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A solo workout at Alexandra Park on Wednesday was all the convincing Mark Jones needed to know he's not wasting his time with Master Lavros in this week's $150,000,Group 1 2014 Canam Rowe Cup. New Zealand's best open class trotter let his faithful supporters down again with two gallops in last week's Greenlane Cup, but Jones wasn't letting the disappointment of that run get in the way of what lies in wait on Friday night. "I'm putting it down to driver error," Jones said of last week's performance. "I tried to rush him around them too early in the race and we have found out that when he gallops once he generally does it twice. "I'm not too worried by it though, he was probably a little bit too fresh.....he's a lot better this week." Jones flew North during the week to work Master Lavros and said his work was exemplary. "If he trots on Friday night as well as he did when I worked him then I'm going to be very happy. "His work was very good." Master Lavros will need to overcome, not only his issues of last week, but also an awkward second line draw if he is to become one of very few horses to complete the notable Rowe Cup and Dominion Handicap double. "He's a great stayer, and I think he is the best horse in the race but we are going to need some luck." Last week's Greenlane Cup winner, Sheemon , is one of a number of chances in the Group 1 event outside of Master Lavros. The Kevin Townley -trained runner has shown a real liking for Alexandra Park winning three times and placing twice from five starts. Australian raider, Zedalite has been the subject of plenty of support since arriving in New Zealand as is expected to also play a hand in one of New Zealand's most prestigious trotting features of the year. By Matt Markham (Harness Racing New Zealand)

New Zealand Derby winner Locharburn is out of contention for the Harness Jewels at Cambridge next month. Care-taker trainer of the massive pacer, Cran Dalgety, withdraw the New Zealand Derby winner from the rich series today, citing some non-serious, but niggling, issues as the main reason behind the decision. Unsighted since his emphatic victory in our greatest three-year-old race the son of Christian Cullen was sent almost immediately back to owner, and original trainer, Kevin Chapman’s property where he has been under the watchful eye of Chapman’s son, Jared. Dalgety said that due to the colt’s imposing size he is having issues with growing pains and ultimately that has spelt the end of his three-year-old season. “In reality, he is just a big baby still,’’ Dalgety said. “And as is the since straight after the Derby but there have been a few worries with him growing and although it’s nothing serious it’s still enough to make us sit down and rethink the plan of attack. “As good as he is you can’t keep pushing them too much, he’s got his wee niggling issues and is going through a bit of a transition stage in his growing.’’ A star among a crop of brilliant three-year-olds which include Tiger Tara and Isaiah, Locharburn’s defection robs the three-year-old Emerald for colts and geldings of one of its real attractions. Dalgety said they could have continued on with preparation for the Jewels, but the horse’s interests are what need to come first. “It could have been quite easy to push on I think, but where that would leave him next season I’m not sure. “They got the big one, the Derby was the main aim all along “I’d love to be taking him up there under my arm – for sure. “But a good break now is only going to be beneficial for him down the track.’’ Dalgety also knows that Locharburn’s defection from the Jewels most likely means he won’t get to take him to the races under his name again. The West Melton horseman had been playing the role of babysitter for Chapman while he enjoys an overseas holiday but the plan was always for the pacer to return to him upon his return. By Matt Markham (Courtesy of HRNZ)

Ricky May says suggestions Terror To Love is vulnerable heading into tonight's Easter Cup are off the mark. Questions have been swirling this week after the champion reinsman gave the three-time New Zealand Trotting Cup winner a quiet time of it in a two-horse trial at Ashburton on Tuesday. But while some may ponder whether or not the run will have been enough to get Terror To Love in shape to defeat champion mare Adore Me in tonight's $100,000 Group I event, May is keeping his cool, calm attitude. "I've been driving at the trials at Ashburton for 30 years," May said yesterday. "I know what a hard run can do to a horse there when they are four or five days out from a race. There have been plenty who have set that track alight during the week only to fail at the weekend." Terror To Love was timed to run his 2400m heat in 3min 8sec - a sedate effort considering he went 2min and 54.9sec for the Ashburton Flying Stakes on the course, over the same distance, last October. To May the time is irrelevant. The most successful horseman in New Zealand Trotting Cup history with seven wins was impressed with how Terror To Love looked and felt. "I thought he looked fantastic, certainly not like a horse who hasn't raced for a while. I gave him a really strong preliminary before the heat too and he felt awesome. "You can never get a [true] line on him at the trials anyway, he knows when it's raceday and grows another leg. "I was really pleased with the trial, I definitely don't think we have too much to worry about other than Adore Me." Back at his favourite track and racing over his pet distance, Terror To Love will still be favoured by many to down Adore Me tonight. The pair clashed for the first time last month in the Auckland Cup at Alexandra Park and Terror To Love emerged on top after giving the brilliant mare six to seven lengths at the top of the straight and running her down. "I think we can beat her for speed. "I'd be a little more worried if we had to sit outside her and try and beat her though." Adore Me, too, has some question marks hanging over her head. She is backing up from a gruelling 2600m event last week in which she started off a 40m handicap and set the stop watches alight by smashing the New Zealand all-comers record while also going within a whisker of beating the national mobile record as well. Tonight will be the first time Adore Me races over the ultimate distance of 3200m. In her favour though is that it is likely the lead will be waiting for her whenever she decides to come forward, with stablemate Arden Rooney looking the most likely early pacemaker. Ad Feedback "I don't think we would get the lead if we went around and he [Arden Rooney] was in front. So it's going to be pretty tactical and moves in the race will be crucial." Terror To Love was last night rated a $1.70 favourite to win the Group I with Adore Me at $2.10. Both horses are likely to offer more on the tote tonight, although the value for Adore Me is sure to entice some punters. The TAB have already taken a $5000 bet on Terror To Love. May holds a strong hand in tonight's secondary feature - the Group III $25,000 New Zealand Trotting Stakes for two-year-olds. He will drive smart trotter Monbet for Greg and Nina Hope, who suffered defeat for the first time in his career at Rangiora when beaten by BD Love. ❏ Samantha Ottley became the first female to reach 100 career driving wins while a junior driver when she was victorious with Gogirl Bromac at Forbury Park on Thursday night. After a couple of weeks stuck on 99, the talented young driver, who hails from Orari in South Canterbury, finally broke the duck and notched up the ton to continue her remarkable fledgling career.. In her first raceday drive, Ottley was successful when Nigel Paul won at the Kurow meeting on her 18th birthday. Attached to the stable of Colin and Julie de Filippi, Ottley currently sits second on the national junior drivers' championship behind North Island horseman Sailesh Abernethy. By Matt Markham (Courtesy of The Press)            

Barry Purdon has gone to the bench and called in a super-sub for Friday night's Group I New Zealand Derby at Addington. One of the most successful horseman in Derby history, Purdon has enlisted champion reinsman Ricky May to drive his charge Sky Major in the $175,000 event. Initially the North Island horseman came south with a view to driving the Group I winner himself, but May's availability proved too good to pass up on. "I want to give the horse the best possible opportunity," Purdon said yesterday. "Ricky is one of the best in the business, it makes sense to use him. "He knows all the opposition and their racing styles and he's one of our best in the big races." Purdon's record in the Derby is exemplary, although he hasn't started a horse in New Zealand's greatest three-year-old race since The Cavalier (11th), who he trained in partnership with Scott Phelan, ran in the 2008 edition, and then you have to go back to 2004 to find his next starters; High Calibre (9th) and Derek Bromac (11th). Purdon's five winners came during the 90s, including a golden period where he and his father Roy won four consecutive editions of the race with Kiwi Scooter (1992), Mark Roy (1993), Ginger Man (1994) and Il Vicolo (1995). He was successful on his own accord with Holmes DG in 1998. For May, the race hasn't been quite so kind. He's yet to claim a victory in 22 attempts with just three placings on Spring Alot (2004), Colonel Anvil (1999) and Happy Patron (1986) all he has to show for his efforts - a remarkable statistic considering some of the three-year-olds he has driven in his career. A brave fifth placing in last week's Flying Stakes gives Sky Major more than an outside chance of beating some of his talented opposition, although an outside barrier draw hasn't exactly helped. "We haven't had a great run of barrier draws with him," Purdon said. "But it could turn out to be a good one if there is plenty of speed in the race, Ricky's patient driving style could work right in our favour. He was super last week I thought, he just had to do too much work, but he has come through that run really well. "Now we just need that luck to fall our way." While one Purdon had to scratch his head at yet another average barrier draw, another was smiling after some good fortune. Purdon's brother Mark will line up four horses in the race as he shoots for his third consecutive victory and his 12th victory overall as either a trainer or a driver. And all four have drawn inside the first five marbles with Messini going from barrier one, Aldo Rossi barrier two, Isaiah barrier four and Alleluia barrier five. Gun three-year-olds Locharburn and Tiger Tara had mixed results in the draw stakes with Locharburn drawing six and Tiger Tara one on the second line. By Matt Markham (Courtesy of THE PRESS)              

Noel Kennard couldn’t have scripted yesterday any better if he had tried. With more than 300 members of his go-Harness syndications on course to enjoy a day at the race meeting they were sponsoring, all that was left to do was produce them a winner. And Kennard and his right-hand man Johnny Robinson did exactly that – with a little help from Hamish Hunter and Colin DeFilippi. They were victorious with Southland pacer Astro Boy who overcame an early gallop to steam home down the outside of the track and claim victory in an impressive fashion. The success was the perfect advertisement for harness racing with hoards of owners making their way into the winners circle to celebrate the win and Kennard said seeing that made all the hard work worth it. “I’ve put a lot of expectation on myself with these syndicates and this day,’’ Kennard said. “So to see something like that happen right in front of my eyes and to see all the joy in the owners as they came into the birdcage was really special. “We haven’t had the best of luck, but hopefully this is the step back in the right direction we have needed.’’ While the Astro Boy win was a clear highlight of the day – there were plenty of honourable mentions as well. Jerry Garcia was rewarded for consistency when he claimed the Akaroa Cup for trainer and driver Leo O’Reilly. The Jereme’s Jet gelding had run in the money 16 times from 26 starts prior to yesterday but took his winning tally to seven for his career with a dominant win. Away safely from the stand O’Reilly sent the four-year-old forward with a lap to run to find the lead and he was able to then hand up to back maker, and favourite Arising Easton who took him to the top of the straight. From there he dashed away and held off the late challenge of Magna in the $12,000 feature. Earlier in the day both Jackie Law and Karen O’Connor made their way into the winners circle after long absences. O’Connor struck first with her own trotter Regal Moment who made great use of a grand run in the trial to boot up the insider and win with a bit in hand. It was her first victory since she drove Datmymulligan to success at Methven in March of 2012 and it also took her to 98 career driving wins. Law had a little longer wait in between drinks as you have to go back to 2007 when Dorothy Morris won at Waimate to find her last winning driver with only 17 drives in between victories. She was successful with debutant Surfin Tsunami who rocked the punters with a $70 winning quote in a big maiden pacer. Law trained Dreamaway Jess to win at Addington in 2009 where she was driven by Ricky May By Matt Markham (Courtesy of The Press).

Four-time New Zealand Trotting Cup winning driver Todd “The Wizard” Mitchell will be the Methven Trotting Club’s guest drive at their annual March meeting, next week. Following on from two successful appearances by Tony Herlihy in the past two years, Mitchell was offered the opportunity to try his luck on the picturesque Mt Harding course for the first time and jumped at the opportunity. Regarded by many as the best grass track surface in New Zealand, the Methven track is also renowned as a tricky track to win a race on and was described by Herlihy as one of the toughest tracks to win a race on that he has driven on. After an unsuccessful first visit, Herlihy picked up a win on his return trip when saluting the judge with Jackaroo Bromac for trainer Mark Jones. So the challenge is well and truly set for Mitchell to try and better the effort of Herlihy when he debuts next week. Methven Trotting Club president Bruce Harper said the club was excited to have Mitchell on course this year. “Todd has a great reputation as a driver and a real rapport with horses,’’ he said. “He’s long been considered one of the best in the business and it’s a privilege to have him as a guest driver at this meeting. “Tony Herlihy’s two appearances sparked interest from North Island punters and we have no doubts that Todd will do the same.’’ Mitchell currently sits just 30 wins shy of his 1000th career driving win while his 195 wins as a trainer and many victories in the thoroughbred code only further underline his talents with racehorses. The Waikato horseman will be available for drives throughout the entire day of racing and trainers interested in utilising his services can contact Matt Markham on 0275107115. [Matt Markham | The Press [Sports & Racing Journalist]

The Hororata Trotting Club will return to its roots in 2014 with their annual race meeting to be held in the countryside, at the picturesque Mt Harding Racecourse in Methven. The club has had to look for an alternative venue to Addington Raceway, where they have raced since 2002, due to two large events taking place in the Addington vicinity on the night of Friday, Feburary 21. The Hollies will be rocking out the stage at the CBS Arena and the Crusaders will kick off their Super Rugby campaign at AMI Stadium against the defending championship side, the Chiefs. The logistics of holding a race meeting on the same night as both of the events were near impossible, so Hororata sought out to shift their meeting and settled with Methven. The Mt Harding Track, which is nestled under the Southern Alps, with Mount Hutt as it’s backdrop, closely resembles a return to the norm for the Hororata Club, who until 1984 raced on a grass track surface of their own before shifting to Ashburton, and then onto Addington. Club president, Bruce Hutton, said the decision to go to Methven was a simple one, once they had approval from the Methven Trotting Club to do so. “Methven is about as close as we can get to racing at home so it was always a logical option,’’ he said. Just 20 minutes drive from Hororata, the meeting, which will be held as a Friday afternoon event, is expected to draw a decent sized crowd with plenty of interest already, from both areas. Hutton said one of the most pleasing parts about the shift was that there was no need to make any changes to their normal racing programme, other than shifting from a night meeting to day, including keeping their heat of the Nevele R Fillies Series. In a New Zealand first, the series, which has seen some of the best female pacers to grace the track compete, will hold a heat on a grass track racing surface over the speed distance of one mile. “It’s really pleasing that we could keep that particular race and I think the fact its on the grass will make it a real unique race.’’ Classy filly, Libertybelle Midfrew, who was a gallant third behind top filly, Venus Serena at Ashburton on Saturday is touted as a potential starter in the race as she tries to earn herself a spot in the Group I Final at Alexandra Park. Also on offer will be the running of the Mountain River Processors Hororata Cup for a stake of $14,999. First race is set down for 12.25pm with free entry onto the course. [Matt Markham | The Press [Sports & Racing Journalist]

With the surname Markham, Jeremy was always going to be involved in harness racing in some way, shape, or form, and, while his siblings have chosen different career paths in racing, the man they call ‘Red’ has opted for a more hands on approach. “It has taken a lot longer than I would have liked, but it has been worth the wait,” said Markham, just moments after crossing the line in first place with Diggerboy at Motukarara yesterday. “The fact that I won my first race on a horse that is trained by dad and mum (Carl and Lyn) just added to the thrill,” enthused Markham. “They have done a great job with this horse as he has had a few problems along the way,” he added. Markham saved ground along the markers early with Diggerboy before working the five-year-old son of Now Another Look away from the inside and on to the back of the three-wide line. He then came with a well timed run to nab Starview Soul (Nigel Perkins) by the barest of margins. Markham originally left Mt Hutt College to study at Aoraki Polytechnic in Christchurch with hopes of a career in radio journalism, but after graduating he opted out of that to go work full-time for Colin & Julie DeFillipi, before taking up a position with leading trainer Mark Purdon. He is now widely known as the strapped of champion trotter I Can Doosit. “Mark (Purdon) is a great boss, who has taught me a lot,” said Markham. “Working with I Can Doosit is an absolute privilege,” he exclaimed.” Jeremy Markham’s older brother is Matt Markham, who is the racing editor for the Christchurch Press, whilst his younger sister Stacey, is employed by Harness Racing New Zealand. His father is well known trainer-driver Carl Markham, otherwise known as the Mayor of Methven. “I guess you could say it is a real family affair as mum (Lyn) is also heavily involved,” laughed Jeremy Markham. Diggerboy is owned by the Blackwell family who were on-course to cheer home their steed and Jeremy. By Mitchell Robertson      

*This week’s ring-around was delayed in order to include the New Zealand Cup meeting Last week was a good one for the ring-around with David Butt, John Dunn, Jonny Cox, Mark Jones, Nathan Williamson, and Scott Phelan all tipping out winners – So hopefully we can carry that sort of form into this week. All trainers-drivers were told that it was preferred that they tip a horse that is racing on Cup Day, but were given the option to tip at any other meeting.  So, let’s see what they came up with: Andrew Armour: Likes the chances of Sharpenuff in race two at Wyndham on Sunday. Anthony Butt: Thinks Peak has continued to go forward since his Ashburton Trotters’ Mile win, and expects him to be hard to beat in the New Zealand Trotting Free-For-All on Cup Day. Blair Orange & Mark Jones: Think the impressive Saveapatrol will prove very hard to beat in race eight on Cup Day. Craig Thornley: Has opted away from Cup Day, tipping out Givenchy Franco in race ten at Wyndham on Sunday. David Butt: Thinks last start winner Lothario is at least an each-way chance in race three on Cup Day. John Dunn: Rates the chance of Kotare Mahal who has been in brilliant form of late. He will compete in the Show Day Futurity on Show Day Ken Barron: Said that Pacquiao was his best chance on Cup Day, but that he rates Change Time at Ashburton on Thursday as his best of the week.  Matthew Williamson:  Believes Yankee One will take some beating in race eleven on Cup Day. Nathan Williamson: Has opted for talented trotter Springbank Sam. He competes in the New Zealand Trotting Free-For-All on Cup Day. Ricky May: Thinks Mossdale Connor will take improvement out of his fresh-up second, and therefore expects him to be very hard to beat in the last on Cup Day. Terry Chmiel: Rates the just of Hi Jinx, who was ultra impressive when winning two starts back. He competes in the last race on Cup Day Todd Mitchell: Believes the ace alley gives Cyclone Prince a great chance of claiming Group One glory in the Sires Stakes Final on Cup Day. Tim Williams: Is not driving on Cup Day – but he does like the chances of The Lutts in race two at Wyndham on Sunday. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Mark McNamara (Cup Day commentator): Thinks classy pacer Didjamakem Bolt will have four straight wins next to his name after the ninth race on Cup Day. Matt Markham ( The Press): Has opted for Harry Johnstone as his best bet of the day on Cup Day. The Northern raider looks well placed in race eleven on the card. Justin Le Lievre (The Informant): Like trainer Mark Jones and driver Blair Orange, thinks Saveapatrol will be very hard to roll in race eight on Cup Day. Mitchell Robertson (Harnesslink) Best bet: Arden Rooney – race five. Each-way: Elios – race twelve. Value: Sundown In Paris – race three. By Mitchell Robertson

Racing returns to the beautiful Mt Harding racetrack on Sunday for the Methven Trotting Club’s feature meeting of the year. And, as usual, the day is set to be a cracker. “There will be sweepstakes and giveaways on-course but the highlight for many will be the annual Methven Punters’ Competition, which seems to be getting bigger every year,” said harness racing journalist and Methven committee member, Matt Markham. The winner of the punters’ competition will not only claim whatever profit they make but will also win a $4,000 cash prize and a trophy with some pretty big names. Entry costs $800 per team and that includes food and beverages for four people. “Craig 'the whale' Thompson, Phil Barber, Barry Lichter and local punting sensation Gary Eddington will be among the people competing in this year’s comp,” said Markham. “The Westview Racing Syndicate will also be back to defend its title. “It generally generates about $40,000 of the on-course turnover, so it is quite a big event and we do our best to accommodate everyone involved. There will be two of the best tote staff working full-time in the punters’ room,” he added. Markham, who also calls the trials at Methven, is generally a pretty good tipster when it comes to his local meeting, so who better to sort out a few winners for Harnesslink readers. “Jason Rulz was super here at the recent workouts and I expect him to take all sorts of beating in the Methven Cup,” he advised. “He must have given Elusive Chick nine lengths on the bend at the workouts and he still ended up running her down pretty easily in the end, so it was an impressive display. He is my bet of the day.” Markham is also very bullish about the chances of Jacko, a first starter from the John Hay stable competing in race number six. “He also won well at the workouts at Methven beating a horse called All Cash, which has a bit of a reputation. All Cash is also in the same race on Sunday, so they could be a good quinella.” Markham also likes the chances of Rollin Thunder in race two and Jean Sabastien, who could offer some value in race five. “Rollin Thunder was a good fourth last start, and was another that impressed me at the workouts recently.” Jean Sabastien, however, is a horse Markham has a bit of inside knowledge on as he is trained by his father Carl. “We definitely think he is capable of getting some money if he gets things right.” By Mitchell Robertson

You would have thought after last year’s 4 & 5YO kerfuffle, Harness Racing New Zealand would have spoken to the horsemen before making any rapid changes to our beloved Harness Jewels series. But it seems the people who run this industry can simply not learn from their mistakes. And, while I am sure they fully intended on making the Harness Jewels “bigger and better”, it seems they once again missed out on the finer detail. “My vote is no to the decision (to invite the top Australian horse to the Harness Jewels Final next June), especially seeing as there doesn’t seem to have been much consultation with the people most affected,” said Harness Jewels King, Blair Orange. “I don’t see why they should get straight into the Jewels when our guys are battling away all season trying to earn enough to be there. Okay so we go to the Breeders’ Crown and get their money but you have to qualify to get into the rich finals. They don’t invite you. It is the same with the Miracle Mile now; you have to go over there and race to get an invite. So I am a bit baffled what brought this about. I am certainly not in favour of it and a lot of owners and horsemen won’t be either. It seems to have been just sprung on everybody,” he added. Mark Jones and Brent Mangos were also not in favour of the changes when interviewed earlier in the week by The Press’s Matt Markham. Jones, like myself, could see that the changes could make for some great clashes, which would increase turnover and add huge Australasian interest to the series. But, he thought it was wrong that the Australian horses were allowed in without racing here prior to the series. Mangos, however, was more outspoken. "I guarantee the Australians wouldn't let us into their big races like this, and I doubt there'll be that much difference in turnover anyway," he said. "They should be focused on helping New Zealand owners, not giving our stake money away across the Tasman." Anthony Butt was yet another who disagreed with the changes. “This is worse than the 4 & 5yos. Who sits in the corner and makes this stuff up?” A lot of small time owners and breeders also feel like they have drawn the short straw. “The Jewels was the only thing we could dream about without ‘paying up’ and now it has been made that much harder.” One Breeder went as far to say “I will no longer be breeding from any of my mares.” Thirteen horse fields at Cambridge over a mile were also a major talking point, with many arguing that the horse that draws five on the second line may as well not bother turning up. Personally, I can see what the board were trying to achieve and I think with some tweaks it can work. But, at the moment, they have got it a bit wrong. Edward eager to set things straight -Edward Rennell has fought back against the horseman by making some very good points and producing a strong argument. “I think some of New Zealand’s horsemen have short memories,” said the CEO of Harness Racing New Zealand. “To say the Australians wouldn’t do the same for us is completely wrong. “Does Brent Mangos not remember Bettor Cover Lover getting automatic entry into the Ladyship Mile through winning the Queen Of Hearts?” “It was the same with Jason Rulz. He automatically got a start in the Chariots Of Fire through winning the Pelorus Classic,” Rennell quickly pointed out. “As I have already said the changes are expected to grow interest and increase the revenue base. Rennell said the amount Australians are betting annually on New Zealand harness racing is less than both of the other codes. “Domestically we have double the turnover of the Greyhounds, so it is quite concerning.” “This is just one of the steps we plan on taking to rectify this over the next few months.” “Why is everyone so scared of a bit of competition?” “No one is complaining about Themightyquinn or Caribbean Blaster coming over for the New Zealand Cup are they? Rennell said they might look at making the announcement for the four-year-old category in April to try and lure over the gun Australian for the Messenger and Taylor Mile. “It is not going to be a free pass at all. Each and every Australian that makes the fields will have had to really earn their spot. It’s not like they are going to be coming in fresh, they will have raced as much, if not more, than our horses.” Rennell said that anyone who says having Australian interest in the Jewels won’t increase turnover is blatantly wrong. And T.A.B Bookmaker Steve Richardson was quick to back him up.  “From the Harness Book perspective it will certainly help to create more wagering interest on the Jewels if a few of the leading aged Australian trained make the trip over.” “Our top aged performers do tend to stifle win betting. Short priced favourites do have a great record in past Jewel events. Those odds on favourites have never been well received by the smaller win wagering customers and obviously neither by the 'book' as we struggle to sell any decent sized bets to offset and try to reduce the liability on the favourite.” “If a top Australian runner comes over it should help to on average increase the odds on NZ favourite by 20%,” he added. Richardson said that there had definitely been increased betting in the 3yo Ruby and 2yo Emerald last season because of the presence of Blitzthemcalder and Allblack Stride. “From the trading point of view with those two in the markets you can feel the hype that they generate from the wagering patterns of our customers. Both of those runners were sent out the favourites which enabled us to offer better odds on the NZ runners. Neither won so the punters who backed the respective winners of those events benefited from Australia's presence at the Jewels,” Richardson concluded. by Mitchell Robertson  

A late change in plans has forced the Methven Trotting Club to go to the reserves bench for a guest harness racing driver at their annual autumn meeting next weekend. The club were in preparations to welcome former Methven man, Maurice McKendry, back to his old home town but due to driving commitments overseas the champion North Island horseman won't be able to attend the meeting.

Champion harness racing driver Maurice McKendry will return to his old home town of Methven this month as a guest driver of the Methven Trotting Club at their meeting on March 24. Following on from the success of Tony Herlihy's appearance on the course for the first time last year, the Club has adopted its March meeting as an annual occasion at which they will invite a guest driver from outside of the Canterbury region to come an participate in the days racing.

Jeremy Markham could have been sitting in a Christchurch office right now writing news and perhaps playing songs for radio listeners. Instead the 22-year-old saw the light and opted for a harness racing career over radio journalism.

The threat of the Melbourne Rebels will not be the only thing on Luke Whitelock's mind this weekend. Just hours before he runs on to AMI Stadium tomorrow night (Saturday May 12) for the Crusaders, his thoughts will drift to Addington Raceway, where the Whitelock family hope to kick off a successful harness racing weekend.

With good horses and great racing right throughout on Saturday night (April 7) at Addington there was plenty to talk about. Matt Markham was there, and here is his race-by-race account of the night's harness racing proceedings.

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