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Breaking droughts quickly became the modus operandi for grass track racing at Rangiora on Sunday. A number of winners throughout the day’s racing action were putting behind them long sequences without success and, in some cases, tasting success for the first time after numerous attempts. There was no more deserving winner on the programme however than maiden trotter, Native’s Brite Gem. Having start 46 for her career the daughter of Britewell finally dispersed off her maiden status when she led all the way to win the opening race of the day for Austin Thornton and Robbie Close. On seven previous occasions she’d finished second. Often looking the winner 100 metres from the post only to be run down in the dying stages, but there was none of that on Saturday as the free-wheeling mare began to clear away from her rivals inside the final 50 metres. Rusty I Am, a five-year-old son of Sundon and Awesome I Am was the next cab off the rank when he broke through for his first win in the second maiden trot of the day for co-trainer and driver, Pip Wakelin Wakelin, who trains in partnership with Steven Noble, put her charge into the race at the right time and he staved off the challenge of hot favourite, Ace Commander, to win at start 26 after looking more than likely on a number of occasions. Justin and Lynn Smith also found themselves in the winners’ circle when All Lit Up picked up the sixth win of his 54 start career later in the day having not saluted the judge for 24 starts. The wonderfully bred son of Sundon last won a race in August of 2015. The run of drought breaking continued when Caesar’s Quest, who had been side-lined with injury, caused the upset of the day when sneaking home ahead of Augusta at massive odds grabbing his first win since September of 2014. The John McDermott trained pacer had finished fifth in his previous start behind Kardesler at Motukarara but was never given a hope by punters on Sunday paying a massive $63.50 for the win. Another injury casualty, Nolan Sackett was the other returnee to the winners’ circle. The talented Roger Winter trained pacer put together an impressive record in his maiden season, winning twice and placing on four occasions from seven starts with his only miss a fourth at Addington at the end of his last campaign. The Badlands Hanover six-year-old ran a solid fourth behind Cable Beach at Ashburton but wasn’t to be denied on Sunday, finishing stylishly near the outside fence to win in the hands of Matty Williamson.    Matt Markham

Zenmach may find the all-weather surface more to his liking at Forbury Park on Fridaynight than the grass at Oamaru last Saturday. Zenmach wilted to eighth at Oamaru after being given little respite in the lead. The Mach Three gelding returned to winning at Ascot Park at his previous start. His six wins have been on all-weather tracks and he has been successful at Forbury Park. His regular driver Matthew Williamson is back in the sulky in race 7. Geoff and Jude Knight, the Roxburgh trainers of Zenmach, also have Atom Hanover and Jerry Fitz in the race. Atom Hanover was a last start fourth at Forbury Park in his first race for five weeks. Jerry Fitz, who has been bought by the Gabriels Gold syndicate from Ross Wilson, tuned up on the grass at Balfour on Sunday. The 8yr-old has not raced 11 weeks. Jerry Fitz has gained three of his 11 wins at Forbury Park, the most recent in a claiming race in May. Brent Barclay is the new driver for Martin McGuinness with Williamson opting for Zenmach. Martin McGuinness capped off minor placings in his previous two starts with a win at Oamaru, The Knights and owners of Zenmach, the Central Courage syndicate, have Seduce Me in race 5. A winner at Oamaru, she could make the most of her one barrier position in the race for junior drivers. Stablemate Silver Dale, a trial winner at Balfour, has also drawn the ace in race 3. “Our maidens Silver Dale and Idealistic Lass look our best prospects. Idealistic Lass is a nice mare who has had her share of problems,’' said Geoff Knight. Idealistic Lass, also owned by the Central Courage syndicate, ran fourth in her lone start at Invercargill in April. The Knight stable has Longevity in a claiming race at Winton on Sunday. Placed in her last two starts for Matt Saunders, the Mach Three mare, has been bought by the Corner Shop and Have Fun syndicates. Rory McIlwrick, the leading junior driver, has been assisting the Williamson stable at Oamaru during the week in the absence of Brad Williamson in Perth. McIlwrick will drive the Williamson-trained Danielle Amore in race 4. Tayler Strong

Harness racing star Matty Williamson has no doubts drivers like him are the ones punters should be following over coming months. And by drivers like him, he means skinny drivers. Williamson had a huge weekend in the sulky, reining four grass track winners, three at Oamaru on Saturday and one at Methven yesterday. But even his three at Oamaru were not enough to win the Brothers In Arms series with brother Nathan, that honour going to northern siblings Sailesh and Jay Abernethy. They won four of the six series races, Sailesh bagging three and Jay one, while only one of Williamson’s three winners of the day came in a heat of the series. But the 26-year-old Oamaru horseman says Saturday’s results are a blueprint for the busy grass track racing circuit over the summer. “I have do doubt the lighter drivers have an advantage on the grass tracks,” says Williamson. “Look at Saturday. I won three races and I weight about 65kgs, while I reckon Sailesh would be closer to 55kgs than 60kgs. Same with Jay. “I am sure on the grass tracks, because they aren’t as smooth, us lighter guys and the a lot of the girls have an advantage over some of the bigger boys. “You even see it with the sulkies a lot of trainers use on the grass tracks now. A lot of trainers, especially in the bigger stables where they have the resources, use their older carts on the grass rather than the new, heavier ones you use at Addington. “So maybe that is something for punters to watch out for.”Williamson says his father Phil qualified a couple of nice trotters over the weekend and the stable expect to have their usual strong summer on the Southland circuit. The lighter drivers theory also shone through in Saturday’s feature when Samantha Ottley lead almost throughout on Perissa to win the Changeover Handicap. The Mark Jones-trained mare recorded her ninth career win and her third for the season, matching her best return for an entire term two years ago.With her manners and love of the grass she shouldn’t be hard to place on the Country Cups circuit in coming months. The expensive failure of the race was hot favourite Alta Orlando, who never gave punters reason for confidence after taking an age to circle the field in the middle stages before being beaten before the turn, finishing fifth. Michael Guerin

The Abernethys dominated the brothers in arms drivers series at Oamaru on Saturday with Sailesh winning three of the six heats and Jay winning one.   The brothers, aged 31 (Sailesh) and Jay (33) ended the series with 19 points, three  more than nearest rivals, Nathan and Matthew Williamson with David and Philip Butcher in third place with 12 points. The Abernethys won the series on the grass track in 2014 when contesting it for the first time.    The Abernethys received a $1000 cash prize provided by Fat Sally’s Pub and Restaurant and a trophy sponsored by Ballantynes Showcase Jewellers.   The Abernethys who operate a stable at Papakura are on the move. They have bought a larger property at Hunua, 35 km away and plan to shift in before the winter.   “The new property is 70 acres against 20 at our present place. We will have straight line and oval tracks and transfer our hydro treadmill,’’ said Jay.   Last season was the most successful for the stable with 33 wins.   “We are building up a team again as most of our older horses have moved on.”   Sailesh won on Saturday with McLovin, Veneto and Nui Toc Tien. Veneto is unbeaten in three starts on grass and Nui Toc Tien has had his four wins on grass. Jay won with Soney Beatt, who made the pace and cleared out by five and three quarter lengths. Soney Beatt has gained four of his six wins on grass.   Trainer Ken Ford had left him in the care of the Williamson stable at Oamaru after he raced at Invercargill the previous Sunday.   Trainer Ray Jenkins produced the trotters McLovin and Justmollyarcher to win. McLovin has won twice from four starts. Justmollyarcher was having his fifth start when he cleared maiden ranks. Both 4-year-olds led over the last 1500m of 2000m.   McLovin is by Monarchy from Winfield Invasion, an Armbro Invasion mare who won four races. McLovin is raced by Jenkins with Terrence Kean, of Winton, Morrell Lake, of Melbourne, Shelley Jenkins (daughter of the trainer) and Neville McRae, of Hamilton. McLovin was bred by Daryl and Anne Trainor, of Sawyers Bay, who sold him in April when he was in work with Mark Jones. The Trainors have Say You Pres, a 3-year-old filly by The Pres from Winfield Invasion shaping well with Jones.   Invercargill owners Leo and Genevieve Curtin, who are attending the Interdominion in Perth, race Justamollyarcher. The Curtins  bought Justamollyarcher from Greg Payne as a 3-year-old 12 months ago.   “He has got heaps of ability but needs the ringcraft,’’ said Jenkins of the son of Angus Hall and Justa Kiwi Girl, who won nine races. The Curtins won seven races with Buddsun from the Jenkins stable.   Culley Backy made an immediate winning return for Christchurch owner Peter McDermott. He bought  5yr-old out of the stable of Michael Heenan and Culley Backy was transferred to Brent White at Temuka.   “I can’t take much of the credit I have only had him (Culley Backy) a week,’’ said White.   The Central Courage syndicate were out in force to see their 4-year-old mare Seduce Me clear maiden ranks. Members were urging her on by her stable name, Cindy, rather than attracting  strange looks by yelling her official name. Roxburgh trainer Geoff Knight bought Seduce Me (Ohoka Arizona – Lady Bo Heather) from Glenys Chmiel and Zenmach from Mark Smolenski for the syndicate about the same time in the winter of last year. Zenmach has since six races.   Tayler Strong

When Geoff and Jude Knight paraded Iodean today at Wyndham it was clear she was in tip top order. And she lived up to her looks when she won the Net Ten EOM at Macca Lodge Fillies and Mares Mobile Pace. The four year old Grinfromeartoear mare was taken forward three wide by driver Matty Williamson to sit parked outside leader Pantastic. At the 600m Iodean was a head in front and at the corner Williamson established a winning break. She just held on to beat the late charging Bonnie Medley on the inside by a half a neck with Red Electric charging home down the outside to be a neck away in third place. Iodean paced the mile in 1-57.9 on a race affected track.    Matty Williamson and Iodean going for home                         Photo Bruce Stewart Iodean is owned by Graham and Dianne Sinnamon of Central Otago. Graham is the President of the Central Otago Trotting Club and is also an amateur driver.  "She qualified at two. As a three year old she was still weak and she used to hit her knees and hang. We gave her a few starts then decided to give her a big spell," said co trainer Geoff Knight. This was the mare's second run this season after running down the track at Forbury early last month. "It was probably the wrong track to start her on because she needs the bigger track. So we set her for today." The Knights were confident of a good showing with Geoff actually picking her to win in the Harnesslink ring around. "She's done a lot of work with the steering gear on so that she'd be good for today. We were really happy with her work during the week and thought if she could lead she'd be hard to beat. When she got posted three wide I thought it was all over but to her credit she fought really hard."  She was ninth win favourite in a field of eleven and paid $37.90 to win.  Iodean is well related being out of the Panorama mare Panodol who's a half sister to Joyfulbelle the winner of eight races.    Bruce Stewart Southland harness racing

Don’t be surprised if Matty Williamson waits for no one in tonight’s Canterbury Park Trotting Cup at Addington. With the aid of the inside barrier draw and some impressive stand start manners, Williamson and his drive, Alley Way could find themselves in front early on in the Group Three event and if circumstances permit, there’s no hesitation in staying there. Second up after a tenacious runner-up effort behind Bordeaux two weeks ago, Alley Way will head to Addington tonight a much more forward prospect and also with a driver confident of a big showing. “He’s as good as anything else in there,” Williamson said. “And having that slight handicap advantage means if we have to make the most of it then so be it, he’s good in the fact he can do both whether it be coming from off the speed or setting it himself. “So with a front line draw we would be silly not to look to try and lead early and then see what unfolds.” Alley Way joined the stable of Williamson’s father, Phil this season after being previously trained by Neville Skinner and having also spent time in the stable of Colin and Julie DeFilippi. With a plethora of trotting stars around the Oamaru stable, it hasn’t been a tall ask to try and get a good line on last year’s Dominion Handicap runner-up and Williamson is certain he’s come through the run with flying colours. “It probably wasn’t ideal doing as much work as we did fresh up, and 3.16 is ticking along pretty nicely. “But he doesn’t seem to have taken any issues out of the run, he bounced right back and has trained really well since so he will be a better horse this week than when he last raced.” A lot of Williamson’s pre-race thoughts will hinge on the stand start manners of the untapped Amaretto Sun. A free-going trotter, the Ken Ford trained runner showed his liking for a solid tempo when he was emphatic in victory last time out and if he steps cleanly, Sheree Tomlinson could be expected to try a similar tactic this week. “He (Amaretto Sun) looks the likely leader, but I don’t expect him to be fast away so it will be a case of seeing what happens early and then making a decision from there.” With the absence of top line horses like Monbet and even Master Lavros and Stent, this year’s Canterbury Park Trotting Cup is without doubt one of the most even in recent years. North Island trotter, Realmein makes his Addington debut off the back of two very impressive Alexandra Park victories in his most recent starts. One Over Da Moon, who never looked completely comfortable on the grass last week when third, will start off the back mark and is expected to put his best hoof forward and be a player while the likes of Sheemon, Quite A Moment and Sunny Ruby are other leading contenders.   Matt Markham

Before harness racing at Alexandra Park and Addington tonight (Friday 27 May), Phil Williamson was just two wins short of a record 50 trotting wins for the season.  Should neither Blazing Under Fire (Auckland) nor Madam Spur (Christchurch) greet the judge, then attention will turn to Winton tomorrow (Saturday 28 May) where the winning trainer of 470 races for squaregaiters has three top hopes in two races. Three year old maiden Pyramid Mustang runs in the Happy Birthday Ray Hazlett Trot and following his second at Oamaru last Saturday, looks a ready-made favourite. While Redwood Invasion set all the pace at Oamaru, Pyramid Mustang went from the one-one to challenge in the lane and came up only a neck short. He rates highly in this small field. His half brother by Armbro Invasion, Pyramid Magic, is the winner of four and goes from 30 metres in the Alley Way Handicap trot. Two starts back, at Forbury Park, he went from 20 and settled back of midfield before closing well for third. His latest outing was back at Forbury last night (Thursday 26 May). After a similar run, Pyramid Magic finished solidly for second to The Jinja Ninja. That he was three lengths in arrears could be accounted for by the fact the race took four seconds longer than the week before and was a sprint home. Pyramid Magic is a definite winning chance on Saturday. Williamson has the two-win mare Bobbins as a valuable second string in the race. Two starts back, she finished second on the track on Wairio mile day in October and didn't race again until Timaru earlier this month. There, Bobbins was left parked for the final lap and faded in the straight to sixth in the race won by stablemate Alderbeck. Other good prospects at Winton include To Ri Alby in the Energizer Mobile. The Amber Hoffman-trained gelding broke at the stand start at Oamaru, got a cart forward and was then carted back on the last lap, but still managed a respectable fifth. Trendy's Bad Girl goes from the inside of the second line in the Zealandia Horticulture Fillies and Mares Mobile Mile. The draw could be a problem but the distance will suit, the mare having finished between one and one and a half lengths of the winner in her three most recent outings over 1700 metres, when third, second and third. The Happy 40th Birthday Ali Mountney Mobile sees Hoiho line up for the second time. After settling last on debut, he was carted up to sit parked from the 800 but didn't wilt at the business end winding up fourth. He has since won at the Winton trials and after sitting three back on the poles, challenged three wide on the turn and sprinted well. Mac Henry

A big night for leading Junior Driver Brad Williamson as he extended his lead in the premiership to 29 wins. Saluting the judge on 3 runners tonight, Brads winning treble started in race 5 with Winners Shout, a 3yo Great Success gelding owned by Brad and Grant Gray who is trained by Phil Williamson. $6.10 - $2.10 were the tote odds for Winners Shout. “He has plenty of ability and did it really nice tonight” said Brad. In the next race Williamson drove Elusive Flight, a recent addition to the Graeme Anderson team Williamson was filling in for stable junior driver Rory Mcllwrick who is currently suspended. Forced to drag back from a wide barrier draw, Brad was quick to put the 7 Elsu gelding into the race. Finding the front near the 1400m, Elusive Flight ran away with the junior driver’s event, winning by 4 ¼ lengths over Happy As Larry (Stevie Golding) and No More Change (Craig Ferguson) paying a handy $11.50 - $3.00 Elusive Flight was purchased off by Charlotte Purvis, A D Gow, S R Pulley and R Chalklin. The win brought up ownership win no 1 for Charlotte, who’s brother Matt Purvis is a leading junior driver based in Canterbury with Robert Dunn, while Charlotte’s partner is Oamaru based driver Matthew Williamson. “It’s very exciting to get my first ownership win, big thanks go to trainer Graeme Anderson for a great trainer performance and also Brad (Williamson) for a wonderful drive. Hopefully it won’t be our last visit to the winners circle!” said Charlotte. Caesar Rocks brought up the treble for Williamson paying a massive $56.10 - $11.50. “He went nice a few starts ago, but last start didn’t offer too much confidence, he didn’t have to do anything tonight and the luck went our way to get over top of them” said Brad The victory brought up win number 1 for Lionel Sinnamon for the 15/16 season and also Caesar Rocks 2nd career win. Williamson currently sits on 60 wins for the season, which places 6th on the drivers premiership and 1st on the Junior Drivers Premiership with Kyle Marshall back in 2nd on 31 wins and Craig Ferguson on 26 wins. Andrew Fitzgerald

Leading harness racing trainer Nigel McGrath has never had it easy with Luisanabelle Midfrew in his barn but all the problems she has had are quickly fading from his memory as the daughter of American Ideal starts to fulfill the potential she showed as an early two year old. After a great start to her career including a second to Dream About Me in the $138,000 Sires Stakes Final at Alexandra Park, Luisanabelle Midfrew all but died on two occasions after the Harness Jewels last year and her future was in doubt for quite a while. Nursed back to full health by Nigel McGrath, he has taken his time with the filly all season and only really trained her down for the $150,000 PGG Sales Final at Addington Raceway in early February which she won easily. The question then was could Luisanabelle Midfrew make that last step back up to the elite level fillies she had competed against at two after all her health issues. A start at Methven on the grass in a Nevele R Fillies heat left a lot of people having doubts after she battled into sixth but tonight at Addington Raceway she produced a performance right out of the top draw and announced herself as a major contender for the fillies classics at Addington in May. Driver Matthew Williamson sent her forward off the gate from her wide barrier of seven and settled her three back in the running line as Artful set up a good tempo in front. Going past the 800 metres, Matthew looped the field with Luisanabelle Midfrew and took over in front going past the 600 metres and then proceeded to slowly put daylight between her and the rest of the field. Matthew eased Luisanabelle Midfrew down over the last 150 metres as she coasted to the line an easy winner by 3 1/2 lengths in what was without doubt her most impressive win in her career to date. Luisanabelle Midfrew paced the 1950 metres in a smart 2:21.9, a mile rate of 1:57 with closing sectionals of 58.4 and 28.3. Matthew Williamson was thrilled with the performance. " That is the best she has ever gone for me in since I began driving her." " She was absolutely jogging at the 800 metres which is why I took off when I did." " I didn't even pull the plugs tonight she was traveling that well" " On that run tonight, she will be competitive against the best fillies," Matthew said. Nigel McGrath was still scratching his head tonight over the run of Luisanabelle Midfrew at Methven. " I thought I may have backed her up too quickly from the PGG Sales race as there was only a nine day gap but maybe it was just the grass track that tripped her up." " She has really come on lately and I was pretty confident she would go a big race tonight, " Nigel said. The manner of the win tonight by Luisanabelle Midfrew would suggest that she will be a major player in the 3 year old fillies classics in May at Addington Raceway Harnesslink Media

When it comes to people being passionate about harness racing, Canterbury owner John Mooney would be up there with the best. John wears his heart on his sleeve for all to see and in the countdown to last nights $150,000 PGG Sales Final at Addington Raceway he was struggling to control his emotions. Not only did John have a runner in the race but he had a serious winning chance in the well performed filly Luisanabelle Midfrew and he was nervous to the point of distraction. From the time John took her home from the yearling sales at Christchurch, the daughter of American Ideal had faced one hurdle after another in her racing career. " I had just sold Libertybelle Midfrew to Perth and she was going through the sales ring when Matty Williamson texted me to say what a great looking filly she was." "On the spur of the moment I decided to keep her." " When Nigel McGrath sat behind her for the first time, the first thing he said to me when he hopped out of the cart was that keeping her was the best decision I had made in a long time," John Mooney explained when speaking to Harnesslink last night. Second to Arden's Choice on debut and then subsequently second to Dream About Me in the $138,000 New Zealand Sires Stakes Final at Alexandra Park, Luisanabelle Midfrew was expected to be a big player on Harness Jewels day at Ashburton but failed to flatter at any point,finishing twelfth. "She was really sick at Ashburton and she was very lucky to survive, "She had an attack of small intestine colitis and it was touch and go for a while." " Just when it seemed she was on the mend,she had a relapse and all but died for a second time," John said. Trainer Nigel McGrath knew he faced major hurdles getting Luisanabelle Midfrew back to best form but nursed her through her first few runs back on the track. " The whole aim of this campaign was the Sales Race and I didn't want to put her under any serious pressure leading into that race. " She may have looked disappointing to people at times but we were working to a plan to have her spot on for one race. " I stepped up her workload in the last three weeks and her work leading into last nights race had been super," Nigel said. Away well last night for regular driver Matty Williamson from barrier two, Luisanabelle Midfrew led for the first 700 metres before handing up to the well supported front runner Killer Queen. From there she looked to travelling as good as anyone and when the passing lane appeared, Luisanabelle Midfrew was through in a flash and quickly put the race beyond doubt, coasting down to the line an easy winner. " Nigel had her spot on tonight, she felt the best she ever has." " The plan was to lead early and then hopefully hand up to Killer Queen who would get us to the passing lane and and the plan worked a treat." "I couldn't believe how easily she was travelling off the back straight." " She knocked off a bit when she went clear but she had plenty left in the tank at the finish." Matty said. Nigel McGrath was full of praise for his trainee. " She has been through so much but she is a very smart filly and it showed tonight." " Going forward we just have to look after her and not knock her about too much." " Something like the Southland Oaks is probably better for her at this stage of her comeback than taking on the very best," Nigel said. John Mooney post race was like a man who had just won Lotto, with the excitement of the win written all over his face. It was great to see that harness racing can still excite such passion. Harnesslink Media  

Matthew Williamson has been having one of those seasons that all harness racing drivers have every now and again. The winners for a driver of his ability had slowed to a trickle and although he has been getting reasonable sized books, the quality has been missing a lot of the time. The main source of drives for Matty is usually the Knight team from Roxburgh but they have had a disrupted season as well with health issues with their team which has added to Matty's woes. Not that you would know that Matty has been doing it hard with his positive attitude always there when you talk to him. When discussing his drives yesterday at Oamaru Raceway for this weeks Harnesslink ringaround, Matty thought Boomer Bailey on the dropback would be hard to beat but gave several other runners he was driving a plug as being good each way chances on the day. By the meetings end, Matty had driven four winners, mostly at big odds and well and truly got his 2016 season back on track. His first winner was the maiden trotter Stylish Duke at the juicy odds of $6:50 for a horse with a reputation. "He is a really nice trotter in the making but still has a lot to learn." "I thought if he trotted the whole way he would be hard to beat and so it proved," Matty said. The second winner for Matty was more of a surprise with Gene Time from the Knight barn clearing maidens at her 20th attempt. " Manners were the key here with her stepping quickly and being handy all the way." " She stuck it out good in the end and may go on with it now she has won one," Matty said. Next up was what Matty thought was his best drive of the day in Boomer Bailey and so it proved with the dropback proving decisive as he won his fifth race with some authority. " Boomer has been going really good races in strong C2 fields without much luck so I thought the dropback to C1 grade and on grass made him hard to beat." " I don't think he has finished winning yet either," Matty said. Now with three on his card, Matty sprung the surprise of the day when he got the $27:90 shot Ottawa home in race 9. " There has never been any doubt about the ability with Ottawa but he can beat himself at times." " However he is getting better in that regard and could easily win a few more races yet," Matty said. With his four wins yesterday Matty took his 2016 tally to 25 winners and now that he has that wee monkey off his back, it wouldn't be a surprise to see those numbers improve dramatically over the rest of the season. Harnesslink Media

The first of this season's non tote races for two year old trotters in the South Island was held at the harness racing meeting at Addington this evening and as expected a couple of the stock of Muscle Mass ran the quinella though maybe not in the order that most pundits had expected. The filly Willie McGoogan in the hands of part owner Matthew Williamson led early from barrier one as most of the rest of the field trotted rough or broke. The Roddy Butt trained Custodian had a short gallop early with driver David Butt letting him find his feet before settling third in the running line. Willie McGoogan looked to have them in trouble across the top but when Custodian was switched back to the passing lane in the straight, he quickly got on terms and was half a head to the good at the finish. Five and a half lengths away Eyrish Mist and Dexter Dunn held on well for third in front of another daughter of Muscle Mass in Needle. Roddy Butt was impressed with the effort from his inexperienced young trotter. " He has never galloped at trials or workouts but most of those around him were offstride tonight and I think he just reacted to what was happening around him." " After that he has trotted really well and it was a good effort to pick the leader up," Roddy Butt. Plans are in place for the gelding to take on the better two year old trotters later in the season but first he is due a short break. " If we don't give him a couple of weeks off now, then he won't get a break for the rest of the season." " I think he is good enough to be competitive against the good ones later on if I look after him now," Roddy said. Willie McGoogan was game in second and was fighting back strongly at the finishing line. Matthew Williamson was happy with the run but not so much his own drive. " She has done everything right and was coming again at the finishing line but maybe I have driven her a bit quiet." " I think if I had put the pressure on a lot further out, she may have won the race." " Having said that, Roddy's horse has gone great because we have got home in 28.1 off the front and he has come from off the pace," Matthew said. With a couple from the All Star barn going super at the trials as well as a Love You colt from the Paul Nairn barn, suggests that this years two year trotters division looks to have a lot of depth to it. Harnesslink Media

When Geoff Knight set up the Central Courage syndicate ten years ago, he hoped for a bit of success for the locals who had joined but he never envisaged the syndicate being as successful as it has become. On Friday night at Addington Raceway, the current syndicate star Zenmach made it four wins from his last five starts with an impressive front running display. Driver Matthew Williamson was more than impressed with the son of Mach Three. " He has gone super again." "I had to lead from one but I probably went a bit slow in the middle stages." " They got a bit close halfway up the straight but he really found and was holding them comfortably at the finish," Matthew said. The Central Courage syndicate came to own Zenmack when they were on the lookout for a horse or two after selling their well performed mare Al Raza to North America. "Justin Le Lievre rang me and said he had one I might be interested in." " I watched the trial and workout tapes and really liked here." " Mark Smolenski had broken him in and educated him and he did a super job with him." " He is such a grouse little horse to train, he does everything you ask of him," Geoff said. Geoff has his program pretty well mapped out from here on in. " We will bring him back next week for the $23,500 Alabar Super Series Final but with horses such as Franco Cristiano involved it might be a bit rich for him at this stage." " After that we will set him for a start at Addington during Cup Week." " The syndicate have always wanted to have a horse start at Addington during Cup Week so that is were we we are going." "After that he can have a break and then we will get him back for his main aim for the season which is the Southern Supremacy down south," Geoff said. The syndicate purchased another horse around the same time as Zenmach by the name of Seduce Me and the daughter of Ohoka Arizona has run three seconds in her three lifetime starts todate and it won't be long until the Central Courage has another winner on their hands. Harnesslink Media  

One of New Zealands most promising harness racing reinsman Matthew Williamson has been on edge for several weeks now. Cemented onto 499 lifetime wins, the North Otago reinsman has run second after second in his quest to crack the 500 mark. The longer it took the more good humoured banter he has taken from his fellow reinsman and people within the industry. Speaking to him mid-week Matthew wasn't over confident that he could turn it around with this weeks book of drives. His best undoubtedly was Springbank Eden at Addington Raceway but Matthew felt that Springbank Eden's luck was about as good as his and that they would probably run second again. With a lap to go tonight that looked very likely as Springbank Eden was parked outside a tearaway leader in Lisa Marie P with Dexter Dunn in the bike. However passing the 800 metres mark Matthew was able to slip Springbank Eden down onto Lisa Marie P's back and from there Springbank Eden was always a big winning chance. These two drew away from the field on the corner and Springbank Eden took the whole length of the Addington straight to nail Lisa Marie P and help bring up Matty's 500th win as a reinsman. Matty was all smiles as he returned to scale and was quick to deflect all the accolades heading his way. " It is good to get the monkey off the back." "Half way up the straight I thought I was going to run second again but to his credit Springbank Eden has dug in and got the job done." " With natural improvement, he should be a nice drive in the next twelve months," Matty said. Since his first drive Matty has always looked someone headed to the top and he was quick to thank those who have helped him along the way. " Dad (Phil) has been a big help all the way through and it was great to crack the 500 wins on one he trained." "Geoff and Jude Knight have been super as well and without their support I wouldn't be where I am today so I can't thank them enough," Matty said. As someone who has regular contact with Matty in relation to his upcoming drives, I can attest to the fact that he is always open and honest and a pleasure to deal with which is not always the way with leading reinsman. The way Matty is driving and the success he is having it won't be that long before we are celebrating the 1000 win mark for this talented reinsman. Harnesslink Media

Our harness racing tipsters are having a bit of the winter blues at the moment with less than inspiring results some weeks. Last week saw only two of our tipsters pick winners with Sean McCaffrey and Nathan Williamson doing the honours but we did have eight placegetters and some of those such as Shane Walkinshaw's pick, Takitimu Express paid good money ($4:20) This week we have four meetings in the country and we have picks for them all. Forbury - Thursday night Nathan Williamson - Thought Spinyback was overdue and could win race 2 Shane Walkinshaw - Thinks on his work this week, Jetsdream will win race 4 Craig Ferguson - Gives Mordecai a good chance of going back to back in race 6   Auckland  - Friday night Steven Reid - Reckons Concorde even from barrier 8 will be hard to beat in race 2 Scott Phelan - If Superimposed has any luck from his bad draw,he thinks he can win race 2  Todd Mitchell - Thinks the millionaire Vulcan can add to the bankroll in race 6 Steve Richardson (TAB) - Thought Vice Consul from the front line could win race 7 Tony Herlihy -  Gives The Almighty Johnson a big chance of winning race 8 John Dunn - Rates Return To Sender as hard to roll in race 9 Mark Jones - Thought Rocker Band would be very hard to beat, also in race 9   Addington - Friday night Bob Butt - Quite bullish about the chances of the two year old Matatoki in race 1 Terry Chmiel - Thinks Maddison Hill can upset them in race 2 Tim Williams - Gives Bird Of Paradise a big show even from the second line in race 6 Gerard O'Reilly - Reckons Zin Zan must win one shortly and thinks it will be in race 7 Ricky May - Thought the southern raider Tetrick would be hard to beat in race 8 Brendon McLellan - Agrees with Ricky that Tetrick will be hard to beat in race 8 Matthew Williamson - Reckons Springbank Eden can get the chocolates in race 9   Timaru - Sunday afternoon  Blair Orange - Thought the first starter My Cash would be hard to beat in race 3 Gavin Smith - Very bullish about the chances of Great Things Happen in race 4 Brad Williamson - Reckons Kylie Castleton can bounce back and win race 6 Jim Curtin - Gives Insignificant a chance to upset them at odds, also in race 6  John Curtin - Thought Naughty Maravu only needed some luck for a change to win race 8 Robbie Holmes - Thinks Contractual Issues will be hard to hold out in race 10   Harnesslink Media

Last week was one of the better weeks overall for a while with our tipsters not far off all weekend. Six selected winners with Kyle Marshall leading the way with the $6 shot, JC Jock while Scott Phelan, Blair Orange, Tim Williams, Nathan Williamson and Ricky May also got the job done. What was so frustrating was the tipsters had eleven placegetters including ten second placings over the weekend. This week however we only have three meetings around the country and quite a few of our regulars are not in action this weekend but as usual it would pay to follow the tipsters selections on the first day at Blenheim on Friday to the second day on Sunday. Forbury Park - Thursday night Shane Walkinshaw - Thought Jetsdream just needed an ounce of luck to win race 2 Brendon McLellan - Thinks Mr Handleman is a chance at huge odds, also in race 2 Craig Ferguson - Rates Lamborne Road a big chance to bounce back and win race 5 Nathan Williamson - Thinks Betta Go Fernco can turn it around and win, also in race 5 Brad Williamson - Hopes to celebrate his 21st birthday with a win on Elusive Flight in race 7 Gavin Smith - Gives the two year old Late Mail a big chance of winning race 9 Matthew Williamson - Rates Springbank Eden a chance of upsetting them in race 11   Blenhiem - Friday afternoon Bob Butt - Quite keen on the chances of the first starter Dusky Eyre in race 1 Ricky May - Rates Delightful Jack as well overdue and thinks he will win race 2 John Dunn - Very bullish about the chances of stable runner Mr Meddle in race 6 Blair Orange - Gives Expresso Martini a big push to win race 7 Terry Chmiel - Thinks Art Exhibit is ready to strike and will win race 8     Franklin - Friday night Scott Phelan - Thinks Ideal Roman is a big chance from barrier two in race 1 Todd MacFarlane - Rates I Am The One a good each way prospect in race 4 John Curtin - Thought Bettormack second up from a break would win, also in race 4 Todd Mitchell - Reckons The Tracker can carry on his winning streak in race 5 Steven Reid - Gives Franco Nikau a chance of rolling them at big odds, also in race 5 Steven Richardson (TAB) - Rates Chosen Path fresh up a big chance of winning race 6 Kyle Marshall - Thought Kilkeel Lady from barrier two could upset them in race 10   Harnesslink Media

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