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The Christian Cullen FFA at tonights harness racing meeting at Addington Raceway may not have had a big field numbers wise but with the Harness Jewels just eight days away, several of the name runners were having their final blowout before the big day. Dalton Bromac was a warm favourite in front of Sky Major and Tiger Tara while Messini was let go at ten to one in the 1950 metres mobile. Dalton Bromac and Ricky May came out firing from barrier four but were hotly challenged and headed by Tiger Tara and Gerard O'Reilly who took up the lead with 1600 metres to go. Tiger Tara was really running in front and was joined in front at the 1000 metres by Messini and Mark Purdon. The speed was upped again passing the 800 metres and the two smart four year olds sizzled down the back straight and and carried the battle around the corner and up the home straight. About 50 metres from home Messini mastered Tiger Tara and held a half neck margin at the finish. Sky Major made ground stylishly from well off the pace for third, 1 3/4 lengths away with six lengths away to a very disappointing Dalton Bromac. The 1950 metres was paced in a very quick 2:19.2 in the cool and brisk conditions, a mile rate of 1:54.8 with closing sectionals of 54.8 and 27.4 Mark Purdon was pleased to have the son of Art Major back in the winners circle. " I am really pleased that he is back to his best. " He didn't handle the Auckland way round so you can disregard those runs" " The draw (14) in the Jewels makes it very hard but at least he is back to his best," Mark said. Geoff Dunn was thrilled with the run of Tiger Tara. "He showed real gate speed and fought on great so I couldn't be happier. "He is right where I want him heading into next week and he is right on target,"Geoff said. Barry Purdon was also very happy with Sky Major. " They have run home in 54.8 and he has made up a lot of ground." " He blew out at the 100 metres but that will top him off nicely for the Jewels," Barry said. Dalton Bromac was very disappointing by his own high standards and it soon became apparent why. Post race it was discovered that Dalton Bromac had bled and he has been stood down for thirty days as a result. Benny Hill was very philosophical after the race. "At least we still have a horse." "We will take him home and give him a break and get him ready for next season," Benny said. Messini sent out a very clear message tonight that he is right in the zone at the moment and not completely out of it on Jewels day even from barrier 14. Harnesslink Media  

By the time the PGG Sales Series final for two year old fillies was due to be run at tonights harness racing meeting at Addington, the driving rain had well and truly set in and had made conditions atrocious. The hot favourite was the Mach Three filly Northern Velocity who drew nicely at barrier five while her main opposition  Luisanabelle Midfrew drew two further out at seven. The two favourites both came off the gate at speed but due to her better barrier Northern Velocity found the front first and driver Mark Purdon was in no mood to hand up in the slushy conditions. Luisanabelle Midfrew and Matthew Williamson ended up parked in the driving rain with Kashana and Ricky May in the trail. There was no moves mid race and as they turned for home  Northern Velocity went clear and still held a 3/4 length advantage at the finish from Kashana and Killer Queen and David Butcher who had been three back on the inner. Luisanabelle finished a big fourth after sitting out parked the whole way. Northern Velocity paced the 1950 metres in 2:28.2, a mile rate of 2:02.2 with closing sectionals of 59.7 and 28. Mark Purdon was a relieved man post race.  " I didn't know how she would handle those track conditions but I knew the place to be was in front. " The conditions are really bad out there so I'm just happy to have got the job done," Mark said. Mark thought time would be Northern Velocity's best friend. " I think she will develop into a lovely three year old and if it wasn't for the Harness Jewels, she would be headed for the spelling paddock," Mark said. While probably not up with a couple of her stablemates, Northern Velocity still shapes as a player on Harness Jewels day. Harnesslink Media  

Harness racing can be cruel at times as John Dunn well knows. The stable star two year old Code Black has been short on luck the whole season and having to start in the Sires Stakes consolation tonight at Addington (May 15th) instead of the big dance later in the night just about summed up the son of Bettors Delight's season. Code Black was a top third in the Young Guns final in early March but needed a break after that series which meant he only got one shot at a sires stakes heat in which he was very unlucky not to finish a lot closer than sixth. So even though he is more than capable of holding his own against the very best going around, tonight Code Black started in the $17,000 Sires Stakes consolation. Drawing barrier eight tonight meant John took Code Black off the gate and he settled last in the running line. Approaching the 1400 metres mark John sent Code Black forward and he worked to the death seat outside the leader Ice Crusher with 1000 metres to go. John applied some more pressure as they turned for home and Code Black burst clear before having to withstand a late challenge from the hot favourite Cash N Flow and Mark Purdon but he still had half a length to spare when the winning post came up. Sparkling Delight and Gerard O'Reilly battled on well for third. Code Black paced the 1950 metres in 2:25.6 with closing sectionals of 59.1 and 27.9 which was good going in the slushy conditions. John Dunn was happy the horse had showed everyone what he was capable of. " He went huge in the Sales race last week running on from well back on a 26.6 quarter. " If we had had some luck in our Sires Stakes heat he would have been in the final and not the consolation." "I am really glad for the owners who buy one every year at the sales so they deserve a good result like this." John is resigned to losing Code Black as he is under offer and will be vetted tomorrow. " The money is good but not as much as you would think but it is so hard to win those big age group races so the sale makes sense," John said. Code Black was one of the few two year olds around this season who was capable of mixing with the All Stars runners so his sale won't help age group racing in Canterbury. Harnesslink Media    

The harness racing pundits were unsure pre race who was the most likely winner of this years $200,000 PGG Wrightson Yearling Sales Pace with several runners having their supporters. The All star barn had four runners involved and all had solid support on the tote with Lazarus the best supported of those due to his front row draw of six. Motu Premier and Tim Williams led from barrier two before handing up to Lazarus and Mark Purdon after 400 metres.  Art Form and David Butcher went forward from barrier eight to sit parked giving Shandale and Maurice McKendry the one by one. Going past the 900 metres, Maurice hooked Shandale out three wide but as soon as he did the speed went on up front and Shandale was left out there for the rest of the race. Lazarus brushed down the back in 28.8 before Mark Purdon really upped the ante with a last 400 metres in 26.8 to cruise home a comfortable victory by 2 1/4 lengths over a very game Shandale who kept coming in the straight to just nose out Motu Premier for second. Like a lot of the All Star barn , Lazarus is a son of Bettors Delight and was purchased out of last years New Zealand Premier yearling sale at Christchurch for $75,000 Lazarus paced the 1950 metres in 2:21.2, a mile rate of 1:56.5 with closing sectionals of 55.6 and 26.8. Mark Purdon was pleased with todays run. " He has gone really well today and was still going strong at the finish." " This has been his main aim all season so its good to get him here in such good form." " We have a big opinion of him and think he will make a really nice three year old," Mark said. Lazarus is owned by Mrs G J Kennard, P I Kennard, T G Casey and K J Riseley and was bred by G Chin and Studholme Bloodstock Limited. He is the second foal and first colt out of the Christian Cullen mare Spirit Of Beth. Lazarus has now had the six lifetime starts for five wins and a second for $178,050 in earnings. You couldn't take the smile off Maurice McKendry's face post race. " Shandale has gone super and I was rapt with his performance." " He is still pretty inexperienced and got a bit lost when I pulled him out but he has fought on really well. " The good thing is I think there is still a fair bit of improvement left in him going forward," Maurice said. With the New Zealand Sires Stakes and Harness Jewels still to come, we are in for some very exciting racing over the next three weeks. Harnesslink Media    

The big day of harness racing at Addington tomorrow includes as usual a big team of runners from the all conquering All Stars barn.   As he does most weeks, David McCarthy has done a runner by runner preview of their chances and with the kind permission of the All Stars Racing Stables, we reproduce that preview here.   RACE 1   Petite One  (2) 10M   Form:  Ran on well for third at Rangiora trotting solidly,.   Comment: (Mark) "I am happy with the way she has been trotting since Rangiora and she went well enough there. Worked well Sunday and Tuesday and we have taken the half hopples off. I think she will be hard to beat:"   RACE 8   Classical Art (7)   Form: Another game run in the final heat and has a shot at this.   Comment: (Mark)   "Not a great draw for her but she has the speed to go forward and she can be hard to roll in a fight as we saw in the final heat. These fillies are a headache to tip out because there is so little between them and it is the run of the race which gives the result. Awkward draw but can be in the finish"   Fight For Glory (6)   Form: Just seems to step up to every challenge and last win most impressive.   Comment: (Mark)   "Well on paper at least she is our No 1 for this and on the track too. It was six weeks between races last time but she still won it. I don't think there is an option to go back from the draw in a race so short but that will depend on what happens early. The Orange Agent looks hard to beat from where she is drawn. Fight For Glory is well named and has the speed and I am certainly not counting her out"   Linda Lovegrace (15)   Form: Fought on well in final heat but draw could be a problem,   Comment: (Mark)   "Not so many options for her from this draw. I was impressed watching her run in the last heat at her last start. She really did well in the run home. She can be a little unpredictable and I would say a place hope from there all the same. "   Supersonic Miss (11)   Form: Outstanding run in final heat, unlucky and value here.   Comment: (Mark)   "Jim (Curtin) thought she was a bit stiff in the heat and she certainly had things go wrong for her at the wrong time of the race. That was her first start in six weeks and she always improves with racing. The draw is not the best but you never know how it might turn out. She is a value bet each way on her last run"   RACE 9   The Manipulator (2)   Form: Special beaten really at Rangiora and tough to roll.   Comment: (Mark) "A big run at Rangiora and he has continued working well. I think he is probably our best chance of the day. He has not had a standing start. We gave them both a bit of practice (Tuesday) and they were ok and I don't think he is the sort of horse who  will be worried by it"   Lightfingered (5)   Form: Wiped out of the race at Rangiora so forget that.   Comment: (Mark) "Just didn't get a go at Rangiora (the first time he has missed a first three placing) so you can forget that. He has worked good too this week and has had some standing start practice and has done ok at it. He is also having his first stand. Not much between them but I just favour The Manipulator here."   RACE 10   Cash N Flow (11)   Form: Won debut in impressive fashion which was a maiden but looks able to step up.   Comment: (Mark) "Tim made the decision to opt for Motu Premier because he has another big one coming up next week but after Cash n Flow worked on Tuesday he wondered whether he had made the right choice. Jim Curtin will handle him for us. I think all four are smart horses and there is not too much between them. This one will probably be one of our better value bets if he can have some luck from the draw"   Motu Premier (2)   Form: Won well in easier grade last start but has measured up to this sort of company right through.   Comment: (Mark) "He is a nice horse and will win a big race and he has the draw to get a good trip here. He has the speed to hold up to get the right run. He is the sort of horse which hasn't disappointed us at all but he is a bit slower coming to it than a couple of the others. But he has run the times and he will be a chance and at quite good odds I would think"   Lazarus (6)   Form: Been lacking race opportunities but makes the most of them and front line draw a plus.   Comment: (Mark) "He hung a little, or more than a little, at the Methven workouts Tim told me. He has had a tendency to do that on left handed tracks. We have changed some of his gear and I think he will be fine here. I favour him over Chase the Dream in this race because of the draw. The other youngster will need some luck from where he starts but we should be able to make more of our own whatever happens. Change the draws and you would change your thinking. He seems well and he is well above average"   Chase The Dream (9)   Form: Hard to fault it from any angle but the draw will be a challenge.   Comment: (Mark) "On ability he still rates the best of ours in this race and it is only the draw which is the challenge for Natalie. But top horses can overcome most things and he has that good combo of having speed and being tough with it. So when I say I favour Lazarus there is not much in it at all."   RACE12   Kept Under Wraps (5)   Form: Fought on at Rangiora but needed that run and has ability.   Comment: (Mark) "Tim was a bit disappointed with him at Rangiora. He is a funny horse. Put too much gear on him and he gets worked up. Take it off and he just relaxes too much. We have put the blinkers on this week. I favour Hug the Wind but as I say this horse is not easy to read"   Hug The Wind (9)   Form:  Runner up in NSW Derby but draw the query.   Comment: (Mark) "He is the class horse. We have put the blinkers on him too instead of the sliders just to sharpen him up. He disappointed in the Derby but he had some hard races leading up to that and I think he will be hard here even from that draw"   Courtesy of All Stars Racing Stable - Check site here        

The $322,000 Australian Pacing Gold Final for two year old fillies at the harness racing meeting at Melton tomorrow night has lost one of the main players today when My MacKenzie was scratched from the race. The daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven from the former top racemare Kept For Pleasure was purchased out of the Sydney leg of last years Australian Pacing Gold sale for $82,000 and was sent to the All Star barn at Rolleston outside of Christchurch in New Zealand. A star trialist in New Zealand before crossing the Tasman, My MacKenzie has gone really well in Australia without really living up to her huge private reputation. Co-Trainer Mark Purdon was philosophical when contacted by Harnesslink this evening.  "On Wednesday she rolled awkwardly which was probably the cause." "We worked her yesterday but today she was a bit sore again so there was no way we could go on".  "The injury seems a bit higher up then I first thought but it seems like a pulled muscle and I doubt it is anything serious."   "She will come back to New Zealand on the 14th with Follow the Stars."   "It has been a bit disappointing but she has a lot ahead of her," Mark said.   My MacKenzie has always looked a type that would get better as she matured and the All Stars barn have plenty to look forward to next season with the daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven.   Harnesslink Media

We have seen a few good harness racing interviews over the years but the Greg Hayes one with Mark Purdon on Trots Tv after the Len Smith Mile was right up there in our opinion and the interview that followed with Bruce Harpley was even better. Watch and enjoy.  Harnesslink Media

You simply have to admire astute harness racing trainer Bruce Harpley. Having trained, driven and nurtured outstanding mare Frith to perfection, Harpley has made a tough decision in the best interest of the five-year-old’s career. Despite registering an impressive 32 wins and eight placings from 44 starts with the daughter of Four Starzzz Shark, Harpley believes Frith can progress further with a larger stable. As such, Frith has been transferred to Belinda McCarthy to be prepared for next month’s Queen Of The Pacific at Melton before being sent to champion New Zealand horseman Mark Purdon. Harpley revealed his decision following Frith’s stylish victory at Tabcorp Park Menangle. “I just feel I have taken her as far as I can,” Harpley said. “She is at the highest level now and I reckon she will be better off with in a big stable with trainer like Mark. “She is still very head strong and wants to race her way, which was fine against her own age, but now she’s against the best around and needs to settle better. “Hopefully someone like Mark can fix that and get her to race more tractable.” Citing the Western Australia Oaks as Frith’s most memorable triumph, Harpley stated his only regret was not reaching $1million in stakes before the stable switch. Frith’s bankroll is sitting on $866,572 following yesterday’s win over Pas Ultimate Delight and Majorly Foxy Styx in 1:54.3. “She won a host of major races, but the WA Oaks is the one that stands out for me as the most satisfying,” Harpley said. “I don’t have any real regrets with her, but I would have liked to have taken her past the million-dollar earnings.” PAUL COURTS

New Zealand’s latest exciting harness racing star Our Waikiki Beach appears to have been ‘gifted’ Sunday’s Australian Pacing Gold Final at Tabcorp Park Menangle. Not only has the unbeaten youngster drawn perfectly in barrier one, his main danger – Goodtime Sammy – has been scratched. Goodtime Sammy is yet to experience defeat from four starts for co-trainers Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin. Also successful at his four outings, Our Waikiki Beach appears certain to lead throughout the 1609-metre sprint. To be driven by trainer Mark Purdon, the son of Somebeachsomewhere is blessed with gate speed, which has Purdon oozing confidence. “I couldn’t have asked for more from the draw,” Purdon said. “From there he should be able to hold the lead and will be very hard to beat. “He is a beautifully-gaited pacer and just does it so easily. He’s very laid back and takes everything in his stride.” Purdon is hoping for a Group One double on the program, with talented pacer Smolda engaged in the Len Smith Mile. Victorious in last week’s Renshaw Cup at Penrith, Smolda hasn’t fared as well as his stablemate in the draw and will begin from gate six. Defending title holder Beautide is the raging $1.30 favourite from four. Smolda is the only other runner under double figures at $7.50. “I was very happy with his run last week and his work has been solid since,” Purdon said. “I don’t know if we can beat Beautide, but we will certainly let him know we are there.” PAUL COURTS

Outstanding New Zealand harness racing youngster Follow The Stars will make a hit-and-run mission to Melton on Friday night. Successful at Penrith last week, the pacer was sent south by trainer Mark Purdon in a bid to cover his travel costs. Follow The Stars was brought across the Tasman to accompany his open class stablemate, Smolda, which is in Australia for next week’s Len Smith Mile. “There were a couple of suitable races for him, so I thought he may as well come over with Smolda,” Purdon said. “After his run at Melton he will head back home, where I will keep him ticking along.” Although Follow The Stars will return to the Shaky Isles this weekend, Purdon declared the son of Art Major will be back Victoria in June. “He has the Vicbred later in the season, so I will be bring him back for that,” Purdon explained. As for his latest assignment, Follow The Stars is expected to make a one-act affair of the Caduceus Club Cup. Drawn perfectly in barrier three, the colt should have no trouble leading throughout the 2240-metre trip. “It’s only a small field and he appears to be the standout on paper, but there are a couple of handy ones in the race,” Purdon said. “He still has to get out there and get the job done.” PAUL COURTS

Tonights harness racing meeting at Menangle was the centre of attention for a lot of harness racing fans in Australia as the two Group 3 $30,000 semi finals of the Australian Pacing Gold for two year old colts and geldings were run. The first semi pitched two unbeaten colts in the form of the Sportswriter colt Kingofthestars and the son of Somebeachsomewhere in Our Waikiki Beach against each other and it was a two horse race from the moment the gate folded. Our Waikiki Beach with Mark Purdon in the bike flew the gate from barrier five to grab the early lead with Kingofthestars and Nathan Jack sliding across from barrier eight to settle in the trail. Mark Purdon was able to dictate the tempo in front with Our Waikiki Beach until the 500 metres mark when Nathan angled Kingofthestars out into the running line and attacked Our Waikiki Beach. Just when it looked like Kingofthestars was going to make a race of it, Mark Purdon pushed the go button and Waikiki Beach scooted away from Kingofthestars for an easy victory by eight metres with Herehecomes a further eighteen metres back in third. Our Waikiki Beach paced the mile in 1:56.1 with the last 800 metres in 56.9  and 400 metres in 26.6. It was another super impressive run from Our Waikiki Beach and he looms as one of the two main chances for the final. Our Waikiki Beach The second semi final was billed as a match race between the unbeaten son of Somebeachsomewhere in Goodtime Sammy and the son of Village Jolt in Christmas Jolt who had won five of six this season. Goodtime Sammy and Nathan Jack lead easily from barrier two with Christmas Jolt and Kerryn Manning going forward from barrier six to sit on his wheel. Nathan backed the speed off in the second quarter before applying the blowtorch from the 800 metres with a quarter down the back in 28.3 which had Christmas Jolt struggling on the corner. The talented son of Rocknroll Hanover in Born To Rocknroll with John McCarthy in the bike had been sitting in the trail the whole way and came out as they turned for home to challenge the leader. But try as he might, Born To Rocknroll couldn't take any ground off Goodtime Sammy who went on to win the semi final in a smart 1:54.1. Born To Rocknroll held second with the son of Major In Art in Brallas Pass running on well for third. The closing sectionals of 55.6 and 27 .3 by Goodtime Sammy were impressive and he looked to still have some petrol in the tank at the finish. The final of the Australian Pacing Gold for two year old colts and geldings on April 26th looks a two horse race after tonights semi finals. The two sons of Somebeachsomewhere in Our Waikiki Beach and Goodtime Sammy look a class above the rest of the opposition and the outcome may be decided by who draws best in the final. Goodtime Sammy Harnesslink Media      

Last nights $100,000 Anzac Trotters Cup at the harness racing meeting at Alexandra Park looked to be another easy scalp for Stent after he drew barrier five which gave his trainer/driver Colin De Filippi a lot of options. The distance was right up Stent's alley and the way the draws had played out it was hard to see who would beat him. Master Lavros led easily from barrier four with King Denny and Mark Purdon sliding across from barrier seven to face the breeze and in doing so giving Stent the prized one by one sit. Then Mark Purdon did something that no one expected and attacked Master Lavros for the lead. The two star trotters drew clear by several lengths before Mark Jones on Master Lavros conceded the lead to King Denny. That move changed the whole complexion of the race with Stent now having to sit parked with his arch rival Sheemon hard on his back in the one by one. King Denny applied the pressure a long way from home and was still travelling well as they turned for home. Stent leveled up to King Denny just after straightening for home but Dexter Dunn on Sheemon had stalked him the whole way and flew late to grab Stent right on the post with the winning margin a mere head. Master Lavros finished on well up the passing lane to grab third just in front of the pace making King Denny. Sheemon trotted the 2200 metres in 2:42.4, a mile rate of 1:58.8, with closing sectionals of 56.9 and 28.5. The winning time was a new New Zealand record, taking sixth tenths of a second off the old record held by Royal Aspirations. Dexter Dunn was quick post race to heap praise on the son of Monarchy. " We did get a great trip but he still really dug in up the straight" " I think it was his will to win that got us over the line because it is never easy to run past Stent." " He has gone great all season and won a heat of the Great Southern Star and then had no luck in the final so he deserves a win like this." "The two miles of the Rowe Cup next week won't worry him because he is pretty adaptable so he has to be a big chance," Dexter said. From a Rowe Cup point of view the race last night did throw some light on what should be one of the races of the season. Stent was huge last night in defeat but so were Master Lavros and King Denny. Master Lavros lost a bit of ground around the last bend but found the line really well and the 3200 metres is right up his alley while the run of King Denny to finish so close after doing so much work early was a real sign that he can be a player at this level Harnesslink Media  

Talented New Zealand harness racing performer Smolda kicked off his latest Aussie campaign on a winning note at Penrith last night. Sent across the Tasman to tackle several feature targets, Smolda annexed the popular Renshaw Cup. With trainer Mark Purdon in the cart, the son of Courage Under Fire scored with ease from Yayas Hot Spot and Blazin N Cullen. Covering the last half in a slick 55.9 seconds, Smolda rated 1:56.7 for the 2525-metre journey, with his time slicing a second off Blazin N Cullen’s track record established in last season’s Cup. Pleased with Smolda’s performance, Purdon stated the outing will “top off” the gelding heading into his main mission – Len Smith Mile. The Group One is scheduled to be conducted at Tabcorp Park Menangle on April 26. “He went super last night and never felt like he was going to be beaten,” Purdon said. “He has been racing well at home without a lot of luck, but tonight he showed he is at the top of his game. "I will keep him ticking along for the Len Smith Mile in 10 days.” Smolda’s success was the opening leg of a double for Purdon, who also scored with exciting youngster Follow The Stars. PAUL COURTS

Talented pacer Smolda will begin his Australian harness racing campaign on Thursday night when he races in the Group Two Renshaw Cup at Penrith. Trained by leading New Zealand horseman Mark Purdon, Smolda's last outing resulted in a fifth behind Christen Me in the Easter Cup at Addington on April 4. "There was another race that we could have targeted in New Zealand, but I wasn't sure whether there would be enough starters, so I decided to bring him to Australia and the Renshaw Cup is a good starting point for him," Purdon said. "He hasn't had a lot of racing this season, and if he was to be spelled now, it would be a lengthy break because there would be no reason to bring him back until the New Zealand Cup. He can have a few starts in Sydney and then I will think about taking him to Queensland for the Winter Carnvial." Smolda's last Australia start was in the 2014 Inter Dominion when he finished fourth behind Beautide. "I watched Beautide at Menangle on Saturday night, he's just a great horse and looks to be unstoppable on that track, so he is going to be hard to beat in the Len Smith Mile," Purdon declared. Purdon is unsure of Smolda's ability to handle the smaller Penrith track. "He's always brushed a knee, so the bigger tracks are better for him, but he has been working well at the McCarthy property since he arrived late last week in Australia," Purdon said. "There are some talented horses in the Renshaw Cup and he is going to have to be close to his best off the second row draw." Last season's boom youngster Follow The Stars will also compete at Penrith, with the son of Art Major engaged in a C1 event. With a number of talented horses in his stable, Purdon is considering travelling between New Zealand and Australia more often than he has in the past. "It is quite possible that we will do more travelling now," Purdon said. "With the calibre of horses we have in the stable it makes sense that the better races are targeted." "Nat (Rasmussen) and I have a great staff at home in New Zealand, and with such a good team behind us, it gives us the opportunity to be away from home more often than we have been before." Purdon's smart two-year-old Our Waikiki Beach will compete at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday night  in a semi-final of the Australian Pacing Gold. "I was really happy with him after he won his heat, he worked really well this morning (Tuesday) and the draw isn't too bad for Our Waikiki Beach this weekend," Purdon said. "I haven't asked him to leave the gate yet, but he would have plenty of speed early if I wanted to use it." My Mackenzie was beaten as a short priced favourite in a APG heat for two-year-old fillies at Menangle last Saturday night and Purdon will be looking for some improvement when she heads to Melbourne for the semi-finals. "She has a few little issues that we need to straighten out after Saturday night, she is a work in progress but she has her fair share of ability too," Purdon said. - HRNSW Media

The crowd came to the harness racing meeting at Addington last night hoping to see their champion, Terror To Love go out on a winning note. Most were hopeful but not expectant as the three time New Zealand Cup champion had been battling injury and a form slump by his own high standards leading into last nights Easter Cup. You heard an audible gasp from the crowd when Terror To Love with regular pilot Ricky May in the bike galloped away and then kept galloping for nigh on 70 metres before hitting his hobbles and starting to pace. Arch rival Christen Me and Dexter Dunn had also missed away but settled ten lengths in front of Terror To Love and these two were miles off the hot pace set by Tiger Tara. Christen Me tacked on to the bunch after 700 metres while it took Terror To Love another 300 metres to tag on to the bunch. After 1400 metres Mark Purdon sent the former age group star Border Control to the front and upped the tempo even more. With the high tempo there were no mid race moves and it wasn't until the 400 metres mark that Dexter launched Christen Me and while Terror To Love was left a touch flat footed, he took off after him. With 150 metres to go Christen Me swept to the lead but Border Control wouldn't go away and Terror To Love joined in late. At the finish Christen Me had a neck to spare over a game Border Control with just a head back to Terror To Love in third. Christen Me paced the 3200 metres from a stand in 3:57.2, a mile rate of 1:59.2 with closing sectionals off the front of 56.9 and 27.1 That took a second off the race record previously held by the champion Monkey King. Terror To Love was credited with a placed time of 3:57.3 but that time doesn't do the champion justice. Terror To Love paced his first mile after that wild early gallop in 1:57.8 and then proceeded to pace his last mile in 1:56.3 for a post to post time of 3:54.1 and he finished that off with a last quarter of 26.7. It was the run of a true champion and left everybody wondering what might have been. Driver Ricky May was both thrilled with the run and gutted by the result. " He warmed up beautifully tonight and seemed so relaxed pre start and then he did that." " The run afterwards was huge and I was thrilled with how he went but you can't help feeling disappointed that but for missing away he could have gone out on a winning note," Ricky said. Terror To Love heads to stud the winner of 31 races and $2,429,978 in stakes. You had to feel for the Christen Me camp who had just won the Easter Cup but were virtually ignored by the big media contingent there to witness the last raceday appearance of Christen Me. Last nights win was his ninth this season from just 14 starts and took his stake earnings to $2,281,318 with the highlight this season undoubtedly being his win in the Miracle Mile in 1:49.1 The run of Christen Me was just further confirmation of how far he has come in the last twelve months and the camp may now have to reassess their New Zealand Cup plans after last nights win. Harnesslink Media  

The New Zealand Sires Stakes two year old fillies heat at tonights harness racing meeting at Addington looked a one filly race on paper in favour of Northern Velocity but as is often the case, racing luck plays a big part on race night. Luisanabelle Midfrew and Matthew Williamson led early from barrier five while Northern Velocity and Natalie Rasmussen worked forward from barrier seven and found the death seat after 500 metres giving her stablemate Arden's Choice with Mark Purdon in the bike the one by one. Luisanabelle Midfrew kept up a solid tempo during the mid stages and was still in front as they turned for home.   Try as she might, Northern Velocity couldn't get past the daughter of American Ideal and it was left to her stablemate Arden's Choice to swoop late and grab a game Luisanabelle Midfrew by 3/4 length with a neck back to a game favourite in Northern Velocity.   Arden's Choice paced the 1950 metres in 2:24, a mile rate of 1:58.8 with closing sectionals of 57.5 and 27.4.   It was the daughter of Panspacificflight's first win at her fifth career start but she has shown plenty of promise in her previous four starts.   Two seconds to the very smart Dream About Me were followed by a couple of gallops where things didn't go her way.   Mark Purdon expected an improved run from Arden's Choice this week.   "She looked like she was going to run a place against the colts last week when the gap came but she just tried to go too quickly and galloped.   " We took her hopples up a couple of holes and let her work into it tonight instead of rushing her, Mark said.   Natalie Rasmussen was very happy with the run of the hotpot Northern Velocity.   " She did the most work of any filly in the race and fought on really well for a close third so I was really pleased with her effort, Natalie said.   The All Star barn will take Arden's Choice, Northern Velocity and the unbeaten Dream About Me north for the Sires Stakes Final before returning south for the Harness Jewels.   Harnesslink Media

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