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The Marlborough Harness Racing Club are looking confidently to the future after seeing off their first 100 years in appropriate fashion over the weekend. The Waterlea-based club celebrated 100 years of racing at the Blenheim venue with a well-attended two-day meeting. MHRC chairperson Petrina Shutkowski said that there was high-class, exciting racing action on both Friday and Sunday, with good numbers turning out for the Interislander Summer Festival Day on Sunday. “We had a really good crowd on course [on Sunday] because the weather was good and there were lots of activities for kids. On-course turnover was also strong. “The fields were really strong, with good form. We had to eliminate some horses from the original nominations because we just didn’t have spaces in the fields for them.” There was also live entertainment on-course, plus a special centenary race book designed to mark the occasion, a display of memorabilia in the Waterlea Hall and some vintage cars to honour the historic occasion. “People were just happy to be involved,” suggested Petrina, who envisages a bright future for the sport in this region. “I think harness racing in Marlborough is pretty strong.  There are a number of trainers and a base of horses here … that’s what drives these meetings … so it’s still positive for harness here.” Although the two-day summer carnival will be the only harness event staged at Waterlea in future, with the winter meeting not taking place, Petrina is confident support levels are high going forward. “Harness Racing New Zealand have been pleased with us in recent years, especially since we have moved to the grass track. We have attracted really strong fields and good numbers of nominations. “Also, the visiting trainers enjoy themselves [in the top of the south] … they brought the kids, stayed in Nelson for a few extra days, went to the beaches and the wineries. They mark it in their calendar as a sort of summer holiday.” To help co-ordinate harness racing in the area a Seddon Shields District organisation has recently been formed, involving representatives from Reefton, Westport, Marlborough, Nelson and Kaikoura. They have combined to purchase a mobile start 4WD vehicle, with a view to sharing resources, knowledge and information. Meanwhile, on the track at the weekend, Stars Tonight, superbly driven by top reinsman John Dunn, claimed a notable Waterlea double. The four-year-old gelding, trained by Robert Dunn at Woodend Beach, took out the “100 Years Racing at Waterlea Cup Prelude” on Friday evening, then prevailed in the 100th racing of the Marlborough Cup on Sunday. He was the favourite on both occasions. On Friday he won by a neck from Dadndave, while on Sunday he truly underlined his dominance, scoring by three and a quarter lengths from Hayden’s Meddle, followed by Dadndave in third. On the first day Dunn drove Stars Tonight astutely, staying parked midfield until the final bend when he surged to the lead then held off a fast-finishing Dadndave. Two days later Stars Tonight was well clear at the line. After a strong start he went to the head of the field with a round to go and, despite having to hold off a challenger on the bend, kicked well clear halfway down the straight to win the 100th Cup in fine style. Petrina suggested that Stars Tonight had run “probably the fastest last half on the grass track that has ever been”. “That’s an indication of the quality of the track and the horses as well … it was pretty impressive.” Stars Tonight was one of two double winners across the historic meeting, the other being Heavyweight Hero, trained and driven by Bob Butt from Woodend Beach, who won the sixth race on each day. John Dunn, with three wins was the leading driver across the two days, while Robbie Close, Blair Orange, Sarah O’Reilly and Bob Butt drove two winners apiece. Robert Dunn was the top trainer, with three successes, while Jim and James Geddes and Butt managed two training successes each. Madiba, until recently trained by local trainer Don Morrison, also picked up a win on the first day. Peter Jones Reprinted with permission of The Marlborogh Weekly

By Garrick Knight    A spur-of-the-moment decision has paid dividends for Invercargill horseman Steve Lock, who prepared a quinella on the grass at Waterlea on Sunday. Lock brought six horses the length of the South Island for the four days of racing, firstly in Nelson last week and then in Blenheim this week. After three thirds, a fourth and four fifths across Nelson and day one at Waterlea, he was hoping to break his duck on the fourth and final day. He went close with Maximilian in a mobile sprint earlier on the card, but it was the honest toiler, Honour Scroll that broke through, setting up a $101.70 quinella with stablemate, Kansas City Jim. Needless to say, Lock isn’t looking forward to going back to Southland. “I’m in no rush to go home. “In fact, I think I might have a week or two in Canterbury first. “We were thinking about going to Manawatu but a few of our horses wear spreaders and I’m not sure it the track would suit them.” The trip north wasn’t in the pipeline for long, more an instinctive move to avoid dreary weather. “The plan was hatched after the Cromwell meeting. We were sitting there at 10 o’clock at night and Rory (McIlwrick) said to me, Nelson and Marlborough looks like a decent option. “We were getting sick of the rain and what not back home and here we are. “So it was his doing, his planning.” Ironically McIlwrick wasn’t actually driving Honour Scroll, instead sticking with the runner-up and that left Kerryn Tomlinson to continue her charmed run by recording another win. “Kerryn seems to get on well with Honour Scroll, so I was happy to keep her on.” Lock left Invercargill with seven horses, but lost two and picked up one on the way north. “I re-homed Tact Denzel on the way up and then called in and did a swap for My Nikalya, too. “I would have brought seven but I needed the seventh bay in the truck for all the feed.” Lock spoke effusively about club officials from both Tasman clubs, saying they’ve gone abo end beyond to make him feel welcome and accommodated. “I really can’t thank the two clubs enough for what they have done for us. “A lot of clubs could learn from how both Nelson and Marlborough operate their meetings. “And the horses have just enjoyed their trip away with the sun on their backs; they’ve been so relaxed.” Later in the day, Stars Tonight continued a brilliant summer for his connections, with a dominant win in the $15,000 Waterlea Centenary Marlborough Cup. He adds that to his Westport Cup win on Boxing Day, and the Cup prelude he took out at Waterlea on Friday. Dunn trained the quinella with Hayden’s Meddle tracking through for second while Dadndave finished on out wide for third. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Garrick Knight    It was the call any young trainer dreams of. When Auckland owner Aaron Lowe rang Bob Butt late last year offering him Heavyweight Hero to train, Butt couldn’t believe his luck. “It’s not every day a horse like him comes up the driveway,” said Butt. “I was very lucky to get that phone call.” The giant trotter made it two wins in three starts from Butt’s barn when demolishing a field by eight lengths on the grass at Waterlea in Blenheim on Friday. Given he started off a 35-metre handicap, it was a mightily impressive performance. “He’s a pretty good horse, so I wasn’t surprised,” said Butt. “He loves the grass and he did win the Green Mile two starts ago, so he should have had the measure on those. “There are some nice races coming up for him on the grass, so it’s exciting times.” Butt, based at Woodend Beach, was sent the son of Muscle Mass for two reasons. Former trainer Todd MacFarlane was struggling to manage chronic foot ailments that were being exasperated by training and racing on hard surfaces, and the horse wasn’t as comfortable the right-handed way of going at Alexandra Park. “They felt he was much better left-handed and, because of his feet, he needed beach training. “I knew Toddy from my time up in Auckland and I guess when they were picking out a beach trainer, I was lucky enough to have that connection.” Butt says Heavyweight Hero requires “a bit of maintenance” on his feet, but racing on the grass is half the battle. “The beach usually brings them right, but just getting off those hard tracks has been a huge help for us too. “That’s the main reason we’ve come up here because there are two suitable races for him.” He goes around again on Sunday and finds himself against the same horses, but ten metres further back, off a handicap of 45. Asked if he should be short odds to do the double, Butt was categorical. “Bloody oath. “Yes, he’s 10 metres further back, but the race is an extra 500, which will suit him down to the ground. He’ll love it.” Butt, who also brought up 200 New Zealand driving wins with the victory, has plenty of experience driving good trotters for master trainer Paul Nairn. He won a Harness Jewels in 2017 with Wilma’s Mate and also enjoyed Group 1 success with Conon Bridge and Lotamuscle. So, does Heavyweight Hero have what it takes to measure up to the best trotters if he can stay sound for a full campaign? “Hopefully. He just needs to stay sound and get a bit of confidence. “He feels like a confidence horse, you know? “You just never know whether they’ll take that next step, but he certainly has the ability.” The days’ feature pace on Friday was the Waterlea Cup Prelude, won by Stars Tonight for Robert and John Dunn. He’ll start favourite in Sunday’s $15,000 Centenary Marlborough Cup given he doesn’t get re-handicapped for the lead-up win, per conditions of the two-day meetings’ programme.  

Four meetings are programmed in again this week, starting with the Forbury Park meeting in Dunedin tonight. Marlborough hold the first of a two day meeting tomorrow in Blenhiem and Auckland race tomorrow night. The weekend harness racing heads back to Marlborough for their second day on Sunday.   Last week the biggest winning dividend in the ringaround selections went to Rory Mcllwrick who thought Machie Mach would go close to winning at Forbury last Friday night. Machie Mach did win and paid $9.20 and $2.30 on the tote.  The TAB have again injected $10,000 into the Quaddie starting pool on races 2-5 at Auckland on Friday night.   Note: We will keep adding to this page if more tips come in after the deadline, so check back often   Forbury on Thursday night Matthew Williamson - Matthew thinks that Majestic Rose might be his best drive this week at Forbury in Race 1 Nathan Williamson - Nathan says his best drive this week might be Beaudine Gambler at Forbury in Race 5 John Morrison - John says that Neverneverland would be his best drive this week at Forbury in Race 6 Brent Barclay - Brent thinks that Born To Boogie would be his best drive this week in Race 9 Shane Walkinshaw - Shane says that Glens Of Tekoa would be his best drive this week also in Race 9 Rory Mcllwrick - Rory is going for Machie Mach  this week as his best drive at Forbury in Race 10 Geoff Knight - Geoff also thought Machie Mach  would be a good chance at Forbury in Race 10   Marlborough on Friday Gerard O'Reilly - Gerard thinks that his best drive this week is Shamrock Bromac at Marlborough in Race 3 Harnesslink Reporter - thinks Nandolo would be a good winning chance at Marlborough in Race 4 Ricky May - Ricky is going for Unico Legend as his best drive this week at Marlborough in Race 8 John Curtin - John thinks Wrangler would be a good winning chance at Marlborough in Race 9   Alexandra Park on Friday night Scott Phelan - Scott is going for Realmein as his best drive at Alexandra Park on Friday night in Race 1 Maurice McKendry - Maurice says his best drive would probably be Trinity Bromac in Race 2 Racechat - Lance thinks that Whale Rider is a good chance this week at Auckland also in Race 2 Stephen Richardson (Odds Analyst) - Stephen thinks that Lacey's Lad can go close to winning in Race 4 Tony Herlihy - Tony thinks Forever Pearl would be his best chance this week at Alexandra Park in Race 7 Andre Poutama - Andre is going for Commando One as his best drive this week in Race 8   Harnesslink Media

Forbury Park - Thursday 21 June  Forbury Park welcomes on board John Harley and the House of Travel & Orbit World Travel team as primary sponsors of a Junior Drivers Series to be run through our winter programme. The series will consist of 7 races over 4 nights with the first 2 heats run on Friday 15 June, with 2 more heats on Thursday 21 June and Thursday 28 June with the Grand Final staged on Friday 6 July. The winner driver will receive a $2000 travel voucher from House of Travel & Orbit World - but wait there’s more! Just by entering any of the heats, EVERY driver and trainer will be included into a random draw after the Grand Final with Forbury Park Trotting Club presenting a $1000 travel voucher each to a lucky driver and trainer pulled out of the hat. Your support for this series would be greatly appreciated, as is the sponsorship of House of Travel & Orbit World. Thank you John! This week Forbury host the claimer series and junior drivers series, our Bistro is also open from 4pm.   Marlborough - Friday 22 and Sunday 24 June  BACK TO BLENHEIM Good news, with the coast road now open 24/7 we are back racing at Waterlea for our upcoming two day winter meeting after last year holding one day at Addington ALL WEATHER TRACK RESURFACE Thank you to Trainers and Drivers who provided constructive feedback after our 2017 summer meeting regarding improvements needed to the track surface. We are pleased to advise that in March this year a total track resurface project was completed with the assistance of John Denton. Surplus material was removed from inside the pylon line to improve drainage, plus all of the old track surface material has been removed.  Approx 500 ton of washed crusher dust was spread on the track, this has provided consistent footing and a superior racing surface. TRAINERS VOUCHERS BACK FOR WINTER MEETING Kindly sponsored by The Grove Tavern the winning trainer of each race over our two day winter meeting will receive a $50 Grove Tavern voucher   Auckland Trotting Club - Friday 22 June  Wish or Fish Fundraiser Tasman Room Friday 20th July. A Night of Fundraising The Wish for Fish charitable trust are holding their 3rd annual fundraising night for the Wish for Fish charitable trust. Action aplenty with raffles, giveaways, a punters club ($10 per share) and a live charity auction. Tickets are $130 per person which includes an amazing food and beverage package courtesy of Alexandra Park. Visit to find out more about this great cause and help make a difference!  Even if you are unable to attend the event, you can still support this great cause by clicking here. To secure your ticket please call Bryce on 021616601 or email   Mid-Winter Christmas. Friday 22nd June, Friday 29th June Friday, 6th July and Friday 20th of July. Join us for our annual Mid-Winter Christmas Party, offering a night of exciting Harness Racing action, a delicious all-you-can-eat buffet and drinks aplenty. Mid-Winter Christmas is a great idea for a night out with colleagues, family, your sports team or social club – the more the merrier! Packages start at $68.00- $145.00   ATC 2019 Syndicate: Over the last two decades, the Auckland Trotting Club has formed 17 syndicates, each comprising either 40 or 50 shares and racing between 2 and 4 horses. To date, all 17 syndicates have proved, or are proving, very successful: At this year’s Australasian Classic Yearling Sale or the New Zealand Premier Yearling Sale, the Auckland Trotting Club 2019 Syndicate’s yearlings were selected by the top trainers Robert Dunn, Brent Mangos and Logan Hollis / Shane Robertson: Name: Alta Redeemer Trainer: Robert Dunn Name: Christianshavtime Trainer: Logan Hollis / Shane Robertson Name: Bet West Trainer: Brent Mangos When you join an ATC Syndicate, not only do you get to enjoy the thrill of owning and racing harness racehorses, but you can also be very involved in Harness Racing generally, initially at Alexandra Park and the wider Auckland/Waikato area and then quite possibly venturing further afield in New Zealand and Australia, as some previous ATC Syndicates have. There are many advantages involved with being part of one of the Auckland Trotting Club Syndicates. These include; the comparatively low costs, the opportunity to share in the ownership of well bred horses trained by some of the best trainers in New Zealand, making new friendships with like-minded people, having total involvement in the Harness Racing industry and having the opportunity to participate in social events and possibly travel throughout the year. Every month, syndicate members receive a detailed newsletter documenting each horse’s progress, member news, and other information. Regular updates are placed on a phone-in message service, which can be accessed at anytime from anywhere in New Zealand free of charge. We have already had syndicate members from a wide geographical location around New Zealand, from Kaeo and Kaitaia in the North, to Dunedin and Invercargill in the South, as well as from the USA, Canada, England, Japan, Australia (Victoria, NSW, Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australia) and even Iceland. Each year of establishing a new Syndicate, the Auckland Trotting Club has implemented their hugely successful formula of buying three richly bred yearlings at the Yearling Sales, with these horses being selected by and trained by some of New Zealand’s leading trainers. For further information please contact or go to Andrew Jamieson – ATC Syndication Manager Tel:  + 64 9 238 9212 Mob: + 64 21 253 8765 Email:   Addington Raceway and Event Centre Hello Everyone, $50 ALL UP PUNTING CHALLENGE – 3 CHANCES TO WIN $500.  FRIDAY 13, 20 & 27 JULY! – Simply place a $50 All Up at any of these three meetings, and if your bet has the highest return for the week, you will win an extra $500.  No limit on entries, overall winner to receive an entry into a 2018 Kiwi Punters Championship heat.  Entries and further enquires please visit; MACCA LODGE SOUTH OF THE WAITAKI WINTER WARMER SERIES IS BACK FOR ALL JULY RACE MEETINGS!  This series consists of three heats and has a total stake money of $42,000.  To be eligible for this series, horses had to be registered with HRNZ in the name of a trainer(s) based South of the Waitaki River as at 1 May through to 27 July 2018.  The series will be for 3YO and older pacers assessed up to R60 as at the closing of nominations for heat one.  The first place getters in each heat will have automatic entry into the final. For further details, please visit;, or ring Brian Rabbitt on 027 407 7234. BE IN TO WIN …. LADIES’ RACE NIGHT – FRIDAY 20 JULY. Dust off your heels, Ladies’ Night is back.  Bookings are essential due to such a great night out, PLUS BE IN TO WIN A FREE TRIP TO SYDNEY; This fabulous night out includes; Glass of bubbles on arrival Gourmet buffet dinner Entertainment throughout the night with live harness racing action and DJ Luke Demonstrations and a chance to win a $300 tailored skin care package by Caci Riccarton Opportunity to win spot prizes throughout the night including a $350 gift basket from Lancôme Losing betting ticket draw for a $1,500 escape to Sydney, courtesy of HRNZ.  Prize includes return flights for 2 and $500 spending money. Spend $10 in one transaction at the Totalisator and go in draw to win a 1 carat diamond ring, valued at $2,400, courtesy of Pascoes The Jewellers! OUR FABULOUS CUP WEEK HOSPITALITY PACKAGES ARE NOW ON SALE!  Be the first to secure one of the best spots on course and #bepartofthemagic.  For further details, please visit;  Alternatively, if you have any questions, or wish to book, please contact Joanne McMaster on, or 021 0298 5972. FRIENDLY REMINDER OF OUR ALMIGHTY MET MULTIPLIER $7,500 BONUS – HAVE YOU WON THIS YET? Be sure to remember what the Met Multiplier could mean to you when thinking about where to race your horse(s) over the coming months!   HOW DO I GET IT? - Start a horse at NZMTC Meetings a minimum of 15 TIMES over a rolling 12 MONTH period and WIN or dead heat in just ONE of these starts.  For full terms & conditions for all of the above please view UPCOMING RACE MEETING PROGRAMMES AT THE NZMTC June 29 July 5 July 13 (Tentative) July 20 (Tentative) To contact us about any of the above please call 03 338 9094 or email Take care, travel safe and we look forward to seeing you soon. From the Addington Team.   Win with the Kurow Harness Racing Club - 19 August  We have a brand new Facebook Page! Be sure to like Kurow Harness Racing Club on Facebook, like and share our competition post and you could win a $100 dining voucher thanks to Fat Sally’s Pub and Restaurant in Oamaru! Winner is drawn Friday 29 June so be quick. We will also be utilizing our Facebook page on race day to bring you race previews, interviews and aftermaths with winning connections for our 19 August annual meeting.   Motukarara Workouts and Trials Please note that following this weekend there will not be workouts held at Motukarara during May, June and July.    HRNZ Marketing

As a cloud hangs over the future of Blenheim's colleges, a cloud has lifted over the town's racecourse, for now.  The Ministry of Education confirmed on Thursday it had concluded talks regarding its three preferred sites for the proposed co-located colleges; Waterlea Racecourse, an Alabama Rd vineyard and a property on Battys Rd. Marlborough Racing Club president Eric Bowers said they got an email from the ministry on Monday, saying the ministry was no longer interested in the 31-hectare racecourse. The same day, the community learnt the decision to co-locate Marlborough Boys' College and Girls' College was under review, with alternative options of refurbishing the existing schools or building a co-educational school back on the table. Bowers said the email made no difference to him, as the racecourse was never for sale. Public consultation about future options for the colleges started as Marlborough Girls' College has several old and leaky classrooms.   "They said they accepted our decision and they would look at alternative sites. But that didn't change anything for us, because we told them some months ago we weren't selling," Bowers said. The ministry was looking for a greenfield site of about 15ha for the $63m colleges, to be built side-by-side by 2021, as announced three years ago. It approached the joint owners of Blenheim's only racecourse, Marlborough Racing Club and Marlborough Harness Racing Club, more than two years ago, hoping to purchase about half the site. The Waterlea Racecourse, in Blenheim, is nearly 100-years-old.   But the clubs refused, saying in November 2016 they needed the space for galloping and thoroughbred racing. There were 60 horses living there permanently, with stabling at Waterlea Racecourse for 150 horses.  Stables, offices, jockeys' rooms and a grandstand would all have to be rebuilt or moved, if the colleges were built on the site, estimated to cost tens of millions of dollars. Rebuilding stables, offices, jockeys' rooms and a grandstand would have cost tens of millions of dollars.   The ministry identified Alabama Rd as its preferred site a month later, and then confirmed in August 2017 it was discussing the racecourse with NZ Racing. The discussion was to ensure "we fully understand all factors regarding the Waterlea Racecourse's current position", and better understand the organisational structure and operation of the racing codes and clubs, she said. Bowers said the discussions with NZ Racing were pointless. The Marlborough Harness Racing Club jointly owns Waterlea Racecourse with the Marlborough Racing Club.   "We were under a confidentiality agreement at the time. But the reality is, NZ Racing doesn't own the racecourse." Marlborough families made many sacrifices over the years to keep the 98-year-old racecourse going, Bowers said. "We've had the racecourse nearly 100 years now, it's one of the oldest in New Zealand. Many people in Marlborough donated thousands and thousands of hours to develop that course there. Marlborough Boys College principal Wayne Hegarty, left, and Marlborough Girls' College board chairman Bernie Rowe are waiting to hear if the co-location project will go ahead.   "During the Depression years, the clubs went broke and they had to sell the course. But after World War II one family actually mortgaged their homes to buy it back, and the clubs paid them off over some years through hard work at the races. So it's an asset we felt shouldn't just be sold off to the Government." And if racing did "disappear in time", Bowers hoped the property would stay owned by the community, he said. "But that won't be in the near future. The racing industry is very strong here." A 24ha vineyard on Alabama Rd was the ministry's "preferred option" in December 2016.   He felt the ministry should refurbish the colleges at their current sites, he said. "It would be a heck of a lot cheaper than building two new ones. But they are the experts." Shannon said the decision was made to review the business case for co-location in late February, due to increasing costs and difficulties finding the right site. Marlborough College was co-educational until 1962, when it changed its name to Marlborough Boys' College.   "We then completed the strategic planning, development and implementation processes for the review," Shannon said. "Next we contacted both college principals in March to talk them through the next steps. They were then free to share that information with the school community," she said. Marlborough Boys' College principal Wayne Hegarty‚Äč said he waited until he had formal correspondence from the ministry before he informed students and parents. "They contacted us by phone and said there was going to be a review, so I asked them to put something on paper ... the first thing we saw on paper was the press release on Monday. "They said all options were open, but we wanted to be able to dig down to what that meant, and that's what we were waiting for." Shannon confirmed the ministry's negotiations with the owners of their top three sites had concluded. "We did enter talks with the owners of the Waterlea and Alabama Road sites but those discussions did not progress to a point where the ministry could be confident of a successful outcome," Shannon said. "We only pursue those that meet our criteria, present a preferred long-term addition to the school network and the best value for the Crown. Battys Road was included in our initial long-list but was not progressed to the next stage."  The owner of the Alabama Rd site, Montford Corporation director Haysley MacDonald, said the ministry never actually made an offer on his 24-ha site in east Blenheim. "We've never had negotiations as far as pricing goes. They've come and looked at it, they've done testing, but that's all that's happened," MacDonald said. MacDonald said he felt "totally messed around", but would still consider an offer if the ministry made one in the future. "Everything is negotiable. But they've never made that leap forward. There's no for sale sign on the gate, put it that way. And I've got a business to run, and that vineyard is an important part of it, growing grapes." Father-of-five MacDonald said he thought the co-location project should go ahead. "I went to Marlborough Boys' College myself, and it was a good school to go to, but the infrastructure was pretty tired and that was 20-odd years ago. "I'm all for a new school. I don't care where, but the current sites are already too small, and we do have a growing population to think of." By Jennifer Eder Reprinted with permission of The Marlborough Express

Marlborough fixed odds movers as at 11:45am Race 1 - I W McNik $3.70 to $3.20 leads win and multi betting over Dolly Jones $7.80 to $7.50.   Race 2 - Caviar Star $2.80 easily leads win betting. One Off is the multi betting leader.   Race 3 - That Alexander Guy $4.80 to $2.50 is the only runner wanted in multi betting and is the best backed runner on the win 'book'.   Race 4 - Old Oak Emma $5.50 narrowly leads multi betting over Collection.   Race 5 - Quiet market but One Over Dover  $4.50 leads multi betting over Scallywag Sam $6.50.   Race 6 - Liberal arden $3.50 to $3.20 is the only runner wanted in multi betting. Motu Bettor Quick leads win betting.   Race 7 - Unico Enchantress $4.20  leads win & multi betting from Tyron Bettor's Ella.   Race 8 - Trailer Park $3.60 leads multi betting over Red Moon Rising who leads win betting $5.00.   Race 9 - Cable Beach $3.20 is the only runner wanted in early win betting.    Race 10 - Franco Saxon $2.60 to leads win and multibetting over Joey Maquire $4.60   Harnesslink Media Courtesy of Stephen Richardson (TAB)

Marlborough fixed odds movers as at 10:45am Race 1 - I W McNik $5.20 leads win betting over Dolly Jones $13.00 - $11.00 with Red Hot Rocket $13.00 - $10.00 leading multi betting.   Race 2 - Caviar Star $3.60 easily leads multi betting.   Race 3 - Key Reactor $1.60 is the only runner wanted in multi betting with the best backed runner on the win 'book' Awayovernight $8.50.   Race 4 - Scotlynn Justis $2.30 easily leads multi betting.   Race 5 - Lavros Texas $4.50 leads multi betting over Miracle Rising $4.00.   Race 6 - Rainy River $4.50 is the only runner wanted in multi betting.   Race 7 - Black Art $3.90 - $3.70 leads win & multi betting.   Race 8 - Diamonds N Cash $3.60 leads multi betting over Red Moon Rising $4.20.   Race 9 - Run Boy Run $3.20 is the only runner wanted in early win betting.   Race 10 - Vinny Gambini $5.50 leads win betting over Saying Grace $3.30 & Jackalack Sue $18.00.   Harnesslink Media Courtesy of Stephen Richardson (TAB)

January will see the start of a new era for two South Island harness racing clubs, when their new female leaders step into their first race meetings at the helm. Kristie Hill was elected President of the Nelson Harness Racing Club in October, whilst Petrina Shutkowski became Chairperson of the Marlborough Harness Racing Club just over six weeks ago. Both are the first females in these roles for their respective club. Kristie Hill was a former Education Officer at Harness Racing New Zealand, but has also held her driver’s licence for 21 years. She works part time for Pro-Doosa Boost, as Sales and Marketing Manager and works horses with her father, Brian. Hill is kept busy volunteering her time for the committee of the Motueka Pony Club, which her daughter Ava attends. Her involvement with the club is a huge part of her family history. “My late grandfather Joe Hill was the President of the Nelson Trotting Club, as it was called then, for many years and was instrumental in the building of our Members Stand and Redwood Hall. He was also the President of the Nelson Jockey Club,” Hill explains. “My father Brian has been on the committee for over thirty years, and my mother Cheryl stepped down from the committee when I came on in April 2015, she is still involved as a steward.” Her first year on the committee provided many rewarding challenges as she was heavily involved in the club’s 125th Jubilee celebrations. A huge milestone to reach. She has some big goals ahead too for the club, the first of which has already been completed. The first goal for our club this season was to address the racing surface of our track which we had some issues with over the winter.  In December we were able to start this project and completely removing the current surface and replacing it with a washed crush dust.  We were extremely fortunate to be able to have John Denton come and oversee this project for us, and he will be working with our staff over the races to ensure the track is in the best possible condition so watch for some records to fall!” said Hill.  Another goal for our club is to see an increase in patronage for both our summer and winter race meetings.  We will be working on developing the experience on course for our patrons, so they have a great time and come back next meeting bringing friends with them.” “We are most definitely looking to promote race horse ownership in the Nelson/Tasman region. Another goal for our committee is to hold the Jewels which will mean some work on our infrastructure. But what a weekend to be had with the Abel Tasman and Nelson Lakes on our backdoor, and a newly laid track with the ideal mile start. Giving opportunity to all starters.” Meanwhile over in stunning Marlborough, Petrina Shutkowski has been involved with harness racing for over 30 years, having helped her husband Allan train horses in the district. “I’ve been with the club for two years, and the reason I didn’t get involved sooner was due to having a full time job with BNZ and also running a small vineyard, along with working our own horses. I just didn’t have the time to fully commit,” Shutkowski explains. “But now I can give it my full attention and I really think it’s a great opportunity for me to give back to racing and get some new ideas out there.” The Marlborough meeting this year will be unique in that it will be held on the grass surface. “Our caretaker has been working on the track and it is in good condition. We are really looking forward to being able to bring the racing action closer to the crowd given the 1850m mobile start point will be right there in front of them,” Shutkowski says. The newly reopened state highway between Picton and Christchurch will hugely assist those wanting to travel to the meeting, be it socially or to bring horses to race. “The Majestic Horse Truck recently travelled the new road, and reported it only took half an hour longer than it did pre earthquake,” said Shutkowski.  “The new road is a very scenic drive, and another good reason for people to get away and enjoy our two day meeting.” The Marlborough club secretary, Cheryl Thompson, is also a new comer and is new to the sport of harness racing too.  The Nelson summer meeting will be held January 12 and 14, whilst Marlborough will follow on January 19 and 21. Those contemplating starting horses at the meeting are encouraged to contact the clubs to arrange accommodation or paddocks, should they need any assistance. Kristie Hill advises there are multiple options for accommodation for racegoers and horse people at Nelson also. We have the Richmond Holiday Park that is located two minutes from the track. They have a variety of accommodation options.  If you would like to be situated in Nelson City (12 mins from the track) the Palms Motels also sponsor at the race meeting.  For those of you who want to try camping we have that option available on course.  If you have any specific stabling requirements do contact the club.” Jess Smith Communication and Ownership Co-Ordinator | Harness Racing New Zealand

In form pacer Usain Colt had too much finishing speed for a handy field in this years harness racing Marlborough Winter Cup run at Addington yesterday.  The Greg and Nina Hope trained son of Bettor's Delight settled back in the running for most of the race, but sprinted past them easily in the straight to record a dominant victory. The winners time of 4:02.6 for the 3200m was good in the slushy conditions and Usain Colt could be another name to go in the nominations for this years New Zealand Cup in November. Earlier in the day Hayley Nicole justified her $1.40 tote price when impressively winning in quick time of 3:14.7 for the 2600m.   Harnesslink Media

Not all that long ago, Bruce Taylor wasn’t sure what the future held for Hopeful Harriet. The daughter of Shark Gesture had won once and placed on half a dozen occasions from 16 starts for Mark Fuller – her victory coming courtesy of a promotion in her debut race at Timaru. Fuller informed Taylor that he thought he’d done as much as he could with the mare and so Taylor and co-owner Marg Evans, had a decision to make. “We had three options; Manawatu, Gore or the beach,” he recalled. The choice became the beach and Hopeful Harriet was transferred into the stable of Regan Todd – and there’s been no looking back since. And on Sunday, at Blenheim, the dour little mare claimed her biggest scalp when she wore down Alta Orlando to win the Peter Yealands Wines Marlborough Cup in the hands of Robbie Close. “It’s a great thrill and we are very grateful for the job that Regan and his team have done with her,” Taylor said. Hopeful Harriet has now won five races and placed on 11 occasions for stakes of $40,000 and judging by her performances on Sunday, she’s a long way from being finished too. In a small, six horse field, there was the potential for things to turn into a procession when Alta Orlando found the front inside the final lap, but Close threw caution to the wind and refused to lie down without a fight. He sent Hopeful Harriet up to eyeball the $1.20 favourite and was given plenty from the mare in front of him as she ground her way to victory in a two-horse battle that lasted for close to 800 metres. “I thought if we sat back we might have been able to run second,” Close said. “But by getting up outside Johnny (John Dunn) we were able to make sure it didn’t just turn into a sprint home and give ourselves a better chance at winning.” It proved to be the winning of the race as Hopeful Harriet gain the upper advantage halfway down the Waterlea straight before going on to win by half a length. It was Closes’ second Cup victory after he drove Mac’s Creation to victory for Hayley Morgan in the 2015 Northland Cup at Ruakaka. Hopeful Harriet will likely now be aimed at the Amberley Cup in a fortnight before potentially the Hororata Cup. The Country Cups Final at Methven is also on the radar. Ken Barron picked up his 500th training success on Sunday at Blenheim when Runaway Three was successful. Barron, who started in partnership with long-time supporter, John Lischner before going out on his own and then teaming up with his brother, Tony this season. Matt Markham

Harness racing fixed odds movers for Marlborough as at 12:00pm Race 1 - Tehoro Dazzle $2.90 is best backed in win & multi betting over I W McNik $3.00.   Race 2 - Born Again Delight $3.00 is easily best backed over Glenferrie Duster $3.30.   Race 3 - The Golden Cross $14 - $10 is best backed in win betting over Clarendon Falcon $20 with Runaway Three $1.85 racing away in multi betting.   Race 4 - Living Legend $10.50 is best backed in win betting over Sauchiehall $10 and Hayden's Meddle $2.40 leads multi betting.   Race 5 - Foreverman $8.00 leads win betting over Muscles Galore $10.50 with Destiny Jones $2.30 all punter's want on their multi tickets.   Race 6 - Johnny White $7.80 just leads win betting over She's A Flyin $6.80. First day winner Gotta Go Ya Hu $1.70 holds 95% of multi tickets.   Race 7 - The $1.33 favourite is the only runner without a win bet on him but in multi betting he is the only runner punter's want. C A Penny $8.00 leads win betting early.   Race 8 - Franco Tai $2.90 leads win & multi betting over Smithy $7.00.    Multi best backed runners in order at 11:45am: R6 - Gotta Go Ya Hu $1.70  R7 - Alta Orlando  R5 - Destiny Jones  R3 - Runaway Three $1.85    Harnesslink Media Courtesy of Stephen Richardson (TAB)

Harness racing fixed odds movers for Marlborough as at 11:15am Race 1 - I W McNik $3.80 - $3.50 leads win and multi betting with Tehoro Dazzle $8.00 - $6.80 not that far behind.   Race 2 - Forgot To Remember $16 - $11 leads early win money over Born Again Delight $4.00.    Race 3 - Hayden's Meddle $1.85 - $1.75 is racing away in multi betting and early money says he will close at around $1.60.   Race 4 - Crackabella $2.00 is the only runner wanted in win and multi betting and the early money here is saying she will close at around $1.80.   Race 5 - Muscles Galore $7.00 is best backed on the win book over Little Mo $8.00 and Foreverman $6.20. Foreverman leads multi betting over Destiny Jones $2.60.   Race 6 - Dream To Reality $3.20 leads win and multi betting  with some win support also for The Hurricane $8.50.   Race 7 - Billy Badger $1.50 dominates multi betting & although he is yet to attract a decent win bet the multi action on him and little early interest on his rivals is showing that he could close at $1.40. If you are looking to have a decent win bet on him we suggest jumping on the $1.50 now.   Race 8 - Gotta Go Ya Hu $1.60 is showing exactly the same market read as his stablemate in the previous race & he leads multi betting as though he is the only runner in the race. It's hard to see the $1.60 current Fixed odds price at that come post time and once again we suggest jumping on the $1.60 now rather than later. A $100 multi bet on Billy badger and Gotta Go Ya Hu will return you $240.   In the Drivers Challenge John Dunn has opened up at double the odds ($1.20) on his brother Dexter to win the Wyndham Drivers Challenge.    Harnesslink Media Courtesy of Stephen Richardson (TAB)

A decision by Dexter Dunn to drive at Wyndham today over Blenheim could result in good fortune for those who picked up the champion driver’s drives at Waterlea Raceway in Blenheim. Dunn was to be driving at the meeting in the Marlborough region, but the postponement of yesterday’s Wyndham meeting and its shift to today, left the current premiership leader with a decision to make on where he would drive today. Dunn’s current closest rival, Blair Orange elected to head back to Canterbury and head up to Blenheim, but Dunn decided to fulfil his engagements in Wyndham leaving some nice pick-up drives for those already up for the two-day meeting. Robbie Close was one of the biggest winners, securing the steer on the exciting intermediate grade trotter Arditi for Blenheim local, Dean Hunter. “It’s a nice one to pick up,” Close said. “The runs on the West Coast were really good and it looks to have a bit of a future.” Hunter has a strong hand to play in the feature race of the day with his three trotters all engaged with Arditi joining Lady Beatrix Bourbon and Nelson winner, Destiny Jones. All three were winners on the recent West Coast circuit. Craig Thornley is another to have picked up a nice drive in the form of the Jamie Gameson trained, Franco Hampton who hasn’t been seen since running seventh behind Thefixer on Cup Day at Addington. With an abundance of gate speed the Christian Cullen colt may be able to slot himself into a forward position and get a good chance to secure another victory. The other of Dunn’s notable drives at Blenheim is Miss Daisy who has been picked up by Ross Houghton. A member of the Robert Dunn stable, Miss Daisy ran a big second at Ashburton on Boxing Day when second behind her stablemate American Tart and with a cushy run on the cards today she gets a good chance to grab another victory. Her toughest opposition will be another stablemate, Billy Badger who was a big winner on the first day of the Nelson meeting. As they did last week, the Dunn stable is expected to be right in the thick of the action again today with an ominous looking line up of runners. They’ve got nine runners engaged at Waterlea, one at Wyndham and four at Cambridge tonight.   Super Selector – By Matt Markham Race 1: Reign On Me, IW McNik, Tehoro Dazzle, Zsa Ziva Race 2: Born Again Delight, Goldiloch, Smooth N Easy, Gotta Ticket Race 3: Runaway Three, Hayden’s Meddle, Titanium, Idealagain Race 4: Crackabella, Man Of Steel, Danse McAabre, Nova Time Race 5: Arditi, Destiny Jones, Muscles Galore, Redwood Invasion Race 6: Kitura, Lolita Franco, Dana Dawn, Sauciehall Race 7: Billy Badger, Miss Daisy, Smithy, Eh Ef El Race 8: She’s A Flyin, Gotta Go Ya Hu, Franco Hampton, Scotlyn Jack Best Bet: Billy Badger (Race 7) Value: Crackabella (Race 4)

A large number of local trainers will have their eyes fixed on the finishing line when the Marlborough Harness Racing Club stages its two-day summer meeting at Waterlea Racecourse. The Marlborough leg of the 2016-17 Interislander Summer Festival, which involves 36 events at holiday venues from Ruakaka to Waikouaiti, takes place on Friday and Sunday. The Summer Festival meeting has been held in Marlborough for the past 11 years, proving the biggest drawcard on the province's racing calendar. It also offers a chance for local trainers to put their trotters and pacers to the test without leaving home, an opportunity nine Marlborough-based trainers have accepted. At the forefront of the charge will be Dean Hunter. The experienced horseman has three trotters in training - Destiny Jones, Arditi and and Lady Beatrix Bourbon - and has enjoyed plenty of success with all three, claiming four wins, two seconds and a third on the West Coast circuit before Christmas. His most recent victory came with Destiny Jones, who won in Nelson on Sunday. Unfortunately, all three of Hunter's horses will go in the same race, the C1 trot, race five on Friday. Other local trainers involved on Friday include Anne Marie Best, with two runners, Kaikoura's David Broadhurst, Mark Gill, who will harness up five including Gotta Ticket who placed in Nelson, Mark Heaton with two, Sandra Mounce, also with two runners including Clifden Clowers who picked up a couple of placings in Nelson, Pat and Mike O'Brien with four starters, Allan Shutkowski with the well-performed Molly Sims, and Brent Weaver who has five runners. The number of Marlborough horses involved offers a good chance of a local winner, but they have to get past the in-form team on the top of the south circuit first. Woodend Beach trainer Robert Dunn and his family enjoyed what Marlborough Harness Racing Club secretary Barry Forbes described as a "Dunn-fest" over the two days in Nelson. Dunn trained six winners from the 22 races while his son John Dunn drove eight winners. Another son, Dexter Dunn, the country's leading driver, piloted four winners home. Robert Dunn will race 10 horses in Marlborough, including Alta Orlando, a class performer and winner of the Nelson Cup. Forbes said he would "expect the Dunns to be dominant again". Alta Orlando will race on the second day only, in the Peter Yealands Wines Marlborough Cup handicap pace, the main race on Sunday. It is scheduled to start at 4.49pm. The first race on Friday begins at 3.17pm while the opener on Sunday goes at 1.25pm. The feature race on Friday is the Peter Yealands Wines Mobile Pace  at 6.18pm. Forbes said everything was set for two good days of racing, with the track in excellent condition and a vast programme of entertainment for young and old. Kids will be well catered for with the More FM Kids Go Racing area providing free activities for under-12s, including a bouncy castle and lolly scrambles. Children will also have the chance to design racing silks for world driving champion Dexter Dunn to wear when he defends his title at the 2017 Championships in Canada. The colouring competition winner will win a set of racing silks for themselves, presented by Dunn. The popular Canterbury Kidz Karts display, featuring miniature horses, will be another attraction. Admission is free for children under 18 years, with tickets costing $10 per adult. Selections (by Barry Forbes): Race 1: Tehoro Dazzle, Reign On Me, IW McNik Race 2: Born Again Delight, Forget To Remember, Gotta Ticket Race 3: Hayden's Meddle, Millwood Charity, Idealagain Race 4: Crackabella, Man Of Steel, Tennyson  Inlet Race 5: Arditi, Muscles Galore, Destiny Jones Race 6: Kitura, Sauchiehall, Dream To Reality Race 7: Billy Badger, Molly Sims, Miss Daisy Race 8: Flashing Diamond, She's A Flyin, Scottlynn Jack By Peter Jones Reprinted with permission of The Marlborough Express

A new weekly harness racing segement on, Around the Traps will, each Tuesday, put together happenings from around New Zealand and Australia over the weekend just been. NEK TIME TRIALS IMPRESSIVELY Speedy Canterbury 3-year-old filly, Nek Time, was an impressive winner of a trial at Albion Park on Friday night as she readies herself for the Gold Coast and Queensland Oaks. The Terry and Glenys Chmiel trainer filly, who is based at the stable of Ian Gurney, paced her 1660 metre trial in 1:58.9 which equates to a 1.55 mile rate. The Southland Oaks winner, will kick off her campaign in the Gold Coast Oaks this weekend before tackling the Queensland Oaks a week later. Dexter Dunn has been booked to drive the filly during her Australian campaign. TELFER/GARLICK TEAM DRAW LEVEL North Island trainers, Steve Telfer and Chris Garlick drew level with their best ever season tally of 37 with a winning double at Alexandra Park on Friday night. The Papkura Stable won on Friday with River Emperor and First Home to take them to 37 and continue what has been a great season. Just inside the Top 10 trainers on the national premiership, the partnership have produced 16 individual winners this season with Better B Amazed (5 wins), Prince Of Pops and Ashton K (4 wins) and Superimposed, No Doctor Needed, American Flybye and Ideal Flybye (3 wins) their best performers. MAINLAND BANNER’S PERFECT RECORD The win of Glenferrie Classic on Friday at Blenheim kept former New Zealand Trotting Cup winning mare, Mainland Banner’s strike rate perfect. Of the five foals the daughter of Christian Cullen has produced, all five have now been winners with Glenferrie Classic the latest. Aside from Stunin Banner (13 wins) her other four foals; Peruvian Banner (1 win), Return To Sender (8 wins), Rocker Band (9 wins) and Glenferrie Classic (1 win) have all been embryo transfer foals. Incidentally, Stunin Banner will race this weekend at Alexandra Park in a claimers event carrying a price tag of $9,000. He is currently domiciled with Todd Mitchell. GILL SUSPENDED Marlborough horsewoman, Kendra Gill has her licence suspended until the middle of August on the opening, and only, day of the Marlborough Harness Racing Club’s meeting on Friday. Gill, the daughter of local trainer, Mark, was suspended for careless driving after her charge, Gotta Ticket was shifted into a position in which there is was insufficient room to allow it to happen. Gill’s suspension ends on the 14th of August. OUR WAIKIKI BEACH TRIALS TODAY Embattled 3-year-old pacer, (Our) Waikiki Beach will trial today (Tuesday) at Menangle as he continues his preparations for the rich Australasian Breeders Crown. In the care of leading Australian stable, Belinda McCarthy, the unbeaten pacer, who has won all 20 of his career starts, is earmarked to return to the race next Tuesday in a C3-C5 pace before tackling a heat of the Breeders Crown seven days later. VOTING CLOSED Voting for the annual Harness Racing New Zealand Awards, which are to be held in the Mashina Lounge at Christchurch Casino on Saturday, July 30, closed on Friday. There has been plenty of speculation around the Awards this year - in particular the battle for Horse of the Year between freakish pacer Have Faith In Me and superstar trotter, Monbet. 29 votes are allocated for each of the categories, which this year include the return of the 5-year-old and older categories. The voting panel is made up largely of members of the harness racing media in New Zealand which also includes commentators and Trackside presenters. BREEDERS CROWN HEATS KICK OFF The first round of heats for the rich Australasian Breeders Crown will be held this week. Addington plays host to heats for the 3YO Trotting Colts and Geldings as well as the 3YO Trotting fillies. Three horses will go around in the male event; Blood And Whiskey, Conon Bridge and My Armour while the fillies race will be contested by Oona and Wilma’s Mate. Further heats will be held at Addington on the 8th, the 15th and the 22nd of July and at Cambridge on July 10 and 21. By Matt Markham

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