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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

Tonight's harness racing meeting at Forbury Park in Dunedin saw Matthew Williamson continue in the same vein he was in last weekend when Matty drove four winners. Early in the programme Matthew got the beautifully bred son of Bettors Delight from the former top racemare in Tartan Lady in Tartan Troubles home in race three after he looked beaten half way up the straight. Matty thinks he could develop into a nice horse with time. " He has got the ability without question to win races." " The issue is how much he wants to put in." " He should of won a lot easier tonight but he does switch off at times," Matty said. Two races later Matty was at it again with the well supported Sage. Away well to lead in the 1200 metres sprint series, Sage skipped clear on the corner and held too many guns in the straight. Matty was confident that Sage would be hard to beat. " She has had a drop back and has been racing some really smart horses lately." " I thought she would be hard to roll over the 1200 metres if she held the front and that's how it worked out." " She is quite a nice mare and I don't think that will be her last win," Matty said. In just his second year in the open ranks Matty has already racked up 75 winners to date this season and currently sits fourth on the New Zealand drivers premiership. Matty is now firmly established in the upper echelon of New Zealand drivers. Harnesslink Media   

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

Our harness racing tipsters had another so so week although to be fair they did have a lot of close second placings over the four meetings. There were five winners selected with Clark Barron continuing his hot run at the moment along with Bob Butt, Tony Herlihy, Shane Walkinshaw and Tim Williams and they also had seven placings as well, a lot of them at good odds. This week we have five meetings but none in the deep south which has affected our number of tipsters a bit. Forbury - Thursday night Nathan Williamson - Thought Chantrey back to his favourite track could upset them in race 3 Brendon McLellan - Gives new stable runner Continental Boy a good chance of winning race 5 Shane Walkinshaw - Likes the chances of smart 3 year old Robyn's Bad Boy winning race 6 Matthew Williamson - Rates Hezabluechipboy a big winning chance in race 8  Steve Richardson - Thought The Edge Of Reason could upset them at good odds in race 9   Auckland - Friday night  Maurice McKendry - Really quite keen on the chances of the out of form Sir Richie in race 1 Todd MacFarlane - Gives the 2 year old Cyclone Chief a good chance of winning race 2 Sean McCaffrey - Thinks Yagunnakissmeornot can bounce back to winning form in race 4 Todd Mitchell - Rates Charming Lavra a big chance of winning again, also in race 4 Steven Reid - Confident that Shedontloveme will go one better this week and win 6 John Dunn - Thought Barry was due a change of luck and could win race 8   Addington - Friday night Terry Chmiel - Reckons Saint Michel with the help of the mobile will win race 2 Bob Butt - With two runs under his belt, thought Any Old Way was ready to win, also in race 2  Brad Williamson - Looks like a trifecta as Brad thinks The Silver Fox will win race 2 Tim Williams - Rates the debutante Cash N Flow as very hard to beat in race 5 Jim Curtin - Thought One Over Da Moon on his Rowe Cup run would win race 6 Gerard O'Reilly - Thinks King Of Strathfield has been going great and could win, also in race 6 Scott Phelan - Rates Bettor B Amazed a big winning chance even from barrier 9 in race 7 Blair Orange - Gives Bracken Ridge a big show of turning his form around and winning race 9   Thames - Sunday afternoon Tony Herlihy - Very bullish about the chances of Mighty Regal in race 4   Ashburton - Sunday afternoon Ricky May - Rates the first starter Cable Beach very highly and thinks he will win race 4 John Curtin - Thought Gracious Star and Michelle Neilson would make it two in a row and win race 6   Harnesslink Media

Last week was a mixed bag but two very wet tracks at both Ascot Park and Methven didn't help with the conditions hampering a lot of runners. We managed five winners with the best dividend going to Bob Butt at Methven with Ancient Moonlight while others to select winners were John Dunn, Tim Williams, Nathan Williamson and Scott Phelan and we also had five placings as well. This week there are only the four meetings and we cover them all. Manawatu - Thursday night Kyle Marshall - Gives Soul Hanover a great each way chance in race 2 Todd Mitchell - Thinks on his runs to date they can't beat Alta Leroy in race 8    Auckland - Friday night Tony Herlihy - Thought Uandmebabe would be hard to beat from her good draw in race 7 Scott Phelan - Very bullish about the chances of Bettor B Amazed, also in race 7 Maurice McKendry - Gives the two year old Shandale a big chance of winning race 8 Steven Reid - Rates Aquickone on her work this week as the one to beat in race 9   Addington - Friday night Terry Chmiel - Thought Danny Del Vito from barrier one could upset them in race 1 John Dunn - Gives Culinary Delight a big push to return to the winners list, also in race 1 Bob Butt - Looking for the trifecta in race one where Bob thinks Gracious Me will be hard to beat Robbie Holmes - Thought Aile Rouge could get a piece of it at good odds in race 2 Brad Williamson - Very bullish about the chances of the very smart Father Christmas, also in race 2 John Curtin (Harnesslink) Reckons Waikiki Beach will beat Chase The Dream and win race 4 Blair Orange - Thinks Habibti Ivy will match it with the boys in the Derby and win race 5 Gerard O'Reilly - Thought Tiger Tara would be improved this week and a each way chance in race 6 Matthew Williamson - Knows Alley Way is up against it this week but a great place chance in race 7 Tim Williams - Keeps giving out Have Faith In Me and he keeps winning, this week in race 8 Ricky May - Rapt with the run of Dalton Bromac last week and won't have him beaten in race 9   Invercargill - Sunday afternoon Brendon McLellan - Reckons Leigh Major must be due a change of luck and can win race1 Steve Richardson(TAB) - Really likes the chances of Denn Nee Nose Best in race 3 Clark Barron - Gave Real Raider a big chance to clear maidens in race 4 Nathan Williamson - Thought Franco Tyson would be a great each way chance at good odds in race 8   Harnesslink Media

Last week wasn't one of our best but the missing link was our southern tipsters who had a shocker at Winton last Saturday. Everybody else was thereabouts with their selections with Jim Curtin, Todd Mitchell, Maurice McKendry and Ricky May tipping us into winners and we had seven placegetters as well. This week there are only four meetings in the country and we have selections for them all. Taranaki - Thursday afternoon John Curtin (Harnesslink) - Gave Sheza Springfield a big chance of clearing maidens in race 3 Peter Scaife - Likes Prime Legal to improve on his first day run and win race 4 Scott Phelan - Rates Better B Amazed as very hard to beat in race 9 Sean McCaffrey - Thought Styx It To Em was right in the zone and would win race 10   Addington - Friday night John Dunn - Very bullish about the chances of Boom Gate in race 1 Blair Orange - Gives Goodness Gracious Me a big chance in race 2 Steve Richardson (TAB) - Thought Jaccka Justy would be hard to beat in race 3 Tony Herilhy - Thinks Hug The Wind will be very hard to beat from barrier 1 in race 6 Tim Williams - Very keen on the very smart Have Faith In Me, also in race 6 Todd Mitchell - Reckons Prime Power is at his best and will win race 8   Ascot Park - Saturday afternoon Shane Walkinshaw - Likes the chances of Geordie Sivad to make it two in a row in race 4 Brad Williamson - Thought Mokosun from the front line would be hard to beat in race 5 Brendon McLellan - Gives Leigh Major a big chance in race 7 Nathan Williamson - Very bullish about the chances of Statham in race 8 Clark Barron - Not sure if Bonnies Khaleesi can beat Statham but a great place bet, also in race 8   Methven - Sunday afternoon Matthew Williamson - Likes the chances of the first starter Toot Toot in race 1 Bob Butt - Quite bullish about the chances of Ancient Moonlight in race 3 Jim Curtin - Gives Trial Separation a big chance of leaving maidens in race 4 Terry Chmiel - Really keen on the chances of Another Delight, also in race 4 Ricky May - Thought Jack Hammer would be very hard to beat in race 8 Gerard O'Reilly - Thinks Break Dance is a big chance to make it two in a row in race 9   Harnesslink Media

The Greg Brodie sponsored invited drivers competition at the harness racing meeting at Waikouaiti today was keenly fought out between ten drivers from all over New Zealand as well as a couple from Australia. Lance Justice and Amanda Turnbull crossed the Tasman for the competition and were joined by David and Zac Butcher from the North island as well as a good cross section of the leading drivers from Canterbury down to Southland. There were two parts to the competition with the individual title at stake as well as the team competition with six established drivers making up the experienced team and the six younger drivers making up the youth team. Points were available from 12 to the winner down to 1 for last in each heat. The first heat was taken out by Zac Butcher on the Margo Nyhan trained Canndew with Aveross Rustler and Dexter Dunn finishing second and Scanreco Bay and Ricky May third.  The second heat saw Booster trained by Nathan Williamson make it four in a row with Ken Barron in the bike while Flagpole and Craig Ferguson ran into second ahead of Balagio and Jim Curtin. Heat three was for the one win grade and saw the Steven McRae trained No Mas with Amanda Turnbull in the bike home first just ahead of Livy Franco and Zac Butcher and Red Under Fire and David Butcher The fourth heat was for trotters and another Steven McRae trainer runner in Indiana Jones was too smart with Craig Ferguson in the bike in front of Blue Don and Zac Butcher with Anothersuperstar and Matthew Williamson in third. Heat five was taken out by the recent addition to the Graeme Anderson barn in Onedin Mach who had Ricky May in the bike in front of Destined For Glory and Dexter Dunn with Graduate Under Fire and Jim Curtin running into third. The last of the six heats for the invited drivers was taken out by the Greg and Nina Hope trained Bobby T with Ken Barron in the bike in front of Sammy The Bull and Craig Ferguson who ran second with Scotlynn Justis and Matthew Williamson in third. When the points were all tallied up, Zac Butcher had romped home with 51 points, well clear of Ken Barron and Craig Ferguson on 44 points. For his efforts Zac was presented with a commemorative scroll and a $2000 cash prize courtesy of sponsorship from Greg Brodie and he gets to hold the Greg Brodie Drivers Challenge Trophy for twelve months. The youth team were too strong for the experienced team coming out on top by 243.5 points to 229.5 points. Points for each team were as follows:                               Youth Team                                                                         Experienced Team                               Zac Butcher - 51                                                                  Ken Barron - 44                               Craig Ferguson - 44                                                            David Butcher - 43.5                               Matthew Williamson - 43                                                     Lance Justice - 38                               Amanda Turnbull - 38                                                         Allan Beck - 36                                Samantha Ottley - 34.5                                                        Ricky May - 35                               Dexter Dunn - 33                                                                 Jimmy Curtin - 33                               Total Points - 243.5                                                            Total Points - 229.5       This is the second year that the invited drivers competition has been held and if today's event is anything to go by, it has a great future. Harnesslink Media    

Last week was an improvement from the week before with our tipsters selecting six winners along with eight placegetters so not far away from a great result. Clark Barron, Todd Mitchell, Zac Butcher, John Curtin, Matthew Williamson and Maurice McKendry all got their selections home first to carry on the good strike rate that most of that group have. This week we are covering the four meetings with declared fields but we would suggest that anyone backing a horse at Westport on Friday follows their selection through to Reefton on Sunday. Forbury - Thursday night Terry Chmiel - Gives Moment Of Love a big chance of turning her form around and winning race 4 Brad Williamson - Very bullish about the chances of Mokosun in race 9   Westport - Friday afternoon Jim Curtin - Likes the chances of Insignificant even off 30 metres in race 2 Robbie Holmes - Thought As Kiwi As was due a change of luck and could win race 4 Gerard O'Reilly - Reckons Breakdance can turn her form around and win race 5 Steve Richardson (Tab) - Thought the durable Ideal Arden would be hard to beat in race 7 John Dunn - Rates Geisha Girl a huge chance to make it three in a row, also in race 7 Bob Butt - Gives Georgie Mach a big winning chance even from the unruly mark in race 8   Auckland - Friday night Maurice McKendry - Reckons Yagunnakissmeornot can carry on her winning way in race 2 Blair Orange - Thinks Barry with a drop back this week would be very hard to beat, also in race 2 John Curtin - Gives Chase The Dream a big chance of upsetting Lazarus in race 3  Scott Phelan - Thought First Home, even from barrier eight could upset them in race 4  Tim Williams - Rates Dream About Me a big chance to make it three from three in race 5 Todd Mitchell - Gives Prime Power a great chance of going back to back in race 7 Ricky May - Thinks Jason Rulz is a great place chance from barrier two in race 8 Tony Herlihy - Rates San Diego Love coming in fresh a big chance of winning race 9   Gore - Sunday afternoon Brendon McLellan - Gives Taranto a good chance on grass to win race 2 Matthew Williamson - Thought Falcon Asset would be hard to roll in race 6 Nathan Williamson - Reckons Statham has kept improving lately and will win race 7 Shane Walkinshaw - Thought with a drag into the race Viscountess could get some of it, also in race 7 Clark Barron - Gives Flight Deck a good chance of making a winning debut in race 10

Another one of those weeks where we were there abouts without getting the rub of the green, with a lot of the horses selected by our tipsters having little luck. Five managed to get home first but another five ran second which about sums up the luck at the moment. Blair Orange, Robbie Holmes, Tony Herlihy, Nathan Williamson and the boss John Curtin all picked winners and special mention for the boss who is going for three in a row this week. Our tipsters have gone near and far this week from Winton in the south to Tabcorp Park Melton in Melbourne. Winton - Thursday afternoon Brad Williamson - Rates Mokosun a big winning chance even off 20 metres in race 4 Clark Barron - Thinks Mass Invasion is overdue a change of luck and can win, also in race 4   Shane Walkinshaw - Thought Princess Arts from the draw could roll the hotpot On The Town in race 8 Brendon McLellan - Gives Repeat After Me a great chance of running in three in race 9     Manawatu - Thursday night Kyle Marshall - Reckons Unmissable is ready to win her second race at Manawatu in race 5 Peter Scaife - Rates Mach Cullen from barrier one a big chance to turn his form around and win race 7   Amberley - Friday afternoon Bob Butt - Rates last weeks impressive debutant Supershakes hard to beat in race 3 Robbie Holmes - Gives Bridget Blue Chip from her handy draw a chance to upset them in race 5 Gerard O"Reilly - Thought Always Yours would take all kinds of stopping in race 6 Jim Curtin - Rates Star Of Dionysis back to the grass a big chance to win race 8   Auckland - Friday night Steven Reid - Thought  Clarius could continue his good form and win race 1 Tony Herlihy - Likes Walkinshaw to improve on his debut run and win race 4 Maurice McKendry -  Thought his two year old Shandale would have a big show, also in race 4 John Curtin (Harnesslink) - Rates Our Dainty Lady very hard to beat in race 6 Scott Phelan - Thinks Better B Amazed will be awlfully hard to beat in race 9   Ashburton - Saturday afternoon Tim Williams - Rates Chase The Dream a big chance to win the Sapling Stakes on debut (Race 5) Blair Orange - Thought Goodness Gracious Me could top off a string of placings with a win in race 9   Tabcorp Park Melton - Saturday night Ricky May - Was rapt with "Terrors" run last week and thinks he can win the Hunter Cup   Wairarapa - Sunday Afternoon Todd Mitchell - Rates Te Kawau very difficult to beat in the Wairarapa Cup.   Waikouaiti - Sunday Afternoon Nathan Williamson - Rates Grey Power a big chance on the grass to win race 5 Matthew Williamson  - Thinks if Bet's Sun trots all the way he can beat his brother in race 5 Craig Thornley - Likes the chances of Dream Big to bounce back and win race 8.   Harnesslink Media

Harness racing can be cruel at times as a lot of our tipsters found out last week when a lot of the selections had little luck on raceday. Both Playaway and Sweet Art had no luck on the first day at Otaki but both won on the second day so it does pay to not drop them in a hurry, Our best performer last week was Steven Reid who nailed Clarius at Otaki at $13:40 and he was unlucky not to make it a double for the weekend on the second day, again at good odds. Other selectors to pick winners were Ricky May, Peter Scaife,Scott Phelan, Blair Orange and Brad Williamson and we picked up three placings as well and a string of fourths. This week we have selections at Motukarara, Blenhiem, Auckland, and Invercargill and Gate Pa. Don't let the selections for Blenheim slip under your guard on Sunday if they miss on Friday. Motukarara - Thursday afternoon Robbie Holmes - Gave us two he couldn't separate. At the Mott it is Willie Shine in race 8 Ricky May - Thought Cullen Keefe could get back on track in race 10 Craig Thornley - Rates Franco Hammond highly and thought he could win again, also in race 10   Blenheim - Friday afternoon Jimmy Curtin - Likes the chances of the Brian O'Meara trained Mach Winger in race 2 Gerard O'Reilly - Thinks Royal Caroline is due a change of luck and can win race 3  Robbie Holmes - The second of his selections this week is the talented Cyclone Kiwi in race 9 Blair Orange - Rates Take After Me a big chance of making it two wins in a row in race 11   Auckland - Friday night Tony Herlihy - Gives Uandmebabe a big show even from the second line in race 2 Maurice McKendry - Rates Hanoverdakash a great each way bet in race 3 Scott Phelan - Thought that Prince Of Pops could bounce back after a brief break and win race 4 John Curtin (Harnesslink)- Thought Gamma Lady on her workout win last weekend would win race 5   Steve Richardson (TAB) - Rates Charleston Belle a big chance to take out race 9 Todd Macfarlane - Knows the draw is dead against him but still likes Simply Stunning, also in race 9    Invercargill - Saturday afternoon Nathan Williamson - Thought if Splash Cola could get around the first bend then she would win race 1 John Dunn - Gives Alta Las Vegas a big rap even from barrier eight in race 3 Clark Barron - Gives I'm Full Of Excuses a big chance of taking out race 4 Matthew Williamson - Thinks Alley Way on last weeks run should win race 5 Brad Williamson - Thought he might be able to upset big brother with Father Christmas, also in race 5 Shane Walkinshaw - Rates Acolyte off the mobile a big chance to turn his form around in race 8 Tim Williams - Thought Meticulous had trained on great this week and would win race 9   Gate Pa - Sunday afternoon Peter Scaife - Confident that a shoeing change will have recent import Winsome Luck winning race 2 Todd Mitchell - Thought Shardon's Pearl would carry on the good work and win, also in race 2 Sean McCaffrey - With no Gold Ace or Adore Me about, he thought Norvic Nightowl could win race 9     

The racing programme is finally getting back to something like normal this week although there is no meeting in the Auckland/ Waikato region so the number of selections this week reflects that. Our "holiday" selectors were in good form with Scott Phelan, Ricky May, Blair Orange, Jim Curtin, Steve Richardson, Bob Butt, Nathan Williamson, Matthew Williamson and Brad Williamson all tipping out winners with Brad getting bragging rights on the back of Nureyev paying $10:90 at Winton. This week we have four meetings in the country covered with some interesting selections from our tipsters. Northern Southland - Thursday afternoon Shane Walkinshaw - Bullish about the chances of Acolyte in race 4 Bob Butt - Thinks that with an ounce of luck Justalittlebettor can win race 5 even from barrier 8 Terry Chmiel - Reckons Millwood Pink Lady from barrier two will be very hard to beat, also in race 5 Ricky May - Rates Rocker Band very hard to hold out if she gets clear air in race 6 Brendon McLellan - Reckons with his dropback to C1 Sammy The Bull can win race 8 Nathan Williamson - Gives Dwindle Mist a real chance of upsetting the favourites in race 9 Clark Barron - Thought even in a red hot field, Twilight Franco could upset them in race 10    Otaki - Friday afternoon John Curtin (Harnesslink) - Rates the chances of recent northern import Balius in race 6 Scott Phelan - Likes the chances of Sweet Art off the front mark to win race 7 Steven Reid - Thought Clarius was a chance to upset them in race 8 Peter Scaife - Thought Playaway was due a change of luck and could win race 10   Addington - Friday night Gerard O'Reilly - Rates Royal Caroline a big chance of leaving maidens in race 1 Craig Thornley - Thought Supreme Gem even from barrier 6 at the mile could win race 3 Robbie Holmes - Gives Petite Royal a chance of turning her form around and winning race 4 Blair Orange - Quite bullish about the chances of Bracken Ridge in race 6  Steve Richardson (TAB) - Likes the chances of Big Lucy winning first up for the season in race 8 Brad Williamson- Thought Monty Python could make it three in a row in race 9   Oamaru - Sunday Afternoon Matthew Williamson - Rates Brads Kenny a huge chance on his home track to win race 5

It is not very often that the harness racing enthusiasts in Central Otago get to see a million dollar winner but it happened yesterday when the old warrior Vulcan won the FFA mobile trot at Omakau Raceway in Central Otago. The eight year old son of Earl looked to be coming to the end of his career a few starts ago but since being leased by Roddy Butt after Cup Week in November, Vulcan has got a new lease on life. Stabled at David and Catherines Butt's property at Woodend, Vulcan has responded to the beach training and his win two starts ago at Addington in a tick outside the New Zealand record showed he was back on track. A creditable fourth at Ashburton on Boxing Day after being the lone back marker on 30 metres, Vulcan looked much better placed today under the mobile start conditions. Regular driver Bob Butt gave Vulcan out as his horse to follow in the pre Xmas ringaround as he thought he was hitting top form Drawing the outside barrier under the preferential draw system,  Bob  sent Vulcan forward from the start and he worked to the lead after 400 metres. Attacked by the inform Alley Way and Matthew Williamson shortly after, Bob took a trail with Vulcan in what would prove to be the winning move. Alley Way kept up a steady tempo and led for home but was quickly claimed by Vulcan up the passing lane who went on for a comfortable 1 3/4 length victory over a solidly finishing Saratota with Alley Way holding third. It was Vulcan's 20th career win and more importantly took Vulcan over the $1,000,000 threshhold in career earnings. Considering the significance of the win Bob gave a rather subdued whip flourish as he hit the line. "I don't like to get too carried away with things like that but I was rapt the old fella had won and cracked the million." "Jenny Butt (part owner) was there which made it that bit more special" "On paper he looked a bit good for them really and I expected him to be hard to beat," Bob told Harnesslink this morning. A lot of pundits thought Vulcan had gone just okay at Ashburton at his previous run but Bob thought the run had plenty of merit. " He was the lone backmarker on 30 metres and was chasing the whole way." "He went 3:2.7 for the 2400 metres which was the quickest in the race and I thought the run was full of merit." "Starting off level terms yesterday gave him a huge advantage, " Bob said. Future plans for Vulcan are already set with the veteran to head south for the Northern Southland meeting on January 15th. " There is a 3200 metres race there which will suit him down to the ground. "It is a handicap event and he will be off 40 metres but being two miles it gives him a chance to make up the handicap,"  Bob said. Harnesslink would like to join with the rest of the industry in congratulating Tim Butt , Anthony Butt, Roddy Butt, Bob Butt and the myriad of others who have contibuted to Vulcan making the millionaires club. Harnesslink Media  

Six figure yearlings at the yearly sales have become common place in the last few years but six figure sums for trotting bred yearlings are still a bit of a rarity at harness racing sales. One of the biggest sales prices for a trotting bred yearling ever seen in New Zealand was that paid for the royally bred colt yesterday Eden. By the brilliant North American super sire Angus Hall, Springfield Eden was the second foal of the four win Sundon mare, Landora's Special who was a daughter of the brilliant racemare Landora's Pride ($426,857). Two half sisters to Landora's Special had made the maternal family the hottest in Australasia. First Landora's Gift produced the outstanding trotter Sundon's Gift ($1,275,264) while another half sister Invasions Pride left Let Me Thru ($453,945) The first foal from Landora's Special is the very promising Eyre I Come who judging by his super win on Cup Day in November is headed for the top. So all in all everything pointed to Springfield Eden being a star and hence why he made $127,500. Things started out promisingly enough when he finished fourth in the first couple of 2 year old trots in Canterbury behind the likes of Monbet, Ayra and Wanna Play. That was quickly followed by an easy win against the older horses at Waikouaiti but from there the wheels fell off with two unplaced runs in the 2 year old classics after early mistakes. Springbank Eden had started his 3 year old season the same way, blowing the standing start in both his early season races at Winton and Wairio. Yesterday at the Omakau Raceway in Central Otago, Springfield Eden had one thing in his favour - the race was from behind the mobile. Sent forward from barrier four by driver Matthew Williamson, Springfield Eden set a solid tempo right from the start and it was obvious a long way out that he had the field in trouble. And thats how it turned out with Matthew hardly moving in the cart as Springfield Eden went to the line a comfortable two length winner. Springfield Eden trotted the 2000 metres from the mobile in 2:33.4, a mile rate of 2:03.4 with closing sectionals of 59.9 and 30.2. Matthew thought it was the mobile that made all the difference yesterday. "He hadn't looked like stepping at his first two starts but he has always been good behind the mobile" "He has real good speed off the gate which is a plus," Matthew told Harnesslink this morning. Matthew thought that Springfield Eden still had a few issues to sort out before any thoughts of taking on the best 3 year olds were entertained. " We are still having issues with his gait but he is getting better." "There is no doubting the ability but you have to be doing everything 100% when you are taking on the best and he is not there yet. " He is as good a looking horse as you would see and lovely to do anything with so he is worth waiting for," Matthew said. The win continued Matthew's good run over the holiday period with him having racked up four wins and numerous placings since the Gore meeting on Boxing day. Harnesslink Media  

When we were doing the harness racing ringaround prior to Xmas for horses to follow over the holiday period, there was quite a bit of friendly banter when we rang the Williamson household. Phil jokingly told us while Matthew and Nathan were in great touch, Brad was going through a bit of a dry patch and we might be waiting a while for him to salute the judge. Of course at Gore on Boxing Day Nathan drove and trained three winners and Matthew also got his horse to follow over the holidays home in Brads Kenny up on debut but Brad remained winless. At Winton yesterday both Nathan and Matthew had chalked up another winner each by the time it came to race ten where Brad was down to drive Nureyev for Murray Brown. Given out by Brad as his horse to follow over the holidays, Nureyev was not liked by the punters but Brad was quietly confident. " Murray was quite bullish about his chances and told me he would be hard to beat." "I've driven for Murray in the past and when he tells you they are ready, they are." "That is my sixth winner for Murray so I wouldn't mind driving a few more for him,"  Brad told Harnesslink this morning. Nureyev is bred to be good being by Christian Cullen from the former smart racemare Idancedallnight 1:57.5 ($103,656) and Brad says the stable has always had an opinion of the 4 year old gelding. " Murray said nothing had gone right with his last campaign but this time in it had all gone to script." " It was a penalty free win yesterday and he is still a C1 so he could easily win another couple quickly on what he showed yesterday. "Murray was adamant he would improve further with racing as well." " He didn't strike me as a real quick horse and I think stamina will be his strength," " That win price ($10:90) was good for those who follow the ringaround, "Brad said. They say you are only as good as your last drive so Brad can expect a lot less banter at home in the next few days. Harnesslink Media    

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