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For the man who has won it almost all, there is one glaring gap in Chris Alford’s trophy cabinet. And if he can finally fill that at gap at Cambridge on June 2 he will be the first Australian reinsman to do so.  The Australian challenge for the Jewels went into over drive last night with group one winners Wobelee (three-year-old trot) and Carla’s Pixel (four-year-old pacing mares) invited. Both are high class and would sit near the top of any market, with Wobelee a juvenile sensation last season and Carla’s Pixel having downed a host of Kiwi big names in the Ladyship Mile at Menangle in February.  Alford’s wife Alison trains Wobelee but Alford will drive but he also looks likely to be offered the drive on Carla’s Pixel.  “That will be up to Dean (Braun, trainer) but the owners have said I will be driving it.  “It is exciting to head there with probably two good chances because as we all know no Aussie has won a Jewels.  “I’ve only driven in them once, behind Blitzemcalder, so to get back there will be great.” Last night’s two invites join four-year-old trotter Custodian on the invite list while it is looking almost certain NSW Oaks winner Shez All Rock will be at Cambridge. She is hot favourite for the Victoria Oaks this week and then joins the All Stars for the NZ Oaks, where she could either win her way into the Jewels or still be invited as the Australian for her division. That leaves the biggest invite of all the Australians still unconfirmed, with Miracle Mile runner-up Jilliby Kung Fu still being set for the Jewels but not invited yet. The home of the Jewels races tonight with a continuation of the strong juvenile trot numbers.  Unbeaten filly Tickle Me Pink resumes against fellow class act filly in She Reigns, who would be unbeaten but for a gallop last start.  The juvenile trotting fields in the south have been strong with the Phil Williamson-trained Oscar Bonenova catching the eye winning on debut at Rangiora. Michael Guerin

After sustaining payments were taken recently, we are delighted that 25 top class 3YO pacing fillies remain in contention for the Group One $150,000 The Breeders FastTrack NZ Oaks to be held at Addington on Friday 18 May.   Nominations include all leading New Zealand based fillies, headed up by Elle Mac, Bettor Joy and Dizzy Miss Lizzy.   Our leading fillies will have a strong Australian challenge this year with exciting fillies Shez All Rock and Soho Burning Love looking very likely to make the trip.    There has been a late nomination for Southland based, filly Betterthanbrie.   The updated fixed odds prices (NZ Dollars) is available on https://www.tab.co.nz/racing/#1970   For full details on the breakdown of stakes and conditions, please visit addington.co.nz/racing/promotions-incentives/.   Nominations include:   Anytime Betterthanbrie Bettor Joy Bettor Trix Bridesdale Robyn Chitura Come Dance With Me De Lancome Delight In Me Dibaba Dizzy Miss Lizzy Elle Mac Feel The Money Gold Orchid Jenora Kensington Kate Lilac Star Miss You Raksbet Reklaws Gem Samskara Shebang Shez All Rock (AUS) Soho Burning Love (AUS) With The Band   HRNZ

The man with the perfect draws to dominate the two glamour races at Alexandra Park tonight says it may not be that simple. Because Ricky May says while he can win both the Taylor Mile and Anzac Cup, it may not be a comfortable watch for punters. May has barrier one with A G's White Socks in the Taylor Mile and as the winner of the Easter Cup two starts ago he looks good enough to be master of his own destiny, which is exactly what he didn't do at Addington last start. "I stuffed up the drive last start, I gave Mark [Purdon, driving More The Better] the lead too easy and we had no chance after that," admits May. "So we have the ace this time and I think I have to be aggressive from the inside but the question is how aggressive because there is plenty of speed next to us. "I can see them going really hard and some of us are going to have to make decisions around the first bend." Translated into non-racing speak that means: we want to lead or trail the right horse but we don't want to go crazy trying to do so. That pretty much sums up the likes of key rivals Star Galleria, Let It Ride and Raukapuka Ruler, the drivers of all will want to get to the markers but not spend too much energy doing so because that could set the race up for More The Better. As good as his group one winning rivals are, Star Galleria has been brilliant this season and has the raw speed to give driver Tony Herlihy options so he deserves favouritism and if he can run to the front it will take a special performance to get past him. Let It Ride has had the right preparation of speed racing and was good enough at the workouts last Saturday to win while More The Better could be sitting just off the speed after a sizzling open sectional and swoop in what shapes as a great race. Enghien showed with his luckless last-start second at Addington he is now strong enough to beat the older trotters but if you are expecting a lead-and-win performance from barrier two you might be disappointed. For all his stamina he is still a quirky trotter who doesn't like being bustled and May suggests he will have to be patient early before making his move later. "He is at his best right-handed and I am sure he can win but he has been funny this season so I don't see us racing to the lead or anything like that." Enghien can undoubtedly win but with the possibility Lemond, Bordeaux and even Temporale could surge forward to get in front of him punters might be understandably reluctant to take his $2.50 opening price. Lemond appeals as the value in the race as he bounced right back to his best over 1700m last week and showed good gate speed. A repeat of that could see him press forward and even lead tonight from where he would take enormous running down. Earlier in the night the scratching of Luby Lou after she got tangled in a fence has opened up the Sires' Stakes Trot, with Renezmae and Winterfell the greatest beneficiaries while it is hard to make a case to bet on, or against, Princess Tiffany at $1.30 in the Caduceus Club Classic for the juvenile pacing fillies. Michael Guerin

The second round of Official Rankings has seen only minimal movement within both the Christchurch Casino NZ Trotting Cup and Haras des Trotteurs Dominion. Within The Cup, Locharburn, for his automatic qualifying win in the Maurice Holmes Vase jumps to a mandatory No. 2. The only other change for The Cup saw Franco Nelson edge ahead of Philadelphia Man to No. 9. The Dominion rankings saw several small changes. Kyvalley Blur’s win at Melton last week moved him to 12th. (Our) Overanova broke a track record at Albion Park last week when winning so he moved up to one place 19th ahead of Australian counterpart Sun Of Anarchy. Realmein’s solid second behind One Over Da Moon earned him a jump of four spots to 30, while Tornado Valley pulled herself off the bottom of the rankings by virtue of a strong showing behind the inform Sunny Ruby on Friday night. To date there have been three defections from the two features. Itz Bettor To Win and Expresso Martini have come out of The Cup. Foray has been withdrawn from The Dominion. This week there are two key races in the ‘Road to The Cup’. Friday’s Ordeal Trotting Cup at Addington provides a free ticket into the Dominion and on Sunday the time-honoured Hannon Memorial will be contested for the 79th time at Oamaru. Though not an automatic qualifying race, it provides some lower in the rankings with a potential springboard into the great race.   Click here for the New Zealand Trotting Cup Rankings Click here for the Dominion Rankings   HRNZ Media release    

Harness Racing Jewels winning mare Rocker Band will get her chance to compete against the best of the best. The daughter of New Zealand Trotting Cup winning mare, Mainland Banner, was earmarked for retirement following her emphatic 4YO Diamond victory at last month’s Harness Jewels, but discussions between her trainer Mark Jones and owner Greg Brodie have led them down a different path all together. The fledgling mare will become a mother still with an embryo to be taken from her and partnered with champion stallion Bettor’s Delight before being placed in a surrogate mare. “Greg and I had a pretty big chat about her future and it’s his wish to continue racing her,” Jones said. “But by taking an embryo from her we get to safeguard anything that might happen in the future.” On the racing front the trainer/owner combination have settled on the Queen Of Hearts as the first major assignment for her five-year-old campaign. “We will give her a few starts here and see where we are at before making any other decisions. “Australia is an option for us if it proves to be too hard for her here. “She’s a C8 mare, and even with a new handicapping system she would still have to race the Cup horses. “I probably don’t give her enough credit, she’s capable of doing it but it will be a big ask.” There are plenty of other mares around New Zealand in a similar boat - particularly those Rocker Band beat in the Diamond like; Expressive Victor, Democrat Party and Better B Amazed. While the open class mares’ ranks weren’t overly strong this season they are expected to return to a high standard with the Dream About Me, Golden Goddess and Piccadilly Princess joining the ranks along with the return of The Orange Agent. “It’s going to be tough, but it’s better to die wondering than not try at all. “So we will give her a chance and see what happens. With the racing calendar we’ve got she could chop and change between here and Australia.” While the news that his outstanding mare would be returning to his stable and not to the broodmare paddock was welcomed by Jones, it hasn’t all been warm and fuzzy this week. Open class pacer Saveapatrol is back in the hospital ward for another three to six months after cracking another pastern. The big pacer who down Terror To Love to win an Invercargill Cup has been plagued with injuries throughout his career and the latest blow was nearly the last straw. Jones and owner Grant Hatton discussed the option of calling time on the gelding’s career but have instead opted to have a screw inserted into the pastern to see if that holds together. “It’s pretty disappointing, especially for Grant who has been so patient. “He’s out for at least three months.” With 52 wins on the board and the promise of a few more before the season is done, Jones is reflecting on another good 12 months at the coal face. “We managed to win two Group Ones which is fantastic but we have also well and truly exceeded expectations. “When I sat down at the start of the season I thought 20 was a good figure so to be close to triple that is something I’m proud of.” The Burnham and Woodend Beach horseman said the stable was in a real transitional phase at the moment with a large number of younger horses on the books with some of the racing team sold on to other interests. Matt Markham

Harness Racing bosses are hoping an Australian betting bonanza on the Jewels helps increase premium coverage of the industry there. Betting with the Australian TABs on the Jewels at Cambridge on June 4 was up over A$1million on last season, jumping from A$663,013 to a stunning A$1,696,1467. That saw it even outperform the Ellerslie and Wanganui thoroughbred meetings run at the same time, a result Australian harness racing bosses wouldn’t dare dream of in their country. The skyrocketing turnover was enormously boosted by the Queensland Oaks meeting at Eagle Farm as well as other Australian gallops meetings being abandoned because of torrential rain, meaning the entire Jewels meeting moved to the premium Australian racing coverage channel, Sky1. But HRNZ racing manager Darrin Williams says while that undoubtedly aided turnover on the Jewels, they hope it boosts punter awareness of the quality of the New Zealand product in Australia. “Getting on Sky1 for the day was a huge boost, and we thank them and everybody involved for making it happen,” says Williams. “But we would love to think this won’t be the last time. “Our elite harness racing product is very good and we were already going to have a number of the Jewels races on Sky1. “So after they got such great turnover results we are hoping we can get Sky1 coverage again for the Jewels and meetings like the New Zealand Cup.” Williams worked hard to get five Australian-trained horses invited to the Jewels, only to have four fall away through health or loss of manners/form. “But we won’t stop inviting them and the bridges we have built have been huge. And now with all the exposure it has had we are sure it will continue to grow.” The increased turnover doesn’t go directly back to the Cambridge club or even Harness Racing New Zealand but into the Racing Board’s general international turnover. But it does show administrators on both sides of the Tasman how profitable harness racing coverage can be when the best meetings are giving reasonable lead-in times on television, something Australia’s best harness meetings are often denied. No major changes are expected to the Jewels format next year, with Ashburton already locked in for its two-yearly hosting and the distance certain to stay at a mile even after occasional calls for Cambridge to move to 1700m races. Michael Guerin

Harness Racing Trainer and Driver Dr Luk Chin wasn’t joking when he thought Djokovic could mature into a Rowe Cup horse next season. “I’ve always believed in him but he’s taken a long time to come to it mentally. I had to do a lot of convincing to the stipes early on. He was a hopeless breaker and I don’t think they ever believed he would make a nice trotter, but I never lost faith in him,” Chin said. The stipes had no need for concern at Alexandra Park last Friday night when Djokovic notched up his eighth victory when easily winning the $14,000 Kevin Wehipehana Memorial for C3 to C6 trotters. He was the second favourite of seven and paid $5.60 to win. “He felt as good as he ever has. I don’t think a Rowe Cup start is out of the question so long as he keeps improving. He’s a completely different horse now that he’s five. He used to be a nutter and break all the time. “But he’s been off the unruly mark for a couple of seasons now and he’s finally got his mind around trotting and what it’s all about. Sundons seem to always take a while to get settled and this fella was certainly know exception,” said Chin, who owns, bred and drove the bay gelding. Unlike years gone by Chin had Djokovic flying from his two draw and they led for the remainder of the 2700m stand stopping the clock in 3:30.8 (mile rate 2:05.6) with final 800m and 400m sprints of 58.8 and 30 even. They won by three quarters of a length and one-and-a-half lengths to spare over place-getters Gintaras (Richard Brosnan) and Princess Mackendon (Michelle Wallis). “He used to beat himself because his brain wasn’t in tune with racing, but he travelled super on Friday. He was always travelling well in front. I hardly moved the stick. He cruised it and seems to be getting stronger with each race,” Chin said, The Tamahere horseman said he only had Djokovic and Tereskova racing at present. “I’ll keep on racing Djokovic until late July or early August and then I’ll spell him and bring him back for Christmas racing. “I’ve got a couple of yearlings in work so when they are ready I’ll probably retire or on-sell him. I haven’t got a lot of spare time to work too many, so when the youngsters come through I’ll concentrate on them,” he said. The 72-year-old is a workaholic. “I've had 40-plus years of 18-hour days, but I wouldn't have it any other way. I love my job and have always been very passionate about horses,” he said. Chin is an anaesthetist, pain management specialist, managing director Anglesea Procedure Centre, and medical director at Anglesea Medical Properties in Hamilton. He works his horses at 5am and is usually cleaned up by 7.30am. “Then after work I feed up and shoe them. My wife Robyn says I’m a bit of a workaholic but I’ve always loved harness racing from a very early age. It has played a big part in my life,” he said. “Friday’s win was especially satisfying after Djokovic showed nothing early on,” he added. So Is Djokovic right up there with the best horses he has had? “No I don’t think so. Fayanni was a special horse and probably my best. She was so honest. She won 10 races and more than $200,000. “She has left a Muscles Yankee filly named Annaskova. That was her first foal and I’m hopeful she can do a good job,” Chin said. By Duane Ranger

It it is easy to make the mistake of thinking the All Star’s domination of Jewels Day is boringly repetitive. Just like last year the harness racing super stable --- surely New Zealand’s greatest ever of either code --- won five of the Jewels races at Cambridge.   The stats are hard to comprehend. Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen trained not only the five winners but seven other placegetters, including two trifectas. They have won nearly $4million in stakes in New Zealand alone this season and every group one pacing race for two and three-year-olds held in this country. But it was fitting the five winners wore four different sets of colours because while whether the All Stars monopoly is good for the industry is open to debate, the diversity of their winners is not. Each of the five winners has a different story of joy, battles won and lost and memories that will last forever. Here they are: Custodian, 2YO Ruby: Roddy Butt sometimes feels guilty about inheriting his grandfather’s racing colours. Because the red and gold silks of seven-time premiership winner Wes Butt deserve to be on show behind good horses more often. “But I chose a different career path so they don’t get shown off very often,” says Roddy, a former professional rugby player and now development officer. Roddy used and train and still shares in the ownership of Custodian so to see those colours he inherited 20 years ago win a Jewels race will forever be special. “When I asked Mark to wear them he was great about it and it means a lot to our family,” says Roddy. Partyon, 2YO Diamond: Jeff Wilson’s timing was perfect as usual. The face of New Zealand rugby broadcasting had a rare winter weekend off and spent some of it watching the Jewels with good mate John Hart. The pair are in the Breckon Farms syndicates which not only won with Partyon but the Victoria Trotting Oaks on Friday with High Gait. “There is nothing like owning a racehorse, even if you only have a small share,” said the dual international. “It is a different type of nerves from when you play because it is out of your control. “So John and I watched it and had a couple of wines to celebrate. “Then we started discussing why the All Stars are so good. They are like the All Blacks, they are the best but keep innovating to improve.”
 Piccadilly Princess, 3YO Diamond: As 50th wedding anniversary presents go, a Jewels win takes some beating. The Patterson boys from Christchurch are well known in harness racing, they run the Commodore Hotel where so many racing visitors to the city stay. But while some of them who own Piccadilly Princess were at their parents 50th anniversary, watching en masse in Queenstown, Thomas Patterson was trackside at Cambridge. “It is pretty special to have her win against those two other fillies, even if it means my Uncle Mike and I, who got us into racing, were a day late for the anniversary celebrations. “They all loved it down there, so I am sure they won’t mind.” More The Better, 2YO Emerald: Roy Purdon doesn’t get to the races as much as he used to. The legend of New Zealand racing -- how he hasn’t been knighted is baffling --- says the cold doesn’t agree with his arthritis. “But I watched it at home and loved it. I celebrated with a whiskey and water, mainly water these day,” laughs the 89-year-old. Roy has raced some great horses, including Sole Command, but this is his first group one winner in a long time.  “It’s special to race it with Mark (son) and see what they did yesterday. Mark is a superstar.”
 Heaven Rocks, 3YO Emerald:  He is very big, very fast and very dumb. But what Heaven Rocks lacks in experience, one of his owners makes up for. Kevin Riseley may live in Victoria but like so many Australian harness fans he loves having some of his horses trained here because of the standard of racing, trainers and the greater industry profile. “We love coming to the races here,” says Riseley, who also owns Inter Dominion champ Lennytheshark. He and dozens of Australians like him, are huge contributors to the yearling sales here, without which the whole industry grinds to a halt. Michael Guerin

Rocker Band’s greatest performance may have been her last. The dazzling Jewels winner came from a seemingly hopeless position on Saturday to give harness racing driver Samantha Ottley her first group one victory and kick off a day of drama for some of those who got locked up on the markers.   Favourites like Dream About Me and Pacing Major were luckless and stormed into minor placings after being locked away, but Lady Luck smiled on Ottley and Rocker Band after they were pushed to four back on the inside.   She unwound in a style her NZ Cup-winning dam Mainland Banner would have been proud of but trainer Mark Jones fears he now has nowhere to go with the mare.   “She comes back a class eight mare next season and there are really only three major races for her to be aimed at, and even they mean taking on The Orange Agent and Dream About Me,” says Jones.   “There just aren’t enough mares races for the best mares and most of them aren’t good enough to race the male cup horses.   “So she might be better off in the broodmare paddock, with her record and breeding.”
 Jones owns Rocker Band, a Rocknroll Hanover mare, but leases her racing right to Greg Brodie of Courage Under Fire fame.   “I am thrilled she won for Greg because he has been with me all the way along and also for Sam.   “Some people ask me why I don’t drive her myself but if I did I would have been worrying all week about what she needed in the race, instead of just training her.   “And I have been given plenty of opportunities so it is nice to give them to somebody else.”   While Jones is a former World Driver’s Champ, current title holder Dexter Dunn was also a winner on Saturday with both Donegal Bettorgretch and Field Marshal.   Field Marshall was typical Dunn, off the gate fast then controlling the tempo of the race, easing to his third group one on end for trainer Tim Butt.   Butt will bring him back next season for the Cup meeting but he may not be an ideal New Zealand Cup horse, with the plethora of mobile races in Australia appealing more.   Dunn’s drive on Donegal Bettorgretch was aggressive and broke the heart of leader Missandei before hot favourite Marcoola galloped when challenging her in the home straight.   His trainer Clint Ford said his case wasn’t helped by Marcoola having no lead up races and being too fresh, the problem causes by him winning his way through to class six in late April, making suitable races hard to find.   Donegal Bettorgretch has strengthened into a good filly and is a rarity on two counts --- being by champion pacing sire Bettors Delight and one of the few squaregaiters trained by Cran Dalgety. MIchael Guerin

Winner: Monbet - Driver: Ricky May - Trainers: Greg and Nina Hope - Owners: Greg & Nina Hope & Morrie Molloy - Breeder: Greg and Nina Hope. Time: 1:56.6 - Margin 1 and 1/4 lengths - 800m: 57.2 - 400m: 28.8 - 2nd: Le Reveur - 3rd: Reine Des Gitans Greg Hope isn’t sure if Monbet can come back a better horse next season, but he’s pretty sure he doesn’t have too. The standout trotter signed off on his stellar four-year-old season with his second Harness Jewels victory in the exact same time he ran when he won the 2YO Ruby two years ago. And while the great season is now over, Hope, who trains with his wife Nina, is already looking forward to the next one. “I’m not sure he can come back better next season, but I don’t think he probably has too,” he said. “He takes everything in his stride and just does what he needs to do.” The Ruby ran pretty much to script with Sunny Ruby leading them a merry chase while Monbet settled early before launching inside the final lap – Ricky May never really looked panicked and when he asked for effort at the top of the straight, Monbet strode clear. “Then he knocked off,” May said. “You’ve got to keep him up to the task, he’s one of those horses who doesn’t stretch himself any more than he has too.” Just before May moved there was a heart-in-the-mouth moment when Paramount Dream, who was in front of Monbet, galloped. “It got pretty close and I thought we might have been in trouble there for a moment.” Monbet will head to the paddock now, but he’s got the chance to win one more big title before the season is over. On July 30 he will be awarded Four-Year-Old Trotter of the Year, Trotter of the Year and there is a real possibility he could take home the major prize of Horse of the Year. “He deserves it, I know I’m biased, but not many horses do what he’s done this season.” Le Reveur was the best of the beaten brigade, sprinting up strongly from the trail to finish second for Bob Butt. Reine Des Gitans emerged out of the pack to finish third at massive money. Royal Shine finished fourth but was disqualified in the room after the race for galloping too far at the start. Matt Markham

Nek Time has done everything to justify her booming reputation but will need to go to the next level at Addington on Saturday. The smart filly gets her first Harness Racing Group I start of the season in the New Zealand Oaks when she takes on the All Stars star trio. Co-trainers Terry and Glenys Chmiel knew there was something special about Nek Time from the time she walked into their Leeston stable but the Group II Southland Oaks and Listed Harness 5000 winner faces her toughest test of the season in the Oaks. This season Nek Time has been cutting out times and performances the Chmiels always knew she was capable but the Mark Purdon​​ and Natalie Rasmussen-trained trio of Dream About Me, Golden Goddess and Piccadilly Princess, who made up the trifecta in last Saturday's Group I Nevele R final, are a much tougher prospect. Drawing barrier 13 has not stopped bookmakers opening Dream About Me a $1.75 favourite with Golden Goddess (barrier two) at $2.60 and Piccadilly Princess (barrier 12) $5.50. "They do look like exceptional fillies and will take a power of beating," Terry Chmiel said. Nek Time, who did not race in the Nevele R, is a $26 chance from her outside draw of barrier eight. "If we could run in the top five from that draw we would be over the moon." But there is some cause for confidence that Nek Time could be the biggest danger to a All Stars trifecta. The Gotta Go Cullect​ filly, who races in the colours of owners Robert and Sharyn Symon, has not been sighted on race day since her Southland Oaks win (April 17) but has been active at the trials. "Her last two trials have been really good and her works been very consistent," Chmiel said. In her most recent trial on at Motukarara (May 9), Nek Time sprinted home from last at the bend to run into a close fourth behind Christen Me. She was good enough to run against the likes of Dream About Me in Group I company at two and finish fourth in the Harness Jewels, but Chmiel said there is no comparison to where Nek Time is at now. "She's grown a lot and she's really come on this season, she looks super," Chmiel said. This season, the ultra consistent filly has been a revelation with five wins and five placings in just 12 starts. Chmiel believes the tough filly's best chance in the Oaks is if someone goes really hard off the front line and pushes the speed early. "If they go 3:09 or 3:10 it will be right up her alley, anything around a 1:53 mile rate will suit her," Chmiel said. He expects Nek Time's driver Dexter Dunn to look to slot in around mid field. "You can't go right back because once you are behind them (Dream About Me and Piccadilly Princess) you will never get it back so hopefully he can slot in somewhere and maybe move before them." Following Saturday's run in the Oaks, Nek Time will head north for the Harness Jewels (June 4). Nek Time, the New Zealand record holder for a filly or mare from a 2400m mobile (2:53.00), is an $18 chance in the pre-barrier Jewels market. Presuming she comes through that run in good order, Nek Time is likely to head to Queensland for the $20,000 Gold Coast Oaks (July 2) as a lead up to the Group I $75,000 Queensland Oaks seven days later. Mat Keermen

The $18,500 sixth heat of this years Nevele R Fillies Series was run at the harness racing meeting at Forbury Park on Thursday night and the Southland owned and trained Rakarazor upset a handy field of three year old fillies with a nice staying performance that suggests she is more than a forlorn place chance in the final in May at Addington Raceway. After an early dig for the lead by trainer/driver Clark Barron on Rakarazor which was rebuffed by Scarlett Banner and Gavin Smith, Rakarazor was parked for the first 700 metres before slotting into the one by one behind the well supported RR Sand Dollar. RR Sand Dollar went for home at the 300 metres mark and skipped away by two or three lengths with Love Ova Gold going with her after a wide searching run from back in the field. These two look set to fight out the finish but Rakarazor kept taking ground off the first two all the way up the straight, grabbing first Love Ova Gold and then right in the shadows of the of the winning post RR Sand Dollar. Rakarazor paced the 1700 metres in 2:03, a mile rate of 1:56.4 with closing sectionals of 59 and 28.2 It was the second lifetime victory for the daughter of Rocknroll Hanover from twelve starts but she has also been placed on a further six occasions including a nice third in 1:54.1 only last weekend. Clark Barron felt that RR Sand Dollar having a very hard run had brought his filly into contention. " I knew that RR Sand Dollar was the horse to beat and she had had a hard run so when I got onto her back I knew we wouldn't be far away." " My filly is a really good stayer and she has kept improving with every run lately so with the run we got for the last 1000 metres, we were always going to be a big chance." " I owe a big depth of gratitude for the win to Brent Barclay who has been driving her in her last few starts." " She wasn't really finding the line for me over that last 100 metres or so but Brent has turned her around in that regard so I owe him for getting her to attack the line like she does now," Clark said. Harnesslink Media

Messini's win in the Methven Cup last weekend meant he jumped into the top 15 rankings for the New Zealand Cup. His impressive win moved him from spot 18 to 13. The placings of Quick As A Trick and No Doctor Needed also resulted in moves with them now sitting on 19th and 18th respectively. Alleluia finished 4th behind Bling It On in the Group 1 Gold Coast Cup and that was enough to move to 14th position. Arden Rooney was also in winning form over the weekend and remains in 4th spot. One Over Da Moon continued his good form and remains at spot 7 in the Dominion Rankings after a comfortable win at Alexandra Park. Quite A Moment bounced into 9th whilst Valmagne continues to move up the rankings -13th following a credible 3rd at Addington. Overanova finds itself in exactly the same spot as Alleluia after a 4th in the Group 1 Trotters Championship at Albion Park Saturday night when starting from a 40m handicap. Another set of rankings for both races are due to be released next Wednesday afternoon following on from this weekend's features. If you require any further information on this, please do not hesitate to contact the Racing Department at HRNZ on 03) 964 1200 or Brian Rabbitt at Addington Raceway on 03) 338 9094. For New Zeaaland Cup rankings click here. For the Dominion rankings click here. Courtney Clarke Communications and Marketing | Harness Racing New Zealand Inc       ( 03 964 1212 Ext: 806 * PO Box 459, Christchurch 8140   7 03 964 1205 8 Web www.hrnz.co.nz               Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail.      

Below are the current Christchurch Casino New Zealand Trotting Cup and Hellers Dominion Rankings as at the 8th of September. In the Cup Rankings you will see moves from Jason Rulz, Choise Achiever and Provocative Prince. These moves are as a result of the Maurice Holmes Vase which was run last Friday night. In the Dominion Rankings,  Maori Time has moved up two spots after his Breeders Crown Graduate win and Monty Python has moved up three placings after running second to Sheemon last Friday. With the sad demise of Jaccka Justy, who was number one, all trotters move up one spot. The next set of rankings will be released following a committee meeting next Tuesday after the running of the Ordeal Cup at Addington on Friday September 11 and the Hannon Memorial at Oamaru on Sunday September 13.  If you require any further information on this, please do not hesitate to contact the Racing Department at HRNZ on 03) 964 1200 or Brian Rabbitt at Addington Raceway on 03) 338 9094. For New Zealand Cup Rankings click on this link For The Dominion Rankings click on this link. Communications and Marketing | Harness Racing New Zealand Inc

This years Harness Jewels is done and dusted for another year and the harness racing has been covered in great detail by all and sundry. So Harnesslink thought we would review all the other aspects of the day as we saw them. * Big kudos to Stacey Markham and her team from Harness Racing New Zealand for putting on a near flawless display of promotion and marketing for this years Harness Jewels. It showed that it is possible to get everybody on the same page with a bit of give and take and the team should take a bow for a job well done. *On big days like this it is not uncommon for the media room to have plenty of grizzles and moans about things but yesterday was quite the opposite. Nothing but compliments for the Ashburton hosting club and for once the journalists were looked after in style. Believe me it is a really stressful day for journalists and to be looked after so well made the day a lot easier for all concerned. Lets hope that is the standard at all Harness Jewels meetings from now on. * The only quibble the media had all day was down to being denied entry with our passes to the stabling area. Those lovely officious security people really do need to take some people management skills courses before they are registered to work in the community. I suppose they had a job to do but it is the manner in which they do that job that needs attention. * One thing that was spot on on the day was the track which was in fantastic condition. A lot of the leading drivers we spoke to during the day were fulsome in their praise for what a great racing surface the track manager had delivered. * The absence of several leading racing journalists such as Barry Lichter was disappointing in the extreme but something the industry is going to have to get more and more used to. The Fairfax restructuring that is underway meant half the journalists there yesterday are having to reapply for their jobs at present. Specialized racing journalists are an endangered species and the coverage we receive in the mainstream media is about to be cut severely. It looks like only Harness Racing New Zealand and Harnesslink will be left standing when the dust settles. * As someone who covers all the major race meetings it can get a bit repetitive at times when you are interviewing the same people again and again. So it was really refreshing yesterday to watch the connections of Sunny Ruby after her brilliant win in the three year old Ruby. Fred Fletcher was bouncing around like a twenty one year old and the whole extended family were in the same frame of mind. It was a timely reminder of why people race horses. Amanda Tomlinson reinforced that feeling later in the day with a display of emotion not often seen these days. * Hats off to Greg O'Connor for his outstanding and impartial coverage in the leadup to and on the day of the Harness Jewels. Greg manages to put forward his opinions without feeling the need to denigrate or ridicule some of the runners and its that professional impartiality that connects with so many in the industry. *Finally we would like to thank all the tech guys that got us back up and running after we went down after race one. Murphy's law to go down on the big day but with their help we got back on track late in the afternoon. Harnesslink Media

Many harness racing trainers in New Zealand focus on trotters rather than pacers and one of the most successful in that regard is the Weedons horseman Fred Fletcher.   Whenever Fred lines a trotter in any of the classics it pays to take notice as he has had a great run for longer than I care to remember.   Today at Ashburton he lined up the smart Sundon filly Sunny Ruby in the Group 1 Harness Jewels three year old $100,000 Ruby and although the formline was impeccable, she went out at odds of twelve to one.   Away well to lead from barrier two for driver Gavin Smith, Sunny Ruby took a trail soon after behind the well performed Prince Fearless.   Monbet and Ricky May breezed up at the 500 metres mark and slowly started to wear down Prince Fearless.   Just when everyone was acclaiming Monbet the winner, Gavin Smith angled Sunny Ruby wider on the track and flew late to win a lot more easily than it looked.   Monbet battled on bravely for second in front of the pacemaking Prince Fearless.   Warm favourite Speeding Spur galloped wildly soon after the start and then produced a massive performance to run fifth just under seven lengths from the winner    Sunny Ruby trotted the mile in 1:54.7 which took a massive 1.8 seconds off the previous New Zealand record for a three year old trotter held by Prime Power.   Gavin Smith was quick to heap praise on Fred post race.   " Fred has done a great job with this filly to get her to race a lot kinder and he deserves a lot of the credit for today's win."   " I got a lovely run on the back of Prince Fearless and I thought I was a chance at the 200 metres when she was travelling so well."   "She has tremendously high speed if saved for one run," Gavin said.   Todays Harness Jewels win by Sunny Ruby was Fred Fletchers third and just further added further lustre to his reputation as a great trainer of trotters.   Harnesslink Media  

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