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The 3-year-old filly Pembrook Ideal led home a procession at Forbury Park on Thursday night when having her first race.   Pembrook Ideal led for the last 1600m of 2200m in a field of fillies and mares and won by a  length  from Susie’s Desire with eight and a half lengths to the third horse and 14 3/4 lengths to the fourth placegetter. Pembrook Ideal ran the 2200m (mobile) in 2.44.7, a 2.00.5 mile rate, the fastest of the night.   Trained by Cran Dalgety, she is by American Ideal from Dudinka and raced by her Kaiapoi breeders Wally and Gwynneth Power. She is a half sister to the winners Dudinka’s Cullen, Dudinka’s Beau, Dudinka’s Star, Dudinka’s Christian and Dudinka’s Angel. Dudinka’s Cullen won 41 races – six in NZ, three in Australia and the remainder in the United States where he took a record of 1.52.4.   Pembrook Ideal is the last of nine foals produced by Dudinka, a Save Fuel – Liminka mare.    Pembrook Ideal  was left in the care of trainer Graeme Anderson at Westwood for a fillies and mares race at Forbury Park on Sunday.   Anderson had a hand in  the winners Motu Time To Shine and Four Starzzz Special  on Thursday night, both driven by Dexter Dunn, who drove Pembrook Ideal.   Anderson is the trainer of Motu Time To Shine, who led and came again after being headed a length at the 350m. Anderson said he would decide in the next two days if he would start Motu Time To Shine on Sunday. She is in the same race as Pembrook Ideal.   Four Starzzz Special, who led over 2200m has been  in the care of Anderson for the past three days.   He is trained at Amberley by Kevin Chapman for Brent Cusdin. Four Starzzz Special is by Four Starzzz Shark and the first foal of Special Pocket, who won two races for Martin Brereton. Chapman had  good success with the Four Starzzz Shark entire, Four Starzzz Flash and won races with another progeny  of the same sire, Four Starzzz Shiraz.   Glenstone, a $6000 purchase by Carl Nordqvist, of Methven at the 2014 premier yearling sale, cleared maiden ranks with an all-the-way win.  The Stonebridge Regal – Glendowan mare is trained at Waikouaiti by Amber Hoffman.   Belmont’s Greatest who was passed in for $1500 at the 2013 premier sale, won a C0 trot for Ashburton trainer David McCormick and his wife, Liz. They leased the son of Great Success – Florika from Timaru breeder Donna Williamson. Belmont’s Greatest is the first foal of Florika (Britewell – Jenola Bay), an unraced sister to Uncle Petrika and Neville Vaughan.   Uncle Petrika won the 2003 Interdominion Final in Adelaide and a Great Northern Trotting Derby.   Neville Vaughan numbered a Greenlane Cup among his 10 wins in NZ and he won another 23 races in Australia.     Tayler Strong

Delightful Memphis will have the luxury of seven-10 days off to freshen after winning the opening $22,000 Alabar Sires Stakes 3YO Fillies Heat in a harness racing jog at Addington on Friday, October 21. The smart daughter of champion sire Bettor’s Delight and Memphis Melody will be back for the third heat at Addington on November 25, then head to Auckland to fine tune for the final on December 31. There is also another heat of the series at Alexandra Park on December 9. Last season’s experience of racing well right-handed at Auckland will stand to her for the Sires Stakes Final. She was the runnerup in three stakes races in four Auckland starts behind Spanish Armada last autumn, and wound up her two-year-old season with a second to Partyon in the $150,000 Harness Jewels 2YO Diamond at Cambridge on June 4. Trainer Mark Jones had Delightful Memphis on song for the opening Alabar Sires Heat despite a week ago blowing out near the end of her Rangiora workout. She was untroubled to lead throughout from the ace draw for regular driver Blair Orange, who didn’t have to release the deafeners in the run to the line. Delightful Memphis came clear of Major Rocket (parked) by 2 1/2 lengths in a solid 2:22.8 for the 1950m (1:57.8 mile rate), with Blair letting her quicken over the last 800m in 56s and final 400m in a slick 26.6s. Major Rocket held out the Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen-trained stablemates, Smiley Sophie and Tachyon, for the minors. Delightful Memphis was recording her second win, after earlier winning her 2YO debut in the Group Three $25,000 Sweet Lou Leonard Memorial at the Cheviot meeting on February 28. She edged past the $100,000 mark with Friday’s win in her eighth career start for owners, Wayne Higgs, Simon Doull, Sir Loins Limted, Debra and Pete Smith, Kaysan Farming Ltd and BM & JH Holdings Ltd. By Jeff Scott Reprinted with permission of the Mark Jones site

Former harness racing Jewels winner Sky Major is flying out tonight to North America. Sky Major has won in 1:51.5 and won $800,000 in stakes. The horse has been staying in Perth for the last seven months with Justin Prentice after former trainer Barry Purdon sent him there to further his already impressive racing career. Unfortunately Sky Major has not been performing up to his true ability while in Australia. Owner Trevor Casey is sure the horse has been bleeding and will race him on Lasix in North America in the hopes of rejuvenating his racing performances. Once in North America the horse will be trained there by Duane Marfisi who recently announced that he is returning to Canada with his wife who has landed a top job at a University in Ontario. Duane has said that apart from Sky Major he will be looking at buying and racing claimers from which you can make a good living if you do it right and he has had some success with that strategy in the past.  Lets hope we can see Sky Major race as well as Bit Of A Legend who has done very well there in recent times. Harnesslink Media

Addington harness racing fixed odds movers as at 3:45pm   Race 1 - Punter's are climbing into Rocknroll Legend $2.70 - $2.50 and judging by the early support both in win and multi betting he will start around $2.00 - $2.20.   Race 2 - This race look's a gift to the $1.15 favourite Ultimate Machete with 99% of multi bets on the race through this runner.   The short odds haven't stopped punter's backing him on the win 'book' so that's telling us he will either close at $1.10 or $1.20.   Race 3 - On the back of a recent trail win Firenze $3.60 is the best backed runner here early and is going 2 - 1 in multi bets over the $3.40 favourite Anse Vata.   Rusty I Am $12 has attracted some support win wise also.   Race 4 - The only two runners wanted on the win 'book' here are Delightful Memphis $2.50 - $2.40 and Major Rocket $3.90 - $3.50 but the favourite easily leads multi betting.    Race 5 - Best backed early is Franco Tai $9.00 over the favourite Yankee Tara $2.20.   Race 6 - Tiger Thompson $8.00 - $7.00 is easliy the best backed on the win 'book' but More The Better $1.50 is racing away with the multi action.   Race 7 - Moonrock $3.80 - $2.90 has been the best backed early & leads multi betting over the $2.40 - $2.80 favourite Joey Maguire.    Race 8 - Beg Hall $8.80 - $5.50 is easily the best backed on the win 'book' but huge in multi betting is the $2.90 favourite Glass Half Full.   Race 9 - Kayteeoh Denario $2.00 is all punter's want both in win and multi betting.   Race 10 - Best backed early here easily is The Governor $9.80 - $6.50 but huge in multi betting is the $1.85 favourite Brother In Arms.   Multi favourites at Addington in order: R6 - More The Better $1.50  R2 - Ultimate Machete $1.15  R9 - Kayteeoh Diamond $2.00  R1 - Rocknroll Legend $2.50  R10 - Brother In Arms $1.85 R8 - Glass Half Full $2.90  R4 - Delighhtful Memphis $2.40  A $10 multi bet on the above seven favourites at the current odds would return $1,110.    In the Drivers Challenge (betting option 821) Dexter Dunn has opened up as a $1.40 favourite over Blair Orange $4.00 and Colin DeFilippi $12.   A $5,000 bet at $1.40 was placed this afternoon on Dexter Dunn.   Harnesslink Media Courtesy of Stephen Richardson (TAB)

Cambridge harness racing fixed odds movers as at 3:30pm   Race 1 - Best backed in multi betting here is Concorde $3.10 over Chal Shocked $3.40.   Race 2 - Our worst result is Lundqvist $10 - $9.00. Multi wise this market is very even.   Race 3 - KD Hall $1.80 - $1.75 is all they want in multi betting here   Race 4 - Laredo Torpedo at $1.45 is huge in multi betting holding 98% of tickets.   Race 5 - Cool Son even at $2.10 is taking win money & is easily leading multi bets. Precious Moment $7.50 - $6.50 has taken some win money.    Race 6 - Only two runners wanted in multi betting here Drover's Eyre $4.00 & Check In $2.90.   Race 7 - Count Landeck $16 - $12 is the best backed early on the win 'book' but all the multi money is on Ideal Roman $1.90.   Race 8 - Lady Madonna $1.65 - $1.50 is all they want in multi betting.   Race 9 - Shards Phoenix $8.20 - $7.50 is the best backed early on the win 'book'.   Multi favourites at Cambridge in order: R4 - Laredo Torpedo $1.45  R8 - Lady Madonna $1.50 R5 - Cool Son $2.10 56 R3 - KD Hall $1.75 50   In the Drivers Challenge (betting option 510) Zac Butcher has opened up as a $2.30 favourite over Todd Mitchell $4.80 & Dylan Ferguson $5.00.   Harnesslink Media Courtesy of Stephen Richardson (TAB)

A hind leg injury has forced  the scratching of Alley Way at the Tuapeka meeting on Sunday, but he remains in contention for the Dominion Handicap on November 11. “He had injured a leg when he came out of his  box on Thursday morning. He has been treated and the vet said he would be  100 per cent by Monday,’’ said  his trainer Phil Williamson. “It probably means he will have to race at Kaikoura (October 30) before the Dominion.” Alley Way was runner up to Master Lavros in the Dominion Handicap last year and earlier in the year finished third to to Stent and Master Lavros in the Rowe Cup, both races over 3200m. He has also won over the distance. Alley Way has finished second in his two starts, both at Addington since joining the Williamson stable. He was beaten a head by Sunny Ruby in the Canterbury Park Cup at his most recent appearance. He  is at $18 with the TAB for the Dominion. The Williamson stable will now pin hopes in Monty Python and Pyramid Magic in the 3200m race at the Tuapeka meeting. Monty Python  has finished third in three of his four starts in a fresh campaign. He finished third behind Bordeaux and Alley Way two starts back at Addington. Pyramid Magic finished fourth behind Kowhai Whiz at Forbury Park on Thursday night after starting from 40m and attempting to lead for the last 1600m. “The two miles (3200m) should suit him on Sunday,” said his driver Matthew  Williamson. Kowhai Whiz was impressive after starting from 40m.   Tayler Strong

Sheldon Murtha, a member of the Canterbury Standardbred Breeders Association and well-known harness racing broadcaster, approached The Breeders with the idea of a TV series as a possible gap in the market, and something that could give our breeding industry a much needed push in terms of mainstream coverage. What has materialised is incredibly exciting, with two seasons of six 30 minute episodes about standardbred breeding.  Episode 3 COLONIAL STALLIONS Christian Cullen and What Comes After Him? Sheldon catches up with Trent Yesburg, Andrew Bailey and Christian Cullen at Dancingonmoonlight Farm and looks at CC's career and prospects for this season. Jonathon McNeil discusses the prospects for our colonial stallions.   Harnesslink Media

Kumeu trainer Tim Vince has made a flying start to the 2015-2016 season and his four runners at Cambridge Raceway tonight are all capable of getting the chocolates. Vince works four horses with his partner Sheryl Wigg at their new property just a few hundred metres from the Kumeu track. He said Chal Shocked (R1), KD Hall (R3), Drover's Eyre (R6), and Shards Phoenix (R9) were all capable of winning if things went their way tonight. Vince has elaborated on their prospects individually below. He said the majority of his work is done on his own 600m track that comes with his property and he only went to Kumeu perhaps once a week, if that. “We don’t give out horses a lot of fast-work. You have to remember we are dealing with older horses who have reached their mark and we try and we are attempting to rejuvenate them. “Actually Kevin Smith (Auckland Trotting Club Racing manager) inspired and taught me quite a bit about about training the older horses. “He told me that older horses who had reached their mark would never improve but they could still win races if you could re-freshen or rejuvenate them. He said you had to do something different to get the best out of them and that’s why I do a lot of heat-work with them,” Vince said. “My horses mainly race at Cambridge and Manawatu and usually animals that have been passed on. I like to buy amateur-type horses. I paid $2,000 for Drover's Eyre and my most expensive horse is KD Hall which cost $10,000. “He goes okay at Auckland at time, but really my team is better suited to $8,000 races and below. That’s about their limit,” said Vince who lines up two 7yos, a 6yo, and a 5yo tonight. Since Vince took up training in 2011 he has improved his season tally every year. His annual winning stats read three wins, then five, five, seven, and nine last season. So far in 2015-2016 Vince has had 11 starters to the races for three wins, one second and one third. His UDR strike-rate is a ‘ridiculous’ 0.3838. “It’s not about winning money for me. It’s about winning races and having fun. I’d say with the four-strong team I’ve got at the moment I’d be happy if we could get to nine wins again this season. “We usually come right late but I think two or three of them have almost reached their mark. I’m always looking for other horses to buy and train, so who knows what the season will bring, but I’d be happy with nine,” a modest Vince said. Once an avid amateur Vince openly admits his partner is now the driver of their team in amateur races. “To put it quite wimple - Sheryl is a better driver than me. She has always been a horse woman, having been a former jockey. She knows how to win races and can win the first race on Friday. I love the training these days and that suits me. “I’m happy with the occasional amateur drive but not as keen as what I used to be. I haven’t driven yet this season,” he said. “And the great thing about it all is that I wake up every day and no-one makes me do what I do. I do it because I love harness racing and enjoy working and racing my own team,” he added. Here’s what Vince, the current North Island Owner-Trainer-Of-the-Year, had to say about his quartet lining up at the Harness Racing Waikato meeting at Cambridge Raceway tonight: Race 1: Chal Shocked (3) Sheryl Wigg: "We bought this fella from the South Island in August and he’s as tough as old boots but doesn’t have huge speed. He’s going pretty well at the moment and he’s as good as I can get him. He always gives 150% and it’s hard to see him going a bad race here.” Race 3: KD Hall (5) Jack MacKinnon (j): "He is our best winning chance on the night. Barry (Purdon) usually drives him but he’s in Australia this week. We weren’t going to line him up down there but the Club has been so good to us and the numbers were thin so we decided to return their support. He went well last start despite the gallop and I can only put that down to the rough weather and bad track. He should go close in this.” Race 6: Drover's Eyre (1) Jack MacKinnon (j): "We lined him up in this know full-well he would get the one draw with his R47 rating. He’s a cheap horse who seems to be responding tom our heat treatment. We’ve changed his shoes and if he can get a nice sit in the trail or three-deep he can get some of it.” Race 9: Shards Phoenix (7) Jack MacKinnon (j): "She placed here two starts back but she is too highly rated for the ability she has, and if she does win again I may be forced to retire her because there would be no-where I could place her where she would be competitive. It’s hard to see her winning from the draw but with luck in the running she could place.” Driver comment: “Jack’s a good driver and should have a good night. If he doesn’t I want his driving fees back for the support I’ve given him,” Vince joked. Footnote: There were also be 500 teachers on-course on Friday for the annual ‘Schools Night Challenge’.   Duane Ranger

There’s a long term goal so at the moment anything else is a bonus with The Bachelor. And with Tim Butt at the helm you just know the promising pacer is going to get every chance to put his best hoof forward when the opportunity presents itself. Off the back of an eye-catching fourth last time out behind You Gotta Have Faith the three-year-old returns to Addington tonight to contest another heat of the Sires’ Stakes Series with Butt hopeful of maybe doing enough to sneak his way into the final. “He’s going to be a better horse in time, he’s really got the makings of a Derby horse I think,” Butt said. “What he’s doing now, he’s doing on raw potential. He went from having not been off the place a while back to running fourth in a Sires’ Stakes heat and I know he can only get better. “I think we might be a little bit short this week, he will definitely improve with the run but it doesn’t put him out of it. “Hopefully we can settle a little closer to the speed and get our chance.” It’s a very good Sires’ Stakes field with More The Better, King Solomon and On The Rantan leading the contenders list. Butt takes four horses to Addington tonight with four chances. Maiden pacer Rocknroll Magic has let the punters down so far but there is some promise there. “He’s probably been a little over-hyped so far, there is ability there but he might take some time to come to it.” New stable recruit Joey Maguire has impressed his new boss in a short time at West Melton since leaving the Robert Dunn stable. “He’s a great wee horse, I found this race for him a while ago because I thought he got into quite well so we will just see what happens. “He’s going to be a nice horse to have running around over the summer circuit I think, that’s his real go.” Butt’s final chance of the night is Beg Hall – a talented , but sometimes erratic, trotter, who will take on a very good junior drivers’ field with Kim Butt in the bike. “I’ve always had a bit of time for him but you just never know with him. “If he does everything right I think he will be right there, but fresh up and in a junior drivers race anything could happen.” Once tonight is out of the way, the focus will shift to Ashburton for Butt with Field Marshal stepping out of his comfort zone to tackle the Ashburton Flying Stakes. The race jumped onto the radar when it became apparent there would be low numbers and Butt is also keen to get a good mark on where the five-year-old is at in his preparation for the New Zealand Free-For-All. “There’s only one way to find out and that’s to take them on. “I’m really happy with everything he’s done, but it’s just a case of getting some racing into him now.” Blair Orange will handle the driving duties with Dexter Dunn sticking with Christen Me.   Matt Markham

Forbury harness racing fixed odds movers as at 4:30pm Race 1 - Best backed Prince George $4.00 over About Last Night $8.80. Largest bet $1,000 at $4.00 Prince George.   Race 2 - The favourite Four Starzzz Special $1.60 is heavily backed in multi betting. Jayedgar $5.80 - $4.80 did take some early money on the win 'book'.   Race 3 - Best backed early was Living Glory $4.50 over Seduce Me $3.60.   Race 4 - Don't Look Back $4.50 is best backed over Sheza Trendy Monarch $6.00 - $5.00.   Race 5 - Some early money for Twitter Bromac $15 - $14 over Bobby T $8.60 - $8.00.   Race 6 - Soney Beatt $4.80 - $3.40 is the best backed $600 at $4.80 & $600 at $3.70.   Race 7 - Franco Nixon $10.50 - $8.50 is where the early money has gone over Gotta Classie Girl $8.80 - $8.50.   Race 8 - All the multi money has gone on the short priced favourite Pembrook Ideal at $1.15. We don't often see a maiden debut runner getting so much multi betting support & the amount that this runner has taken is saying this race is already over.   Harnesslink Media

This weekend there are five harness racing meetings culminating with the big guns stepping out in the Ashburton Flying Stakes on Monday. It is the third week of the ringaround competition and a link to the full leaderboard is posted below. Last week was tough but the ringaround selectors stil had six winners and a number of other placings. The best winning dividend went to Dylan Ferguson when he selected Tennyson Inlet as his best chance. Tennyson Inlet won at Manawatu on Thirsday night and paid $14.80 for a win on the tote. Dylan has also skyrocketed to the top of the leaderboard on the back of that win. The.five meetings this week are Cambridge in the North and Forbury, Addington, Tuapeka and Ashburton in the South. Note: Just a change to the format of the competition for drivers. In the event of any licensed harness racing driver winning a prize in the competition we can only donate that winning amount to a charity of their choice. A cash prize would contravene the rules of HRNZ.  Thank you to Edward Rennell for clearing that up.   Forbury on Thursday night. Blair Orange - Blair says Dan Bilzerian would be his best drive this week in Race 2 Geoff Knight - Geoff thinks Seduce Me is his best chance this week in Race 3 Andrew Suddaby - Andrew thinks Celebrity Easton would be his best also in Race 3 Richard Wilson (TAB) - Richard is going to opt for Celebrity Easton also in Race 3 Rory Mcllwrick - Rory says his best this week is Sauchiehall in Race 5 Sheree Tomlinson - Sheree thinks Soney Beatt is her best chance at Forbury in Race 6 Scott Ramsay (Guest) - thinks Soney Beatt is hard to beat as well in Race 6 Mark Jones - is going for some value with Zena Mac this week in Race 7   Cambridge on Friday Night Andre Poutama - thinks his best chance this week is Lundqvist in Race 2 Jay Abernethy - is opting for Helen Shapiro as his best chance also in Race 2 Kyle Marshall - Kyle says his best chance this week is I Got Rythym in Race 3 Maurice McKendry - is going for Artanne as his best chance this week in Race 4 Dylan Ferguson - thinks Cool Son will be hard to roll this week in Race 5 Todd Mcfarlane - says his best drive this week is Mr Natural also in Race 5 Stephen Richardson - is opting for Master Of Escape  this week in Race 6 Scott Phelan - Scott thinks Brookes Rose would be his best chance this week in Race 8 Dave Iremonger (Guest) - is going to opt for Spare Change this week also in Race 8 Sean McCaffrey - Sean thinks Armabluechipboy is his best chance this week in Race 9   Addington on Friday night John Dunn - John says Rocknroll Legend wouold be his best drive this week in Race 1 Mike Maynard (Guest) - Mike is opting for Ultimate Machete this week in Race 2 Sam Langrope(Guest) - Sam agrees and is also going for Ultimate Machete in Race 2 Terry Chmiel - Terry thinks his best chance this week is Franco Tai in Race 5 Gavin Smith - Gavin thinks Imola would the best of his drives at Addington in Race 7 Racechat (Guest) -  is going for Rummage this week also in Race 7 John Morrison - John thinks his best drive would be Agatha Tyrone in Race 8 Brad Reid - Brad is going for B D Love at Addington in Race 8 Robbie Close - Robbie says his best chance this week is Kayteeoh Denario in Race 9 Bob Butt - is going for Hashtag this week at Addington in Race 10   Tuapeka at Forbury on Sunday Matthew Williamson - is saying his best drive this week is Alley Way  in Race 5 Brad Williamson - Brad likes Monty Python as his best hope this week also in Race 5 Ritchie (Guest) Ritchie is going to opt for Stunnin Dude this week in Race 7 Craig Ferguson - is opting for Robs Ideal as his best chance this week in Race 9 Shane Walkinshaw - Shane says his best drive this week is The Big Boss also in Race 9   Ashburton on Monday John Curtin - John thinks Ricardo can go close to winning in Race 1 Gerard O'Reilly - Gerard says Sparkling Delight would be his best drive this week in Race 4 Harnesslink workout reporter - thinks All Lit Up would be a good chance in Race 5 Ricky May - Ricky is going for Monbet as his best drive this week in Race 8   Ringaround Competition Leaderboard Dylan Ferguson $20.10 Gavin Smith $10.50 Bob Butt $7.70 Richard Wilson (TAB) $6.70 Jim Curtin $6.60 Matthew Williamson $6.50 Harnesslink workout reporter $6.20 Stephen Richardson (TAB) $5.90 Dave Iremonger (Guest) $5.60 Rory Mcllwrick $5.20   Full Leaderboard CLICK HERE    Harnesslink Media

There’s only one person Cran Dalgety takes orders from. And when she speaks, he listens. So when his wife Chrissie told him early this week that he was being too soft on his star pacer Christen Me and needed to have him at the races, Dalgety did what any sane husband would do and decided to race in Monday’s Ashburton Flying Stakes. “When the boss speaks, it pays to do what you’re told,” a tongue in cheek Dalgety said. But that wasn’t the only issue Dalgety had to deal with. Just down the road his brother-in-law, Tim Butt was preparing his star pacer Field Marshal to resume in the very same race, and he has been doing so with the knowledge that Dexter Dunn would be available to take the drive on his multiple Group One winner with Christen Me earmarked to miss the race. “Dexter made me ring Tim and tell him that he couldn’t drive his horse. So that was fun.” All joking aside though, Dalgety has sort of been forced into racing this week by the continued thriving of Christen Me at home and the potential risk of having so long in between starts. It would have been 31 days in between races had he not lined up with week and with the Cup Trial a potential non-even this year due to what could be low numbers, it was a risk he wasn’t willing to take. “The horse is on top of the world at the moment, he’s absolute thriving and that made the decision a little bit easier. “We won’t treat it any different than another race either, I don’t tell Dexter what to do and I’m not going to start this week either. “He knows what we are trying to achieve and I’m sure he will do the best by the horse.” Eight horses have accepted for the final field for the Flying Stakes on Monday with Quick As A Trick a dual acceptor into another race. Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen have a strong hand again with their three leading contenders; Lazarus, Smolda and Have Faith In Me. There will be plenty of interest in their stable earlier in the day though with class mares Dream About Me and Piccadilly Princess both tackling an intermediate grade race while with another eight runners engaged across the programme last season’s leading stable looks to have really kicked into gear for the season. Monday’s other feature, the Ashburton Trotting Flying Mile will see the resumption of reigning Horse of the Year, Monbet. The Greg and Nina Hope trained trotter is on a march to the Dominion Handicap and looked solid when running second in a workout on the Ashburton track during the week. He’s drawn barrier seven in the one mile event while his apparent main rival, Marcoola has drawn three on the second row. Matt Markham

The prince of pacing is now red hot to do what only the greatest have done before. Lazarus has opened odds-on with some bookies to win the Flying Stakes at Ashburton on Monday, victory in which could push him close to $2 favouritism in the New Zealand Cup on November 8. Monday’s standing start 2400m feature has long been the most crucial form trial for the New Zealand Cup but the New Zealand TAB hadn’t opened their market for it last night. But the Australian TAB did and they had Lazarus a $1.60 win hope over stablemates Smolda ($3.50) and Have Faith In Me ($4.20). Lazarus is already as short as $2.20 with most bookies to win the Cup in a few weeks so surely moves close to a $2 quote if he justifies the shock $1.60 odds on Monday. But a four-year-old winning both the Flying Stakes and New Zealand Cup is not just rare, the last one to do was an icon. That was Christian Cullen 18 years ago and even he paid $2.35 on the tote in the Flying Stakes, giving you some perspective on how tight Lazarus’s $1.60 quote is. So the winner of 16 of his 19 starts and unlucky in the other three, Lazarus is going to need to walk in the hoof prints of the greats to justify his super slim odds. He has come up with barrier two on Monday with Christen Me (4), Smolda (6) and Have Faith In Me on the unruly, which may not be as big as disadvantage with only eight starters. Sandwiched between the favourites is last season’s three-time group one winning four-year-old Field Marshal, who resumes for the season but with a new driver as Blair Orange fills in for Dexter Dunn, who is committed to Christen Me. The race will have an enormous bearing in the market for the New Zealand Cup, with only Franco Nelson, Tita Banner and Messini missing out of the realistic Cup chances. It headlines a superstar day which also sees the return of Dream About Me, Piccadilly Princess and a truck load of the All Stars promising young pacers but the other key pre-Cup carnival match up for the day is the Flying Mile Trot. It sees Monbet drawn seven in his comeback race giving him the advantage over last season’s champion three-year-old Marcoola, who will have to overcome a second line draw in his first open class start. Michael Guerin

Trainer Phil Williamson is hoping Pyramid Magic will atone at Forbury Park on Thursday night.  The seven-win trotter made a rare mistake when he went off stride  hopelessly at the start of his race at Addington on October 7. He was not persevered with. “We just couldn’t put a handle on it why he didn’t trot at all,” said  his trainer Phil Williamson. “We are just hoping he is back to his best on Thursday night.’’ Pyramid Magic had won from a 50m handicap at Invercargill three starts back and followed up with a second to stablemate Springbank Eden there. He performed well at Forbury Park during the winter, winning by five and a half lengths. A 40m handicap is well within his scope. Williamson plans to  start Pyramid Magic again at the Tuapeka meeting at Forbury Park on Sunday. Dusky Eyre and Montmorensy, both last start winners at Forbury Park on October 6 are formidable rivals ahead of Pyramid Magic in the handicaps on Thursday. Dusky Eyre (10m) led off the front last time and held off Kowhai Whiz by half a length. Dexter Dunn, who has driven the Elsu gelding three times for as many wins, has retained the drive. Montmorensy trailed the leader in a C1 trot in  his first race for three months. Dunn is  the new driver for last start C0 winner Motu Time To Shine in race 5 and he is back on Sheza Trendy Monarch in race 4, a C1 trot. The Graeme Anderson-trained Motu Time To Shine led for most of the way to win at Forbury Park on October 6 with Rory McIlwrick the driver. Dunn drove Sheza Trendy Monarch to win at Washdyke last year. Other top drives for Dunn are Four Starzzz Special (r 2) and Pembrook Ideal (r 8). Four Starzzz Special has been placed in three of his last five starts.  The Cran Dalgety-trained Pembrook Ideal, who is having her first start, has placed in two trials recently after winning a trial and a workout at Rangiora in June as a 2yr-old. She is in a C1-2 race for fillies and mares on Sunday. Tayler Strong

There are few Southlanders more passionate about their horses than Ben and Karen Calder. They breed from a small band of broodmares, and often top up their harness racing stock by purchasing at the national sales. And it’s one of their homebred pacers, Mr Mojito that’s providing them with much satisfaction at the moment. Ben Calder is a no fuss sort of guy who shies away from the limelight and just goes about breeding and purchasing horses whilst enjoying racing them either with his wife Karen and good friends and family. The first horse the Calders raced of any note was Grinaldi the winner of ten races, and $162,712. He also owned Sunning which won eight races including the Group One Victorian Trotters Oaks, Bought In The Pub, New Zealand Kindergarten Stakes winner, and The Oyster Man which won five races. And there have been a host of others. Ben and Karen live at Ryal Bush 10 minutes north of Invercargill where they’ve set up their show piece property Grinaldi Lodge. Southland’s leading trainer Nathan Williamson currently works out of their stable. The latest Grinaldi Lodge horse to emerge from the same bloodlines as Grinaldi is Mr Mojito; a rising star in the Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen stable. Mr Mojito was always highly rated by Ben and original trainer Brett Gray. He won a workout then qualified at Young Quinn Raceway in January 2015 as a two year winning by four lengths and running a mile in 1-59.5. He was purchased that day by Butterworth Racing Syndicate. He was put aside to mature, and his much anticipated debut came later in the year on the same course in November. Sent out third favourite, he settled last and never improved, to finish over 200 lengths from the winner. Stewards ordered a post-race veterinary examination which confirmed the gelding had suffered an atrial fibrillation. He returned to racing in April this year, winning easily at Central Southland Raceway. Shortly afterwards he was transferred to the Purdon-Rasmussen’s Rolleston stable. Since joining that stable he’s been in hot form running second behind the highly talented Heaven’s Rock before putting a picket form line together of four impressive wins. “He appears to have the X factor. He’s looked super and going forward in richer company he says to me that he can do it,” said Ben. He was bred by the Calders out of their In The Pocket mare Wanaka Bay. “All of the In the Pocket mares had a bad attitude. Wanaka Bay was trained by Becky (Alan Beck). She lay down on the track after one of her early workouts but won her first race.” The Calders also have a two year old half-brother to Mr Mojito by American Ideal but had the misfortune to lose a Bettor’s Delight foal recently. “It was slipped in the paddock and was about seven week premature.” Sunning has also been a good broodmare for the Calder with only one of her seven live foals of racing age not winning races. She’s left Burano (10 wins), Medora (3 wins), Sunny Vacation (5 wins), No Potato (5 wins), Santorini Sunset (5 wins) and Agnes Brown (2 wins). Her two year old Breaking Bad (by Angus Hall) is about to come back into work with Kevin Townley. As well as breeding from a handful of mares Ben was active at the last round of yearling sales purchasing six yearlings, all with rich pedigrees. Paramount King (Love You – Paramount Star) is with northern training partnership John and Josh Dickie who share in the ownership of the colt. Paramount King           His dam won seven races and is the mother of Paramount Geegee the winner of fourteen races including the Harness Jewels Thee Year Old Trotting Ruby, Great Northern Trotting Derby and New Zealand Trotting Derby and $357,236, and Paramount Queen which won eight races and $122,612. It’s a family that the Dickie’s have had a huge amount of success with. They also have a Betterthancheddar – Baptism of Fire colt which is a half-brother to Highview Tommy the winner of fifteen races and $885,062. “He’s broken in nicely and shows a bit. They like him.” Other stock in the north for the Calders includes a two year old Art Major – Gretna’s Best colt who’s with Brent Mangos. Named Bronco Banner he’s closely related to Smooth Gretna the winner of fifteen races.  “He also broke in nice.” Another sales purchase is Nuburgring (Bettor’s Delight – Cullen’s Creation) “He’s trained by Kevin Townley and is related to Courage Under Fire. He got an infection in his tendon sheath and is coming home to heal.” Townley a long time trainer and friend of the Calders also trains another yearling purchase Swoon (Monarchy – Hot Vacation). “His second dam is the mother of Sheemon and Karen and I have a half share in him with Kevin and Margaret Townley. We may have to change his name.” Robinson Crusoe (Somebeachsomewhere – Asabella) was also bought by Grinaldi Lodge at the sales. This is the mare’s seventh foal and she’s the dam of four winners including Ohoka’s Bondy (22 West Australian wins), Dancing Diamonds (9 wins and $343,276) and Code Red (12 wins). “He’s trained by Brad Mowbray who shares in the ownership with his wife Mel and was strong minded and difficult to break in. He was big but so was Brad. He was put out for a spell and he’s come back as a true gentleman. I’ve tried to breed a Somebeachsomewhere a couple of times but didn’t have much luck so it’s nice to have one.” Outside of their sales purchases this year the Calders have plenty of other horses ready to hit the racetracks. Ash is a three year old Ben is looking forward to getting to the races. He’s by The Pres out of Tamarix and is a half-brother to Larix, Given and Larch. His four dam Haakondahl is the mother of Sapling (22 wins including the Great Northern Pacing Derby). “We’ve had to wait on him as he’s gone through a growing spurt.” Another trotter on the books is a Muscles Yankee colt out of Classic Armbro - a daughter of the great Merinai. Named Sertorius he’s also on the books of John and Josh Dickie. Tour Director an Art Major gelding out of Bremner Bay who won once from five starts is also back on the active list. “He’s stranded a tendon and is being worked up at Nathan’s.” Foo Fighter an American Ideal gelding out of Lucy’s Way which is a full sister to Wanaka Bay (dam of Mr Mojito) qualified at Wyndham as a two year old. He’s owned by Juliette Earl, Karen Calder, Katie Williamson, Neville Cleaver, Kevin Strong, Sid Slee, Robyn Jones and Alan Jones. His first start is eagerly awaited as he qualified well. He’s a half-brother to Treble Cone which won impressively at her first start when trained by John Earl. She had two other starts before heading to the broodmares paddock. She has a nice American Ideal colt called You Too which is owned by the Calders and Earls. So between homebred stock and young horses purchased at the sales Ben and Karen Calder have plenty to watch this season. And hopefully plenty more pleasurable moments to share with friends and family without too much fuss, which is just the way they like it.   Bruce Stewart Southland harness racing      

He expected him to need the run, so Leo O’Reilly was pleasantly surprised by the performance James Dean delivered at Methven on Sunday. The handy three-year-old made light work of his first race day appearance since May when he bolted away for a four and a quarter length victory over the well-regarded All Star Magician. It probably wasn’t so much the shock of the win that surprised O’Reilly, he’s been a bit of a fan of the horse for quite a while now, but more the ease in which the son of Santanna Blue Chip put paid to his rivals inside the final furlong. “I really thought he’d probably be a run short,” O’Reilly said. “So for him to come out and do that is quite a nice wee surprise. Especially because he did it so easily too.” O’Reilly elected to start the three-year-old colt off the back of a solitary workout win on the Methven track the weekend before. And while for most it might have left a little dust needing to be blown out of the tank, the run clearly worked the oracle for James Dean. A winner now of two of his five career starts with placings coming in a further two of those appearances, James Dean is now a horse with options, although one glaringly obvious option is off the table. “We didn’t pay him up for the Sires’ Stakes because we thought being by Santanna Blue Chip it probably wasn’t worth it,” co-owner James Reardon said. “All our others are paid up for, just not this guy and it turns out he’s the one who might have been competitive.” Raced by Reardon and Ashburton’s Dean Harrison, James Dean looked better than average from the first time he stepped out onto the track and O’Reilly has been patient in his handling of the colt. “We knew he was only going to get better with time,” O’Reilly said. “And it looks like the wee break at the end of his two-year-old season has worked well for him.” Reardon purchased James Dean’s dam, Alegria for $7,500 at the Christchurch Weanling and All Age Sale in 2013. Offered up by Studholme Bloodstock the daughter of Caprock had already left handy types; Alexis and Jackaroozy so there was a bit to like about the page. She had been served by Santanna Blue Chip when put through the ring and Reardon added Harrison to the breeding and ownership of the mare and foal and James Dean was the result. She has a Bettor’s Delight filly on the ground and has been served by Mach Three. O’Reilly said a trip to Kaikoura was next on the cards for the talented three-year-old before they sat down and worked out a bit of a plan for the rest of the season.   Matt Markham

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