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The stage has been set for a thrilling TAB Breeders Crown finals night at Tabcorp Park Melton on August 24, with the field narrowing tonight at Bendigo and some new contenders emerging. It was all action at Lord's Raceway with not only the two and three-year-old pacing heats, but the draws for the pacing and trotting finals to keep tongues wagging. Here's how all the action unfolded on one of the great night's on the Victorian trots calendar. Amelia Rose wins the Always B Miki 2YO fillies first semi-final The punters take the honours in race one as Amelia Rose, who opened at $13 and was backed into $3.80, swept to the front to win for trainer Emma Stewart and reinswoman Amanda Turnbull. The victory came despite plan A having been thrown out early in the race when Rockingwithsierra was able to initially hold out Amelia Rose before taking the prized leader's back position when frontrunner Jemstone emerged. But sit-sprinter Amelia Rose soon found cover in the running line behind Michael Stanley's Iolanta and then emerged at the top of the final straight to show her customary high speed, winning by a neck from second-placed Alice Kay with Stewart stablemates Treasure and Jemstone filling out the first four in a very even division. Joining that quartet in the final will be Rockingwithsierra (fifth) and Jo Dina (sixth).   Our Road To Mecca wins the Woodlands Stud 3YO fillies' first semi-final David Moran slid Ahmed Taiba's Our Road To Mecca to the front and controlled proceedings, copping little heat before a 27.2 final quarter secured the semi-final win. "She was a bit funny last week," Moran said in regards to Our Road To Mecca failing to score up at the gates in her heat. "He put the plugs in her for the first time and she just tended to go to sleep a bit too much going up to the gates. Freddy and the boys left them out tonight and she was a lot sharper and she run a pretty good race." Tonight Our Road To Mecca comfortably crossed to the front and got a breather with a 32-second first quarter. "She's got that good early gate speed," Moran said. "Generally the mile seemed to be her go, but she seems to toughened up a bit more now and she's adjusting to that racing going around against those better fillies through some of them classic races. It's probably done her the world of good. "She's shown she's right up to them, just reliant on that little bit of luck. Tonight with the draw she was able to get the lead early and dictate from there." She was unchallenged in the straight, with Buzinga (leader's back) finishing second, 2.3 metres in arrears, and Enchanted Stride just pipping Looking Fabulous for third. They advance to the final along with Myra Dawn (fifth) and Millah Joy (sixth).   Perfect Stride wins the Downbytheseaside 2YO colts and geldings' first semi-final There was perhaps a little heart flutter late when Star Hunter threatened, but Perfect Stride got the job done having cruised to the front and swept his way into the TAB Breeders Crown finals. A $190,000 sales topper for owners Emilio and Maria Rosati, the little full-brother to Chicago Bull confirmed his favourite status in the run when he strode to the front for reinsman Anthony Butt and then did just enough late to register victory by a head. "He's a pretty casual little guy," Butt told TrotsVision. "Lovely horse to drive, but the boys did say he can wait for them a bit in front. That's what he did, he felt good turning for home and then he thought it was all over. He's learning all the time and I'm sure next week will be a different story. "He's been well trained by Ray (Green) and well educated, he's just like an old horse to drive. He come off the gate fast and just relaxed and dropped the bit and goes as fast as you want him to go. For a two-year-old he's got beautiful manners. I'm sure next week with a decent draw he won't be out of it." Green told TrotsVision that even better was yet to come from the beautifully bred two-year-old. "He's much better coming off the pace. He's probably better than (those times), had he been coming from off the pace he would have finished a lot better. He's a loafer." Joining the winner and second-placed Star Hunter in advancing to the final were Do Not Surrender (third), Focus Stride (fourth), Saint Emillion (fifth) and Santa Casa Beach (sixth).   Maajida wins the Always B Miki 2YO fillies' second semi-final She was a $1.04 job and she looked every bit of it throughout as Maajida dominated her two-year-old fillies' heat for trainer Emma Stewart and reinsman Greg Sugars, who showed patience in working to the front and then cruised to a five-metre win. "It's one thing about her, she gives you a lot of confidence as a driver this little horse because she's certainly not one dimensional by any stretch of the imagination," Sugars told TrotsVision. "She's shown her last two runs that off steady sectionals she can dash up a pretty sharp quarter if need be, like she showed in the Vicbred final when she drew an outside back row gate, circled the field and was too strong. "She's got plenty of courage about her as well. Just lovely to drive. She's quite casual in front, but it doesn't take much to wake her up and ask her to go and she responds for you. Just a pleasure to drive and I'm the lucky one who gets to sit behind her at the moment." Having initially crossed to the front, Michelle Lee Mac ran into second place with Starsbythebeach filling out the placings. Top six runners Askmeilltellya, The Pantheist and Final Peace, who did plenty of work in the breeze, also advanced to the August 24 final at Tabcorp Park Melton.   Be Happy Mach wins the Downbytheseaside 2YO colts and geldings' second semi-final It was a good race and it was won by a very good horse as Be Happy Mach notched up victory number nine from 10 starts for reinsman Chris Alford and trainer Emma Stewart, despite having to again advance from the second row. There was plenty of work early as a number of horses shuffled forward in the running line to be near the front of affairs including Youaremy Sunshine, who was four-wide for some time before settling in the breeze. Be Happy Mach cruised on by to move straight to the front ahead of Mirragon and Zeuss Bromac who were one, two and three on the pegs and that was how they'd finish, with talented types Youaremy Sunshine, Sahara Sirocco and Pacifico Dream finishing fourth, fifth and sixth to keep their TAB Breeders Crown dreams alive. Be Happy Mach rolled home in 26.9 seconds to finish 1.6 metres clear of his stablemate and to reaffirm his almost iron clad favourtism for the final, with the draw to take place after tonight's seventh race. Stay tuned.   Demon Delight wins the IRT three-year-old colts and geldings' final "How good was it - he's so fast," said reinswoman Kate Gath of Demon Delight after the Emma Stewart trained three-year-old put in a pulsating performance in the showcase race of the night, which lived up to high expectations. There was plenty going on, with Brevity surprising in holding out Max Delight early, Hurricane Harley lobbing to one-out one-back and then Jesse Duke taking the breeze as the big guns settled on the running line. A 37.8-second lead time preceded 29.5 and 29.6-second quarters at which stage Gath guided Demon Delight three-wide from the back of the field, advancing until Hurricane Harley popped into her path and provided cover. But last week's brilliant heat winner didn't have it in him tonight and at the turn Demon Delight peeled four-wide while well fancied Hurricane Harley and All Stars entrant Jesse Duke faded out of contention. Despite doing his fair share of work Demon Delight mowed down all comers to win by 1.7 metres from stablemate Brevity amid a 55.1-second last 800m, with Catch A Moment and Crime Writer hitting the line well to run third and fourth. Max Delight (fifth) and Always Fast (sixth) also qualified for the final.   Malcolms Rhythm wins the IRT three-year-old pacing colts and geldings' second semi-final Malcolms Rhythm shows he's got a few strings to his bow, grabbing and holding the lead before going all-the-way for reinswoman Kima Frenning and trainer David Aiken. The NSW Derby placegetter has mixed it with the best for much of his young career and tonight he showed he could sit inside one of the three-year-old class's toughest competitors, Lochinvar Art, take a few punches and still have plenty left in the finish. Malcolms Rhythm got home in a brisk 26.8-second final quarter off a 28.6-second third quarter to win by 2.6 metres from Lochinvar Art, who placed for a staggering 27th time from as many starts, including a sixth successive second placing. Pitch Perfect ran third with Out To Play (fourth), Fides (fifth) and Revolt (sixth) also advancing to the final.   Our Princess Tiffany wins the Woodlands Stud three-year-old fillies' second semi-final The hiccups of Kilmore's heat failure are now firmly in the rear-view for Our Princess Tiffany, who edged closer to the brilliance for which she's renowned in winning her semi-final. Reinsman Luke McCarthy, who's guiding the All Stars filly until Mark Purdon lobs across the Tasman next week, said "she didn't handle the track, it was really wet" at Kilmore and was rapt to see her return to something like her best. "Mark put in the media that they had done blood tests and were happy with her, so we were able to drive her confident and she felt super tonight," McCarthy said. "I thought if I could get in front of Kate (Gath on Two Times Bettor) early that would be the best tactic and got a good run through and sort of was able to control the tempo and she ran super." She advanced three wide early and got home in quarters of 28.3 and 27 seconds to win by three metres ahead of No Win No Feed, with third-placed Best Western 5.4 metres back. Victoria Brew (fourth), Miss Streisand (fifth) and Miss McGonagal (sixth) also advanced to the final. "She's a champion filly and had an outstanding season and it was just good to see her bounce back to her best tonight."   Michael Howard HRV Trots Media  

New Zealand’s’ Racing Industry Transition Agency (RITA)’ has secured a fresh agreement for Flutter Entertainment’s Australian market subsidiary Sportsbet to launch live streaming races driving fresh audience commitments. The partnerships will see Sportsbet host NZ thoroughbred live streams and harness racing fixtures, with additional coverage of greyhound racing events, which will broadcast wagering properties across Sportsbet. Tabcorp, the long-term broadcast and wagering partner of the New Zealand TAB, will act as the intermediary provider of the content in support of the live pictures partnerships. TAB General Manager for Media and International Andy Kydd said: “The new agreement includes Sportsbet taking a live view of all three New Zealand racing codes, presenting our race in front of a large new crowd on the Australian market that we’ve never been to, while at the same time creating a fresh source of income for the sector. “Sportsbet is Australia’s biggest corporate bookmaker by a stretch and behind Tabcorp’s second-largest provider on the market. “We are very grateful to Tabcorp for providing the vision to their largest competitor in Australia, Sportsbet.” Following an agreement between RIITA and Betfair, another brand owned by Flutter, Betfair will agree to pay TAB product charges in exchange for providing New Zealand racing odds. RITA and NZ Racing management have verified that further partnership is being negotiated with Australian stakeholders as part of broader attempts to revitalise the New Zealand racing scene. Reprinted with permission of Inkedin

Patience paid off for Alana Cameron when she produced an ice cool steer to notch her the first win of her driving career with Smarter VC at Addington on Friday night. The reinswoman showed poise beyond her 18 years of age to notch win number one in just her ninth career drive behind the 8yr-old trained by her partner, Matt Purvis. Smarter VC produces his best when saved for one late dash and Cameron allowed him to do that by not resisting any temptation to work the pacer in to the clear before the home turn. It was not until the Washington VC gelding rallied hard under Cameron’s urgings and crossed the line in front that the junior driver realised the magnitude of what she had achieved. “It was definitely more special than I thought it would be, I was so relieved after the line,” the junior driver said. Cameron and Purvis work together at the trainer’s Woodend Beach stable. Purvis has been the main supporter of the aspiring reinswoman’s career, so far, and she was able to reward his faith with her impressive drive behind Smarter VC. “He has a really good supporter, which has been absolutely fantastic,” Cameron said. “And it helps that I get to work the horses at home, so I know them a bit better.” Cameron said her lineage meant she was destined to be involved in harness racing. Her Grandfather, Ray Souness, was formerly a trainer and her parents, Paul and Vicki Cameron, have been involved in the sport as breeders and owners. “Mum and Dad bred horses and Grandad trained horses, so I was pretty much bred in to the industry whether I liked it or not.” Cameron said. There have been no complaints from Cameron that she has found herself working in the sport. That is because she feels she has found her calling. “I am loving it, absolutely loving it and I am very lucky to call it a job,” the reinswoman said. Driving her first winner meant Cameron ticked off the goal all young drivers strive to achieve first in their careers. With the talent she has shown already, her next goal could be chased down at short notice. “I have ticked the first goal off, which was to get a winner, which was good.” “Maybe I will aim for five wins for the season.” “I will just try to keep learning and try not to get in to the stipes’ room too many times.” “And just take something good from every drive and move forward from the bad ones.” Cameron has one chance to notch her second career win over the weekend. She drives Paul’s Verdict in a junior drivers event at Oamaru on Sunday.    By Jonny Turner Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

There were no surprises when Luk Chin handed out his pre-race driving instructions to Nathan Delany at Cambridge on Thursday. Delany had picked up the drive on the Chin-trained Safrakova in the R40-53 trot because a win with a junior driver aboard would be penalty-free. “He said go to the front and don’t hand up,” Delany told HRNZ. The classic Chin tactics are never a surprise and in this case they proved very effective, Delany getting the daughter of Monarchy home first. It wasn’t Delany’s first drive on Safrakova either – they had partnered up in a junior drivers’ race at Alexandra Park back on May 31, running sixth. “She didn’t give me much of a feel that night. “She was trotting nicely but was no match for a horse like Kenny’s Dream.” Facing a much easier class of field this time meant Delany had no qualms about taking the drive when a mate called to tip him off earlier in the week. “I didn’t even think about calling up for the drive actually. “But Scott Iremonger, who had a drive already for Dale Moore, rung me and asked if I wanted to drive her. “I wasn’t going to say no to driving a favourite.” Once in front, Delany rated her to a nicety and she never looked like being headed. “She kept bowling along nicely; really loved her work in front.” With two wins on the board already, Delany looks in for a very good season. He works for Barry Purdon – arguably the best gig in town for a junior driver – and that is already paying benefits. He’s had a few placings behind classy trotting mare Sunny Glenis recently, and will probably drive her again this coming week, plus got the win behind the Purdon-trained Sole Ambition last week. “I’ve been getting good opportunities from Barry and a few other trainers. “Barry especially has been a big help to my career. I love going to work there. “He’s got quite a few horses in work and there are plenty of nice ones to drive. “I had just started working for Peter and Vaughan Blanchard when Zac Butcher rung and asked if I wanted to go and work for Barry. “It’s hard to turn an opportunity like that down so I jumped at the chance and owe Zac a huge thanks for putting my name forward.” Delany is hopeful of driving exciting prospect Henry Hu at his next start as a penalty free win is the immediate goal. “Keep an eye out for him – a nice horse and one I hope I get to drive.” So, could this be Delany’s break out season? “I’d like to think this could my year. The first goal is to try and get to 10 wins and take it from there. “I’m just grateful for any opportunities that I get.”   by Garrick Knight Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

When it comes to Monbet, Greg Hope is sick of talking to the media. For the best part of three years now, he has done his best to answer regular questions about the recovery and progress of the former Horse of the Year that has suffered setback after setback. It got to the stage that he started to think talking to the press when Monbet was nearing a public return was a bad omen. So often after commenting on an impending return to the trials, the horse would go amiss or suffer a setback. But then, when Monbet was struck down again in March – and this time nearly died - after finally making a race track return, Hope started to wonder whether it was just the racing gods at work. So, this week, after both Monbet and stablemate Enghien returned to the trials at Rangiora, he was finally willing to talk to the press about his stable stars. Monbet, the 2016 New Zealand Horse of the Year and two-time Trotter of the Year, has raced just once since winning the Dominion Handicap in November of 2016. After numerous setbacks - too many to list - he returned back in March, finishing mid-pack on a Sunday at Addington. But the stable’s relief was short-lived. “About a week later he developed an infection in his leg that went right through his body,” Hope told HRNZ. “At one stage we were frightened he was going to die. “We ended up running every antibiotic known to man through him and that eventually got on top of it.” So, it was back to square one – again for Hope and wife/training partner Nina. It’s hard to complain when a horse has won you over $770,000 but you get the impression Hope was at the end of his tether. “One day we’ll be able to write a book about him. We’ll call it ‘The Trials and Tribulations of Monbet,” he quipped. “It will be a best-seller.” Enghien, a former two and three-year-old Trotter of the Year, hasn’t been seen since the Harness Jewels at Cambridge in June of last year. He missed his entire five-year-old season. “He had a little strain on a fetlock so we played it safe, really. “Just to make sure it didn’t end up being a problem long term we played it on the side of caution. “He’s good as gold now after a long, slow build. It’s probably been five months since he came back in to work.” Enghien, in the hands of Ben Hope, won the four-horse trial, getting over the top of In Sequence and Hey Yo in the shadows of the post. Monbet sat last, on his stablemates back, and was allowed to run to the line under his own steam for regular driver, Ricky May. Greg Hope, speaking 24 hours after the trial, was suitably pleased with everything. “Ricky jumped off Monbet and said he felt awesome. “They both pulled up well and I gave them a light jog this morning (Thursday). “They’ll trial again next week and then we’ll have a look at a race for them.” That won’t be easy. “They’re so high in the handicaps, we really need a free for all because I don’t want them chasing off long marks. “Enghien is rated 100 and Monbet is a 127.” Hope said he enquired about getting Monbet’s rating reduced given it was approaching three years since his last win, but that fell on deaf ears. Enghien is the more forward of the two, and with a slightly more palatable rating, he might be the first one seen on race night. “Based on what we’ve felt, Enghien is slightly more forward than Monbet, and their heart rates reflect that, too. “There is nothing like a good run or two under the belt and hopefully we can get those runs before the other good ones hit the track.” Don’t for a second think either horse will have lost their edge, either. “I’ve got no doubt they’re both as good as anything running around at present. “I know they’ve had a long time off the scene and are going to need a race or two to see the best, but it’s still there.” As for driving engagements when they inevitably clash, Hope says May will get the pick of the two and son Ben will drive the other. “We are lucky that we own Monbet ourselves and our partner in Enghien, Richard Dellaca, is very relaxed about it, too.”   by Garrick Knight Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

Trainer Matt Purvis is hoping for more luck in the running for his stable at Addington on Friday night than he has received recently. Purvis combines with reinswoman, Alana Cameron, to start a three-strong team, which is headed by Smarter VC. The 8yr-old goes in to the feature pace after has not being able to show off his best in his last two starts, after running in to traffic problems. An improved draw, after lining up from barrier 8 in his past two starts could help the pacer find more clear room in race 6 at Addington. However, because the pacer will likely be driven for one run from barrier 5, it is far from guaranteed that bad luck will not strike Smarter VC again.   “He has had no real luck since he cracked through in the Timaru Winter Cup,” Purvis said. “It makes it tough that he can’t just swing around wide and go around them.” “But, he is more consistent getting driven [with one run] and he can race week in and week out, so long as he stays being driven that way.” Smarter VC’s last two luckless runs have resulted in fourth placings. Purvis is hopeful that meeting just seven other runners in Friday night’s 1980m event could see the horse face fewer traffic problems than he has recently. “He was desperately unlucky last week and with the small field again he is going to get his chance to get home over the top of them.” Smarter VC’s has not been able to fully cash in in his recent racing, but it is evident that the horse has progressed to peak fitness and is ready to strike after having his first start for Purvis five runs ago. The trainer said he was thankful to the 8yr-old’s previous trainers, Regan Todd and Colin DeFilippi, for being able to take on the talented pacer. “I was really grateful to Regan and Colin that he was able to walk through the stable door.” “He is pretty easy to train – he pretty much lives in the swimming pool and that is pretty much him for the week.” Smarter VC clashes with an even line up of intermediate grade pacers on Friday night. Kiwis Are Flying, Doitson and Hayden’s Meddle look three of his toughest opponents. Bonny’s Gem comes in to race 5 under similar circumstances to Smarter VC. She has not enjoyed much luck in her last two starts after being held up in one run and getting checked in another. And like Smarter VC, the 4yr-old is likely to be driven for one run. “She is pretty much the same [as Smarter VC] a high speed kind of horse,” Purvis said. “So, we have opted drive her with one run while she is still strengthening.” “She didn’t have much luck [last start], copping a check when trying to slot in to the running line last week.” “But, she ran a superb last 800m and I was rapt with that.”      Like her stablemates, Machs Mareta, has also been unlucky recently. But, her luck has nothing to do with her recent racing. Injury problems have kept her out of action since she ran a decent second behind Mucho Macho Man at Forbury Park in February. Machs Mareta had a workout at Rangiora last week and Purvis believes that and her prior work have her ready for her return at Addington. “She has copped a lot of work and I was wrapt with her trial.” Machs Mareta resumes in rating 48-59 company in race 3.   By Jonny Turner Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

Don’t bother asking Mark Purdon why group one stars Princess Tiffany and Jesse Duke flopped so badly at the start of their Breeders Crown campaigns.  Because the champion trainer admits he doesn’t know. And he will be as interested as anybody to see how they bounce back in the semi-finals of the rich Victorian series at Bendigo on Saturday. Both Princess Tiffany and Jesse Duke were were beaten as short-priced favourites in their heats of the Breeders Crown in Victoria late last week, Princess Tiffany unable show any acceleration as a $1.04 chance after having the perfect trip.  “She should have won by three or four lengths so she was very disappointing,” says Purdon.  “Her work before the race had been really good and her blood report since doesn’t show any problems.  “So we have no excuses. The only thing we can put it down to is the very wet track.  “But she will need to go better this week.”  Princess Tiffany, who has won three Oaks and is the defending Breeders Crown champion, has drawn the second line in a very strong semi final and while she has the luxury of only needing to finish in the first half of the field to make the final, that hardly helps punters.  Both horses will again be driven by Luke McCarthy, with Purdon staying home then going across to train the pair for their finals next week. Jesse Duke only battled to the line when well-beaten fourth in his heat last Friday and has draw the outside of the front line in his semi final on Saturday night which contains all three of last week’s heat winners. “He was disappointing too and didn’t have the wet track as an excuse so we went to see better from him this week too.”
The other Kiwi pacers in the ABC have had mixed luck in the draws, with Best Western facing a tricky marble in the Princess Tiffany heat. But juvenile pacers Perfect Stride (three front line) and Zeuss Bromac have drawn well, the latter starting from one on the second line but behind a horse who should give him a great trail into the race. While the pacers will try and earn their finals spots this Saturday, the three New Zealand-trained trotters in the Crown have straight heats into the final at Maryborough today. And trainer Phil Williamson believes to can win two of them. Williamson couldn’t be happier with Redwood winner Ultimate Stride heading into his juvenile boys trot heat and he would only need to behave and produce his best to win while the Oamaru trainer is confident placing Liberty Stride on the unruly will aid her in her three-year-old fillies heat. “I trailed her on Sunday and she really pleased me,” says Williamson. “She should follow them out more relaxed from the unruly and the reason she has galloped the last start two starts was because she didn’t know what to do when the pressure went on early and tried to race them. “So I think she will be fine this week.” The other Kiwi in the series Kratos would do well to run a place in his three-year-old boys trot heat as he is up against Derby-winning star Majestuoso and runner-up All Cashed Up.   Michael Guerin

TAB News Pick6 this week - $25K Pick6 Thursday Night at Cambridge and Friday night at Addington. August and September - Harness First4 $6,000 Bonus First4 on a Race 4 Every Friday Night in Aug/Sept and on Race 4 at Addington on Thu 19 Sept.   Addington Raceway and Events Centre - Friday 16 August Hello Everyone, **Inaugural $20K Dunstan Horse Feeds Met Mega Series – Commences this Friday** Starting this Friday and finishing Friday 25 October, this series looks to be a great lead into the Christchurch Casino NZ Trotting Cup Day on Tuesday 12 November. The Dunstan Horse Feeds Met Mega Series allows for horses of all ages, ratings, sex and gaits to be eligible and on a level playing field. It is hoped to bring a competitive nature between all who will be chasing the total prize money of the series. The eleven meetings that the $20k Dunstan Horse Feeds Met Mega Series covers will have allocated points as per performance. At the end of the series the $20k prize pool will be divided between the top 5 points scorers. With this series, Dunstan Horse Feeds and Addington Raceway are looking to reward owners for their loyalty and competitiveness at Addington Raceway. Using this points system, it is designed that Non-Win horses have the same opportunity to take out the prizes as the horses whom are in Free-For-All grade.  Along with this, trotters have the equal opportunities that the pacers have of taking a prize home. For further information and to view our terms and conditions please visit:, or for more information please contact Addington’s Racing Department on (03) 338 9094. Remember to book your spot for Cup Week.  Our fabulous hospitality packages are on sale for Christchurch Casino NZ Trotting Cup Day and Show Day Races.  Be sure to book soon and #bepartofthemagic, as three areas are already sold out for Tuesday. For further details, please visit;  Alternatively, if you have any questions, or wish to book, please contact Joanne McMaster on, or 021 0298 5972.  We look forward to hosting you all! Have a great week everyone and we look forward to welcoming you to the races this Friday!  From the Addington Team. Kurow Harness Racing Club - 18 August The annual Kurow Harness Racing Club's meeting will be held this Sunday at Oamaru Racecourse, with the feature race being the Airpark Canterbury Kurow Cup. All owners with a horse in on the day are encouraged to come along and enjoy a BBQ including whitebait patties courtesy of the Club and Club President, Gerald Cayford. Pop down to the famous Cayford bus by the President's room at any time during the day. Its our way of thanking you for racing with us! There will also be free kids entertainment during the afternoon, including Magic Max with a magic show and balloon twisting. And the famous local Pop Face Art facepainting. Plus Johnson Gluyas have also kindly donated a chainsaw, which will be given away to a lucky losing ticket oncourse. We look forward to seeing everyone at Oamaru Racecourse this Sunday!   Alexandra Park News 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   2019 Woodlands Stud Canterbury Harness Awards Dinner - Saturday 21 September Silks Lounge - Addington Raceway, Addington 6.30pm for a 7.15pm start Tickets $60.00 incl. GST Drinks extra at individual's cost. Watch our for our stallion tender for Downbytheseaside and Pegasus Spur services which close on 02 September 2019. All enquiries to 021 969 969 or   HRNZ Marketing

Welcome to the Harness Half Hour Podcast brought to you by HRNZ marketing and Airpark Canterbury. Jess Smith brings the latest harness racing news and interviews with colorful and interesting industry participants from New Zealand and around the world. This week’s episode features Rebecca Heads following her first win as a driver; Southland trainer Ross Wilson talks about his big award at the recent Southern Harness Awards and Minnesota driver Steve Wiseman explains about his upcoming trip to New Zealand. Plus our usual bookie update with Richard Wilson.   Jess Smith HRNZ Marketing    

Superstar Kiwi filly Our Princess Tiffany will have to overcome the back row to resurrect her Breeders Crown assault in the semi-finals at Bendigo on Saturday night.  Despite one of the most disappointing runs of her career when a labouring fourth in her Crown heat, Our Princess Tiffany still dominates Aussie TAB betting for her semi. Although drawn the back row (gate 10), she is $1.22 favourite.  Emma Stewart’s Two Times Bettor easily beat Our Princess Tiffany in their heat, but also has the back row (gate nine) in the semi. She’s firmed from $5 to $4.40.  The other Kiwi in the race, Jeremy Young’s Best Western, has been specked from $13 into $10 from barrier six.  The first of the Kiwis to step-out at Bendigo is Ray Green’s Perfect Stride in the first and much weaker of the two semis for juvenile colts and geldings.  Perfect Stride, who ran second to Pacifico Dream in his Crown heat, is a commanding $1.65 favourite from gate three in his semi. Ironically, the main threat is Focus Stride – who like Perfect Stride is owned by Emilio Rosati – at $5 from the pole.  The depth is so much stronger in the second semi where another Kiwi, Zachary Butcher’s Zeuss Bromac, is a $6 shot from inside the back row (gate eight). Emma Stewart’s glamour pair Be Happy Mach ($1.50, gate nine) and Mirragon ($4.20, gate one) are the key players.  The second of the All Stars’ Crown hopefuls, Jesse Duke, faces a huge assignment from outside the front (gate seven) in a powerhouse first semi of the Crown 3YO colts and geldings. The Aussie TAB has him a $12 chance.  David Aiken’s NSW and Tasmanian Derby winner Max Delight is $1.70 favourite from gate four ahead of Emma Stewart’s star pair Hurricane Harley ($3.90, gate nine) and Demon Delight ($5, gate 13).  Stewart’s Out To Play (gate three) is $2 favourite in the second semi from Malcolms Rhythm (gate two, $2.80) with Lochinvar Art at $3.60 from a horror outside back row draw (gate 13).  _____________________________________________________________________________ BEFORE the pacers step-out at Bendigo, NZ’s Breeders Crown trotting hopefuls strut their stuff at Maryborough tomorrow (Thursday).  The headline act is Phil Williamson’s last-start Redwood Classic winner Ultimate Stride, who is a $1.65 to snare another win from gate six in the first heat for juvenile colts and geldings.  Exciting stablemate Liberty Stride, who ruined her chance when favourite in the Victoria Trotters’ Derby by galloping away hopelessly, is set for a fascinating clash with buzz local I Am Pegasus in the first heat for 3YO fillies.  I Am Pegasus is a clear $1.40 favourite from gate three, while Liberty Stride is the lone back runner (gate eight) and a $2.90 shot.  The highlight of the day will be another glimpse of breathtaking Victoria Trotters’ Derby winner Majestuoso in his heat of the Crown for 3YO colts and geldings.  It’s a talent-packed race and he’s drawn outside the front (gate seven) over the shorter 2190m trip, but Majestuoso is $2.20 favourite. Key rivals include likely leader All Cashed Up (gate three, $4), Just Believe (one, $5).  The Kiwi in the race is John and Josh Dickie’s Kratos, who made late ground for third in the Derby. He’s a $5 shot from gate five.      Adam Hamilton

Star three year old of the season Ultimate Sniper will be nominated for the New Zealand Cup in November though at this stage he is still in the “throw in a nomination” category in what is looking like an increasingly complicated spring racing scene. “Our other main candidates, The Fixer, Spankem, Chase Auckland and Ashley Locaz will be there hopefully, but we will be adding “Snip” because it could be one of those springs” Natalie Rasmussen said. One of the factors involved is just how well Ultimate Sniper has done over the winter . He is also another All Star who did not race at 2 blooming in spectacular fashion as a three year old. His 10 starts yielded 8 wins and a second placing his record only marred by a gallop in the Vero Stakes, his unplaced run. He was second to Jesse Duke in the Northern Derby Prelude then winning both the G1 Derby events here as well as the Sires STakes Final. Missing from the nominations will be Funatthebeach who left All Stars for Sydney on Sunday. He will race out of the Tritton stable though is ultimately bound for the United Stakes. Such sales, and the sad demise of some likely rivals, does give All Stars a strong Cup hand and with the Inter Dominions as a quick backup . Mark won the New Zealand Cup with Il Vicolo as a four year old and later with Lazarus at the same age.Both horses had raced at a high level at two and three   Courtesy of All Stars Racing Stables

Don’t try telling Grant Crabbe that New Zealand harness horses aren’t the equal of the best in the world. Because he is on a one-man crusade to prove they are. And when it comes to his world champion mare Shartin, Crabbe is winning the war. The mare Crabbe bred out of his Canterbury base became the fastest pacing mare of all time when she blasted around The Meadowlands in 1:46.8 recently, winning so easily it is realistic to think she could have threatened the all-comers world mark of 1:46 had she been pushed or asked. That continued a stunning last 18 months for Shartin and coming on top of Lazarus pacing close to 1:46 last year, New Zealand horses are running world class times in an industry where times are a far more valued than in thoroughbred racing. Crabbe, a retired motor mechanic, isn’t surprised by the Kiwi resurgence and is more than willing to put his money where his mouth is to say it can continue. Shartin is by New Zealand pacer Tintin In America, who was a speed freak when trained by Geoff Small but like so many domestic stallions doesn’t get elite broodmares. But the first time Crabbe saw Tintin In America he knew he was the stallion for his one-win mare Bagdarin. “I was doing some work at Nevele R Stud at the time and he got off the float and I said to one of the other guys, “that is the fastest horse I have seen in a straight line since Lord Module. “The other guy told me that was fine but being a colonial stallion he will struggle for numbers. “I knew he was right but I don’t care. I know our horses are as good as anywhere in the world and if our best stallions got the mares that Bettors Delight and Art Major did they would have just as much success.” Back when Crabbe bred Bagdarin to Tintin In America it hardly seemed much of a gamble, she was a one-win mare who only had three starts and was retired “because she had arthritis in her knees so bad they looked like gorgonzola cheese,” he remembers. “But she could run. She was from Bruce Francis’s breed and to be honest she was going to be retired before I started training because she was a bit uncontrollable. “It took me three weeks to get her settled enough to work. But this whole family can run.”Shartin proved that straight away but she was too fast to last with a part-time trainer like Crabbe. After a blazing trial at Ashburton she was sold to Australia where she had a top class three-year-old career before moving on to North America, where she hasn’t stopped improving. So consistently dominant has she been that after last weekend’s world record she deserves to be in the conversation with the greatest New Zealand pacing mares, a list of beauty and brilliance. But even though Bagdarin is only 12 and Crabbe could send her to any stallion in the world and get a high-priced yearling, he keeps the faith with the Kiwis. Shartin has a three-year-old brother “who can really run” called Knockawarwon while last season she even visited local stallion Gold Ace, a former New Zealand racehorse who has only just sired his first domestic winner. “I am a proud Kiwi and I don’t want to hear our horses aren’t as good as the best in North America, cause its not true.” Crabbe says he watches every race Shartin has live online and gets regular emails from her connections but has never been tempted to jump on the big bird to go watch her. “I am sure I’d have a good time if I did go see her but I’d also feel like spare part, and being a former mechanic, I don’t want to feel like a spare part,” he laughs. And as for the question every breeder has to suffer when they sell a horse who goes on to the greatness: does Crabbe ever wonder, what if? “No, never. I actually don’t enjoy racing horses that much because they lose more than they win and I hate losing. “I am not a bad loser, I just hate the disappointment. “So I get just as much thrill watching her race now as I would as the owner and she is bringing other people happiness. “And she is doing our New Zealand industry proud. And I love that.”   Michael Guerin

Harness racing Kiwi duo too classy. New Zealand born, and now American based trainer Chris Ryder teamed up with fellow kiwi reins men Dexter Dunn to win the $400,000 Carl Milstein Memorial, with top three-year-old pacer Bettors Wish. Dunn simply outdrove the rest of the field. The pair found the front end from the three post early and ran a first half in a pedestrian 57 seconds, something unheard of in the open pacing ranks. From there Dunn knew, “If he got beat from there it would have to have been an off night”, so control was taken from that point as they blistered the last half in 53.3 to complete the mile in 1:50.3 on the half-mile track and win by 3 ½ lengths. With that victory, the 3yo son of Bettors Delight took his earnings to $1,096,600, joining the million dollar club and it was his 11th win of his career. It was also trainer Chris Ryder's 40th win of the season and notched his stake earnings to over the $1.7 million mark. Dunn continues to make a huge impact in the North American scene. Dexter has won 261 races this season and over $5.9 million in prize money to date. Top Down Under trotter Speeding Spur N bagged his first North American win impressively today Sunday the 11th of August. The 8yo son of Pegasus Spur was seen flying home to win the $148,000 Crawford Farms Open Trot at Tioga Downs, in a track record time for trotters of 1:52.4. The successful driver, Brian Sears commented after the victory, “He’s a classy horse, he knows what it’s all about” as he was extremely impressed with the Woodlands Stud owned trotter. Now trained by Linda Toscano, he promises plenty more to come in his North American career as he looks to expand his top quality reputation for a future breeding career. Previously prepared in New Zealand by John and Joshua Dickie, Speeding Spur was the winner of over $1.1 million including nine Group 1 victories across New Zealand and Australia. Sunday 4th August Harrah’s Philadelphia PA Torrid Bromac N – Time: 1:52.4, Stake: $7,000 Statement Made A – Time: 1:50.4, Stake: $14,500 Piccard A – Time: 1:50.4, Stake: $11,000 Our Positano N – Time: 1:53.2, Stake: $7,000   Tioga Downs NY Hugh Hefner N – Time: 1:53.4, Stake: $6,000   Monday 5th August Monticello Raceway NY Kamwood Laughter N – Time: 1:55.4, Stake: $5,500   Plainridge Park MA Buckeye N – Time: 1:52.0, Stake: $7,200 Rock Diamonds N – Time: 1:50.0, Stake: $14,000   Yonkers Raceway NY Glengarry Knight N – Time: 1:56.0, Stake, $16,000   Tuesday 6th August Monticello Raceway NY Power Dreaming N – Time: 1:56.2, Stake: $5,500 Kenrick N – Time: 1:54.3, Stake: $5,900   Yonkers Raceway NY Abraxas Blues N – Time: 1:53.4, Stake: $18,500   Thursday 8th August Monticello Raceway NY Lettucerocku A – Time: 1:57.3, Stake:$3,000   Yonkers Raceway NY Brookies Prince N – Time: 1:53.1, Stake: $14,500 Bronze Over N – Time: 1:53.4, Stake: $18,500   Friday 9th August Harrah’s Hoosier Park IN Backup A – Time: 1:51.1, Stake: $17,050 Gold Class N – Time: 1:51.2, Stake: $19,750   Harrah’s Philadelphia PA Queen Lostris N – Time 1:52.1, Stake: $12,500   Saratoga Harness NY Misty Memory N – Time: 1:54.2, Stake: $7,250 Jive Dancing A – Time: 1:55.3, Stake: $7,250   Yonkers Raceway NY Simply Sunsational N – Time: 1:53.2, Stake: $22,250 Kept Under Wraps A – Time: 1:54.0, Stake: $18,500 Miss You N – Time: 1:51.4, Stake: $30,000   Saturday 10th August Batavia Downs NY Kiwi Tintin N – Time: 1:55.0, Stake: $9,000 Lightning Raider N – Time: 1:57.3, Stake: $4,900   The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono PA Bravo Tex N – Time: 1:51.2, Stake: $12,500 Torrid Bromac N – Time: 1:52.4, Stake: $14,000   Yonkers Raceway NY Military Master A – Time: 1:52.3, Stake: $24,000 Mickey Gee N – Time: 1:51.3, Stake: $30,000   Sunday 11th August Harrah’s Philadelphia PA Mister Ohanzee A – Time: 1:51.0, Stake: $12,500 Our Max Phactor N – Time: 1:49.4, Stake: $30,000 Bright Diamond N – Time: 1:49.4, Stake: $11,000   Ocean Downs Get Outta Eyre N – Time: 1:56.4, Stake: $3,500   Tioga Downs NY Ascot Encounter A – Time:1:53.0, Stake: $6,000 Speeding Spur N – Time: 1:52.4, Stake: $148,000 Kotare Yael N – Time: 1:52.1, Stake: $9,000 Carter Dalgety

Canterbury harness racing trainer-driver Nigel Raymond McGrath has been cleared of a race-fixing charge arising from an 18-month industry investigation. It was the only charge McGrath, 45, faced as part of the police's Operation Inca inquiry into racing industry figures last year. Christchurch District Court Judge Raoul Neave dismissed the charge and McGrath was able to walk away. He had no name suppression, but one aspect of the case remains suppressed. Prosecutor Karyn South told the court the Crown believed there was enough evidence but the "public interest test was not met". Defence counsel Pip Hall QC Hall said the defence position was always that there was not enough evidence for the charge to proceed. Read the full story here.   by David Clarkson Reprinted with permission of Stuff

The indecision is over and superstar pacer Tiger Tara will chase NZ Cup glory again this year. Trainer Kevin Pizzuto had refused to be drawn on plans with his reigning Inter Dominion champion, but today confirmed the NZ Cup was again his major target. “Everything now is about having at his top for NZ Cup Day,” Pizzuto said. “He’s back and going well and I’ll just take him through the free-for-alls here before we head back across to Christchurch. “He’s an older horse and I need to keep him in work, even though there aren’t any big races for him for a while.” Tiger Tara has won two of three runs back from a spell, the latest in a slick 1min53.9sec mile rate for the longer 2300m trip at Menangle in cold and very windy conditions last night. “I know he didn’t win by much, but it was a big win because the wind was so strong,” Pizzuto said. “I’m sure he’s going as well as ever and I’m still hurting over getting so close in last year’s NZ Cup without winning it.” Pizzuto has the option of heading to Melton for the $200,000 Group 1 Victoria Cup on October 12 – a race Tiger Tara won last year – but he said it’s more likely he would go across to NZ earlier than last year and have his final lead-up race over there. “That’s what I’m thinking, go over there earlier than last year. Maybe a race like Ashburton,” Pizzuto said. “If I do that, I wouldn’t take him to Victoria.” And what about defending that Inter Dominion crown in Auckland from November 29? “It’s likely, but I won’t say definite yet,” Pizzuto said. “I’m only looking as far as ahead as the NZ Cup. If he gets through that well, then I’ll look at staying over there.”   Adam Hamilton

Harness Racing New Zealand (HRNZ) today announced that funding to clubs for the 2019-20 racing season remains unchanged (on a race-by-race basis) from 2018-19. This has been achieved due to the Racing Industry Transition Agency (RITA) maintaining funding to the codes at a consistent level. Ken Spicer, Board Chair, said “We are delighted to be able to hold funding at existing levels and congratulate the new board of RITA for ensuring that distributions to the codes has allowed this to continue”.  All clubs are now bulk-funded by HRNZ and set their own stakes levels. It is the expectation of the HRNZ board that all clubs set stakes at a level that matches or betters the 2018-19 season. This season all clubs will pay stakes monies to the first five place getters (in line with the rating system) as well as making a payment to all starters. The minimum stake remains at $6,000 with most clubs choosing to pay well above this level. HRNZ has confirmed it will not continue with the first totalisator win supplement for the 2019-20 season. This initiative, introduced in March 2017, has largely been funded from reserves, in anticipation of new funding coming into the industry. There is an expectation that all codes will see several new sources of funding coming on stream later in the season (reduction in the Betting Levy, Race Fields, Point of Consumption) enabling a later review of this decision, however there is no certainty as to exactly when these funds will become available. “We know how popular the first winners supplement has been, however as a Board we must ensure we are acting in a fiscally responsible manner. HRNZ is keen to restore the first winners supplement as funding allows,” said Spicer.   HRNZ

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