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By Jonny Turner    Much has changed for the re-running of the group 3 Central Otago Trotting Cup at Wyndham today. The Central Otago Trotting Club feature at Omakau on January 2 was called off when leading driver Ricky May collapsed after suffering a medical event in its early stages. May was revived after the falling to the track from his sulky and then airlifted to Dunedin Hospital. He was subsequently transferred to Christchurch Hospital. The race has undergone significant changes with withdrawals and additions to the field that will compete over 2400m at its temporary venue. But those changes pale into insignificance when compared with the change May has gone through since the incident on January 2. The champion driver has made excellent progress and has returned to his Methven home. Canterbury driver Jonny Cox gets the chance to reunite with Nandolo, who he could not drive earlier this month because of suspension. Though Cox is glad to get back behind the John Howe-trained pacer, he wishes it was under different circumstances. “You never like to see anything like that happen to anyone. The main thing is Ricky is doing well.” Cox was behind Nandolo when he was beaten by his main rival, Heisenberg, in last month’s Ashburton Cup. Howe said after the race Nandolo may not have been at his best for the 3200m race and Cox agrees. “The horse had raced right through New Zealand Cup week and ‘‘Coaster’’ [Howe] was trying to look after him after he had had a lot of hard racing. “He was probably not quite ready for Ashburton and he did have quite a good blow after it. ‘‘He should be right up to the mark now.” Heisenberg looks the toughest horse for Nandolo to beat. Nandolo’s task to win looks easier now as A G’s White Socks, Vintage Cheddar and Jazzy Star are not starting in the re-run. Swamp Major and Franco Santino return alongside Nandolo and Heisenberg. Mach’s Back, Lawrence, Kilowatt Kid and Robyns Play have joined the field. The withdrawal of several high-class opponents does not mean Cox will look to dominate the race with Nandolo. “He is not that great in front. He knocks off a bit and you have to keep tapping him along. “He has got a lot of speed and if we were able to slot him in somewhere that could be his best chance.” Heisenberg was the early leader of the race at Omakau before he handed the front to A G’s White Socks. The 4yr-old led in his strong Ashburton Cup win and he looks the likely leader again today. Bookmakers opened Nandolo the $2.90 favourite for the Central Otago Cup when the fixed-odds market opened yesterday. The pacer was quickly backed in to $2.20. Heisenberg also received support, moving from $3.20 to $2.70. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

Boom Kiwi and favourite for Saturday night's feature, Self Assured, is facing a very tricky return to Australia. The outstanding pacer, who many rate the most talented pacer in Australasia, drew the inside of the second line in the PETstock Ballarat Pacing Cup, the one draw co-trainer Mark Purdon didn’t want for the 2710m mobile Group 1. “That makes it tricky and we will have to look at our options at the start,” Purdon said. Those options look limited as Self Assured follows out two stablemates from the Emma Stewart team in Tam Major and The Storm Inside and if Purdon, driving Self Assured, elects to try his luck sticking to the inside early he isn’t likely to get many favours. So the punters who take the short odds are probably betting on him going back to near last to get into the running line. That could potentially leave him vulnerable to rivals who may not be as good, including his own stablemate Chase Auckland, but could get more economical trips. Chase Auckland has drawn barrier four (after emergencies) with fellow Kiwi pacer A G’s White Socks at barrier three and the three New Zealanders dominate the market. “Chase Auckland has come through last Friday (Cambridge) really well but Self Assured would still be our best chance this Saturday,” says Purdon. Former New Zealand Cup winner Thefixer has been allowed to miss this week’s race after casting a shoe in the Flying Mile and will instead target the Casey Classic on Saturday week as his lead-up to the Hunter Cup on February 1. South Auckland pacer Triple Eight is now also set to cross the Tasman to contest those same two races. Purdon’s Victoria Derby hope Smooth Deal has an awkward draw but will still start favourite in Saturday’s strongest heat of the Victoria Derby, where he meets Bad To The Bone and Line Up as well as last season’s Aussie juvenile star Be Happy Mach. They all need a top four finish to qualify for the final at Melton the following Saturday. Purdon is now also the caretaker trainer for Stylish Memphis who contests a Victoria Oaks heat this Saturday night. Oscar Bonavena was the only trotter from the All Stars stable to make the trip across the Tasman and races at Melton the following two Saturdays.   by Michael Guerin

Dexter Dunn wins 7 races at The Meadowlands on Saturday night.   Superstar Down Under harness racing Driver Dexter Dunn who was recently crowned United States Harness Writers Association's Driver of the Year produces an amazing night of driving to win 7 races. Just one win off equalling the all-time record for amount of wins at The Meadowlands in a single night of racing.   He won race 1 and 2 and then from race 5 went on to win 5 races in a row.   Two of his winners were on former down under horses. The first being Italian Delight N who paced his winning mile fresh up in 1:50.1 in a $16,000 pace.   “The feel he give me I think he can have a pretty good winter”, Dunn said of Italian Delight N.   Another former Down Under pacer, Effronte A was also among Dunns 7 wins. Effronte A won the $16,000 Pace in a very strong mile time of 1:48.3, making him the fastest pacer in 2020 to date.   Another highlight of the winners was aboard trotter JL Cruze who was successful in the $15,000 Trot in a time of 1:51.2. JL Cruze is a quality square gaiter who was the first ever trotter in Meadowlands history to break 1:50 for a mile.   The remainder of Dunns wins were on Willie Boots in 1:52.2, Major Omen in 1:50.2, Harambe Deo in 1:50.2 and Hurrikane Ali in 1:51.2.   Tuesday 7 th January Yonkers Raceway NY Milliondollargem A – Time: 1:55.1, Stake: $14,500     Wednesday 8 th January Dover Downs DE Flashazz N – Time: 1:56.3, Stake: $14,000 Soho Burning Love A – Time: 1:52.2, Stake: $16,000 Lucky Artist A – Time: 1:53.4, Stake: $7,500     Thursday 9 th January Dover Downs DE Robbie Burns N – Time: 1:52.0, Stake: $7,500 Kasey John A – Time: 1:51.0, Stake: $16,000 Mister Ohanzee A – Time: 1:51.3, Stake: $16,000 Bigonpersonality N – Time: 1:51.1, Stake: $14,500   Freehold Raceway NJ Ginger Spice N – Time: 2:00.3, Stake: $4,200   Yonkers Raceway NY Jewel Lehigh A – Time: 1:55.4, Stake: $14,500 Donegal Rundlescreek N – Time: 1:56.2, Stake: $17,000     Friday 10 th January Miami Valley Raceway OH Eliza Dushku N – Time: 1:53.2, Stake: $24,000   The Meadows PA Poacher N – Time: 1:54.2, Stake: $9,000   Yonkers Raceway NY Kimani N – Time: 1:54.0, Stake: $17,000 Rockin The Boys A – Time: 1:53.2, Stake: $20,000 The Charging Moa A – Time: 1:53.1, Stake: $27,000   Woodbine Mohawk Park CA Lady Rocknrolla A – Time: 1:55.4, Stake: $16,000     Saturday 11 th January Freehold Raceway NJ Executive Dash N – Time: 1:54.2, Stake: $6,300 Polak A – Time: 1:52.0, Stake: $12,000   Meadowlands NJ Italian Delight N – Time: 1:50.1, Stake: $16,000 Effronte A – Time: 1:48.3, Stake: $16,000   Miami Valley Raceway OH Persistent Threat A – Time: 1:54.1, Stake: $20,000   Yonkers Raceway NY American Boy N – Time: 1:52.4, Stake: $20,000 Soho Lennon A – Time: 1:52.2, Stake: $20,000 Ourlittlegeneral A – Time: 1:53.2, Stake: $22,000   Woodbine Mohawk Park CA Sly Eleanor N – Time: 1:55.1, Stake: $16,000 High Rolling A – Time: 1:55.0, Stake: $20,000     Sunday 12 th January Flamboro Downs CA   Uncle Ben N – Time: 1:56.2, Stake: $5,000     Previous weeks 7th January 2020 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 24th December 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 17th December 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 10th December 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 3rd December 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 26th November 2019 + Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 19th November 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 12th November 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 5th of Nov 2019 + Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 29th October 2019 + Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 22nd October 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 15th October 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 8th October 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 1st October 2019 - Down Under Winners with Carter Dalgety 24th Sep 2019 - Down Under Winners with Carter Dalgety 17th Sep 2019 - Down Under Winners with Carter Dalgety 11th Sep 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 3rd Sep 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 27th Aug 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 20th Aug 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 12th Aug 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 5th Aug 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 29 Jul 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 24 Jul 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety   Carter Dalgety        

A century of harness racing in Marlborough will be celebrated at Waterlea Racecourse on Friday and Sunday. The Marlborough Harness Racing Club’s annual two-day summer meeting will mark the commencement of harness racing at the Waterlea venue 100 years ago. The inaugural meeting at Waterlea took place on Friday, March 12 1920. Since 1920, trials, OTB (owners, trainers and breeders) and tote meetings have been held at the central Blenheim location. The only exception came during World War 2 when no meetings were held between 1939 and 1945. The Marlborough area has facilitated horse racing for more than 150 years. The current Marlborough Trotting/Harness Racing Club commenced operations at the Riverlands course in February 1913 and raced there until the final meeting in 1919 when the action moved to Blenheim. The Waterlea course opened in 1920, with the first thoroughbred meeting held on March 10 and the historic trotting meeting two days later. Trotting races have been included on the card at many of the thoroughbred meetings held in the ensuing century, although not every season. Waterlea soon developed as a spectator-friendly venue. A new members and stewards stand was completed in 1977 with the public stand being developed in the late 1980s. The Waterlea grass track is utilised by both racing codes with an all-weather harness track becoming operational from December, 1981. Read the full story here   Courtesy of The Marlborough Weekly

NOT only is classy Kiwi three-year-old Smooth Deal in by far the strongest Victoria Derby heat, but he’s also got a wide draw to overcome. Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen’s lone Derby contender has drawn gate six, second from the outside, in a heat which also boasts prepost Derby favourite Be Happy Mach (gate 10), other Kiwis Line Up (gate 3) and Bad To The Bone (nine), along with classy former Kiwi Virgil (five) and Emma Stewart’s pair Mach Dan (one) and Carlas Mach (two). Remembering the three Derby heats at Ballarat on Saturday night, mean only the first four home are guaranteed a spot in the final at Melton a week later. There’s loads of speed underneath Smooth Deal, but if Purdon goes back he will be behind main dangers like Be Happy Mach and Bad To The Bone. The key runners in the first Derby heat are Emma Stewart’s Pacifico Dream (gate seven), the regally-bred and very exciting Soho Hamilton (nine) and emerging Youaremy Sunshine (10). Exciting Queenslander Governor Jujon, a sparkling Group 2 Menangle winner last outing, holds the key from gate two in the second Derby heat. Other key runners are Stewart’s Gee Smith (one), Yejele Hammer (three), Mirragon (six) and Anthony Butt’s former Kiwi Perfect Stride (seven). It is a similar story with star NZ filly Stylish Memphis in her heat of the Victoria. Purdon confirmed he would be driving and looking after the filly for Mark Jones in Victoria, but she has a wide draw (gate six) to overcome in the first Oaks heats. Stylish Memphis is drawn outside another Kiwi, Cran Dalgety’s Dr Susan, who sparkled winning at Group 2 level at Menangle last Saturday and packs plenty of gate speed. One of Emma Stewart’s top Oaks hopefuls, Amelia Rose, has drawn the pole in that heat, but races better with a sit. The other key runners in the heat are Stewart’s emerging and speedy Shesskylah and Adam Kelly’s classy and in-form Alice Kay, but they’ve drawn the back in gates 10 and 11 respectively. Like the Derby, the Oaks heats go to the staying test of 2710m this year so that’ll test lots of the fillies who would never have been tested at the distance. Stewart rates last season’s star juvenile Maajida here best Oaks hope and she’s drawn gate six in the second heat where the major rivals look to be stablemates Jemstone (eight) and Treasure (10). There are only two heats of the Oaks. ___________________________________________________________________________________ SURPRISINGLY, there isn’t a Kiwi in sight in the feature trot at Ballarat on Saturday night. The Kiwis raiders are all waiting another week for the Group 1 Dullard Cup at Melton and another week later, the Group 1 Great Southern Star, also at Melton. So Aussie star Tornado Valley looks the one to beat at Ballarat despite drawing the back row (gate nine) and not being able use his blazing gate speed in the Group 2 Cochran Trotters’ Cup (2200m). Last year’s Great Southern Star winner, Dance Craze (gate eight), and former star juvenile Wobelee (10), are the other key runners.   by Adam Hamilton

By Jonny Turner    West Melton mare Miss Mucho can help continue the mid season momentum of her trainer Tony Barron at Timaru today. Miss Mucho and Sheree Tomlinson will attempt to repeat the impressive win they combined for at Omakau in a competitive junior driver’s event. The 4yr-old fired up her trainer’s season when powering away from her maiden rivals to win by nearly five lengths at Omakau. The victory was Barron’s first for the season and came with just his 11th starter. The West Melton trainer has had a quiet start to this term, but it has clearly about to heat up. “We haven’t lined up many, mostly because we have been working on quite a few young ones,” Barron said. “It’ll be good to line a few of them up, but I am looking forward to next season even more, to be honest.” Tomlinson gave Miss Mucho a brilliant steer at Omakau, keeping her out of a hectic early pace before letting her charge home to win. Barron is hoping the reinswoman can produce more of the same in today’s 2600m mobile. “It was a great drive by Sheree at Omakau, the way she stayed out of the early speed.” “If they go hard she will be able to do the same at Timaru, but she is a pretty adaptable mare.” “So, if she needs to she will be able to get around them.” Barron hopes Miss Mucho can score a penalty free win in today’s race to help the mare’s progress. “It would be great to pick up a free one, it would just make it a bit easier on her.” “I might look at bringing her down south after this for a crack at the Robin Dundee Crown.” Miss Mucho will need to work to notch a penalty free win, judging by the quality of today’s field. Talented pacers Burlington, Kensington Bill and Firenze Amore are among the line up. Barron also lines up Matau Meg in race 2 and Glassy Web in race 5. Both have their share of ability, but must overcome horror second row draws. Matau Meg, who starts from barrier 13, went a sound race for third behind Lucys Delight in her last start at Omakau from barrier 1. Glassy Web will be worse off when he starts from barrier 14 following his seventh behind Itz All Down To Luck at Omakau. Talented 4yr-old Pressed For Time must overcome a 30m handicap to win race 6, today’s feature pace. The Tom Bagrie trained mare bolted in in her first start since winning last season’s Southland Oaks final at Rangiora, earlier this month. Pressed For Time’s task in today’s race has been made a little easier with the scratching of her main rival, Just Holla. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

The riches-laden racing record of Princess Tiffany is set to be added to over the next month or so with the Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen trained mare making her first appearance this time in at Rangiora trials on Tuesday. While the trial win (the daughter of Art Major won well in an overall time of 2.29.9 over the 2000m mobile) had its usual class about it more pressing matters will be foremost in her connections minds as they plot their way towards Group racing success in both New Zealand and Australia. Immediate racing options for Princess Tiffany would seem abundant but also come with a catch as the Group 1 Breeders Stakes at Addington on February the 14th, itself a fine race to compete in and potentially win, clashes ever-so-closely with two Ladyship Mile lead-in races on Australian turf with those races all but promising Ladyship Mile starts to those finishing within the top three. The Breeders Stakes offers that carrot only for the horse first across the line.. A betting man could offer a compromise of a bob-each-way with Princess Tiffany competing at Addington and, if missing out on that prize, flying the Tasman for a tilt at The Robin Dundee on the 22nd the following week although that would seem a stern examination of the horses ability to have three major races (if you include the then following Ladyship Mile) in a little over two weeks and would be highly dependent on logistics falling into place. As things are it would seem a bounty of sorts awaits whatever racing schedule is decided and with Princess Tiffany's NSW and Queensland Oaks wins no doubt fresh in the memory bank you couldn't blame connections demanding a continued assault on group racing features on Australian soil. Buyers at the 2020 National Standardbred Yearling Sale can snare a little of the Princess Tiffany factor for themselves in the form of "Miki Diamonds" who is being offered by Breckon Farms. The colt ,lot 103 , is by Always B Miki and is a 1/2 brother to both Princess Tiffany and Rock Diamonds (22 wins) with first dam Dancing Diamonds being a NZ Yearling Sales Championship Final winner herself. The maternal line and wider family has produced wonderful racetrack results of late and include Sir Major Stride, 1.55.1 pacer Code Red and the Golden Slipper winner of 2010 in the form of Ohoka's Bondy. To say it's a family of winners would be understating it by some margin. by Ben Mcmillan, for Harnesslink    

.MARK Purdon has plenty of thinking to do. Emerging star Self Assured is the best horse in Saturday night’s Group 1 Ballarat Cup, but he’s drawn the trickiest barrier – inside the back row (gate eight). He’s already drifted from $2.50 opening price to $2.60 with the Aussie TAB. Self Assured is one of two runners Purdon and Rasmussen have in their quest for a fifth successive Ballarat Cup win. Smolda won in 2016 &17, Heaven Rocks in 2018 and Thefixer last year. Purdon will drive Self Assured with Rasmussen aboard last-start brilliant Cambridge winner Chase Auckland (gate five, $5). Purdon’s big decision is whether to stay on the inside and risk being pocketed, or snag right back at the start and give away a huge head start to his rivals. The other Kiwi raider, dual Auckland Inter Dominion heat winner AG’s White Socks, is drawn to use his gate speed and possibly lead from gate four. He’s firmed from $5 to $4.60. Australia’s top trainer Emma Stewart has four of the 12 runners – Tam Major (gate one, $15), The Storm Inside (two, $6), Demon Delight (six, $18) and Phoenix Prince (nine, $13) – as well as the emergency, Somewhere Secret (gate three, $71). “It’s great to have such a strong hand in our hometown Cup and all of them are at the top of their game,” Stewart said. “Put a line through The Storm Inside’s Bendigo Cup run. He’s raring to go again, and Phoenix Prince is flying.” Tim Butt’s former Miracle Mile winner My Field Marshal is a surprise Ballarat Cup runner after WA Cup plans were shelved because of ongoing plane issues. He’s a $21 shot from a horror outside back row draw (13).   BALLARAT CUP DRAW Front row Tam Major $15 The Storm Inside $6 Somewhere Secret (emerg, $71) AG’s White Socks $4.60 Chase Auckland $5 Demon Delight $18 Idealsomemagic $101 Back row Self Assured $2.60 Phoenix Prince $13 Code Bailey $11 Our Uncle Sam $21 Rackemup Tigerpie $151 My Field Marshal $21   By Adam Hamilton

By Jonny Turner    Some brilliant home straight maneuvering from Robbie Close helped Bringitonhome head a track record breaking quinella for trainer Regan Todd at Nelson on Sunday. The 6yr-old unleashed a powerful finish after Close negotiated a passage out of a horror spot on the home bend to help Bringitonhome run down his stablemate Taxman and win in a sizzling mile (1609m) time of 1-52.2. Todd was full of praise for Close’s home straight handywork that guided Bringitonhome through the tightest of gaps. “It was a great drive by Robbie to get him through those gaps,” Todd said. Though he was beaten by more than a length, Todd rated Taxman’s effort to run second in the race’s hot time just as good as the winner. “They both went great – Taxman went just as good as the winner after doing a lot of work in the race.” “I was rapt with both of them.” The chance to race middle grade pacers off level marks in Sunday’s mile feature was a key to Bringitonhome scoring his first win since April of last year. “It was a really good opportunity to race those kind of horses off level marks,” Todd said. “He had raced in some pretty good fields through the cup carnival and that race was probably a bit easier than them.” “If there were more of those kind of races people might be able to keep more of the horses in that grade.” Bringitonhome and Taxman are likely to take different paths out of Sunday’s feature. Neither will return to the top of the South Island for this weekend’s Marlborough meeting. Bringitonhome could contest the Invercargill Cup later this month. Taxman will stick to mobile racing and head to the upcoming premier night at Addington. “I will discuss it with the owners, but Bringitonhome could go to the Invercargill Cup.” “It might just depend on what handicap he will be off.” The track record Bringitonhome broke lasted just two races. Earlier on Sunday, Marlborough battler Sonic Reign seriously upgraded his resume with a booming 1-53.9 mile (1609m) win in rating 40-45 company. Driver Tim Williams sat the Kevin Musso trained 5yr-old off a strong speed set up by Barkley and All Nuts N Bolts, before launching his winning run before the home turn. Todd will have two runners in his form hometown of Wyndham on Thursday. Seamark will attempt to go one better than his second on debut at Omakau. Swamp Major will contest the rerunning of the Central Otago Cup.  Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Garrick Knight    It’s been a frustrating season for Mike Berger and Matty White as they dealt with setback after setback with their stable star, Eagle Watch. The sophomore colt was far too good for his opponents at Cambridge on Saturday, clearing out to win easily in the hands of Todd Mitchell. It was one of two winners at the meeting for the partnership after Carse O Fern Tom opened the day’s racing with a maiden victory. It was only the second start of the season for Eagle Watch, who raced in the both the Sires Stakes Final and Jewels at Addington late last season. “We thought he’d be ready to go in October, but got quite a bad virus and it took him a while to get over it,” said Berger. “Once we finished with that idea, he had some niggly growing pain-type issues which meant we had to back off him. “Nothing major at all, just a sore back and that type of thing. “But we seem to be on top of all that now so fingers crossed.” Berger was grumpy at being penalised 8 points for what was a very cheap race on his home track and says he and White will be taking a “casual approach” to Eagle Watch’s racing for the rest of the season. “We’ll potter around and see if he can earn enough to make the Jewels again. “I’d like to think he’s good enough to win a couple more quickly, but he’ll shoot right up the grades and then have to race the best horses. “His future is probably not in New Zealand unfortunately. It’s bloody hard going here for three-year-olds. “He’s just a touch behind the top ones but is a good, honest, genuine little pacer.” Carse O Fern Tom was one of two winners from the first, small (16) crop of Highview Tommy on the card, the other being the Jeremy Young-trained Tommy Tukaa. “He’s the only one I’ve had by the sire, but I’ve just broken in the yearling full sister and tipped her out. “He probably hasn’t had a lot of opportunity because there are so few foals. “This fella is a little bit stronger than last season. He was big, rangy and weak and wasn’t quite there. “But he can cope with it a bit better this time. Certainly lacks a bit of speed but it won’t be his last win.” Luke Whittaker did the driving with White on the sideline after his nasty spill six days prior and Berger speaks highly of his soon-to-be new employee. “In another week he’ll be joining us; he’s just gone home for a week to celebrate his father’s 60th birthday. “He was actually having two weeks off between jobs but was good enough to come and help us last week when Matty ended up in hospital. “He went above and beyond. Nothing was an issue. One day he was there for nine hours and just kept trucking. “We had trouble keeping up with him.” It was very much a team effort, Berger reckoned, with White incapacitated. “We had a few people come in and lend a hand including Matty’s dad, Les, Tony Hamblin and Kevin Dysart. “We were pretty focussed on getting some results for Matty more than anything, so we were happy with how the weekend’s racing panned out.” Berger doesn’t know how long it will be before his training partner returns to active duty. “I’ve really got no idea and I don’t think he knows himself. “He certainly won’t be able to get in the cart for a while. He came down yesterday morning and was walking pretty crooked. “He won’t be liking it either, because he’s not the kind of person to sit around doing nothing.” Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - The hottest name in harness racing these days is Dexter Dunn, and the recently named United States Harness Writers Association's Driver of the Year lived up to his considerable current hype at the Meadowlands Saturday night, winning seven times on the 14-race program, falling just one victory short of tying the mark for most wins on a Big M program. Dunn was red-hot from the start sweeping the Early Daily Double that paid $24.20. The 30-year-old New Zealand native then turned up the volume to "10" by winning five straight races beginning in Race 5. Among those winners were JL Cruze, the first-ever sub-1:50 trotter in Meadowlands history, and a pair of Down Under pacers from Darren Cassar's barn.  The first was Italian Delight N, who flew home off cover to take the sixth race before Effronte A, a 7-year-old gelded son of Rock N Roll Heaven-Fleur De Lil, exploded home in :25.4 after a cover trip to win in 1:48.3, the fastest mile of the year in the sport. Dunn's final two wins were of the close-call variety, as he scored with Harambe Deo in the featured high-range conditioned pace, barely edging out Eddard Hanover, who came back along the inside very late after being passed in deep stretch. In the next race, Dunn and Hurrikane Ali got passed by Whatstroublnurocky only to come back nearing the wire and score by a small neck to give Dunn his seven-bagger. "JL Cruze was great," said Dunn. "I was really happy with the way he trotted tonight. He was very smooth. Effronte A was awesome. He got a really good trip. When I asked him halfway down the straight, he knuckled down and was really motoring." Here is a recap of Dunn’s winners, with horse, winning time, post-time odds (*-denotes favorite) and race conditions: ·         Willie Boots, 1:52.1, 9-5*, TrackMaster rating of 79.5 or less pace ·         A Major Omen, 1:50.2, 7-2, 5YO and under NW of 2 pace ·         JL Cruze, 1:51.2, 3-5*, NW of $15,000 trot ·         Italian Delight N, 1:50.1, 9-5*, NW of $10,000 pace ·         Effronte A, 1:48.3, 6-5*, NW of $10,000 pace ·         Harambe Deo, 1:50.2, 7-5*, NW of $22,500 pace ·         Hurrikane Ali, 1:51.2, 7-2, TrackMaster rating of 79.5 or less pace “I was not aware,” said Dunn if he knew about how close he was to making Meadowlands history. “I had some good drives, but it doesn’t always work out. I got some good trips and my horses raced really well tonight.” In Race 11, it appeared Dunn had the record tied when he and Rock Lights had a 4-length lead with three-sixteenths of a mile to go. But it wasn't to be. "He just over-raced," said Dunn. "He got down to the half fast (:53.4) and I was trying to get him to go slower, but he was really fired up." Rock Lights weakened and finished third. The record of eight wins on a Meadowlands program is shared by Mike Lachance (July 14, 1995) and Brett Miller (December 16, 2016). The last time a driver had seven on a card was Yannick Gingras, who turned the trick on Feb. 1 of last year. A LITTLE MORE: For those who hit the first 2020 edition of the Can-Am Pick-4 it was a good night, as the payout for the wager with the 20-cent base was $1,413.40. ... The Late 20-cent Jackpot Super High-Five failed to result in a single-ticket winner, bloating the carryover to $105,787. ... All-source handle totaled $2,567,930. ... Racing resumes Friday at 7:15 p.m. by Dave Little, for The Meadowlands    

By Jonny Turner    Course specialist My Eyre will be out to continue his brilliant form at Nelson today after rocking punters there on Friday.  The Margo Nyhan trained squaregaiter took his record to a win and three placings at Richmond Racecourse when capitalising on a nice run handed to him by driver Bob Butt to win at 40 to one odds.  The victory might have caught punters off guard, but it did not come as a total surprise to Nyhan or her partner, driver Peter Davis. “He has always raced good here, he ran second on both days in the summer last year,” Davis said. “He raced good at Reefton in his last start, he usually has a couple of gallops in his first couple of runs back and once he gets that out of his system he is pretty reliable.” “I couldn’t believe the price to be honest.” Overzealous went a good race when fourth behind her stablemate, My Eyre, on Friday after giving him a 30m head start in their 2400m feature handicap. The pair meet again on the same marks, which makes My Eyre the top pick of Nyhan’s pair today.  “Overzealous went super on Friday - she was a bit unlucky - she got held up early in the run home,” Davis said.  “Off 30m you have to drive her for luck again and realistically he is going to get a nice trip again.” “Obviously My Eyre is not going have to go back in the handicaps either.” “Overzealous better than him, but it is just hard enough off 30m for her.” Great Things Happen and One Majic Kenny looks to of hardest horses for My Eyre and Overzealous to beat. Though he only finished 10th on Friday, One Majic Kenny went a huge race after losing a big chunk of ground when galloping at the start. Great Things Happen did well to run sixth after starting from the same 60m handicap he faces today.  Givemewhatineed bounced back to form for Nyhan and Davis when second behind Soundslikeart on Friday. Davis rates the horse the best winning chance of the team he and Nyhan combine with today when he steps out in race 6.  “He has been really frustrating – he went great when John Dunn had him when we were laid up and we were a little weary about how he would be when we got him back.” “He went huge first up for us and we were thrilled.” “But then he has been pretty dismal in between times.” “But his run at Reefton was good and he went pretty good on Friday and I think the horse that beat him does go pretty good.” Nyhan and Davis also combine with Prodigal Pete (race 4) and Bobby’s My Girl (race 9), who will both need to lift from the Friday runs to feature today. Davis has three outside drives at today’s meeting with Speciale Uno looking the strongest winning chance of them when she lines up from barrier 3 in race 1. “She had no show the first way from where she was drawn and it was a pretty nice maiden field.”  “She raced super on the West Coast and the draw will help her.” Fernleigh Colleen also brought good West Coast for to Nelson before going fairly on Friday. The 4yr-old could test her rivals if she bounces back to her prior form in race 3. Scelta Uno went a sound race on Friday and looks a solid each way hope in race 10 for Davis.  Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Garrick Knight    Chase Auckland defied a sustained betting drift to win his second feature pace of the summer, at Cambridge on Friday night. In the hands of his co-trainer, Mark Purdon, Chase Auckland came from last, and was widest on the final bend, to bury his opponents in the $50,000 Group 2 Flying Mile. The race didn’t pan out as most expected with outsider Dance Time, who was drawn the ace, able to hold the lead, meaning the Barry Purdon-trained pair On The Cards and Mach Shard were parked and one-one respectively. While Dance Time finished out of the money, his stablemate, Check In, slipped up the markers to run second at odds of $126, and their stablemates Triple Eight and Step Up rounded out the first four, quite a remarkable result for the Steve Telfer-trained team. But there was no taking away from the winner, who was clearly the best on display. He opened a $3 second favourite on Tuesday, but after a barrage of money for Mach Shard, Chase Auckland drifted out to $4.50. Race favourite Thefixer finished near-last but had an excuse as he cast a shoe during the running. And given his history of feet issues, it’s put his planned Australian campaign in doubt. “It would have happened early on because he didn’t feel that good most of the way,” driver and co-trainer Natalie Rasmussen said on the stable’s website. “It usually would set him back long enough to delay his trip to Australia but we will wait overnight before making any decisions.” “Everything had been going well with him and it’s a shame this has happened.” Chase Auckland will definitely head to Melbourne on Monday, along with pacing stablemates Self Assured, Smooth Deal, Cruz Bromac and Ashley Locaz It was a case ‘same stuff, different day’ for Purdon and Rasmussen – they also won the night’s other feature, the $30,000 Cambridge Flying Stakes, with rising star Oscar Bonavena. He got the perfect one-one passage behind stablemate Winterfell in the six-horse field and, when asked to accelerate by Purdon a furlong out, put the field away comfortably. Massive Metro was brave in second, narrowly ahead of Winterfell, who got caught wide early before finding ‘the chair’. Oscar Bonavena will now head to Victoria on Monday for a slew of trotting features, starting with the Cochran Cup at Ballarat next Saturday night. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Garrick Knight    The northern junior driver ranks have received a timely boost with the re-licensing of former Southland lad Tyler Dewe. He’ll drive Armed Reactor at Cambridge on Saturday for new employers Jason and Megan Teaz. It’s been six months since his last drive and in between times Dewe admits that he has been waging a personal battle with himself. “About six months ago I made some very bad life decisions and my mental health started suffering as a result. “And instead of opening up about it, I ran away. “I was facing money troubles and ended up going to Nelson and getting on a fishing boat for a couple of months. “I did it to get square and get my head right. “It was actually a horrible decision and one I wouldn’t advise anyone else to do. “You work eight hours on, eight hours off, constantly, for 32 days in a row. “It took its toll, but it served its purpose in more ways than one.” Back on track financially and feeling a whole lot better about himself and life, Dewe spent spring and the early summer helping out his uncle. “Doing a bit of relief milking, odd jobs around the farm and things like that.” He had no interest in returning to the racing industry, fearing he had burnt too many bridges. “I was adamant I wasn’t coming back. More than anything I was worried about what everyone else thought. “But my father drilled it in to me that I can’t be scared to go back in to the game if it’s what I really wanted to do with my life.” By now Jason Teaz, who Dewe had got to know when based in Southland and when Teaz was commentating, had made contact. Numbers at he and wife Megan’s stables in Ohaupo had swelled and they desperately needed someone who could drive fast work. “Jason rung me up out of the blue and offered me a fresh start up here. “I put him off for about three weeks but then on the first of January I thought, why not?” A fresh start in a different area where junior drivers were needed sounded quite appealing. “Before I came up I thought I’d take it day by day given what I’d been through. “But now I’m up here, as long as they’re happy with me and have enough work for me, I’ll be staying. “I have two-and-a-half seasons left on my juniors and I think a few guys like Dylan Ferguson and Fergus Schumacher will be coming out of their time later this year. “So I see a great opportunity to drive some winners and get back in the winners’ circle.” In Armed Reactor, he pilots a big horse with a lot of ability but perhaps a lack of consistency. “I’ve watched all his races and thought he was quite impressive when he won at Cambridge a few starts back, beating Ideal Agent. “He’s had some tough runs but I reckon he’s up to this field on ability.” One thing is for sure – Dewe will just be happy to be out there. Something he didn’t think possible mere weeks ago. “After the first morning driving work here I had that feeling back. That drive to get back out there on race day and compete.” Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

A shining two race triumph had a shadow cast over it at Cambridge as Thefixer ran into potential problems by casting a shoe during the Flying Mile won in dashing style by Chase Auckland. A decision was likely to be made on Saturday but with the Ballarat Cup so near, it could be Thefixer will stay in New Zealand and prepare for the Miracle Mile. Self Assured will step up to the plate in the Ballarat Cup alongside Chase Auckland. Thefixer’s career has been blighted by foot problems and it could only be his luck that the plate cast was from the foot which has caused most concern. “It would have happened early on because he didn’t feel that good most of the way”Natalie said “It usually would set him back long enough to delay his trip to Australia but we will wait overnight before making any decisions” “Everything had been going well with him and its a shame this has happened” If Thefixer misses Ballarat , Natalie, with little hope of dislodging Mark from Self Assured will be reunited with Chase Auckland whom she guided to a series of brilliant victories as a three year old. Chase Auckland lived up to his career defining win in the NZ Free For All by coasting home in the end giving Mark his first winning drive on the outstanding son of Auckland Reactor whom Mark had steered to victory in terrific style in 2009. In a race where things were stacked against the All Stars horses, Chase Auckland produced the sprint he had done so effectively in the NZ Cup to win easily in good time. Chase Auckland was at stunning odds considering he was fourth in the Miracle Mile last season. Nobody missed Oscar Bonavena however as he powered home as expected in the Trotters Flying Mile with Winterfell third. The always adventurous Winterfell was lively before the start but his chances were more affected when the Inter Dominion final pacemaker was not allowed the lead which left him parked but meant Oscar Bonavena sat in the one one on the back of his stablemate thereby guaranteeing he would get the last run and the win-which he did with flair. He is headed for the Cochran Cup next up where the pair are likely to clash again.   Courtesy of All Stars Racing Stables

Nathan Williamson’s race strategy worked out well yesterday in the House Of Travel Lakers Summer Cup. Driving Franco Santino and drawing the outside of the front line he knew he had the gate speed to cross all of the inside runners and that’s what he did. “I was quite keen to leave the gate but I had to work a lot harder than I thought to cross, so I elected to trail Bettathanfast which was good. He’s a rolling horse that was never going to hand up. He was a good target to follow,” he said. Bettathanfast took Franco Santino to the passing lane and the two horses fought out a sterling finish, Franco Santino winning by a head. “He was travelling that good turning for home but I struggled to get him to the inside. He flattened out when he got there. They ripped home in 27.” The overall winning time was 2-43.7. It’s the second time Williamson has won the Summer Cup, also winning with Costa Del Magnifico in 2017. Owned by Neville Cleaver, Franco Santino has now won eight races. His racing has been restricted each season to a limited number of starts, as the stable  waited for him to mature. “He still needs probably another six months to develop. His hind quarters aren’t real strong yet. He’s racing really well so you can’t knock him too much.” The rescheduled Omakau Cup at Wyndham and the Invercargill Cup the week after are two of his immediate targets. “The Northern Southland Cup is also coming up so there’s plenty for him”   Bruce Stewart

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