrol (Christian Cullen - Rondel Franco) a converted pacer who easily won his first trotting the first day at Nelson is a half brother to The Bus. Both horses are out of the good mare Rondel Franco who won 2 races in New Zealand before being exported overseas and winning another 35 races in the USA and Canada. The Bus winning the Nelson Cup yesterday. Harnesslink Media

Top pacing mare Nek Time has been retired after suffering another leg injury early this week. Nek Time was being aimed at this weeks Nelson harness racing meeting, but instead will head to the paddock to recover from the injury and then be put in foal next season.  The speedy mare was trained by Glenys and Terry Chmiel and finished her racing career with 8 wins from 25 lifetime starts.  Nek Time (Gotta Go Cullect - Braithwaite) won several group races including the Queensland Oaks in Australia and had stake earnings of close to $160,000.   ________________________________________________________________________________ Former 11 win pacer Saveapatrol will have his first start as a trotter at Nelson on Friday. The brilliant but unsound son of Christian Cullen qualified as a trotter a month ago winning a Rangiora trial by 19 lengths, going some nine seconds under the qualifying time. Saveapatrol qualifying as a trotter   Harnesslink Media  

Champion harness racing pacer Auckland Reactor has had a hot couple of days as a sire, with his progeny winning several races over the last week including the PGG Wrightson yearling sales final at Alexandra Park on Sunday night with the unbeaten Chase Auckland (Auckland Reactor - Delicata - Falcon Seelster).  Soho Burning Love( 3f Auckland Reactor-Soho Bordeaux - Western Terror) was another big winner for Auckland Reactor on Saturday night at Melton when she blitzed a 3yo fillies field by 30 meters in a stunning 1-52.6 mile rate.  Soho Burning Love is trained and was driven by Michael Stanley. Smoke N Reactor was impressive for Mark Jones at Winton on Sunday when she was attacked for most of the race but was still too good winning in a 1-58.8 mile rate on a slushy track. Smoke N Reactor is out of Smoke N Mirrors a Pacific Rocket mare who won ten races between 2007 and 2009. Ardtoo (Auckland Reactor - Tobetoo - Dream Away) also won at Winton on Sunday and was an easy winner of the Nugget Final. The ease of the win did not reflect the price as Ardtoo paid a whopping $62.60 and $10.30 on the tote. Chase Auckland is clearly the best performed son on the racetrack for Auckland Reactor and has followed in his fathers footsteps so far by winning his first seven races in a row. Auckland Reactor won his first seventeen starts before being tripped up by a standing start race at Cambridge in 2009 where he was beaten by three quarters of a length by the Geoff Small trained All Tiger after breaking badly at the start. Auckland Reactor currently is a clear second on the three-year-old sire's list for money won in New Zealand to none other than Champion sire Bettor's Delight. Ardtoo winning easily at Winton   Smoke N Reactor Soho Burning Love Chase Auckland Harnesslink Media  

Ultimate Fighting Championship star Robert Whittaker is a man who knows how to win and so too it seems is the four-year-old harness racing horse named after him. Ashlee Grives drove impressive Kiwi Whittaker to his second win in as many weeks. A week after Whittaker won his heat of the Bathurst Harness Racing Club’s Star Trek series with a flat tyre, he showed his toughness once more in taking out his 1,730 metres semi-final. The son of Sportswriter trained in Christchurch by Mark Jones had to do plenty of work three wide to get in a position to challenge for the win, but over the last 200m when Whittaker accelerated, no-one could match him. Whittaker ($2.20) went on to win by 6½m over Amanda Turnbull's talented mare Eliza Dushku ($2.10 favourite) and now shapes as the runner to beat in the November 9 final. “He’s a very nice horse and the beauty of him is he can do that bit of work and still have that speed at the end,” Ashlee Grives, who has driven Whittaker over the past fortnight, said. “Hopefully he pulls up okay after this because he’ll take a bit of beating in the final. “He’s a very nice horse and it’s a pleasure to drive him … it’s a pleasure to drive him in a good series like this.” Chasing four consecutive wins, Eliza Dushku began quickly from her inside draw and held out Our Chittybangbang from the stable of 2016 Star Trek series victor Chris Frisby. Grives, who had to contend with a barrier seven draw, guided Whittaker three wide in search of a sit. As the bell sounded he was 3m off the pace, and from that spot he struck down the home straight. By Anya Whitelaw Reprinted with permission of The Western Advocate

The Perth Inter Dominion if off the agenda for My Field Marshal. Trainer Tim Butt confirmed he would keep the classy former Kiwi pacer in Victoria for a string of races before relocating to Sydney where he will soon set-up his base at Menangle. “We just don’t think the four races in two weeks, especially with a couple being longer races, will suit him,” he said. “He’s had his issues with the wind operation and we’re better to space his races and target the shorter races as well.” Meanwhile, Butt’s exciting four-year-old Let It Ride steps out again at Cranbourne tomorrow (Tuesday). “He’ll have this run, then another at Cranbourne before that 4&5YO Championship at Melton next month,” Butt said. Butt confirmed he would share a barn with Ashlee Grives at Menangle. Grives has formed a partnership with Kiwi horseman Mark Jones, who will rotate horses from NZ to her Menangle barn to increase racing opoportunities. “I’ve got Rocker Band, Delightful Memphis and Whittaker here now and they aren’t far off racing,” Grives said. ____________________________________________________________________________________ JIMMY O’Sullivan landed one of Aussie harness racing’s biggest accolades when crowd the Gordon Rothacker Medallist last night (Sunday). The Kiwi-born horseman, who now lives in Queensland, is best known for his 1987 Christchurch Inter Dominion and NZ Cup wins with My Lightning Blue. O’Sullivan’s other stars included the likes of Quite Famous, Its Motor Power, Our Brenray and Margaret Shannon. On the same night, Lennythshark edged-out stablemate Hectorjayjay in a very tight vote for Victorian Horse of the Year honours. ____________________________________________________________________________________ THE stirring clash between Chicago Bull and Soho Tribeca wasn’t the only big talking point at Gloucester Park last Friday night. A veteran former NSW pacer called Sokys Bigbullet set tongues wagging with the most breathtaking of WA debuts for new trainer Tony Svilicich. Svilicich is the man who worked such wonders with veteran stars Mysta Magical Mach and Has The Answers. Word was out Sokys Bigbullet would run well, but he did more than that. He scored the most dominant wins and stamped himself as a potential feature race player. The big striding eight-year-old, who won 19 of his 80 starts in NSW, led and driver Colin Brown just let him roll. Instead of tiring, he just ran a handle field of rivals ragged and won by almost 10m in a flying 1min54.8sec mile rate for 2130m. The mile rate was just 1.9sec outside Beaudiene Boaz’s track record. ____________________________________________________________________________________ NO wonder they call him the whiz kid. Victoria’s top young driver Jason Lee etched yet another milestone into his bounty when he drove half the card – four of the eight winners – at Melton last Friday night. The wins included emerging mare Keayang Kallisto for his mum, Marg Lee, in the feature race, the Blossom Lady for mares. Lee surprised some by leading and opting to park hot favourite Carlas Pixel then stave her off late to win by a half-neck in a slick 1min56.9sec mile rate for 2240m. They ripped home in 55.6 and 27.5sec. Just as satisfying to Lee was another win for his mum when veteran and stable favourite Keayang Steamer returned to winning form in race eight. Just for good measure, the nine-year-old posted a flying 1min52.9sec mile rate for 1720m. Keayang Steamer has been plagued by injuries since looking an emerging superstar when he beat Smoken Up in the 2014 Horsham Cup. Lee’s other wins came aboard Peter Manning’s trotting mare Garston Girl in race three and Bad Billy in race four. Adam Hamilton

The Bus trained by Mark Jones proved too good for eight other rivals in the inaugural $12,000. Caduceus Club Of Southland Nuggets Finals at the Northern Southland Meeting at Ascot Park yesterday.  He held on to beat Kilowatt Kid by three quarters on a length.  "It's a good series down here and there's the final in March so that's good. The Northern Southland Club used to fly me down, the owner likes coming and you've got the Supremacy so it works in good," said trainer Mark Jones.  The Bus (outside) beating Kilowatt Kid - Photo Bruce Stewart. The Art Major colt qualified for yesterday's final when he won at Gore at the end of September. After that win he ran second to Hail Christian at Addington before winning on the same track eight days ago. With just over a lap to run driver Sam Ottley took the three year old forward to sit parked outside leader Benio Ben. When Some Excusesomewhere improved with a lightning move at the 500, The Bus had got the lead. Some Excusesomewhere broke turning for home and The Bus was left in front. The only challenge came from the trailing horse Kilowatt Kid which got within three quarters of a length of the winner.  "He's lazy and knocks off and only has to do what he has to, but when they come at him he goes again." The Bus is out of the 37 win Falcon Seelster mare Rondel Franco who raced extensively in America. He's owned by Grant Hatton who also raced The Bus's half-brother Saveapatrol which won the inaugural 2013 Northern Southland Autumn Futurity. Sam Ottley, The Bus, Andrew Suddaby (obscured) Bill McDonald President of the Northern Southland TC, Grant Haddon and Neil Timms - Photo Bruce Stewart. Jones says The Bus will continue to race here before heading to Australia at the end of the season.  "After the Supremacy he'll go to Australia where he's paid up for a few series."  And after that he sees him racing in some of the staying races next season.  "He's probably a Country Cups type horse. He's not up with the elite three year olds."  Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing

Burnham trainer Mark Jones rarely heads south without a horse ready to win and a plan to be executed. The Bus driven by Samantha Ottley duly won for Jones today and I suspect the plan may be to line up in a special maiden initiative introduced by Southern Harness this season  - a $12,000 Nugget Mobile Pace Final at the Northern Southland meeting on 7th October. The Bus is now qualified for this race and the conditions of the series allow him to carry on winning in the meantime. Jones is also a fan of the Northern Southland Club and has been a sponsor for a few seasons. All horses that start between today's Gore meeting and the end of September in non-win races and accumulate enough points will be eligible to start in the final.  And Jones's plan could also extend to getting early points on the board for the Alabar Southern Supremacy Stakes in April.  In today's race Ottley eased the three year old into his stride from a tricky second line draw. She moved The Bus out with 1800 metres to run but was beaten to the jump by a fast move from Clark Barron driving Some Excusesomewhere. Ottley got onto the back of the Barron runner and was taken forward with cover. With just under a lap to run The Bus had taken up the running from the favourite Black Ops.  The Bus held on to win by three quarters of a length from Black Ops with Benio Ben another length and three quarters back in third. The Bus beating Black Ops                               - Photo Bruce Stewart. "He was a wee bit too smart today which he had to be from the draw. But he had to get round them. He did it quite comfortably but actually knocked off at the end. He still had a bit there (at the finish). It's his first trip down here and there looks to be a bit of improvement in him," said Ottley after the run. Last season The Bus raced in the Young Gun Series in Auckland against the likes of Alta Maestro and Spankem.  He resumed this season at Addington last Friday night.  "I was really pleased with his run at Addington the other night. I know it was only fifth but it was a good fifth. He was nice and relaxed today because he can go the other way." The three year old Art Major colt is raced by loyal stable client Grant Hatton. He's out of the Falcon Seelster mare Rondel Franco which won thirty seven races in a career that included racing in New Zealand, Canada and America. Hatton raced The Bus's half brother Saveapatrol which won eleven races including the first ever Northern Southland TC Futurity in 2013.     Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing

Harness racing driver Samantha Ottley managed to grab two driving wins last night at Addington and she did it by winning two of the trotting races with pacing bred mares.  Ottley drove outsider Michelle to a dominant win at long odds in the first trotting race of the night. At bolters odds of over $36.20 and $7.30 on the tote, Michelle who has been a serial breaker in her races, finally trotted all the way and cruised to an easy win over second favorite Still Eyre and driver Matthew Williamson. Michelle (Live Or Die - Eves Apple) is a pacing bred mare trained by Mark Jones and owned by Wayne Higgs. The lightly raced mare has taken a while to adapt to the trotting gait but is clearly going to win more races judging by last nights impressive performance. A few races later, Donegal Bettergretch won the R60 and Faster trot last night in a quick 3-19.7 for the 2600m stand. Donegal Bettergretch (Bettor's Delight - Donegal Gretchen) was driven to the lead early by Ottley and the pacing bred mare trotted well and proved too strong for her rivals, winning comfortably from Petite One and driver Colin DeFilippi. DeFilippi is sitting on 1999 lifetime driving wins and was a bit unlucky not to finish closer with Petite One as she was last at the 400m and was held up for most of the run home, until a late gap saw her close strongly into second. Top reinsman Blair Orange has moved to a two win lead in this seasons drivers premiership. Orange is sitting on eight wins for the season, two wins clear of David Butcher who is poised to narrow the gap with his good book of drives at Alexandra Park tonight. Amazon Lily got the ball rolling for Blair last night when she began well from the standing start and was quickly around to lead and controlling the race in front. The Ken Barron trained daughter of Bettor's Delight had too much speed for the opposition and won as she liked pacing the 2600m stand in 3.23.1. The last 800m of 57.5 was the quickest of the night until the last race when Orange adopted similar tactics on another Barron trained horse in For The Corz.  For The Corz also led early and controlled the race from the front before whipping over her last 800m in an identical 57.5 to win easily giving Blair and Barron a double for the night.    Samantha Ottley driving Michelle to victory.   Harnesslink Media  

Harness racing trainer Paul Nairn has Ronald J primed and ready to go in Race 6 at the New Zealand Metropolitan Trotting Clubs meeting tonight at Addington. Nairn does not think the mobile start tonight will worry the big Love You gelding and the small field should suit his style of racing.  Young junior driver Stacy Whatuira has driven Ronald J in all six of his wins and the times the horse is running suggests that he is a logical anchor in tonights $25,000 Pick Six starting in Race 5 Pick Six Preview   Leg 1     Race 5 [7:24pm] Mark Jones holds the key to this leg with his two speedy 3yo pacers The Bus and Si Si Senior. Mark has opted to drive Si Si Senior who came home in very fast sectionals in his first start to the races. With a run closer to the pace he should be hard to beat in this field. The Bus will be driven by Samantha Ottley and he won a workout easily at Rangiora on the 9th August with Sam doing the driving and could try to lead in this race. Van Laddie is another in form horse needed, with driver Blair Orange declaring him his best drive of the night. Leg 2     Race 6 [7:49pm] Ronald J looks to be the clear anchor of Pick Six and should win with no mistakes.   Leg 3     Race 7 [8:16pm] Malik was disappointing last start but his bloods were out and he has been freshened for this. He won a workout recently in preparation for this race and he will be hard to beat if he can find the front at some stage. Lovetodream drops back in class here and gets the services of Matt Purvis with a junior claim. She ran home in 54.7 from back in the field last start which suggests she can win if handier on the turn this week.   Leg 4     Race 8 [8:46pm] This leg is quite tricky with a big field of trotters and many chances. Alvira Hest beat a similar field easily last week and could win again with the same trip but she does go back another 10m this week. We suggest taking as many as the budget allows, but include: Medusa, Dusky Eyre, Rum In The Sun, Redwood Invasion, Rocknpop and Alvira Hest   Leg 5     Race 9 [9:16pm] Another big field here with the TAB favorite being Matau Gem. She went well here when leading last time to the track and driver Gavin Smith thinks she is his best drive this week, so she is a possible anchor. Others worth including are Bound To Impress who has been running home late in most of her starts from back in the field and she could trail here from the ace draw. Also Boomer and Christmas Toyboy from the second row are chances.   Leg 6     Race 10 [9:46pm]  The final leg is an even go and again as many as the budget allows. Gunpowder has been racing well and has drawn to race handy. The 2600m distance will suit and he is the TAB favorite. Others needed are, Bohannan, Kiwi On Show, Bettor Chance, Martin John and My Wee Man.   Suggested Pick Six   ($21.60 for 20%) Leg 1     4,7,10 Leg 2     3 Leg 3     7,9 Leg 4     3,6,7,15,16,17 Leg 5     3 Leg 6     3,4,8,9,10,11   Harnesslink Media          

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

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

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