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Two grass track specialists have combined for a massive boil over win at the Geraldine Trotting Club's annual meeting. Junior driver Jessica Young has found the best in Karanga Red Fantasy to win the final race of the day at $73.40 for the win. Trained by Donald Jones at Greendale, the 6-year-old Red River Hanover mare out of Beaudiene Fantasy, has been struggling for form in her current preparation but was back to the real Karanga Red Fantasy at the Orari Racecourse. Given a charmed run by Young, Karanga Red Fantasy let down in the straight to run past the field and win by one and a quarter lengths with her last quarter in 28.8 on the grass track. It was Karanga Red Fantasy's first win in 53 weeks and the first time Young has sat behind her. Raced by Jacqueline Jones, Karanga Red Fantasy is lightly raced but now has a more than handy record of six wins from 26 starts. Five of those wins have come on the grass. Young's strike rate on the grass is phenomenal and she only enhanced her reputation on Saturday with a winning double. She picked up a winner earlier in the day with the Dean Taylor trained Franco Texas in the junior drivers race. All Stars stablemates Alta Ronaldo and Itz Bettor To Win picked up the quinella in the Geraldine Cup ahead of Brilliant Strike. Natalie Rasmussen moved Itz Bettor To Win up three wide to roll to the front with just under a lap to run before handing up to stablemate Alta Ronaldo and Mark Purdon. Just a long neck separated the stablemates with a further half length back to Brilliant Strike. Valmagne picked up the tenth win of his career for trainer Josh Kennett in the same race he won 12 months earlier. Tim Butt pulled off the training performance of the day with Bettor's Delight mare Millies Creek broke maidens in just her third start with a half a head victory in the fillies and mares maiden. Her last start at the races was way back in January. Mat Kermeen Reproduced with permission of Stuff NZ   -   Check site here

The continuing production line of outstanding horses from the All Stars barn at Rolleston is now such an accepted part of the harness racing scene in New Zealand that the emergence of another quality racehorse from their barn hardly raises an eyebrow anymore. However the New Zealand debut of the Art Major filly Golden Goddess at Addington Raceway last night was so breathtaking that all the other owners of three year old fillies in New Zealand dropped their heads a touch as they realised what they had just seen. Golden Goddess had three starts in Australia as a two year old for the All Stars barn for two wins and a forth and looked highly promising but has come back at three a vastly improved filly. Last night Natalie Rasmussen worked Golden Goddess to the front from barrier three and then proceeded to give the competition a pacing lesson. Running her last mile in 1:55.7 with closing sectionals of 55 and 26.1, Golden Goddess simply annihalated a smart field of three year old fillies. She won by an ever increasing 4 1/2 lengths from the super filly Arden's Choice who ran second while Kashana who ran third was a further five lengths in arrears. Owned by the Merv and Meg Butterworth racing juggernault, Golden Goddess was brought out of the Melbourne APG sale in 2014 for $101,000. And its no wonder she made that money when you look at the pedigree. A daughter of the outstanding sire Art Major, Golden Goddess is the second foal from a Christian Cullen half sister to the brilliant Sushi Sushi 1:54.1 ($1,103,327). The grand dam is none other than the brilliant No Nukes mare Sabilize 1:55.7 ($355,086) who won 31 races including two Ladyship Miles and ran third in a Miracle Mile behind Iraklis. This is a great American family with millionaires and stars everywhere and Golden Goddess looks to have inherited all that ability and more.  Golden Goddess will now head forward to the $150,000 Alabar New Zealand Sires Stakes Final at Alexandra Park on New Years eve and on last nights performance, she looks to have a stranglehold on the race. Harnesslink Media

Barring a virus ripping through the barn, it's hard to make a case for the All Stars stable not winning all of the major 3-year-old races. When you think about the best 3-year-old's in Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen's stable, Motu Premier is not a name that comes to mind. But Mark Purdon is not so sure. Lazarus turned in a performance for the ages to down stablemate Chase The Dream in the Sires Stakes final on cup day and now Motu Premier has produced an ultra impressive win in the $30,000 3-year-old colts and geldings conciliation at Addington Raceway on Friday night. Motu Premier's performance was enough to confirm his trip to Auckland and Purdon believes he will be a live contender with his high profile stablemates in the big money races. "He's not far behind them (his stablemates) at all," Purdon said. That is a major accolade when you also have the unbeaten Waikiki Beach waiting in the wings but Purdon believes Motu Premier can push them all close if the cards fall his way in the running. "He's actually right up there with them," he said. The All Stars stable picked up the other feature on the card when Golden Goddess won the third heat of the Sires Stakes 3-year-old fillies series by four and a half lengths. The blistering effort was enough for bookmakers to move the Australian bred Art Major filly into $3.20 favouritism for the final at Alexandra Park on New Years Eve ahead of stablemates Arden's Choice and Piccadilly Princess who are both at $4.80. Golden Goddess paced the 1950m in 2:19.7 with a final last quarter of 26.1. Arden's Choice was second with the Nigel McGrath trained Kashana a distant third. Piccadilly Princess was a comfortable winner at Alexandra Park on Friday night over Cyclone Kate and Bettor Think Quick who is an $8 chance in the futures market for the Sires Stakes final. The All Stars stable won four races at Alexandra Park and two at Addington. Purdon confirmed that unbeaten filly Dream About Me will not contest the final heat of the Sires Stakes series for 3-year-old fillies in Auckland on December 11. The classy Bettor's Delight filly who is a half sister to Christen Me, has been given an extended break after winning eight races from as many starts in her 2-year-old season. Her 3-year-old campaign will mirror that of unbeaten colt Waikiki Beach who like Dream About Me won a Breeders Crown final in Victoria on August 30. Meanwhile, former Canterbury pacer No Doctor Needed upset dominant favourite The Orange Agent in the feature pace at Alexandra Park. Having his first start for the Steve Telfer and Chris Garlick barn after formally being successfully campaigned by Robert Dunn. The Orange Agent will have lost few of her many admirers when going down by a nose to No Doctor Needed, who had a much softer trip, but the disappointment of the race was Sky Major. Barry Purdon found the one-one with a lap to go but he was a beaten horse on the home bend. Mat Kermeen Reproduced with permission of Stuff NZ    -    Check site here

A new grocery concept for Auckland will be opening in 2017 as part of Alexandra Park's ambitious high-end urban village redevelopment. Wholesale Distributors Ltd (WDL) have announced that a unique FreshChoice supermarket will be built in Alexandra Park near Green Lane West, which will deliver world-class products as well as exemplary service. "The FreshChoice offer reflects the aspirations of our exciting urban village development. FreshChoice is focused on catering for locals' specific needs, sourcing quality local and international products and employing local staff. It's a great match for us," says chief executive of Alexandra Park, Dominique Dowding. "It's particularly exciting for our future apartment residents as it will offer some very personal touches including a delivery service and delicious ready-to-go-meals for those who want a night off cooking. You'll even be able to telephone through and order a platter if you're entertaining. "It's going to be very much a fusion of a delicatessen, café, and a fresh foods market. FreshChoice has taken on our brief and shown great flexibility to deliver something new and exciting to the Auckland market," says Ms Dowding. She describes FreshChoice's lease as a long-term commitment to the site, with the supermarket taking 1,800sqm, or about two thirds, of the first building's ground floor area. Lease negotiations for the balance of building are well advanced. She expects FreshChoice to be open around mid-2017 when the first residents start moving in. Mark Brosnan, GM for FreshChoice franchisor, Wholsesale Distributors Limited says "Dominique Dowding challenged us to bring something very special to Alexandra Park, and she blew us away with her vision for the quality of food and service she wanted. With that in mind we're pleased to announce this will be a very unique store with a great contemporary design and competitive pricing to boot. It's set to be hugely successful." The store will be owned and operated by Aucklanders Chris Harris and Juliet Monaghan who have successfully owned the popular FreshChoice at the Half Moon Bay marina for the past three years. The store is set to be a key commercial element in the Auckland Trotting Club's urban village redevelopment project, with major earthworks in the club's former carpark currently underway. Ms Dowding says the announcement is a significant early milestone for the entire project. "Having such a quality grocery product as a cornerstone tenant helps sets the tone. This announcement reaffirms that this development will be a quality one showcasing not only the best in apartment living, but the best in boutique retailing and fresh food and beverage," she says. Beneath the residential living, the club is fielding a lot of interest and making great progress in its negotiation of leases for the prime ground floor retail, hospitality and commercial space in the development. Ash Hira of Bayleys Real Estate says locking in Wholesale Distributors Ltd is significant and will lead to other lease announcements with a total of over 5,500sqm of ground-floor space available for lease, split beneath three apartment buildings. He says it's all about delivering on the high quality vision of Alexandra Park and its ambition to also become Auckland's next restaurant and cafe destination with plenty of opportunity of alfresco dining in and around attractive promenades and public spaces. Hira says they're also working to secure boutique lifestyle retailers offering the likes of giftware, homeware and beauty. "Without a doubt this whole development will create a new heart for Epsom, which is long overdue. Given the very attractive catchment we're able to pick the best operators and those who can offer consumers something different. It's going to be a real destination," says Mr Hira. Alexandra Park chief executive Dominique Dowding agrees that this latest announcement by Wholesale Distributors Ltd only adds momentum to the project, with the freehold apartments selling extremely well in recent months. With the majority of apartments in stage one now sold, stages two and three of the development have now come on the market known as Sightline Green and High Street. Alexandra's on-site display apartment is open from 12pm to 4pm daily or by appointment by calling the Colliers team on 0800-275-484 or visiting  

Pukekohe harness racing trainer Ray Green is always active at the yearling sales each year but is never a buyer of big numbers. This year he brought just seven yearlings at both of the sales but the small numbers he bought hasn't stopped Ray having three of them line up in the first two year old race of the season at Alexandra Park tonight. Ray has had a great run in the last few years with his sales purchasers and is probably the only trainer in New Zealand  to have a strike rate similar to Mark Purdon with his yearlings. The three that are lining up tonight have impressed Ray right from the start and when we talked to Ray over three months ago, he signaled that these three that are starting tonight were his most likely starters in the Young Guns series that begins shortly. Ray finds it very difficult to rate his juveniles in any particular order. " The three of them are all lovely two year olds and all have big futures in front of them." " At this stage they are all on the improve and which one ends up the best is anyone's guess." "Spring Campaign is the most natural two year old of the three racing tonight." " As soon as he steps onto the track he is all business and knows what he is there for." " The other two still have a few rough edges but lack nothing in ability and all three are equally capable of winning tonight," Ray said. Ray has more two year olds not that far away from the track as well. " I have a fair bit of time for an American Ideal half brother to Sky Major called Sky Diamond who goes really well." "A couple of the homebred two year old fillies have also shown plenty to date including the full sister to Sir Lincoln in Lincolns Superstar," Ray said. With the way Ray season after season produces those elite level two year olds, it would be no surprise if he trifected the two year old race tonight. Harnesslink Media

Just recently, we applauded the JCA for the manner in which they had handled the Kevin Morton 'race cafe' case and how they had enhanced their reputation in doing so. Unfortunately within a few weeks they have had a shocker with the Zac Butcher case in the New Zealand Free For All during Cup Week. The reasoning that the two JCA representatives Mr Jackson and Mr Knowles put forward for their decision in this case shows a complete lack of knowledge and understanding of harness racing. The case revolves around Zac Butcher puncturing the tyre of Mossdale Conner when he went inside the markers before the passing lane in the $250,000 NZFFA. Ricky May was furious post race, stating that Zac had tried to get inside Mossdale Conner before the passing lane was available and in doing so had punctured his trye, costing Mossdale Conner the win. But Mr Jackson and Mr Knowles were firmly of the view that Mossdale Conner's winning chances weren't affected as the hearing transcript shows. "Given the performance of ‘Mossdale Conner’ in the final 250m of the race, it is not clear that that horse demonstrably suffered as a result of the flat tyre." "It cannot be said that the horse would have won the race but for the flat tyre." "On the contrary, after the interference ‘Mossdale Conner’ appeared to continue on with a strong run and was only beaten within metres of the winning post by a fast finishing ‘Tiger Tara’. The margin was a nose." So in the minds of Mr Jackson and Mr Knowles, Mossdale Conner drags a flat tyre for 275 metres and he didn't have his winning chances affected due to the flat tyre. The reality is there is absolutely no doubt at all that the flat tyre cost Mossdale Conner the win. That they think otherwise is to show a complete lack of knowledge and understanding on behalf of Mr Jackson and Mr Knowles of the industry they are meant to be policing. But it gets worse when the two gentlemen come to the penalty for this offence. The starting point for careless driving in a major race is suspension. How long that suspension is should be determined by the circumstances of each case. In this instance Mr Ydgren for the plaintiff suggested a starting point of 3-4 days. Mr Lawson on behalf of Zac Butcher suggested three days or two days and a small fine so he could fulfill commitments he had in upcoming weeks. But Mr Jackson and Mr Knowles ignored those guidelines and imposed an $800 fine instead. So not only have Mr Jackson and Mr Knowles completely misread the impact the punctured tyre has had on the chances of Mossdale Conner, they have then gone outside their own guidelines when it comes to penalty.  Their reasoning is as follows. "However, the committee is of the view that to suspend Mr Z Butcher for this careless driving would be a disproportionate response to his actual culpability and taking into account the overall circumstances, Mr Butcher’s very good record and the practical difficulties in suspending him as outlined by Mr Lawson on his behalf the committee is of the view that he can be dealt with by way of fine." Now contrary to what the two gentlemen say above, Zac has a bit of form when it comes to stepping outside of the rules in big races. Last December Zac pushed The Orange Agent out with over 1000 metres to go in the $138,000 Sires Stakes Final at Alexandra Park which tookThe Orange Agent right out of the race which Zac went onto win with Democrat Party. It cost the betting public a small fortune as The Orange Agent was a hot favourite that day. For that offence Zac was fined the princely sum of $300 which caused an uproar at the time. Now Zac has done it again and he has escaped very lightly once again. There are consequences for drivers and trainers when they get things wrong on raceday. What are the consequences for Mr Jackson and Mr Knowles, when in a case such as this one they got it so terribly wrong. Harnesslink Media.

The 2015 New Zealand Standardbred Breeders' Association Cup Eve Cocktail Function was held on the 9th of November at the Armstrong Prestige Showroom in Christchurch.  Breeders and harness industry participants were out in force to celebrate New Zealand’s breeding excellence. They witnessed the presentation of the miniature New Zealand Cup replica to Charles Roberts, the breeder of last year’s winner of the great race, Adore Me. The spectacular Armstrong Prestige showroom & car dealership is more accustom to dealing in a different type of horsepower, however the venue, in glorious late afternoon sunshine, once again played its part in bringing together those from the breeding community for the 8th time. There was an excellent turnout of around 150 attendees as guests were welcomed from all over New Zealand and across the Tasman to join in what is now a Cup Week calendar event.  "One of the pillars of the NZSBA is to provide recognition to breeders and their achievements" said John Mooney, NZSBA Chairman. "In hosting functions like these, it is hoped that the breeding community in New Zealand can reflect on, and be proud of their many wonderful achievements both here and in Australia." The guests in attendance included Harness Racing Australia's Chief Executive Andrew Kelly & his Chairman, Geoff Want. Kelly and Want were in town to soak up the atmosphere of Cup week. They were also able to present nine Australian annual racing awards, and two breeding awards, to the connections in attendance. Breeding a standardbred good enough to race over Cup Week is one hell of an achievement. Breeding one good enough to line up in the pinnacles of the pacing and trotting calendar is something different altogether! This year the NZSBA added to the evening recognition to the breeders of Dominion Handicap nominees.  Many of the breeders & connections of the Cup and Dominion runners were on hand to receive their breeding recognition certificates. NZSBA members who bred Group or Listed race winners on both sides of the Tasman were also duly recognised. On the back of stellar seasons from their progeny, Trevor Casey and Mary & Paul Kenny (on behalf of Charles Roberts)were almost in need of wheelbarrows to safely make their way home after receiving enough silverware  and glassware to fill a small house. All in all, NZSBA members bred 61 New Zealand Group or Listed race winners with a total of 34 being won across the ditch! Click here to see a complete list of award winners. John & Judy Stiven were up next to receive the Broodmare of Excellence award from the sponsor’s representitive, PGG Wrightsons Peter Lagan. “That came as a big surprise – it was a bolt from the blue and a bigger thrill than Arden Rooney winning the Cup” Stiven later said. Winter Rose has been a fantastic broodmare for the Stiven family and to go on and see another of their ‘Arden’ progeny win the cup a day later was surely a tremendous thrill. Last but certainly not least, attendees put their hands together for the connections of a mare that stole the hearts of racegoers throughout Australasia. Mary & Paul Kenny were back on their feet, on behalf of Mary’s father Charles, to accept from NZSBA Chairman John Mooney the miniature New Zealand Cup in honour of Adore Me's fantastic win in last year’s race.  While Charlie Roberts was unable to be in attendance, his daughter spoke to the audience about how much the grand mare’s achievements meant to Charles and the family, and how the horses have continued to give Mr Roberts a boost when his health has at times not been the best. The NZSBA would like to extend its appreciation to it sponsors NRM, represented by Dougal Scott and PGG Wrightson with Peter Lagan, together with Armstrong Prestige for the use of their facility. Brad Reid | Executive Manager New Zealand Standardbred Breeders’ Assn Inc

John Dunn is hoping the return of two potential open class pacers will offset the loss of No Doctor Needed. No Doctor Needed, who ran ninth in the New Zealand Trotting Cup for Dunn's father Robert earlier this month, has been switched to the Steve Telfer and Chris Garlick barn in Papakura for his future racing. But providing they can stay sound, two replacements are waiting in the wings for the Dunn stable. Elios made a long awaited return at the North Canterbury workouts at Rangiora  Raceway on Wednesday in his first outing since failing badly in last season's Auckland Cup. A Group I winner in the 2014 Messenger when he beat the likes of Arden Rooney, Franco Nelson, Mossdale Conner and Besotted, Elios got so ill from a virus late last season there were no guarantees of him making it back to the races. Additional issues along the way have not helped his cause. Elios' first outing was more than satisfactory and the Dunns will be hopefully of a similar performance when Wesley Silcox makes his comeback from injury at Saturday's workouts at Pukekohe. A winner of 10 from 28 and more than $220,000 in stakes, Elios ran second to Bay Emerald by half a length in a 2:00.1 mile rate for the 2000m but made up late ground sharply from the back of the six horse field. In context, Bay Emerald has only won one from 36 but Dunn was happy to see the lightly raced 6-year-old get through the run safely. He said they would be looking after Elios in the short term and will let him guide them when he is ready to step back up. "I've said to the owners that we are not making any strong plans at this stage, we will just get through another couple of trials and see where we are at then." A winner of eight from 12, Wesley Silcox won his last three starts on the trot before pulling up lame with a tendon injury back in March. "He might not have been a horse that attracted a lot of hype but he always seemed to step up and get the job done," Dunn said. At this stage there are no plans for a race day return with Wesley Silcox. Mat Kermeen Reproduced with permission of Stuff NZ    -    Check site here

Another week where our tipsters performed with credit with several of the selections such as Royal Shine and Zadarka having no luck but going big races which could have turned it into a great week. All up we had six winners with the winning tipsters being Nathan Williamson, John Curtin, Tony Herlihy, Mark Jones, Matthew Williamson and Blair Orange and we also ran up seven placings, several at good odds. This week we have five meetings and we have selections for them all. Manawatu - Thursday night Peter Scaife - Keen on the chances of Ma Cille in race 1 Robbie Holmes - Thought ex stable runner Contractual Issues could win race 2 Steve Richardson (TAB) - Likes the chances of Wynberg Courage in race 6   Auckland -Friday night Scott Phelan - Thinks Mach Time is back to his best and should win race 2 Tony Herlhy - Likes the chances of Mastercraftsman in race 2 Todd Mitchell - Gives Cyclone Kate a good each way chance in race 4 Tim Williams - Confident of a big run from Piccadilly Princess,also in race 4 Steven Reid - Keen about the chances of Paramount Dream in race 5 Maurice McKendry - Bullish about the chances of The Orange Agent fresh up for the season in race 7  Todd MacFarlane - Likes Atomic Falcon as an each way bet in race 10   Addington - Friday night Gavin Smith - Will give Royal Shine one more chance and thinks he can win race 3 Jim Curtin - Likes Kashana from her handy draw to run a place behind the All Star pair in race 4 John Dunn - Thought Love That Guest as a C2 horse in a mainly C0 field should win race 5 Matthew Williamson - Reckons Heard The Whisper is in the right form to win race 9 Mark Jones - Keen on the chances of Sonoflindenny at good odds, also in race 9 Ricky May - Thought on his sires stakes run, Classie Brigade should be too good for them in race 10   Geraldine - Saturday afternoon Brad Williamson - Thought Madam Spur from her handy draw would be hard to beat in race 1 Terry Chmiel - Likes the chances of the smart mare Royal Counsel in race 3 Craig Ferguson - Rates Omar Sharif a huge chance with any kind of run in race 5 Gerard O'Reilly - Reckons Flyingretna could get a good run behind Dexter and win race 8 Blair Orange - Thinks So Divine even from the wide draw will be hard to beat,also in race 8  Bob Butt - Gives Waterloo Sunset a big push even from the 20 metres mark in race 10   Invercargill - Sunday afternoon Shane Walkinshaw - Keen on the chances of Tact Rousey coming in fresh in race 2 Clark Barron - Likes All Jokes Aside even from the wide draw in race 9 Nathan Williamson - From the draw thought Sammy The Bull would be a chance,also in race 9 Brendon McLellan - Agrees with Nathan that Sammy The Bull will be hard to beat in race 9   Harnesslink  Media

Fight For Glory is on target to resume last season's battle with The Orange Agent. The pair dominated the Group I races for 3-year-old fillies last season and look likely to be major players in the Group I Queen of Hearts and Group III Breeders Stakes for mares at Alexandra Park next month. Mark Purdon, who co-trains Fight For Glory with Natalie Rasmussen, confirmed the two races will be the main aim after an impressive showing at the North Canterbury workouts where she ran second to Venus Serena by a neck on Wednesday. A decision on when the winner of more than $580,000 will travel to Auckland and her likely leadup races will come on Thursday, Purdon said after giving the Art Major mare's second hitout his tick of approval.  Fight For Glory was named Australian 3-year-old pacing filly of the year but was unanimously dumped out of that accolade on this side of the Tasman by The Orange Agent. Fight For Glory was a magnet for bad barrier draws in New Zealand last season which did not help her cause.  In her first trial back this season at Ashburton on November 17 she failed to finish off for third behind Here We Go Again. It was a much improved effort at Rangiora as Venus Serena clocked a 2:02.3 mile rate for the 2000m with the last quarter mile in 28.2. Fight For Glory is far from screwed down and is still carrying plenty of condition. The All Stars stable of Purdon and Rasmussen have suffered a blow with 3-year-old gelding Cash N Flow suffering a fracture in his near hind pastern that Purdon said would likely end his season. Geoff Dunn was much happier with Venus Serena from behind the mobile arm after her standing start manners put an end to her failed New Zealand Trotting Cup campaign. "She looked a lot more enthusiastic today," Dunn said. A decision on exactly what races the multiple Group I winner has left in her career will come on Thursday when connections hope to gain confirmation that she is in foal after being served by Art Major. Rocker Band flashed home late for third but trainer Mark Jones said she would stay in the South Island for the foreseeable future. Meanwhile, David Butt who trains with wife Catherine, has confirmed Habibti will likely stay across the Tasman for three to four months. The Butts hold a share in the classy mare, who has bounced back from serious injury last season to run third in the Group I Dominion Handicap. She is now in the care of Victorian trainer Adam Kelly and will be driven by Gavin Lang. Mat Kermeen Reproduced with permission of Stuff NZ   -   Check site here

Addington Raceway is pleased to report fantastic turnover and attendance results for Cup Week 2015. Combined wagering totalled a substantial $10,165,338 down only marginally on last year’s record figure which was a huge 20% increase on 2013. Cup Day continues to head the domestic racing events of all codes by some margin with combined (on and off course) figures coming in at over $6.355 million whilst the Show Day combined figures were $3.810 million, an increase of $340k on 2014. A massive $1.790 million was wagered on the 112th running of the Christchurch Casino New Zealand Trotting Cup, the 11th year the Christchurch Casino have sponsored the famous race. Crowd turnouts across both days of premier racing were in line with those reported in 2014 with nearly 28,000 attending. Met Chairman Barry Dent commented “being able to meet aggressive revenue targets set for this year’s Cup meeting has put the club in a good position to further examine ongoing sustainable stakes and bonuses for events at the Raceway. Without a successful Cup Week this would not be an option for us.” “This Friday’s race meeting sees ongoing minimum stake levels rise to $7,500 for the first time, with this being directly attributable to the overall sound financial health of the Club, of which Cup Week remains a cornerstone to our ongoing success.” Ged Mooar Marketing & Commercial Manager Addington

This Friday night the Inter Dominions return to their traditional home in Western Australia and with that comes a return to the original format. As the countdown to this years series starts,Perth has now confirmed that it is preparing to make a bid to to make Western Australia the permanent home for the series. Perth already has the series locked in for the next three years. John Yovich, the general manager of Racing and Wagering Western Australia has revealed that the richest pacing event in the world should have a permanent home in Perth. "The first Inter-Dominion was run in Perth in 1936 and this is its spiritual home." "We want to have the $1.3 million final as part of a huge racing carnival in Perth in November." "We will leave no stone unturned and do whatever is needed to make Perth the home of the Inter Dominion into the future," John said. This years series was scheduled for late November to accommodate horses from New Zealand who were competing at the New Zealand Cup meeting at Addington but that looks certain to change next year. Perth aim to move the series forward by a week which will mean the first set of heats will be on the Friday before Perth's biggest thoroughbred meeting, which features the Winterbottom Stakes and Railway Stakes. Gloucester Park CEO Michael Radley was philosophical about the changes. "We set the dates for this year to give horses the chance to run in the New Zealand Trotting Cup and get to Perth for the series." "However no New Zealand trained horse has made the trip." "If we can fit in with the gallops we could really build this event into a racing weekend not to be missed." "The best thing for the industry in Perth is to have a real carnival weekend and give people a reason to come to Perth for a racing event," Michael said. With most of the early favourites having withdrawn from the series due to health or form issues, this years series has the feel of a series ripe for an upset. The early $3:80 favourite for the series is the David Aitken-trained Lennytheshark, which won the Smoken Up Sprint at Melton last weekend. Harnesslink Media

New Zealand Racing Board (NZRB) Chair Glenda Hughes has today welcomed the findings of an off-shore betting working group announced by the Minister for Racing, Nathan Guy. Speaking at the organisations' Annual General Meeting in Petone today, Minister Guy outlined recommendations designed to combat the impact of off-shore betting on racing and sport. These include the introduction of an offshore bookmaker fee and changes to the Racing Act designed to make NZRB more competitive. It is estimated that New Zealanders spend with overseas agencies an estimated $58 million of gross betting revenue (turnover less dividends) from a total turnover of up to $518 million per year. Further, corporate bookmakers take an estimated $300 million of betting on New Zealand's domestic racing product. Hughes says offshore bookies are freeloading on quality New Zealand sport and racing products - they contribute nothing back to our domestic racing industry, they give nothing back to our local communities and pay nothing to the New Zealand Government. "The purpose of NZRB is to ensure the benefits from betting go to funding sport and racing, but offshore bookmakers erode this return back to the community," says Hughes. "It is not just for the Government to act, the NZRB also needs to be more competitive, ensure that Kiwis can get the same level of service and product offerings as are available offshore," says Hughes. In 2013/14, NZRB contributed $47.5 million in duties, tax and levies to the Government. NZRB CEO John Allen says the Governments recommendations are pleasing news for an industry that contributes $1.6 billion to the New Zealand economy and employs more than 17,000 people. "Racing is facing challenges, but it is an industry that can and will flourish - we just need to act now." "We are working on a series of projects and innovations designed to make us more competitive, so that we can grow Net Profit for distributions and properly support the racing and sports industries that depend on us." For the financial year ending 31 July the NZ Racing Board posted a Net Profit of $144.0 million - an increase of 5.1% on the 2013/14 financial year. The three racing codes - NZ Thoroughbred Racing, Harness Racing NZ and Greyhound Racing NZ received $134.2 million in distributions with a further $10.6m applied to the racing industry from gaming. National Sporting Organisations received $6.1 million and a record $2.7 million was paid or provided to other sporting bodies from gaming activities. Click here for a copy of the 2015 NZRB Annual Report. Click here for a copy of the Offshore Racing & Sports Betting Working Group Report. Kate Gourdie Manager, Media and Corporate Communications New Zealand Racing Board

While his last win was 11 months ago and he had had 21 starts since then, former northerner Mach Cruiser looks another bargain buy for the Westview syndications after a convincing win in Sundays feature at Motukarara. Formerly trained by Doug Gale in the north, Westview principal Nigel Armstrong recieved an offer to buy the the Mach Three 8yr old by mate and North Canterbury horseman Gavin Smith about three months ago. The bonus was that the horse had been in full work for awhile and was at workouts and trials in early October. He showed with a couple of good trial runs that he could be the type of horse that would be easy to place in Country Cups races over the summer. Going into today's race, Mach Cruiser had had three starts for two 7ths and a 9th. On paper hardly a startling formline, however, for those that had watched the cup day run for 7th, today's $31 dividend looked a tasty prospect. In his cup day assignment he ran home to be beaten 12 lengths by an impressive Maverick, his own time in running 7th a once unheard of 3.10.8. After breaking early on in his Show Day race, Mach Cruiser lost all chance in what was his dropback race to C3. However, based on what he was showing at home, there was a quiet optimism from the stable about his chances today. After stepping brilliantly for driver Gavin Smith he enjoyed a nice trip in the one-one for the first half of the race. However, the three wide train came into play down the backstraight and coming to the turn his chances looked forlorn as he was third last and caught in traffic. It was well into the straight that Gavin finally managed to find some clear air and the horse let down in style wide out. He eventually managed to haul in Dana Duke in the shadows of the post, getting up for victory by a head in 3.41.3 for the 2810m. This was the 8th win from 62 starts for Mach Cruiser taking his stake-earnings to $44,098. More importantly though, this was the first win for his new owners, the Westview Racing No 14 syndicate. Talking to Nigel after the race he indicated that there were many first time owners in the syndicate, with 21 new to racing owners in the horse. It was fitting that the man doing the driving today was Gavin, the same man that initially suggested to Nigel that this would be a horse worth having a crack with. Well done to all concerned and I am sure that there will be more grass track assignments to have a crack at as the summer progresses. Mike Drury Robert Dunn Racing Stables    -    Check site here

Two of the most impressive winners at windy Ascot Park on Sunday were the Brent Shirley trained pair Zen Warrior and Black Athena. Zen Warrior did the right thing for part owner Garry Tippett when he won the Kia/Isuzu Southland Vehicle Sales Mobile Pace. Tippet, who has a third share in the gelding with trainer's wife Raywyn Shirley and John Edminstin is also part owner of sponsors Southland Vehicle Sales. “He gives it all and I don’t think the C2 grade will worry him. He’s half tough and has good manners,” said trainer Brent Shirley of Zen Warrior. In yesterday’s race he settled in the second half of the field eventually getting a sit behind In The Kitty. He peeled out with 300 metres to run, was launched four wide by driver Nathan Williamson and bolted in winning by two lengths from Lite Platinum who ran home nicely for second. The time of 2-49.2 was creditable in the windy conditions. It was the gelding’s third win from fourteen career starts. Edminstin has had success racing When The Musics Over and Rowchester while Tippett is a  member of the Setarip Syndicate which has had a handful of winners over many years of racing horses in the south.  Williamson also paired up for Shirley’s second winner Black Athena in the Cleanways 2003 Limited Fillies and Mares Mobile Pace. The half-sister to cup class pacer Vi Et Animo, progressed three wide early before taking the lead. From there she ran her rival ragged clearing out at the top of the straight and bolting in by five lengths. “It was the windiest part of the day. She’s tough but will develop speed. She’s getting her head around racing and her run the week before at Wyndham was also good,” Shirley said. Black Athena is raced by Wayne and Allison McCulloch in partnership with Peter Ford from Forde Auto Services and his wife Liz. Her winning time was 2-46.1.  Shirley says former stable star Vi Et Animo is enjoying retirement. “After running third at Forbury we retired him. He’s now out at Riding for the Disabled." "They love him out there. He’s coming home on the 29th when they close down for the holidays." "If anyone is going on a Cavalcade he could be available to the right person. He’s bullet proof.” Meanwhile the Shirley trained Costa Del Magnifico looks ready for a return to racing after winning at the Invercargill workouts last Friday. He was being primed for an appearance at Addington on Cup Day but had to be scratched.  “When he was at my place he jumped on a cornet so I sent him to Nathan Williamson’s to use his pool. He got a couple of runs (fast work) into him and he was spot on for Cup Day. Then the night before he raced he had to be scratched because he got an abscess on the other foot.” The plan for the talented four year old is to start in a junior drivers race at Ascot Park on the 4th December when he’ll be driven by Matt Anderson. He'll then head to Addington before returning to Southland to race in the Winton and Wairio Cups. He may also go to Omakau. Bruce Stewart Reproduced with permission of Southland Harness Racing   -   Check site here

Harness racing trainers have a hard enough row to hoe as it is without having health and injury concerns as well but that is often the reality that trainers face. Benny Hill would know that better than most at the moment as he tries to get his head around the bleeding issues with his star pacer Dalton Bromac. The big strapping son of Major In Art looked the next Grand Circuit champion in the making when he took the harness racing scene in New Zealand by storm last season. His displays of powers and speed had harness racing pundits reaching for the superlatives and when he ran 2:36.1 for 2200 metres at Auckland just before Christmas last year, the world was his oyster. However as so often happens with elite equine athletes, health issues reared their ugly head just as he was hitting top gear.  The favourite for the Harness Jewels at Ashburton at the end of May, Dalton Bromac bled from the nostrils in his final lead up race the week before the Harness Jewels and was put stood down for a month as per the regulations. Benny was in no hurry to get his star pacer back this season but a really hard winter and Dalton Bromac  being slow to come to hand meant he wasn't going to be ready for Cup Week. So Benny decided he may as well head to the McCarthys in Sydney to kick start his five year old season. Benny was confident he was in for a big season. " It was a really hard winter here and he just took longer to come to hand than I thought he would." " When he wasn't going to make Cup Week I had no hesitation in sending him to Sydney," Benny said. That looked like a really good decision when Dalton Bromac trialled recently at Menangle. " He jogged a mile in 1:53 and change and did it on his ear." " I was really confident heading into Saturday night at Menangle and so was Luke and when he only ran third I was pretty disappointed." "I was a lot more disappointed when I got a text from Luke McCarthy shortly afterwards telling me he had bled again from the nostrils after the race." " I was just gutted to be honest." " As a second timer, he cops three months out this time and having bled the last two times he has raced, he doesn't look to have a future racing down under." " The only place he can race and receive the help he obviously needs is North America and that's where his future now lies." " I have already had three calls from prospective buyers in the last 24 hours so I just have to settle on one of those." "The reality is that this is just part of training horses." "You just have to pick yourself up and go again," Benny said. With the open class ranks in New Zealand short at the moment of out and out stars, the loss of Dalton Bromac to North America at this time will be keenly felt. Harnesslink Media

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