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Champion trainer Mark Purdon is adamant the setback to Self Assured and Spankem that will see them miss Oamaru on Sunday won’t affect their New Zealand Cup chances. The glamour pair, winners of an Auckland Cup and Miracle Mile respectively, were both taken out of Sunday’s Hannon Memorial because of minor hoof issues. Purdon says they are suffering from the bottom of the hooves being sore after one of his tracks has started to become too abrasive recently. “They hadn’t been bad but Nat (co-trainer Natalie Rasmussen) worked Self Assured on Wednesday and said he didn’t feel perfect and I have had some days like that lately with Spankem,” explains Purdon. “So we got vet in and had them checked out, including having some x-rays to make sure there was nothing seriously wrong. There isn’t, it is just the track wearing away at the sole of their hooves and we would hate to go down there and race them when they were more vulnerable to getting a puncture wound or something.” Purdon says the stable has spent over $10,000 on rubber shavings to go on the track to make it more forgiving to address the problem. “As for the horses they miss this week but it won’t affect their New Zealand Cup preps because we will out pads on their feet until they are back to normal and they can race like that no issues. “So they will head to the next Addington open class race in a few weeks.” The scratching of the Purdon/Rasmussen pair still leaves the Hannon with a strong line-up but now with Classie Brigade as the warm favourite.   By Michael Guerin

In his debut run, Jaccka Cooper provided a change of luck for owners Charlie and Alisa Smaill. The Smaills have had a string of placings recently with horses they own and yesterday’s win was welcomed by the couple who were on course to see the win. Jaccka Cooper is out of Art Major mare Comeon Jaccka which won a race for Ascot Park trainer Wayne Adams. “She had a bit of speed but didn’t carry on with it,” Charlie said. Comeon Jaccka is out of Comeon Franco which the Smaills purchased at a Wayne Francis sale in the mid 2000s. Comeon Jaccka was by Holmes Hanover out of Cherubic. Jaccka Cooper has taken a bit of time to organise but appears to be getting the hang of the racing game. “He looked quite nice as a three year old and I sent him down to Brett’s but his head didn’t grow with his body. He got upset with grit so we brought him home and turned him out.” In yesterday’s maiden race Jaccka Copper lead and had to withstand constant pressure throughout the run but he had enough resolve to hang on to win by a neck from Sentry which came up the passing lane. The A Rocknroll Dance gelding has been to the fore at trials and workouts. “He’s had four preparation runs and he’s won the lot.” Smaill who’s held a trainers licence off and on over the years, still like to be hands on at his Riversdale property. “Usually I do about a month with them before they go to Brett’s. I have a lady who’s worked for me for years. We get them up and running and reasonably fit.” Smaill mainly breeds trotters these days and particularly likes Janine Jaccka’s three year old colt Jaccka John. “I quite like him. I also have a Father Patrick that’s a brother to Jasmine Jaccka. He’s a bit headstrong but I quite like him too.” Meanwhile Paul Andrews trained his first winner when Tad Lincoln won his maiden race at Ascot Park. The six year old Sir Lincoln gelding out of Lady Writer was bred by John Earl and Tom Kilkelly. Earl trained him initially, then Kirstin Barclay and Tank Ellis had him for a number of starts. He also had a short stint for Adrian Wohlers before Andrews took him on in June of this year. He’s had fifteen starts for Andrews and at times has looked as though he could win another race. Andrews has held a license since 1993 and prior to this win has taken horses to the races 147 times. From gate four driver Mark Hurrell pushed Tad Lincoln forward but was left parked for the first lap before Marika gave him cover. At the 300 Hurrell pulled the gelding out and he came down the middle of the track to win by two lengths from Man I’m Good. Tad Lincoln was at odds of 28 to 1.   Bruce Stewart

It’s been a long time between wins but Southland owned Jody Direen chalked up her third win and her first for twenty one months when she won in the slush at Ascot Park yesterday. Originally trained for Eastern Southland dairy farmer Kenny Baynes by Tony Stratford, the Mach Three mare is now in Michael House’s barn. Her last win was at Addington in February 2019. “She’s been up country with Micky and gone okay. She dropped down a grade or two today,” Baynes said. Driver Kirstin Barclay positioned Jody Direen four back on the outside and approaching the 400 got onto the back of stablemate Changearound. When that horse started to battle Barclay hooked her drive out four wide and Jody Direen came down the middle of the track to beat another stablemate Opawa Mach by a length and a half. “That was social distancing,” Baynes quipped to Barclay. Masked man – Kenny Barnes keeping his distance                         --Bruce Stewart photo In the last few seasons Baynes has supported House and says he’s been essential to Southern racing during Covid times. “We need him. He can bring fifteen horses per race meeting. They’re not all stars but it makes a meeting. They’re trained on the track so they walk out of the barn and they’re here. He’s a big part of the industry.” House who’s had a team of fifteen horses at Ascot Park since the end of May wasn’t on course yesterday. “He’ll be watching it on tele. He broke his wrist about a week ago. It was in the float, a horse pulled back when he tied it up.” Baynes says Jody Direen will go to stud in the next few weeks. House won later in the day with Zoned Scarlett. Last season Michael House trained his 500th winner. Beginning his training in 1988, his first winner was Talk About Swift at Forbury Park in January 1992. Last season was his best, training 98 winners. His best winning tracks have been Manawatu 145 followed by Addington 142. Blair Orange has driven 165 winners for House, the first being Andrel’s Fancy at Marlborough in June 1998. Dexter Dunn (71) Colin DeFillipi (52) and Clark Barron (35) have also been successful drivers for House. Michael House’s biggest wins: 1995 Group One 1995 Easter Cup – Matthew Lee 1993 New Zealand Yearling Sales Fillies Final – Vee Mee 2000 New Zealand Sires Stakes Two Year Old Trotting Championship – Castleton’s Mission 1997 Group Two New Zealand Trotting Championship – Holdonmyheart 2008 Listed PPG Wrightson New Zealand Yearling Sales Series Trotting Final – De Gaulle 2005 Listed Firestone FFA – Bella’s Boy 2003 Listed PPG Wrightson New Zealand Yearling Sales Trot – Just Incredible 2002 Group Two New Zealand Trotting Stakes – Just Incredible 2008 Group One Nevele R Stud Caduceus Club Classic – Rona Lorraine 2016 Listed PGG Wrightson New Zealand Yearling Sales All Age Pace – Moonrock 2017 Group Three Popular Alm FFA – Moonrock   Bruce Stewart

Reigning New Zealand Cup champion Cruz Bromac looks set to be back at Addington on November 10. The pacer is one of just two Australians, along with trotter Tough Monarch, to be included in the nominations for the week's two biggest features, the IRT New Zealand Cup and the Majestic Son Dominion Trot. 34 have been nominated for the Cup and 33 for the Dominion. Addington Raceway Racing Secretary Brian Rabbitt is pleased with the response, especially in a year which has been so adversely affected by COVID-19. The Cup numbers are the same as last year and the Dominion is down a few on last year. Notable absentees in the pacing ranks are recently-crowned Horse of the Year Ultimate Sniper and Chase Auckland (both injured) and Another Masterpiece and Princess Tiffany who are Australia-bound for other features and in the trotting ranks Oscar Bonavena (injured). "Cruz Bromac is likely to go straight to the Purdon/Rasmussen barn as he did last year," says Rabbitt. The only other Australian entry Tough Monarch placed second in the Dominion last year and there are some question marks about his return. "We know Rickie Alchin (trainer) would love to come over here again but he has to factor in travel restrictions so we can only wait and see," says Rabbitt. The first list of Cup rankings will be released next Thursday with many of the top open class contenders, including Cup favourite Self Assured, fronting up in Sunday's Hannon Memorial.     Dave Di Somma HRNZ

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk    Promising filly La Rosa has only missed a placing once in her five career starts and she will be out to rectify that in the Magness Benrow Sires’ Stakes Fillies Heat 3 Mobile Pace (1980m) at Addington Raceway on Thursday. The Mark Jones-trained three-year-old ran home well from the back of the field to finish fifth in Heat 2 of the series a fortnight ago, and Jones was pleased with her efforts. “From the draw (9) it was almost impossible to get any money, but she found the line well,” he said. “She has been racing well all season and has come through her last start run really good.” Jones is looking forward to seeing how La Rosa goes on Thursday, with a couple of big targets ahead of her in the next month, including the Listed NZB Standardbred Harness Million 1 Filles Pace (1980m). “She holds her own out of the gates and she can do work mid-stages if she has to,” Jones said. “Hopefully we can position a lot handier than we did last week. If she does she is going to be a chance. “She is a nice, progressive filly who will keep getting better. She has got big assignments in a couple of weeks so she will want to stand up this week.” Stablemate Orlando Magic will make her raceday return after nearly a year away from the track when she contests the Avon City Ford Mobile Trot (1980m) and Jones said she will be in need of the run. “Orlando Magic has been off a long time and has only had two quiet trials,” he said. “The first one was just fair, but the second one was better. They ran no time in either, so she will definitely benefit from the race. “If she finishes in the top half of the field we will be happy.” Sioux Princess will complete Jones’ trio of runners on Thursday when she lines-up in the Nevele R Stud Mobile Trot (1980m). The daughter of Majestic Son disappointed when finishing unplaced over 1980m last start and Jones is hoping for an improved performance on Thursday. “She was awful last start, but she can do that, so we will put a line through that run,” Jones said. “Nothing seems wrong with her and on her best day she is a strong each-way chance in that field.”

By Jonny Turner    A trip to the deep south several months ago led to junior driver Max Hill winning his first race with Watch Me Now at Ascot Park on Wednesday. The son of Canterbury trainer Brendon Hill rated the Kirstin Barclay and Tank Ellis trained mare perfectly in front to help her beat a smart field in her first start since February. Hill has established himself as a junior driver and gone on to notch his first win after what was meant to be a routine trip to Southland. “I left school was fifteen and started working for Dad and I worked for Mark Jones for a while when they were training together.” “I took a couple of horses down south one time and I never went home.” “I love it down here working for Tank and Kirstin.” Watch Me Now led throughout with Hill deciding not to hand the lead to rival Maximus Prost in the early stages. When the attackers came at to put pressure on the pair before the home turn the four-year-old found plenty under Hill’s urgings. “When the other horses came at her she really got going.” “That is her really – she lifted when they came up to her.” Hill praised his employers for trusting him to drive such a smart mare, who took her record to four wins from six starts on Wednesday. “I am getting looked after really well down here.” “It’s really good of Tank and Kirstin to let me drive that horse, she is a really smart mare.” Hill credits Ricky May for giving him early guidance with the finer points of race driving. The junior driver had 11 drives before landing his first win with Watch Me Now. Since starting out Hill has had plenty of support and encouragement from the Southland driving ranks. “Ricky is like family to us, so I talk to him a lot.” “Kirstin helps a lot and I talk to Nathan [Williamson] and Brent [Barclay].” “Matty Williamson is another really good one that you can talk to about stuff.” “All of the drivers down here are really good.” Like any young reinsman, Hill is eager to rack up more wins. He has driven almost exclusively for the Barclay-Ellis stable during his short career and hopes to build on that. “It would be good to get some outside drives and get a few wins.” The Barclay and Ellis team enjoyed a good day out despite the cold and wet conditions at Ascot Park on Wednesday. The trainers produced the quinella in race 1 when Ride In A Concorde beat Her Majesty. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

Thursday night’s Magness Benrow Sires’ Stakes Fillies Heat (1980m) at Addington is shaping as a crucial lead in to NZB Standardbred’s lucrative Harness Million Sale Race Series. Up and coming fillies will take on proven two-year-old performers when a classy group of nine graduates from NZB Standardbred’s 2019 National Yearling Sale take to the track. Northern raiders Show Me Heaven (NZ) (Somebeachsomewhere) and Miss Hathaway (NZ) (Bettor's Delight) will be out to continue their fine form and boost their hopes of qualifying for the $150,000 Listed NZB Standardbred Harness Million Fillies Pace (1980m), run as a late two-year-old race on Friday 2 October. Show Me Heaven opened her campaign with a strong win at Addington earlier this month for trainers Steve and Amanda Telfer. Miss Hathaway, who won on debut at Alexandra Park before venturing south, adds to the strong hand the Telfer stable has in Thursday night’s race. Show Me Heaven is set to start as one of the favourites after drawing barrier 2, while Miss Hathaway has a bigger challenge in front of her from barrier 9. The Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen stable line up two strong winning chances, including last season’s Group Three Leonard Memorial Stakes (2000m) winner Town Echo (NZ) (Art Major). She has prepared for her first start as a three-year-old by competing strongly against older horses in a recent Rangiora workout. Avana (NZ) (Bettor’s Delight) also lines up on Thursday night for the All Stars stable after running a good fourth in the previous South Island heat of the Magness Benrow Sires Stakes Fillies Series at Addington earlier this month. La Rosa (NZ) (Bettor’s Delight) ran fifth in the same race when rattling home from the rear. The Mark Jones trained filly started from barrier 9, but is much better situated in barrier 6 on Thursday night. The Robert Dunn stable will hope to boost the Harness Million credentials of two fillies when he starts Off N Gone (NZ) (Somebeachsomewhere) and Passion And Power (NZ) (Art Major). The smart pair have contrasting draws with Off N Gone, a winner of her last two starts, to start from barrier 3. Passion And Power’s chances will be impacted by the early tactics of her fellow NZB Standardbred graduate, Endless Dreams (NZ) (Somebeachsomewhere), whom she starts behind from barrier 1 on the second line. Iksaka (NZ) (Bettor’s Delight), a placegetter in both of her career starts, will start outside Off N Gone in barrier 4.   NZB Standardbred

By Jonny Turner    The road to the winner’s circle has been a long and challenging one for trainer Paul Andrews, but he finally made it when Tad Lincoln won on Wednesday. It was cold, wet and windy at Ascot Park, but that could not dampen Andrews’ mood after his six-year-old made light work of the testing conditions to run away from his rivals for driver Mark Hurrell. Andrews was first licenced in 1993, but health battles and other circumstances have lead to him lining horses up sporadically since then. At the time, the trainer was introduced to hands on work with harness horses through his brother-in-law Ben Ward, who has since become the starter at Southland meetings. “Ben was mucking around with some himself and I just had a bit of spare time and got involved,” Andrews said. “But then I got quite sick and I wasn’t able to do anything with them for a few years - for about five years or so I stepped out of it.” “I had heart attacks and skin complaints – I couldn’t be out in the sun – trying to get horses going doesn’t work so well.” When Tad Lincoln cleared out from his opposition by two lengths in race 3 Andrews ticked off his long held ambition a training a winner. “It is good to be able to tick it off.” Andrews has had previous success in the harness racing industry outside of training. The Tiwai Aluminium Smelter worker bred, prepared and sold Lord Kennington, who went on to win seven races and run second to Holmes DG in the Waikato Flying Mile in 2002. Andrews also bred and sold Kiwi Kennington, who won three races from Murray Faul’s Ascot Park stable. Andrews went outside his own breed to acquired Tad Lincoln, who he got from friend and fellow trainer Adrian Wohlers. “I got him off Adrian, he thought he still had a bit left in him, so I gave him a go.” “He has been going reasonably honest races.” Andrews added sliding blinds to Tad Lincoln’s gear ahead of yesterday’s race and got instant success when the pacer scored his second career win. “He has been going OK and when he has got a gap he sometimes wasn’t wanting to go there.” “Something wasn’t right and the sliding blinds seem to have woken him up.” Tad Lincoln scored his first career win almost 21 months before yesterday’s victory when winning for trainers Kirstin Barclay and Tank Ellis in January of 2019. Mark Hurrell drove the first leg of a winning double and helped produce a stable quinella in race 2. Hurrell drove the Craig Laurenson trained Sage Trouble to beat out her stablemate Miss Bamboocha. Sage Trouble ran a good second when she and Jaguar Bay cleared out from the rest of the field in their last starts at Winton last week. “She has done a good job this mare, she is pretty competitive in this grade,” Laurenson said. “She can run around 2.52 [for 2200m] but when they better ones go 2.50 it is harder for her.” “But she is improving.” Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

Welcome to the Harness Analyst series where we take a look at New Zealand's harness racing with free previews,tips and reviews of trials and the previous weeks racing. Harness racing hits Addington today with an eleven race program starting at 5:07pm and in this video we highlight some specials and value runners we think can give you a run for your money on a good day of racing. The content and data on this video is provided for informational purposes only Check below the video for our selections for all of the races today for Addington. Addington  Thursday 17th  September 2020   Race 1 Manhattan has been impressive at trials and top driver booked. Looks the winner in this field.…… Vesnina also good at trials and has a big motor. Good winning chance.… Bizzie Lou going to get a cosy run on the fence and is a first four player from there…….. Aimee's First Meddle trials have been good and stable firing. Tote the guide but has claims Selections:  Manhattan (3),   Vesnina (10),   Bizzie Lou (1),    Aimee's First Meddle (6)   Race 2 Down To The Bone forgive the last start run. Good winning claims here……. Arden's Reality has ability and big swing in draws. Good place chance at big odds in this field…… Koenigsegg running good races and fence draw suits. Good winning claims here if he can clear traffic…… Only In America ok on the track and draw is ideal. Top three player. Selections:  Down To The Bone (6),   Arden's Reality (1),   Koenigsegg (11),   Only In America (3)   Race 3 Five Wise Men he broke on grass at Methven after trialling well. Tote the guide but top winning chance….. Queen Elida good last campaign in strong fields. Has to be a good chance here….. Royal Pride drawn badly but has been running good races on the track. Needs luck but can win…. Queen Of Strathfield gets a tidy draw which should suit here. Form suggests she is a major player. Selections:   Five Wise Men (4),   Queen Elida (8),   Royal Pride (9),   Queen Of Strathfield (5)   Race 4 Need You Now big effort to beat most of this field last start and looks ready to go this week. Top winning chance….. Sugar Loaf better run last start from the good draw and fancied again to lead here. Has to be a good chance in this field….. Spellbound racing well against these mares and should be hard to beat.…. Enchantee tricky draw but in good form. Place claims best in even field. Selections:   Need You Now (9),   Sugar Loaf (3),   Spellbound (5),   Enchantee (6)   Race 5 Town Echo change of stable and will start favourite here. Hard to beat in this field…… La Rosa better draw to work with this week after a late finish from the back at her last start. Can win with a good run in transit… What's Your Secret getting better with racing but tricky draw. Include… Avana draw suits and big on ability. From a strike rate stable and over the odds. Selections:  Town Echo (12),   La Rosa (6),   What's Your Secret (15),   Avana (5)   Race 6 Kahress in top form last campaign and no reason she won’t be in the top three again here after a promising trial. Needed….. Wanna Play With Me getting better with racing and likely leader early. Can run top three…… Orlando Magic ok at trials and stronger now. Could stick on for a place at decent odds.… Sods Law runs some good races in sprint trips and could surprise at decent money here Selections:  Kahress (7),   Wanna Play With Me (3),   Orlando Magic (6),   Sods Law (10)   Race 7 Got You Covered good form and weaker field here. Can win if he can land closer to the speed early.……. Ned Kelly going ok and cosy fence draw. Liked at good money.… Twilight Bromac has not lived up to his first start second. Over the odds with top driver booked and could surprise.….. Major Moose getting fitter and has run some good races recently. Stable respect but place chances look best. Selections:  Got You Covered (5),   Ned Kelly (10),  Major Moose (6),  Twilight Bromac (11)   Race 8 A Bettor Act tidy trials run and should be running top three here. Top selection ……. Heisenberg has performed well here in the past but tricky draw. Good winning chance in this field if he goes forward early.… Mongolian Cavalry strikes a tricky draw but big on ability. Will be finishing over the top of them late….. Stars Tonight can do it tough in his races but this is a top field. One for longer odds Selections:  A Bettor Act (5),   Mongolian Cavalry (7),   Heisenberg (8),  Stars Tonight (9)   Race 9 Rydgemont Son looked the winner here last start but blew out late. Can win with a good run in transit……. Overzealous going well in stronger fields. Draw not the best but can win if she can clear traffic..… Majestic Chevron getting fitter and a top three finish looks on the cards if she goes forward early. Include….. Sioux Princess she looked a run short last start but has ability. Could provide an upset at even from the tricky draw. Selections:  Rydgemont Son (12),   Overzealous (10),   Majestic Chevron (8)    Sioux Princess (11)   Race 10 Champagneandwine easy win last start and change of driver. Should be very hard to roll here if she can get near the lead early……. Terrier decent effort last start and has won here before. Winning claims and opened over the odds.… Flamboyant conditions of the race suit and he is a good beginner. Include in combinations….. Sister's Delight great draw and forgive last start seventh. If she can lead early and then trail she is a place player here at long odds. Selections:  Champagneandwine (7),   Terrier (12),   Flamboyant (2)    Sister's Delight (1)   Race 11 Jawbreaker good win last start and this is no harder. If he can get a good run in transit then he is a big winning chance……. Chubby Checker decent effort last start and getting fitter. Winning claims at good odds.… Zambia racing out of his skin and draw suits. Might start favourite here and can win….. The Falcon running good races and should be there abouts. Needed Selections:  Jawbreaker (4),   Zambia (3),   Chubby Checker (7)    The Falcon (2)     Harnesslink Media

The Harness Jewels are back. Harness Racing New Zealand has confirmed that the 2021 Harness Jewels will be held at Cambridge Raceway over Queen’s Birthday weekend. And for the first time it will be held on a Sunday, not a Saturday. On June 6 all nine races will carry a stake of $100,000. “It’s taken a lot of work to get to this point,” says HRNZ Interim Chief Executive Phil Holden, “COVID has certainly made things tricky to say the least but the Board is committed to delivering the Jewels so it's great to be able to make it happen." There will be a maximum of 12 starters per race, with all races, as is the tradition, to be mobiles over the mile. “There was some consideration to running it on the Saturday (June 5) - but we decided against it because it clashed with gallops meetings at Ellerslie and Whanganui and a harness meeting at Invercargill,” said Holden. Cambridge will be the 14th edition of the Jewels, with the first taking place in Ashburton in 2007. The 2020 Jewels was scheduled for May 30 this year but couldn’t proceed because of the pandemic. With the uncertainty over trans-Tasman travel there will be no invitations issued to Australian horses and if they want to be part of the Jewels they will need to qualify here like everyone else. Entry to each of the nine races is determined by the highest stake earners. An updated leaderboard can be found on “June next year may seem a long time away,” says Holden, “but it will be here in a flash and it’s important for everyone to have such an important event confirmed on the calendar.”   HRNZ

Top pacers for Hannon Memorial A stellar line up’s been confirmed for the time-honoured Hannon Memorial at Oamaru on Sunday. Dominant New Zealand Cup favourite Self Assured will start off the unruly for the first time after breaking hopelessly in last Friday’s New Brighton Cup. Among his rivals will be All Stars stable-mate and defending champion Spankem, and other stars in Classie Brigade, AG’s White Socks, U May Cullect, and impressive last start winners Robyns Playboy and Pembrook Playboy. Ultimate Sniper targeting Auckland Cup Newly-named Horse of the Year Ultimate Sniper has the Auckland Cup in his sights. On Monday night the reigning Inter Dominion champion took out the top prize, narrowly from Amazing Dream. On receiving the award part owner Glenys Kennard said the five-year-old son of Bettor’s Delight was recovering well from the leg injury that’s seen him sidelined from all racing since dominating the Inter Dominions. She also told the crowd they are not eyeing up the New Zealand Cup but do have ambitions to be back for the Auckland Cup at Alexandra Park on New Year’s Eve. The season’s first qualified 2YO Night Watch has become the first two-year-old to qualify in the new season. The Imperial Count – Dark ops trotter has been bred and is trained by Alan Clark in Timaru. Clark is a long time trainer, first starting out in the early 1980s. He’s had 60 wins in 879 starts. Nearly half those wins (28) came with his durable trotter The Fiery Ginga, who’s earned over $400,000. Night Watch qualified at Oamaru Racecourse yesterday, completing the 2000 metre mobile in 2:37.9 (Mile rate 2:07). Mexicana heading north Three-year-old Muscle Mass trotter Mexicana has been transferred from the All Stars stable to Josh Dickie in Clevedon. Bred by recently crowned Breeder of the Year Trevor Casey, Mexicana had four starts for Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen, with two seconds and two thirds, and $4340 in stakes. Ben is back Junior driver Ben Laughton has recorded his first win in the sulky in nearly a year. He piloted the Regan Todd-trained Steel Dust to victory in the Junior Drivers Mobile Trot over 1980m at Addington last Friday night. It was Laughton’s 18th win since starting out in 2018, and his first since driving Rydgemont Son to victory at Oamaru last October.   HRNZ

NZB Standardbred graduates were crowned national champions in their first year of eligibility at the 2019-20 New Zealand Harness Awards at Addington on Monday night.  A standout season saw members of NZB Standardbred’s National Yearling Sale class of 2019 nominated across all two-year-old categories at New Zealand’s annual celebration of harness racing excellence. Eurokash (NZ) (Love You) was NZB Standardbred’s first New Zealand Harness Awards winner of the evening, taking out the 2YO Trotting Colt or Gelding of the Year title. He was a standout performer during an interrupted two-year-old trotting season, winning two of his three starts. The $35,000 purchase from Ruby Bloodstock was syndicated and trained by Greg and Nina Hope. He started his career in emphatic style when breaking the New Zealand 2600 metre standing start record for a two-year-old trotting colt or gelding in his first start. Eurokash strode away from his opposition for a massive five and a half length win in 3-27.9.  The star youngster made it two in a row when going on to win his next start over 1980 metres at Addington beating smart field of two-year-olds. Eurokash’s victories helped him beat out his fellow NZB Standardbred graduates Franco Jorik (NZ) (Muscle Mass), I See Fire (NZ) (Muscle Hill) and Regal Attire (NZ) (Muscle Hill), who were also finalists for New Zealand 2YO Trotting Colt Or Gelding Of The Year award. There were few surprises when an NZB Standardbred graduate took out the next award at Addington on Monday night. The finalists for the prestigious award were made up entirely by purchases from NZB Standardbred’s 2019 National Yearling Sale. Ultimately it was star performer Krug (NZ) (Bettor’s Delight) who was crowned New Zealand’s 2YO Pacing Colt Or Gelding Of The Year for 2019-20 following his season of dominance. Krug was purchased from Smolenski Stables for $155,000 and is trained by Nathan Purdon and Chrissie Dalgety. He stamped his class by dominating the feature racing during an interrupted season with wins in the Group One Cardigan Bay Stakes (1700m) and the Group Three New Zealand Sapling Stakes (1609m) at Ashburton. Krug’s season tally stood at five wins from seven starts after he produced arguably his most emphatic performance of the season in his final start for the 2019-20 term. Downed doing a power of early work the classy colt down a field filled with talented and hardy older horses over 1980 metres. First Class (NZ) (Bettor’s Delight) made the short list for the 2YO Pacing Colt Or Gelding Of The Year title following his win in the Group Three Kindergarten Stakes (1609m) and a second placing in the Group Three New Zealand Sapling Stakes (1609m). Krug’s main season rival, It’s All About Faith (NZ) (Captaintreacherous) was also a finalist for New Zealand 2YO Pacing Colt Or Gelding Of The Year. The Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen trained pacer won twice and was runner-up twice in just four starts. Those efforts included a second to Krug in the Group One Cardigan Bay Stakes (1700m).   NZB Standardbred

Most interest in the fillies heat of the Sires Stakes on Thursday is likely to centre on Town Echo making her All Stars debut but Natalie warns against reading too much into the fact she has switched from What’s Your Secret to drive the newcomer. “Really it was Mark’s drive but he is in Auckland and when we got the filly we agreed that one of us would drive her in the series. That is the reason Jim Curtin is on What’s Your Secret and I think he will suit her” Town Echo is still getting to know All Stars and vice versa. “She worked well this morning (Tuesday) but she has a tricky draw and it is not as if she is just going to go out and win it. She will need some luck. She won’t want to be out working during the running” Natalie said. “I would have liked if better if we had got her a little earlier and could have run in an earlier heat. It is either qualify or she is out with this race” “Actually of ours I think it will come down to the run they get. What’s Your Secret has done nothing wrong. She doesn’t have a great draw but it might suit her to be held up for a run. And Avana shouldn’t be overlooked. She has had some tough draws and I think she will be a better filly when she gets the opportunity to get on the pace. Her win down south showed she has the ability” Wanna Play With Me and Major Moose are both coming off disappointing runs but expect better this time. “I think there was a bit going on with both of them last start. We had had a bug around at home. Major Moose has to be competitive in a maiden race. He worked good enough this morning. He is a bit of a lazy bugger at home but he should go well. Wanna Play With Me is up against boys again but she is trotting well at home”   Courtesy of All Stars Stables

Welcome to the Harness Analyst series where we take a look at New Zealand's harness racing with free previews,tips and reviews of trials and the previous weeks racing. Harness racing hits Invercargill today with an eight race program starting at 1:07pm and in this video we highlight some specials and value runners we think can give you a run for your money on a good day of racing. The content and data on this video is provided for informational purposes only Check below the video for our selections for all of the races today for Ascot Park.   Invercargill 16th September 2020 Race 1 Clifton Jessie she ran some top races last campaign but will probably get back in the running . Chance if she can get handy midrace.…… Art Profile he has run some ok races from similar draws and is a first four player here.… Ride In A Concorde racing against stronger fields previously and a good chance of placing again here……..Her Majesty fair against stronger fields and draw suits here. Can win Selections:  Ride In A Concorde (9),   Her Majesty (5),   Clifton Jessie (3),    Art Profile (10)   Race 2 Miss Bamboocha will appreciate the wet track and weaker field. Good winning claims here……. Miss Jessica has ability and just needs some luck in the running. Good chance at big odds in this field…… Sage Trouble running good races and this field not strong. Good winning claims here…… Maudarchy ok on the track and normally good beginner. Will be hard to beat here. Selections:  Miss Bamboocha (9),   Sage Trouble (5),   Maudarchy (3),   Miss Jessica (10)   Race 3 Square Dealer big effort for third at first run for new stable and looks ready to go this week. Tote the guide but top winning chance….. Mighty George wet track will suit and ok last start. Has to be a good chance in this field….. Man I'm Good drawn well and will appreciate the sting out of the track. Can win at good odds…. Lady's Lass gets a tidy draw which should suit here. Place claims best but a chance at bolters odds. Selections:   Square Dealer (9),   Mighty George (5),   Man I'm Good (3),   Lady's Lass (10)   Race 4 Beauty Barry big effort at trials for new stable and looks ready to go this week. Tote the guide but top winning chance….. Jaccka Cooper been good at trials and draw is ideal. Has to be a good chance in this field….. Mary Robyn drawn badly but racing well in strong fields. Can win at good odds…. The Hustler gets a tidy draw which should suit here. Place claims best in even field. Selections:   Beauty Barry (9),   Jaccka Cooper (5),   Mary Robyn (3),   The Hustler (10)   Race 5 Glenthorne change of stable and down from Addington. Will start a hot favourite here and likely early leader. Hard to beat in this field…… Opawa Mach another who will appreciate the wet track.Top three player and over the odds … Hokuri Platter another who will appreciate the draw and who could surprise with top driver booked. Include… Jody Direen tricky draw but big on ability and respect the stable. Could place at good odds Selections:  Glenthorne (9),   Opawa Mach (5),   Hokuri Platter (3),   Jody Direen (10)   Race 6 Rydgemont Milly in top form and no reason she won’t be in the top three again here. Top selection….. Count Eyre getting better with racing and likely leader early. Can run top three…… King Cassidy one paced runner who has been racing stronger fields. Could stick on for a place at decent odds.… Spotlight The Valley runs some good races in sprint trips and could surprise at decent money here Selections:  Rydgemont Milly (9),   King Cassidy (5),   Spotlight The Valley (3),   Count Eyre (10)   Race 7 Ivana Legacy good form and draw the only worry. Can win with a cart into the race before the home turn.……. Ideal Glacier going ok and has won on the track before. Winning claims.… Jabali finally strikes a good draw and wet track no concern. Can win and liked at good money.….. Franco Huntington getting fitter and has run some good races recently but place chances look best in this field from the draw. Selections:  Jabali (9),   Franco Huntington 5),  Ideal Glacier (3),  Ivana Legacy (10)   Race 8 Burnham Boy big drop back in grade here and should be running top three here ……. Maximus Prost has performed well here in the past. Good winning chance in this field.… Nota Bene Denario strikes a tricky draw and will go back early. Will be finishing over the top of them late….. Hilarious Prince easy winner last start but big step up in grade here. One for longer odds Selections:  Burnham Boy (9),   Maximus Prost (5),   Nota Bene Denario (3),  Hilarious Prince (10)   Harnesslink Media

Harness racing’s weekly television show The Box Seat is set for a surprise return next week. And that has been made possible largely because of support from inside the industry. The Box Seat was taken off screen indefinitely, along with all other NZ-made Trackside magazine or review shows, when Covid-19 caused the first lockdown in March. With TAB NZ then re-structuring and changing their broadcasting model, with more emphasis on live racing and punting, most of the preview and review shows have yet to return. But The Box Seat host Greg O’Connor has secured enough funding from inside the industry to produce the show himself as well as staying on as the host. “I firmly believe The Box Seat has a huge role to play in promoting the industry as well as driving turnover on harness racing,” says O’Connor. “It is also a great vehicle for telling people’s stories and putting faces to the names in harness racing, whether they be premiership winners or a junior driver getting their first success. “So I was thrilled so many people inside the industry wanted to support it to get it back, including HRNZ and some of the clubs.” O’Connor then worked with the TAB broadcasting arm around the logistics of getting the show made and back on television. “They have been great to deal with and we really appreciate being able to use the same studios and sets because they have been a big part of the show. So a lot of people have worked hard to make this come together.” The Box Seat, with regular co-host Michael Guerin re-joining O’Connor on the show, starts next Wednesday but with some slight changes. “It will be recorded Wednesday, as it always was, so we can preview races that coming weekend and have the markets available. “But it will first screen on Trackside at the close of live racing most Wednesday nights and then be replayed on Thursday. So that could be 9pm or sometimes even later on the Wednesday night. “So for many people who are used to using Sky they could well MySky it and watch it when it suits them but it will also go up first on probably late Wednesday afternoon. “With people getting so used to streaming and watching shows online I think that will be a realistic option for plenty of viewers.” O’Connor is also working with racing channels and websites in Australia to allow them to screen the show to drive engagement with the New Zealand harness industry. The series is expected to run for 33 shows and is likely to include the traditionally popular The Box Seat special New Zealand Cup preview show.

CHESTER, PA -- 2019 Harness Horse of the Year Shartin N qualified in 1:52.2 at Harrah's Philadelphia on Tuesday morning, with a :26.4 back quarter that showed her readiness for the rich season-ending harness racing events upcoming.   With the mare's regular driver Tim Tetrick at The Meadows for Keystone Classics stakes competition, trainer Jim King Jr., who himself has 3369 career sulky victories, guided the seven-year-old daughter of Tintin In America right to the front and rattled off fractions of :28.2, :57.3, and 1:25.3. He then let her speed on home in her first racetrack outing after winning the Artiscape Pace on August 16 at Tioga Downs..   King noted that the possibilities on the schedule of his mare, who is owned by his wife Jo Ann Looney-King, Richard Poillucci, and Tim Tetrick LLC, include the Dayton Distaff Derby, the Breeders Crown, and the TVG series.   Shartin N's entrymate in the high mares class, Soho Burning Love A, was also successful in a Philly qualifier, coming home in :27 in a 1:54.1 mile.   From the PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia        

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