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Welcome to todays segment from our harness racing analyst who provides you with free expert tips and selections for harness meetings run in New Zealand. Harness racing hits Motukarara today with a twelve race program starting at 12:10pm and we highlight some specials and value runners we think can give you a run for your money on a great day of racing.   Banks Peninsular selections 28th December 2020 Best bet:  R7 Mad Lu Li Best value:  R8 Dallas Grimes    Race 1 Yuri coming in fresh from top stable and sure to be ready. Will be hard to beat with manners…… Royal Diedre running on well last start and drawn to go forward early. Good chance here.… Summars  tricky draw but form is good. Will need luck but can run top three …… Go Marg has been thereabouts and has placed on grass. One for longer odds. Selections:  Yuri (12),   Summars  (11),   Go Marg (5)   Royal Diedre (4)   Race 2 Play By Ear running on last start at Rangiora. A bit one paced but has winning claims at nice odds here.……. King Arthur has the ability and will go forward early. Could upset at goo dodds…… Not Over ok last start and will be improved. Tricky draw but has winning claims…… Magic Sign drawn for a cosy run handy to the lead and hard to beat with a trail in the race. One of the leading chances in the race Selections:  King Arthur (7),  Play By Ear (6),   Not Over (12),   Magic Sign (2)   Race 3 Kennedy ran on last stgart and weaker field here. Should give a good sight with manners and top driver on board….. Megarock good fourth last start and should back up ok. Can upset with manners and looks a good place chance here….. Emma's Boy running on late after a slow start his last couple. Can run top three here with a quicker beginning….. Starkers has run some decent races and getting fitter with a nice draw. Needed. Selections:   Kennedy (5),   Starkers (3),   Emma's Boy (11)    Megarock (13)   Race 4 Idealingold coming in fresh and Orange chooses this one. Has to hard to beat…..Cristiano Buccini racing into form and good draw here. Really good chance in this field….. Still Truckin drawn to follow the stablemate and good second last start. Winning claims here….. Bettor Achiever fresh up but has trialled ok. Can upset Selections:   Idealingold (1),   Still Truckin (10),   Cristiano Buccini (3)   Bettor Achiever (4)   Race 5 Jenny Gump big finish for second last start and should get a good run here. Good chance from the draw….. A Rocknroll Star tidy trial on grass last week and trainer does well here. Good winning chance in this field at nice odds….. Seapris trial runs have been ok and has speed. Winning claims here from the tricky draw….. Daggy Lamb coming in fresh but goes good on grass. Needed Selections:   A Rocknroll Star (6),   Jenny Gump (5),   Seapris (11)   Daggy Lamb (8)   Race 6 Sally Lindenny conditions suit and she ran on late last start. Good winning claims from the nice draw.…. Majestic Action tricky draw but plenty of ability and a driver in form. One fo the leading chances at good odds…… Blink N Bones ok last start and drawn for a run close to the speed. Can run top three..… Crazy N Love disappointing last start and manners a concern. Could upset with a safe beginning Selections:  Majestic Action (13),   Sally Lindenny (4),   Crazy N Love (5),   Blink N Bones (6)   Race 7 Mad Lu Li goes well on the track and grass suits. Will be hard to beat here…. Jonique ok last start and drawn for a cosy run on the fence. Would be no surprise to see her in the money here ….. Immer Besser speedy when caught in the right mood and good second behind a nice horse at Forbury. Can go close here at nice odds…. Kusanova goes ok on grass and could get a good run through from the draw. Has to be included Selections:   Mad Lu Li (8),  Immer Besser (12),   Jonique (10),  Kusanova (11)   Race 8 Stavros The Terror has won on grass and can begin quickly. Good winning chance here with top driver booked….. Hells Shadow quick off the gate and looks the early leader. Should be hard to beat….. Magicol Ideal fast beginner who has a trainer change . Can run top three at good money….. Dallas Grimes running on late last start and grass suits. Could be the upsetter with one run at them Selections:   Dallas Grimes (8),   Hells Shadow (7),   Stavros The Terror (2)  Magicol Ideal (1)   Race 9 Laver racing well and getting better. Will go forward and will be hard to beat.….. Cheezel respect the stable on grass and in form. Can run top three with one run at them late….. Yossi  has the ability to beat a field like this and good win last start. One of the leading chances in the race. ….. Gilligans Island big run last start and has won here. Will be running on and can go close Selections:  Laver (9),   Yossi  (8),   Gilligans Island (7)    Cheezel (10)   Race 10 Mossdale Art tidy run at the Geraldine grass trials winning easily. Good winning claims in this field ….. Glen Elgin Tomson likely to get a soft run near the lead. Hard to beat if handy turning for home….. Playa Vista racing ok and will be improved. Can run top three with a swift beginning….. Sweet Belle running into form and good win last start. Terrible draw but has the speed to get into the finish Selections:   Sweet Belle (16),   Mossdale Art (14),   Glen Elgin Tomson (1)  Playa Vista (5)   Race 11 Momentous goes well on the track and unlucky last start. Good place claims in this field ….. B D Yasothon likely to get a soft run near the lead with manners. Hard to beat if he trots all the way….. Globe Trekker racing ok of tricky handicaps and will be improved. Can run top three at longer odds with a swift beginning….. Mataderos running into form and good win last start. Big handicap to contend with but can run top three Selections:   B D Yasothon (8),   Mataderos (2),   Globe Trekker (13)  Momentous (2)   Race 12 To Ri Caitlin racing well and getting fitter. Can win with a hot pace and one run at them.….. On The Buzzer good win last start and can go on with it. Winning claims….. Pay Me Visa has the ability to beat a field like this and slight drop in grade. Will be running on and can go close….. The Go To Man nice win last start sitting parked. Harder here but can run top three with a good run in transit Selections:  The Buzzer (6),   To Ri Caitlin (9),   Pay Me Visa (8)    The Go To Man (4)   Harnesslink Media

By Jonny Turner    A standout book of drives awaits Gerard O’Reilly at Motukarara on Tuesday. Among them are two leading chances from his own stable, including unbeaten filly Sweet Belle. The three-year-old returned to racing in style when cruising to an effortless win at Methven earlier this month. After leading in both of her career wins, Sweet Belle is set to face a much different challenge when she starts from the outside of the second row in race 10. But O’Reilly thinks she is ready for it. “She is good enough to overcome it, but the draw is going to be hard on her.” “We are relying on something taking off and following them around.” “I wouldn’t really want to take off on my own, but hopefully she can get dragged into it, that would be ideal.” If Sweet Belle cannot get a cart into race 10 she may have to be driven for one run. And if that is the case she can produce a lethal turn of foot. “There are no worries there,” O’Reilly said. “When she trialled up a couple of times she came from the trail or three back and she sprinted up nicely.” “So, she is pretty versatile.” O’Reilly starts another horse from his own barn in race 5 in A Rocknroll Star. The three-year-old looked smart when sprinting well to win a grass track trial at Orari ahead of his debut. “He is a lovely wee horse and he has been really nice since I have had him.” “He qualified really well and then he had a spell and he has come back and he has trialled up nicely again.” “So, he should put himself in the race and be right there.” O’Reilly reunites with the Kevin Townley trained Sally Lindenny in race 6. The five-year-old looks a big winning chance following her effort to run a close up third after making a slow beginning in her last start at Rangiora. “If she begins with them she will be right in it,” O’Reilly said. “She went great at Rangiora, that is the best she has gone for a long time.” “It has taken a while, but it was great and she should be right in the finish if she trots.” O’Reilly will again combine with Laver after their win over subsequent Westport Cup winner Kruizer at Addington earlier this month. The Geoff and James Dunn trained four-year-old will be out to continue his brilliant run of form from the 10m mark in the Motukarara Christmas Cup. “He has come to it really good,” O’Reilly said. “He has got stronger as he has gone on and I can’t see why he won’t be in the finish.” “His two runs at Cup Week were massive and he has just gone on from there.” Laver often races on the speed, but may not get the chance to do that without doing some extra work from his 10m handicap. That is not something O’Reilly thinks will be a big concern going into the 2810m feature. “He came behind at Kaikoura, they went hard early and he went straight past them. “If they go hard it won’t really worry him, I don’t think.” O’Reilly also drives Vincent Van Gone for the Dunn stable in race 8. The three-year-old made use of barrier 1 to run second in his last start at Rangiora. Though he faces a different challenge with saddlecloth number 15 on Tuesday, his driver thinks he can still make an impact. “He is starting to grow up.” “When the Dunns first got him he was a bit of an ignorant pulling horse.” “But he is starting to settle in his races.” “He is more of a rolling type, but again if they go hard and he gets a drag around them he will be amongst them again.” Megarock in race 3 looks among the best of O’Reilly’s remaining chances at Motukarara. The Brian Kerr trained five-year-old went a sound race for fourth in his last start at Methven. O’Reilly also drives Nugget Ridge in race 1, Maldito in race 2, Mega Rock in race 3, Momentous in race 11 and Maurice in race 12.

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk    Tom Bagrie came up short by a nose of having the perfect day at Patterson Park on Monday. The Kaiapoi trainer recorded a winning double with half-siblings Wickenheiser and Starvin Marvin, before stablemate Belmont Major finished second by a nose to Fynn Frost in the Caltex Westport Handicap Pace (2600m). The son of Art Major was also runner-up at Westport on Saturday and he will be out to go one better in the Reefton Cup (3200m) on Wednesday. “Belmont Major went well, but he can’t seem to cut the breaks at the moment,” Bagrie said. “He has been doing a lot of work and has been going some great races. “After doing it pretty hard in the Westport Cup, he did it hard again sitting parked today. I am pretty proud of his efforts of late. “He pulled up really well, so all systems are go for Reefton.” Earlier on the card, Bagrie was rapt to record a winning double with Wickenheiser and Starvin Marvin in the Speights/McManus Hotel Mobile Pace (2600m) and Denniston Dog Mobile Pace (2600m) respectively. “The team went great, I am absolutely rapt,” Bagrie said. “Wickenheiser was beaten by a good one (The Black Shadow, when finishing third) on the first day. She blew hard and might have needed the run. It looked like she stripped a bit fitter today and got a perfect trip from Johnny Dunn (driver).” While Bagrie was pleased with the result, he admitted he had his heart in his mouth after she put in a couple of rough strides at the start. “She has a tendency to do that (break) from occasion,” Bagrie said. “She is pretty quick to go back to pacing, so I was holding my breath hoping that she would, and luckily it went that way for us today.” Bagrie was particularly happy about Starvin Marvin’s win, with the victory helping lift the spirits of her part-owners. “He got a trip to suit him,” Bagrie said. “Drawing one was good because he likes following speed and has a good finish. He got off at the right time and it worked out perfectly. “The win was especially good for the Chamberlains. Their Grandma died on Boxing Day, so it was a special win for them. She loved following all the horses that they owned.” Bagrie’s partner, Bonnie Heyde, also shares in the ownership, and she is expecting the couple’s first child in the coming days. “My partner is pregnant and is due in a few days, so I have just been coming over for the day,” Bagrie said. “Ross White has been looking after them and he has been doing a fantastic job.” Bagrie is looking forward to Reefton on Wednesday, where all three of his runners are set to back-up, but depending on his baby, he may be cheering for them from the delivery room.

Another Down Under harness racing mare wins at the Big M. Callmequeenbee A took home first prize on Saturday night at the Meadowlands in New Jersey. The mighty Shadow Play mare was driven aggressively by David Miller through the mid stages when he made his mid race move to take the lead. From there it was perfectly rated by the Purple Jesus running the last three quarters in 28.1, 28.3 and 28.1. The 6yo crossed the wire clocking 1:52.3 for the mile and taking home the winnings of the $15,500 stake. Jeff Cullipher trains the mare and part owns alongside Pollak Racing LLC. Callmequeenbee A was recently exported to the US from Down Under and has now won three races in the Northern Hemisphere. The win put her career stake earnings past $200,000, with the majority coming from the 18 races she won when racing Down Under. Also in the field 10yo mare Milady Denver A finished in 3rd place and honest Down Under mare and daughter of Shadow Play, Sezana N came in 4th for Andrew McCarthy.   Monday 21st December Monticello Raceway NY Tyronsbettorsella N – Time: 1:59.3, Stake: $2,800 Belfast N – Time: 1:58.4, Stake: $3,500   Northfield Park OH Supreme Mach N – Time: 1:55.3, Stake: $3,800   The Meadows PA Blow A Cloud N – Time: 1:55.3, Stake: $7,200   Yonkers Raceway NY Statesman N – Time: 1:55.4, Stake: $9,500 Down Under Winners – 2nd Sporty Spook A, 3rd Tenacious One A Majestic Kiwi N – Time: 1:57.1, Stake: $9,500 Crockets Cullen N – Time: 1:55.0, Stake: $11,000   Tuesday 22nd December Pompano Park FL Glenferrie Blade A – Time: 1:54.1, Stake: $7,500   Yonkers Raceway NY Coveredndiamonds N – Time: 1:58.2, Stake: $9,500   Wednesday 23rd December Harrahs Philadelphia PA Its Mesmerise N – Time: 1:52.1, Stake: $11,600  Darkrshadeofpale N – Time: 1:53.0, Stake: $10,000    Hollywood Dayton Raceway OH Montana Pablo A – Time: 1:53.2, Stake: $4,600 Messi N – Time: 1:53.1, Stake: $8,300   Monticello Raceway NY Real Lucky N – Time: 1:57.3, Stake: $3,500   Western Fair Raceway CA Bute Courage N – Time: 1:58.3, Stake: $4,700   Friday 25th December Merry Christmas   Saturday 26th December Freehold Raceway NJ Solid Asa Rock N – Time: 1:57.1, Stake: $7,700 Hesa Kingslayer N – Time: 1:55.2, Stake: $12,000   Hollywood Dayton Raceway OH Funatthebeach N – Time: 1:53.2, Stake: $8,850 Stars Align A – Time: 1:50.3, Stake: $18,400   Meadowlands NJ Paternity Suit A – Time: 1:51.4, Stake: $15,500 Callmequeenbee A – Time: 1:52.3, Stake: $15,500   Northfield Park OH Lovin Miss Daisy N – Time: 1:56.3, Stake: $7,200   Click here for previous weeks articles   by Carter Dalgety  

By Jonny Turner    Oamaru trotter staked an early claim for performance of the Otago-Southland Christmas racing circuit with an incredible 15-length win at Gore on Sunday that almost had to be seen to be believed. The Colin McKay trained trotter notched his first victory since April of 2018 when he and driver Brad Williamson left their rivals breathless before they even got near the home bend. The last their opposition saw of them was as far from home as the 800m mark when Williamson let his 10-year-old charge start sliding away of the field. Clear in the lead around the turn and completely lonely in the home straight, Playboy’s Brother crossed the line 15 and a quarter lengths in front of runner-up Miss Bamboocha to complete a remarkable victory. Colin McKay admitted he has not been involved in a win quite like it in his 36 years as a trainer. “That was an outstanding win and I didn’t expect it either,” McKay said. “I expected him to win but not like that.” Playboy’s Brother caught the eye of punters and was sent out favourite for his 2700m assignment after he was unlucky in his last start at Forbury Park when going to the line full of running when denied clear air. Williamson took over the reins on Sunday after he convinced McKay to step aside. “I got pushed out of the seat,” McKay quipped. “Brad sniffs a win so he grabs it.” “I am pleased to give him his driving fee and his percentage.” Playboy’s Brother had slowly built his form back up recently after he made a slow return after the COVID19 lockdown. McKay felt his horse was improving with every run leading into Sunday’s meeting. “He has been well enough for quite some time.” “He was racing well before the lockdown, he was running seconds and thirds.” “But then the racing let up and I let up as well and he took a while to come back to it.” “I thought he was near enough, but he wasn’t quite fit enough.” McKay knew he was getting close to seeing the best from his trotter when he ran second at Methven to race rival Sunnivue Phileah before his unlucky run at Forbury Park. “He went a terrific race at Methven and just got nabbed. “But ever since then he has got fitter and fitter.” “I have had him up on the grass at Cromwell and he just loves it.” “I wouldn’t be surprised if he picked another one up somewhere on the Christmas circuit.” His epic win at Gore is not the only proof that Playboy’s Brother thrives when based at Cromwell. In January of 2018, the veteran trotter scored wins at Omakau, Roxburgh and Cromwell in the space of just five days when based at the Central Otago track. It would be no surprise if the 10-year-old was back in good form at those three tracks after New Year’s Day. 

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk    Trevor Walsh scored a victory for the locals on the first day of Westport’s two-day meeting on Saturday, and he is hoping to give them something more to cheer about on Monday. The former miner reined home 10-year-old mare Mrs Beau K to win the Quay Marine Ship Repairs Pace (2000m) on debut. The victory was a tonic for part-owner and breeder John Rogers, who has taken a patient approach with the mare. “He has been very patient,” Walsh said. “But she is more like a three-year-old really and doesn’t know about racing yet.” Walsh has been training the daughter of Sands A Flyin for the last few months and he said while he expected a good showing on Saturday, the half-length victory came as a pleasant surprise. “She trialled up really well in the lead-up,” Walsh said. “I gave her a bit of a show, but you don’t expect a win from a 10-year-old mare on debut.” Walsh said he was delighted to kick-off the two-day meeting in style for the locals, with fellow Westport trainer Robert Higgins adding to the local tally later on the card with Songbird. “It makes a huge difference when you are on your home track,” Walsh said. “It was also great for the locals, winning with Bob Higgins (Songbird) as well.” Walsh is now looking to back-up both Mrs Beau K and stablemate Malinka at Westport on Monday. Mrs Beau K will line-up in the Valspar ‘Change Made Easy’ Pace (2000m), while Malinka will contest the TRT Builders Mobile Pace (2600m) after her unplaced run on Saturday. “It’s a bit of a step up for Mrs Beau K on Monday, but she is well mannered, and they don’t know the difference between who they are racing,” Walsh said. “We have gone back to the mobile with Malinka. I gave her a stand (on the first day) because it was her home track. She just missed a bit because she was on the second line and you get too far back over 2000m. “She ran home okay and she should go alright.” Walsh will also take the reins behind Sonic Reign in the Bernie Stewart Memorial Pace (2000m) for trainer Kevin Musso. “He missed away on the first day and I will just see if I can get him away on Monday. He has been trialling okay, he should go alright.”

Welcome to todays segment from our harness racing analyst who provides you with free expert tips and selections for harness meetings run in New Zealand. Harness racing hits Westport today with an eleven race program starting at 12:42pm and we highlight some specials and value runners we think can give you a run for your money on a great day of racing. Westport selections 28th December 2020 Best Bet:   R7 The Black Shadow Best Value:   R5 Unchanged Memory Race 1 Kerala Star unlucky first day when he galloped over the crossing. Well drawn today and can win…… Flo Motion running on well on day one and drawn to go forward early. Good chance here.… Le Pole Dancer tricky draw but form is good. Will need luck but can run top three …… Beeps should get a good run on the fence and has form on grass. Has to be respected include. Selections:  Kerala Star (2),   Flo Motion (4),   Beeps (1)   Le Pole Dancer (9)   Race 2 Lumberjack has trialled well and no room last start. A bit one paced but has winning claims at nice odds here.……. Charlie's Ace has the ability and will get a cosy run on the fence. Good chance if he can clear traffic…… Melando Chief ok last start and will be improved. One for longer odds in this field…… Changeover Jo drawn for a cosy run handy to the lead and hard to beat with a trail in the race. Can upset Selections:  Lumberjack (4),  Changeover Jo (3),   Charlie's Ace  (1),   Melando Chief  (2)   Race 3 Tedesco  found one better last start will be improved. Should give a good sight in this field with manners….. Eilish Hall  good third last start and should back up ok. Can upset with manners and looks a good place chance here….. Dashing Dutchy running on late after a gallop day one and drawn well. Can run top three here….. Bella Button has run some decent races and getting fitter but tricky draw. Top driver on board so needed. Selections:   Tedesco  (6),   Eilish Hall  (13),   Dashing Dutchy (1)    Bella Button (12)   Race 4 Jacinda Eyre not much room day one but has the speed with the right run. Good chance with a cart into the race….. Dennis Denuto racing into form and good trailing draw here. Fairly good chance in this field….. Starvin Marvin runs have been ok and drawn for a soft run on the fence. Winning claims here….. Buddy Reign good run after a slow beginning on day one and has opened over the odds. Can upset Selections:   Dennis Denuto (10),   Buddy Reign (7),   Starvin Marvin (1)   Jacinda Eyre (9)   Race 5 Evidently running on late day one and should get a good run here. Good chance at good odds ….. Unchanged Memory racing into form and a bit unlucky day one. Good winning chance in this field at nice odds….. Tas Girl Bromac runs have been ok and has a driver in form. Winning claims here from the tricky draw….. Caballe Beach ok first day and better draw. Needed Selections:   Unchanged Memory(7),   Evidently  (4),   Tas Girl Bromac (10)   Caballe Beach (5)   Race 6 Kiwi X Factor conditions suit and he did too much work on the first day. Good winning claims from the nice draw.…. Jeremy Wells tricky draw but a big run for second last start and can go on with it. One fo the leading chances at good odds…… Boilover ok last start and drawn for a run close to the speed. Can run top three..… Zippidy Doodah disappointing last start but will be improved. Could upset with a good run in transit Selections:  Kiwi X Factor (2),   Jeremy Wells (12),   Boilover (5),   Zippidy Doodah (6)   Race 7 The Black Shadow destroyed them on day one and only needs similar tactics to be hard to beat here . Winning claims with a fast beginning…. Garry's Legacy ok last start and conditions suit. Would be no surprise to see him in the money here ….. Jenabella speedy when caught in the right mood and easy winner day one. Can go close here at nice odds…. Bettor Believe It goes ok on grass with a great formline and nice draw. Has to be included Selections:   The Black Shadow (16),  Jenabella (1),   Garry's Legacy (3),  Bettor Believe It (4)   Race 8 Swap Over has trialled ok and loves the grass. Winning chance and way over the odds ….. Malinka no go last start but good on grass and better draw. One of the leading chances in this field at good odds….. Edamfast a couple of his runs have been good and should be improved for this but tricky draw. Grass suits and can win….. Ultimate Rocker tidy run last start and looks the leading chance in this field. Selections:   Ultimate Rocker (12),   Malinka (7),   Swap Over (8)   Edamfast  (14)   Race 9 Blue Chip Delight has won on grass and can begin quickly. Good winning chance here ….. Belmont Major run down day one but well placed here. Top selection and should be hard to beat….. Razors Edge fast beginner who would be hard to beat here if he can get handy early . Can run top three at good money….. Fynn Frost ok last start and nearly won this race last year. Could be the upsetter with one run at them Selections:   Blue Chip Delight (5),   Belmont Major (9),   Fynn Frost (1)   Razors Edge (4)   Race 10 Adieu Flirt racing well and drawn to lead or trail. Hard top beat setting her own rules in front.….. Benjamin Button respect the stable on grass but disappointing last start. Can run top three from the draw if he trails the stablemate….. Terror Maria has the ability to beat a field like this and unlucky day one. One of the leading chances in the race. ….. Bettor Grunter big run last start but tricky draw. Will be running on and can go close Selections:  Adieu Flirt (1),   Terror Maria (6),   Bettor Grunter 12)    Benjamin Button (10)   Race 11 Bright Glow tidy run on day one and always a chance on grass. Good winning claims in this field ….. Littlebitoflove likely to get a soft run near the lead. Hard to beat if handy turning for home….. Prince Teka racing ok and will be improved. Can run top three with a swift beginning….. Chief Of Staff running into form and good win the first day. Can repeat Selections:   Bright Glow (7),   Littlebitoflove (9),   Prince Teka (12)  Chief Of Staff (16)   Harnesslink Media

Standout provided young West Melton trainer John Morrison with his biggest payday to date in his short training career when he took out the $15,000.00 2020 Mataura Licensing Trust Gore Cup yesterday. Morrison is still driving in the junior drivers ranks but has held a license to train since 2018 and yesterday Standout was his sixty eighth starter and ninth winner. He’s had the five year old since June, Standout having begun his career with Ian Munro who won one race with him. “I was lucky to get the horse readymade. He’s done a good job in a short space of time,” said Morrison who’s driven him in all of his twenty five starts with the first win being at Addington. “Ian had only sent him up to me five days before so I didn’t have to do anything.” In the birdcage with Cheryl and Ian Munro (left)         -Photo Bruce Stewart Prior to yesterday’s win the Stunin Cullen gelding had won on the grass at the Geraldine meeting, and he’d come in second on the grass at Oamaru, so it was surprising he went out as sixth favourite. Prior to the start Morrison gave him a practice standing start in the home straight, and had to tap him up to get his mind on the job. “He’s a laid back customer but he can be the opposite at times and get a bit fired up.” In  yesterday’s pacing feature Standout settled fifth on the inside running line with I’mallaboutthebase taking up the leaders role. “I just tried to keep him as relaxed as possible over the long trip. He did relax.” At the 400 Morrison had to push  through a number of gaps and in turning in he got onto the back of Franco Santino. He squeezed through tight quarters between Franco Santino and Tartan Robyn, came home three out from the inside and got up to beat a game Mucho Macho Man by half a length. “When I asked him he went. He’s always had a bit of speed. His manners were a problem at one stage but he’s alright now so Ian and Cheryl have done a great job to get him to where he is now.” Morrison says he plans to start the gelding at the upcoming Roxburgh meeting before heading to Cromwell.   Bruce Stewart

“I’m on top of the world. I haven’t had anything better.” These were the words of Mataura trainer Lyndon Bond after winning the Gore Trotting Cup with Tweedledee, owned by his father Jimmy. In the hands of Blair Orange the five year old settled Tweedledee third on the inside. He moved him off the fence at the 400 metre mark and pushed the gelding out to win by three quarters of a length from Get Lucky. The winning time of 3-50.1 was a new track record for trotters. The previous record of 3-51.5 was set earlier in the day by Playboy’s Brother. It was the gelding’s fourth win. He’s had three seconds and five thirds in his twenty nine start career. “He’s been super consistent and we set him for this race. It’s a good pick me up for Dad.” Although it was Tweedledees’s first start on the grass, Bond said that wasn’t a concern. “We worked him on the grass during the week and we were super happy with him.” Lyndon says although his father has had a few health issues he’s still active around the stables. Jimmy Bond second left with his wife Colleen, after Tweedledee’s win at Gore “He still does most of the work in the yards and feeding up at night.”   Bruce Stewart

By Dave Di Somma, Harness News Desk    After a Boxing Day treble Matt Purvis has his eyes on more Westport spoils on Monday. The 30-year-old from North Canterbury drove two trainers and trained a third at Patterson Park on the first day of the meeting and has three more runners on the second day with Rocknroll Mama, Quarterback, and Jenabella. On Boxing Day he drove Hayden Bromac and Jenabella to victory, his first wins in the cart since Fun In The Dark in September 2019. “It was good to come out of retirement for the Coast circuit and win a couple.” By his reckoning it’s the third time he’s done a driving double. “I did a double for Nathan Williamson once, and another one at Addington.” With John Dunn driving Rocknroll Mama to victory it also gave Purvis his second training treble in a matter of months. The first was at Oamaru on September 22, where he had three winners and two fourths in five starters. The successful day means he’s now also got 50 career wins as a driver, and 40 as a trainer. And with a career best 14 winners from 68 starts so far this season a personal milestone is not far away. “I’ve been targeting 15 winners in a season and I’m nearly there already.” Purvis will have two drives on day two, with Jenabella up against stable-mate Quarterback (Alana Cameron) in race 7. He’ll also drive Rocknroll Mama in race 10, with John Dunn committed to hot favourite Terror Maria. Quarterback is the more favoured of the two. “The horse had no luck on Boxing Day, was shuffled back and had a wall of horses in front of him. Hopefully he’ll step fast, get handy in the running lane and get a run at them.” “For Rocknroll Mama it’s a big step up in grade but she is versatile.” First day winner Hayden Bromac won’t start on day two, but will back up at Reefton on Wednesday. “It’s a nice little team perfect for racing on the Coast, they all love racing and they are happy in the paddock.”

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk    Michael House is hoping his stable can continue on the West Coast as they started, with the Prebbleton trainer bagging a winning treble on the first day of the popular circuit at Westport on Saturday. Maranatha Atlas and The Black Shadow were victorious in the undercard, while Kruizr took out the feature race, the Pulse Energy Westport Cup (3200m). House was pleased with the half-length victory and he is hoping he can repeat the performance in the Reefton Cup (3200m) on Wednesday. “It was fantastic,” House said. “The horse has been coming into form. Six weeks ago we made a bit of a plan of how we would do it. “My team at home have been really diligent. We gelded him about nine months ago and he got so big and heavy. Instead of working him harder we started decreasing his feed, and over a bit of time we got him back to where he should be.” House was also pleased with the winning performances of Maranatha Atlas and The Black Shadow earlier on the card. “Maranatha Atlas is a little indifferent when he goes to the races, but he brought his A-game on Saturday, which everyone knows he is capable of,” he said. “I have only had The Black Shadow for a couple of weeks. He put in some bad steps, but he has certainly got a massive motor. He is untapped. “But he has lost quite regularly in the past, so we will take things cautiously with him and see how he takes the rise in grade.” Both Maranatha Atlas and The Black Shadow will back-up at Westport on Monday, in the New World Handicap Trot (2600m) and Valspar ‘Change Made Easy’ Pace (2000m) respectively. “Maranatha Atlas will be hard pressed in his next few starts now that he is up a grade, but he will potentially head up to the Central Districts or Cambridge area,” House said. “The Black Shadow is a pretty good standing start horse and I thought I would be kind to him and put him in a mile and a quarter stand. “But he has drawn the second row (16) and it could be mission impossible at Westport from there. You have got to be three and four-wide to get around them. “The race might not work out for him on Monday.” House will have another strong hand on the second day at Westport and has highlighted first-day placegetter Boilover as one of his stable’s biggest hopes in the Bernie Stewart Memorial Pace (2000m).

By Jonny Turner    Trainer-driver John Morrison admits he does not know quite what to expect from his grass track specialist Smokey Mac at Gore on Sunday. The seven-year-old starts for the first time this season from the 30m mark in a 2700m feature that is packed full of winning chances. Class combined with his two wins and two placings from just six starts on grass mean the Canterbury raider is among the strongest of those hopes. But circumstances have led to Smokey Mac having just one workout to prepare for his first run since January. And though it was a scintillating winning effort, it was at almost two months ago, which has Morrison going into race 8 with a cautious approach. “He loves the grass and he doesn’t mind the speed on,” the trainer-driver said. “On his ability, he is good enough to clean that field up if he wanted to.’ “But fresh-up it is hard to know exactly where he is at because it is a while ago since he trialled.” The scenario means Morrison will be looking for an economical run for his trotter. “He wouldn’t want to do any work, he would need to get a good run because off 30m he is going to have to be good.” “If he could follow them all of the way and save it for a bit of speed at the end it will be OK.” “It is going to be one of those races, where you just don’t know.” “He is good enough to run in the money if things work out for him.” Morrison also starts Standout from his stable in the Gore Cup. The five-year-old will step up in the 2700m feature after an excellent win against lesser opposition at Orari last month. Morrison thinks Standout, who starts from the front line, can measure up in what is set to be the toughest test of his career. “I think he is up to this lot,” the trainer-driver said. “I wouldn’t say he is a deadset winning chance, but if he got a good run I would be disappointed if he didn’t run in the top five.” “If he can just get away and get in the running somewhere I wouldn’t be surprised if he was in the finish.” “But he would have to be going good to win it.” Harrison was a highly impressive maiden winner on Tuapeka Cup day before running down the track in his last start at Addington on Show Day. Morrison is clearly a harsh judge of himself as he blamed the effort on his drive, when it appeared to come down to race circumstances. “He is definitely up there with them, but it is still only his sixth start and he is a bit green.” “He is in a field where he is probably going to be a pretty good chance, but you just don’t know what horse is going to turn up because he is so green.” “But he has been going well and his last few starts have been good.” “I was happy with him on Show Day, I just put that down to a bad drive.” Superfast Kiwi looks one of the strongest of Morrison’s outside drives at Gore. The five-year-old comes into race 1 after running second in a recent grass track workout behind race rival Nordic Prince. Morrison also drives Helluva Way in race 3, Jaffie J in race 6, Franco June in race 7 and Kagee VC in race 11. 

Welcome to todays segment from our harness racing analyst who provides you with free expert tips and selections for harness meetings run in New Zealand. Harness racing hits Gore on the grass track today with an eleven race program starting at 1:37pm and we highlight some specials and value runners we think can give you a run for your money on a big day of racing. Gore selections 27th December 2020 Best Bet:  R11 Hurricane Banner Best Value: R10 New York Man Race 1 Emdeegee freshened and has the ability to win this. Top driver booked and top selection here. Over the odds…… Mitre Peak coming in fresh and has trialled well. Winning claims with a cart into the race at the right time but manners a concern.… Jannah Jaccka good draw and form is good. Good winning claims in this field…… Shandon Bells running into the money last start and has form on grass. Has to be respected include. Selections:  Emdeegee (8),   Jannah Jaccka (2),   Shandon Bells (17)   Mitre Peak (14)   Race 2 Rocket Boy has trialled well and last start fifth ok in a stronger field. Top driver in the sulky and should go close to running top three.……. Lynryd Skynryd  has the ability and wil get a cosy run on the fence. Good chance if he can clear traffic…… Beta Than Love ok two starts ago and will be improved. Has winning claims in this field…… Rock To The Boss drawn for a cosy run on the fence and hard to beat with a trail in  the race. Can upset Selections:  Rocket Boy (14),  Beta Than Love (6),   Lynryd Skynryd  (9),   Rock To The Boss (1)   Race 3 Sunnivue Phileah decent win last start on grass and will be improved. Should give a good sight in this field with manners….. Miss Bamboocha good second last start and grass suits. Can upset with manners and the wetter the track the better….. Playboy's Brother will lead in this race and unlucky last start. Driver change gives him a boost and will be hard top run down….. Zealous Spur has run some decent races and getting fitter but tricky draw. One for longer odds. Selections:   Playboy's Brother (8),   Sunnivue Phileah (5),   Miss Bamboocha (15)    Zealous Spur (10)   Race 4 Archman tidy trial on grass but terrible draw and he will go back early. Good chance with a cart into the race….. Indulgence racing into form and good draw here. Fairly good chance in this field at big odds….. Man I'm Good runs have been ok and drawn for a soft run on the fence. Grass specialist with winning claims here….. Pete's Dash has been disappointing but prepared to give another chance. Grass suits and has winning claims Selections:   Pete's Dash (13),   Man I'm Good (1),  Indulgence (2)   Archman (8)   Race 5 Stars N Bars big swing in draws and should get a good run here. Top selection ….. Shards Fury racing into form and should get a run through from the draw. Good winning chance in this field at nice odds….. Magic Mike runs have been ok and has a driver in form. Winning claims here from the tricky draw….. Mach Quillan has been disappointing and out of form but has the speed and grass might suit. One for longer odds Selections:   Shards Fury (10),   Stars N Bars (1),   Magic Mike (13)   Mach Quillan (7)   Race 6 Marie Long conditions suit and has been racing ok. Good winning claims from the best draw.…. Jaffie J tricky draw but a big run for second last start and can go on with it. One fo the leading chances at good odds…… Adhara ok last start and drawn for a run close to the speed. Can run top three..… Emerald Abbey workouts form ok and has a bit of speed. Could upset with a good run in transit Selections:  Jaffie J (14),   Emerald Abbey (13),   Adhara (6),   Marie Long (1)   Race 7 Spicy Girl Becqui disappointing last start but well drawn and shorter trip suits . Winning claims with a fast beginning…. Cassius Bromac tricky draw and will need luck. Would be no surprise to see him in the money here with a cart into the race at the right time ….. Robyns Shadow speedy when caught in the right mood could be the early leader. Can go close here at nice odds…. Dreaminsover goes ok on grass and nice draw. Place chances look best here Selections:   Spicy Girl Becqui (3),  Robyns Shadow (6),   Dreaminsover (2),  Cassius Bromac (8)   Race 8 Smokey Mac has trialled well and loves the grass. Winning chance and way over the odds ….. Aveross Majesty no go last start but good on grass and has a driver change. One of the leading chances in this field at big odds….. Sundons Flyer a couple of her runs have been good and should be improved for this but tricky draw. Grass suits and can win….. Tweedledee tidy run of form and top driver booked. One of the leading chances in this field from the draw Selections:   Smokey Mac (15),   Tweedledee (2),   Aveross Majesty (7)   Sundons Flyer (9)   Race 9 I'mallaboutthebase has won on grass and can begin quickly. One for longer odds ….. Rocknroll King coming in fresh but has grass form and the draw. Needed….. Franco Santino fast beginner who would be hard to beat here if he can get handy early . Can run top three….. Sagwitch ok last start and grass suits. Could be the upsetter in the race with one run at them Selections:   Rocknroll King (1),   Franco Santino (11),   Sagwitch (5)   I'mallaboutthebase (7)     Race 10 Franco Huntington racing well in nice fields and track will suit. Will be running on late and can win.….. Harrison respect the stable on grass but disappointing last start. Can run top three from the draw if she goes forward early….. Mr Clooney has the ability to beat a field like this and drawn to lead or trail early. One of the leading chances in the race with top driver on board. ….. New York Man big win at Methven two starts ago and has a big finish. Cant believe the $19.00 on opening and way over the odds Selections:  New York Man  (8),   Harrison (6),   Mr Clooney (3)    Franco Huntington (11)   Race 11 Hurricane Banner grows a leg on grass and drawn ok. Good winning claims in this field ….. Tulsa Jaccka likely to get a soft run near the lead. Hard to beat if handy turning for home….. Wolfenstein racing ok and will be improved. Has the draw and can run top three with a swift beginning….. Gabby's Star running into form and grass suits. Place chances look best Selections:   Hurricane Banner (10),   Tulsa Jaccka (2),   Gabby's Star  (6)  Wolfenstein (1)   Harnesslink Media

A horse in New Zealand has made one of the better belated debuts you will hear about, reigning supreme at her first harness racing outing at the ripe old age of 10. The mare, Mrs Beau K, was making her racing debut in an event for pacers at the Westport harness meeting on Boxing Day, taking on rivals mainly aged 4-5 along with a couple of 3YO fillies. But the daughter of Sands A Flyin showed her age was just a number, as she swept down the outside to claim victory on debut in the 2000m race at the grass-track meeting. Mrs Beau K ($26) thwarted four-year-old mare, and fellow debutant, Tas Girl Bromac, who was sent around as the $1.80 favourite in the event. The winner was prepared and piloted by trainer / driver Trevor Walsh. By Luke Sheehan Reprinted with permission of Punters.com    

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk    A refreshed Belmont Major will head to Patterson Park on Saturday to contest the Pulse Energy Westport Cup (3200m). The Tom Bagrie-trained gelding was given a freshen-up after his two runs over New Zealand Cup week last month and is now primed for a West Coast campaign. Bagrie was pleased with Belmont Major’s efforts at Addington Raceway last month, where he finished runner-up on Cup Day before posting an unplaced result on Show Day. “I thought he went really well,” Bagrie said. “On the first day when he ran second, he worked early to find the lead and then handed up. He found the line pretty strong in a 1:54 mile rate, which is pretty good going. “On the second day he drew wide (8) and it became one of those situations where we got the bad luck and sat parked. He never gave it in, he did a lot of work and they went a hard time. “Backing up after the Tuesday, after a couple of hard runs, told a bit. “I gave him a freshen-up after Cup Week because of that.” Belmont Major had a trial last week, where he finished runner-up behind Saturday race rival Rocknroll Rod, and Bagrie said that run topped him off nicely for his three race West Coast campaign. “He had a trial last week. John Dunn drove him and he was happy. He has come through the run well,” Bagrie said. Belmont Major will start behind the 10m tapes and Bagrie is expecting the gelding to begin well from the back mark. “I think he will step away quite well with horses in front of him,” Bagrie said. “It will give him something to chase and it will be good to get in front of Rocknroll Rod and stay in front of him. He will probably be the hardest one to beat. “On the grass, over two miles, it will be a bit of a slog if it’s wet. Hopefully we will be able to go close or be there in the finish anyway.” All going to plan, Belmont Major will continue on the West Coast circuit after his Boxing Day run. “We will play it by ear, but if we can get away with it, he will probably go to all three days and we will reassess after Reefton,” Bagrie said. Bagrie will also line-up siblings Wickenheiser and Starvin Marvin in the Pat Scanlon Memorial Mobile Pace (2600m) and Graeme & Joan McMaster Mobile Pace (2600m) respectively. “They are half-brother and sister,” Bagrie said. “Wickenheiser is a year older and has got a bit more on Starvin Marvin at the moment because of that. “She is a nice mare who went well in her first start and hit the line well. She has got a good draw (1) so I am hoping we can make the most of it. “Starvin Marvin has got a draw (10) that suits him as well. Being one on the second line he won’t have to do much work and hopefully he can have some luck because that will suit him down to the ground, just having one run at them. “They are good, genuine chances.” Bagrie is looking forward to heading across to the West Coast and said it should be on every harness racing enthusiasts bucket list. “It is definitely a bucket list item,” he said. “It is a really good trip and we are really looked after by the locals. “It is their Cup Week, all the locals go and pack it out and make a couple of days of it. “Hopefully it is dry and people can enjoy it for what it is.”

Welcome to todays segment from our harness racing analyst who provides you with free expert tips and selections for harness meetings run in New Zealand. Harness racing hits Westport today with an eleven race program starting at 11:35am and we highlight some specials and value runners we think can give you a run for your money on a great day of racing. Westport selections 26th December 2020 Best Bet:  R5 Morries Girl Best Value:  R9 Fynn Frost Race 1 Unchanged Memory his first up run on a wet grass track had merit. Could be over the odds and might be the upset.…… Tas Girl Bromac coming in fresh and has trialled well. Winning claims with a cart into the race at the right time.… Evidently no form but softer track will suit. Not the worst at good odds…… Caballe Beach now trained on the beach and could be a quick improver. Has to be respected include. Selections:  Unchanged Memory (4),   Evidently (7),   Tas Girl Bromac (12)   Caballe Beach (13)   Race 2 Drink The Wind change of trainer and has been ok previously. Should go close to running top three.……. Iron Woman has the ability and normally a good beginner. Good chance if she can lead early…… Manzini ok fresh and will be improved. Has winning claims in this field…… Nadira Franco drawn for a cosy run on the fence and has grass track form. Needed Selections:  Iron Woman (6),  Nadira Franco (1),   Manzini (10),   Drink The Wind (6)   Race 3 Tedesco decent trial win last week on grass and trainer does well on the track. Should give a good sight in this field with manners….. Bella Button good fifth last start and drawn well. Can upset in a weaker field….. Mentalist has the ability to beat a field like this but a bit one paced. Good chance if the pace is on all the way….. Eilish Hall has run some decent races in stronger fields but tricky draw. One for longer odds. Selections:   Tedesco (10),   Eilish Hall (14),   Mentalist (12)    Bella Button (5)   Race 4 Jacinda Eyre well bred for grass and tidy first up run. Has to be included here ….. Betancourt likely to get a soft run on the fence. Hard to beat if handy turning for home….. It's A Laugh racing ok and will be improved. Has the draw and can run top three with any moisture in the track….. Starvin Marvin ok last last start but tougher draw here. Place chances look best Selections:   It's A Laugh (5),   Jacinda Eyre (11),   Starvin Marvin (10) Betancourt (1)   Race 5 Morries Girl nice trial win on grass last week and looks hard to beat in this field. Top selection….. Wickenheiser racing into form and good draw here. One of the leading chances in this field….. Flo Motion couple of her workout runs have been ok and drawn for a soft run on the fence. Winning claims here and opened over the odds….. Kerala Star has been disappointing but prepared to give another chance. Place claims best Selections:   Morries Girl (2),   Wickenheiser (1),   Flo Motion (10)   Kerala Star (11)   Race 6 Kiwi X Factor conditions suit and has been racing ok from bad draws. Good winning claims if he can get handy early.…. Unico Gem fast beginner who will appreciate the shorter trip. Will be hard to beat in front…… Zippidy Doodah disappointing last couple but better placed here on grass. One for longer odds..… Tombelina last run ok at Methven and good beginner. Could upset with a good run in transit Selections:  Unico Gem (6),   Kiwi X Factor (15),   Tombelina (12),   Zippidy Doodah (7)   Race 7 Bettor Believe It in good form and will be improved. Winning claims with a fast beginning…. Myanmar Prince disappointing last start but goes ok on the track. Would be no surprise to see him in the money here ….. Frosty Reception speedy when caught in the right mood and has looked ok at workouts and trials. Can go close here at huge odds with a good run in transit…. Garry's Legacy goes ok on grass but tricky draw. Place chances look best here Selections:   Bettor Believe It (9),  Frosty Reception (10),   Myanmar Prince (3),  Garry's Legacy (11)   Race 8 Shardan Suzie in good form and any rain on the track a bonus. Winning chance and draw suits ….. Maria Kirilenko no go last start but back to her favourite surface. One of the leading chances in this field at big odds….. Rocknroll Mama a couple of her runs have been good and should be improved for this but tricky draw. Place claims best….. Ultimate Rocker tidy trial on grass last week and should be fitter. Good chance in the race if he can clear traffic Selections:   Shardan Suzie (3),   Maria Kirilenko (6),   Ultimate Rocker (10)   Rocknroll Mama (11)   Race 9 Fynn Frost placed in this race last year and any rain suits. Winning claims at good odds ….. Kruizr in good form and will be hard to beat if he can get handy from the wide draw. Needed….. Razors Edge coming into form at the right time and distance suits. Can run top three….. Homebush Lad ok last start in a hot field and grass suits. Not sure the distance suits but has winning claims Selections:   Fynn Frost (7),   Razors Edge (4),   Kruizr (8)   Homebush Lad (11)   Race 10 Jazelle racing well in nice fields and track will suit. Should race near the lead and will be hard to beat.….. Adieu Flirt respect the stable on grass but disappointing last start. Can run top three from the draw if she goes forward early….. Shezsomethinspecial has the ability to beat a field like this and drawn to lead or trail early. One of the leading chances in the race. ….. Terror Maria coming back into form but hard to see winning. Place chances best Selections:  Adieu Flirt (7),   Jazelle (2),   Shezsomethinspecial (1)    Terror Maria (5)   Race 11 Mikemaro back in winning form and can go on with it. Good winning claims in this field ….. Bright Glow likely to get a soft run near the lead. Hard to beat if handy turning for home….. Littlebitoflove racing ok and will be improved. Has the draw and can run top three at big odds with a swift beginning….. Sods Law ok third last start but tougher field here. Place chances look best Selections:   Mikemaro (15),   Bright Glow (5),   Littlebitoflove (4) Sods Law (1)   Harnesslink Media

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