Last week was an average one for our trainers and drivers with only Anthony and David Butt tipping out winners, but luckily I pulled through for ring-around followers delivering with three winners from three selections. The best of them was my each-way bet of the week in The Peace Train who romped in at odds of $12.20 and $2.70 Let’s see if we can replicate that performance again this week. Andrew Armour: Likes the chances of debutant Love Filly Dale. She goes around in the sixth race at Invercargill on Friday. Blair Orange: Has been very brave this week and has tipped out superstar mare Adore Me to win at odds of $1.10. Gavin Smith: Has opted for Back Pay as his bet of the week. He will compete in the tenth race at Oamaru on Saturday. John Dunn: Thinks Elios is a good each-way bet in race twelve at Alexandra Park on Friday. Josh Dickie: Was impressed with how Millie Sampson went at the workouts last week and thinks she can remain unbeaten in the Ladyship Stakes at Alexandra Park on Friday. Jonny Cox: Likes the chances of Provocative Prince who looks a bold chance from his ace draw in race four at Oamaru on Saturday. Ken Barron: Thinks Still Laughin can pick up some money in race four at Methven on Sunday. Mark Jones: Has opted for Ready For Takeoff as his bet of the week. He looks a good chance in race eight at Oamaru. Matthew Williamson: Has picked up the drive on The Bog and thinks she will prove very hard to beat in race three at Oamaru. Nathan Williamson: Thinks the consistent Nickelson can resume on a winning note in race seven at Invercargill on Friday. Ricky May: Is very bullish about the chances of Helena Jet in race four at Methven on Sunday. Steve Richardson (T.A.B): Likes the chances of Jarcullembra in the Franklin Cup on Friday. Simon Lawson: Rates the chances of Valencay in race seven at Cambridge tonight. Todd Mitchell: Thinks his very smart trotter Prime Power can go back-to-back in race eight at Alexandra Park on Friday. Mitchell Robertson (Harnesslink) Best bet: Trouble Rieu – Methven, race one. Each-way: Shak’n Cullen – Invercargill, race ten. Value: Garibaldi – Oamaru, race two
Last week was an average one for the ring-around with only John Dunn, Jonny Cox, and Matthew Williamson tipping out winners. Let’s see if the boys can step up a notch this week. Andrew Armour: Has opted for Shez Wicked as his bet of the week. She goes around in the last race at Invercargill on Sunday. Anthony Butt: Thinks Vulcan can get back to winning form at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday. Blair Orange: Expects a bold showing from Rocknroll Arden in race seven at Addington on Friday. Craig Thornley: Has opted for Lavros Cash, who was seen finding the line strongly at Motukarara. He competes in the fifth race at Geraldine on Saturday. David Butt: Thinks Habibti will kick off her Australian campaign with a win at Tabcorp Melton on Saturday. Jim Curtin: Thinks Maximan is overdue a win and could very get one in the eleventh race at Geraldine on Saturday. John Dunn: Thinks Graduate Under Fire will offer some good each-way value in race eleven at Geraldine on Saturday. Jonny Cox: Thinks Jaccka Justy, who was super when winning his last start of the grass, will prove very hard to beat in race ten at Geraldine on Saturday. Matthew Williamson: Likes the chances of Lewy Risk in race five at Addington on Friday. Nathan Williamson: Has opted for Aidan’s Rocket, who competes in race three at Invercargill on Sunday. Ricky May: Thinks you should have a wager on Woodlea Wager in race eight at Addington on Friday. Simon Lawson: Likes Bettor Romance as an each-way prospect in race nine at Alexandra Park on Friday. Steve Richardson (T.A.B): Expects Handlebar Hank to take out the last race at Addington on Friday. Todd Mitchell: Thinks that, with the aid of the one draw, Pricillas Girl will prove very hard to beat in race six at Alexandra Park on Friday. Mitchell Robertson (Harnesslink): Best bet: Invercargill, race seven – The Wraith Of Robyn Each-way: Geraldine, race three – The Peace Train Value: Addington, race three – Moondyne Joe By Mitchell Robertson
Top Otago-based reinsmen Matthew Williamson and Jonny Cox yesterday provided Otago with their first ever win in the Inter-Provincial Challenge at Invercargill’s Ascot Park. First run in 1989, Otago, up until yesterday, were the only province (team) that compete in the challenge that had never won it. Williamson was successful aboard Deano Robyn and finished second with Free Dreams, while Cox was victorious with Canardly Lover, giving the team a combined total of 32 points. Canterbury (John and Dexter Dunn) were second on 25 points, while Mid Canterbury (John Hay and Gerard O’Reilly) were third after accumulating 21 points. While Williamson and Cox took out the team division, Dexter Dunn was the individual winner (24) narrowly downing Matthew Williamson (22). David Butcher representing the Waikato was a distant third of 12 points. Below is a list of the past winners: Year Individual Winner Team Winner 1989 Hamish Hunter Southland 1990 Kirk Larsen Southland Under 20 1991 Anthony Butt Canterbury 1992 Anthony Butt Waikato 1993 Ken Barron Southland 1994 Trevor Walsh Mid Canterbury 1995 Jan Gould Central Districts 1996 Greg Cowie Mid Canterbury 1997 Ali Malcolmson Mid Canterbury 1998 Hamish Hunter Southland 1999 Colin De Fillipi Canterbury 2000 Colin De Fillipi Canterbury 2001 Clark Barron Southland 2001 Stephen Doody Southland 2002 Maurice McKendry Auckland 2003 Peter Ferguson Waikato 2004 Clark Barron Southland 2005 Ricky May Central Districts 2006 Brent Barclay Southland 2007 Mark Jones Waikato 2008 Ricky May Canterbury 2009 Dexter Dunn Canterbury 2010 Dexter Dunn Southland 2011 David Butcher Waikato 2012 Blair Orange Canterbury By Mitchell Robertson
Smart types Libertybelle Midfrew and Sheemon both look set for big seasons after not only winning in emphatic style at Timaru’s Phar Lap raceway today, but also posting track records in the process. Getting the wheels rolling, or in this case the records, was the Nigel McGrath trained Libertybelle Midfrew, who looks to have come back bigger and better than ever. Sent forward by driver Matthew Williamson, Libertybelle Midfrew, who was victorious in last season’s 2YO Fillies Yearling Sales Series, worked hard to find the front before getting no peace in the van. However, she still had the audacity to race away from her rivals to win by six lenghts in a super time of 2-25.9 (1-57.3), a new track record for the 2000m journey at Timaru. The three-year-old daughter of Christian Cullen will now head north to Auckland for premier racing in December, where she will be joined by her half sister, Lulli Midfrew, who is also owned by John & Rebecca Mooney. While Libertybelle Midfrew was highly impressive, so was Sheemon who recorded a time of 3-16.5, eclipsing the previous track record by an unbelievable eights seconds. The Kevin Townley trained son of Monarchy was driven by Brett Thomas in a junior drivers’ event meaning that, unfortunately for those who also have C3 trotters in the country, the win came bearing no penalty. By Mitchell Robertson
Congratulations to Anthony Butt, Blair Orange, Ken Barron, Mark Jones, Mark McNamara, Justin Le Lievre, and last but not last, myself, who all tipped out winners during our Cup Week special. Let’s see what ‘specials’ are on the menu this week. Andrew Armour: Has opted for Sharpenuff as his bet of the week. He looks a strong chance in race eight at Forbury Park tonight. Anthony Butt: Thinks Strawbs Ideal Act will keep his unbeaten record intact in the race seven at Timaru on Saturday. Blair Orange: Has found some value in the form of Mystery Boy. He competes in the fourth race at Forbury tonight. Craig Thornley: Thinks Lavros Cash is an each-way chance in race seven at Motukarara on Sunday. John Dunn: Is extremely bullish about the chances of Crackaheiny in race two at Timaru on Saturday. Jonny Cox: Has opted for Canardly Lover, who looks very well placed in race seven at Invercargill on Sunday. Ken Barron: Likes the chances of Change Time, who should improve off the back of her fresh-up second. She goes around in the fourth race at Motukarara on Sunday. Mark Jones: Who will be driving in Australia on Friday and Saturday, has picked up the drive on Smoken Roman on Sunday, and rates him as his best of the week. Matthew Williamson: Has two good drives in the Inter-Provincial Challenge in Free Dreams and Deano Robyn, however he slightly favours the latter. Ricky May: Rates Main Divide as his best of the week. He competes in the first race at Timaru on Saturday. Steve Richardson (T.A.B): Thinks Bert Powell is a very good bet in race eight at Motukarara on Sunday. Terry Chmiel: Is big on the chances of Betabcool in race eight at Forbury Park tonight. Tim Williams: Thinks that handy mare Here We Go Again is a strong chance in race six at Timaru on Saturday. Mitchell Robertson (Harnesslink): Best Bet – Ultimate Major – Motukarara, race eleven. Each-way – The Empires Sister – Invercargill, race seven. Value – Betabcool – Forbury, race eight. By Mitchell Robertson
On a relatively placid day of racing at Invercargill on Sunday, the Inter-provincial Drivers’ Challenge will be the clear highlight. First run in 1989, the Inter-Provincial Challenge has been won by every province that competes in, most have won it on multiple occasions, apart from Otago that is, they are still sitting on a duck egg. Out to change that on Sunday are gun reinsmen Matthew Williamson and Jonny Cox, who, no offence to previous Otago reinsmen, are probably two of the best representatives they have ever had. “Between me and Jonny we look to have some decent drives, so hopefully we can break the drought,” said Williamson. “We shouldn’t go any worse than the Highlanders anyway,” he laughed. Williamson has a good book, headlined by Free Dreams and Deano Robyn, while Cox, on paper, looks to have a few place chances as well as a good winning chance in the form of Canardly Lover. “I think Free Dreams is my best chance for the day,” confirmed Williamson. “He is quite a nice trotter and I am fortunate enough to know the horse a little bit, whereas a lot of the other fellas will be driving their steeds for the first time,” he added. The other teams competing in the 25th running of the Inter-Provincial Challenge are: AUCKLAND: Z Butcher, S Phelan WAIKATO: P C Ferguson, D J Butcher CENTRAL DISTRICTS: A Poutama, B Weaver CANTERBURY: D J Dunn, J R Dunn MID-CANTERBURY: G D O’Reilly, J Hay OTAGO: M Williamson, J W Cox SOUTHLAND: N P Williamson, T M Williams. Interprovincial Drivers Championship Winners Year Individual Winner Team Winner 1989 Hamish Hunter Southland 1990 Kirk Larsen Southland Under 20 1991 Anthony Butt Canterbury 1992 Anthony Butt Waikato 1993 Ken Barron Southland 1994 Trevor Walsh Mid Canterbury 1995 Jan Gould Central Districts 1996 Greg Cowie Mid Canterbury 1997 Ali Malcolmson Mid Canterbury 1998 Hamish Hunter Southland 1999 Colin De Fillipi Canterbury 2000 Colin De Fillipi Canterbury 2001 Clark Barron Southland 2001 Stephen Doody Southland 2002 Maurice McKendry Auckland 2003 Peter Ferguson Waikato 2004 Clark Barron Southland 2005 Ricky May Central Districts 2006 Brent Barclay Southland 2007 Mark Jones Waikato 2008 Ricky May Canterbury 2009 Dexter Dunn Canterbury 2010 Dexter Dunn Southland 2011 David Butcher Waikato 2012 Blair Orange Canterbury 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
Last week the ring-around produced just the four winners, so there were some slim pickings for ring-around followers. However, the ring-around rarely has two bad weeks in a row – so expect this one to be a good one. For the record, those who tipped out winners last week were: Blair Orange, Nathan Williamson, Steve Richardson (T.A.B), and Todd Mitchell. Blair Orange: Thinks smart trotter Notaboutthemoney will get the money in race three at Addington on Friday night. David Butt: Has also gone for a trotter in race three at Addington in Lothario. All things being equal, the pair should make up the quinella. Gavin Smith: Thinks The Burning Question is a place chance at what should be lucrative odds in race eight at Addington on Friday. John Dunn: Has opted for Kotare Mahal as his best bet of the week. The smart pacer goes around in race six at Kaikoura on Monday. Jonny Cox: Thinks Smoke N Grin, on the back of a bold debut second, is a strong chance in race five at Ascot Park on Sunday. Ken Barron: Rates the chances of capable pacer Still Laughin. He resumes in race six at Kaikoura on Monday. Mark Jones: Thinks Major Sam is a strong each-way chance in race five at Addington. Matthew Williamson: Was impressed with Windermere Lad last start, and thinks he will take some stopping in the Riverton Cup on Sunday. Nathan Williamson: Has a strong book of drives at Ascot Park on Sunday, but rates Royal Squeeze as the best of them. She goes around in the first race on the card Ricky May: Has a lot of time for Helena Jet and thinks she will take all sorts of beating in race eight at Addington. Scott Phelan: Rates the chances of speedy mare Pepper Pots. She competes in the seventh race at Cambridge tonight. Simon Lawson: Is bullish about the chances of Valencay in race three at Cambridge tonight. Steve Richardson T.A.B: Who has been in good tipping form of late, has this week opted for Mary Anastasia. She resumes in the sixth race at Cambridge tonight. Todd Mitchell: Has opted for Continental Auto as his bet of the week. She looks well placed in race two at Cambridge tonight. By Mitchell Robertson
Last week was just an average one for the ring-around with only John Dunn, and Sean McCaffrey tipping out winners, but this week I am sure it will bounce back to its brilliant best. Anthony Butt: Has opted for the capable three-year-old Major Sam. He competes in the sixth race at Addington on Friday. Blair Orange: Is extremely bullish about the chances of Someardensomewhere, who baring bad luck, will be winning the ninth race at Forbury Park on Sunday. Craig Thornley: Thinks that if U Dream is on her best behaviour, she can win race five at Ashburton on Monday. David Butt: Likes the chances of Stig, who will attempt to win his third Ashburton Trotters’ Flying Mile on Monday. His run last start had plenty of merit and from all reports, he has worked on good since. Gavin Smith: Thinks All Shook Up is atleast an each-way chance in the first race at Ashburton on Monday. John Dunn: Has opted for smart filly Venus Serena, who resumes in the seventh race at Forbury on Sunday. Jonny Cox: Is torn between Washington Flier and Homeforabubbly. Both runners compete at Forbury on Sunday. Joshua Dickie: Thinks Showtime Lady could offer some value in the second race at Alexandra Park. Ken Barron: Rates the chances of Red Hot Toddy, who has been super in winning her last two starts. She looks the one in race sixth at Forbury Park. Matthew Williamson: Is big on the chances of Yankee One, who made a super return to racing at Addington on October 11. Look out for him in the third race at Ashburton on Monday. Nathan Williamson: Has opted for Livvy Franco, who looks a good each-way prospect from the ace draw in race six at Forbury Park on Sunday. Ricky May: Found it hard to pick one in what is such a good week of racing, but in the end opted for Lady Godiva. She looks a great chance in race nine at Addington on Friday. Sean McCaffrey: Who tipped a winner in his first attempt last week, has opted for Sodeska. The capable trotter will compete in race seven at Alexandra Park. Simon Lawson: Has selected the consistent Hot Mach, who is set to do battle in the first race at Alexandra Park on Friday. Steve Richardson (T.A.B): Likes the chances of Hi Jinx in the first race at Addington on Friday. Todd Mitchell: Thinks Te Kawau should be winning the second race at Manawatu tonight. Tim Williams: Is bullish about the chances of Brindy, who should have benefited greatly off his fresh-up third. He looks the one they all have to beat in the last race at Forbury on Sunday. *More horses may be added to the ring-around later in the day. By Mitchell Robertson
Four Starzzz Flash has won his way into New Zealand’s most prestigious harness racing event – the $600,000 New Zealand Trotting Cup. The 7yo son of Four Starzzz Shark, who was transferred back into the barn of Cran Dalgety after his fresh-up third for co-owner Kevin Chapman, put up a gutsy performance to gain automatic entry into the New Zealand Cup by narrowly winning tonight’s $25,000 Maurice Holmes Vase (Gr3) at Addington. After settling in the one-one for driver Dexter Dunn, Four Starzzz Flash was left parked for the last lap after North Island pacer Besotted rolled around to the front. However, he wouldn’t budge in the home stretch and after overhauling Besotted he narrowly held out the fast finishing Mach Banner. The pride of the south, Franco Ledger, disappointed in fourth after receiving every opportunity in the trail, while Pemberton Shard was super in fifth after being slow away. “The run actually suited him, as he just keeps going,” said Dexter Dunn. “He lacks a touch of real high speed, but he can stay all day. He is just a lovely horse. “Matthew Williamson is the happiest man around. He has just landed his first New Zealand Cup drive,” laughed Dunn, who will obviously stick with New Zealand Cup favourite, Christen Me. “He is not a bad second-stringer for the stable though. The two miles will be right up his alley.” Dalgety, Chapman and Dunn also enjoyed success earlier in the night with potential superstar Locharburn; a horse that Chapman believes will end up being “even better than Four Starzzz Flash.” But at the moment, he is just pleased to have his first New Zealand Cup starter. By Mitchell Robertson
To win two races in a night and set an age group record you’ve got to be a Bit Of A Legend. But, believe it or not, that’s exactly what the ultra talented son of Bettor’s Delight did last night at Addington Raceway. After winning a non-tote heat of the Breeders Crown in what was nothing more than a bit of pace work followed by a sprint home (2-38.0, mile rate: 2-10.3, 800m: 61.1, 400m: 27.9), Bit Of A Legend came out two hours later and claimed the feature pace in a super time of 3-15.4, shaving 0.3 seconds off the previous 2600m 3YO record of Samuel James. "It was super really. It was just what we wanted as he'll have 20 days now until the Breeders semi," Dalgety said on his Kentuckiana Lodge website. As well as Bit Of A Legend’s two wins, Dalgety also had success with Safedra, who had a walkover win in a one horse ABC heat, and Abraxas, leaving him just four wins behind Mark Purdon in the premiership. Safedra was driven by John Dunn, leaving him just one shy of a season century. Other highlights at Addington included the return to winning form of Sovereignty and the running of the Darren DeFilippi Memorial Junior Drivers Challenge which was taken out by William Lance, who gave Matthew Williamson his third win in the race. Meanwhile, at Alexandra Park, Mac Tiger remarkably also claimed two wins for the day, although to be fair to Bit Of A Legend, his second win was in a one horse (walk) race. Still, he did win his first race in fine fashion. by Mitchell Robertson
The six drivers from each island to compete in the NZ Junior Driver Champs at Addington on July 4 have been found. The below 12 qualifying drivers will compete in three, possibly four championship heats (as a Reserve Race has been programmed) at Addington on Thursday July 4.
Top Oamaru-based junior driver Matthew Williamson experienced a massive thrill on the eve of his 23rd birthday (Thursday June 6) when notching up his 100th win for the season.
Congratulations to Andrew Armour, Anthony Butt, Blair Orange, David Butt, John Dunn and Matthew Williamson who all tipped out winners last week.
Congratulations to David Butt, John Dunn and Tim Williams who tipped out winners last week.
Congratulations to Blair Orange, Jonny Cox, Ricky May and Terry Chmiel who tipped out winners last week.