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The first Jewels held at Addington has overcome the worst weather in the meeting’s history to boast near record turnover. And the numbers have left bedraggled harness racing administrators beaming. Saturday’s nine group-one meeting looked in danger of being postponed just hours before the first race as Canterbury was lashed by extreme weather and a giant puddle formed inside the track threatening to encroach on the racing surface at the 1000m mark. But with the drains working overtime and the recently re-surfaced track overseen by John Denton, the meeting not only went ahead but provided fair racing. And while the weather impacted the walk-up crowd, the betting figures have been surprisingly positive considering the conditions and the large number of odds-on favourites, which can often be off-putting for punters from the two other codes. The combined on and off-course domestic turnover was $2,547,222, of which $974,816 was fixed odds. That is already the third highest amount ever invested domestically on a Harness Jewels meeting and with the Australian turnover expected to come in around $750,000 the meeting should have Australasia-wide turnover close to $3.5million, without counting money bet with corporate bookmakers. That will mean the meeting has the second highest Australasian turnover in the Jewels’s 13-year history with the only higher one coming when the Queensland Oaks meeting at Eagle Farm and several other Australian fixtures were abandoned in 2016, creating record figures for the Cambridge-run Jewels that season. “We couldn’t be happier,” says HRNZ’s Darrin Williams. “Sure the weather was brutal but the betting figures make up for that. “I really feel for Addington because they put their heart and soul into the day and did a super job and the weather was against them. “But they already had a good crowd and the only under-utilised area they had was the marquee on top of the stables which would have been great but for the weather, which nobody could control. “So the results are very pleasing, especially the way the track responded. That is a real credit to John Denton and his staff.” Had Saturday’s meeting being held at Ashburton, who did a great job with their first six running of the Jewels, the weather would have had a far more dire impact. Next year’s Jewels return to Cambridge in the annual inter-island rotation with the Waikato track to host a two-day meeting, racing the Friday night before the Jewels on the Saturday.   Michael Guerin

Braeden and Caroline Whitelock have decided to retire Kayla Marie to the breeding paddock where the Group One winning filly is sure to prove a great success. While lacking the brilliance of her close associate Princess Tiffany -as most fillies have- she has proven a worthy representative for both All Stars and her breeders, her dam , Braeside Star, G1 placed, being an early success as owners for the Whitelocks winning six and being second no less than 10 times in a 24 start career. Kayla Marie is a half-sister to Braeside Lady the dam of their first Group One winner as breeders from this family in O Baby. Kayla Marie was similarly consistent with 11 first 3 placings from 16 starts including 5 wins and a G1 result from the Sires Stakes Championship as a two year old in Auckland beating Havtime. That followed a strong second in another G1 the Caduceus Classic. This season’s highlights have been Group One second placings to Belle of Montana in the Nevele R Final and second also in the New Zealand Oaks. It is a proud record for a very game and ambitious filly always giving of her best often having to come off awkward draws.   Courtesy of All Stars Racing Stable

TAB News Pick Six Thu 06 Jun - $40k Guaranteed at Cambridge Night Harness (Jackpot of $13,229.47) Fri 07 Jun - $25k Guaranteed at Alexandra Park Night Harness.   Waikato Bay of Plenty – 6 June  Faulty Towers Dinner Show at Cambridge Raceway, Thursday 13th June. Get lost in an evening of mayhem and chaos and leave thinking that maybe your own relationships are not that bad after all!   Basil, Sybil and Manuel will give you side splitting humour as they skilfully bring you into their crazy personal lives. Add some riveting dance moves from Basil, Sybil and Manuel, spiced up with their improvisation from quirky, cheeky and just plain fun conversations. Tickets are $80pp ($75pp for Waikato-Bay Of Plenty Harness Members) and include a two course buffet dinner. Bookings are essential so head to to book your tickets today. Thursday 6th June – Lads night at the races hosted by Jim from The Rock! It's our first Lads Night at Cambridge Raceway and we're setting the bar high. Along with an awesome night of horse racing, beers and bants, there will be celebrity dual sulky races - Featuring Jim & a couple of players from the Chiefs. Tickets are only $20 and include a Corona (or non-alcoholic drink) on arrival More info here:   Auckland 7 June Arabian Night – Friday 26th July  from 5.30pm – Top of the Park Nurahib bik, we welcome you! We are extremely excited to host the first ever Arabian Night here at Alexandra Park! Let your senses get carried into a world of rich culture and mystical wonder, with the all-you-can-eat buffet transporting your taste buds to the Middle-East and the ever-exciting harness racing action taking place on the track below! Set in Top of the Park on Friday 26th July from 5.30pm, be sure to secure your table today! Phone 09 631 1165, email or book online at   Christmas at the Races featuring the Inter Dominion Championship 2019 Christmas at the Races are some of the hottest nights on the Alexandra Park Harness Racing calendar. Choose from our various rooms and packages the best option to suit your guests, get into the festive spirit with our amazing Christmas themed all-you-can-eat buffet and keep your eye out for Santa. There will be competitions, entertainment, photographers and non-stop harness racing excitement, plus live entertainment after the last race. This year offers added value with the Inter Dominion Championship being run in New Zealand for the first time in 8 years. Explore the best Alexandra Park has to offer, but don’t forget to book quickly as these popular nights don’t last long. For more information visit: To make a booking, do it online or contact us 09 631 1165 or email   South of the Bombays Race Series ($14,999) JUNE 14 & 21 / JULY 5 & 12 This series of races are primarily targeted for those horses who have predominantly raced at North Island tracks outside of Alexandra Park during the current 2018-2019 season. Eligibility Criteria: Since August 1, 2018. (All to be totalisator starts) (1) A minimum of two starts at a North Island track outside of Alexandra Park or Cambridge Raceway, or (2) A minimum of two starts at Cambridge Raceway plus one other start at a North Island Track outside of Alexandra Park, or (3) Alternatively a minimum of three starts at Cambridge Raceway. These criteria do not preclude horses who have had starts at Alexandra Park as long as they meet any of the other eligibility criteria.   Mid-Winter Christmas – Christmas Party 21 & 28 June & 5 & 12 July 2019: Indulge in the festivity of mid-winter Christmas with Alexandra Park. Embrace the winter chills and find some festive spirit whilst enjoying the best harness racing in New Zealand. Offering FOUR function rooms and packages over four mid-winter Friday nights, there is something to suit all groups and budgets. Dream of mulled wine, all-you-can-eat buffet and a lively social atmosphere. Explore the best Alexandra Park has to offer, but don’t forget to book quickly as these popular nights don’t last long. Tables are selling fast so don’t miss out on the best spots. Go to to book your tickets or ring 096131165.   Nelson Harness Racing Club news – 7/9 June Jan & David Birdling Junior Driver Series Starting at the June 2019 Winter Meeting completing at the Summer 2020 Meeting Highest point scoring junior driver to receive a $500 voucher courtesy of Jan & David Birdling. The Nelson Harness Racing Club’s winter race meeting will be on Friday June 7 and Sunday June 9. First race each day is scheduled for 11.30 am.  There is no gate charge and race books will be available from the secretary office and the driver’s room. The weather forecast (as always) is for fine weather so make sure you come on up and enjoy some Nelson sunshine and hospitality!! FOOD & BEVERAGES Hot food and drink will be available in the Drivers Room for all trainers, drivers and their staff.  A coffee cart will be outside the numbers room in the stabling area.  Food and drink will also be available to purchase in the bar and at the food and drink stalls. Don’t forget the famous scallop pies will be available from the OTB rooms!! BBQ & BREAKFASTS The club would like to invite all trainers, drivers, staff and owners to attend a BBQ on Thursday 6th June in the Waimea Room under the main grandstands from 5 -7pm.  The club are putting this on in recognition of your continued support of our race meeting.  There will be raffles available so bring a few coins. Breakfast will be again available from 7am on Friday, Saturday and Sunday mornings at the OTB rooms.                                                                           Nelson Pine Industries are again sponsoring our Prelude and the Nelson Winter Cup which we are excited to announce will be for stakes of $10,000 and $14,000 respectively. Please note this is now a R56 & Faster race and you will be racing for stakes over the two days of $24000.                                  MIKE AUSTIN MEMORIAL TROT We will be again running the “Mike Austin Memorial Trot” this race is for R40 and faster trotters and will be run on the second day of the meeting over 2400m.  The winner will receive a trophy and a dress rug.  The club would like to thank Jill Austin and family as well as Blair & Lisa Orange for their support.  This race will be a wonderful tribute to “Mike” a great educator and trainer of the square gaiter and once a local Nelson lad. Just to note the R40 and faster Handicap trot on both days will be run over the 2400m distance. BEST PRESENTED HORSE The best presented horse in each race will win their trainer a bag of horse feed kindly provided by Dunstan Horse Feeds. PICK PINK We will be again running our Pink Pick Selections we will be asking drivers of the selected horse in each race to wear a pink helmet cover. We have had a really great run with this promotion so keep an eye on the picks. THE NELSON HRC RACE DAY ONE PROGRAM DAY TWO PROGRAM For nominations and stabling please contact Jason Broad (Race Day Secretary) on 03 5446616 or 021 127 2912. For all other inquiries please call Kristie Hill on 021621075.   Invercargill 8 June SEASON COMES TO AN END AT INVERCARGILL The final race meeting of the 2018/2019 southern harness season takes place at Ascot Park Raceway in Invercargill this Saturday when the Invercargill Harness Racing Club hold a ten race programme with the first race scheduled for 12.00 noon. There will be a draw of lucky losing tickets on course after Race 6 with the prize a $50 meal voucher from Level One Restaurant & Bar while every child on course after Race 6 will receive a bag of lollies. Admission is free. The 2019/2020 season is scheduled to start at Gore on 10 August with the first meeting of the new season at Ascot Park Raceway not until Saturday 21 September.   Addington Raceway and Events Centre Hello Everyone, On behalf of Addington Raceway, I wish to personally thank everyone for making the IRT Harness Jewels such an amazing day on Saturday 1 June.  We thoroughly enjoyed hosting everyone.  I wish to personally acknowledge our business partners.  We truly appreciate and value their partnerships in making the IRT Harness Jewels such a success.  To IRT our naming rights sponsor and principal partner, McMillan Equine Feeds, Commodore Hotel, Woodlands, Blue Star Taxis, Hanley Formula, Terror To Love ‘Jewels Winner’ and The Good Home Pegasus, we thank you all for your support leading up to and on the day.     To our amazing trainers, drivers, owners, breeders, stablehands and helpers, we wish to acknowledge and thank you all for your hard work.  It is an incredible achievement being invited to compete for the nine IRT Harness Jewels Crowns.  Finally, I wish to thank you all for your lovely feedback about the IRT Harness Jewels.  We were extremely proud to be able to host this event and we are pleased to hear you all had a wonderful day.   Warmest regards, Brian Thompson CEO Addington Raceway        HRNZ Marketing

You can almost hear the sighs of relief from this side of the Tasman.  Because that will be the overwhelming response when the connections of Australia’s best young harness horses realise they don’t have to combat the full force of the All Stars machine this winter.   Aussies preparing horses for the elite races at the Queensland and more importantly Breeders Crown carnivals would have been waiting to hear which members of Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen’s stable were coming to savage them as they so often have in the last five years.  The answer is: almost none.  In a remarkable change of attitude from much of the last decade Purdon has decided he may have only three, or even two, horse campaigning in Australia over the winter.   He has confirmed impressive lower-grade Ashburton winner from Sunday, Self Assured, will head to the Queensland winter carnival and be aimed at the Derby and could have a maiden stablemate who joins him and stays on in Australia.  That is hardly frightening stuff for the Aussies but there could be a far more high profile stable rep should outstanding filly Princess Tiffany pass a coming veterinary examination with flying colours.  “She could go to the Queensland carnival and then on to the Breeders Crown but it will all depend on how her scintigraphy goes this week,” explains Purdon. “She is heading to Matamata for that and if she has no issues then Queensland and Victoria are on the cards.  “But if she goes to the Breeders Crown (August) she will probably be our only horse there.”That will be music to the ears of trainers and owners in Australia as when the All Stars best turn up for the Breeders Crown they are almost always favourite and usually win.  Purdon says the change of attitude this season comes as many of his horses have  had long campaigns while others need remedial work.  “Sweet On Me has a bone chip in her knee, which while it isn’t too bad, we want to get taken out now so it isn’t a problem long-term,” he says of Saturday’s two-year-old fillies Jewels winner.  “And the other two-year-olds like One Change, Flying Even Bettor and Amazing Dream, they have had plenty of racing and/or travelling. “So we are happy for them to go to the paddock now and there are so many options for them as three-year-olds.”With the two-year-old Breeders Crown pacing races worth A$300,000 they must be hard to miss but horses who have gone there in the past have often struggled to win major races pre-Christmas upon returning to New Zealand. Perhaps more surprisingly Purdon will bypass the Victoria Trotting Derby and Breeders Crown three-year-old trot with Oscar Bonavena, even after he missed the Jewels.  He easily beat older horses at Ashburton on Sunday and has had a shorter than expected campaign but Purdon says he is so good he is happy to spell him now knowing he might be good enough to race in open class next season.  While Purdon often changes his mind with horses depending on how they look one week to the next, the prospect of his elite horses missing the Australian winter will have a profound effect on futures markets, especially as once they go to the spelling paddock the decision is more or less final.  And it could convince fellow Kiwi trainers with group one performers to look more seriously at Australian campaigns where they don’t have to take on the all-conquering partnership.   Michael Guerin

Belle Of Montana and Tickle Me Pink’s rivals may have finally caught a break.  Because two of the great stories of the harness racing season may have ended simply because the two fillies are so good.  The northern pair won their finals at the Harness Jewels on a rain-soaked Addington on Saturday to cap their amazing seasons.  Belle Of Montana started the term as a maiden and may have finished it a four-time group one winner in two countries, her passing lane sprint to nail Princess Tiffany also guaranteeing her the Filly of the Year title. It came courtesy of a Zac Butcher drive equal parts brave and brilliant and with the highly-valuable filly being owned in Australia it must be very tempting to head there for races like the Queensland Oaks and Breeders Crown.  But champion trainer Barry Purdon is leaning toward sending Belle Of Montana to the spelling paddock instead.  “I think she could be a really good open class mare in the future so I’d be just as happy to give her a break,” said Purdon. “Her owner, Dean Shannon, is great to train for and never puts any pressure on so we will decide in the next few days.  “But if she has a good break now she has plenty of options in the good mares races next season.”Tickle Me Pink’s comeback story is one of the best of the racing season after she got deadly sick during a Victorian campaign last winter, only to come back nine months later and win four major races in six weeks.  She would be a red hot favourite for the fillies division of the Breeders Crown in August and a huge chance in the Victoria Derby but trainer-driver Tony Herlihy is keen to think longer term.  “She has achieved a lot in a very short time since she has come back, far more than we could have dreamed,” said Herlihy.  “But I think she can get even better. She is still quite leggy and a bit frail physically so she has some strengthening to do.  “So I’d be keen to miss Australia and give her a good break because in time she could be a really good open class mare.”  Herlihy was one of the stars of Jewels day, having caused a huge upset winning the two-year-old trot with Bolt For Brilliance, the pair giving him his first group one training double in a day.  Add in the third of Dina Brown behind Belle Of Montana and Herlihy rivalled the All Stars for trainer of the day honours, with the fact they trained five group one winners almost feeling normal these days.  While Belle Of Montana’s slushy slingshot job was hard to beat the equine performance of the day had to be Sundees Son, who smashed some open class rivals in the four-year-old trot.  He is about as unimposing as a top horse can be but inside his modest frame lies a huge motor and he now looks certain to win trotter of the year. Even more remarkably for a horse who used to gallop punters to the poor house, he has to be favourite for the Dominion and Inter Dominion.  One Change, Turn It Up, Sweet On Me, Elle Mac and Jesse Duke were all simply too good after racing on the speed, which ended up being crucial on a day where no winner came from further back than fourth with a lap to go.  But that wasn’t the track’s fault. As after torrential rain right up to the first race, the track raced incredibly well, justifying track manager John Denton’s decision to resurface it just a week earlier. Michael Guerin

Despite current weather conditions the IRT Harness Racing Jewels is underway. Race 1 - WOODLANDS 4YO DIAMOND (MOBILE PACE) (Gr1), $150,000, 4YO MARES, 1980m For 4-year-old pacing mares. 1st Elle Mac 2014 4 B m Bettor's Delight - Goodlookinggirl   (by Christian Cullen) M Purdon & Ms N C Rasmussen, Rolleston Mrs J L Feiss Breckon Farms Ltd   2nd Divinia Bellezza 2014 4 B m American Ideal - Siena Franco   (by Courage Under Fire) A D Stuart, Rangiora G C Ruffell, A D Stuart, Ms R A Sutorius Loburn Limited   3rd In The Shadows 2014 4 Br m Shadow Play - Waitfornoone   (by Albert Albert) Miss A M Donnelly, Cambridge S B Phillips, Mrs A M Phillips, A K And C R Syndicate, Fear Of The Dark Syndicate S B Phillips,Mrs A M Phillips Elle Mac   Race 2 - HANLEY FORMULA 2YO RUBY (MOBILE TROT) (Gr1), $125,000, 2YO, 1980m For 2-year-old trotters.   1st Bolt For Brilliance 2016 2 Br g Muscle Hill - Toomuch To Do   (by Britewell) A G Herlihy MNZM, Papakura Mrs S Herlihy, D I Donaldson, P J Hailes, S H Mathews B C Reid   2nd Cracker Hill 2016 2 B g Muscle Hill - Juneamy Castleton   (by Majestic Son) Brad Williamson, Oamaru G J Preston, T G W Morris, Ms S J Preston, R L P Scott, Mrs P J Scott, M P Arnold, Ms J M Lanigan, Oneberry Syndicate L E Williams,Mrs H R Williams   3rd Ultimate Stride 2016 2 Ch c Love You - One Over Kenny   (by Sundon) P M Williamson, Oamaru E & M Stride Corp. L E Williams,Mrs H R Williams Race 3 - TERROR TO LOVE 'JEWELS WINNER' 2YO DIAMOND (MOBILE PACE) (Gr1), $150,000, 2YO FILLIES, 1980m For 2-year-old pacing fillies. 2016 2 B f Sweet Lou - Adore Me   (by Bettor's Delight) M Purdon & Ms N C Rasmussen, Rolleston C J Roberts, Mrs M L Kenny, P G Kenny C J Roberts   2nd Spellbound 2016 2 B f Art Major - Return To Gold   (by Armbro Operative) R J Dunn, Woodend Beach Westview Racing No.19 Syndicate, The Witches Of Westview No.2 Syndicate S G Bell,Miss D L Williamson   3rd Amazing Dream 2016 2 B f Bettor's Delight - Christian Dreamer   (by Christian Cullen) M Purdon & Ms N C Rasmussen, Rolleston Mrs J L Feiss V L Devery,Mrs D L Devery Race 4 - MCMILLAN EQUINE FEEDS 2YO EMERALD (MOBILE PACE) (Gr1), $150,000, 2YO COLTS & GELDINGS, 1980m For 2-year-old pacing colts & geldings. 1st One Change 2016 2 B c Bettor's Delight - Changedown   (by Falcon Seelster) M Purdon & Ms N C Rasmussen, Rolleston Allstars Racing Stables Limited, M R Woodlock, T G Casey R G Carr,D G Kirkbride   2nd Flying Even Bettor 2016 2 B g Bettor's Delight - Flying Mrs Williams   (by Falcon Seelster) M Purdon & Ms N C Rasmussen, Rolleston Mrs G J Kennard, P I Kennard, Breckon Racing Syndicate, Mrs K J Woodham, G A Woodham, J A Gibbs MNZM, Mrs A Gibbs L E Williams,Mrs H R Williams   3rd Zeuss Bromac 2016 2 B c Bettor's Delight - Zeta Bromac   (by Mach Three) Z E Butcher, Pukekohe D J Butcher, Bromac Lodge Limited, Slingsby Holdings Pty Ltd, Z E Butcher Bromac Lodge Limited,Slingsby Holdings Pty Ltd Race 5 - THE GOOD HOME PEGASUS 3YO RUBY (MOBILE TROT) (Gr1), $125,000, 3YO, 1980m For 3-year-old trotters. 1st Tickle Me Pink 2015 3 B f Muscle Hill - Luby Ann   (by Andover Hall) A G Herlihy MNZM, Papakura Breckon Farms-The Perfect Ten Syndicate Breckon Farms Ltd   2nd Tricky Ric 2015 3 B g Muscle Hill - Great Getaway   (by Dream Vacation) J W Dickie & J I Dickie, Clevedon J W Dickie, R E Bright J W Dickie,R E Bright   3rd Gil Favor 2015 3 Br g Waterloo Sunset - Gee Abby   (by Gee Whiz II) P C Nairn, Leeston P C Nairn P C Nairn Race 6 - COMMODORE HOTEL 3YO DIAMOND (MOBILE PACE) (Gr1), $150,000, 3YO FILLIES, 1980m For 3-year-old pacing fillies. 1st Belle Of Montana 2015 3 Br f Bettor's Delight - Lady Cullen   (by Christian Cullen) B Purdon, Clevedon Montana Park Pty Ltd Croon Bloodstock Ltd   2nd Princess Tiffany 2015 3 B f Art Major - Dancing Diamonds   (by Bettor's Delight) M Purdon & Ms N C Rasmussen, Rolleston B J Whitelock, Mrs C J Whitelock, P J Creighton, Mrs M C Creighton B J Whitelock,Mrs C J Whitelock   3rd Dina Brown 2015 3 Br f Bettor's Delight - Pullover Brown   (by Armbro Operative) A G Herlihy MNZM, Papakura M W Feek, G J Nolan, Mrs M Candy, Mrs J K Taylor, Mrs J M Pollock, T J McKinley, T J Candy, M G Nolan, B G Gianotti M W Feek   Race 7 - IRT 4YO EMERALD (MOBILE PACE) (Gr1), $150,000, 4YO GELDINGS & ENTIRES, 1980m For 4-year-old pacing geldings & entires. 1st Turn It Up 2014 4 Br g Courage Under Fire - O Narutac Bella   (by Western Ideal) M Purdon & Ms N C Rasmussen, Rolleston J A Gibbs MNZM, L Pilcher, Mark Purdon, Mrs A Gibbs   2nd Henry Hubert 2014 4 B g Bettor's Delight - Queen Camille   (by Christian Cullen) R J Dunn, Woodend Beach R K Gordon, Mrs A L Gordon Woodlands Stud (NZ) Ltd   3rd Nandolo 2014 4 B g Betterthancheddar - Midnight In Paris   (by Christian Cullen) J M Howe, West Melton Mrs C L Smith, P F Smith, C Smith, Miss L Smith Mrs C L Smith,P F Smith     Race 8 - MCMILLAN EQUINE FEEDS 4YO RUBY (MOBILE TROT) (Gr1), $125,000, 4YO, 1980m For 4-year-old trotters. 1st Sundees Son 2014 4 B g Majestic Son - Stardon   (by Sundon) R J Dunn, Woodend Beach C W Hair, Mrs N L Hair C W Hair   2nd Winterfell 2014 4 Br g Majestic Son - Una Bromac   (by Live Or Die) M Purdon & Ms N C Rasmussen, Rolleston T G Casey T G Casey   3rd Majestic Hurricane 2014 4 B g Majestic Son - Dear Diedre   (by Sundon) K M Barron, West Melton D K Gibson, Mrs R M Gibson Roydon Lodge Stud Ltd:Keith & Rob Gibson       Race 9 - BLUE STAR TAXIS 3YO EMERALD (MOBILE PACE) (Gr1), $150,000, 3YO COLTS & GELDINGS, 1980m For 3-year-old pacing colts & geldings. 1st Jesse Duke 2015 3 B c Bettor's Delight - Daisy Dundee   (by In The Pocket) M Purdon & Ms N C Rasmussen, Rolleston Mrs J L Feiss, W R Feiss Woodlands Stud (NZ) Ltd   2nd Gran Chico 2015 3 B g Bettor's Delight - Sue Dreamer   (by Dream Away(USA)) N R McGrath, Weedons G S Eynon, C M Eynon M R Cummings,Mrs S L Cummings   3rd Robyns Playboy 2015 3 B g Shadow Play - Robyn Maree   (by Holmes Hanover) S R Wilson, Whiterig S R Wilson S R Wilson      

 This is the story the bookies don't want to read. Because the odds setters know there will be an avalanche of money for the All Stars runners at the Harness Jewels tomorrow and the bad news is champion trainer Mark Purdon couldn't be happier with his team. The All Stars have eight of the nine favourites for tomorrow's $1,275,000 mega meeting at Addington and as always they will be at the centre of the multi bets which are so popular on Jewels day. With the Jewels the Grand Finals of the harness racing season the pecking order is well and truly established, hence the six pacing races tomorrow all having odds-on favourites.  So punters look for more juicy returns via the multis. By comparison, the trotting races have just one odds-on chance in Enhance Your Calm and the 2 and 4-year-old trots look more open. But after a few setbacks late last week, when Oscar Bonavena just missed a Jewels start and then several of the All Stars horses reacted badly to a worming paste, Purdon couldn't be happier going into tomorrow. "The worming paste was just a reaction thing and not a big deal and the horses are all well over that," said Purdon. "The ones who raced last Friday (Turn It Up, Ashley Locaz, Elle Mac and Funatthebeach) weren't treated with it while we took a lot of the other Jewels runners into Addington on Wednesday for their final fast work. "I couldn't fault any of them. It is getting late in the season and some horses get tired but I couldn't be happier with where the team is at." Purdon thinks Elle Mac (mares) and Turn It Up (boys) will win their 4-year-old pacing races but he is not as confident with Winterfell and King's Landing in the trot.  "Winterfell is back to his best but the way Sundees Son won the two big races in Auckland if he behaves himself he might be too good for us, especially from the draws." The 2-year-old pacing races also look to the All Stars to dominate with One Change and Sweet On Me deserved favourites. "The way the draws have worked out I think One Change will lead and that will make it really hard on [stablemate] Flying Even Bettor while Sweet On Me's work on Wednesday was very good. She feels very strong and if anything tries to park her out I think she will crush them." But while the stable has $2.40 favourite Tailored Elegance in the juvenile trot Purdon warns she faces a big task. "She is very professional and a lovely filly but there are some nice horses in there and a horse like Ultimate Stride might even be more talented than her just at the moment," says Purdon. The 3-year-old races are the most interesting tactical battles for the All Stars, with none of their three favourites guaranteed the lead. Princess Tiffany looks to be in a two-horse race with arch rival Belle Of Montana and Purdon is positively beaming about his filly. "She is spot on, in a really good place but we know Belle Of Montana is a very good filly too." Enhance Your Calm has occasionally shown signs of growing pains and mental fragility this autumn but has been in the zone this week, boosting confidence he can overcome a second line draw, which may not be a disadvantage as the front line looks super fast. The best version of him would win. And Purdon saves some of his highest post-workout praise for Jesse Duke, who is the only group one winner in the 3-year-old male pace. "He worked very well on Wednesday so he is in the right place. I wouldn't be surprised if Heisenberg held the lead but if he does then I'd be keen to stay parked," he says. "That could make it a tricky race but I am confident he [Jesse Duke] is in the right form to try that."   Michael Guerin

Zac Butcher isn’t giving away his driving tactics in what shapes as the cat-and-mouse clash of the Harness Jewels on Saturday.  But his driving history may be the biggest clue.  Butcher pilots exceptional filly Belle Of Montana in the $150,000 three-year-old Diamond and as the winner of three group ones in the last six months she would usually be red hot after drawing the ace. But she is only second elect after being clearly outpointed by another special filly in Princess Tiffany in the New Zealand Oaks two weeks ago.  Belle Of Montana though has a 3-1 winning record over Princess Tiffany and with the ace draw Butcher would be justified in staying in front, even though Belle Of Montana has never led throughout before.  If he chooses that role then he has the inside advantage and Princess Tiffany would have to sit parked or at least cover more ground after starting from barrier five.  Butcher is staying quiet about his early preference.  “Often you can’t tell until you get out there and things can change very quickly,” he offers.  “So I will drive her how she feels. I have a lot of respect for Princess Tiffany but we have beaten her three times.”  Butcher says training legend Barry Purdon never gives him driving instructions so he is not going in with a pre-determined plan.  “Barry just says good luck and see you when you get back,” smiles Butcher. Their career best performances would suggest Belle Of Montana might have more sheer speed than Princess Tiffany but the later looks a more brutal stayer. And when it comes to Butcher and speed freak pacers, history suggests he has the ice in his veins to hand up and launch a late pin-point attack.  That is exactly what he did to win Jewels races with Lancewood Lizzie (Ashburton, 2015) and an even more brilliant drive on Jacks Legend (Ashburton, 2017), both times leading then giving that advantage away before waiting until deep into the straight to divebomb the leader.  And you don’t even have to go that far back to find Butcher handing up on a red hot favourite and waiting till late to assert his superiority, he did it three starts ago with Belle Of Montana.  That was in the Victoria Oaks when he led as a $1.40 chance but shocked lead-at-all-cost Aussie punters by gifting that lead to second favourite Kualoa with just 1200m to run.  Even with the short Melton straight Belle Of Montana outsprinted the leader so the smart money would be on Belle Of Montana taking a trail on Princess Tiffany on Saturday should the latter’s driver Natalie Rasmussen get serious inside the first 800m. So who would win a drag race down the Addington straight? The answer: probably the one closest to their absolute peak on the day in a race that appears to lack much other pressure and could see a wicked last 400m.  As well as having handy place chances on Saturday in the well drawn On The Cards (race seven) and Kratos (race five), Butcher will also have his first Jewels runner as a trainer.  He has only just branched out into training, albeit very much part time, and looks to have found a talented first flagbearer in two-year-old Zeuss Bromac.  He was a huge second in a maiden race on debut and snuck into the Jewels but has copped a second row draw.  “I think he is a good horse in the making but obviously this is a huge challenge from that draw,” he adds.  “Still, we think enough of him to be thinking about the Breeders Crown after this.”   Michael Guerin

Sundbyholm, Sweden — After a bad start during the first two days at Solvalla, Doug McNair has started to come around and followed up Monday’s two victories on the World Driving Championship tour with another two at Sundbyholm on Tuesday (May 28) and for the second day in a row the Canadian became Driver of the Day. Monday it was close between the drivers at the top, but at Sundbyholm McNair was the shining star of the evening when he not only posted two wins with Argbiggan and Arctic Agent, but also placed second with New Song. “She felt better than what she looked like and did exactly what she was supposed to do when going over the stretch,” McNair said in the winner’s circle after the victory with Argbiggan from the front. Rick Ebbinge beat the Canadian for his second place, when Ebbinge led the whole race with Fabulous Journey and crossed the finish line on his own. Aside from a gallop the Dutchman did not have any trouble in the other races, which brought him up to third place in the WDC standings. “It went pretty slowly and the horse went well over the stretch,” said Ebbinge in the winner’s circle with Fabulous Journey. Monday’s leader Ulf Ohlsson also had a pretty good Tuesday night with a victory, but it was not enough to keep the lead in the WDC. He dropped the lead to McNair, but Ohlsson is still in second place. “It was important for the WDC to win this race because I think I haven’t had any good chances today,” said Ohlsson following the victory with Pelle Roc. The last winner of the day was Eirik Höitomt, who won with My Dream Art after pushing to the lead early in the race. The victory was crucial for the Norwegian, who had a bad night in Eskilstuna. Höitomt is currently right outside the leaderboard as we head on to the last two days of the WDC. The next five races will take place in Rättvik Wednesday. The leaderboard after leg four of the 2019 WDC appears below. 1. Doug McNair (Canada) – 123.5 2. Ulf Ohlsson (Sweden) – 118.5 3. Rick Ebbinge (The Netherlands) – 115.5 4. Mika Forss (Finland) – 110 5. Matthew Williamson (New Zealand) – 107.5 6. Eirik Hoitomt (Norway) – 104 7. Yannick Gingras (USA) – 103.5 8. Franck Nivard (France) – 99 9. James MacDonald (Canada/ITA) – 94 10. Michael Nimczyk (Germany) – 92.5 11. Rodney Gatt (Malta) – 79 12. Todd McCarthy (Australia) – 70 For more information, go to the official World Driving Championship website.   from the Swedish Trotting Association

The man who might stand between the All Stars Stables and an almost unfathomable clean sweep of the Harness Jewels says he won't be backing down come Saturday. In what might be close to a first anywhere in the racing world, the all-conquering Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen stable are favoured to win eight of the nine group ones at the $1.2 million Jewels meeting, and have the second favourite in the other race. The law of averages suggest at least a couple of their charges will perform below their best, suffer bad luck or simply not be good enough but it is still realistic they could win all nine group one races. Considering the Jewels is an open raceday, with no Sires' Stakes or sales restrictions and has attracted six Australian invites, an All Stars whitewash would be extraordinary and rank as one of the greatest training performances in history. But, and it is an awfully big but, they still have to win the races and local driver John Dunn says he is going to make that as difficult as possible for them. Dunn has eight drives, all on horses trained by his father Robert, whose Canterbury team he does much of the work with and included among them is the only non-All Stars favourite in Sundees Son. He deserves to be top elect for the 4-year-old trot after stunning wins in both the Anzac and Rowe Cups at Alexandra Park four weeks ago and if he races up to that level it is hard to see him beaten, especially if he brings his manners. He did just that in a sedate trial at Addington last Saturday but trotted home a quick last 800m and has the benefit of a good draw on Saturday. "While he has had some manners issues in the past he has usually been good off the mobile and I think it won't be an issue on Saturday," says Dunn, the older brother of champion driver Dexter Dunn, who is now based in North America. "He has come back from Auckland and not missed a beat so I think he will lead and they will need to be good to beat him." As solid as Sundees Son's trial was last Saturday what was just as reassuring for punters is that he didn't roll into his usual gallop after the finish line, suggesting he is a sound, happy horse at the end of his long season. Dunn crucially has the advantage of the ace draw in the 3-year-old male pace and says he will use it to try for an all the way win with Heisenberg. "I am going to drive him like I did in the Sires' Stakes Final in November," Dunn says firmly. On that occasion, over the same track and distance as Saturday, Heisenberg led and gave both eventual winner Ultimate Sniper and Jesse Duke a lot to chase before finishing third. Ultimate Sniper is spelling but Jesse Duke is the hot favourite for Saturday's race and if Dunn is true to his word and launches Heisenberg then favourite punters could be in for an uncomfortable watch. Dunn also has inside draws with Henry Hubert in the 4-year-old Emerald and Spellbound in the juvenile fillies pace, where he opts for Tiffany Rose as the stable's better chance. But it is in the very open 2-year-old trot that he has his next best chance of upsetting the All Stars dominance. One Majic Kenny has been more interested in galloping than trotting in recent starts but has the motor to match it with the favourite if he behaves as well as he did when second at the trials last Saturday. "He is good enough but I actually want the mobile to go faster. "I think it goes too slow sometimes and that trips some horses up," says Dunn.   Michael Guerin

 Kiwi reinsman Matthew Williamson is within striking distance of the lead in the World Driver's Championship in Sweden after driving a dead heat winner yesterday. Williamson is just four points behind series leader Ulf Ohlsson after the third day of the championships was held at Fornaboda, a day which included a race for cold bloods. Williamson had a second early before he deadheated in the next race with US rep Yannick Gingras, the man who became so well known to Kiwi harness racing fans as the regular pilot of Lazarus last year. "It was a good day and I think I drove pretty well," said Williamson.  "We are getting up the leader board now and probably have a chance. "But none of my horses for tomorrow seem to be near the top of the market so we will have to drive them well. "It has been a wonderful experience, there are some great people here and I am loving getting to know everybody. And we will keep doing our best for the silver fern." Nine out of the competition's 24 races have now been decided, and the next five races will take place at Sundbyholm racetrack in Eskilstuna.   by Michael Guerin   Leaderboard 1.Ulf Ohlsson (Sweden) – 76.5 2. Eirik Hoitomt (Norway) – 74 3. Matthew Williamson (New Zealand) – 72.5 4. Rick Ebbinge (The Netherlands) – 72 5. Mika Forss (Finland) – 67 6. Doug McNair (Canada) – 64.5 T7. Michael Nimczyk (Germany) – 64 T7. Franck Nivard (France) – 64 9. James MacDonald (Canada/ITA) – 62 10. Yannick Gingras (USA) – 61.5 11. Rodney Gatt (Malta) – 58 12. Todd McCarthy (Australia) – 49  

With Monday's third leg at Lindesberg completed, the harness racing World Drivers Championship will continue on Tuesday (May 28) and Wednesday (May 29), concluding on Friday (May 31).   The leaders after the third leg are shown below with Ulf Ohlsson still leading:   1.Ulf Ohlsson (Sweden) – 76.5 2. Eirik Hoitomt (Norway) – 74 3. Matthew Williamson (New Zealand) – 72.5 4. Rick Ebbinge (The Netherlands) – 72 5. Mika Forss (Finland) – 67 6. Doug McNair (Canada) – 64.5 T7. Michael Nimczyk (Germany) – 64 T7. Franck Nivard (France) – 64 9. James MacDonald (Canada/ITA) – 62 10. Yannick Gingras (USA) – 61.5 11. Rodney Gatt (Malta) – 58 12. Todd McCarthy (Australia) – 49   The Monday race winners at Lindesberg were as follows:   R2 Klocksve Sprinten (Doug McNair) in coldblood race over Nivard and Ohlsson R4 Anne (Rodney Gatt) in mares races over Matthew Williamson and Todd McCarthy R5 Ior Tooma (Matthew Williamson) over Gingras and Forss R7 You To Neat (Doug McNair) over Nimczyk and Ohlsson R8 Deede Star (Eirik Hoitomt) over Ebbinge and Nimczyk   Thomas H. Hicks

Champion reinsman Tony Herlihy is willing to swap one of the greatest milestones in New Zealand racing history for a Harness Jewels win this weekend. But he admits he might struggle to get either. Herlihy took his record total of domestic driving wins to 3497 when Gambit won at Alexandra Park on Friday night, meaning he is a good night at the office away from becoming the first driver or jockey in this country to 3500 wins. While 3500 is hardly a number that roles off the tongue, every winner Herlihy drives is a new record as Maurice McKendry, who sits next to Herlihy in the Alexandra Park drivers room almost every week, is the only other horseperson to partner over 3000 winners here. Ricky May is the next reinsman honing in on the number, with 2913 domestic wins in his career and with Dexter Dunn driving so successfully in North America, it could be a long time before anybody in either code threatens Herlihy's numbers. David Walsh holds the record for a jockey with 2451 victories. But Herlihy could end the weekend still stuck on 3497 as he won't drive at Alexandra Park this Friday night because he will be in Christchurch preparing stable reps Tickle Me Pink and Bolt For Brilliance for the Jewels on Saturday. Bolt For Brilliance is already in Canterbury and won well enough at the Addington trials on Saturday to suggest he is not the worst chance in the juvenile trot but Tickle Me Pink is the second favourite for the 3-year-old trot and has been one of the comeback stories of the season. Her week has not gone to plan though, as she was one of 11 horses whose flight from Auckland to Christchurch has been delayed by fog in Canterbury, but with the weather there changing, all the horses are expected to make it to Jewels day. Herlihy warns if the worst happened and the flight can't make it, Tickle Me Pink wouldn't be risked travelling down by road. "It is too late for that, so we are sticking with the plane to get her down, but it sounds like they will get them here," Herlihy said last night. While Tickle Me Pink has won three Alexandra Park races in impressive fashion since returning from a nine-month break, Herlihy doubts she can beat the best version of Enhance Your Calm should he turn up on Saturday. "He is a bit of beast and unless he galloped and lost quite a bit of ground, he might be too good for all of us," says Herlihy. "But our filly has a touch of class and is racing really well. I am very proud of what she has achieved in basically a month of racing after coming back from such a long break." As for the hitherto unreached 3500 wins, Herlihy didn't even know he was that close until informed on Friday night and knows milestones are impossible to plan. "The last time I knew one was coming up was the 3000-win one and the family came to the races a couple of weeks in a row to be there for it and I didn't drive any winners," he laughs. "So it will happen when it happens, but it will still be a nice number to get to." Now 60, Herlihy is still driving as well as ever but not as often. He rarely drives in New Zealand outside of Alexandra Park, Addington and the better Cambridge meetings, often handing the latter opportunities to stable No2 Tony Cameron. And considering it has taken him over eight years to get from 3000 to the brink of 3500, he isn't even entertaining making it to 4000 domestic career wins, which could mean driving until he was 70. "I don't think I'll be doing that, although I am a very young 60," he says with his customary giggle.   Michael Guerin

The 27.8/1 odds Dijon (6m Ganymede-Sonate d’Aunou-Coktail Jet) with Romain Derieux up for owner Mauricette De Sousa led gate to wire to victory in the Elitloppet harness racing final (3,000,000SEK first prize) timed in 1.10.3kr (fractions 1.08.1kr at the 500 meter mark and 1.09.9kr at the 1000).   He was off quickly and first from five post, placing second elim winner and favorite Aubrion du Gers (9g Memphis du Rib-J’Arrive du Gers-Baccarat du Pont) in the pocket.   Aubrion, handled by Jos, Verbeeck, vacated the pocket to avoid congestion, to follow Propulsion (8m Muscle Hill-Danae-Andover Hall) and he was shuffled some six lengths from Dijon when Propulsion, reined by Orjan Kihlstrom, stalled on the backstretch, necessitating a three-wide move. Aubrion rallied gamely in the lane finishing a diminishing second by a neck at the line.   ATG, photos   Makethemark (6m Maharajah-Global Naughty-Conway Hall) and pilot Ulf Ohlsson finished third after a good trip on the pegs. Propulsion lasted for fourth and Milliondollarrhyme was fifth for Fredrik B. Larsson. The race was marred when then co-favorite Readly Express was a late scratch lame.   It was also quite obvious that the winning Dijon was pacing the final two strides but there was no inquiry.   Dijon won for 13 time in a 50 race career and now has earnings of 10,739,454SEK.   In elimination one (250,000SEK to the winner, 1609 meters autostart, eight starters) Readly Express (7m Ready Cash-Caddie Dream-Viking Kronos) scored in a rated 1.10.2kr for driver Bjorn Goop and trainer Timo Nurmos. Fractions were 1.08.4kr at the first 500 meters and 1.11.7kr at the 1000. Readly Express led throughout to score by a length over Makethemark and Looking Superb (6m Orlando Vici-Classical Pine-Silver Pine), that Ake Svanstedt drove for trainer Jean Michel Bazire.   Readly Express wins elim one   This one pressed the front from off the final bend and could not advance late in the lane.   Elim two had favored Aubrion du Gers as a front-end winner from post one for Jos. Verbeeck and owner/trainer Jean-Michel Bazire.   The victory was his 16 th in a row and 46 th for the career, and he was clocked in a rated 1.10.2kr (1.10.5kr at the 500; 1.10.7kr at the 1000 meter mark).   Aubrion du Gers takes elim two   When Verbeeck pulled the plugs late in the final bend he opened a three-length advantage and cruised home. Propulsion held second for Orjan Kihlstrom and Dijon rallied late for third driven by his trainer Romain Derieux.   As stated above, Readly Express was scratched lame just prior to the final and paraded before the fans, perhaps for a final time.   Thomas H. Hicks

Three Southland Harness Jewels runners shared their final hit out in the same race at Ascot Park today with Robyns Playboy beating Rockabilly Blues and Mighty Flying Art finishing fourth. Robyns Playboy was scratched at Gore last Saturday after he was kicked on the leg by stablemate Hans Ideal the Tuesday before the races. Gore was supposed to have been his last run before the Jewels. “If he’d run at Gore I wouldn’t have come here. Very happy with the run and he showed a bit of ticker. He didn’t blow and he surprises you with how fit he is when you think he needs the run,” said trainer Ross Wilson. In today’s Cruickshank Pryde Mobile Pace over 2200 metres driver Craig Ferguson slotted Robyns Playboy into the one one before he took him to the front with a lap to run. He held on to beat Rockabilly Blues by half a length, running the journey in 2-42.5 with Nota Bene Denario nabbing Mighty Flying Art by a nose for third. Winning smile                            - Photo Bruce Stewart  Consequently it’s straight into the Jewels on Saturday at Addington for him where he’s drawn two on the front row. “In the perfect world he’d hop in behind Heisenburg (drawn one) and sit two or three back on the fence all the way. This is going to be a different kettle of fish for him. They’re going to go a 1-53 mile rate which he’s never done before.” Mighty Flying Art’s trainer Murray Brown wasn’t overly happy with his charge’s performance. “Not really. He was travelling real good and then he dropped the bit. When that other horse (Robyns Playboy) went up to take the lead he wanted to go. Brent took a hold of him and he dropped the bit and let him go. He’s done it before. He went in a bit fresh so we’re hoping he won’t do it next start,” Brown said.   Meanwhile Winton mare Rockabilly Blues received a kick by Clerk of the Course horse Vi Et Animo when she was returning to the birdcage. Rockabilly Blues has a dislike of the on-course speakers and she swung round when coming down the lane leading into the birdcage. Clerk of the Course Sally McKay came up to assist and her horse kicked Rockabilly Blues just above the knee, causing it to bleed. The mare’s leg will be monitored over the next few days and it’s hoped she can take her place in the Four Year Old Diamond this Saturday at Addington. Another Jewels runner Wee Man Trouble capped off his preparation with a win at Ascot Park today. The four year old added to his 20 metre handicap when he broke with 2300 metres to run. He regained his gait and stormed home down the middle of the track to win easily by three and a quarter lengths for driver Blair Orange. Wee Man Trouble winning for Blair Orange                - Photo Bruce Stewart. Other winners on the day included Sounds Bettor for Geoff and Jude Knight, Melton Mafia for trainers Gordon and Colin Lee, Sherry Baby for junior driver Kerryn Tomlinson, No More Change for Jamie Campbell and trainer Craig Ferguson and Bettor Rock Again for Ray and Tracee Faithful.   Bruce Stewart

The stars come out at Sweden’s Elitloppet weekend, a glittering two-day occasion packed with quality harness racing, featuring the best trotters in the world. It is also the showcase for the world’s best sires with no less than 80 international stallions having runners in the feature races on both days. Super sires Muscle Hill from the US with 14 representatives, and French trio  Love You (10),  Orlando Vici  (9) and  Ready Cash (8), are the big four when it comes to the feature events, highlighted by the international Elitloppet and Sweden Cup, run in same day heats and final over a mile. Muscle Hill, Orlando Vici and Ready Cash all have two representatives in the Elitloppet itself while Love You has one. French sire Orlando Vici is the only stallion to have two horses in both the Elitloppet and the Sweden Cup, the so-called Mini-Elitloppet, which is the highlight of the first day’s racing. Sweden’s home grown stallions Maharajah, (6), Raja Mirchi (5) and veteran From Above (4), who won the 2003 Elitloppet, also feature prominently, with Maharajah having a runner in both main events and both Raja Mirchi and From Above having two runners in the Sweden Cup, while Italian supersire and former Elitloppet champion Varenne  (5) also has two horses in the Sweden Cup. Veteran US-bred former Hambletonian winner Scarlet Knight (5) who was a heat winner and placed third twice in three Elitloppet attempts, has one horse in the Elitloppet and two in the Sweden Cup. The first day features the five divisions of the Sweden’s elite class trotters and the nation’s top mares division.  International trotters supplement the Lady Snarts race for mares, and Sweden’s biggest staying race, the Harper Hanovers where the trotters often go faster than the pacers do in the equivalent distance NZ Trotting Cup, while headlining day one is the Sweden Cup. Day two features international age groups racing, from three to five years old, an elite monte, and of course the big race itself, the Elitloppet, in two heats and a final over a mile. Stallions with more than a single representative in Elitlopett weekend feature races (origin and total in brackets) include; Muscle Hill (US) (14), Love You  (FRA) (10),  Orlando Vici (FRA)  (9),  Ready Cash (FRA) (8), Maharajah (SWE) (6), Raja Mirchi (SWE) (5) Scarlet Knight (US) (5) Varenne (IT) (5) Andover Hall (US) (4), From Above (SWE) (4), Donato Hanover (US) (4), Pastor Stephen (US) (4), Pine Chip (US)  (4)  Quite Easy (US) (3)  Cantab Hall (US) (3)n Make it Happen (US) (3) Yakee Glide (US) (3) Gift Kronos (IT) (3) Yankee Glide (US) (2) Going Kronos (IT) (2) Googoo Gaagaa (US) (2) Citation Lindy (US) (2) Joke Face (SWE) (2) Lexus Font (IT) (2) Muscles Yankee (US) (2) Prodigious (FRA) (2) Quick Wood (FRA) (2) Scipion du Goutier (FRA) (2) SJ's Caviar (US) (2) Explosive Matter (US) (2).    

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