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Breeding authority Peter Wharton presents all the harness racing news on breeding from Australia, New Zealand and North America every Friday brought to you by Garrard’s Horse & Hound Speak No Evil new pacing queen Speak No Evil, a daughter of the American sire, Well Said, whose frozen semen is available through Empire Stallions, was the star of the Mares’ Triple Crown at Melton. She won on the last two nights – the Group 3 Angelique Club Pace over 2240 metres and the Group 1 $100,000 Benstud Queen of the Pacific over 2760 metres, coming from third last at the bell and tramping her last 800 in 55.7 seconds. Speak No Evil                      --Stuart McCormick photo Bred and raced by Bill and Anne Anderson, Speak No Evil is out of the In The Pocket mare Top Tempo 1:56.5 ($225,513), who left eight winners – seven in 2:00 – and five $100,000 earners including the Australian Pacing gold winners Musical Delight 1:53.1 ($248,910) and Queen Of Pop 1:55.6 ($204,527), Countdown 1:53.1 ($134,270) and That’s How Weroll 1:52.9 ($107,324). Top Tempo is also the second dam of the Group placegetters Beach Music (1:56.3) and Young Rooster (1:58.3). Top Tempo was out of a top racemare in Kliklite 1:56.7 ($156,213), who produced two smart pacers pacers in McKay 1:55.7 ($236,445), a winner of 31 races, and Winewomenandsong (2:00.3), winner of the Tasmanian Breeders Plate.   Up and coming youngsters Two promising young horses to win at the final Gloucester Park October meeting were Arma Indie, a New Zealand bred mare, and the two-year-old filly American Arma. Both belong to the same family. Arma Indie, who has won 10 races and $160,000 in stakes, is a four-year-old mare by Well Said, and one of his third crop. Arma Indie looks certain to take a tight mark and as a stayer she has a bright future. She is out of Arma Courage (1:58.9), by Courage Under Fire from Arma Class (2:00.6), by Talk About Class from the noted producer Ar Miss. American Arma, who is rated by experienced judges as one of the top fillies in WA, was bred and is part-owned by Jim Currie, who raced her Group winning dam Arma Xpress 1:56.5 ($279,890).  American Rama looks to have terrific potential.  American Arma winning at Gloucester Park       -- photo by Daryl Hallows She is a two-year-old by American Ideal from the top racemare Arma Xpress 1:56.5 ($279,890), by Artiscape from the Holmes Hanover mare Arma Antoinette (2:01.4), a half-sister to Arma Courage, the dam of Arma Indie. This family has consistently produced a number of good winners over the years. A close relative of American Rama in Australia is Arma O’Rourke 1:56,7 (by Live Or Die), a winner of three at Gloucester Park. Arma ORourke’s dam, Trigg Beach, is a half-sister to Arma Xpress, the dam of American Arma.   Siring feat to Warrawee Needy Rather a notable siring feat was credited to the E Dee’s Cam horse Warrawee Needy at Menangle last Saturday, when he had three runners in a 10-horse field in the NSW Breeders Challenge True Blue Series for two-year-old colts and geldings. Warrawee Needy   Warrawee Drinking, a grand type of youngster, Mename’s Needy and The Mountain finished first, third and fourth respectively. Warrawee Needy’s oldest stock are two-year-olds, and they include Uncle Shank 1:54.8 (a top colt in Queensland), the Bathurst Gold Crown finalist Rockindownunder and The Grogfather. Warrawee Needy is the only son of E Dee’s Cam imported to Australia, and his first crop has been most impressive. Warrawee Needy, who stands stud in the Riverina, is a half-brother to a champion American filly in Warrawee Ubeaut 1:48.6 ($1.7 million).   By Shoobee’s Place Shoobee’s Place, a well performed Artsplace horse from a smart racemare in Shoobeedobeedo, by Jate Lobell, and who is now at the stud in WA, was recently represented by two Group winners at Menangle. Merrywood Lynn, a two-year-old filly, and Katchar Shoobee, a three-year-old gelding, won their respective $50,000 NSW Breeders Challenge True Blue Series. Both are out of Artsplace line mares, Merrywood Lynn being from the unraced Just Lola (by Art Major) and Katchar Shoobee from Lavish Art, a 1:56.9 daughter of Modern Art.  Katchar Shoobee, a brother to the Rod Fitzpatrick Memorial winner Shoobee Doo 1:53.6 ($127,270), is a well developed gelding and promises to be a very good stayer. Their dam, Lavish Art, was a Modern Art mare from Lavish Franco, by Soky’s Atom from Lady Barbara, by Lordship, is a member of a family which has distinguished itself by the number of fine stayers it has produced.  Before going to WA, Shoobee’s Place produced a number of useful sorts from restricted stud chances in NSW.   Redwood winner by Muscle Mass Mexicana, who won Redwood Classic – Illawong Barmah, Aldebaran Zeus and Aldebaran Ursula filled the placings behind her – scored her third success, and she is regarded as one of the best young trotters in New Zealand. Mexicana                                -Stuart McCormick photo   She is a grand stayer and one of the best fillies left by the Muscles Yankee horse Muscle Mass, who sired top trotters of the calibre of Massive Metro, Custodian, Illawong Byron and others. Mexicana is a two-year-old filly from Pocaro Tr 1:57.5 ($232,773), by Sundon from Niamey, a noted producer by Chiola Hanover from Game Flyer, by Game Pride – a pedigree with some real background with a strong staying influence behind it. Besides Mexicana, Pocaro is also the dam of the Harness Jewels winner Missandei Tr 1:59.3 ($177,259), King’s Landing Tr 2:00.9 (5 wins) and Westeros (3 wins). Pocaro, a multiple Group winner at three, is a sister to two high class trotters in Springbank Sam Tr 1:55.2 ($545,702) and Sun Of Anarchy Tr 1:58.2 ($281,581) and a half-sister to recent Goulburn winner Arnold (Tr 1:59.7) and Daenery’s Targareyen Tr 1:58.2 ($143,723), winner of The Redwood in 2013. Mexicana was bred and is part-owned by Christchurch enthusiast Trevor Casey.   Beat Chicago Bull’s brother Major Meister is proving himself a three-year-old of some worth in Victoria and during October he numbered The Graduate among his successes, beating Chicago Bull’s brother Perfect Stride, who was forced wide throughout. Major Meister                                     --Stuart McCormick photo Bred in NZ’s Southland by Tom Kilkelly, who part-owns him, Major Meister is a colt by the Artsplace horse Art Major from a capable racemare in Lite Jagermeister (1:56.3), by In The Pocket from the Holmes Hanover mare Lite Jade, a sister to the cup class pacer Kliklite 1:56.7 ($156,213). Lite Jagermeister, who won three races at Melton, was a half-sister to the NZ winners Dangerous (1:59.9) and Pele and to the Mystical Shark mare Lite Jewel, dam of the outstanding WA mare Sensational Gabby 1:52.4 ($791,681). Major Meister is a member of an old time NZ family, which was represented by second winner on the night in Speak No Evil, winner of the Queen of the Pacific.   Bettor Twist’s Championship Bettor Twist, who won the NZ Sires Stakes Fillies Championship, after sitting parked most of the way, has now won three races and is rated one of the brightest prospects in her class. She ranks as a three-year-old half-sister by Bettor’s Delight to the Miracle Mile and A. G. Hunter Cup winner King Of Swing 1:48 ($1.4 million). Bettor Twist winning at Alexandra Park in 1-52.1 Their dam, Twist And Twirl (1:56), an Artsplace mare from Giveitawhirlgirl, by Jenna’s Beach Boy from Impish, has proved a most successful broodmare. Besides Bettor Twist and King Of Swing, she is also the dam of the Addington two-year-old winner Extreme Stride (1:56.7). Twist And Twirl was a top racemare in her own right. She won seven races and $283,258 in stakes including the Great Northern Oaks and NZ Sires Stakes 3YO Championship. This has been one of the most successful branches of the Jessie Pepper family, Twist And Twirl being a sister to the NSW Shirley Turnbull Memorial winner Feels Like Magic 1:51 ($261,728) and a half-sister to the Blossom Lady and Jane Ellen winner Bettor Give It 1:57.4 ($138,061), dam of this year’s NSW Breeders Challenge 3YO and SA Derby victor Mach Dan 1:51.7 ($177,892).   Breeders Crown winner’s Aussie relations Sandbetweenmytoes, the winner of the $500,000 Breeders Crown for three-year-old colts and geldings at Hoosier Park, has strong breeding links to Australia. The Somebeachsomewhere gelding is out of the Artsplace mare Galleria, a sister to San Sophia (1:52.6), the dam of eight inside 2:00 including the SA Golden Nursery winner Hilltop Sophia, Raging Bull (1;56.6), now at the stud in NZ, Thisbeachrighthere (1:50.8) and Our Santa Catalina (1:55.6). Peaky Sneaky, who won the $500,000 Breeders Crown for three-year-old fillies, is a Bettor’s Delight filly from World Of Rock, a Rocknroll Hanover half-sister to the US 2YO and 3YO Filly of the Year Worldly Beauty 1:49.6 ($1.9 million), dam of Rock N Roll World (1:48.6), who is standing his second season in Victoria. This is the family which produced the highly successful sires Captaintreacherous, Art Major, Perfect Art and American Ideal.     by Peter Wharton

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk    Clevedon trainers Barry Purdon and Scott Phelan are hoping promising trotter Horace Horse will bring his manners to Cambridge Raceway on Friday. The son of Quaker Jet broke twice in his last start at the Waikato track and his connections have their fingers-crossed that was an anomaly. “It was a bit unfortunate last time, he just threw his toys out of the cot. Hopefully it’s just the one start, he is usually pretty good with his manners,” Phelan said. “We will just forget about last time.” Horace Horse will return to Cambridge on Friday to contest the Loveridge Enterprise Builders Handicap Trot (2700m). He has already won two of his eight starts and Phelan said he is starting to realise his potential. “I think he is a reasonable chance on Friday,” Phelan said. “He has taken a while to come to this time, but he has got at least two or three more wins in him. “He is going to end up in the grades a little bit but just how far we don’t know.” Junior driver Nathan Delany will take the reins behind stablemate Jemma in the Agrowquip I John Deere Cambridge Mobile Pace (2200m). The four-year-old mare has placed in her last two starts and Phelan is hoping she can add another win to her tally from barrier five. “It will be a tricky little race for Jemma but it will be up to Nathan how he drives her. Her work has been good, so I can’t complain there,” Phelan said. Last start winner Little Miss Perfect has drawn three in the Fuji Xerox Mobile Pace (2700m) and Phelan will be looking to adopt similar tactics when he hops in the cart on Friday. “Little Miss Perfect seemed a lot happier in front,” Phelan said. “She has got a good draw and has got good gate speed which she showed last time. I expect her to run a really good race.”

Welcome to the Harness Analyst series where we take a look at New Zealand's harness racing with free previews,tips and reviews of trials and the previous weeks racing. Harness racing hits Rangiora today with a ten race program starting at 1:04pm. We highlight some specials and value runners we think can give you a run for your money on a good day of racing. The content and data is provided for informational purposes only   Rangiora selections 6th November 2020   Race 1 Deja Blue has had slight freshen up but in good form prior against stronger fields than this. Top selection here.…… Hey Tonight best draw she has had and gets into a race she can place in. One for longer odds and can upset… Mahia draw not great but has been racing stronger fields. Can upset with a soft run in transit……..Duffy Hollow racing well in similar fields and drawn ok. Good chance here Selections:  Deja Blue (7),   Duffy Hollow (5),   Mahia (9),    Hey Tonight (2)   Race 2 Queen Of Strathfield trotter in good form who should be running top three here. Could go forward early and hard to beat.……. Eilish Hall has ability and the draw might be an assist with a cosy run on the fence. Good place claims here …… Yea You mobile will help this runner and drawn ok with driver change. Can win…… Steel Legend coming in fresh with workout form ok. Draw not great but has place claims in this Selections:  Queen Of Strathfield (7),   Yea You (4),   Eilish Hall (10),   Steel Legend (8)   Race 3 Betterwithbling has been running good races and drawn to get a run near the front early. Hard to beat with manners….. Unchanged Memory has not had a lot of luck in his races but has been running on. Can upset at good odds with luck in the running  ….. Jeremy Wells draw not great but he was finishing ok last start. Can win…. Social Media nice draw and has been racing ok but blew the standing start last time. Place chance at longer odds Selections:   Betterwithbling (1),  Unchanged Memory (7),   Jeremy Wells (17),   Social Media (3)   Race 4 Unfazed stable does well on the track and look for a strong showing here. Top selection ….. Red Envy likes to race near the lead and could be hard to catch if she found the front from the wide draw. Winning claims….. Will He Rock disappointing last start. Has ability and could place from the draw at nice odds…. A Guinness Dance  racing well at trials and drawn for a soft fence run. Chance if the pace is on all the way Selections:   Unfazed (5),   Red Envy (9),   Will He Rock (2),   A Guinness Dance  (10)   Race 5 She's Allthe Craze conditions suit here and she is a major player from the nice draw. Can win.….Black Jacket tidy draw and she can ping the tapes. Should be thereabouts……      Sonoma Tyron has been racing ok and drawn well. Manners not great but a winning chance with a safe getaway.… Justan's Sister out of form but at her best would be right in this. Include at longer odds Selections:  She's Allthe Craze (3),   Justan's Sister (2),   Black Jacket (5),   Sonoma Tyron (8)   Race 6  Mordecai out of form but not the worst in this field. Could go forward early and hard to beat if he can lead . ……. Bird Of Paradise  has ability and the draw and should be handy early . At her best would be a good chance here at big odds …… Dismara running into form with big finishes his last couple. Needed…… Koromiko Eyre good beginner who ran home well at the workouts for second. Can win Selections:  Mordecai (7),   Bird Of Paradise  (6),   Dismara (8),   Koromiko Eyre (3)   Race 7 Four Starzzz Shiraz has been running good races but tricky draw. Hard to beat with a cart into the race before the home turn….. Hells Shadow tricky draw but will be running on late. Can upset at good odds with luck in the running  ….. Lady Matara draw not great but is in good form and rise in grade no worries. Needed…. Star Watch nice draw and has been racing ok. Winning claims if the pace is on all the way Selections:   Four Starzzz Shiraz (9),  Hells Shadow (10),   Lady Matara (12),   Star Watch (4)   Race 8 Folklore form is strong against better fields than this Tricky handicap but could upset at nice odds. Top selection ….. The Kaik likes to race near the lead and could be hard to catch if he found the front early. Winning claims….. Sister's Delight bit disappointing last start. Has ability and could place with a cart into the race…. Just N Awe racing ok but tricky draw. Chance at nice odds if he is handy early Selections:   Folklore (16),   The Kaik (12),   Sister's Delight (10),   Just N Awe (9)   Race 9 Smudgee good beginner who could upset at nice odds with a safe beginning….. Dr Cliff  likes to race near the lead and could be hard to catch if he found the front early. Nice odds available….. BJ Lindenny  handicap a problem but has a bit of speed. Could place with a cart into the race…. Blink N Bones racing his way back into form. Chance at nice odds if he is handy early Selections:   Smudgee (5),   Dr Cliff  (4),   BJ Lindenny  (16),   Blink N Bones (3)   Race 10 In Chevron We Trust running on late last start and gets in well off the front. Can win at longer odds…… Foregone Conclusion tricky draw but in top form and will suit a strong pace in the race. Can win… Donegal Carrickfin getting better with racing and will be running on late. Top three player in this field….. Jaffa Josh trials have been very good but suspect manners. Can run top three with no mistakes in the running Selections:  In Chevron We Trust (4),   Donegal Carrickfin (11),   Foregone Conclusion (8),   Jaffa Josh (3)   Harnesslink Media

2020 has been a year like no other. The global pandemic which is known as Covid-19 has turned most, if not all things upside down. At times its been harrowing, disturbing, heartbreaking and traumatic but one constant throughout the battle has been hope. While many items have been delayed or wiped from the calendar, some things have remained. And New Zealand Cup week is one that will go ahead. Sure, things will be different, but as a whole, the New Zealand Cup is the biggest racing event staged in the Shaky Isles and it always delivers. The crowd will be smaller for obvious reasons with next to no Aussie’s in attendance, but the roar will be unified as the Cup field battles it out in the home straight. Naturally, the leading stables of All Stars, Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen are set to play a major role in the outcome of the 3200m stand start feature. Since forming the partnership back in 2013, their record in the Cup is astonishing with five victories in the past six years. They prepared last year’s winner Cruz Bromac who was on loan for his Victorian connections. Interestingly, it was Blair Orange who landed the winning drive and this year he will partner what is considered the main threat for the All Stars this year in Copy That. Normally the All Stars have large numbers representing the famous livery but this year, they have just the trio of entrants. But its not just any trio with Self Assured, Spankem and Ashley Locaz lining up and all look to be serious players judging by their recent efforts. Purdon will partner race favourite Self Assured with Rasmussen committed to Spankem while Tim Williams takes the lines behind Ashley Locaz. Self Assured was beaten but not disgraced with a hard fought second in the Ashburton Flying Stakes last start while performing nicely in the Cup trial behind his stablemate Spankem. The Bettors Delight gelding has been taken off the unruly and will sport saddlecloth number 11. Millionaire pacer Spankem continues to build nicely for his Cup tilt with a great effort at Ashburton followed by his Cup trial victory but faces a second-line draw, he will carry saddlecloth number 15. Spankem was the beaten favourite last year when second behind Cruz Bromac. Ashley Locaz carries a different form card compared to most following a brief stint in Queensland before returning for the Ashburton and Kaikoura features. Williams is chasing his maiden Cup victory and Ashley Locaz will wear saddlecloth number 12. Last year, the All Stars finished 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th with their four runners. Ironically, the horse that thwarted their winning run was an ex-member of their team in Arden Rooney (2015) who transferred to the Victorian stables of Kerryn Manning when he prevailed over the luckless All Stars runner Smolda. Arden Rooney was raced by Merv and Meg Butterworth and the Victorian based couple race boom pacer Copy That. Will history repeat? The most recent North Island trained winner of the Cup was Changeover (Geoff Small) back in 2008. Copy That is trained by astute horseman Ray Green and his form is outstanding - highlighted by his bold showing in the Ashburton Flying Stakes. The American Ideal entire was the big winner at the barrier draw and will sport saddlecloth number 1. Also representing the North Island is Mach Shard (Barry Purdon & Scott Phelan) plus Triple Eight and Check In (Steve & Amanda Telfer). Master trainer Robert Dunn will also have a trio of chances with Heisenberg, Henry Hubert and Classie Brigade all representing his stable. Both Henry Hubert (6th) and Classie Brigade (3rd) back-up from last year’s Cup. The form of Classie Brigade is outstanding winning four of his last five starts including the New Brighton Cup, Hannon Memorial and the Kaikoura Cup. The brilliant stand start performer will sport saddlecloth number 18 and will be handled by Robert’s son, John. The Dunn family scored with Mainland Banner in the New Zealand Cup back in 2005. Thefixer, a winner of the New Zealand Cup two years ago backs up for another shot at glory following his 5th placing last year behind Cruz Bromac. Now prepared on the beach at Woodend, Thefixer can provide likeable young horsemen Regan Todd and Bob Butt their biggest triumph. Jim Curtin prepares Tango Tara and chases his second victory in the Cup following his win behind Terror To Love back in 2011 while Brian O’Meara also chases his second Cup success with Di Caprio after preparing champion pacer Christian Cullen back in 1998. John ‘Coaster’ Howe lines up Nandolo in the Cup after finishing 7th last year behind Cruz Bromac, the talented pacer will again be handled by Jonny Cox. And representing the ‘south’ is the Ross and Chris Wilson prepared Robyns Playboy, a richly talented five-year-old who scored nicely in the Tuapeka Cup last start. Again, Craig Ferguson will take the drive. The three emergencies for the race are Vintage Cheddar, On The Cards and Wild Excuse. Of the 15 starters, no mare is listed to start. Super sire Bettors Delight has seven runners listed in the field while American Ideal, Mach Three, A Rocknroll Dance, Shadow Play and Betterthancheddar all having two runners each. The Gr.1 $540,000 IRT New Zealand Cup is listed to start at 5.34pm local time. And what a race it is going to be!   Chris Barsby

Welcome to the Harness Analyst series where we take a look at New Zealand's harness racing with free previews,tips and reviews of trials and the previous weeks racing. Harness racing hits Cambridge again today with a ten race program starting at 5:36pm and we highlight some specials and value runners we think can give you a run for your money on a good night of racing. The content is provided for informational purposes only Cambridge selections 6th November 2020 Race 1 New York Minute in top form and nice win here last start. Top selection and should run top three.…… Ideal Agent best draw and coming in fresh. One for longer odds and can upset… Eagle Watch  out of form but on his best day would compete well here. Can upset with a soft run in transit…….. Delightful Catherine freshened but workouts ok. Good chance here Selections:  New York Minute (2),   Ideal Agent (1),   Delightful Catherine (7),    Eagle Watch  (4)   Race 2 Kelvinz Luck trotter with form who should be running top three here. Could go forward early and hard to beat.……. Demolition Man has ability, and the draw might be an assist but manners a concern. Good winning claims with a safe getaway …… Flying Scotsman workout form good and coming in fresh. Can win…… Haka Pride getting fitter with racing and paying a huge price. Form not great but first four chance at massive odds Selections:  Kelvinz Luck (2),   Flying Scotsman (6),   Demolition Man (1),   Haka Pride (5)   Race 3 Anam Nunu has been running good races but tricky draw. Hard to beat with a cart into the race before the home turn….. Jungle Gem has not had a lot of luck with draws in her races but has been running on. Can upset at good odds with luck in the running  ….. Lavazza draw not great but she was finishing ok last start. Can place at longer odds…. Bet West nice draw and has been racing ok. Winning claims here Selections:   Anam Nunu (11),  Jungle Gem (8),   Lavazza (7),   Bet West (3)   Race 4 Super Duper Dude stable does well on the track and look for a strong showing here at nice odds on fixed. Top selection ….. Greatest Showman likes to race near the lead and could be hard to catch if he found the front from the widish draw. Winning claims….. Starlito disappointing at the races but better draw to contend with here. Has ability and could upset…. Barbarossa going well at workouts but drawn badly. Chance if the pace is on all the way Selections:   Super Duper Dude (10),   Greatest Showman (7),   Starlito (2),   Barbarossa (14)   Race 5 Lukyanova conditions suit here and she is a major player from the nice draw. Can win with manners.…. Grey Stoke not much room last start and trotting well. Should be thereabouts with luck in the running…… Delson has been racing ok but handicap a concern. A winning chance with a quick getaway.… Presidential Jewel out of form but at her best would be right in this. Include at longer odds Selections:  Lukyanova (1),   Presidential Jewel (10),   Delson (12),   Grey Stoke (9)   Race 6  Enjoy Me first starter from strike rate stable with decent workout form. Watch the tote for move but has a good winning chance in this . ……. Sargent Best has ability and the draw and should be handy early . Good winning claims at his first start…… Suidelike Major running into form and should get a good run on the fence. Needed…… New Frontier good beginner who is the likely leader early. Place chances best here Selections:   Enjoy Me (12),   Sargent Best (1),   Suidelike Major (10),   New Frontier (3)   Race 7 About Turn has been running good races from bad draws and better draw here. Hard to beat in this field….. High Point tricky draw but will be running on late. Can upset at good odds with luck in the running  ….. Young Conqueror draw not great but is tough. Can go forward and inject some speed into the race. Place hopes best here…. Little Miss Perfect nice draw and has been racing ok. Winning claims if the pace is on all the way Selections:   About Turn (4),  Little Miss Perfect (3),   High Point (7),   Young Conqueror (6)   Race 8 Emmber form is strong against better fields than this from bad draws. Ace draw here and top selection ….. Ace Strike likes to race near the lead and could be hard to catch if he found the front early. Winning claims….. All Yours bit disappointing last start. Has ability and could place with driver change…. Pocket Book racing ok but tricky draw. Chance at nice odds with a cart into the race at the right time Selections:   Emmber (1),   Ace Strike (7),   All Yours (4),   Pocket Book (11)   Race 9 Express Play good beginner who could be the leader in the race. Needed here….. Ticking Over races best near the lead and drivers tactics crucial to her chances here. Can win….. Fleeting Grin draw a problem but he is tough. Could place with a cart into the race…. Peter Forsberg racing his way back into form. Chance at nice odds if he is handy early and extra distance suits Selections:   Express Play (7),   Peter Forsberg (5),   Fleeting Grin (12),   Ticking Over (4)   Race 10 Sir Henry Castleton running on late last start and gets in well off the front. Can win with manners…… Littlebitoflove tricky draw but racing ok. One for longer odds….. Set Me Free win last start very good but suspect manners. Can run top three with no mistakes in the running….. Alana good win last start and should hold her form. Needed Selections:  Set Me Free (2),   Sir Henry Castleton (3),   Littlebitoflove (9),   Alana (4)   Harnesslink Media

There are 4 days to the New Zealand Cup From now to November 10 we will feature some of the great races, horses and personalities with a new letter for each day. W = Doug Watts With 27 Cup drives, Doug Watts had the third most New Zealand Cup drives behind Morrie Holmes (40) and Anthony Butt (30).  Born in Morrinsville in 1906, he is regarded as the sport’s first truly freelance driver. After debuting as a jockey he graduated to harness racing, driving for 41 seasons. He was based in Oamaru for a time before moving to Christchurch in the late 1930s. He won the Cup twice with Integrity (1946) and Our Roger (1955) and was second on four occasions. In 1954 at Reefton he was the first to drive seven winners on the same day, a feat equalled by Tony Herlihy (2001) and Dexter Dunn (2015). Watts died in 1985, aged 79.   HRNZ

BEFORE A JUDICIAL COMMITTEE OF THE JUDICIAL CONTROL AUTHORITY UNDER THE RACING ACT 2003 AND IN THE MATTER of the New Zealand Rules of Harness Racing BETWEEN RACING INTEGRITY UNIT (RIU) Informant AND MR DENIS O’CONNELL Horseman Respondent Information: A13219 Judicial Committee: Prof G Hall, Chairman Appearing: Mr S Renault, Stipendiary Steward, for the Informant The Respondent in person, with the assistance of Mr G Anderson, Licensed Trainer Date of hearing/oral decision: 25 October 2020 Date of written decision: 2 November 2020 WRITTEN DECISION OF JUDICIAL COMMITTEE [1] An Information was filed by Stipendiary Steward, Mr Renault, against Driver, Mr D O’Connell, alleging a breach of r 868(2) in that Mr O’Connell as the driver of PETE’S DASH in Race 10, IRT. #1 AIRFREIGHT COMPANY FOR STANDARDBREDS MOBILE PACE at the NZ Metropolitan Trotting Club meeting held at Addington Raceway on 6 September 2020 failed to take all reasonable and permissible measures to ensure PETE’S DASH was given full opportunity to win or obtain the best possible placing by failing to attempt to obtain cover and allow his runner respite when the opportunities to do so were presented but instead elected to hold the parked position. [2] PETE’S DASH is trained by Mr O’Connell and finished 6th of 11, beaten 8.9 lengths from the winner MINNELLI SMILE. [3] Rule 868(2) reads: “Every horseman shall take all reasonable and permissible measures at all times during the race to ensure that his horse is given full opportunity to win the race or to obtain the best possible position and/or finishing place.” [4] The Charge was heard as a Non Raceday hearing at the Forbury Park Trotting Club’s meeting at Dunedin on 25 October 2020. [5] Mr O’Connell indicated on the signed Information that he admitted the breach. At the hearing he requested that he be able to change his plea to one of “Not admitted”. After hearing from the parties, Mr O’Connell was permitted to change his plea. Informant’s case [6] With reference to the video, Mr Renault provided the following written summary of the race: 1) This race was run over 2600 metres. PETE’S DASH drew 2 on the front line. PETE’S DASH showed gate speed at the start and immediately challenged for the lead with MUSTANG GT which had drawn 1 and also PAUL’S VERDICT which had drawn 4. Mr O’Connell urged his runner forward with the reins and whip after 100 metres in an attempt to clear MUSTANG GT however once being unable to do so he ceases in that challenge shortly after. By this time PAUL’S VERDICT had been able to muster enough speed to cross both PETE’S DASH and MUSTANG GT and assume the lead. 2) Rounding the first bend PETE’S DASH hangs inwards and Mr O’Connell tries to shift into a position behind the leader PAUL’S VERDICT however is unable to again fully clear MUSTANG GT and is left to race in the parked position. 3) From this point around the 2100 metres PETE’S DASH races outside the leader PAUL’S VERDICT. 4) Near the 1600 metres TIGER MOTH improves three wide from towards the rear of the field and progresses forward in an attempt to gain the parked position. 5) Mr O’Connell looks to his outside passing the 1400 metres and observes TIGER MOTH improving three wide and immediately urges his horse to hold its position. TIGER MOTH’S driver continues to urge his horse on until shortly after the 1200 metres before being taken hold of. 6) During this period where Mr O’Connell urged his runner forward the pace of the race increased noticeably and the front four horses break away from the remainder of the field. 7) Passing the 1100 metres there is ample opportunity for Mr O’Connell to ease his runner to gain some respite which would enable him to shift inwards and take up the vacant trail behind PAUL’S VERDICT as MUSTANG GT had lost ground and was under pressure from its driver to maintain its position. This opportunity was available to Mr O’Connell until near the 900 metres. 8) Mr O’Connell chose not to restrain his runner which allowed the horse following PETE’S DASH in the 1x1 position MINNELLI SMILE to shift inwards and take the trail. 9) As the field turned into the back straight near the 800 metres Mr O’Connell again places his runner under significant pressure to challenge x and the pace of the race increases. 10) PETE’S DASH is under pressure on the final bend and is forced wider on the track by the trailing MINNELLI SMILE. 11) The concern for Stewards is that Mr O’Connell had options presented to him to enable his horse an opportunity to gain some respite.  12) Passing the 1400 metres he could have taken hold of his horse to obtain the 1x1 position by handing up to the improving TIGER MOTH. Mr O’Connell should have been aware that there was no other horse following TIGER MOTH at that stage of the race however he was intent on remaining parked and had to increase the speed of the race to hold that position. 13) Further on as the field raced towards the 1100 metres, Mr O’Connell had a period of 200 metres available to him to shift inwards and obtain the trail. This is a significant amount of time during which he elected not to offer his runner any respite. 14) From the 800 metres when Mr O’Connell should have been looking to take hold of his horse to allow his runner respite, he again placed the horse under significant pressure until near the 600 metres. 15) When questioned by Stewards immediately following the race, Mr O’Connell’s explanation was that he had been told by the horse’s previous trainer that it races best parked, so he had been intent on staying in that position regardless of what happened in the race. 16) Stewards reviewed previous wins of PETE’S DASH. On the first occasion at Invercargill, the horse settled back with cover, before improving around the field near the 1400 metres to race parked for the final lap. For the horse’s second win, the gelding raced over 2600 metres at Oamaru and was parked from the 2200 metres until the 1200 metres. From there the horse was able to gain cover from a horse improving 3 wide and raced in the 1x1 thereafter. 17) Mr O’Connell’s tactics were unreasonable in the circumstances which amounted to bad judgement and as such he failed to take all reasonable and permissible measures to ensure PETE’S DASH was given full opportunity to win or finish in the best possible finishing position. [7] Mr Renault summarised the Informant’s case orally. He said there was no issue with Mr O’Connell’s early drive. He had tried to get in but could not do so. [8] Mr Renault accepted that not all drivers challenged in the fashion that Mr O’Connell had been would hand up and drop back into the one out one back position. But Mr O’Connell had been sat parked for some 700 to 800 metres and should have done so. Instead, Mr O’Connell kept urging PETE’S DASH forward in order to hold his position and to prevent TIGER MOTH from crossing him. Mr Renault believed Mr O’Connell should have been aware that no other horse was coming around following TIGER MOTH. [9] The Stewards’ biggest concern related to Mr O’Connell’s failure to take the trail when that opportunity was presented to him for a period of time, and by so doing, to give some respite to PETE’S DASH. MUSTANG GT had dropped off the leader and Mr O’Connell could have taken hold of PETE’S DASH and eased into the trailing position behind the leader. He was racing outside the wheel of the leading horse, PAUL’S VERDICT (Mr Morrison), at the time and he could have taken the position that Ms Ottley (MINNELLI SMILE), who went on to win the race, had taken. It had been there for Mr O’Connell for some time, approximately 200 metres. Mr Renault said Mr O’Connell had simply been intent on sitting parked and Mr O’Connell should have at least looked to trail. [10] Mr Renault also stated that from the 800 to the 600 metres the Respondent was urging PETE’S DASH. Before the final bend the horse was under significant pressure and was tiring. Respondent’s case [11] Mr O’Connell commenced his defence by questioning why he would take his horse away from the parked position when it was racing “nice and relaxed”. He said if he had dropped into the trail, he would have lost momentum. He could not understand why he should have done this. If he had got behind PAUL’S VERDICT, it “might not have carried on with the job”. He had been behind this horse before and it did not take him to the passing lane. He said it had not taken the trailing horse into the lane on this occasion either. (Mr Renault disputed this, commenting that this was because Ms Ottley had elected to come out.) [12] Mr Anderson assisted the Respondent. He said that TIGER MOTH had a reputation as a rough going horse and he could understand why Mr O’Connell did not want to sit behind it. TIGER MOTH had dropped out, beaten 27 lengths. TIGER MOTH had done nothing in its next start. It was not the best horse to follow. He said Mr O’Connell was driving his own race and had decided to deny TIGER MOTH the one out position as he was not sure it was the right horse to hand up to. [13] Mr Anderson said it had been easier for Ms Ottley to take the trail than it would have been for the Respondent. Mr O’Connell would have had to pull right back when Ms Ottley was racing close behind him, and check his horse. That would have been difficult, and he disputed that there had been an opportunity to do so for over 200 metres. [14] Mr O’Connell stated that he believed if he had handed up to TIGER MOTH, he would have been questioned by the Stewards as to why he had done so. [15] Mr O’Connell said there had been rain shortly before the start of the race. He had grit on his glasses. He had tried to remove them but had been unable do so as PETE’S DASH had ducked in at that time. He said he was concentrating on driving the horse. He thought it was wise to stay out of trouble, so he had sat parked. [16] In response to a question from the Committee, Mr O’Connell said he was aware the trailing horse had dropped off and there was space to his inside, but he had decided he was better to sit parked. He reiterated his horse was relaxed and travelling well at that time. He did not want to lose momentum by easing PETE’S DASH. He also did not want to follow PAUL’S VERDICT as he believed that horse would weaken under pressure as it had done so previously. [17] Mr Renault responded that PAUL’S VERDICT was a noted leader and was 2/3 in the betting on the day. [18] Mr O’Connell stated he had had difficulty in releasing the ear plugs when he was trying to put pressure on PAUL’S VERDICT. He had only recently purchased PETE’S DASH and it was the first time he had driven the horse on raceday. It had only battled since that start. He had thought that the horse was better than he actually was and had also thought that the horse raced better when parked. He thought it had sat parked and just got collared in the last 50 metres when so doing. Mr Renault disputed this, stating the horse had had cover in that particular race and had often raced on the fence. [19] Mr O’Connell agreed with Mr Renault that his intention was to race parked or to trail. [20] He concluded his case by reiterating he was not prepared to take hold of his horse. He did not want to lose momentum. Decision as to breach [21] The Stewards are concerned that Mr O’Connell continued to race parked when having the opportunity to take cover and with his not taking the trail when the opportunity presented itself. On both occasions his horse would have obtained some respite. [22] Mr O’Connell raced parked from the first bend to into the home straight with a lap to run at which time Mr Curtin driving TIGER MOTH challenged him for the parked one out position. Mr O’Connell had the opportunity to allow Mr Curtin to progress past and to take the one out one back position. Instead of so doing and obtaining some respite for PETE’S DASH, he used the reins and urged the horse forward to prevent Mr Curtin from crossing over. Mr O’Connell said PETE’S DASH was racing nice and relaxed. At this point, however, it is evident that the horse has to be urged to withstand the move from TIGER MOTH. [23] Mr O’Connell has acknowledged that he knew the trailing horse had dropped off and that he was intent on keeping PETE’S DASH parked. His explanation is simply that he wanted to keep momentum and again that the horse was racing in a relaxed fashion. [24] It is evident there was a distance, conservatively some 150 plus metres, when Mr O’Connell had the opportunity to ease his horse, take hold, and drop into the trail. It is accepted that it was ultimately easier for Ms Ottley to take the trail, as Mr Anderson has stated, but the Respondent had previously had the opportunity to so do himself but had spurned this. The horse had raced parked for some time and, by so doing, he would have again given PETE’S DASH some respite. [25] The Committee has noted Mr O’Connell’s concern that PAUL’S VERDICT might stop. This is always a concern for a trailing horse but there was no evidence on this occasion that PAUL’S VERDICT might do this. In this regard, just after the 800 metres Mr O’Connell has taken time to activate the gear (pull the ear plugs) as he has had some difficulty, before urging PETE’S DASH to keep up with PAUL’S VERDICT. Almost immediately after Ms Ottley had taken the trailing position that had been available to him, Mr O’Connell has had to start working on PETE’S DASH and, not surprisingly, the horse has tired and dropped back. [26] Mr O’Connell, as he has acknowledged, had over assessed the ability of PETE’S DASH. It was his first drive behind the horse, and it was not as good a horse as he thought. [27] Mr O’Connell’s concern that TIGER MOTH is roughly gaited and the fact he believed PAUL’S VERDICT might tire before the passing lane and thus cart him back appear to be post facto justifications, as does the difficulty with his glasses, for his failure to take the two opportunities that were available to him to give PETE’S DASH some respite. [28] Mr O’Connell has acknowledged he was aware he could have looked to drop down and trail, but he chose not to. The Committee is satisfied that Mr O’Connell’s intention once he failed to get the trail after the start was to sit parked, come what may; ie he had had a fixed mindset to sit parked as believed the horse raced better in this fashion. As a consequence, the Committee finds that Mr O’Connell did not take all reasonable and permissible measures that were available to him to ensure PETE’S DASH was given full opportunity to win or obtain the best possible placing. [29] The breach of r 868(2) is thus proved. Penalty submissions [30] Mr Renault produced the Respondent’s record. It showed no breaches of this Rule. [31] Mr Renault described the breach as towards mid-range. There were two occasions on which Mr O’Connell could have made decisions that would have kept his drive within the Rules. [32] Mr Renault referred to the starting point in the Penalty Guide of 20 drives or a $1,000 fine and submitted a six month suspension and a $400 to $500 fine was the appropriate penalty. [33] Mr O’Connell responded that he did not want a fine. He would prefer to take a suspension, even one of the length submitted by Mr Renault. [34] When the Committee informed Mr O’Connell that a suspension that equated to a little less than the 20 drive starting point was likely to be imposed, he was adamant that he did not wish a fine to be part of the penalty. He stated his horses would continue to compete primarily at Invercargill and Addington and that Ms Young-Grant would be likely to drive them. Decision as to penalty [35] The breach is towards the lower end of the range. The track conditions on the day were not ideal and Mr O’Connell was driving PETE’S DASH for the first time. He, as previously described, had over assessed the ability of the horse. He had a fixed mindset to sit parked, as he believed the horse raced better in this fashion and did not take the reasonable and permissible measures that were available to him. [36] When regard is had to the seriousness of the breach and the Respondent’s degree of culpability, and factoring in the very good record, the appropriate penalty is a 16 drive suspension. [37] Mr O’Connell drives very infrequently. After reviewing the number of drives he had last season and has had since February this year, it is evident he has about 16 drives in a six-month period. [38] Mr O’Connell requested that the penalty to be deferred until after the upcoming Methven meeting and the Informant had no objection to this. [39] Mr O’Connell is thus suspended from the end of racing on 30 October up to and including 30 April. The penalty is calculated in accordance with the Penalty Guide and there is no need for a fine to also be imposed in addition to the suspension. Costs [40] The matter was heard before the first race on raceday. There is no award of costs in favour of the RIU or the JCA. Dated at Dunedin this 2nd day of November 2020. Geoff Hall, Chairman

By Jonny Turner    Jonny Cox will continue his countdown to driving Nandolo in the New Zealand Cup when combining with a host of winning chances at Rangiora on Friday. Cox lines up Forgone Conclusion and In Chevron We Trust from his stable in race 10. The Leeston horseman will drive Forgone Conclusion, who will be out to bounce back from a slightly disappointing run in his last start behind impressive winner, Sentry, at Winton. The four-year-old came into the mile (1609m) event after going a big race to run second to Sentry in smart time 2-41.2 time for 2200m. Cox thinks that run might be responsible for Forgone Conclusion blotting an otherwise copybook formline. “I think he might have been a bit jaded from the Nugget final he was in the start before.” “He worked around from the 1200m and sat parked and never threw it away.” “It was only a four day back up, so I am putting it down to that.” Forgone Conclusion looks to be dropping back in class on Friday when he steps up to 2000m. Cox is hopeful the pacer can quickly bounce back to the kind of form he was in before his last start effort. “He is suited to be out and rolling, he has got a bit of speed, but probably off a quick quarter.” “Back to the 2000m, his wide draw doesn’t help, but it is a nice race for him to have before going into the Show Day Futurity Final next week.” In Chevron We Trust does not have the same kind of formline, stacked with top three placings, that his stablemate brings in to race 10. But Cox puts that down to bad luck, rather than the horse not going well enough. “He hasn’t had all the luck.” “He was in that Nugget Final and he just couldn’t get into it coming wide on a fast quarter around Invercargill.” “With a handy draw on Friday, I think you will see a better version of him than what he has shown in the last couple of starts.” Kimberly Butt takes the reins behind In Chevron We Trust. Folklore comes into race 8 after running a creditable sixth in a stronger race, won by Somekindawonderful on Ashburton Flying Stakes day. The five-year-old just need to step away in her first standing start to be competitive on Friday. “It is another good race for her.” “The standing start is the query, she can be a bit jumping at times.” “She has come through her Ashburton run well, so hopefully “ “She stuck to her guns last week going 2.55. [for 2400m] and there were three or four nice ones that beat her home.” “So, it is probably a drop back in grade, but she has got to do things right.” Cox takes one outside drive at Rangiora, behind the Jesse Wederell trained Betterwithbling. The 5yr-old has been solid running third and fifth in two starts from behind the mobile. Like Folklore, Betterwithbling also negotiates his first standing start on Friday. “He has been sensible, he has had a few stand starts at the workouts.” “[Barrier] 1 is always going to be a tricky draw, especially coming off a couple of mobile starts.” “But if he did happen to get away the 2600m should definitely suit him.” “If he was able to sit in the trail of three back on the fence – he has been able to find the line pretty well in his first two starts – he is an eachway chance.” Cox is hoping for a genuinely run New Zealand Cup to help Nandolo show off his best. The six-year-old wasn’t suited to being tucked away three back on the inner in the Kaikoura Cup when running sixth. A truly run 3200m is more up the Coaster Howe trained pacer’s alley. “It is not really his cup of tea, the leaders got some pretty cheap sectionals through the middle half at Kaikoura.” “He is going to draw four on the second line when the emergencies come out.” “He generally steps away, he follows out Triple Eight, who usually begins well.” “He might get a pretty good run through and he could end up midfield.” “It is definitely not a bad draw for him.” “So long as there is a true tempo to the race, as the Cups often have, he will be trucking on at the finish.”

Copy That’s trainer Ray Green says next Tuesday’s New Zealand Cup is shaping up as a four or five horse race. Speaking after last night’s Cup trial at Addington where Copy That was not pushed in finishing seventh of seven Green says  he is pleased with how the four-year-old is going ahead of the country’s biggest race. The 2600m trial was won by Spankem in 3.12.3 for driver and co-trainer Natalie Rasmussen, ahead of All Stars stablemate Self Assured, who sat parked after a tardy beginning. She’s confident about Spankem a year on from his second placing in last year’s Cup to Cruz Bromac.   HRNZ

A - Z New Zealand Cup : V There are 5 days to the New Zealand Cup From now to November 10 we will feature some of the great races, horses and personalities with a new letter for each day. V = Van Dieman Known as one of this country’s best stayers Van Dieman won the New Zealand Cup in 1951. It was the first of Cecil Devine’s six New Zealand Cup triumphs between 1951-1979. Van Dieman, owned, driven and trained by Devine, was also third the next year and unplaced in 1953. Devine leased Van Dieman, with right of purchase for $1000, as a two-year-old colt , the horse going on to win 18 races between 1949 and 1954.   HRNZ

Spankem has again shown he’ll be a contender next Tuesday. The runner-up in the New Zealand Cup last year has won tonight’s Cup trial at Addington for driver Natalie Rasmussen, on a 54.9 last half. It was an All Stars 1-2 with Self Assured sitting parked for much of the trial with 2018 New Zealand Cup champion Thefixer sticking on well for third. Northern hope Copy That was not hurried in the proceedings early for Blair Orange, who’s gunning for back to back New Zealand Cups after his win with Cruz Bromac last year. While Copy That wasn’t pressured in the run home trainer Ray Green was satisfied with the run and pleased he stepped well, especially as he’s drawn one in the big race on Tuesday. But not happy with his charge’s start was Self Assured’s driver Mark Purdon. He bobbled at the start losing some ground and that has Purdon with some concerns ahead of Tuesday.   HRNZ

By Dave Di Somma - Harness News Desk    The highly-favoured Copy That has drawn one for next Tuesday’s  IRT New Zealand Cup.   While the Ray Green-trained pacer will start off the inside of the front row for the 3200 metre standing start feature, the All Stars pairing of Self Assured and Spankem have drawn 11 and 15 respectively.   Stablemate Ashlez Locaz, who's been recently racing in Australia,  has drawn outside Self Assured at 12.  Dual Kaikoura Cup winner Classie Brigade, who was third last year, has drawn 18, though will start from 15 after scratchings.  It’s a blow for the horse’s connections because he is a noted quick beginner from a stand.   2018 New Zealand Cup Champion Thefixer has drawn 3.  Copy That warmed up for the Cup with a win over Self Assured and Spankem in the Ashburton Flying Stakes.    As a result of overwhelming entries for the lower-grade rating races on Cup day, the Met club will run a 13th race at 6:45pm The full Cup day fields can be viewed here

Bidding on the 10 Lots in the latest Standardbred auction will close from 7pm tonight, Wednesday 4 November. As of this morning, four Lots are on the market with the auction featuring two youngsters, an unraced Art Major mare, four racehorses, all of which have won and three broodmares.  Bidding is set to close, starting with Lot 1, from 7pm tonight, Wednesday 4 November. Following are some bidding tips to help you navigate the process. Lot 1 will close from 7pm. If a bid is placed in the final 30 seconds, another 30 seconds is added onto the auction and to all subsequent Lots. This will keep happening until there are no further bids placed. If you are are outbid, you must type in the next bid amount, the site does not automatically update the bid amount for you. There is no benefit in letting auctions run down to the last second before bidding as the auction will just keep auto-extending until no further bids are placed. This practice increases your chances of missing out on horse. cannot identify loss of online connection, a slow internet connection or browser issues at the user’s end. Even a slight loss of internet connection that may not be noticeable can interrupt the user’s browser in following the sale in real-time therefore setting up an auto-bid is the best way to ensure your bids are placed. Google Chrome or Safari are the recommended internet browsers. staff are able assist in actively supporting both buyers and vendors during the sale, if you need a hand with registration or bidding, we are available on phone +64 9 296 4436 or email during our online auction to help. VIEW FULL CATALOGUE Featured Lots Lot 3 BILLION DOLLAR BABY A well bred four-year-old mare by ART MAJORwho is out of the race winning MACH THREE mare HIGH SOCIETY GAL. She is reported to be well bodied with a great temperament. She is qualified and could be tried again, but is the vendor feels she is probably best suited to being a broodmare. Her owners are cutting back and not interested in the breeding side of things. HIGH SOCIETY GAL is a half-sister to Australian performer BITA BANTA (5 wins, 1:56.5MR to date). Her dam is a half-sister to (MY) CHACHINGCHACHING (16 wins, $184,664, 1:51.6 to date), RING THE TILL (9 wins to date) and three other good winners. Her third dam is champion mare UNDER COVER LOVER (21 wins, $864,923, 1:56.6MR).  Sire: Art Major Dam: High Society Gal Seller: FirstLady Location: West Melton VIEW ONLINE Lot 4 GO ON ANDOVER A well-bred low-rated trotter for sale due to her owner wanting to concentrate on younger stock. She is currently spelling and has been since her last race a couple of weeks ago. Being sold as racehorse but can also be brought solely for breeding purposes. Sire: Andover Hall Dam: Continental Auto Seller: cassady Location: 125 Merton Road VIEW ONLINE Lot 7 SUSIE REIGNMAKER A lightly raced four-year-old mare who is reported to have good manners and is clean gaited. Only offered for sale to to dissolve a partnership. Sire: American Ideal Dam: Feel The Rhythm Seller: lovetheblues Location: Christchurch VIEW ONLINE

22 years between wins for Canterbury trainer : Terry Neale had his first winner as a trainer in 22 years when Soviet Star won at Kaikoura on Sunday. The Canterbury trainer’s had 16 winners since the mid 1980s, with the last win before Sunday coming with Just Simmering at Oamaru in 1998. The winning driver on both occasions was Terry Chmiel. Cam Jones also had his first winner as a trainer when No Nukes Skipper won for driver Mitchell Kerr in race one at Kaikoura, as did Dean Halliday when Arizonawildcat won at Methven on Friday.   Keast runners on the move : Five win mare Be Mine Tonight and Vesnina have changed stables, moving from Darren Keast to champion trainer Robert Dunn’s barn. Be Mine Tonight last won in February 2019 at Waikouaiti while Vesnina was an encouraging third on debut in a Nevele R filies series heat but has been unplaced since.   NZ Cup trial on Facebook : Tonight’s New Zealand Cup trial will be shown live on HRNZ’s Facebook page tonight and will be put on the HRNZ website later in the evening. The 6pm trial features a quality line-up including Copy That, Spankem and Self Assured.   Party Girl Hill beaten : The seemingly invincible Party Girl Hill has finally been beaten. The Chris Ryder trained, Dexter Dunn driven filly was 14 from 14 heading into the $500,000 Breeders Crown pace at Harrah’s Hoosier Park in Indiana. But Peaky Sneaky, paying $16 for the win, wore down the three-year-old star in the final few strides in a stakes record of 1:49, with Lyons Sentinel just edging out out Party Girl Hill for second. Dunn though is having a stellar 2020 and remains the highest earning driver in the US, with 322 wins and amassing stakes worth $US9.2m.   Breeders Crown series just hours away : It’s later than usual like many things this year, but the huge Breeders Crown series gets underway at Ballarat tonight. The powerhouse Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin barn is always a major Breeders Crown player, but even more so with the restrictions of COVID-19 making it more of a Victorian-centric series this year. First out is this stellar crop of two-year-olds, headed by the likes of recent NSW Breeders Challenge finals winners Bar Room Banta and Soho Almasi and Stewart’s star pair Ladies In Red and Act Now.   HRNZ

The nomination of Amazing Dream for the NZ Free for All on Friday week sets up a possible situation where harness history will be made-again. There is water to flow under the bridge before a decision is made but safely through the Nevele R Final and bouncing around in her usual rambunctious fashion, Natalie and Mark may well set their sights on the FFA before heading north for the mare features over the summer. That reflects what a tough customer she is and what has set her apart from her contemporaries already with her Woodlands Derby win at Auckland in March. All Stars has already won the Free for All with a four year old when Ultimate Machete won three years ago with Natalie in the cart-the first four year old to win in over 50 years but a four year old mare has yet to win in the 106 year history of the famous race- and few have tried But then not many mares of any age have been successful, the most recent Blossom Lady as an aged mare in 1992- and all of them champions. Armalight and Bonnie’s Chance completed Cup-Free for All doubles in the 1980’s but since 1940 the only other female winners have been Haughty {1946) Robin Dundee (1965) and Stella Frost (1970) Only one other femaie Trix Pointer (1922) has won the race and that was three years after she had won the Cup for Free Holmes. But when Amazing Dream won the Woodlands she was the first filly to do so in more than 40 years so records are nothing to this grand mare.   Courtesy of All Stars Racing Stables

Habibi Inta has lost his battle to defend the Dominion Trot title next week. Last year’s winner is out of the great trotting race on Friday week as is former Rowe Cup winner Temporale, creating two new spots sure to be hotly contested after the latest rankings. Trainer Paul Nairn conceded defeat with Habibi Inta after being unable to fast work the big trotter for a week because of hock problems. He has had swelling in that area for the last two weeks and while vets seem confident the crucial internal workings of the hock are fine, the swelling is a concern. “I had no option but to take him out,” says Nairn. “He will go to the vets now to have his hocks flushed out and we will see if they find anything but until they do we can’t make any plans. “So hopefully there is nothing major but it is a shame to miss next week.” Nairn expects to have Kaikoura winner Andoverlov and Maria Tsarina at Cup week but his two top class three-year-olds Bitamuscle and Outamyway are both in the paddock. “They will be back for the Trotting Derbys and races like that in the New Year and Outamyway maybe even for the Hambletonian but Bitamuscle might spell for a little longer.” Temporale’s withdrawal is also not a major surprise after he raced well below his best in the Flying Mile at Ashburton last week. The latest rankings for the Dominion and the NZ Cup came out on Tuesday and of most interest for punters will be whether exciting four-year-old Muscle Mountain will get into the field as he still sits one spot outside the final 15. If his connections want to start, the answer to that question will almost certainly be yes.   By Michael Guerin

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