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Rangiora trainer Mitchell Kerr won back to back races at the Wairio Trotting Club Meeting at Winton's Central Southland Raceway today. Zinny Mach made it two wins from two starts in six days when he impressively won the Net Ten EOM at Macca Lodge Mobile Pace. Driver Nathan Williamson got a nice run through from the second row and ended up three back on the inside. When Ideal Draw moved out of the one one and progressed forward, Williamson followed him round and with 1700 metres to run he was in front. The winning margin was one and a quarter lengths from I’m Trouble with third taken by Governor’s Bay. “He’s a lovely wee horse. Good gate speed and he loves rolling in front. He's had two good wins (in Southland). Hopefully he can make it three next week,” said driver Nathan Williamson in referring to the $12,000 Nuggets Final at the Winton meeting Monday week.  “He’s got the Nuggets on the 31st and he’ll be coming home after that.” Today’s winning time was 2-57.0. Zinny Mach stretching out at the finish                     - Photo Bruce Stewart. Zinny Mach is out of the Christian Cullen mare Zingara who's part of the famed Black Watch family. He was bought for $50,000 by part owner Ray Fleetwood at the 2017 Australasian Classic Yearling Sales in Auckland. In the following race it was a very similar scenario for the Kerr Wairio Cup runner Smokin By. After beginning well, Williamson had the four year old; four back on the inside before moving him forward with a lap to run. At the 600 metres he was travelling well when second favourite Nearis Green which had led and then trailed, started to fall away from Smokin By’s back. At the foot of the lane Smokin By was off and gone and commentator Dave McDonald aptly called it ‘a demolition job.’ The winning margin was six and a half-lengths and Williamson didn’t have to pull the ear plugs. Stablemates Shezacullengirl and Mach’s Back filled the minor places. “He’s going to be a really good horse one day. He’s got a massive motor,” Williamson said after the run. Trainer Mitchell Kerr also thinks the four year old has a future but that he’s still on a learning curve. “He’s got all the ability in the world. He’s just needs things to go his way. When he winds up he’s got amazing speed.”  The Cup had two false starts before it finally got underway and Williamson said Smokin By got better with each one. “That was really good. I was really pleased. It opens more races up for us now. That was probably the biggest take out of the day,” said Kerr. He says Smokin By will have a break now and come back and race through March and April. “I’d love to sneak him in to some of those nicer races later on.” Mitchell’s father Paul bought Smokin By for $30,000 at the 2016 New Zealand Premier Sales in Christchurch. He has a host of great winners in his immediate pedigree including Venus Serena, Gail Devers and Rona Lorraine. Smokin By winning the Wairio Cup Bruce Stewart

Alta Shelby looks to be getting back to the form he showed early in his three year old season when he comprehensively dealt to a field of R51 - R53s at Winton on Saturday. The Mach Three colt lead all the way and won easily by four and a half lengths running the 2400 metre mobile in a smart 2-56.0.  "He's just starting to come back into form which is pretty pleasing. I thought he would go really close today. We changed a bit of gear on him. He's a bit of a head shaker so I put a chinguard on him and it's made all the difference. He's starting to live up to his potential and what he showed early on," said trainer Mitch Kerr who's considering a start in the Group Two Alabar Southern Supremacy Stakes in a fortnight. The Winton Business's Cup was won by the Ken and Tony Barron trained Royal Bengal. The four year was originally trained in Southland by Robin Swain before heading to Canterbury. Owned by Baynes Racing Limited which is Kenny Baynes and his sister in-law Penny, he carries the colours made famous by Kenny's father the late Colin Baynes. The same colours were worn when Kamahl driven by Colin Baynes won this race in 1983. The winning margin today was a length and a quarter with Star Commander running second. Royal Bengal adding the Winton Cup to the Gore Cup he also won - Photo Bruce Stewart. The race was marred by the second favourite Aloka breaking at the 450 metre mark. He was pulled out of the race by driver Blair Orange and found to have fractured his left hind cannon bone. Unfortunately for all his connections he had to be euthanaised. Winton Cup winners last 10years Year Winner Age Sire Driver Trainer Distance Time 2008 Biella Star 4g Mattuity DJ Dunn RD Holmes 2400m 3-01.0 2009 Bettor's Strike 4g Bettor's Delight DJ Dunn CT Dalgety 2400m 2-58.8 2010 Lionels Meddle 4g Live Or Die JR Dunn RJ Dunn 3200m 4-04.6 2011 Van Washington Man 6g Washington VC RT May BA Waldron 3200m 4-06.5 2012 Texican 3g Bettor's Delight DJ Dunn CT Dalgety 3200m 4-05.5 2013 Jimmy Johnstone 4g P-Forty Seven JC Hay JC Hay 3200m 4-04.9 2014 Belkmyster 4g Mach Three DJ Dunn G Anderson 3200 metres 4-06.0 2015 That's Hunting Pink 5m Christian Cullen Terry Chmiel Dean Taylor 3200 metres 4-02.5 2015 Costa Del Magnifico 4h Mach Three Nathan Williamson Brent Shirley 3200 metres 3-59.8 2016 Democrat Party 4m American Ideal Nathan Williamson Katrina and John Price 2400 metre stand 3-01.2 2017 Delightful Memphis 3f Bettors Delight Blair Orange Mark Jones  2400 metre stand 2-55.5 2018 Royal Bengal 4g Bettors Delight Dexter Dunn Ken and Tony Barron 2400 metre stand 2-57.1   Bruce Stewart Southland Harness racing

Rangiora trainer Mitch Kerr missed his flight south today but his quality three year old filly Come Dance With Me did all the flying. The Bettor's Delight filly was caught three wide early so driver Dexter Dunn sent her forward and she was travelling so well that she was taken to the top inside the 800 metres. From there she was never in doubt of winning, going to the finishing post under a hold to win by six lengths from Triroyale Brigade.   "With Dexter on he gets the best out of them doesn't he. It was very pleasing. I really think the mile was right up her alley today," said stable representative Matt Anderson. The winning time was 1-54.5 with the last 800 metres run in 56.9. Come Dance With Me is now qualified for the Nevele R/Macca Lodge Southland Oaks Final on Diamonds Day at the end of April. She was bred by Dennis Bennett and Linda Joyce and is out of the seven win Christian Cullen mare Lady Dancer. Her dam Jodi Vance left quality colts including Surprise Package which won thirteen races, a Victoria Cup and a further fourteen races in America. Jodi Vance also left Gentle Western which won four races here and thirteen more in the states. Come Dance With Me was bought by Paul Kerr at the Sale Of The Stars for $17,500.  Returning and qualified of the Southland Oaks - Photo Bruce Stewart. Meanwhile Anderson notched up his 100th winner when he drove The Doorman to win at Forbury Park on Thursday. He currently leads the National Junior Drivers Championship with thirty two winners.   "It's all coming together quite nicely. We just have to keep the foot down. Down south has been my main support, trainers have put me on unconditionally. Up home it can get a bit hard but if you draw the line and focus down here it's helpful. The travel's okay. You can't drive winners sitting on the couch at home." Bruce Stewart Southland Harness racing  

Top harness racing pacer The Dorchester has has died after suffering complications related to a recent surgery. The Dorchester had forged a good record of five wins from seven starts in his limited career and looked like he could be a superstar in the making after he easily smashed the New Zealand mobile 2400m record in October last year. The speedy Mach Three pacer then backed that up by beating a strong field on New Zealand Cup Day in a 1:54.4 mile rate. Trainer Mitchell Kerr told Matt Markham from The Informant, “It’s been tough. Losing any horse is tough,” “But he was a bit more like a part of the family, you know like a dog that you’ve had for 10 years - he meant a lot to us.” Mitchell Kerr   The Dorchester smashing the new Zealand 2400m record   Harnesslink Media

This is now Lazarus’s New Zealand Trotting Cup to lose. That was the only possible conclusion from yesterday’s Ashburton Flying Stakes, traditionally the best guide to Addington’s great race three weeks today. Lazarus did was Lazarus does yesterday, stepped away safely, settled beautifully and then did enough to win without needing to be asked to delve too far into oxygen debt by trainer-driver Mark Purdon. It was professional, perfect and another step on his peerless path to the Cup and while it may not have looked sensational to the eye, the defending Cup champ paced a 53.5 second last 800m even though he only got serious in the final 200m. That was enough for him to wear down stablemate leader Dream About Me, who was brave in second but perhaps just as important as the win from a NZ Cup point of view was the third placing of Heaven Rocks. He bobbled away, caught the field and paced roughly at times before making good ground into third but while his performance would have been satisfying from any normal pacer what it did was show the gap between him and Lazarus. The latter is the complete package and will draw the front line in the NZ Cup while Heaven Rocks will start from the unruly which almost guarantees he will settle close to last even on his best behaviour. For all his ability, it is getting harder and harder to make a case for Heaven Rocks giving Lazarus a start and a beating in the Cup, especially as the champ gets fitter and returns to the 3200m distance he loves. The TAB bookies have Lazarus at $1.70 to defend his title and while hardly enticing 21 days from the race, serious dangers are in short supply. Lazarus is likely to go to the Kaikoura Cup next Monday while Heaven Rocks and Dream About Me could race at Addington on November 3 as their final Cup build up. Lazarus might meet Titan Banner at Kaikoura which will give a good indication of where the latter sits in the pecking order. Unless Titan Banner can at least push Lazarus at Kaikoura, the NZ Cup looks a Purdon-Rasmussen benefit but there is one shining light of competitiveness with Sydney trainer Kevin Pizzuto suggesting last season’s Cup runner-up Tiger Tara could now make a surprise trip to Addington. That would add depth and Australian interest to the race while lost another entry yesterday with Cash N Flow sidelined with a minor setback. While Lazarus was all class in the Flying Stakes, Great Things Happen continued his steep improvement curve in the Trotters Flying Mile. He backed up an enormous comeback second at Addington last start by bullying his way to the lead early yesterday and easily holding off a huge late finish from Habibti Ivy.  The performances suggested they are two of the trotters to beat in the Dominion during Cup week, with Great Things Happen now favourite in front of Bordeaux, who was allowed to miss yesterday’s race.  While only fifth Stent was solid in his first race start for 21 months and will be fitter come the NZ Trotting Free-For-All on NZ Cup day but whether trainers Colin and Julie De Filippi can get enough miles into his legs for a start in the 3200m Dominion in 24 days remains to be seen.  Earlier in the day three-year-old The Dorchester produced a stunning performance to set a national all comers 2400m record with a 2:52.5 clocking winning by seven lengths for young trainer Mitchell Kerr. Michael Guerin

Young harness racing driver Ben Hope drove his first winner, when speedy three year old Benhope Rulz won at Oamaru yesterday. Trained by Greg and Nina Hope at Woodend Beach, Benhope Rulz (Courage Under Fire - Victoria Rulz) had to be good to win. He trailed for most of the race, but got carted back by the tiring leader Megawatt on the turn and was blocked by a wall of horses in the straight. Driver Ben managed to angle to the outside of the track in the last 75m and he stormed home to win going away from the John Hay trained first starter Norman Richard. Classie Cullect gained an overdue win when he won for trainer Warren Stapleton and driver John Morrison at odds of $14.10 and $3.80 on the tote. Part owner Dean Stapleton said "we like the horse and we have been backing him, but he has had no luck in his previous starts"  That bad luck changed to good yesterday, when Classie Cullect (Gotta Go Cullect - Classie Emma) had a cozy run on the fence. When the horse saw daylight on the passing lane, he zipped home to win narrowly but well from the rank outsider Rostriever Victory and driver Kim Butt. Mitchell Kerr had another day to remember when his two runners, The Dorchester and Run Boy Run both won their respective races on the Oamaru track.  The Dorchester (Mach Three - Meet Me In Mayfair) was impressive sitting parked and winning as he liked for driver Blair Orange. The smart three year old pacer has now won his first two starts and is headed for the feature 3yo races later in the year. Run Boy Run was also impressive, winning his second race in a row for driver Matt Anderson. He had to be good to win, sitting parked and then staving off all the challenges in the run home. With the two wins he got yesterday, Kerr has regained the outright lead in this years trainers premiership. He has an impressive UDR of 0.7937 and has started seven runners this season with five of them winners. Bite The Bullet led all the way to win this years Kurow Cup for trainer Robert Dunn. Driven by John Dunn, Bite The Bullet (Mach Three - Pistol Packing Mama) was in front early and then ran quick final sectionals to hold off a fast finishing New Years Jay by a head at the line.  His overall time for the 2600m stand was a sedate 3-23.4 for that class, but they zipped home over the last 800m in 56.4 with the closing 400m in slick 26.5 seconds. Ben hope getting his first win.   Bite The Bullet winning the 2017 Kurow Cup   Harnesslink Media  

Young harness racing trainer Mitchell Kerr holds the key for today’s Kurow pick six at Oamaru Raceway. Mitchell has two runners entered today and both are in legs of the $30,000 pick six. Both horses are red hot favourites and both horses have won their previous starts. Mitchell has Run Boy Run engaged in the last leg of pick six today. The four-year-old American Ideal gelding won easily on the Oamaru track last start and looks to have turned the corner on some previous average form. Run Boy Run will be driven again by Matt Anderson who also drove him at his last win on the course. Kerr’s other runner is The Dorchester in Leg 3 of the pick six. A very quick three-year-old by Mach Three, he is a $1.50 favorite on the fixed odds FF market and he looks like he can step up to the next grade. The Dorchester is a potential derby horse in the making and he ran fast sectionals to win his first start at Addington three weeks ago. A wet track and an outside draw look to be the only question marks in his quest to win todays race. Blair Orange will again be the pilot for the The Dorchester, and he also has chances in other legs of pick six today with Glenferrie Classic in the Kurow Cup and Sundons Flyer in the R56 & faster trot. Glenferrie Classic who starts of the front in the Kurow Cup is up against classy mare New Years Jay who is having her first start this season for trainer Graeme Anderson. James Dean going for four wins on end for trainer Leo O’Reilly is also a big chance in that leg along with the Robert Dunn trained Bite The Bullet who also ran quick sectionals on the Oamaru track last start. Sundons Flyer has been freshened and is having her first start since the end of June, but has a liking for rain affected tracks and the Sundon mare is the TAB second favourite. Earlier in the day the Greg and Nina Hope trained Benhope Rulz (Courage Under Fire-Victoria Rulz ) looks a great bet to give junior driver Ben Hope his first driving win in Race 2. Benhope Rulz has had one start for a narrow second to The Dorchester at Addington and is a $1.50 chance to win on the FF fixed odds market. Harnesslink Media

Young harness racing trainer Mitchell Kerr is looking to extend his unbeaten run at Rangiora on Sunday. Mitchell has started the 2017/2018 season the best possible way with 3 wins from 3 starters giving him a perfect UDR of 1.0000 from his three starts so far this season. His winners in the last 11 days have been The Dorchester, Run Boy Run and Alta Shelby and he has two runners engaged on Sunday and both have realistic winning chances on the track where he trains his small team. Miss Patriot (American Ideal-Honey Ryder) has her first start for Kerr this season in race four on Sunday. She is rated a $4.50 chance on the fixed odds by the TAB bookies after winning two workouts in recent weeks on the Rangiora track, and must be a strong hope of winning with any luck in the running. His second starter is the well traveled Supreme Banner (Christian Cullen-Gretna’s Best) who has also been ok at recent trials on the track. Supreme Banner is a $2.70 chance on the fixed odds and would probably be the better chance of the two horses he has engaged. This is the second season 25 year old Kerr has been training on his own account, after firstly working for other trainers and then training in partnership with his father Paul Kerr for two seasons. The Dorchester and Alta Shelby are both potential Derby runners if they keep improving and waiting in the wings is another stable runner in Forgotten Highway. Forgotten Highway (Bettor’s Delight – Grace Way) is the current stable star winning four races last season and running a respectable 5th in the New Zealand Derby last April. All going well he will be prepared for the New Zealand Cup meeting in November and hopefully on to feature races in Auckland in December.   Harnesslink Media

Rookie Rangiora trainer Mitchell Kerr has two potential Derby contenders and a perfect three wins from three starts to open the new harness racing season. Kerr, 25, is in his first full season as a trainer based at Rangiora Raceway and produced impressive Addington three-year-old winner The Dorchester on Friday night, followed by another exciting three-year-old in Alta Shelby, who scored easily at Oamaru on Sunday. He also trains four-year-old American Ideal gelding Run Boy Run, who won well at Oamaru. “It’s been a lucky start really. I’m still pinching myself,’’ Kerr said on Monday. The Dorchester, by Mach Three, is the first foal of five-win Falcon Seelster mare Meet Me In Mayfair. “He’s got a big motor there and a lot of natural ability … I think he’ll go a long way but he’s as green as grass. “He was going to win by two or three lengths, but knocked off and started pissing round. He’s got a lot to learn,’’ said Kerr. The colt settled back and moved up parked at the 800m at Addington, but ran greenly in the last 200m for leading driver Blair Orange, hanging on to beat Benhope Rulz by a head and deny rookie junior driver Ben Hope his first race win.  The Dorchester ($1.60) clocked 2:25.8 (mobile 1950m), with his last 800m in 55.7s and the 400m in 26.9. “He’s paid up for all the big three-year-old races so hopefully he keeps improving,’’ said Kerr. “It was his first time off the place, apart from the Rangiora workouts where I train from.  ‘’There was a bit of an unknown factor on Friday night, but he delivered which was great.’’ Alta Shelby, a half-brother by Mach Three to Alta Orlando (six wins, 2014 Sales Series winner), is also a potential Derby contender and was never out of second gear winning at Oamaru for driver Matt Anderson.  “The more racing he has the better he’ll be,’’ said Kerr.  Kerr is the son of veteran Ohoka-based trainer Paul Kerr, who gets the young horses up and going before sending them to Mitchell for the last two months of their build-up to racing. ‘’Dad had him [Alta Shelby] originally and had a good opinion of him. His manners are improving all the time.’’ Anderson, who recently left the Mark Purdon-Natalie Rasmussen All Stars stable, helps Kerr in the mornings at Rangiora and the trainer is keen to give him more chances.  “He’s a good wee driver with a future. He’s really neat, looks good in the cart and makes good decisions.’’ Anderson gave Run Boy Run a dream run in the trail and he scored nicely in the junior drivers’ race at Oamaru, clocking 3.15 for the mobile 2600m, his last 800m in 56.9s. “He’s been knocking on the door and was really unlucky [third when late clear] at Rangiora the start before. He’s developed into a nice horse and won it pretty easily.’’ The Dorchester will probably head to the Kurow meeting at Oamaru on August 20, while Alta Shelby will target Addington. ‘’The Dorchester has the edge at this stage on ability, but they are both really nice horses.’’ Kerr says talented four-win pacer Forgotten Highway is ‘’coming up really good’’ after a short spell. “Hopefully, we can get him to the New Zealand Cup meeting and up to Auckland in December.’’ Kerr has previously worked for his father, Robert Dunn at Woodend Beach and Gareth Dixon in Auckland, going out on his own full time this season after securing 10 boxes and a barn at Rangiora Raceway and developing the outside yards and paddocks, before moving the horses in about June 20. “Dad does the young ones and jogs them up - then they come over to me for the last couple of months. It works out really good.’’ Kerr has driven 112 winners since 2009, but always wanted to train on his own. “I have always really loved the training side of it … Dad pretty much taught me everything I know and you just sort of take the good points from trainers like Gareth Dixon and Robert Dunn and mould it all together with your own ideas.’’ With his blue and yellow colours atop the national premiership early on, he has made the ideal start. NZ Harness News http://www.theinformant.co.nz/

Alderbeck today became the first winner of the new harness racing season for quiet achievers Phil and Bev Williamson.  After accepting the award for "Outstanding Contribution to Harness Racing" at the national awards last Thursday, it was business as usual for the duo at the Oamaru harness racing club this afternoon (Sunday). Alderbeck was Phil Williamson's 546th winner since he started training in 1993. 526 of those wins or 96% have come from trotters proving what a great trainer of trotters Phil is. Phil was fairly confident of a good showing today from Alderbeck, saying " I think she will go a good race but I would not be putting the house on it at the short odds she is at today."   He said "there are quite a few in that race that could win with the right run". Son Brad gave punters of the favorite no cause for concern, firstly sitting parked and then pulling away in the straight to win easily by more than two lengths at the line.  Alderbeck (Pegasus Spur - J D Pat) trotted the 2600m race in a quick 3:20.2, with a closing 800m in 58.4 seconds.  Earlier in the day Bite The Bullet (Mach Three - Pistol Packing Mama) blasted home from the 800m in 54.2 to beat stablemate Dreams To Reality by a head giving John Dunn his second win of the season. Young trainer Mitchell Kerr has started the 2017/2018 season with a bang as another 3yo colt he trains in Alta Shelby easily won the last race at todays meeting. Alta Shelby (Mach Three - La Joconde) led for the last lap for driver Matt Anderson and sprinted his last 400m in a quick 27.4 seconds winning with plenty of petrol left in the tank. Kerr has gone to the top of the leaderboard in the trainers premiership with 3 wins from 3 starters giving him a perfect UDR of 1.0000 from his three starts so far this season. Alderbeck winning her race.     Harnesslink Media

The Dorchester won his first harness racing start last night at Addington in impressive fashion for trainer Mitchell Kerr. After sitting parked for the last lap he shot clear and held off the big finish of Benhop Rulz to deny Ben Hope his first winning drive. Blair Orange was bang on with his prediction that The Dorchester would be very hard to beat with no mistakes. The smart three year old Mach Three colt ran his last 800m in a quick 55.7 seconds on the back of a 2:00.3 mile rate, suggesting that he could be a force to be reckoned with in the three year old feature races later in the season. Earlier in the night Kardesler also had tongues wagging after easily winning in the fastest mile rate of the night and beating the hot $1.50 favorite Hayley Nicole in the process. Kardesler (American Ideal - Kusadasi) made a big run from midfield at the 400m and pulled clear in the run home winning by more than 2 lengths in a 1:56.1 mile rate. James Dean won the feature pace and his third win in a row for trainer driver Leo O'Reilly. James Dean (Santanna Blue Chip - Alegria) took the lead for the last lap and was never headed winning by a neck beating Lovetodream and Bite The Bullet who was third. Blair Orange started the new season with three wins, building an early lead on rival and friend Dexter Dunn while he is away in Canada at the World Drivers Championship.     Harnesslink Media

Mitchell Kerr will play multiple roles at today’s Westport Trotting Club meeting. The former successful junior driver, who is now trying his hand out at the training caper, will also be in charge of the driving duties for the Robert Dunn stable with John up in Auckland for tonight’s premier meeting. Kerr will have two of his own runners engaged at the meeting, including the unbeaten three-year-old Forgotten Highway who still holds a nomination for the Group One New Zealand Derby. The Bettor’s Delight gelding hasn’t raced since winning at Methven back in September but has looked very good in his workouts and trials ahead of his resumption today. A big bonus too is the Methven victory which gives the indication that he should have no problems in handling the track at Patterson Park. Kerr also have Supreme Banner engaged who, after a string of placings, looks a good chance to break the maiden status at either today’s meeting or at Reefton for the second day on Sunday. From the Dunn stable he has three drives, Kotare Mist, Cimarron and Bevan’s Cullen., The latter will start in the Kawatiri Cup off a 20 metre handicap following on from a big win at Geraldine a fortnight ago and then a bold second behind Motu Premier at the Hororata meeting at Methven. That form has been franked with Motu Premier then stepping out to win last weekend’s Cheviot Cup. The back mark will make things difficult, especially with the racing pattern at Westport, but form carries horses a long way and Bevan’s Cullen is most definitely a horse in form. Johnny Eyre, who won the Reefton Cup back in December and placed at Westport, will provide his biggest challenge considering his impeccable stand start manners and love of a grass track surface. Clasina Maria is also highly credentialed on the green tops while Karanga Red Fantasy and Precious Sara are also noted grass track performers.   Super Selector - By Matt Markham Race 1: Supreme Banner, Born Again Delight, Magic Blaze, Rainy River Race 2: Westar Bella, Deva Jones, Majestic Moment, Tehoro Tease Race 3: Motu Bettor Be Quick, Master Jordy, Lets Rock N Roll, Idealagain Race 4: Rockon Styx, Scoob Operator, My Nikayla, Green Fingers Race 5: Forgotten Highway, Garry’s Legacy, Lolita Franco, Markim Race 6: Alantic, Take After Me, Shadow Rider, The Valiant Race 7: Johnny Eyre, Bevan’s Cullen, Clasina Maria, Karanga Red Fantasy Race 8: English Rose, Novak, Buckeye, Star In The Future Race 9: Distinctive Del, Indie, Mogul, Midfrew Tarpediem Race 10: Destiny Jones, Arditi, Tehoro Dazzle, Beg Hall Best Bet: Forgotten Highway (Race 5) Value: Alantic (Race 6)

Mitchell Kerr, who has branched out on his own as a trainer, is ready to make his mark with Forgotten Highway. Forgotten Highway won over 2000m from the mobile gate in a 2.00.1 mile rate at the Rangiora trials on Tuesday (23/8/16)  after qualifying at Ashburton a fortnight earlier. He is a 3-year-old by Bettor’s Delight from Grace Way purchased by Paul Kerr for $75,000 at the 2015 Australasian Classic Sale. “I will start him (Forgotten Highway) at Addington on Friday night,’’ said Kerr. Forgotten Highway is among three horses Kerr has in work at Woodend Beach on the property of David and Catherine Butt. He also assists trainer Robert Dunn, whose son, John is  located on the same property. Mitchell trained the winners of 24 races the past two seasons in partnership with his father, Paul at Ohoka. They included Whozideawasthis (nine wins), Alta Jerome (six) and Princess Arts ( seven). The first two were sold to Australia and Princess Arts  is due to foal to Somebeachsomewhere. “Dad was keen for me to have a crack at training on my own and I have been fortunate to link up with the Dunns,’’ said Mitchell. “I had owners prepared to support me.” Mitchell said the sale of The Pima Indian to Perth was a boost to his fortunes. He was a part-owner of The Pima Indian, a Changeover – Custom Franco colt who qualified at Rangiora in June as a late 2-year-old.   Tayler Strong

Harness racing in New Zealand continues to have problems with its judicial system and the just released decision regarding Mark Jones and the Remiss blood TCO2 levels case is further proof in our opinion that the system is failing the people who are the principal stakeholders in this industry. Anyone who has read the long winded report of the hearing in this case will understand the frustration that Mark Jones must feel in that he has been found guilty of being a cheat in the court of public opinion where in reality Mark has done nothing wrong. The rules of harness racing in New Zealand are crystal clear - if you present a horse to race in New Zealand whose blood TCO2 level exceeds the levels prescribed in the rules then you are guilty and have no defense. There was no inference from the hearing that Mark Jones had done anything dishonest or corrupt in this case. In fact there was a wealth of evidence presented which suggested exactly the opposite, that Mark was the victim of a horse in Remiss that had a naturally high blood TCO2 level which landed him in this predicament. All the evidence points to Mark and his employees having had no part in Remiss returning an elevated level and yet Mark has suffered a large financial hit as a result. Fines and costs totaled $6925 and you can add to that Mark's own legal costs and the loss of some owners he has suffered due to the negative perceptions cases like this generate. And all because of something over which Mark had no control. Disqualify the horse by all means but to impose all the additional costs and for Mark to lose owners over cases like this is manifestly disproportional to Mark's actions in this matter. Where is the discretionary powers of the JCA in this matter? Mark Jones did nothing wrong in this instance yet has suffered a major financial setback. Do the JCA and the RIU have any discretion. Well they certainly exercised discretion earlier in the week when they allowed Te Kawau to start in the Pelorus Classic. Stood down after he bled at the pre Xmas meeting at Cambridge, Te Kawau was not eligible to start on Friday as the race fell within his stand down period. However the RIU and JCA were consulted and used their discretion under the rules to allow Te Kawau to be nominated and accepted for the Group 2 race. When we contacted HRNZ for comment early last week we were told that everything was done within the rules and that they were happy with the process. Te Kawau had the necessary vet clearance to start and preformed admirably in Friday's race. Post race two things happened which we do find disturbing.  Firstly, taking all the circumstances into account, we would have thought the RIU would have ordered a vet inspection including a scope of Te Kawau so the RIU could reassure themselves that he was well and truly over his bleeding issues. Secondly a swab of Te Kawau was surely in order as the RIU did swab the first two home and neither of those horses had any issues leading into this race.  Not the RIU's finest hour in our view. Another case that has come to light this week is that of driver Mitchell Kerr who has admitted betting on his own drive at the Westport meeting after Xmas. Under the HRNZ rules, this is viewed as a serious racing offence. The maximum fine for this offence is $30,000 which is a reflection of how serious a breach of the rules this is. To his credit Mr Kerr admitted the offence and pleaded ignorance of the rule as his reason for placing the bet. So after considering a range of matters, the JCA fined Mr Kerr $650. For an offence that carries a maximum penalty of $30,000 and is deemed a serious breach of the rules, we don't think the bus ticket was even wet. Compare it to the situation of Mark Jones and large financial hit he has suffered for a situation over which he had no control as opposed to the fine handed out to Mr Kerr for a serious breach of the rules and one starts to have serious doubts about the fairness of the whole system. The JCA and the RIU need the industry stake holders to have complete confidence in their abilities and that they will apply the rules we operate under fairly and without favour. From the feedback we regularly receive from industry stakeholders, they are falling well short of that standard at present. JC - Harnesslink Media

BEFORE THE JUDICIAL CONTROL AUTHORITY -HELD AT NELSON IN THE MATTER of New Zealand Rules of Harness Racing                                                     BETWEEN Mr N Ydgren Stipendiary Steward (Racing Integrity Unit) - Informant                                                         AND Mr M Kerr – Open Horseman - Respondent Date of Hearing: 11 January 2015 Information No: A6188 Venue: Richmond Park Judicial Committee: Mr T Utikere, Chairman - Mr P Williams, Committee Member Plea: Admitted Date of Decision: 11 January 2015 THE CHARGE Information A6188 alleged a breach of Rule 505(1) and stated " as the engaged driver of WEBB ELLIS you did place a combination bet involving that horse in Race one at the Westport Trotting Club's meeting." THE RULE Rule 505(1) states: "A horseman may not bet on any horse or combination of horses in a race, in which he or she is driving; Rule 505 (2) states: “ A breach of this sub-rule (1) is declared to be a serious racing offence;" EVIDENCE At the commencement of the hearing the committee was satisfied that the administrative and procedural matters had been attended to. This included the filing of the Information (A6188), the authority to lodge the information from the General Manager of the RIU and the Notice of Appointment of the Judicial Committee. Mr Kerr acknowledged receipt of these papers. The rule was read and Mr Kerr confirmed he understood the rule and accepted that this alleged breach was defined as a serious racing offence. He also confirmed that he admitted the breach. The applicable penalties for serious racing offences were read and Mr Kerr confirmed he understood the applicable penalties and that he was prepared for the hearing to proceed. The horse WEBB ELLIS is co-trained by Mr Mitchell Kerr in partnership with his father Mr P Kerr. Mr M Kerr confirmed he was its driver in Race 1 at the Westport Trotting Club's meeting of 26 December 2014. Mr Ydgren advised that Mr Kerr had placed a bet on his runner at 9.17am on the morning of the race meeting. This bet was placed via Mr Kerr's internet account and was a $100 All Up bet in nature. Webb Ellis was the first leg of the four leg bet and would have resulted in a dividend of $6221 if successful. Mr Ydgren supplied the committee with a report from Betting Analyst Mr Basil Payne, which was confirmed as accurate by Mr Kerr. Mr Ydgren said that as a result of questioning Mr Kerr about the performance of WEBB ELLIS it transpired that Mr Kerr had placed the bet on raceday morning. Mr Ydgren stated that Mr Kerr presented his phone to show the bet he had placed and that he had been very co-operative throughout the investigative process. He also submitted that the stipendiary stewards had no issues with how Mr Kerr had handled the horse during the race. They believed it had been given every possible chance. Mr Ydgren advised that when the betting rule was changed in April 2014 it was published extensively through HRNZ publications, and that it was a responsibility of licence holders to familiarise themselves with the rules. Mr Kerr agreed with everything Mr Ydgren had submitted, and indicated that he had been a junior driver for five years, but had only had three drives in the current season. He said he had decided to drive WEBB ELLIS on this occasion because he was in part-ownership of the horse, and that he was not happy with how the horse had been driven previously. He stated that his breach was a complete misunderstanding on his part as he was not aware of the new rule. As a trainer, he was aware that trainers were permitted to place bets, but was not aware that, as the driver of a runner in a race, he was not permitted to place a bet on any horse in a race in which he was driving. He was embarrassed by this breach as he did not want to tarnish his reputation or public image as a trainer. DECISION As the breach was admitted, the committee found the charge proved. PENALTY SUBMISSIONS OF INFORMANT On behalf of the RIU, Mr Ydgren submitted that the stewards did not believe Mr Kerr's actions to be sinister by any means. They did not believe there was any attempt to deceive, but rather that the offending was born out of ignorance of the rule. Mr Kerr had been very upfront and honest with the investigative process and he had made an early admission of the breach. Mr Ydgren referred to the 2009 case of HRNZ v Donald, where a combination of bets were placed resulting in four breaches of the rule. In that case the respondent received a $1500 fine and $850 costs. Mr Ydgren referred to two other cases where he believed the circumstances bore some similarities with Mr Kerr's offending. The 2013 case of RIU v Jones and the 2012 case of RIU v (Jockey) J Collett both resulted in a $500 fine. Considering all factors, Mr Ydgren submitted that as the circumstances were similar a $500 was appropriate. Under questioning from the committee, Mr Ydgren acknowledged that both of the latter breaches were not classified as a serious racing offence, as the nature of those bets related to a Drivers and Jockeys Challenge bet option. Mr Ydgren also submitted that Mr Kerr should be given credit for his clear record and advised that the RIU were not seeking any costs. PENALTY SUBMISSIONS OF RESPONDENT Mr Kerr stated that he was very disappointed in himself and that he felt very silly. He submitted that a modest fine would be appropriate as he was currently in a training partnership with his father and received no percentages at this stage, but did receive weekly wage of a modest amount. Mr Kerr had nothing further to submit. REASONS FOR PENALTY The committee considered all of the submissions placed before it. Mr Kerr has admitted a breach of Rule 505(1), when he placed a $100 All Up bet at the Westport Trotting Club's meeting on 26 December 2014, where he was driving the horse WEBB ELLIS in the first leg of that bet. A breach of this rule is declared to be a serious racing offence. Accordingly, the penalty provisions of Rule 1001(2) apply. The committee noted that historically there were not many breaches of this specific rule, and considered the decisions submitted by the RIU in their submissions. The Donald case was a result of four breaches, while the other cases submitted by Mr Ydgren may have been under similar circumstances, they were not defined as serious racing offences under the rules. When the Donald decision was released, the maximum monetary penalty was one of $25,000. The maximum monetary penalty for a breach of this rule has since been increased to one of $30,000 and is a reflection of the deterrence aspect that any breach of this rule must bring. In Mr Kerr's particular circumstance, the committee considers a monetary penalty to be appropriate on this occasion. The current JCA Penalty guidelines do not identify a starting point for a breach of this rule. In this circumstance, which is fact-dependent, we have adopted a starting point of $1000. In aggravation, as a licence holder, Mr Kerr has a strict liability to familiarise himself and be aware of the rules under which he is licensed. Breaches of this nature can create a perception that goes to the heart and integrity of racing. Serious racing offence provisions are in place to protect this integrity and are paramount for public confidence in racing and the administration of racing. In mitigation, the committee considered Mr Kerr's co-operation throughout the investigative process and his early admission of the breach. He has a very good record and no previous breaches of an integrity nature. He is very remorseful and is clearly concerned about the perception others might have of him as a trainer as a result of a breach of this rule. The committee accepts that there was no attempt to deceive at any time, and that his actions as a driver in the race were not sinister; therefore there is no suggestion that he did not attempt to drive Webb Ellis out on its own merits. Mr Kerr simply assumed that, as the trainer of the horse he could place a bet, when, as the driver, he could not. PENALTY After considering all of the above matters we believe a fine is an appropriate penalty and Mr Kerr is fined $650. As this matter was heard on a raceday, there will be no order for costs. Tangi Utikere            Paul Williams CHAIRMAN               COMMITTEE MEMBER Courtesy of the Judicial Control Authority

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