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Alexandra Park – Friday 10 May Bonjour Mesdames et Messieurs! We’re laying out the canvas and painting a spectacular night filled with glorious harness racing, fine dining, beautiful music and a hint of romance. Join us at Alexandra Park for our ever popular French Night in Top of the Park on Friday 24th May. Packages starting from $65 per person. Indulge in the festivity of Mid-Winter Christmas with Alexandra Park! Embrace the winter chills whilst enjoying the hottest harness racing New Zealand has to offer! With four function rooms and a variety of packages over four mid-winter Friday nights starting 21st June until 12th  July, there is something to suit everyone. Dream of mulled wine, an all-you-can-eat Christmas-themed buffet and lively social atmosphere. Explore the best Alexandra Park has to offer, but don’t forget to book quickly as these popular nights don’t last long. Book online at www.alexandrapark.co.nz. To find out more info, call 09 631 1165 or email dining@alexandrapark.co.nz   Addington Raceway and Events Centre IRT HARNESS JEWELS  - Remember to book your perfect spot! We are delighted to host the IRT Harness Jewels at Addington. Please see below details of all the festivities. Welcome Pre Function Dinner – Thursday 30 May 6.00pm Silks & Satin Lounge, Level 2 Metropolitan Stand Hosted by Greg O’Connor and Michael Guerin, this special evening will celebrate the history of this wonderful event.  Included in the festivities will be the IRT Harness Jewels commentators Tony Lee, Mark McNamara and Aaron White who through their commentaries, will highlight this special race series.  As part of this night HRNZ will present the IRT Harness Jewels colours to the leading set of connections in each category. Evening includes; Three course plated dinner Cash bar facilities available $70 per person $650 for a table of 10 To book or for more information please contact Joanne McMaster on 339 7908 or joanne.mcmaster@addington.co.nz IRT in association with TAB Harness Jewels Golf Day – Friday 31 May This is a Four Ball Best Ball Stableford event to be held at the Templeton Golf Club.  The day will start with a pre-game BBQ from 10.30am with teams teeing off from 11.30am.  There will be a prize giving post game. Individual $50 per player Sponsorship $250+GST per hold including a team of 4 To book or for more information please contact Greg O’Connor at greg.o’connor@tab.co.nz IRT Harness Jewels – Hospitality Packages – Saturday 1 June Ruby Lounge Located on level 3 of the Metropolitan Stand, enjoy panoramic views over the track in a lounge setting with casual seating.   Ideal for groups of friends wanting the best views, in a more relaxed atmosphere where you can mix and mingle with other racing enthusiasts. (No allocated seating) Package Includes: · Course admission, racebooks and access to the Ruby Lounge · Complimentary drink on arrival · Stand-up grazing stations with an array of antipasto and seafood platters, fresh salads, carvery meats, fresh breads, hot vegetables, and a dessert selection · A cash bar offering a selection of premium wines, NZ premium and standard beers, house spirits and non-alcoholic beverages (beverage tabs can be arranged on the day) · Barista coffee and tea available throughout the day · Private TAB facilities and Trackside TV’s · Racing Master of Ceremonies $195 per person Silks & Satin Lounge Soak up the atmosphere and excitement in one of our largest lounges on course. Located on level 2 of the Metropolitan Stand with uninterrupted views of the winning post, this is undoubtedly one of the most sought-after positions for those wanting the complete hospitality experience. Allocated seating is at shared tables of 10 people. Package Includes: · Course admission, racebooks and access to the Silks & Satin Lounge · Three course buffet lunch, including cold meats, seafood and salads, hot dishes, carvery, and mouth-watering desserts · All beverages included – premium wines, NZ premium and standard beers, house spirits and non-alcoholic beverages · Barista coffee and tea available throughout the day · Live entertainment · Private TAB facilities and Trackside TV’s · Racing Master of Ceremonies $295 per person Spectators Punters Lounge This is the perfect place for racing enthusiasts wanting a relaxed and casual place to mix and mingle. Enjoy the comfort of lounge facilities with access to the front of the Lindauer Lawn to watch all the trackside action. Spectators also offers a large screen, bar leaners and casual seating. (No allocated seating) Package Includes: · Course admission, racebooks and access to Spectators Punters Lounge · Continuous spit roast grazing stations including fresh vegetables, seasonal salads, pork, Canterbury lamb and sweet treats · A cash bar offering a selection of premium wines, NZ premium and standard beers, house spirits and non-alcoholic beverages (beverage tabs can be arranged on the day) · Barista coffee and tea available throughout the day · Private TAB facilities and Trackside TV’s · Racing Master of Ceremonies $125 per person      For hospitality bookings or for more information please contact Joanne McMaster on 339 7908 or joanne.mcmaster@addington.co.nz All details and booking forms are also on our website – addington.co.nz. We are looking forward to hosting an outstanding day of our sport on Saturday 1 June.  Have a great week. From the Addington Team   Winton – Saturday 11 May LAST OF THE SEASON AT WINTON  The final harness race meeting of the season for the Winton Harness Racing Club takes place at Central Southland Raceway in Winton this Saturday. The race day incorporates the long standing Southland Master Plumbers Association Race Day with several races sponsored by businesses involved in the plumbing industry and a strong contingent of plumbing industry and Master Plumbers Assn representatives on course. The first race is timed to commence at 11.15am with eleven races throughout the day. On course patrons can win betting vouchers with two lucky losing ticket draws courtesy of Gypsy Kitchen Nightcaps after Race 6.  Admission to the course is free! Harness racing at Winton will recommence in September after the winter break. Timaru HRC – Mother’s Day meeting and breakfast The annual Timaru Mother’s Day race meeting on Sunday 12 May will see the sixth edition of the club’s lady drivers races held at Phar Lap Raceway. Two penalty free lady driver races are programmed to be held at the race meeting, which will be sponsored once again by FLAIR and Brosnan’s Transport. Club President Elizabeth Shand is thrilled with the interest Canterbury female drivers have shown in the event. She says it’s important to the club to celebrate the achievements and support of all females in the harness racing community. “The aim of the day is to highlight women in our industry. We want to recognize and promote not just the female drivers but also the trainers, owners, stablehands and partners that are dedicated to harness racing and are great role models for the next generation,” said Shand. This year’s driving lineup features Ellie Barron,Katie Cox, Ineka Lee, Loren Lester, Amber Lethaby, Mikayla Lewis, Siv Diamant, Sarah O’Reilly, Sam Ottley, Ashleigh Stewart, Olivia Thornley, Amanda Tomlinson, Kerryn Tomlinson, Sheree Tomlinson and Jessica Young. The mother and daughter combination of Amanda, Kerryn and Sheree Tomlinson will add to the spectacle on Mother’s Day, being the first time a mother and her two daugthers have competed. A day that the club has used over the years to salute women in racing, this year they will be hosting a Mother’s Day Pink Ribbon breakfast in the Grey Way Lounge. The breakfast will start at 10am and everyone is welcome to attend. You can choose between a cooked breakfast for $15 and a continental for $10 and also make a donation to the Pink Ribbon Break Cancer Awareness campaign. The club will have a guest at the Breakfast in Jess Smith, Communications & Ownership Co-Ordinator for HRNZ. Jess will provide you with some tips for the days racing, and inform on ownership opportunities. Activities on the day include the annual Mother’s Day Quiz, a novelty race and prize draws will run throughout the day including the opportunity to win in the Ron Brown Jewellers Gold Watch Sweep. Children will be kept happy on the day too with activities including colouring competitions and the kids’ lucky number competition. Mother’s Day catering will be available oncourse for those who wish to make bookings to bring their family along to enjoy the atmosphere in the Grey Way Lounge. Just contact the club on 03-684-3400 or email secservices@xtra.co.nz    Waikato Bay Of Plenty HRC News Thursday 16th May – Crack Up Quiz Night At The Races Crack Quiz night- SOLD OUT   But we still have race night dining available in the Skyline lounge which is open to the public and has everything you need for a great night out - views, delicious meals and full bar & tote facilities - doors open at 5pm! - reserve your table here: https://www.eventspronto.co.nz/event473 Thursday 6th June – Lads night at the races hosted by Jim from The Rock! It's our first Lads Night at Cambridge Raceway and we're setting the bar high. Along with an awesome night of horse racing, beers and bants, there will be celebrity dual sulky races - Featuring Jim & a couple of players from the Chiefs. Tickets are only $20 and include a Corona (or non-alcoholic drink) on arrival More info here: https://www.cambridgeraceway.co.nz/page/lads-night/   Addington Raceway - IRT Harness Jewels News and Owner Privileges Harness Racing New Zealand and Addington Raceway would like to take this opportunity to notify all harness racing owners about the owner privileges on offer at the 2019 IRT Harness Jewels on Saturday 1 June 2019. This year all owners with a horse entered (including all members of a syndicate) will receive a welcome pack.  This year two drinks vouchers and an owner’s lanyard will be included in each pack.  Please wear these lanyards at all times to ensure you gain access to The Sapphires Lounge and The Stables. The Sapphires Lounge is for owners and members and is located on Level 1 of the Metropolitan Stand where it’s all about the racing. There will be large screens with all the live action, TAB facilities and a range of tasty deli food and cash bar facilities available (please note there is no allocated seating). Please present your owner’s lanyard to our host on arrival. The drinks vouchers can be redeemed in the Sapphires Lounge and/or at the owner’s bar on Blanc de Blanc Lawn (in front of the Breckon’s Winners Bar).   Owners are encouraged to enjoy their drink vouchers at the owner’s bar prior to their race before moving to the seating bowl to enjoy all the action. An email will be sent to all owners following the release of the final fields on Friday 24 May with full information.  The welcome packs are able to be collected from Addington Raceway’s Office from the following dates and times; Tuesday 28 May – Friday 31 May between 9.00am – 4.00pm Saturday 1 June from 10.30am onwards. Please note these will need to be collected by owners on an individual basis. Please also be aware that the health and safety of all patrons and licence holders is a priority for HRNZ and Addington Raceway, so there will be a limit of ten owners at a time visiting their horse in The Stables. Syndicate managers are asked to please be aware of this for health and safety reasons and plan to allow owners to see their horse in a safe manner in line with the guidelines. The festivities for the week commence with the Welcome Dinner on Thursday 30 May at 6.00pm at Addington Raceway.  Be sure to join us for dinner where the IRT Harness Jewels commentators Tony Lee, Aaron White and Mark McNamara will reminisce about the Jewels History and preview Saturday’s Jewels line up.  To book tickets please visit https://www.addington.co.nz/racing/irt-harness-jewels-at-addington/irt-harness-jewels-welcome-dinner/ The hospitality options at Addington Raceway for the IRT Harness Jewels are also selling fast, so should you wish to enjoy the nine group one races from the comfort of our lounges and hospitality areas make sure you check out our options: https://www.addington.co.nz/racing/irt-harness-jewels-at-addington/irt-harness-jewels-hospitality/ General admission will be just a gold coin donation at the gate with all proceeds going to St John. Good luck to those with horses on the leader board and also over the final stages of qualifying. We look forward to seeing you all at the IRT Harness Jewels on Saturday 1 June. Jewels front line limit Owners and trainers are reminded that the front line limits for all Jewels races will be 8. Overall field size for the Jewels is 12 plus 1 ballot (11 New Zealand runners plus 1 Australian invite or 12 New Zealand runners). With all races being over 1980m from the mobile gate it is in the best interest of the punter to have consistent front line limits on this day. Should the ballot draw on the front line and not regain a start the configuration may be 7 on the front line and 5 on the second line instead of 8 and 4. IRT Harness Jewels Celebration Dinner – Thursday 30 May Hosted by Addington Raceway and HRNZ, the IRT Harness Jewels Celebration dinner will be held at Addington Raceway on Thursday 30 May from 6pm. Join us for dinner where we will look back at the previous 12 years of this wonderful concept. This will include Jewels commentators Tony Lee, Aaron White and Mark McNamara reminiscing on the Jewels history. Hosted by Greg O’Connor and Michael Guerin, the night will include a preview of Saturday’s Jewels and recognition of some of the unsung heroes. It will also include the presentation of tour leaders colours to the leading connections in each section of this year’s series from both New Zealand and Australia. Tickets are $70 per person, or $650 for a table of ten, and includes a drink on arrival, three course plated dinner and cash bar facilities. To book or for more information visit www.addington.co.nz or call 03 339 7908.   HRNZ Marketing

Following on from the recent email communication sent out on behalf of the ATC re the March 1 stakes increases and field selection, we would like to further announce the following changes to our programming for June & July 2019 to take us through to the end of the current 2018/19 racing seasons - at which point another announcement re the differing tiers of stake on offer here at the ATC going forward into the 2019/20 season commencing August 1 2019.   We are proud to offer industry leading stakes and see this vital to the foreseeability of the industry. The ATC has made a commitment to continuing to build upon these increases and once the construction is complete and Building A & B have settled, we will be in a better financial position to continue to invest in the industry & make every effort possible towards ensuring the sustainability of our industry for many years to come. After a great amount of consultation with many industry participants / stakeholders, it has been decided that for June & July here at the ATC, a tiered stakes structure will apply. What this will mean is that all R rated races (pacing / trotting) up-to-R54 (approx.) will be run for a stake of $14,999 - with all races that are confirmed on the final programme to have a bottom rating cap of R55+ to carry a $20,000 stake. Given the spread of ratings and final race splits are entirely dependent on nominations received for any given meeting, there may be the case for example in which a race carries a final split of say R53-58 - given the bottom rating cap of this race is below R55, this will pertain to a $14,999 stake. We will continue to programme a $25,000 race (again both pacing / trotting) for the tightest assessed race on any given standard meeting (where acceptances allow for an approximate R65 & Faster split to get off the ground). Non-winners races, 2YO races & Junior Driver races will additionally also carry a stake of $14,999 (Please note - the NZRB's payment of $1,500 that goes to all horses when they have their first win for tote races up-to-and-including $14,999 will continue to be added to the first placed winners stake for the balance of the current season). On the subject on non-winners races, the ATC would also like to announce to trainers that after consultation with the N.I Horsemen's Association, the use of preferential barrier draws (based on sex) that has up to this point been applied on sex in the instances where only one non-winners race is programmed or finalised for any meeting - will now only be in effect every second meeting with an open draw to apply on alternating weeks. The South of the Bombay's races that were so popular last season will once again be programmed throughout June & July and as such, these will also carry a $14,999 stake. Similar conditions will apply to these races this season as they did the last - however these will be confirmed in the coming days and shortly be available for perusal when the June tentative programmes are made available online in the coming days - with a likely ratings band of R40-65 to apply along with other conditions. Of course, should you be an (eligible) R55-65 horse and not wanting to run for the $14,999 stake these S.O.T.B races offer, then you will be more than welcome to take your chance in the R55+ races which offer that $20,000 stake. We would like to thank you for your feedback and hope that this is something that the industry welcomes. The ATC aims to create the most professional racing, sporting & entertainment environment and whilst it was recently announced that where applicable at any given meeting horses will be selected from the top-down, this will run in conjunction with other main objectives such as creating full and even betting fields and so this policy of selection will always be subject to nominations received for any given meeting, with a top-down approach in-use where nominations permit. All the best for the coming winter months - we wish you all the best and look forward to having you race here at The Park.   Kind regards, Derek Balle ATC Racing Committee Chair

Harness racing driver Simon Lawson has unfairly copped a two and a half year ban from the JCA for betting on another horse in a race he was driving in. Originally in a reserved decision, Lawson was fined $8000 and given a suspension of 18 months for placing a $50EW Fixed Odds bet on Mr Natural in Race 10 at Alexandra Park on 25th May 2018, the “Book An ATC Bus to The Jewels” Mobile Trot while he drove My Royal Roxy into 5th place in the same race. Details of the Reserved Decision can be read here. That one and a half year ban has now been upgraded to two and a half years. For a young driver whose life revolved around horses and harness racing, the ban will certainly impact his life in a major way. Lawson himself could not believe the length of the term he was disqualified for. "I am in shock" he told Harnesslink today. "It has cost me my job and it is going to take me years to pay the fine. "I am not saying I did not do anything wrong, because I did make a mistake. "But I think the penalty is harsh and far outweighs the breach of rules," he said. Earlier in the year Lawson was cleared of race fixing in the race he profited from after police interviewed some of the drivers in the race and found there was no race fixing involved. Betting patterns that were analysed on the race in question also confirmed no illegal activity. The two and a half year ban is extremely excessive. It is our belief the RIU appealed the original decision to have the term extended just to make Simon Lawson a scapegoat. Lawson has now been unfairly burdened with a penalty so far out of context with the rule breach it seems like a joke. Granted the industry needs to protect its integrity but this over the top suspension in our eyes instead makes the industry a laughing stock and instead further damages the industry. Many owners trainers and drivers we talked too are growing more and more disheartened at the decisions coming from this integrity unit. Something has got to be done and we think the heads at the RIU need to go as they are continuing to hurt all aspects of harness racing. Harnesslink Media

Pacing great Lazarus is going to stand at stud in New South Wales in one of the most radical deals in the history of harness racing. But while he will be based in Australia for his Southern Hemisphere breeding career, New Zealand breeders will still have the cheapest access in the world to the recently-retired pacing hero. Lazarus was the dominant pacer in Australasia until sold to United States thoroughbred breeding giant Taylor Made Stallions last year and he went on to become the second best free-for-all pacer in North America during a short campaign there. He is serving a full book (140 mares) in the United States at US$10,000 and after negotiations with several leading Down Under stud farms he will stand at Yerribee Stud in Wagga, New South Wales. But that isn't the radical part of the Lazarus deal as his Southern Hemisphere breeding rights haven't been purchased by a stud or individual but by Club Menangle, who run the Menangle harness racing track. The deal sees Club Menangle buy Lazarus's Australasian breeding rights for life which would see them keep profits until their initial investment is paid back and then any service fees after that will be split with Taylor Made. The move will stun harness racing insiders, who often shy away from thinking outside the square, but looks smart business on two fronts. Not only should Lazarus be popular at stud and looks certain to end up making Club Menangle money but his presence in NSW will give them a glamour stallion prospect at a time when state bosses there are trying to reinvigorate the local breeding industry. That will also boost the depth of all NSW racing series and Club Menangle are certain to give the champion Lazarus huge exposure. He will stand there at an initial fee of A$10,000 plus GST but be available to New Zealand breeders at the slightly cheaper fee of $10,000 plus GST. Just as importantly, Lazarus will be paid up for the New Zealand Sires' Stakes stallion eligibility scheme so his New Zealand foals will have the same local opportunities as foals sired by stallions based in New Zealand. Club Menangle chief executive Bruce Christison says he was thrilled to get the deal signed. "The Club sees this as both an investment for ourselves but also in the breeding industry in NSW," said Christison. "And we believe the breeding incentives already put in place by HRNSW combined with the Lazarus name will ensure this is an outstanding success." Lazarus is expected to arrive in Australia in August.   Michael Guerin

Two key withdrawals and three Australian additions saw Harness Jewels markets go on a rollercoaster ride as the key contenders for the glamour meeting are starting to take final shape.  The Jewels move to Addington for the first time on June 1 and while horses have until May 19 to earn enough money to qualify most of the serious players are already locked in.  The market most still in flux is the three-year-old trotters where Enhance Your Calm the favourite could be vulnerable to either Australian star Alpha Male or the forgotten Oscar Bonavena if they make it to Addington.  Alpha Male would secure the Australian invite if he wins the NSW Trotting Derby this Saturday and then the question for punters will be whether trainers Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin want to bring him to New Zealand, where they have rarely campaigned horses before.  Oscar Bonavena only sits 20th in the order of entry after a season interrupted by soreness and will need to win at Addington either this Friday or next to be guaranteed a Jewels spot.  And while Enhance Your Calm has hardly looked bulletproof when galloping in both his recent starts, trainer Mark Purdon puts that down to Alexandra Park being right-handed and says the leggy trotter will definitely be at the Jewels unless something goes amiss beforehand.  But Purdon confirmed two high profile withdrawals and one major yes for the Jewels yesterday with Spankem, as expected, pulled out of the four-year-old male pace and joined soon after by Chase Auckland.  “Spankem has done enough for the season and he will have a break now while Chase Auckland is too far down the rankings so he can have a spell now too instead of chasing a spot.”  But just as importantly for punters Purdon confirmed Auckland Cup winner Turn It Up, all going well, will be at the Jewels. “He hasn’t had a busy second half to the season so he will press on,” says Purdon.  Turn It Up could easily have missed the Jewels and gone for an early spell as he is one of the favourites for the NZ and Auckland Cups as well as the Inter Dominions all run between November and December 31 this year.  So Purdon’s confirmation the Jewels are still his season-ending target as well as the withdrawal of his stablemates has seen Turn It Up move from $2.90 on Friday night to $1.95 to win his division. Purdon says most of the stable’s other favoured runners are still targeting the Jewels with only form loss or unforseen problems likely to see them withdrawn.  The four-year-old male pace is often the glamour race of Jewels Day but that title could fall to the four-year-old trotters this year as it will contain Anzac and Rowe Cup winner Sundees Son, unlucky placegetter in both Majestic Man, last season’s Jewels winner Winterfell and the exciting King’s Landing. Trainer Robert Dunn has confirmed Sundees Son will head to the Jewels and while he is unruly from a stand he is not from a mobile, meaning he will be in the draw, crucial for the 1980m mobile. “Being in the draw is very important because he couldn’t give these horses a start in a sprint but he actually has good gate speed so we can’t wait to get him there,” says Dunn. “John (son and driver) and I should have about 10-12 in the Jewels.” The favoured trotting quartet will be joined by one of the latest Australian invites in Majestic Player, who won his way into the Jewels at Menangle on Saturday night. Also invited from Australia yesterday were Pete’s Big Jim, who was a close second in the juvenile male pace last year and his stablemate Falcon Stride, who will contest the four-year-old Emerald. That brings the number of Australian invites to five and with a three-year-old trotter likely they could field potentially the strongest Australian team in the history of the Jewels. **  A stronger than expected sale saw a huge increase in average at the NZB Standardbred all-aged sale at Karaka yesterday. With mainly weanling, broodmares and a very small number of yearlings offered an outstanding clearance rate of 96 per cent was surprising for the 130-plus lots. While these sort of sales can vary wildly, the average of $10,816 was an increase of over $3000 on last year. The top price was $80,000 paid for a trotting-bred filly by Kadabra by NSW owners Emilio and Mary Rosati.   Michael Guerin

Following last week’s announcement of the first two Australian invites for the IRT Harness Jewels (Lulu Le Mans and Major Occasion), Harness Racing New Zealand and Addington Raceway are thrilled to now confirm our three latest Australian competitors.   Pete’s Big Jim (3yo Emerald), Falcon Stride (4yo Emerald) and Majestic Player (4yo Ruby) will represent their homeland in this year’s edition of the Jewels.   Shane and Lauren Tritton will bring back Pete’s Big Jim, who was a gallant second beaten just a neck by Another Master- piece last year, and talented four-year-old gelding Falcon Stride across the Tasman for a Jewels endeavor.   Peter Kohlsdorf is the owner of Pete’s Big Jim, and was ecstatic to be able to return to New Zealand with his pride and joy.   “It’s hardly sunk in to be honest,” said Kohlsdorf. “I’ve been thinking about it since last year when we were just beaten a neck by Another Masterpiece. So we set a programme to come back with the horse to the Jewels again, if it was at all possible.”   Pete’s Big Jim has not had the best of luck this year, struggling with setbacks and lameness but Kohlsdorf and Tritton report the horse is on the way back up.   Falcon Stride is a horse that Shane Tritton has a high opinion of and has won 6 of his 14 career starts. He has previously won over a mile in 1.51.7.   “He’s a horse that I’ve said several times, if he was in a Miracle Mile and they went 1.48, I’ve got no doubt he’d be good enough to be there, ” said Tritton.   “I’m really excited about him. I know it’s a strong division don’t get me wrong, and he’s a horse that a lot of people won’t know a lot about. But he’ll turn some heads at the top of the straight if he can be close enough.”   Anton Golino will also return to the Harness Jewels when he presents four-year-old trotter Majestic Player in the Ruby.   Golino campaigned with Dance Craze at Cambridge in 2018. She was third despite being desperately unlucky in the running and has since gone on to win the Great Southern Star and Saturday night’s La Coocaracha.   The Yabby Dams Farm owned Majestic Player extended his career record to 13 wins from 25 starts when winning at Menangle untouched on Saturday night. This season alone he has won 7 of his ten attempts.   Pat Discoll of Yabby Dams Farm is elated to returning to New Zealand with Jewels contender for Australia. But he did explain to HRNZ that the horse has not been without his challenges.   “We are very honoured and privileged to get the invite and providing the horse has pulled up ok after Saturday night we will definitely be there,” said Driscoll.   “He’s a bit of a stable star.”   “The horse has actually come from nowhere,” explained Driscoll. “As a young horse and a two-year-old he was short in stature and gangly and everyone loved him because even though he tried, he couldn’t trot.”   “Each year he’s just got better and better and from the horse’s point of view it’s a wonderful story. A horse that had a wonderful will to win but just couldn’t trot, and each year has just improved. He just seems to be getting better every start.”   Yabby Dams Racing is an exclusive trotting focused farm, following European training styles and focusing on the best trotting bloodlines worldwide. In an interview (link below) Driscoll describes his passion for the square gait breed and how that has led to the establishment of Yabby Dam Racing.   New Zealand Racing Board Harness Bookmaker Richard Wilson has released the opening prices on the New Zealand TAB for the latest Australian invites for the IRT Harness Jewels; Pete’s Big Jim $26; Falcon Stride $12 and Majestic Player $8. All IRT Harness Jewels future markets are now open on www.tab.co.nz   To hear an interview with Shane Tritton, Peter Kohlsdorf and Pat Driscoll please follow this link: https://www.youtube.com/wat ch?v=vC2kelvv66M&feature=youtu.be   Jess Smith Communication and Ownership Co-Ordinator Harness Racing New Zealand Inc          

After he won on Diamonds Day a week ago it was expected that star pacer U May Cullect would be turned out for a month. But that’s now not the case. “When Tank went to feed him the next day he was going nuts around the paddock so he just thought we’d be better to tick away with him quietly and look at races every two to three weeks. We always do precautionary scans on him. We gave him a scan last week and the leg is perfect. We’ve got no real plans. We’ll go to Winton and I’m not sure what will happen after that,” said co-trainer Kirstin Barclay. He’s been the big find of the Southern harness racing season and he's created talk right across the national harness scene when winning all of his four starts impressively. “We knew he was a nice horse but the way he’s stepped up in every race has been amazing. Everything he does he does so easily. To be fair he hasn’t stepped up against quality yet but the times he’s run, especially his 1-52 mile at Winton untouched, shows he’s more than capable of going a bit quicker.” Barclay says the horse has continued to get better and better and has taken everything in his stride. “The big thing is that he can be keen off the gate but as soon as he’s crossed over or you ask him to come back to you after you’ve come out of the gate he just relaxes. At Addington he was keen, took a trial and just went to sleep. It was the same at Winton. He’s a pretty smart cookie and nothing really worries him.”   Bruce Stewart

Chuckles continued his great run for owner Tom Kilkelly and trainers Kirstin Barclay and Tank Ellis when he won the second to last Nuggets Final at Ascot Park today (Saturday). And it was fitting that the race was sponsored by Kilkelly’s business Regent Car Court. It was only the Grinfromeartoear gelding’s third start after he qualified at Wyndham in November last year. “He qualified really nice but had a wind problem so he had to go away and have an operation. He’s come a long way in a short time,” said Barclay. The three year old is out of the Badlands Hanover mare Uroc On and is named after master horseman Mark Purdon. “The horse’s stable name is Mark. Tom and Julie used to sit and watch Mark on Trackside interviews and he always had a wee chuckle so that’s how he got his name.” From Gate Six Barclay worked Chuckles to the front before handing up to stablemate Hampton and then Tulsa Jaccka. When Love The Blues became the fourth leader Chuckles was posted four back on the inside. With 800 metres to run Jaffie J started to move up. Barclay gave Chuckles a flick with the reins and he got onto that runners back. With 500 metres to go she got Chuckles into top gear and he sprinted hard three wide. “I knew Wayne’s one (Tulsa Jaccka) had a good turn of foot so I wanted to get a bit of a break on it before it got to the lane.” Chuckles sustained a good sprint in the run home beating Tulsa Jaccka by three quarters of a length with the winner’s stablemate Hampton making ground late for third another three quarters and a length away. Chuckles and Kirstin Barclay beating Nathan Williamson and Tulsa Jaccka - Photo Bruce Stewart Barclay noted the gelding was keen today and that was noticeable when he was trailing Hampton early in the event. “He just wasn’t himself today. The track was a wee bit looser, he was fresh, looking at everything and buggering around a little bit. He knuckled down when it was time to do the job.” It was another great drive by Barclay who’s in an excellent vein of form at the moment, undoubtedly buoyed by the thrill of driving U May Cullect. The win was one of two on today’s card for Barclay. In the last two weeks she’s won five races. Her other win today was on the Ricky Gutsell trained Maahes which won the Southland Express Mobile Pace at odds of 34-1. Maahes winning at Ascot Park - Photo Bruce Stewart   Bruce Stewart

EMERGING speedster Majestic Player looks set to become the second Harness Jewels contestant for the giant Yabby Dams operation. Trainer Anton Golino took Dance Craze across to Cambridge for last year’s 4YO Jewels trot and would’ve gone close to winning with any luck. She’s since returned home, gone to another level with wins in the Great Southern Star and other features and shown the NZ trip was the making of her. Maybe Golino thinks it could be the same with Majestic Player, who made it 13 wins from just 25 starts when he won untouched in a 1min54.8sec mile at Menangle last night. Jewels recruiter Darrin Williams made it clear Majestic Player and Drop The Hammer – who ran fourth last night – were racing against each other for the Jewels invite. Majestic Player’s gate speed is lethal and he used it to lead and win as he liked last night. That gate speed will be huge with a kind draw at Addington on June 1. Golino said a Jewels trip was “very likely as long as he comes through this well.”   HRNZ

Speedy Auckland Reactor gelding Revolver grabbed another impressive harness racing victory at Alexandra Park last night coming home to win from a near impossible position with 400m to go. Sitting last at the 400m with a wall of horses in front of him, the chances of Revolver (Auckland Reactor - Penny Lane) looked slim of even getting clear racing room, until driver Tony Herlihy managed to extract the horse at the right time and he fair flew home to grab the leader Big On Personality right on the line. The time was a very quick 2-40.0 for the 2200m journey, a mile rate of 1-57.0.  Revolver has now won five of his ten lifetime starts.   Revolver winning his fifth race last night Auckland Reactor has been on a roll recently with two winners last night (Classie Reactor and Stephens Spirit) in Australia and his three-year-old filly Delightfulreaction was an unlucky closing fast second in the $150,000 Western Australian Oaks at Gloucester Park. To watch the video replay of the Oaks last night click on this link. Auckland Reactor now has 51 winners in Australia for $1,138,375 in earnings. In New Zealand he has 38 winners for $1,078,610 in earnings. Harnesslink Media

Rising harness racing star Spankem claimed another Gr1 victory tonight by winning the 2019 $90,000 Dawson Harford Ltd NZ Messenger Championship at Alexandra Park. Using the same tactics as she did in last weeks Taylor Mile success, driver Natalie Rasmussen blasted off the mobile gate to grab an early lead with the showy Bettor's Delight gelding.  It turned out to be a lead she would never relinquish. As he did last week Spankem ran along in front with no attackers and he simply had too much gas in the tank for his rivals, unleashing a sizzling last 800m in 54.3 seconds and winning by half a length at the line.  Stable mate Turn It Up got closest again running home well for second with Mach Shard battling on well from the trail for third. For Natalie Rasmussen it was her second straight win in the race, after winning with Eamon Maguire last year. "He got a nice soft lead again tonight and that first lap was pretty kind," she said after the race. "I was conscious not to spark him up, because he can get a bit keen sometimes, but he was nice and relaxed tonight so he was able to hold them off. The winners time was 3-17.6 for the 2700m mobile. Spankem winning the NZ Messenger The All Stars Stables had a good night in both Islands. As well as winning three out of the four Group One races on offer at Alexandra Park, they also picked up three races at Addington including a trifecta in the rich $161,000 PGG Wrightson NZ Yearling Sales 2YO Open, with One Chance just pipping stablemate Smooth Deal by a nose with Flying Even Bettor running third. Ashlea Locaz also won during the night as did well bred maiden first starter Only Me.   Harnesslink Media

Harness racing driver John Dunn grabbed the biggest race of his career when Sundees Son won the $156,000 Gr1 Rowe Cup tonight at Alexandra Park. Fresh from his dazzling win in the Gr1 Anzac Cup last week over the mobile sprint trip of 2200m, Sundees Son had to prove his toughness tonight over the extreme distance of 3200m from a standing start and he did so in convincing fashion. The Majestic Son gelding was away quickly from his unruly second row draw and Dunn bided his time near the back of the field before taking closer order with a lap to go. After finding the front at the winning post for the last time, all John Dunn had to do was sit quietly and the horse did the rest. Sundees Son had the field in trouble at the final turn and he cruised home under his own steam to win in what could only be described as a dominant victory for the Robert Dunn trained 4yo. For John Dunn the win meant a lot. "I settled a lot closer than I thought I would and they sort of backed off the speed a little bit and this horse he can stay as well as sprint so it went a bit to plan. "This race is like the New Zealand Cup for trotters, and I got beat so narrowly in the New Zealand Cup, so this would have to be my best win," he said. "Dad deserves this one. Last week was his first group one with a trotter so tonight will be massive for him as well," he said. Gallant in defeat was defending champion Speeding Spur who trailed and battled on well for second. The John and Josh Dickie trained trotter was having his last race in New Zealand and is now heading for a North American campaign before returning to New Zealand to stand at stud next season. Sundees Son trotted the 3200m stand in 4-06.2. The last 800m was run in 58.2 seconds and the final 400m in 28.5. Sundees Son winning the Rowe Cup   Harnesslink Media  

Well bred harness racing filly Sweet On Me capitalized on a better draw this week to comfortably win the $138,000 Magness Benrow NZ Sires Stakes 2yo Fillies Champs at Alexandra Park. Driven confidently tonight by driver Mark Purdon Sweet On Me (Sweet Lou - Adore Me) settled back early before launching to the lead with a lap to go. In the straight Purdon was always in control and Sweet On Me held out the stable mate Amazing Dream by three quarters of a length at the line. The Robert Dunn trained Tiffany Rose ran home well for third. The win by Sweet On Me gave the training partnership of Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen it's fifth win straight in the race, with the winner pacing the 1700m mobile in a 1-57.3 mile rate. The last 800m was run in 57.3 seconds and the final 400m in 26.8. Mark Purdon thought the speedy filly was better tonight. "She was good tonight. She came off the gate nice without being to quick and settled handy but I thought I would make a move at the 1400m and take her to the front," he said. "I thought she might have got home last week,but she could have been in season a little bit and that may have had a bearing on it." Sweet On Me winning the Gr1 NZ Sires Stakes for 2yo Fillies   Earlier in the night the All Stars Stables trained Enhance Your Calm put in a huge performance to win the Gr1 $90,000 2019 Breckon Farms Northern Trotting Derby. Despite breaking behind the mobile and losing 50m the Majestic Son 3yo caught the field after 800m before driver Mark Purdon looped the field to lead with a mile to run. From there he was never in danger of defeat running a slick last 800m in 56.4 seconds to win easily by 2 1/4 lengths from the Robert Dunn trained Resonate.  Purdon was not sure what caused Enhance Your Calm to gallop. "Look I can not put my finger on why he is galloping. "Afterwards he was faultless and he made a really swift move down the back with a mile to run, but I really am at a loss to explain why he has done that out of the gate," he said after the race. "We will get him to the Jewels and then he can have a good rest," he said. Enhance Your Calm winning the Northern Trotting Derby   Harnesslink Media

New Zealand Bloodstock’s All Aged Sale to be held at Karaka on Monday 6 May has received three late yearling entries. All three horses were purchased at the National Yearling Sale at Karaka on 18 February. To be consigned by Hollis and Robertson Equine Services, the yearlings are as follows: Lot 208 La Bet - Brown Filly by Bettor’s Delight ex La Filou purchased for $75,000 Lot 209 Delightintrumpsdream – Bay Gelding by Bettor’s Delight ex Yankee Dream purchased for $105,000 Lot 210 Tradesman – Bay Colt by Mach Three ex Carpenters Daughter purchased for $110,000 Buyers should note that all three yearlings have been paid up for the Harness Millions Series. They will be sold on an unreserved basis at the conclusion of the main catalogue at approximately 3.30pm, unless sold prior to the auction. NZB Director and Operations Manager, James Jennings, commented “these are three highly commercial yearlings that represent outstanding opportunities for buyers, with the added advantage of the Harness Millions entry fee having already been paid.” For any queries please contact Peter Lagan on 021 424606 or peter.lagan@nzb.co.nz, or James Jennings on 09 2980055 or james.jennings@nzb.co.nz. Lot 208 Pedigree Lot 209 Pedigree Lot 210 Pedigree    

It could be a case of the same script but a different ending in the $100,000 Messenger at Alexandra Park tonight. The last of the four group ones at the huge premier meeting sees a return clash of seven of the eight pacers who contested last Friday’s Taylor Mile in which Spankem led and outsprinted stablemate Turn In Up (parked), with trailer Mach Shard holding on for third and Chase Auckland making good ground in the 26.1 second last 400m. Remarkably many of the key players have similar draws tonight and while this race is over 1000m longer it looks likely to play out the same way, at least early. Trainer Mark Purdon gave punters the biggest lead ever when he said Spankem would lead last Friday and not be attacked and from barrier three that should be the case again. But this time Purdon stops short of suggesting he won’t challenge mid-race. “I am sure Spankem will lead early and that probably makes him the one to beat,” says Purdon in a quote that could have been recycled from last week. But then there starts to get a bit of a twist in the tale. Firstly there are two rivals drawn inside Spankem, rather than one last Friday, which raises the possibility they both want the same spot behind him and therefore he has to work at least a little harder to lead. And Chase Auckland could also be a factor in any early rush for positions. “If they went a bit harder early, while I wouldn’t think we (Purdon and Turn It Up) would be in that rush, I wouldn’t be scared to come have a look in the middle stages.” That could be the key quote, with Purdon adamant he wasn’t going to challenge mid-race last week but suggesting he could tonight. And he then says that Turn It Up actually worked so well on Wednesday morning he thinks the Auckland Cup winner has improved with last Friday’s race. So while we still seem to have a script with Spankem leading tonight it is over a longer distance, against a seemingly fitter Turn It Up with an increased chance of a mid-race challenge. Considering there was just over a length between them last Friday that could be enough to swing you toward backing Turn It Up tonight. And if he does come looking for the lead mid-race and the early pressure sees him get it, then he almost certainly wins. The bookies market which surprisingly opened Spankem at $3.60 left enough room in the market for punters to back him and then play Turn It Up on the tote tonight because it would be a major surprise if one of the pair don’t win. Purdon can go into the Sires’ Stakes Fillies Final equally as confident as Sweet On Me should turn the tables on Amazing Dream after their national record run last Friday but the $100,000 Breckon Farms Trotting Derby may not be so clear cut. There is little doubt Enhance Your Calm is the best horse in the race and if he trots throughout he should probably win but he did gallop at the start last Friday after becoming unbalanced in his right-handed debut. Purdon believes he was safer in track work on Wednesday but he still looks a horse with a few frailties — either mental or physical— and that raises at least the possibility NZ Trot Derby winner Lotamuscle can beat him either with manners or his serious sit-sprint. “I am happy with him (Enhance Your Calm) but I have to respect Lotamuscle after the way he has raced recently and you know with Paul (Nairn) training him he will be spot on.” Michael Guerin

“Trotting in Australia and New Zealand needs to be part of the world scene,” says a recent visitor to Southland, Aldebaran Parks principal Duncan McPherson. McPherson attended the Winton Harness meeting in April as a guest of Southern Harness and HRNZ Board Member Kevin McNaught. Aldebaran were also sponsors of the Gold Chip Super Final, one of the features of the days racing.  Aldebaran Park is an agistment and breeding organization with its ‘home’ farm in the heart of the Goulburn Valley region in Victoria but it also has branches in America and Sweden. Aldebaran was set up by McPherson and well known Australian trainer Chris Lang and his wife Sharon. “We rate ourselves as an international destination for trotters in the world and we started with Aldebaran Park in 2004. Chris and Sharon are great mates of mine and my father started with Graeme (Lang) back in 1962. Chris came to me and said we should get together and have some horses. The irony is that my late wife, myself, Chris and Sharon all have the star sign Taurus. The brightest star in the Taurus constellation is Aldebaran so that’s where the name came from,” said McPherson. Duncan says the family connection goes further back than Aldebaran. His grandmother visited New Zealand in 1954 and bought horses out of Southland. “We had the opportunity to buy the good ones but never had the money to.” His father also visited New Zealand in the 1960s and bought a horse called Eden.  “She was by Morris Eden. Her best progeny was Rebecca Campbell. She won the 1975 Youthful Stakes and the 1976 South Australia Oaks.” Eden was bred by the late Ted Lowe and was out of Cavendish which was a half-sister to the useful pacers Globe Direct (13 wins) and Chief Lochiel (9 wins). Aldebaran these days concentrates on the trotting market and has about thirty five well bred mares under it’s name including one of the Australia’s greats, Maori Time. She won twenty four of her sixty six starts including the Group One 2013 NSW Trotting Oaks, The Trotters Mile at Menangle and the 2016 and 2017 Aldebaran B Collins Trot. She won a total of $421,301 in stakes. “Maori Time raced in the Elitloppett in Sweden. She’s heading for motherhood with Readly Express which won the Group One European Championship.”      Aldebaran also consigns yearlings to the Australian and New Zealand Trotting Sales. At the 2018 Prydes Australian Premier Trotting Sale they sold a full brother to Maori Time for $60,000. They also sold three trotters in this year’s NZB Standardbred Christchurch Sale. Southlander Wayne McEwan bought Aldebaran Fawkes (Love You – Solar Power) for $21,000, KPC Racing Australia bought Aldebaran White Sox (Muscle Hill – U Dream) for $50,000 and Aldebaran Floss (Muscle Hill – Another Love) sold for $25,000.   They also have two resident stallions on farm in Victoria - Group One USA winner Aldebaran Walkabout (Muscle Hill - Letsjustalkboutme -USA T3 1.52.2) and Skyvalley - NZ T 1.56.2 (Muscles Yankee - Chiolas Lass NZ). McPherson knows Southland has produced some great pacing horses over the years but says it now has the opportunity to get fully into breeding world class trotters. “In Australia we have very brown paddocks and are hard feeding. If we can understand where our food bowl is and where our potential outcome needs to be, I think there’s an opportunity to breed world class horses here in Southland.” He says breeders in New Zealand and Australia now have access to the best trotting genetics in the world. “We need to understand that we’ve been behind in our breeding. I always said it’s a twelve to fifteen year programme for us to catch up but as long as we’ve got our Muscle Hill and Dream Vacation mares we can probably catchup a bit quicker. I think we’re between year eight and year ten at the moment. Australian and New Zealand Trotting has one of the fastest growing gene pools in the world. We can now go to studs in America and Europe and command some respect. Fifteen years ago they frowned upon us.” And he says Australasia has the fastest growing sub two minute trotting gene pool in the world. “We are breeding greater number of trotters than ever before. Finland only has between 150 and 200 broodmares. Australia has a gene pool of between 800 and 1000 mares.”         Aldebaran also has a strong profile in America and is breeding horses in Australia to Northern Hemisphere time and then sending them to America to be trained. “Our trainer up there is Jonas Czernyson and he’s won five grand circuit races in the last six years for us. Why do we send horses to America to race? We need to send a statement to the rest of the world that our trotters are internationally relevant.” They also purchase well bred trotting stock out of America and bring them back to Australia. “We were very fortunate. We bought a Cantab Hall filly at the 2010 Lexington Sales. We bought her to Australia and put her in foal to Muscle Hill and that foal Aldabaron Walkabout won the Bluegrass - a grand circuit race in America last season at Kentucky at the Red Mile. To send a weanling to America and win a stakes race like that is a great thrill.” As part of their commitment to making the Australian Trotting stock more international they continue to buy fillies with international pedigrees and breed foals to Southern Hemisphere time.   “We buy fillies from all round the world and impregnate them to southern hemisphere time and then import them back into Australia. We’ve been doing that programme for six to eight years. We now have a global gene pool at Aldebaran Park in Australia. We have Readly Express fillies, Viking Kronas fillies and Credit Winner colts. We think we can now take the sport to another level.” They also have a presence in Sweden and have horses trained by Pasi Aikio, head trainer at Menhammar Stuteri. Aldebaran are big sponsors of trotting in Australia and their sponsorships include naming rights to the Aldebaran Park Mile Rate at Tabcorp Park, the Monte Series and the Vicbred Super Series for Trotters. They also sponsor the Maori Mile at the Bendigo Harness Racing Club which is the richest Group One sprint for open class trotters held in regional Australia.  Their sponsorships now extend to New Zealand with the $20,000 Aldebaran Park Trotters Super Gold Chip Final at Winton. Aldebaran Park is also a strong advocate of the HERO program in Victoria which sees the re-education and re-homing of Standardbreds following their racing and stud careers. They’re also partners of the Harness Breeders Victoria "Follow the Foal" programme. McPherson says that Aldebaran, through all promotions and sponsorships support their Charity Partner - Women's Cancer Foundation, raising awareness of Ovarian Cancer through support of the Team Teal (New Zealand) and Teal Pants (Australia). “I think we have an opportunity through Team Teal to endear ourselves to the general public and to make our sport socially relevant. You then have an opportunity to attract sponsors. Sponsors equal ownership and ownership equals demand on progeny.”   Bruce Stewart

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