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The trotting side of harness racing has been a bit light on numbers at the top level in the North Island for the last couple of years but the current season promises to be the best for a few years.  Boizel is back for another year and the rising star Prime Power should be ready to tackle the big bangers this season. And then we come to one of the enigmas of trotting in New Zealand in Irish Whisper who on his best day looks as good as anything going round. Trained by the "Iceman" Tony Herlihy, Irish Whisper has been nursed through his career to this point due to immaturity. " I've had to look after him up to now because he has needed time to strengthen up but he looks a picture this time in and I am really looking forward to the new season with him"said Herlihy "I took him to Australia last year when he wasn't really ready for it but I knew the trip would make him and by the look of him this time in it has." It really is time for Irish Whisper to stand up and I think he will "said Herlihy. Irish Whisper only had six starts in New Zealand last season but managed to win three of them including two narrow wins over the brilliant Stent 1:54.8 ($471,572). The seven year old gelding by Sundon is due to resume on Friday night at Alexandra Park in the C3-OC handicap trot off 40 meters behind and Herlihy is confident of a big run. "I know it's hard off 40 meters but his runs at the workouts have been really good leading into Friday night. If he was to get a nice drag into the race, then I thing he could just about win first up" said Herlihy There has never been any doubt about how good Irish Whisper is with only his immaturity letting him down in the past. This season due to the patience that Tony Herlihy has shown, Irish Whisper may finally fulfill his potential. Harnesslink Media

Sweden’s Ed You benefitted from a masterful drive by Torbjorn Jansson to storm home past compatriot Mosaique Face to became the third winner of the Group 1 UET Trotting Masters Final (500,000 euros) at Denmark’s Charlottenlund racetrack. Three of the top four UET Masters’ Series ranked Swedish horses were in the field for the 2500m race including French-trained Commander Crowe (Juliano Star), in his very last start of stellar career in Europe before embarking on a swansong to the Untied States Indeed it was Fabrice Soulouy’s 11-year-old chestnut who began the fastest holding off Ed You (Love You) in the initial speed duel, the latter settling into the trail. Into the straight for the first time Europe’s highest ranked horse Timoko (Imoko) of France sprinted up from the back to try and outflank Commander Crowe, but was forced to sit parked and then ended up in the one-one when Lutfi Kolgjini moved up with last year’s Swedish TravDerby winner Mosaïque Face(Classic Photo) a lap out. Commander Crowe kept up the tempo as Mosaïque Face applied the pressure and the two accelerated out of the turn of the back straight for the last time, with Prussia (Ken Warkentin) and Solvato (Donato Hanover) also sprinting hard three and four wide turning for home. Timoko found himself in a difficult position as these attacks occurred, unable to move out and and lost ground and momentum. In the home straight, Commander Crowe’s brave bid faded as Mosaique Face got to the front but Jansson found room to get Ed You off the fence, and used the kinder inside run to his advantage to get by Mosaïque Face with a irresistible burst. Canaka B.F. (Jobie Tempest) found room on the inside ahead of Commander Crowe to grab third just ahead of Timoko, who came on strongly with a stayer’s run for fourth. For Ed You, a late bloomer and controversial winner in July of the prestigious Hugo Abergs Memorial after Un Mec d'Héripré's disqualication, this was best result of his career. He is trained by the Swede Robert Bergh. In the supporting N.J. Kosters Memorial Fredrik Solberg’s BBS Sugarlight (Super Light) shot out of the gate to take a lead he never relinquished. From ther Peter Untersteiner took control of the race from the front with Amour Rapide (Love You) and top Swedish driver Johnny Takter in the bike settling into the trail. Untersteiner released the brakes off BBS Sugarlight at the top of the final bend and he responded superbly and cruised to the line with ease, covering the 1600m journey in a 1.12.0 kilometre rate (1.55.8MR). Flemming Jensen’s veteran warhorse O’Grady (SJ’s Photo) who had sat second-over for most of the race, charged home to nose out Amour Rapide for second money. The previous day at Vincennes, there were two national Group ones, the most prestigious races on the French calendar, with a placing from first to seventh enough to earn prestigious black type in France and coveted Classique status. In the Prix de l'Etoile, an intergenerational race over the Vincennes sprint distance of 2150m, which brings the cream of the 3, 4 and 5 year-old crops together in a handicap setting similar to weight for age racing, Brillantissime (Ready Cash) and Black d’Avril (Oceano Nox ) fought for the early lead, with the inside horse handing up to Brillantissime before the turn into the Joinville plain. Favourite Biche des Clos (Rolling d'Heripre ) moved up prominent outside Brillantissime up the hill and these two led the field down the sweeping turn and into the front straight. Biche des Clos poured on the pressure and Brillantissime could not respond, while Black D’Avril pulled out of the trail and once clear showed terrific acceleration to swoop past Biche des Clos and claim the coveted Group one. Former age group star Billie de Montfort (Jasmin de Flore ) nabbed Brillantissime on the line for third place. The Prix d’Normandie, one of the top three monte races in the world, for 5YOs, is raced over 3000m for 240,000 euros and here it was Vittel de Brevol (Jag de Bellouet) who took control of the race down the straight for the first time, while hot favourite Vision Intense (Prodigious) got parked three wide and five back. At the top of the hill David Thomain pressed the go button on Vittel de Brevol and by the crossroads where the flat inside floodlit track joins the “grand piste” had slipped clear by seven lengths. Vittel de Brevol still had a handy lead into the straight and though Vision Intense tried desperately to close the gap, the line came up too quickly. Valse Castelets was a long way back third ahead of Viva Forest. The winner recorded a slick 1.13,9 (1.58.9MR) for the 3000m, just a little outside Prince Gede’s record 1.13.6 (1.58.4MR) which was set in 2009. Courtesy Of Harness Racing New Zealand

A race with conditions outside of the square at Addington is scheduled for Show Day, Friday 14th November. The New Zealand Metropolitan Trotting Club (The Met) is programming a new race on Show Day, exclusively for horses trained south of the Waitaki River for a stake of $20,000.  To be eligible to compete, horses must be registered in the name of a trainer(s) that is based south of the Waitaki River as at Friday 12 September 2014. Brian Rabbitt, Racing Secretary at Addington, commented “that this will be a race with a real difference with a Southern flavour and an opportunity to bring a new array of horses to Addington on one of our biggest meetings of the season. It’s all about utilising the horse population to our best advantage. With attractive stake money up for grabs we’re confident the race will be well supported and wouldn’t it be great to get back to the days when we saw a stack of horses come up from the South.” Richard Bromley and Ged Mooar of Addington were in the Southland area yesterday visiting prominent trainers including Murray Brown, Wayne Adams, Tony Barron, Clark Barron, Nathan Williamson, Hamish Hunter and Kirk Larsen. “The race has been very well received and we’re confident it will be supported,” said Mooar. The race is for four-year-old and older pacers assessed at C1 and C2 and is to be run over 2600 metres behind the mobile with a preferential barrier draw based on win stakes.  For further information please contact either Brian, Richard or Colin at Addington’s Racing Department on (03) 338 9094. Ged Mooar Marketing and Commercial Manager Addington

The Rangiora Harness Racing Club are holding their spring meeting at Addington on Thursday night and while there is a small card of only eight races, some talented horses are involved. The smallest field of the night is the C7-OC handicap trot which has only drawn a field of five starters but all five are quality  racehorses.  The Paul Nairn trained Lotalov is having her first start for the season and has gone well in that state in the past. Throw in the fact she is good from a stand and her Addington record is 4 wins and 4 placings from 11 starts and she is not out of it at all. The Fiery Ginga is third up for the year and trainer Allan Clark is expecting a big run. "I was a bit disappointed the other night at Addington with how he drove so I changed a couple of things and his work since has been super. He gets a start from his main competition so I going to try to take advantage of that" he said. The winner of 27 races to date has a great standing start record (17 wins) and course record (10 wins) so looms as a live chance. The third of the runners off the front is the Bevan Heron trained Uncas who always seems to go good at this time of the year. All of his eight wins have been from a stand and his first up win recently was full of merit. Big show with a run  to suit. The first of the runners off ten meters is the Geoff Dunn trained King Of Starthfield who is in great nick at the moment. All of his three runs this time in have been first class and the small field will suit him down to the ground. He has won 21 races but only 2 of those at Addington so track record is a small concern. The second horse on ten meters and last of the five runners is the champion trotter Stent who was last season's Australasian Trotting Masters Champion. All his course and distance stats are outstanding and he looks hard to hold out even if  he is only 90% ready.   Trained by Colin Defilippi, Stent won fresh up last season and is on course to do the same this year. A small field but one of real class. Stent for us on class alone with the main dangers being King Of Strathfield and Uncas with The Fiery Ginga and Lotalov fighting out fourth place. Harnesslink Media

The trotting side of harness racing has been one part of the industry that seems to have been holding its own in recent years. More and more North American and European sires are now available to Australasian breeders and one that is making a big impact is the son of S J's Photo in Bacardi Lindy. Imported by Ross Simpson, Bacardi Lindy has spent time in both Australia and New Zealand and these days is resident at Morley Park in Victoria. A son of S J's Photo from the brilliant Valley Victory mare Rum Boogie 1:55 ($900,908), Bacardi Lindy made $115,000 when sold at Tattersalls as a yearling and recouped that and more on the track winning $207,546 and taking a mark of 1:52.8 Bacardi Lindy made a slow start with his first crop but his stock have just kept improving and several starting showing up in the age group classics. Claudy's Princess ($198,746) was a star 3 year old last season while The Boss Man ($95,132) was another of his better performers in the 4 year old ranks as  Bacardi Lindy established himself as the the best of the Australian based trotting sires. His profile in New Zealand has been pretty low key to this point but that may be about to change with the emergence of the smart 2 year old Cocktail Waiter. Even though the season is only six weeks old in New Zealand, Cocktail Waiter has already qualified and in great fashion for a trotter this early in the season. He won his qualifying trial at Oamaru over 2000 meters from the mobile in 2:41.4, a mile rate of 2:09.8 with a closing 800 meters of 60.3 Cocktail Waiter is the second foal from the Sundon mare Gina and is owned and trained by Alan Clark of the The Fiery Ginga fame. Allan Clark was suitably impressed by the run. "He is such a lovely horse to do anything with. He is a beautifully gaited individual and has a touch of class that the good horses have and really finds when you ask him. I am pretty confident Cocktail Waiter will be a major player in all the good 2 year old trotting races later in the season", he said. Alan borrowed Gina to breed Cocktail Waiter after the mares first foal Clifden Clowers ($33,653) had been a handy winner and he remembered a full sister to Gina in The Great Pretender had raced in the Jewels as a 2 year old. As smart as Cocktail Waiter looks to be, Alan had high hopes for a filly by Bacardi Lindy until her sudden death. "I thought she was a touch better than Cocktail Waiter to be honest but I found her dead in her paddock one morning which was a real shame. The Bacardi Lindy's have really impressed me to date and I will be sending a couple of mares this season for sure,"he said. The way his stock are starting to fire on both sides of the Tasman, Bacardi Lindy could be in for a very busy stud season. Harnesslink Media

It was a big moment for his numerous owners the Knowlers, the Kennards, Grant Dickey Stu Gillan  and Phil Creighton when Meticulous returned on a winning note to harness racing at Oamaru on Sunday. He was cleverly rated by Tim Williams to come his last 800 meters in 56.8 because Meticulous is a horse who has given his connections a few concerns to date. He crashed out of the Welcome Stakes and the Flying Stakes and his confidence has been a big thing with him. Some of that confidence came from Ashleigh Royal who has always nursed Meticulous through his setbacks and makes no secret of the fact "I just love this horse" Meticulous may have been disappointing and erratic at times but not to Ashleigh's way of thinking. "He gets the full treatment from me. I've just always liked him" she says. Small wonder Ashleigh was quickly on hand for the post race photo. Tim handled the sometimes race shy gelding calmly and he was never really tested, repeating a snappy win at the trials at Rangiora. Race confidence is a big thing in the Meticulous comeback so Sunday was an extra boost Matt Anderson was tested a little too in a different way with the other All Stars runner on the day Backup. He knew the Aussie-owned gelding was going to improve a lot and he did his best to help the horse by posting pedestrian fractions in front. But it was all hustle and bustle from the 800 meters which was covered in 55.8 Leo from the Nathan Williamson barn issued a strong challenge in the straight but Backup is better than many think and he held on easily enough in the end considering his current stage of race seasoning. Courtesy Of All Star Racing    

The dream is fast becoming a reality for team Tiger Tara. The gritty four-year-old rocketed his way into New Zealand Trotting Cup contention with a professional victory in the time-honoured Hannon Memorial at Oamaru yesterday. And for Bob and Jen Sandford along with their co-owners John Gould and and Geoff Dunn – who also does the training – things are starting to fall into place nicely. The intention was never to push Tiger Tara toward a Cup start, but it was instead to let him find his own feet. Something he is doing in style. A bold second to Christen Me in the Maurice Holmes Vase pointed toward a big showing from the Sires’ Stakes Final winner of last season and he didn’t disappoint. “It’s all getting a bit exciting,’’ Bob Sandford said after the race. “To be honest we probably didn’t have too many expectations coming into this prep, we were just happy to see how things panned out. “But it looks now like we might get a shot at the big one.’’ Handled expertly by Gerard O’Reilly, Tiger Tara jumped out of the one out one back position rounding the final bend and his blistering speed got him to the line. And while in reflection that might not seem like anything special – especially considering that none of the big guns of this year’s Cup were in attendance for the race – when you break the performance down, it’s full of merit. He’s run his last 800 metres in better than 55.5 second and clocked his last mile in 1.55 as well. O’Reilly was forced to move a lot sooner than he had hoped which left the pair a sitting duck but when Four Starzzz Flash ranged up to win at the 150 metre mark, Tiger Tara kicked. The win should see him move high up into the Top 15 rankings for the Cup when the next round is released tomorrow afternoon. Dunn wouldn’t commit to where he was headed next but he gave an indication that it would probably be more likely to be the Canterbury Classic next month as opposed to the Avon City Ford Cup next Friday night. “We will have to sit down and have a think about that one.’’ Four Starzzz Flash looked a lot more like his old self with a barnstorming finish to run second. “He’s a funny horse, you need to keep him on the job and up on the nickel,’’ Dexter Dunn said. “He just got held up for long enough that I think it might have cost him going close, but Geoff’s horse was always going to keep fighting.’’ Pure Power, who led the field throughout and set up a 3.14.4 time for the 2600 metre stand – the third fastest running of the Hannon – finished third, but was later relegated to fourth behind Pass Them By after it was deemed the big pacer had shifted across the track and into the line of the Tim Butt trained runner.  Courtesy Matt Markham - Harness Racing New Zealand    

The C0 pace for 3 year olds and older at the Oamaru Harness Racing clubs meeting today (September 14th) drew three horses with a reputation for being above average pacers. Cran Dalgety lined up the talented Christian Cullen gelding Cody Singer who is big on ability but still lacks a touch of ringcraft. Kevin Court lined up Smokin Bird, a daughter of Bettor's Delight who had won her only start at two but is still classed as a maiden as she starts her 3 year old season. The third of the fancied horses was Tas Man Bromac, a son of American Ideal who had also won his only start at two and races out of the barn of Nathan Williamson. The public made Smokin Bird a warm favourite but there was plenty of support for Cody Singer and Tas Man Bromac as well. Smokin Bird got away first and grabbed an early lead with Tas Man Bromac settling fourth on the inner and Cody Singer last after missing away for a few strides. It stayed that way until Dexter Dunn moved Cody Singer around the field to sit parked at the 1600 meters mark and Nathan Williamson came off the inner with Tas Man Bromac and slotted into the one by one. Then Dexter decided he wanted the front with Cody Singer but Matthew Williamson on Smokin Bird didnt want to hand up and they went to war for the next 600 meters. By the time they reached the 800 meters mark, Cody Singer had dropped in on Smokin Bird's back which left Tas Man Bromac parked out. Thats how they stayed until they turned for home where Nathan shot Tas Man Bromac clear for an easy and impressive win. Smokin Bird stuck on gamely for second after being mauled mid race while Cody Singer ended up fifth but only four and half lengths from the winner. Tas Man Bromac paced the 2600 meters from a stand in a very smart 3:19.2 with closing sectionals of 57.8 and 28.5 Tas Man Bromac is the second foal of the imported North American McArdle mare Tasmcmanian who is a half sister to five in 1:55 including Arts Conquest 1:50 ($880,576) and Lifeoftheparty 1:54 ($151,365) Shy Devil, the dam of Tasmcmanian went 1:53.3 and earned $169,185 on the track and is a half sister to the talented Gamma Ray 1:52.1 ($467,504) and XLR Ray Shun King 1:52.1 ($207,210). Tasmcmarian is closely related to two outstanding mares in Naughty But Nice 1:54 ($1,062,197) and Leah Almahurst 1:52.3 ($1,053,201) Tas Man Bromac lived up to his pedigree today with a performance that suggested he had many wins left in front of him. Harnesslink Media    

Harness racing meetings at Oamaru are not really a place where you would normally find a real up and comer racing. They have their quality races such as the Hannon Memorial for the open class horses which was run today (September 14th) but in the main its a racetrack for the nice horses who are just finding Addington a touch too hard. Today's C1-C2 trot at Oamaru drew a big field of 15 with some really nice trotters amongst them who were in good form. The public made the Paul Nairn trained Waterloo Sunset the favourite from the 10 meter mark even though he was having his first run in nearly four months and he had been unsighted at trials and workouts. Driven by in form reinsman Bob Butt, Waterloo Sunset missed away from the standing start and settled five lengths behind the field in the early stages. Monty Python had found the front and was setting a steady pace while Waterloo Sunset was still last with a lap to run. Passing the 800 meters Waterloo Sunset was still two lengths last and at least 15 lengths from the leader and was still amongst the tailenders as the field turned for home. Monty Python was claimed half way up the straight by Ottawa before he in turn was claimed by a withering late burst from Waterloo Sunset which saw him get home by a neck with Bob Butt hardly moving in the bike. Waterloo Sunset trotted the 2600 meters in 3:22.8, with closing sectionals off the front of 58.9 and 30.1  Coming from last and at least 15 lengths off the lead at the 800 meters mark to win was a good indication of how good the run of Waterloo Sunset was. A 5 year old entire by the legendary sire Sundon, Waterloo Sunset is the first of the former outstanding trotting mare Inspire ($147,468) who won the 2006 Rowe Cup (Group One) Inspire is a full sister to the former brilliant age group trotter Enthusiast ($90,585) who won 11 races as a two and three year old and a half sister to the smart Call You Later ($73,174) The grand-dam Enthuse is a half sister to the former outstanding trotter Sundowner Bay ($259,856) who won 18 races. It is a family that master trotting trainer Paul Nairn has had a lot of success with over the years. Going by todays  effort, Waterloo Sunset looks poised to add to that record and appears headed to open class in a hurry. Harnesslink Media    

A brave and what looked like a successful bid to get Armbro Demon to the New Zealand Cup meeting and beyond came to an end midweek when the mare developed suspensory problems. Mark Purdon was philosophical about the injury. "She suddenly developed a problem which I thought might be a suspensory and she also had a smaller problem in the other leg. (Vet) Bill Bishop confirmed that is what it was and it means she has been retired. We found out she had had a suspensory problem before having a long spell and unfortunately it has returned'' Armbro Demon caused something of a sensation winning at the Cup meeting three years ago in only her third win up from a spell for owner-trainer Chris McLeod. She trotted the 3200m in a sensational 4.05.8 winning easily. She has only had two starts in nearly three years since having suffered an injury in 2012 and her career stands at five wins from only 10 starts. Chris, who had put so much time into the Armbro Invasion mare, agreed to lease her out for one more try for a race career and it wasn't a well kept secret around the All Stars stable that her ability  had made a deep impression at Rolleston. Armbro Demon had a few tricks to play on the unwary but she had gradually adapted well to a big stable atmosphere. Word of her ability must have leaked out because there were substantial bets placed on her in the Dominion Handicap especially in all up betting. Courtesy Of All Star Racing

Harness racing loves to celebrate the achievers of our industry but the reality is most of the horses involved are lucky to even win a race. The economics of racing a horse means if a horse hasn't cleared maidens by start fifteen then a lot of owners will simply look to move on to the next one. Some trainers can afford to race horses for the enjoyment it brings and are not so hung up on the economics involved but even they usually call a halt by the time a horse has had thirty starts. So when My Lifesign lined up in the 4 year and older maiden at Addington last night for start number 40, the pundits were struggling to rationalize the situation. Here was an eight year old still trying to win a maiden race at his fortieth start at the races. Bred, owned and trained by Kevin Williams of Tall Tree Stud, My Lifesign had always shown enough at his previous 39 starts to suggest a win was not far away but had never quite got there. Up until last night My Lifesign had run nine placings in his career so he was putting some money in the till but Kevin's patience is to be admired. Several drivers have been in the bike on raceday but the recent addition of one Dexter Dunn hasn't hurt. Dexter had driven My Lifesign three times before last night for two seconds and a fifth and Dexter is in such a rich vein of form at the moment that the punters made My Lifesign second elect last night. Sent straight to the front by Dexter, My Lifesign set a steady clip in front until the favourite Oasis Dream took over with 1600 meters to go. That was still the order as they turned for home with My Lifesign lodging his challenge up the passing lane. It took the whole length of the straight but in the shadows of the post My Lifesign got his head in front of Oasis Dream for that elusive first win. My Lifesign paced the 2600 meters in a very respectable 3:15.6, a mile rate of 2:01 with closing sectionals of 58 and 28.5. A son of Lifesign from the New York Motoring mare Lavra Rein On 1:59.7, My Lifesign is a half brother to the very speedy Slick Lavra 1:51.6 ($143,026) and Lavros Frost 1:58.7 ($62,892) While it has taken My Lifesign forty starts to crack his maiden win, with Dexter and My Lifesign in career best form, a second win is not out of the question. Harnesslink Media    

Whenever the Mark Purdon/ Natalie Rasmussen barn lines up a maiden 3 year old at any harness racing meeting in New Zealand, it usually means the opposition is racing for second money. That's the way the betting public saw it tonight in race two at Addington Raceway (September 12th) with the All Stars runner Alta Ronaldo a prohibitive short priced favourite. The general consensus was that Alta Ronaldo should be a class above this lot having raced against the better 2 year olds last season. But as we all know there is no such thing as a certainty in racing and Margarita proved once again that no race is easy to win. Bred and owned by Cran Dalgety and his wife Chrissie and trained by Cran at West Melton, Margarita had the form on the board heading into tonights race. She won a race at two at Forbury in a 2:00.8 mile rate and resumed at three with a meritorious second to the very talented Bettor Scott in a 1:58.8 mile rate. Dexter Dunn sent Margarita forward from barrier seven and grabbed the lead after 300 meters with Alta Ronaldo sitting parked from the start. Mark Purdon sent Alta Ronaldo up to eyeball Margarita at the 600 meters mark but it was obvious passing the 400 meters mark that Margarita still had plenty to offer. And so it proved in the straight with Margarita holding a three quarters of a length advantage over Alta Ronaldo all the way to the finishing line. A 3 year old daughter of Bettor's Delight, she paced the 1950 meters in 2:25.4, a mile rate of 1:59.9 with the last 800 meters in 56 .4 and the closing 400 meters in a very sharp 26.9 The dam of Margarita is the smart Badlands Hanover mare Holloway 1:56.1 ($56,432) who won six races on the track in New Zealand. Holloway is a half sister to two handy types in Ducks A Flyin 1:55.2 ($93,581) and Simple Saver 1:52 ($84,658) and is closely related to the very smart Telemeconique 1:52.2 ($185,615) Why it is early in the season, Margarita looks the type with natural improvement that could mix it with the elite fillies by the time the classics come around. Harnesslink Media   

As one of last season's top 4yr olds with his five wins incuding the 4yr old Emerald on Jewels day, Franco Nelson looks sure to be one to follow over the comimg weeks. He had his first public run for the new season at the Rangiora's workouts on Wednesday and put paid to a moderate C1 and faster field over the 2600m, coming home his last 800m in 57.6 and 400m in 28.7. John was very pleased with his charge. "Yea he went really good mate. Very happy! We'll give him a trial next week and then reassess. He's a chance to run in the Avon City Ford (26 September), but otherwise the classic a couple of weeks later." In terms of the other fast class pacers in the stable, there has been some mixed news. "Elios has had a setback and has gone out. He'll probably not be back racing now until December." Pure Power and Jivin Cullen both raced in the Maurice Holmes Vase last Friday and were a bit disappointing. "I did go pretty hard with Jivin Cullen, but he was still entitled to go better than he did."  "Pure Power had a bit of an off night and we are hoping for better this week in the Hannon." Both will carry on in their push for places in the 2014 cup field.   Some of last seasons younger brigade are also getting close to race day. "Say My Name has really filled out now and looks superb. He ran a nice second at the Rangiora workouts. We will most likely go to the Forbury Sires Stakes heat with him." Robbie Burns who impressed first up last season and stable newcomer Little Grin are both getting close to workouts and trials and can be expected to be seen in the next couple of weeks. The "babies" had an early season run on Wednesday as well, with Sales purchase Code Black (Bettor's Delight - Chritian Watch) getting the big tick from John. "He came out of the gate well and travelled good throughout. He took the passing lane good and went to the line full of running." "He can have a short break now and then he'll be back. We'll be targeting the Young Guns with him for sure." The Art Official colt Ruffalo went a pleasing run in the same workout. Courtesy Robert Dunn Racing      Click here to visit site      

The Chiola Hanover mare Rob The Nest has certainly made her mark on the harness racing scene over the years by leaving a string of high quality trotters and the production line doesn't look like it is finished yet. With progeny the likes of Galleon's Assassin ($327,286)  King Of Strathfield ($248,147)  Thedonsson ($124,793)  Sonofthedon ($67,030) and Whosinthenest ($66,701) to her credit, Rob The Nest has a stud record as good as any mare in the stud book. At Oamaru on Sunday (September 14th) another one of her progeny will make his debut on the racetrack in race one, the aptly named Monarchy Trot  and if his trial runs are anything to go by, then it should be a winning debut. Just Leave, a 5 year old son of Monarchy has created quite an impression at trials and workouts recently with his most recent win at Rangiora the most impressive as he won easing down by 3 lengths after sprinting the last 800 meters in 59.7 and 400 meters in 29.2. Just Leave is trained by Geoff Dunn at West Melton and raced by him with his breeder Neil Munro and will be driven by the in form reinsman Gerald O"Reilly. The Dunn/O"Reilly combination has been lethal in recent weeks and it has plenty of scope to build on that with Just Leave. One of the most pleasing things to emerge from his recent workouts and trials is the faultless manners of Just Leave which is a big plus for a trotter starting out. While Just Leave looks a standout to us, a couple of maidens in the Monarchy Trot have been knocking on the door and won't be pushovers. Davey's Gift from the Phil Williamson barn has been placed in all three runs this campaign and on his home track looms as the obvious danger to Just Leave. The other runner we like is Ethelsville from the Leo O'Reilly barn who has run  two top thirds in his last two starts and has to be given a show of taking this out. After that it is a bit hit and miss although the Robbie Holmes trained pair of Petite Royal and Nicaela have both trialed like trotters on the up in recent weeks. So for us it is Just Leave to make a winning debut from Davey's Gift and Ethelsville with Petite Royal and Nicaela for trifectas and first fours. Harnesslink Media

Bit Of A Legend, fresh from his first defeat in three Australasian Breeders Crown Finals at Melton last month, will play tag with stablemate Christen Me and return to Addington on Friday, September 26. Kentuckiana Lodge trainer Cran Dalgety will attempt to make the most of the special conditions of the Group Three $25,000 Avon City Ford (New Brighton) Cup in just over two weeks time. The winner of the stand start 2600m race is guaranteed a place in the field for the $700,000 Christchurch Casino New Zealand Cup at Addington on November 11. Christen Me, the second ranked cup starter and assured of a start anyway, gained the automatic cup entry associated with winning the Maurice Holmes Vase at Addington last Friday. After two explosive Addington wins in recent weeks, Christen Me won’t get the chance to defend his Avon City Ford (New Brighton) Cup title of 12 months ago. The reigning Australasian Grand Circuit champ is having a change of pace this week, running leisurely among the cattle at the nearby West Melton property of Cran’s father, Jim Dalgety. “He thinks he’s hot. He’s king of the kids there,” Cran said. Christen Me is scheduled to return and chase consecutive wins in the Group Two $40,000 ‘Christian Cullen’ Canterbury Classic (2600m stand) at Addington on October 10. Meanwhile, Cran says Bit Of A Legend is excited to be back home. I’m just deciding on which trial he will go in beforehand,” he said. Bit Of A Legend tried hard to make a three-peat of Australasian Breeders Crown Finals on August 24, but had to settle for second in the $A100,000 4YO colts and geldings final behind front-running Marty Monkhouser. He had the toughest run after starting from the outside of the second row. Bit Of A Legend moved up wide to be parked over the final 1200m and fought gamely but the Shane Tritton-trained leader kicked too well over the final 800m in 56.3s and closing 400m in 28.3s, the winner rating 1:57.6 for the full 2240m. A week earlier, first-up for nine months, he drew the front row, found the front, and ran a slightly quicker rate (1:57.1), pacing his last 800m in 55.7s. With those two races under his belt, and the trip back to Christchurch, Bit Of A Legend will continue to become race-hardened, after an interrupted 4YO season last term. The big-winning Bettor’s Delight entire is unbeaten in two stand start races, scoring at Rangiora and Addington in June-July of his three-year-old racing season. Bit Of A Legend, the winner of 18 and 12 times second in 39 career starts for $742,491, still has to force his way into the cup reckoning. He has been ranked in 19th spot for the New Zealand Cup, despite winning at least twice, and up to six times more, than some others ranked ahead of him. Courtesy Of Cran Dalgety Racing      Click through to website here

A new sale concept for harness racing broodmares and mixed stock had its first outing tonight and it didn't quite go to script. All up there were 73 broodmares and 18 mixed stock that went under the hammer this evening at Addington Raceway. There was a good crowd of over 100 people in the Blossom Lady lounge at Addington when the auction began but it was soon apparent that if the broodmare had a bit of age or had a hole in her pedigree then there was absolutely no interest from the buyers present. The passed in rate was very high with only 16 of the 73 broodmares changing hands on the night although the auctioneers were confident of doubling that number from post auction sales. Top price as expected was lot 2 which was the In The Pocket mare Zenola's Princess who was sold in foal to the  leading sire Art Major for $10,000.  The second best price was for lot 41 which was the Christian Cullen mare Stronecullen who was sold in foal to Shadow Play for $3,500 Lot 31, the Soky's Atom mare Bionic Reign who was not in foal made $3,000 as did lot 58, the Mach Three mare Triple Sec who was in foal to Betterthancheddar. Several mares were passed in when the last bid ended up with the vendor at the rerserve price and no more bids were forthcoming. Lot 20, Glenferrie Skipper was passed in for $10,000 while lot 50 Sun Goddess was also passed in at $7,000. Two other passings of note were lot 7, A Touch Of Sun who was not in foal and lot 44 Hayley Brogden who was in foal to Mach Three. Both made $6,000 on the night but went home with their vendors but negotiations are continuing. In the mixed stock side of the sale the trend was the same as with the broodmares with the two most keenly sought lots reaching $6,000 but on their vendors bid. Both times the auctioneer announced that one more bid would buy the horse involved but no further bids were made from the buyers bench. The two lots involved were lot 1, the American Ideal filly Miss Patriot and lot 2, the Sam Bourbon colt. While there were a lot of things they would do slightly differently in hindsight, The Canterbury Standardbred Breeders are to be congratulated for trying to bring a low cost sale option to the market to try to help the average breeder. With its low entry fee and no commission and no travel involved for the lots to be auctioned, the sale concept definitely has a future. What was sadly lacking today was a lot more quality lots but that was due in no small part to the uncertainty about how the sale would pan out for the vendors. Well bred stock sold well tonight and hopefully next year a much stronger draft will be catalogued. Harnesslink Media

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