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Even a cold wet night at Forbury Park couldn’t put a dampener on Samantha Ottley’s 100th driving success. “I didn’t really care that it was a miserable night at Forbury I was just excited to get my 100th,” said the junior reinswoman. Ottley notched up her 100th victory aboard the Michael House trained Gogirl Bromac, who burst up the passing lane to win by a neck after being given a beautiful trip in the trail. By winning her 100th race, Ottley cements herself in the record books as the first female to drive 100 winners whilst still a junior driver. “I’d just like to thank all of the trainers and owners that have supporter me, especially my employers Colin and Julie DeFilippi. Without them I wouldn’t be where I am now,” she added. But it wasn’t just Ottley representing the girls with distinction at Forbury Park as Katie Cox also found herself in the spotlight. The young reinswoman, who has come along in leaps and bounds as a driver, notched up her first Group driving success when combining with the Tom Twiddle trained Woodlea Legend to win the Group Three 4 & 5YO Championship at odds of $48.20. Drivers with the surname Cox have now won the Forbury Park feature two years in a row, with Jonny (no relation), having taken out the race last year with Ballindooley. Meanwhile, superstar filly Venus Serena made light work of her rivals in the Nevele R Fillies heat despite sitting parked the journey. By Mitchell Robertson

Star pacers Venus Serena and Border Control will both compete in legs of the  Pick6 at Forbury Park tonight, meaning that you should only have to pick four winners to scoop a share of the $40,000 pool. The former, Venus Serena, who is first first-up since a staggering win in the Great Northern Oaks, would only need to race close to her best form to win the Nevele R Fillies heat, while Border Control, who was a game second behind Adore Me in record time last start, should claim glory in the 4 & 5YO Championship despite his 20 metre handicap. Other features on the Forbury Park card include a heat of the Sires Stakes for two-year-old fillies which will see impressive debut winner Katy Perry go head-to-head with the well-backed Du Vella, while speedy filly Democrat Party will do battle with capable three-year-old filly Millie Sampson in the second race at Cambridge. Suggested Forbury Park Pick6: Leg 1: 2, 3, 7 Leg 2:  7 (Venus Serena) Leg 3: 1, 3, 7, 11 Leg 4: 9 (Border Control) Leg 5: 2, 3, 4, 8, 9 Leg 6: 2, 3, 6, 7 $50 = $40% By Mitchell Robertson    

Last week the ring-around produced five winners including my each-way bet of the week Dream Gal, which bolted in at odds of $6 and $1.80. Others to tip out winners included Mark Jones, Steve Richardson (TAB), Todd Mitchell, Matt Williamson, and Tim Williams. Let’s see what good oil we can dig up this week. Cambridge - Thursday Todd Mitchell: Has opted for unbeaten juvenile trotter The Driving God - race five. Scott Phelan: Thinks Seven Blue Chips can make the most of his ace alley in race number six. Stephen Richardson (T.A.B): Expects Thomas McBride to prove very hard to beat in the seventh race on the card. Simon Lawson: Has opted for Ton Tine as his Harnesslink Bet of the Week – race nine. Forbury - Thursday Nathan Williamson: Thinks the very consistent Nickelson will get some money in race three. Ricky May: Is very bullish about the chances of Pay Me Sush in the sixth race on the card. John Dunn: Has opted for Graduate Under Fire, who has been in brilliant form of late. He looks well placed in race number seven. Gavin Smith: Thinks Vincennes looks well suited to the short 1200 metre sprint distance in race nine on the card. Terry Chmiel: Expects Moondyne Joe, who was in need of a run when third in a good field last start at Addington, to prove too good - race eleven. Blair Orange & Mark Jones: Have both opted for Strike On Command, who is unbeaten from two appearances at Forbury Park - race twelve. Jonny Cox:  Rates Sara Holley, who has drawn well for Thursday’s assignment, as a very good each-way bet. She also competes in the last race on the card. Tim Williams: Has added to the puzzle by tipping Bobbie McArdle in race twelve. Trifecta perhaps? Addington - Saturday Josh Dickie: Was impressed with how Speeding Spur trialled on Monday and expects him to highly competitive in the Two-year-old Trotting Stakes - race four. Anthony Butt:  Has opted for impressive two-year-old trialist Curlimore, who looks a great chance from a good alley in race number six. Matthew Williamson: Expects Zhenya to appreciate the drop back in class in race number seven. Craig Thornley: Thinks Given only needs to trot to be competitive - race eleven. Ken Barron: Was very pleased with Pacquiao last start and expects him to prove very hard to beat in the last race on the card. Mitchell Robertson (Harnesslink): Best Bet: Snooki – Hawera (Saturday), race three. Each-way: Wanna Play – Addington (Saturday), race four. Curlimore  - Addington (Saturday), race five Value: Dark Side  - Forbury Park (Thursday), race five.

Nominations for the Canterbury Breeders NZ Oaks on the 16th of May have been released.  Venus Serena heads up a 24-strong nomination. The race has also attracted Australian interest with expat Kiwi Nike Franco among the nominations for her Victorian trainer Dean Braun. To view all of the nominations for the Group One feature click here GED MOOAR MARKETING AND COMMERCIAL MANAGER  

Art Union should not be lining up for career start number two in the Resource Recycling Technologies NZ $8,000 Pace for 2-year-olds at Addington Raceway on Saturday. In fact he should have been retired long before his racing career started. Trainer Cran Dalgety said the well-bred Art Major colt could easily have been wandering around in a paddock now retired from what he termed a “one in a million” injury. “He could have been racing for us three months ago, but we lost valuable ground with him. If you raced a thousand times you wouldn’t see what happened to the poor buggar in a trial at Ashburton back in December. “He was in the one-one and the parked horse came back on him and he got his foot stuck up in the cart and fractured his hock,” Dalgety said. Vets then told the West Melton horseman there was little or no chance of Art Union ever racing again. They did toy with operating and putting a screw in his leg but Dalgety opted against it. “I told the vets if he was out in the wild he wouldn’t be able to get operated on, so we just swum him. It’s a bit of a miracle but time, swimming, and Mother Nature have cured it,” Dalgety said. “Well fingers crossed it’s cured. He’s shown no signs of distress and has bounced back well from his win the other night,” he added. Art Union won his Motukarara Workout on April 5 and then his Rangiora Trial two days later before making a winning debut at Addington Raceway last Friday (April 11). The brown colt was backed into a $3.20 favourite and never looked like losing the $8,000 Spectators Bar & Bistro Open ‘Til Late Mobile Pace. He won the 1950m mobile by 1-1/4 lengths in 2:24.2. Mile rate: 1:58.9. last 800m: 57.2. Last 400m: 27.4. Art Union was eased back early, improved to be parked at the 900m and then drew clear inside the closing 100m proving too strong for Dana Duke (Gavin Smith) and Abbey Cullen (Stephen McNally). “His dam Sparks A Flyin (21 wins and $627,218) was a very good horse winning several big races here and was a New South Wales Oaks winner. She also went 1:51 in America. She was also 3yo Filly-Of-The-Year and just keeps popping them out for the Wakefields (owners and breeders),” Dalgety said. Art Union is a half-brother to earlier classy performers, Diomedes (1:57.5), Empyrean (1:56.2), Bettor’s Fire (1:57.4) and Safedra (1:56.3). Last Friday he became the fifth sub 2:00 winner from Sparks A Flyin (1:52). Dalgety said he would race him in the Sires Stakes heat at Addington after this weekend’s mission, and if he still didn’t have enough money in the bank he could possibly head north to qualify for the 2yo Emerald Final at the Harness Jewels meeting at Cambridge Raceway on May 31. “He’d be right up there with some of the best colts I’ve trained. He has really bulked up since coming back from his injury. He now looks like a 3-year-old. “He’s a tall and long legged creature. Almost thoroughbred like. He’s certainly no flash in the pan,” Dalgety said. By Duane Ranger (Courtesy of HRNZ)

A quiet trial at Ashburton today should top pacing sensation Terror To Love off nicely as he heads into Saturday’s $100,000 Easter Cup at Addington. Given an easy time by Ricky May in the sedate two-horse trial, the bulky stallion was only pulled out very late in proceedings, dashing home for a narrow second behind 8-win pacer Smiling Star. “That is all he needed heading into Saturday,” said May, who was pleased with how the entire found the line. “I gave him a pretty stern warm-up and he is very forward so I’d say that the run was just perfect for him,” he added. “I know it was a very slowly run affair but he wouldn’t have blown a candle out afterwards. I was pretty happy with that to be honest,” concluded the champion reinsman. When asked what his confidence levels were like heading into Saturday, May admitted that he was very impressed with Adore Me last Friday. “She was just tremendous last week but I think ‘Terror’ only has to replicate his run in the Auckland Cup to beat her again. He has proven himself time and time again,” he enthused. “It’s obviously not going to be easy to give Adore Me 10 metres and beat her, especially if she goes like she did last week, but we all know how much he loves the two miles at Addington,” he concluded. The trial was run in a pedestrian 3-11.6, with quick sectionals of 55.5 and 26.7. As reported by Harnesslink last week, Adore Me will be driven by Blair Orange in Saturday’s Group One feature, with Purdon heading across the Tasman to drive Supersonic Miss in the APG semi-final. Orange will also steer the champion mare in the Taylor Mile 13 days later, with Purdon committing to star two-year-old Follow The Stars in the rich $A300,000 Australian Pacing Gold Colts & Gelding Final. “It is an absolute privilege to drive a horse like her,” said Orange, who is two from two on the champion mare. “It’s going to be a tactical affair with just the six horses in the field, so I will just see how the race unfolds, but I am confident she can win,” he added. The other four horses in the Easter Cup are: Arden Rooney, Jivin Cullen, Donegal’s Guest, and Pemberton Shard. By Mitchell Robertson

Talented North Island trotter Speeding Spur looks set to make a bold South Island debut in the Group 3 2YO Trotting Stakes at Addington on Saturday. The John and Josh Dickie trained trotter, who downed the smart Yagunnakissmeornot in his last start, trialled up stylishly at Ashburton today, so much so that Josh Dickie reversed his decision to make Millie Sampson his Harnesslink Bet Of The Week. After leading early, The Pegasus Spur two-year-old made a mid-race break, losing considerable ground before speeding home for fourth place. “He was getting an easy time in front and simply lost concentration and broke,” explained Dickie. “But he came down pretty quickly and really found the line stylishly,” he added. “They have been running some very good times down here but I think can match them on the clock,” said Dickie. “He is going to improve with a few more runs under his belt but I really do rate him quite highly,” he concluded The trial was won by Roydon’s Jewel, who will again be a rival of Speeding Spur’s on Saturday, while the classy Monbet as well as Wanna Play also pose as serious threats. The latter was unable to be driven out in her last start and could be a very good bet at good value. Other impressive trialists at Ashburton included Iceobar, who won easily by a length and a half, while Curlimore also caught the eye, dashing through tight quarters late to finish third in the same event. Both two-year-olds look to have strong chances in the fifth event at Addington on Saturday. By Mitchell Robertson

The NZ Harness Racing Trainers and Drivers Association has just been advised that, following research by their Veterinary Consultant, HRNZ will be testing for the substance Cobalt Chloride from April 14 2014. Authorities in New South Wales have recently begun testing for this substance and their lead has now been followed by the Thoroughbred code in Victoria. The permitted level is 200mg per litre of urine. We understand that normal Vitamin B12 injections contain some measure of Cobalt Chloride, however according to the Chief Veterinarian in New South Wales, manufacturers of this product are mindful of keeping the levels low so as not to affect a horses performance. Further information will be forthcoming in due course. By Peter T Cook (Courtesy of  the NZ Trainers and Drivers Association)  

A New Zealand record run by top squaregaiter Master Lavros in the $80,000 Fred Shaw Memorial NZ Trotting Championship at Addington on Friday, April 11, has earned him a Auckland Rowe Cup trip. Master Lavros adds to his Group One tally, wearing down Clover Don in the $80,000 Fred Shaw Memorial NZ Trotting Championship at Addington. Overport Lodge trainer Mark Jones was considering spelling the 5YO Sundon gelding but Friday’s performance has Master Lavros in the frame to attempt a Dominion-Rowe double. “I was rapt with him. At this stage, I will head to the Rowe Cup and look at the Greenlane Cup ($30,000) the week before the Rowe ($150,000, May 9), then the paddock,” Mark said. Master Lavros was a luckless fifth as a relatively raw 4YO in last year’s Rowe Cup, won by veteran Stig from Springbank Sam and Boizel. All honours were with Master Lavros in Friday’s Group One trot free-for-all. He trotted the mobile 2600m in 3:13.1 (1:59.4 mile rate), shaving 0.2 of a second off Ima Gold Digger’s mark set when winning the daytime 2010 NZ Trotting Free-For-All at the NZ Cup meeting. The Kypros Kotzikas-owned squaregaiter, who lost his unruly tag for mobiles after the record-breaking win, came from last of the 10 runners, being timed over his last mile in 1:56.2. After moving up parked over the final lap, Mark was able to drop the big bay down to the markers behind strong front-runner Clover Don when trailer Royal Aspirations couldn’t hold his ground at the 700m. This was probably the winning of the race. Master Lavros was able to renew his energy for a final sprint lane crack at Clover Don inside the final 200m. Master Lavros did the rest, showing his toughness to win going away by three-quarters of a length, with Mark allowing himself a salute in a rare show of emotion. The Overport Lodge trainer had considered missing the Trotting Championship after Master Lavros was defeated in the $25,000 Glenferrie Farm 4 & 5YO Trotters Championship a week earlier. A late decision was made to give the horse his chance, with Master Lavros showing his class, notching his fifth win from 12 starts this term and his 13th win from only 28 career starts for $268,428 in stakes. Mark Jones racked up his 55th training win for the season in the Trotters Championship (following a Forbury double last Thursday). He is third on this season’s premiership by runaway leaders, Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen (112) and second-placed Robert Dunn (75). By Jeff Scott (Courtesy of Mark Jones Racing)  

Champion harness racing driver Dexter Dunn described Locharburn’s win in tonight’s $175,000 Muscara Standardbreds NZ Derby at Addington as ‘a team effort.’ “He may have been in Cran’s (Dalgety) colours tonight but Kevin Chapman has probably played a bigger part than anybody,” said Dunn of the gelding’s co-owner and former trainer. “Kev is away overseas at the moment on a world trip but I doubt there is a happier man on earth right now,” he added. Dunn was in awe of the Christian Cullen three-year-old after the race and said that the giant bay simply had no right to win the Group One feature. “He was pushed off the track around the first bend and then when he finally did work up to the parked position the buggar had the audacity to over-race,” quipped Dunn. “He has done twice as much work as any other horse in the race and he has still been too good. I’ve got no doubt that he is the best three-year-old male pacer in the country,” he added. Locharburn downed the pace-making Isaiah (Natalie Rasmussen) by ½ a head, while Sky Major finished a further two lengths away in third. Great Northern Derby winner Tiger Tara rounded out the First4. “I thought he was all done on the bend but when I asked him he kicked really hard,” advised Dunn. “I knew I had Isaiah at the 150 metres, but to his credit he came back at me late,” he added. “I think my fella might have died on his run the last 100 metres but I think he had every right to, don’t you?” he laughed. Locharburn, who was labeled as a Derby contender by Kevin Chapman after just his third start, paced the 2600 metre journey in 3-11.0. His last 800m was recorded in a brutal 54.6. Glenys Kennard, who is the co-owner of runner-up Isaiah, was gracious in defeat, admitting that the best horse had won the race on the night. “Locharburn was absolutely sensational and deserved to win,” said Kennard, who enjoyed success in the penultimate race with Raesawinner. Dalgety and Dunn also enjoyed success on the undercard with Major Bubbles, Regulus, and impressive two-year-old Art Union, giving the dynamic duo four wins on the program. By Mitchell Robertson

If Adore Me was racing the previous 2600 metre NZ mares record holder from a standing start, Kate’s First, she would have beaten her by an astonishing 14 lengths. That was the discovery that Canterbury commentator Mark McNamara made after Adore Me’s breathtaking win over Border Control in the C5 & faster discretionary pace at Addington tonight. After starting from the 40 metre back mark, co-trainer-driver Mark Purdon set Adore Me alight heading into the stables bend with a lap to go and quickly moved her up to the parked position. She then breezed on by in home stretch to win by 1 length over stablemate Border Control in a sensational time of 3-08.7, which set a mares record from both a stand and mobile. But it doesn’t stop there either, as Adore Me’s time also bettered the all-comers standing start record and was just 0.2 of a second outside of the all-comers mobile record, held jointly by Desperate Comment and Highview Tommy. The superstar mare will now contest next Saturday’s $100,000 Easter Cup where she will seek revenge on last month’s Auckland Cup winner, Terror To Love. Purdon also claimed victory in the Group One New Zealand Trotting Derby with King Denny, while training and life-partner, Natalie Rasmussen, steered Alta Orlando to success in the Group Two Welcome Stakes. Rasmussen was also victorious in the penultimate event aboard Raesawinner, giving the stable four winners on the card. “King Denny has really stepped up this time in and had impressed dad (Mark Purdon) immensely with his work during the week,” said Nathan Purdon. King Denny paid odds of $9.10, while Alta Orlando upset his more favoured stablemates when winning at a price of $16.20; however neither win surprised the All Stars camp. Alta Orlando gave Purdon and co-owner Neil Pilcher back-to-back wins in the Welcome Stakes, while Thoroughbred Hall of Famer Jim Gibbs MNZM, who also shares in the ownership of runner-up Hug The Wind, nailed the quinella. “We were expecting a big run from Alta Orlando last week but he botched up the start,” advised Purdon. “But he has always given us the impression of a very nice horse and has done everything ever asked of him,” he concluded. Meanwhile, in shades of his Dominion Handicap win, Master Lavros dived up the inside to claim victory in the Group One NZ Trotting Championship in a New Zealand record time of 3-13.1. By Mitchell Robertson  

Two-year-old Art Major colt Say My Name looks to extend an already impressive start to his career, with victory, in the Avon City Ford New Zealand Welcome Stakes, at Group 2 level. After two unlucky runs at Group 3 level back in February - Sapling Stakes 3rd, Kindergarten Stakes 2nd, he has been so impressive the last two weeks back at Addington. With some bigger money up tonight ($40,000), the field is understandably full of form runners and big reputations. While last week John let the colt blaze off the gate, there is a fair bit of speed drawn inside this time and he may look for a sit early on. Lead, or trail, this field will need to be at the top of their game to beat the Robert Dunn trained runner which has a number of big race targets in sight over the next couple of months. The Sales Series final, the Sires Stakes and the Harness Jewels are notable amongst the races targeted. The feature race on the evening is the Group One Muscara Standardbreds New Zealand Derby. Here the Robert Dunn stable are represented by No Doctor Needed and Return To Sender, placed 6th and 7th respectively in last week's derby prelude the Group 2 Vero Flying Stakes. While realising the enormity of their task in this week's contest, trainer Robert Dunn was upbeat about the runs of both last week, especially 4 start "veteran" No Doctor Needed. "He's going to be a super horse this fella," said Robert. "The harder they go the better. He's the sort of horse that even now could keep kicking on a crazy speed race. “From their "visitors" draws of 12 and 13, the two will need all favours if they are to compete with the big three of Locharburn, Tiger Tara and Isaiah. It is sure to be a superb derby!    By Mike Drury (Courtesy of Robert Dunn Racing)

Master trainer Mark Purdon looks a cracking chance of notching up his third straight New Zealand Derby success after his quartet all drew favourably in Friday’s $175,000 Group One feature at Addington. “Last week the majority of the team drew wide or second-line, so the draws for this week were a pleasant surprise,” enthused Purdon, who admits that none of his four can be ruled out from the barrier draw. The Purdon/Rasmussen quartet are: Messini (1), Aldo Rossi (2), Isaiah (4), and Alleluia (5). “They have all worked on well since last week, so I think all four of them have at least a First4 chance under the right circumstances,” said Purdon. When asked how he thinks the race to pan out, Purdon said that he expects Isaiah to be the early leader, however he is predicting mid-race pressure from Locharburn. “I don’t think Messini, Quick As A Trick, or Aldo Rossi, will have the gate speed to hold him out, so I suspect that Nat (Rasmussen) will be pushing the go button early,” advised Purdon. “If that’s the case and she decides to hold up, it will bring Messini (Blair Orange) right into the race as he should settle in the trail,” he added. Purdon also warns not to underestimate Aldo Rossi (Sam Ottley), who worked very well on Wednesday, while he is expecting a much improved performance from Alleluia (Mark Purdon), who was disappointing in last week’s Vero Flying Stakes. “His bloods came back fine and he has worked on good since, so I don’t know quite what to make of last week.” “I’ve added the sliding blind to his gear this week to hopefully sharpen him up, as I just felt he was a bit half hearted about things last week,” he added. “At his best he will be right in it as he is very fast, but I think Isaiah has to be the pick of our four. I thought he was absolutely super last week and he has drawn to be in it for a long way.” The fly in the ointment for the Purdon/Rasmussen team is favourite Locharburn, who is likely to go the attack mid-race, while Great Northern Derby winner Tiger Tara will be looking for luck after landing the awkward one on the second line barrier. Meanwhile, Purdon is hopeful rather than confident with superstar mare Adore Me, who has been forced to start in a discretionary handicap after the Superstars Championship was scrapped due to lack of no nominations. “She is pretty sensible so I am hoping she will step well from the back mark, but it is not going to be easy to give Border Control (stablemate) a 30 metre head-start and beat him,” he admits. Purdon and Rasmussen also have a superb team on the undercard; however Purdon leans towards Paramount Queen and Raesawinner as the best of them. “Paramount Queen looks well placed and really should be winning, while Raesawinner is improving all of the time and has really surprised me of late,” he concluded. By Mitchell Robertson    

Last year’s Rowe Cup place-getter and New Zealand record holder - Boizel – is back in New Zealand and set to tackle the Group races at Alexandra Park within the next month. The Tony Grayling trained 7-year-old gelding arrived back in New Zealand on March 28 after a second, third, seventh and 10th in four races at Tabcorp Park, Melton in Australia from February 15 to March 15. “He went really well in the Cochran Trotters Cup first up and then was an unlucky third in the Free-For-All the following week. Then he went off the boil. “I don’t know whether it was the heat, the bush fires, or he just wasn’t feeling well, but he wasn’t up to competing in the Great Southern Stars Series. Instead we wanted to look after him for the big races back here at Alexandra Park,” Grayling said. The Franklin horseman was referring to the Group One $100,000 Anzac Cup on Anzac Day (April 25), the Group Three $30,000 Greenlane Cup on May 2, and the Group One $150,000 Rowe Cup on May 9. “He was a bit tired when he came home but Chris Alford did a terrific job with him. I went over for the first 10 days and then came back to my team. “I’ll definitely line him up in the Anzac Cup and the Rowe Cup but I’m not sure about the Greenlane Cup. I’d like to get a trial into him before Anzac Day but the Easter break might put a dampener on that. I’m not too perturbed though because he’s bouncing around again and working very well,” said Grayling who works a team of 20 at Pukekohe. Boizel finished third behind Stig and Springbank Sam in last year’s Rowe Cup. Six months later the son of Dream Vacation set a New Zealand 2400m standing start record of 3:01 flat in Free-For-All Trot at Kaikoura. Boizel settle well back in that field that day while Stent and Master Lavros set a solid clip in front. He was three deep and second last down the back the last time and then in the straight Dexter Dunn threaded his way through the field to knock over Stent in the shadows of the post. He won with 2:01.3 mile rate and trotted his last 800m and 400m sectionals in 59.1 and 29.9 seconds. Boizel was the fourth favourite of the nine starters and paid $11.80 to win. “He placed in the Jewels but that was the best race of his career beating good horses like Stent and Master Lavros. The longer the go the better he is because he’s an out-and-out stayer. The Rowe Cup’s 3200m distance is ideal for him. “We will want a hot pace like they went at Kaikoura and then he will be in his element. He can stay all day. He’s a very good one-paced horse who just keeps bowling along,” Grayling said. Boizel has raced 29 times for 11 wins, 10 seconds and 13 thirds. The brown gelding has won $167,469 in stakes. “He’s my stable star and a very good trotter when he’s right. Every trainer would love to win a Rowe Cup. We went close last year. Hopefully we can go two better this time around,” 48-year-old Grayling said. By Duane Ranger (Courtesy of HRNZ)

Last week the ring-around produced six winners, including my bet of the week and my two each-way bets of the week. Others to tip out winners were Jonny Cox, Steve Richardson, and Ken Barron. Let’s see if some of the trainers and drivers can hold up their end of the bargain this week! Forbury – Thursday Dexter Dunn: Has surprisingly opted for Phat Freddy’s Drop, who will look to break maidens in the first race on the card. Jonny Cox: Rates Mako Banner as a very good each-way chance in race three. Quinella with Katy Perry perhaps? Craig Thornley: Was pleased with U Can I Can at the recent Motukarara workouts - race four Mark Jones: Expects Ultimate CC to prove very hard to beat in the ninth race on the card Terry Chmiel: Is expecting a bold performance from Angus T Jones in the ninth race. Alexandra Park - Friday Scott Phelan: Expects Cheers Kathy to be very hard to roll in the first race on the card. Simon Lawson: Has opted for impressive last start winner Destination Moon - race six Todd Mitchell: Is a very big fan of Mach's Gladiator, and expects him to be hard to roll in the ninth race on the card. Addington - Friday   Blair Orange: Is bullish about the chances of Paramount Queen, who looks very well placed in race two. Anthony Butt: Thinks Thebestlove is a big chance in the NZ Trotting Derby - race four David Butt: Warns punters not to drop One Over Da Moon, who also competes in the NZ Trotting Derby - race four Steve Richardson (T.A.B): Expects Locharburn to prove to strong in the NZ Derby - race nine Ken Barron:  Rates the chances of capable two-year-old filly Livura, who has drawn well for Friday’s assignment - race twelve Gavin Smith: Thinks Dana Duke could be well over the odds in the same event - race twelve Invercargill - Sunday Matthew Williamson: Has opted for the capable yet enigmatic Bet's Sun, who would only need to trot to win the first race on the card. Tim Williams: Thinks Just A Delight, who has finished second in her last three outings, is overdue a winning turn - race ten Andrew Armour Thinks Blanco, who has raced well since joining the barn of Tom Kilkelly, is a good each-way chance in race eleven. Motukarara – Sunday Ricky May: Believes Franco Salisbury will take all sorts of beating from his ace draw – race seven. Mitchell Robertson (Harnesslink): Best Bet: Char Do Neigh – Invercargill, race five Each-way: Dream Gal – Forbury Park, race five Emmanuel – Addington, race three Value: Ranfurly Rulz – Addington, race one  

Barry Purdon has gone to the bench and called in a super-sub for Friday night's Group I New Zealand Derby at Addington. One of the most successful horseman in Derby history, Purdon has enlisted champion reinsman Ricky May to drive his charge Sky Major in the $175,000 event. Initially the North Island horseman came south with a view to driving the Group I winner himself, but May's availability proved too good to pass up on. "I want to give the horse the best possible opportunity," Purdon said yesterday. "Ricky is one of the best in the business, it makes sense to use him. "He knows all the opposition and their racing styles and he's one of our best in the big races." Purdon's record in the Derby is exemplary, although he hasn't started a horse in New Zealand's greatest three-year-old race since The Cavalier (11th), who he trained in partnership with Scott Phelan, ran in the 2008 edition, and then you have to go back to 2004 to find his next starters; High Calibre (9th) and Derek Bromac (11th). Purdon's five winners came during the 90s, including a golden period where he and his father Roy won four consecutive editions of the race with Kiwi Scooter (1992), Mark Roy (1993), Ginger Man (1994) and Il Vicolo (1995). He was successful on his own accord with Holmes DG in 1998. For May, the race hasn't been quite so kind. He's yet to claim a victory in 22 attempts with just three placings on Spring Alot (2004), Colonel Anvil (1999) and Happy Patron (1986) all he has to show for his efforts - a remarkable statistic considering some of the three-year-olds he has driven in his career. A brave fifth placing in last week's Flying Stakes gives Sky Major more than an outside chance of beating some of his talented opposition, although an outside barrier draw hasn't exactly helped. "We haven't had a great run of barrier draws with him," Purdon said. "But it could turn out to be a good one if there is plenty of speed in the race, Ricky's patient driving style could work right in our favour. He was super last week I thought, he just had to do too much work, but he has come through that run really well. "Now we just need that luck to fall our way." While one Purdon had to scratch his head at yet another average barrier draw, another was smiling after some good fortune. Purdon's brother Mark will line up four horses in the race as he shoots for his third consecutive victory and his 12th victory overall as either a trainer or a driver. And all four have drawn inside the first five marbles with Messini going from barrier one, Aldo Rossi barrier two, Isaiah barrier four and Alleluia barrier five. Gun three-year-olds Locharburn and Tiger Tara had mixed results in the draw stakes with Locharburn drawing six and Tiger Tara one on the second line. By Matt Markham (Courtesy of THE PRESS)              

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