Day At The Track
Search Results
1 to 16 of 614
1 2 3 4 5 Next »

Licensed harness racing owner Mitchell Robertson has been fined $950.00 by the JCA for directing both insulting and abusive words towards Racing Secretary Richard Bromley. Robertson noticed his horses Gunpowder and Ain't Nothing Bettor had been placed on the ballot at the Waimate meeting on 25 March 2018, instead of gaining automatic starts. This upset Mr Robertson as he believed the horses had the necessary credentials to gain a start and were entitled to be drawn into the field and he began a series of abusive phone calls and texts to Mr Bromley. The JCA thought a fine of $1,300 to be the appropriate starting point in this case, but imposed a fine rounded down to the sum of $950 for mitigating factors which are detailed in the JCA report below. The Committee was satisfied that a fine of $950 will suffice to satisfy the general purposes of sentencing which are well-established – to hold the offender accountable for his actions, to promote in the offender a sense of responsibility, to denounce the conduct of the offender and to deter the offender or other persons from committing the same or a similar offence. The Committee has also had regard, as always, to the important consideration of the need to maintain integrity and public confidence in Harness Racing. Full details below:   BEFORE A JUDICIAL COMMITTEE OF THE JUDICIAL CONTROL AUTHORITY IN THE MATTER of the New Zealand Rules of Harness Racing IN THE MATTER of Information No. A10226 BETWEEN N M YDGREN, Chief Stipendiary Steward for the Racing Integrity Unit Informant AND MITCHELL JOHN ROBERTSON, Owner Respondent Judicial Committee: Mr R G McKenzie, Chair - Mr S C Ching, Committee Member Venue: Addington Raceway, Christchurch Present: Mr N M Ydgren, the Informant Mr M J Robertson, the Respondent Mr S P Renault, Stipendiary Steward (Registrar) Date of Hearing: 26 April 2018 Date of Decision: 3 May 2018 RESERVED PENALTY DECISION OF JUDICIAL COMMITTEE The Charge [1] Information No. A10226 alleges that Mr Robertson “wrote and directed insulting and abusive words towards Racing Secretary Richard Bromley” in breach of Rule 1001(1) (v) (ii) of the New Zealand Rules of Harness Racing. The Rules [2] Rule 1001 of the Rules of Harness Racing provides as follows: (1) Every person commits a serious racing offence within the meaning of these Rules, who, in New Zealand or in any other country:- (v) either by himself or in conjunction with any person: (ii) at any time writes or causes to be written, publishes or causes to be published, or utters or causes to be uttered, any insulting or abusive words with reference to a Judicial Committee, Appeals Tribunal, an official of HRNZ, the Chairman, the Vice-Chairman, the Board, a paid official, or any person engaged by a Club or by HRNZ in a professional capacity and/or as an independent contractor. [3] The penalty Rule is Rule 1001 (2) which provides as follows: (1) Every person who commits a serious racing offence shall be liable to the following penalties: (a) a fine not exceeding $30,000.00; and/or (b) suspension from holding or obtaining a licence, for any specific period or for life; and/or (c) disqualification for a specific or for life. [4] Mr Ydgren presented a letter signed by Mr M R Godber, General Manager of the Racing Integrity Unit, pursuant to Rule 1108 (2) authorising the filing of the information. The Plea [5] Mr Robertson had signed the Statement by the Respondent on the information form indicating that he admitted the breach. He was present at the hearing of the information. The charge and relevant Rules were read to him, after which he confirmed that he admitted the breach. [6] The charge was found proved. Summary of Facts [7] Mr Ydgren presented the following written submissions to the hearing: “Mitchell Robertson is a licensed owner with HRNZ and as such is captured by Rule 102 (1) (d). (Rule 102 provides: (1) These Rules shall apply to all Races and Race Meetings and shall apply to and be binding on: (d) all Owners and all persons entering or nominating any horses for any race whether such Owners, trainers or persons in charge be resident in New Zealand or otherwise) He currently has an interest in 17 registered horses. He assists in training responsibilities with his father Peter Robertson who trains in Templeton. Mr Robertson also acts as a bloodstock agent. On the 14th of March 2018, Mr Mitchell Robertson nominated the horses AIN’T NOTHING BETTOR and CALENDAR GIRLZ for the Waimate TC meeting which was to be held on the 25th. This was done via the HRNZ computer login. On the 19th of March, he further nominated TOM RULE and GUNPOWDER for that same meeting. Again, this was done via the HRNZ login. This was done as a job that Mitchell regularly undertook on behalf of his father. The fields were assembled by the Waimate Racing committee on the 21st of March. This committee comprised of Richard Bromley, Gareth Murfitt, Lex Williams and the handicapper Andrew Morris. Soon after the fields were released, Mitchell Robertson noticed his horses GUNPOWDER and AIN’T NOTHING BETTOR had not gained starts but had instead been placed on the ballot. This upset Mr Robertson as he believed the horses had the necessary credentials to gain a start and were entitled to be drawn into the field. Mr Robertson immediately contacted Richard Bromley by cell phone to voice his displeasure. This phone call was made at approximately 1.40pm. The conversation contained comments from Mr Robertson such as “this is f...... bullshit”. Mr Bromley was returning from Waimate at the time of the call and was troubled by poor reception and resultantly the phone call was disconnected. Immediately Mr Robertson reconnected the call and continued to question Mr Bromley on the non-selection of their horses. This call was again disrupted by reception issues and was also disconnected. At 1.47pm Mr Robertson began a series of text messages. The first read “You c.... have no f...... idea no wonder the industry falling apart (sic)” The second, which was sent at 1.48pm, one minute later said, “Don’t f...... hang up”. (Mr Ydgren produced a screen shot of Mr Bromley’s phone confirming those text messages). Mr Bromley did not respond to these messages.” Informant’s Penalty Submissions [8] Mr Ydgren presented the following written penalty submissions to the hearing: “Richard Bromley was serving in his first year as Racing Secretary for the Waimate Trotting Club. He has 12 years’ experience working for other clubs in this role, primarily NZMTC, and enjoys an outstanding reputation as a thorough and efficient staff member within the industry who is extremely well thought of. Stewards’ inquiries have confirmed that Mr Bromley and his colleagues were only employing standard practices that have been used for a number of years. When assessing this incident the Committee should be mindful that no person should be subjected to this kind of treatment when undertaking their formal duties. A person of Mr Bromley’s standing in the industry should reasonably expect that he can go to work and fulfil such duties without receiving such abuse. The direction of such language towards any official is intolerable. Rule 1001 (v) (ii) is a serious racing offence. The maximum penalties in relation to a breach of a serious racing offence are as follows, • A fine not exceeding $30,000 • Suspension from holding or obtaining a licence for life • Disqualification for life Mr Robertson has not appeared before the Stewards in regards to a breach of this or any similar rule. As a young man attempting to forge a career in Harness Racing he finds himself in a less than ideal position on that path. Mr Robertson should be aware of the importance of conducting himself in a professional manner and maintaining integrity in racing. He has admitted the breach at the earliest opportunity and conducted himself in a professional manner throughout the inquiry at all times. Mr Robertson has shown remorse and accepted that his comments were not acceptable. To date, however, he has not apologised. That the comments were in written form does show a degree of premeditation. Along with the language used and the personal nature of them this is an aggravating factor. On this occasion he has made a serious error and the penalty imposed should reflect the nature of that. It should also act as a strong deterrent to any other individual who may feel that addressing any person in a similar manner is acceptable. Other penalties which may assist this Committee are attached. They are that of; • RIU v T Vince 2014 Rule 1001(v)(ii) – Mr Vince fined $1000. • HRNZ v S Dickson 2017 Rule 303(2) Misconduct – Mr Dickson fined $850. The following is a list of misconduct charges which may also assist the Committee. • S LETHABY (12.10.2010) – HR Open Horseman - swearing in the Stewards room and failed to remain when ordered to do so. $650 fine (guideline starting point $500) • R NYHAN (21.07.2009) – HR Open Horseman - insulting language to a Steward. $400 fine • A PYERS (12.03.2013) – HR Open Horseman - offensive and abusive text messages and phone calls to Racecourse Inspector. $850 fine • G VILE (25.06.2014) – TR trainer - abusing a NZTR Handicapper during a telephone conversation. $350 fine • M WALKER (28.03.2009) – Jockey - used insulting and threatening language to another jockey in the weighing area post inquiry. $2,000 fine. A breach of this Rule brings with it a penalty starting point of $1,500 in the JCA guide. Stewards say the appropriate penalty is that of a monetary fine and that the level of that fine should be in the vicinity of $750”. Respondent’s Submissions [9] Mr Robertson confirmed that he accepted the accuracy of the Summary of Facts presented by Mr Ydgren. [10] Mr Robertson said that he was apologetic for his actions and explained that he had acted “in the heat of the moment”. In reply to a question from the Committee, he said that had not made a personal apology to Mr Bromley. He went on to say that he felt angry that the horses had not gained starts as he felt they were each deserving of a start. GUNPOWDER was the highest rated horse in the field. Mr Bromley had explained to him that the selection committee had given preference to horses that had not started in the last week. The Emergency 1 horse was also racing for the second time in a week and it was a one-win horse with approximately $14,000 stakes won and a lower rating, whereas GUNPOWDER, at the time, was a five-win horse with earnings around the $90,000 mark and a better-credentialed horse to have gained a start, Mr Robertson said. [11] Mr Robertson said that he had spoken to Stipendiary Steward, Mr Scott Wallis, the day before the fields came out enquiring as to whether he could leave GUNPOWDER in the nominations for the Wairio TC at Winton on 24 March as a contingency of not getting into the Waimate field. He was advised by Mr Wallis that to do so would involve a breach of the Scratching Penalties Regulation. On the basis that there was no chance that GUNPOWDER would not get a start at Waimate, he withdrew the horse from Wairio. The horses were based at Oamaru, all four (including AIN’T NOTHING BETTOR and CALENDAR GIRLZ) having raced at Forbury Park on 22nd March [12] Mr Ydgren explained that the Waimate selection committee had used discretion to ensure that a wider pool of horses was given the opportunity to race that week. Obviously, Mr Robertson did not agree with that policy but the policy has been in force for some time and in areas such as Canterbury where there is a large horse pool. Mr Robertson’s horses had been accepted at another meeting that week so it was the committee’s decision to place Mr Robertson’s horses on the ballot and horses that had not started elsewhere would thereby be given the opportunity to race. [13] Mr Robertson replied that that did not explain why the first ballot horse, which was also “backing up”, was given preference over GUNPOWDER when the latter had better credentials. [14] In relation to penalty, Mr Robertson told the Committee that they had arranged accommodation in anticipation of the horses racing at the Waimate meeting. This resulted in a “monetary loss”, he said. He had phoned Mr Bromley seeking an explanation on behalf of one of GUNPOWDER’s owners who had phoned him when the fields were published. [15] The conversation with Mr Bromley could have “gone a lot smoother” had it not been for the “reception issues” which created tension when neither he nor Mr Bromley could make himself understood, Mr Robertson said. Mr Bromley had declined to give an explanation, he said. [16] In reply to a question from this Committee, Mr Robertson acknowledged that he was aware of the policy of some Clubs to give preference to horses having their first run for the week but was not aware, at the time, that the Waimate Club was observing that policy. He did not agree that the policy was a fair one. [17] Finally, Mr Robertson said that it was his intention to make a personal apology to Mr Bromley, not for the policy adopted by the Club but for his conduct. The reason that he had not done so before now, he explained, was that he thought it might prejudice this hearing. Reasons for Penalty [18] This charge came about as a result of two horses, TOM RULE and GUNPOWDER, nominated by Mr Robertson for the Waimate TC meeting to be held on 25 March 2018 being denied starts by the fields’ selection committee of the Club. Mr Robertson was particularly upset that one of those horses, GUNPOWDER, had been balloted out with second right of re-entry. [19] Mr Robertson told the Committee and in no uncertain terms that, in his view, GUNPOWDER was deserving of a start based on its compelling “credentials” and, in particular credentials superior to those of the first emergency. The fields for the meeting were posted on the HRNZ website on the Wednesday prior to the Sunday meeting. He noticed that GUNPOWDER was the second emergency in its race. [20] Mr Robertson then acted very precipitously and contacted Mr Bromley, the Secretary of the Club, by cellphone. Mr Bromley was in his car returning to Christchurch. The precise details of the telephone conversation are not before us but Mr Robertson admitted that he used the expression “this is f...... bullshit” during the initial conversation. Reception difficulties were experienced during the telephone conversation. Mr Robertson thought that Mr Bromley had hung up on him. [21] Not wishing to leave the matter there, Mr Robertson then sent following text messages to Mr Bromley’s phone. The relevant text messages, one minute apart, are set out in the Summary of Facts (above). [22] Mr Robertson has now, quite properly in the Committee’s view, admitted the charge of using insulting or abusive words to Mr Bromley, Secretary of the Waimate TC, in breach of Rule 1011 (v) (ii) of the New Zealand Rules of Harness Racing. [23] The Committee accepts that Mr Robertson believed, rightly or wrongly, that he had legitimate grounds to be upset at the exclusion of GUNPOWDER. We refer to that horse specifically because the exclusion of that horse, in particular, seemed to have been the catalyst for Mr Robertson’s behaviour. Whether that is correct or not is not strictly relevant. In any event, his subsequent behaviour towards Mr Bromley was completely unacceptable and cannot be condoned. While Mr Robertson may have felt aggrieved, there were no doubt more acceptable options by way of questioning the committee’s decision. [24] Mr Bromley is, the Committee was told, a well-respected Club official of many years standing who was simply performing his duties, we accept, in good faith and to the best of his ability. We have not lost sight of the fact that Mr Bromley was only one of a committee of four on this occasion, but he has been the one who was subjected to Mr Robertson’s abuse. He should not be expected, and neither should any other official in a similar position be expected, to be subjected to such a barrage of insult and abuse from a disaffected owner. [25] Mitigating factors to take account of in considering penalty in this case are Mr Robertson’s early admission of the breach, his cooperation throughout the course of the investigation and his previous good record. The Informant, in his penalty submissions, said that Mr Robertson had shown remorse for his conduct. The Committee is not satisfied that such remorse is total, supported by the fact that, by his own admission, Mr Robertson had not made a personal apology to Mr Bromley in the more than one month between the date of the offence and the hearing of this charge. We believe that, had his remorse been total, he would have made such an apology in that time. The Committee does not give Mr Robertson credit for showing remorse. [26] We do not identify any particular aggravating factors – they are mainly elements of the offence itself and we have touched upon these earlier in this decision. [27] Mr Ydgren referred the Committee to a number of previous cases in both the harness racing and thoroughbred codes. These are of only limited assistance to us as the fact situations are very different, which will nearly always be so and, furthermore, nearly all of those cases preceded the introduction of the Penalty Guide starting point. [28] The Committee is more inclined to consider the facts of this particular case in the light of the Penalty Guide starting point and the particular aggravating and mitigating factors that have been referred to. [29] The Penalty Guide starting point is a $1,500 fine. That starting point was only included for the first time in the Penalty Guide effective from which renders the cases referred to us by Mr Ydgren of limited assistance. That is the starting point for a mid-range breach of the Rule which. We believe, the present case is in the low-to-mid range. [30] Accordingly, to reflect that, we take a fine of $1,300 to be the appropriate starting point in this case. Applying the mitigating factors to which we have referred, we have come to the conclusion that those factors warrant a discount of 25 per cent from the starting point that we have adopted. Therefore, the Committee imposes a fine rounded down to the sum of $950. [31] The Committee is satisfied that a fine of $950 will suffice to satisfy the general purposes of sentencing which are well-established – to hold the offender accountable for his actions, to promote in the offender a sense of responsibility, to denounce the conduct of the offender and to deter the offender or other persons from committing the same or a similar offence. The Committee has also had regard, as always, to the important consideration of the need to maintain integrity and public confidence in Harness Racing. Penalty [32] Mr Robertson is fined the sum of $950. Costs [33] No order for costs was sought by the Informant and, since the hearing of the information took place on a raceday, there will be no order for costs in favour of the JCA. R G McKenzie (Chair)   Harnesslink Media  

There was no ring-around last week however the ring-around the week prior produced five winners. Let’s see if we can top that tally this week. Forbury – Thursday Robbie Close: Thinks impressive last start winner Billies A Star will prove very tough to beat in the third race on the card. Jonny Cox:  Has found some value in the form of stable newcomer Franco Theron – race six. Ken Barron:  Has opted for Livura, who looks a strong chance in race seven, as his bet of the week. Matthew Williamson: Thinks Sage can surprise at value from her ace draw. She also competes in the seventh race on the card. Franklin@Alexandra Park – Friday Scott Phelan: Has opted for Getaway Doug as his bet of the week – race two. Steve Richardson (T.A.B):  Rates the chances of Tarn, who was a good workout winner last weekend, in the same event. Todd Mitchell: Is bullish about the chances of Tangos Delight, who has raced well lately despite receiving little luck. She looks a good chance in race six. Jay Abernethy: Has opted for Pacific Rapture, who finished a nice second in the Golden Girls Final, in the same race. Josh Dickie: Expects Tembi to prove too strong for his five rivals in the last event on the card. Rangiora – Sunday Gavin Smith: Has opted for stable newcomer Zena Mac, who looks a good chance from her ace alley in the second race. Mark Jones:  Rates JC Skipper as his best chance of the weekend – race four. Ricky May: Has selected Mighty Peruvian, who stuck on gamely for second last start. He also competes in race four. Terry Chmiel: Expects impressive trialist Parramatta to prove hard to beat in the fifth event on the card. Mitchell Robertson (Harnesslink): New Deal – race nine.    

Last week was possibly the worst ever for the ring-around with just the one winner. However, that one winner, Equulei, tipped by Jay Abernethy, did pay odds of $10.70 and $2.50. Let’s see what the boys have come up with for us this week: Addington – Thursday Jonny Cox: Thinks 2-win mare Pay Me Quick, who has been in sublime form of late, will be hard to beat against non-win rivals in the first race on the card. Ricky May: Has opted for the very smart Dalton Bromac, who looks half of the quinella with Wesley Silcox – race four. Matthew Williamson:  Expects Very Persuasive to prove very hard to beat in the Golden Girls Final – race eight. Ken Barron: Has a massive opinion of Bracken Ridge and expects him to be simply too classy for his rivals in the last race on the card. Mitchell Robertson (Harnesslink): Bracken Ridge – race nine. Alexandra Park - Thursday Josh Dickie: Thinks Sunny Vacation, with manners, is the one they all have to beat in race six. Scott Phelan: Thinks the inform Cyamach, who is likely to head to Australia for the Breeders Crown, can continue on his winning ways – race seven. Todd Mitchell: Is bullish about the chances of Tangos Delight, who looks a strong chance in the eighth race on the card. Simon Lawson: Thinks Shedontloveme is a very good each-way chance in the last race on the card. Kurow – Sunday Blair Orange: Thinks Quaint Glen, who had trialled up stylishly prior to her debut third, can win the first race on the card. Tim Williams: Has opted for Lovetodream, who also looks a good chance in the first race on card. Gavin Smith: Thinks Billies A Star, who has been ultra impressive at the trials, should prove too strong for what looks an average maiden line-up – race five. Mark Jones: Thinks Sunoflindenny, who has been backed and beaten in his first two runs back, can make amends in the sixth race on the card.  

There is waiting a long-time between drinks and then there is dying of thirst and Tim Trathen probably came close to later. But if he continues to drive his promising trotter Summer Vacation and drives him in the way he did at Rangiora on Sunday he probably won’t have to wait another ten years before driving his next winner. The popular farrier trained a winner earlier in the season and one back in 2011 but on Sunday it was the first time Trathen had driven a winner since 2004. Sent straight to the front by Trathen, Summer Vacation was allowed to dictate terms in front before sprinting strongly in the straight to hold off the talented Commander Paris. He came his last half in 59.8 and his last quarter in 29.2 to hold on for a game win. By Dream Vacation out of five win mare In Command, Summer Vacation is a close relation to top race mare Meniscus. He was now had six starts for a win and a further three placings and has been driven by Trathen on each of those six occasions. Trathen has now trained 15 winners and driven 26 (since 1986) but is more widely known for his work as a blacksmith and a breaker. He did the early educating of Jewels winner Cowgirls N Indians before selling his share in the boom filly. Meanwhile, Madiba Magic broke the track record at Rangiora for a 2000 metre mobile when pacing the distance in a slick 2-24.8. Driven by Sam Ottley, the erratic Christian Cullen four-year-old was kept back from the gate early before lobbing the one-one. He then unleashed a powerful sprint in the home straight to overhaul stablemate Lumos and favourite Explosive Art. Madiba Magic is out of superstar Washington VC mare Foreal, who notched up a double for the weekend. Her smart Art Major two-year-old son Field Marshal was an impressive winner at Cambridge on Thursday and will now head to Australia for the Breeders Crown. By Mitchell Robertson

Junior harness racing reinsman Matt Anderson got his All Stars career away to the best possible start when guiding juvenile pacer Bettor With Bourbon to victory at Rangiora today. In what was his first ever drive for Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen, Anderson sent the Bettor's Delight two-year-old to the front from barrier three before taking a trail behind favourite Western Art. He then looked flat down the back straight but under the urgings of Anderson he picked up the bit again and finished strongly along the passing lane to down Western Art by half of a length. Livura finished a further length and a half away in third. Anderson, who only started work with All Stars a fortnight ago, took up a spot with the country's leading stable after an opening appeared as a worker and junior driver earlier this month when Purdon's sons Nathan and Michael headed away on their big OE. With the encouragement of mate Nathan, Anderson was quick to, not only take up that opening, but also notch up his first winner in the bullet proof colours. Anderson, 22, returned home to Canterbury to take up the position after spending six months in the North Island working for Purdon’s brother-in-law, leading trainer-driver Tony Herlihy. Anderson said that he had learned a lot from Herlihy and had thoroughly enjoyed his time in the North but he had struggled for drives during his six month stint. "I was stoked to get a good opportunity for All Stars so soon after joining the stable and was pleased that I didn't let them down," beamed Anderson post-race. "Hopefully it is the first on many for the stable." "I am really enjoying working for Mark and Natalie," he added. "They have phenomenal team around them and putting on the colours certainly gives you a lot of confidence." Anderson, who looks a natural in the sulky, does not come from a racing background but gained earlier experience in harness racing through Canterbury trainers Dean Taylor and Robbie Holmes. Matt, who won his first race aboard the Robbie Holmes trained Highview Ember at Rangiora back in August of last year, has now won seven races from just 57 drives. *Bettor With Bourbon was All Stars 21st individual two-year-old winner this season. Their 20th was Big Lucy, who was successful in a heat of the Breeders Crown at Ballarat on Saturday night. By Mitchell Robertson

Smart three-year-old Sky Major looks right on song for the upcoming Breeders Crown Series in Australia after downing a smart field of older rivals at Alexandra Park last night. The Art Major colt, who was having his first race start since his emphatic victory in the 3YO Emerald division of the Harness Jewels, was driven cold by Zac Butcher, sitting last before moving into the race three wide down the back straight. He then let down strongly in the home stretch to run down Cyamach, who looked home after kicking away at the top of lane. Beyond The Silence finish a further half length away in third after enjoying a nice run in the trail. The Barry Purdon trained star paced the 2200 metre journey in a slick 2:43.3. The official last half was 56.5. However, Sky Major would have gone his last 800 metres a lot quicker as he came from a long way off the pace. The dual Jewels winner, who won a walkover heat of the Breeders’ Crown at Cambridge last week, will now head to Australia to compete in an MO at Melton on the 8th of August before tackling the 3YO Breeders Crown semi finals on August 22. All going well he well then progress through to the rich Group One final on the 30th of August. Cyamach, who was good in second behind the speedy colt, is also likely to head to Australia for the four-year-old male division of the series, while Cambridge winners Field Marshall and Cyclone Kate will also be part of the ever-growing Kiwi contingent heading across the Tasman for the series. Meanwhile, star Australian three-year-old Bling It On, who was thought to be the main danger to Sky Major in the ABC 3yo colts and geldings division, suffered a shock loss to Kiwi export Alleluia in a two horse heat of the Breeders Crown at Albion Park last night and will now head to repechage on the 13th of August. After sitting second while Alleluia set a leisurely pace in front, driver Bart Cockburn set Bling It On a light at the 700 metres. The pair then eyeballed each other until the bend, but it was Alleluia who showed more dash in the straight, sprinting away for a 6 metre win. Alleluia paced his last 800 metres in a sizzling 54.8 with a final quarter of 26.3. Driver Bart Cockburn was questioned regarding his driving tactics on Bling It On when allowing Grant Dixon to go through the first half of the last mile in 68 seconds. Under rule 149 (1) he was suspended for a period of eight weeks. By Mitchell Robertson

Winter star Fifth Edition will be given a well earned spell after winning the feature Free-For-All pace at Addington last night. Driven confidently by Dexter Dunn, Fifth Edition was sent straight to the front from his wide draw. He then controlled the pace before kicking strongly in the straight to hold off a sustained bid from the smart Someardensomewhere. Fifth Edition paced the 1950 metre journey in a slick 2-21.6 (1-56.3), suggesting that he will still be competitive when some of the more seasoned free-for-all types return next season. The four-year-old son of Mach Three, who has proved to be a revelation during the colder months winning seven of his last eleven starts, will now enjoy a brief let-up before being set for feature racing in November. Trainer Cran Dalgety has highlighted the Junior Free-For-All on Cup Day as a possible target. Fifth Edition was one of two winners for Dalgety, who was also victorious in the last race with Digital Art, bringing his season earnings as a trainer in excess of $1 million dollars. He is also now just 19 wins shy of joining a select few to achieve 1000 training wins in New Zealand. By Mitchell Robertson

Grey trotting machine Idle Bones will now head home to Christchurch to compete in the upcoming Lower Grade $23,500 Super Series Handicap Trot at Addington on the 8th of August after completing a hatrick of wins at Alexandra Park. The reformed rogue mare, who won her debut before bad manners led to a 16-race losing streak, has now won five of her last six starts and looks set to continue through to open class. After settling towards the back of the field from her 10 metre handicap, driver Brent Mangos set the Monkey Bones mare a light with a lap to go, looping the field to find the front. She then trotted along boldly in front, before leaving her rivals breathless and sprinting away for a four and a half length win. “It was a great race to win as it was a $15,000 stake and her third win at Alexandra Park, so she got the money bags bonus as well,” explained owner Dave McHugh, who has enjoyed a great run as an owner in the last few weeks having also won with Ellmer Hanover and The Yaldy’s Ideal. “You have to enjoy it while it lasts but unfortunately there is only one way I can go from here and that’s back down again,” he laughed. McHugh was full of praise for trainer Paul (Tank) Ellis, who also shares in the ownership of the grey mare. “She has given 'Tank' a few headaches but he has stuck with her and now we are getting the rewards,” said McHugh. The win landed a few big bets on the talented mare including $10,000 at $1.80 and $3,000 at $1.70 Idle Bones, who had four starts at Alexandra Park during her northern sojourn for three emphatic wins and a narrow second, will head home to Christchurch on Thursday. “Provided she comes through the trip alright she will start in the Super Series Trot at Addington before heading for a well earned break,” stated McHugh. By Mitchell Robertson

Top harness racing trainer Cran Dalgety has complete faith in his star two-year-old filly Katy Perry. That is why he has allowed her to bypass this weekend’s ABC heats for two-year-old fillies at Ballarat after what was a taxing week for the Group Two Tatlow Stakes winner. “She was a wee bit down after the flight over and having raced last week,” Dalgety said on his Kentuckiana Lodge website. “But because we started in the heat at Cambridge (second to Joanne’s A Delight, July 10) she’s eligible for a Repechage on August 6, so we’ll hold back for that,” he added. The risk in that is that if Katy Perry doesn’t win her repechage her Breeders Crown bid will come to an abrupt end, but if her dominant front running display in last week’s Tatlow Stakes at Melton is anything to go by that shouldn’t be a problem. After working through from her second-line draw, driver Dexter Dunn soon had Katy Perry up challenging for the lead. Dunn then gave her a nice run in front, holding her back to the field before releasing the hand-brake at the 200 metres, allowing the Bettor’s Delight filly to roar away for a comprehensive win. One person who will be particularly pleased with Dalgety’s decision to bypass this weekend’s round of heats for two-year-old fillies is fellow New Zealand trainer Mark Purdon, who has Big Lucy engaged in the first heat of the night. The Badlands Hanover filly, who was desperately unlucky in her first two starts when unable to find clear racing room on both occasions, has remarkably drawn one on the second-line for the third time in a row, however this time she has no horses drawn on her outside so driver Chris Alford should have no problem getting her away from the fence. From there you can expect the talented filly, who was brilliant at the trials prior to making her race debut, to prove too classy for her seven rivals and progress through to the semi-finals with no qualms. By Mitchell Robertson  

Last week the ring-around produced six winners with Matthew Williamson, Nathan Williamson, Scott Phelan, Ricky May, John Dunn, and I all delivering the goods. The best result was my tip Spell which romped in at odds $5.50. Let’s see what winners we have in store for you this week: Cambridge – Thursday Jay Abernethy: Thinks Equulei can kick the ring-around off in style in the first race at Cambridge. Simon Lawson: Rates Betty Boop Brogden as a good each-way chance in the fourth race on the card. Alexandra Park – Friday Todd Mitchell: Has opted for Miss Lotty, who was seen doing her best work late when second last start. She looks a good chance in the first race. Brent Mangos: expects impressive trialist Vibhuti to prove very tough to roll – race four. Steve Richardson (T.A.B): Has opted for Djokovic, who looks a bold chance in race five. Scott Phelan: Rates the chances of inform pacer Cyamach, who looks a strong chance despite meeting a very good field in the sixth race at Alexandra Park. Addington – Friday Ken Barron: Expects both Bracken Ridge (race two) and Quaint Glen (Rangiora race 3) to prove very hard to beat. Mitchell Robertson (Harnesslink): Bracken Ridge – race two Mark Jones: Thinks the consistent Jaccka Len can break through for another win – race five. Gavin Smith: Rates She’s Extreme as a good place chance in the sixth event on the card. John Dunn: Is expecting a big run from two-year-old filly Cullens First Meddle – race six. Tim Williams: Has opted for smart mare Here We Go Again, who downed likely favourite Fifth Edition in her last start – race eight. Matthew Williamson: Expects Ohoka Benson to be hard to beat in what looks an average C1 field – race ten. Rangiora – Sunday Terry Chmiel: Has opted for the inform That Guy Finn, who looks a good chance despite meeting a strong C1 and 2 line-up – race six. Jonny Cox:  Thinks Explosive Art can continue to explode through the grades – race nine.  

2010 Dominion Handicap winner Stylish Monarch made a surprise appearance at the Timaru trials on Saturday. The 17-race winner, who was thought to be retired after going amiss again back in August of last year, has been back in work with original trainer Murray Tapper for several months. “He made his own mind up,” said Tapper. “He had been out for six odd months when he started galloping around the paddock like a mad man so I decided to bring him into work to help educate my young trotters,” he explained. But that didn’t exactly go to plan as the son of Monarchy, who has earned over half of a million dollars and currently holds the New Zealand trotting record for 3200 metres, quickly found his racing spirit. “As he got fitter he became very competitive again and I could never hold him,” said Tapper. “He just used to trot away from the young ones which wasn’t doing anyone any favours,” he laughed. Stylish Monarch finished third of three in his trial, but was only beaten just over four lenghts by 9-win pacer Motu Speedy Star who started of equal terms. “I was very pleased with his trial and, more importantly, how his legs look afterwards,” said Tapper. “He is still a day-to-day proposition but at this stage his legs look great and don’t look like going any time soon,” Tapper said as he touched wood. Tapper said if the Group One winning 10-year-old showed any signs of soreness it would be curtains on his career and this time it would be for good. “He has been too good of a horse to me for me to put him from pain,” he stressed. Tapper said Stylish Monarch would trial at least two more times before making a possible comeback in August. “I’m not making any rash plans at this stage,” said Tapper.”I think there is a C3 & faster trot for him sometime in mid-August but I won’t be rushing him to get there.” “He is ten-years-old now so I am just hopeful that he will still have the same speed and stamina because even if his 10-15% down on his best he is going to struggle,” admitted Tapper. “But even if he could be competitive again at the highest level it would be a dream come true,” he enthused. By Mitchell Robertson

Champion broodmare Scuse Me looks set on making what could be the most impressive black-type page ever seen in a catalogue. The speedy Butler BG race mare, who has proved to be the pride and joy of long-time breeder and owner Charles Roberts, won eight races including the Noel Taylor Mile on the racetrack. When winning that Group One race in 1998 she set a long-standing mares mile record of 1:53.5. The now 20yo daughter of Super Smooth has had eleven foals of racing age and when talented freshman Have Faith In Me was successful at Ashburton on Sunday it was her eleventh winner. Have Faith In Me, A Bettor’s Delight full-brother to Adore Me, was purchased on behalf of the Dunford's by Mark Purdon for $55,000  at the 2013 Karaka Sale. He was a mammoth second in his debut behind stablemate Change Stride, before making light work of his opposition in his second start, unleashing a 26.7 last quarter to dash away for an effortless three length win. Apart  from champion mare Adore Me ($880,469), Scuse Me has also left the smart performers Toledo ($88,514) , Imagine Me ($247,175), and Megabucks, who won six races in New Zealand before heading to America where he paced a mile in 1:49.6. She is also the dam of Splendid Dreams, who won two of six starts before she was retired to stud where she has produced millionaire pacer Christen Me and the injury plagued Hands Christian, who downed Terror To Love in the 2012 Easter Cup. Hands Christian is back on the comeback trail and, like close relations Christen Me and Adore Me, he is being set for the 2014 New Zealand Cup in November, giving the blue blood family a three-pronged attack on the great race. Splendid Dreams is also the dam of In The Pocket mare Splendid Deal, who already in her short broodmare career has produced Group One performers Splendour and (Our) Maxim. They, like Adore Me and Have Faith In Me, are both by Bettor’s Delight, highlighting what is a golden gross over the Scuse Me family. Other recent winners from this ever-strengthening family, which have predominately been trained by the Purdon’s, include juvenile Lightfingered, who was a recent winner at Addington. He too is by Bettor’s Delight out of an In The Pocket daughter of Scuse Me in La Filou. The next cab off the ranks for Scuse Me is a Bettor’s Delight yearling filly called Revere Me. She also has a Bettor’s Delight weanling colt called All About Me and is back in foal to the super sire. But, come November, this family may have already developed into one of the best ever and Scuse Me, or her daughter Splendid Dreams, may have produced their very first New Zealand Cup winner. By Mitchell Robertson      

When Alannah Hall and Have Faith In Me were successful at Ashburton yesterday it was the 56th time that Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen have trained multiple winners on a card this season. The 55th time was last Friday night at Addington where they were successful with Saratoga and Vice Consul, who where both driven by Mark Purdon. However, on Sunday Purdon was driving at Maryborough in Victoria so it was Rasmussen who did the driving honours. In the first race she gave two-year-old trotting filly Alannah Hall a beautiful trip in the trail before using the passing lane for a neck win. Owned by The Good Sports Syndicate which has enjoyed a tremendous season, Alannah Hall is a half-sister to top three-year-old trotter (Our) Twentyten and is the fourth New Zealand winner by top American stallion Angus Hall. Remarkably, Purdon and Rasmussen also train two of his other three NZ winners in (My) Arya, who finished a very good second in the Redwood Classic on Sunday, and the talented Petite One. Rasmussen then guided Adore’s full-brother, Have Faith In Me, to an effortless win, dashing away for a three length win in a slick last quarter of 26.7. Bettor With Bourbon, who is also from a family that Purdon has had plenty of success with, finished in second with stable foreman Ross Payne in the bike. Both juveniles are owned by the Dunfords, giving them the race Quinella. The lethal partnership has now trained 19 individial two-year-old winners this season and 156 in total, which is 18 winners more than Purdon’s previous best term of 138 when in partnership with Grant Payne. By Mitchell Robertson

Champion harness racing driver Ricky May notched up his third season century in succession when winning aboard the Dave Anderson trained Abbey Cullen at Addington last night. The win was May’s third for the night after good mate Mark Jones put him on Zakspatrol and Sabellian in order to help him reach the milestone. Both 3YO pacers were winners of their two-horse Breeders Crown heats. However, Zakspatrol was actually a narrow second and was a promoted winner after Artismee was relegated for galloping over the line. Driven positively by May, Abbey Cullen held up from her ace alley before undergoing a mid-race attack from Smart Alex. She then kicked strongly in the straight to hold off a late bid from Smart Alex who was able to drop into the trail when the mid-race speed went on. Hikoi finished a further a one and a quarter lengths away in third. The win was the Christian Cullen mares first from fourteen starts. It was also the first time May has taken the reins behind the four-year-old. May then went on to notch up his 101st win  for the season, and fourth for the night,  when winning aboard the smart Brendon Hill trained pacer Dalton Bromac, who looked back to the horse that we saw in his South Island debut two starts back. After missing away from the standing start, May worked Dalton Bromac into the race three-wide before taking a one-one sit down the back straight. He then worked the gelding into the clear rounding the final bend, with the three-year-old letting down strongly for a comprehensive win despite not running straight. Robbie Close, who has been the caretaker trainer of the gelding during the week, said that he believes Dalton Bromac is a better horse when coming from behind, which may be the reason he was slightly disappointing when a well beaten third after leading up in his second start in the south. “He is still pretty green and I think he is a better horse when he is chasing,” revealed Close. “I also think the 2600 metre trips suit him as he is a very good stayer and can follow pace,” he added. The season century tops off what has been another tremendous innings for May. Not only did he notch up his seventh New Zealand Cup victory but he was also victorious in the Auckland Cup. His emphatic win aboard Monbet in the Harness Jewels 2YO Ruby, which gave long-time supporters Greg & Nina Hope their first Group One win in New Zealand, was another one of his highlights. Meanwhile, Robert Dunn is now just two wins shy of training 100 winners in a season for the first time after winning a heat of the Golden Girls with Westburn Warrior. His tally could have been 99 had Artismee not been relegated. By Mitchell Robertson

Champion harness racing reinsman Dexter Dunn has chased the double century the past two seasons and come up one win short on both occasions. “It was disappointing, especially considering I got so close both times,” said Dunn. “I would have rather finished those two seasons on 195 wins because seeing as I finished on 199 I couldn’t stop thinking what if I had done this differently or what If I had done that?” So to avoid disappointment again Dunn set himself different goals this season and just tried to drive every race as well as he could. And as so often happens, by not chasing it or even thinking about, Dunn brought up that elusive milestone. And he did it in style tonight at Forbury Park in what was their last race of the season. Dunn headed to Dunedin’s Forbury Park, which has been a happy hunting ground for him all season, with 197 wins under his belt and not really expecting to bring up the double century. But while Dunn drives plenty of winners for ‘the big guys’ like boss Cran Dalgety and father Robert Dunn, he also drives a fair few winners for the ‘battlers’. And it was one of them, Steve Lock of Invercargill, who provided him with an unexpected early double. Dunn brought up win 198 for the season aboard Snow Boy, a battling pacer come trotter, who finally broke maidens at start number 58. He then doubled the dose when winning aboard Lock’s in form pacer Blazing Bracelet, who remarkably gave Lock just his third win at Forbury Park in the past seven years -  all three of them this season and two of them tonight. Dunn then produced a peach of a drive to extricate the Paul Kerr trained Whozideawasthis out of a tricky posisition and into the clear, allowing his charge to steam home for a narrow win to keep his unbeaten record at Forbury Park intact and give Dunn the magical milestone. Fittingly, Kerr forgot his colours so the win was brought up with Dexter wearing the colours of his father Robert Dunn. Dunn has now driven 200 winners in a season on three occasions, having also achieved the amazing feat in 2011 and 2008. Meanwhile, in form trotter Monnay overcame one of the biggest handicaps ever in recent years – 70 metres – when winning the feature trot race at Forbury Park. By Mitchell Robertson

Top New Zealand filly Ideal Belle has been scratched from her two-horse Australasian Breeders’ Crown heat at Alexandra Park tomorrow night and has been ruled out of the rich series by trainer Barry Purdon. The New Zealand Oaks winning filly, who would have been one of the favourites for the Group One 3YO fillies division, has suffered a leg injury after being caught in a fence at Purdon’s Clevedon property. The tall American Ideal filly, who showed she was right on song for the series with a smart workout last week, will now head to the spelling paddock. Her scratching means that the Geoff Small trained Zeta Bromac will get a walkover ABC heat win, as will Ideal Belle’s stablemate Sky Major who is still well on track for the 3YO colts and geldings division of the series. In other Breeders Crown news, the Tim Butt trained Field Marshal is set to arrive in Melbourne on August 6 in preparation for the ABC after qualifying in a one horse heat at Cambridge last week, while Katy Perry, who was defeated in her Cambridge heat by Joanne’s A Delight, is already in Australia and will compete in the Tatlow Stakes (Group Two) at Melton on Saturday before heading to a Breeders' Crown Repechage. Katy Perry is just one a strong contingent of Kiwi trained or owned horses that are seat to do battle in feature races across the Tasman this weekend. Others include Messini, Kept Under Wraps, Iceobar, Bettor Rock On, My Arya, Primz Luck, One Over Da Moon, Our Twentyten, and Daenerys Targaryen. However the two highlights of the weekend may come from champion Australian pacers Im Themightyquinn and Smoken Up. ‘Trigger’ (Smoken Up) is set to have his last start in New South Wales at Menangle on Saturday and his trainer-driver Lance Justice is expecting a big performance, while ‘Quinny’, who will be reunited with Gary Hall Jnr, will battle it out with Mach Beauty, Suave Stuey Lombo, and Avonnova for Group One glory in the Blake’s A Fake at Albion Park on Saturday. After much talk about drivers leading into the race, Lauren Panella has decided to stick with Mach Beauty, while Bart Cockburn, who has been sacked from Avonnova after his interesting drive in the Sunshine Sprint, will take the reins behind Suave Stuey Lombo. Replacing Cockburn in the sulky behind Queensland star Avonnova is Shane Graham, who was victorious in his only drive on the gelding. By Mitchell Robertson  

1 to 16 of 614
1 2 3 4 5 Next »