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Irish-born Kiwi, Gerry Cronin, is over the moon. His brown McArdle mare, Lola Jones, has been named Dunstan Feeds Cambridge Raceway’s Horse of the Year. The Steve Telfer and Chris Garlick trained six-year-old won six times, and placed six times at Cambridge this season. She won the title by eight points from Fizzie Lizzi (32). KD Hall (31), Toot Toot (26) and Danke (25) completed the top five. Cronin, who owns Lola Jones, was ecstatic with Dunstan Feed’s $10,000 sponsorship. It’s the only horse he works in conjunction with Steve Telfer and Chris Garlick. “It’s a dream come true, a fairy tale, considering I only bought her to train and drive as an amateur horse. Now she’s won six races this season and has broodmare possibilities later on. “I’m delighted and want to thank Dunstan for their kind sponsorship. I targeted the series at the start of the season. It gives you something to strive for, and now that we’ve won it, well its worth another two wins isn’t it?” Cronin said. “I’m over the moon. The Club and Dunstan need to be applauded. Even though I’ll have to place her carefully, I’ll keep racing her next season as well. Maybe we can defend the title,” he added. Meanwhile, the Director of Dunstan Feeds Ltd, David Smith, was delighted that Cronin and Lola Jones claimed the prize. “Good on him. I’m delighted for both the horse and her connections. We are happy to be involved in the industry and with Cambridge Raceway. This is our fourth year now and we have signed up again for next year,” Smith said. The club's Business Development Manager, David Branch said Lola Jones and Cronin were worthy winners. He explained how Lola Jones got the prize. "This season the registered owner of the winning horse, with the highest points, as at the last meeting in which it competed at 'The Raceway' will receive $4,000; the trainer of that horse will receive a $3,000 product prize; the trainer of the second horse with the most points a $2,000 product prize; and trainer of third horse a $1,000 product prize.” He said each winning horse of a totalisator race at 'The Raceway' accumulated points relevant to its starting position, and every horse that placed second in a totalisator race will receive two points. The horse with the most points after “The Raceway's’ final meeting of the season was deemed the winner. Points were allocated as follows: Mobile races: barrier 1,2,3,4 = 5 pts; 5,6,9,10 = 7 pts; 7,8,11-16 & up = 8pts Standing start: Ft 5 pts; 10m 6 pts; 20m 7 pts; 30m. Meanwhile ‘The Raceway’s 2016-2017, and the club’s ‘Performance-of-the-Year’ went to the 2016 New Zealand Cup winner, Lazarus. Branch said a ‘Horse-of-the Meeting’ was selected among race winners with the most meritorious winning performance. The Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen trained Lazarus won the award for his one-and-three-quarter length victory in the Group Two $60,000 Waikato Flying Mile on January 6. He was driven by Purdon and paced the mile in 1:54.9 and came home 55.5 and 26.8. Branch also explained how Lazarus got the award. “After the final meeting of the year (last Sunday) a panel of judges selected the Cambridge Raceway Horse of the Year from amongst the nightly winners. “The winning owner(s) of Lazarus will receive a trophy in recognition of their horse’s effort,” Branch explained. Meanwhile. Steve Telfer and Chris Garlick cleaned up as the 'Leading Trainer(s)' at 'The Raceway' this season.   All Cambridge Raceway winners in 2016-2017: Leading Trainer (sponsored by NRM)   1. Telfer/Garlick 126 2. Tim Vince 110 3. Todd Mitchell 101 4. Barry Purdon 89 5. Ray Green 82   Leading Junior Driver (Garrards Horse & Hound)   1. Jack MacKinnon 23 2. Dylan Ferguson 22 3. Robert Argue 18 4. Tony Cameron 15 5. Mark Johnson 14   Leading Driver of Trotters (Club House Sports Bar)   1. David Butcher 57 2. Todd Mitchell 37 3. Maurice McKendry 29 4. Kyle Marshall 29 5. Sailesh Abernethy 28 6. Robert Argue 28   Leading Trainer of Trotters (B & J Gordon)   1. Geoffrey Martin 37 2. Wallis/ Hackett 35 3. Ross Paynter 29 4. Tim Vince 28 5. James Stormont 24     Duane Ranger

New Zealand superstar Lazarus is the 2017 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit champion. The four-year-old proved dominant with victories in the New Zealand and Victoria Cups while being placed third in the Miracle Mile in Sydney throughout the season. Lazarus amassed 240 points. Points are awarded during the Grand Circuit, 100 points for a win, 60 points for second, 40 points for third, and so on, to last placing. The eight leg series which commenced back in 1977 is now worth more than $4.4 million and starts in November at Christchurch with the New Zealand Cup followed by the Inter Dominion in Perth, Auckland Cup, WA Pacing Cup, Victoria & Hunter Cups, Miracle Mile before concluding with the Blacks A Fake Queensland Championship. The Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen trained entire becomes the first pacer since the freakish Christian Cullen (1998/99) to be crowned Grand Circuit champion as a four-year-old. It was a seamless transition for the son of Bettors Delight from age group racing to open class racing and thrilled fans throughout the season, his combined winning margin from his New Zealand and Victoria Cup triumphs was unbelievable. He won the New Zealand Cup by 10 lengths while the Victoria Cup was almost a mirror image with a winning margin of 12 metres. Driven throughout the season by Purdon, Lazarus only contested the three races on the Grand Circuit throughout the year. Overall, he won 12 of his 15 starts while amassing more than $1.2 million in prizemoney. Lazarus joins Smolda and Young Rufus as Grand Circuit champions from the All Stars stable. Amazingly, Lazarus becomes the first outright champion for the stable after both Smolda (Lennytheshark) and Young Rufus (Double Identity) deadheated. The full list of Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit winners during the season were Lazarus (New Zealand Cup), Smolda (Inter Dominion), Dream About Me (Auckland Cup), Chicago Bull (WA Pacing Cup), Lazarus (Victoria Cup), Bling It On (Hunter Cup), Lennytheshark (Miracle Mile) and Hectorjayjay (Blacks A Fake Qld Championship). And the Top 5 point scorers were; Lazarus – 240 points Smolda – 185 Hectorjayjay – 175 Bling It On – 165 Lennytheshark – 160 Congratulations to the owners of Lazarus – Phil & Glenys Kennard, Trevor Casey and Kevin Riseley. Chris Barsby

Reducing the maximum field size from 14 to 12 will be among items discussed at a meeting of the clubs attached to the Southern Harness Racing body, on Thursday next week. Southern Harness General Manager Jason Broad says TAB figures indicate 12 is the optimum field size and has the potential to provide not only a better betting contest but also a better spectacle. “It would also take the winner's share of the stake from 55 percent to 59 percent,” he added. Broad eases the fear dropping each field by two will reduce opportunities. “Since the rating system was introduced we've been running more races than ever,” he said. He puts this down to the good work of the programming committee of which he, along with Clark Barron, Geoff Knight, Murray Swain and Nathan Williamson, are members. “It's taken programming away from the Clubs and we've been able to put races on more consistently. Our discussions have only been positive and feedback good.” Field size will be but one of a number of items discussed next week at the meeting of Club Presidents to confirm plans for the new season. There may also be some review of the current season but a full picture of financial performance is still some way off. It will certainly be available for the AGM in November, at which the Board for the new season will be elected. The three board members each have a one year term with the current appointees being Murray Little (Invercargill HRC), plus John Earl and Kevin McNaught (other eight clubs). Nominations have not yet been called. Even without the financials, Broad said the season has felt more positive. Stakes were up and all runners received a share, and they will be up about another 10 percent this season as the result of the extra Racing Board funds. “Also, the HRNZ bonus of $1500 on every maiden race will go to the winner.” Broad pointed out that the Southern Harness Board provides bulk stakes funding for each meeting, the Programme Committee allocates a sum to each race, and Clubs can add to it. The only races run for less than $8000 will be the Claimers contests, at $6000 because of their penalty free status. Most races other than for non-winners would be tiered from $8000 to $12,000, depending on a number of factors, with Cup races starting at $14,000. The number of meetings in the catchment area for the new season is up from 38 to 40 with Ascot Park to host 18: Invercargill Club-14, Northern Southland-three and Riverton-one. There will be nine at the Central Southland Raceway: Winton-seven, Wairio-two; five each at the Young Quinn Raceway (Wyndham) and Gore Racecourse (Gore), and one each at Cromwell (Wyndham Club), Omakau (Central Otago) and Roxburgh. Mac Henry

Hall-of-Fame galloping trainer Graeme Rogerson notched up his second harness racing win of the season at Cambridge Raceway on Sunday, and in doing so he said he still loves training standardbreds and will always have a few in his Hamilton barn. Todd Mitchell wore the familiar red, blue and green Rogerson colours to victory behind a 3-year-old son of Bettor's Delight gelding, named Flash Boy. They had a neck to spare over Bettor Buy A Rose and Zac Butcher. The 3-year-old bay paced the Turf Bar Maiden in 2:47.8 for the 2200m mobile. He came home in 59.4 and 25.8 and produced a 2:02.7 mile rate. That was his first win in two starts. It was also Rogerson's first victory since Little Bro and Hayden Cullen won at Cambridge on November 17. Prior to that his last two victories came via Easy For Cullen and Steve Phillips won at Rotorua on January 24 last year. Prior to that his previous solo victory came via Muscle And Power (David Butcher) and Cambridge Raceway on August 18, 2011. “I don‘ t get to the trots much these days but I still enjoy watching them on TV and training a few. I’ll always have a trotter or two – I like them. We’ve got a few young ones coming through next season. “I’m looking forward to them going around. As for this fella, well Mark Purdon had Flash Boy. He had a throat infection and Mark sent him to us. Our vet saw to him and he’s come back good this campaign,” Rogerson said. “I think he’s capable of going on with it,” he added. Rogerson has only had 26 starters to the races this season compared to 500 (46 wins) in 2011, or the 717 starters (98 wins) when he was at his peak with Steven Reid in 2009-2010. All up Rogerson has trained 344 winners and netted more than $2.3m in stakes since he first took out his licence in 2007. They comprised 51 winners ($369,418) as a solo trainer in 2009, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2016 and this season. Rogerson trained a further 108 winners ($680,223) when he trained in partnership with Peter Blanchard from 2012 to 2016. He also conditioned a whopping 168 winners ($2.2m) in 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 with Steven Reid. Rogerson started training standardbreds with Peter Simpson in 2007-2008 and 2008-2009. They won 17 races together and $189,464 “I’m very busy with galloping. As you well know I have a horse or two there as well. Warren Rich, Hayden Cullen and Michelle Northcott oversee the standardbred arm of our operation. “They will tell you about some of the nice ones we will have going around. We have lots of babies including three or four trotting yearlings,” Tauherenikau-based Rogerson said. He did make special mention of a couple of up-and-comers They were a 3-year-old Bettor's Delight - Tanisa Bromac filly named Trinity Bromac; a Monarchy - Santorini yearling filly named Estelita and a brown Monarchy - Banana Smoothie yearling filly named Splitting Image. “Quite a few of them show a lot of promise. With all our young ones and nine above average trotters I think we will be in for a much better season after August,” Rogerson said. Duane Ranger

Finally the ugly ducklings of the harness racing world are starting to see some love. For decades stakes for trotters have lagged embarrassingly far behind the money the best pacers race for but slowly the gap is closing, with increases to some of the biggest trotting races in the country this week. The most telling improvement is in the stake for the three trotting Jewels, which all increase from $100,000 to $125,000 for next season, putting them only $25,000 behind the pacing Jewels. While the trotters' Jewels races are still open sex, whereas each pacing age group has separate Jewels for either sex, the stakes gap between the two gaits is now small compared with other group one races.   In the past decade in particular races like the Inter Dominion, NZ Cup and Miracle Mile have been enormously higher than their trotting equivalents, with trotting fans even more infuriated when the Inter Dominion trotting series was dropped altogether for no good reason. But Addington have added further respectability to the trotting ranks with the Dominion to be run at Addington in November rising from $260,000 to $300,000 for this year, making it the richest trot in New Zealand. That continues the recent improvements in trotting only stakes, with the NZ Trot Champs going from $80,000 to $100,000, as will the Northern Trotting Derby next term while the $100,000 Anzac Cup at Alexandra Park is still a relatively new race. The A$300,000 Great Southern Star at Melton has raised the bar across the Tasman, where the Breeders Crown has also seen the trotting divisions split into males and females. "We think the trotters deserve a boost in stakes for the Jewels," says HRNZ boss Edward Rennell. "We would love to raise the pacers too and hope in the future we will." While the elite trotters like Monbet and Speeding Spur - both returning next season from injury - will have some big-money targets, the lot of the lower grade trotters has also never been better. With Alexandra Park moving to $12,000 minimum stakes next season and Addington to $10,000, trotters who race at the two premier tracks will go their entire careers without having to race for less than five figures Which makes them some of the best value horseflesh in New Zealand as trotting-bred yearlings average around $20,000 at the sales, with only a handful each year fetching more than $50,000. The closing of the gap will please enthusiasts of the squaregaiter, whose love of the gait is only matched by the near zealot-like devotion of galloping's jumps racing fraternity. For decades our elite trotters have won hearts in no small part because of their durability and how often punters are able to see them. Horses like Lyell Creek, Take A Moment, I Can Doosit, Pride Of Petite and more lately Monbet have been world class, the latter in particular boosting the French blood through his sire Love You needed to bring the New Zealand breed into the 21st century. Trotting stakes still have some way to go, with three-year-old Enghien winning nine of 10 races this season and almost every one that matters at the top end but still only bagging a respectable $234,041. That tally could go well past $300,000 should he win the Victoria Trot Derby and Breeders Crown next month, when he will still be a three-year-old until September (long story, don't ask). That at least compares favourably to the $481,055 Spanish Armada won as New Zealand's highest stake earning three-year-old pacer this season, with Vincent the highest earner male three-year-old pacer with $418,316, much of that in Australia. But the real boost for the trotting gait has come at the lowest end of the scale, where they have been a godsend for Alexandra Park, who often card full field maiden and one-win trots while the track is struggling for turnover-driving numbers. "The trotters have been huge for us and not long ago we had a meeting where we had almost as many trotters racing as pacers," said ATC racing boss Regan Cotter. "And those numbers should only keep getting better with the new minimum stakes." Trot's top-up • Stakes for trotters have always lagged behind pacers. • But some of NZ's biggest trotting races, the Jewels and the Dominion, are set to increase. • Once the poor relations of harness racing, trotters have been instrumental in securing decent field sizes at Alexandra Park. Michael Guerin

The HRNZ Handicapping Sub-Committee met in June to review the application of the Handicapping Points System that was introduced nationally on 13 March 2017. Included in this review was consideration of submissions from a number of industry groups and individuals on aspects of the system. In summary, the Sub- Committee is encouraged by the results to date with field sizes up, more even racing as highlighted by higher average favourite starting prices and less races with dominating favourites that inhibit turnover. Additional races have been run over that scheduled highlighting the industry has quickly come to terms with the new system. Following is a summary of changes to the handicapping system approved by the Harness Racing new Zealand Board for 2017/18 season  8 points for wins up to and including $10,000 (was $9,000)  10 points for wins over $10,000 (was $9,000)  Trotters awarded same points as pacers  Horses placing second and third will increase one point but can’t go past last winning or revised rating  Non-win horses brought in line with winners – points for placings second and third only  Reduced Age Group Caps: 2YO Trotters – R65, 3YO Trotters R85, 2YO Pacers R75, 3YO pacers R95  Non-tote races up to $5,000 will be penalty free for non-win horses (applied retrospectively also)  Unplaced horses in claiming races will drop points for placing fifth to last  Horses above the age group caps and horses close to the caps will be re-rated at season’s end   For the full pdf click HERE!

He knew it was coming so Jeff Whittaker didn’t mind waiting a little longer for the real Christian Who to show up. And when the royally bred filly showed immense speed at Ashburton to run down her rivals with a 25.9 quarter on Sunday the Springston horseman could rest easy in the fact his opinion was spot on the mark. “We’ve always had a bit of time for her,” he said. “But it’s been a case of allowing her to grow into her big frame, she wears a 63-inch hopple. “It probably took longer than what I thought it would, but the writing was probably on the wall in her two previous starts where she found the line so well.” The third foal of former outstanding filly and then racemare, Natal Franco - Christian Who has plenty going for her both on the racetrack and in the breeding barn when the time comes down the track. Whittaker trained the dam for her last three starts after she did the majority of her racing for Southland’s Vin Devery. A naturally quick mover with a high turn of foot, Natal Franco has definitely left some of those traits in the daughter of Christian Cullen. Princess Arts, who won seven, is the only other foal from the mare to make it to the races. Matty Williamson was in the bike, as he was the start before, on Sunday and Whittaker wanted to give credit to the mares’ two previous drivers in his son Josh and also Jimmy Curtin. “They did a lot of the work with her in getting her confidence up and allowing her to mature. “Matty has clicked with her well in the last two starts, and she went super for Josh the start before that too.” With a small team of six in work, Whittaker is happy with where his numbers are at. Trotter Another Chapter isn’t far away from another win and is actually in a very similar boat to Christian Who. “She’s a big girl too at 17 hands and is still maturing into herself. “The talent is there when she gets it all together though for sure.” Although there’s a nice race team in the wings, Whittaker was most excited about the prospects of his two sons, Josh and Luke who will both be in the junior driver ranks from the start of the new season. Josh is already an established driver but Luke will begin his career on August 1. “Luke has just shifted up to work for Tony Herlihy in Auckland after spending a month in Australia with Delightful Memphis for Mark Jones. “It will be a great experience for him. “And Josh is being kept really busy with his equine dentistry work, the trainers around the country are really getting behind which is fantastic and something we are really thankful for.” And the best part about the boys being based in separate islands? There’ll be no family arguments over who gets the drive when Dad lines one up at the races. “That’s a bit of a bonus really.” Matt Markham

Maidonthebeach has just one eye but that wasn't the only significant aspect of her win at Ascot Park last month. It was more related to the fact her win was the 10th this season for Ryal Bush trainer Hamish Hunter, she was his seventh individual winner, and Tauranga owner Graham Cooney is the breeder or co-breeder, and owner or co-owner of them all. Because Hunter plans to have four runners at Oamaru on 30 July, for the season's finale and two of the four will be 'Cooney' horses, the prospect of them providing all Hunters wins this term is high. Previously a resident in Southland and since 2012 a ministerial appointment to the Racing Board, Cooney said Hunter became his number one trainer after he got to know him about 20 years ago. They were part of a small group formed before the turn of the century, to look at the proposed rationalisation of the code in the province. “We were both involved in 'Harness 2000', travelled about a bit together, and I gained so much respect for him,” said Cooney, who had no hesitation in naming the Hunter-trained Nursemaid, dam of Maidonthebeach, as the best he's had. “She won the most races (14), the most money ($195,292) and gave me the biggest thrills,” he said, referring to her triumph in the 2004 Group Two Southland Oaks and winning three races at the 2005 New Zealand Cup carnival. Nursemaid was retired to stud after some lower suspensory filling, became apparent on the eve of the 2007 Ashburton Flying Stakes. Her first foal Devil May Care won 11, while her second, Groomsman has eight on the board. Three of those were this season, making him the biggest contributor to Hunter's tally, ahead of Acolyte out of Burlesque who scored twice. Beside Maidonthebeach, Nursemaid's third foal, the other winners were Porsche Canardly out of Nostalgia, Tiziano out of Shamrocks, Comic Book Hero out of Dija Vous and Mandolin out of Harp. Comic Book Hero and Mandolin will represent him at Oamaru. Cooney recalled buying his first horse in 1979 and started breeding a few years later. “I would have bred about 100 foals,” he said, “and have another four this year.” All of his broodmares are based at Macca Lodge in Northern Southland, except for Nursemaid who lives permanently at Nevele R. “She's had one or two problems and got a collapsed stomach with Maidonthebeach, all her foals are embryo transfer now.” By this means she has produced fillies by A Rocknroll Dance (yearling) and American Ideal (weanling) and a mare is carrying her next foal by A Rocknroll Dance. Hunter always described Nursemaid as a very dimensional horse, good at a mile or two miles, stand or mobile, wet or dry, and able to stand hard racing. He said of her first two foals, Devil My Care was a winner at two and kept going, Groomsman was placed at two and is still winning. “I get them as two-year-olds, this filly (Maidonthebeach) lost her eye in a breaking-in accident. She came to me a few months after that and has adapted well, we cover the eye because of the grit but nothing else special. It doesn't affect her but she has been the slowest to get going. ” Since moving permanently to Tauranga, Cooney has watched most of his wins on television. “It's not quite like being there but its still pretty good,” he said. And he has no intention of moving his horses. “I'm happy with what is happening in Southland, the way they are working together, the better stake money and lower costs.” As for his involvement with the Racing Board, he describes it as “the most challenging governance role I've had. There is so much that needs changed and its mostly technology related.” He remains hopeful the race fields legislation will have its first reading before the election and is reassured by the fact both major parties support it.  Mac Henry

New Zealand’s greatest harness race is edging its way back toward NZ $1million but that isn’t the main priority for Addington bosses. The New Zealand Trotting Cup, with the continued sponsorship of Christchurch Casino, will be worth NZ$800,000 when run on its latest possible date of November 14 this year. The Cup is almost always on the second Tuesday in November so November 14 is the latest it is ever scheduled and with the $50,000 increase in stakes this season and the strong New Zealand dollar it sits alongside the Miracle Mile in Sydney as the second equal richest harness race in Australasia. Only the $1.1million Inter Dominion Final in Perth in December is richer. The Cup has been held for higher stakes before, peaking at NZ$1.2million when Changeover won in 2008 and then NZ$1million when Monkey King won the following season, both times artificially boosted by grants from the Government for New Zealand’s iconic races. But at NZ$800,000 it is still worth three times as much as any other harness race in New Zealand, rightly so as it is the closest thing harness racing has to a Melbourne Cup in this part of the world, or probably any other. With increased funding from the New Zealand Racing Board, Addington could have afforded to go back to $1million but have wisely decided to spend the majority of their latest windfall on lower grade stakes, announcing significant increases across the board last week. The reality is while a $1million New Zealand Cup sounds glamorous, it will in all likelihood attract exactly the same field for $800,000, with the Inter Dominions being a month later and the Victoria Cup being moved to October 14 both impacting on any likely Australian raiders. While the TAB are yet to open their first Cup market defending champion Lazarus will be a hot favourite. He has already tasted victory this week, being named the Australasian Grand Circuit champion after the final race of that premier competition was held in Brisbane last Saturday. Michael Guerin

Empire Stallions (NZ) has reached an agreement with Noel Kennard and his experienced sales and management team to act as their New Zealand representatives effective immediately following the decision of Ron Burrell to retire. Ron has served as general manager of Empire’s New Zealand operations for the past six years. After 47 years of racing, breeding and managing stallion careers, Ron has decided to relocate to the Gold Coast with his wife Lilian to be closer to their daughter and grandchildren and he is looking forward to enjoying their well-deserved retirement. “Ron has been a wonderful friend and asset to Empire” said David James, principle of Empire Stallions. “He is dedicated, loyal and his organizational and accounting skills are second to none. We wish to thank Ron for all his efforts on Empire’s behalf and while he will be greatly missed, we wish him and his family health and happiness in this new phase of their lives. Ron and Noel have agreed to work together during the next few months to ensure a smooth management transition.” David James stated that “we have found the perfect solution to Ron’s retirement with Noel Kennard’s outstanding team. Noel has been a leading figure in all facets of the New Zealand Standardbred breeding industry for many years and with his experience and extensive knowledge of the business, this is a natural fit. We couldn’t be happier moving forward.” With Noel in the supervisor’s chair, John Robinson will act as sales manager and Mel Johnson will handle all administrative duties from their Christchurch office. “It is very exciting to combine forces with Empire Stallions” said Noel Kennard. “Empire is the second largest breeding establishment in the Southern Hemisphere and their desire to expand into New Zealand this season is a great opportunity for New Zealand Breeders to have access to these exceptional world class stallions. We believe this is just the beginning of a very successful partnership.” Empire will offer NZ breeders a choice of eight sensational stallions from its powerhouse line-up this season. Five new stallions (Betting Line, Heston Blue Chip, Pet Rock, Well Said and Western Terror) will be available via fresh, chilled semen while three stallions (Somebeachsomewhere, Captaintreacherous and Rocknroll Hanover) will be available via frozen semen. Double World Champion and first season sire Betting Line is the fastest 3YO colt and all-age stallion ever sired by Bettor’s Delight. This Little Brown Jug winner was voted the North American 3YO Colt and Canadian All-Age Horse of the Year in 2016.   Heston Blue Chip was a winner of 25 stakes at 2 & 3 including the Breeders Crown. He is American Ideal’s richest son and was voted the USA 3YO Colt Pacer of the Year over A Rocknroll Dance and Sweet Lou. Triple World Champion Pet Rock has the distinction of being Rockroll Hanover’s fastest son with a record of 1:47 and $1.9 million in earnings. He is the Leading First Crop Sire in North America in 2017 with 66 starters, 23 winners and 15 in 2:00 from 99 foals after only 30 days of the North American 2YO season. USA Pacer of the Year Well Said will now be available to NZ breeders via fresh, chilled semen as he will shuttle to Australia in August. Well Said has been a leading Top Ten U.S. Sire each year since his first crop raced in 2013 and he is currently one of NZ’s leading percentage sires from two small frozen semen crops to race. He has already sired both a Meadowlands Pace and Breeders Crown Champion and 13 faster than 1:50. The sensational international sire Western Terror has crossed remarkably well with Australasian mares producing the winners of over $13.7 million from only 3 down under crops to race. He has many Group 1 performers to his credit including the twice NZ Horse of the Year Terror to Love p,1:51 ($2,429,978). Western Terror’s worldwide progeny earnings stand at over $90 million. Empire will again offer the World’s Leading Sire Somebeachsomewhere, USA Horse of the Year at Both 2 & 3 Captaintreacherous and the prolific Rocknroll Hanover who has sired the winners of over $105 million all via frozen semen. For stallion updates, progeny race replays, stallion paddock and race videos, photo galleries, pedigrees and hypothetical matings, please visit  

Mattias Hjalmarsson has known for more than a year what The Rev is capable of. But the Swedish-born, Pukekohe-based trainer also knows that The Rev isn’t the wisest cookie in the biscuit jar. As Hjalmarsson put it, ‘it was just a matter of wait and hope’. The erratic trotter that has broken more times than he hasn’t in 23 life-time starts, broke through for his maiden victory at Cambridge Raceway yesterday (Sunday). The Rev and junior driver Robert Argue dealt to their nine opponents by six lengths in the $8,000 Cambridge New World Handicap for the maiden up to R49 trotters. It was Hjalmarsson’s second training success of the season after Lundqvist (Andre Poutama) got the chocolates at Cambridge on October 21. Prior to that, his last winner came via Eyrewell Pegasus (Todd Mitchell) on November 16, 2014, also at Cambridge Raceway. “That was my 10th training win now. They don’t come around regularly enough though. I've also had 40 other placings since I took out my licence in 2012. That’s 50 all-up ($124,281 career stakes). “The Rev was always capable of surprising. He’s got a nice gait and can trot, but he hasn’t got a brain. He’s a rising five-year-old, so I’m hoping the penny is finally starting to click. “He’s always been capable, because he has gone 2:50. I’ve know he’s been able to do this for at least a year now. Up until yesterday, he’s just been so frustrating,” said Hjalmarsson. The Rev trotted yesterday’s 2200m mobile in 2:56.2 (mile rate 2:08.9) and came home in 59.5 and 29.5. He was the $19.20 ninth favourite of 10. He is owned by Hjalmarsson and the Classic Equine New Zealand Syndicate. The Revenue - Beasley gelding was bred by Colonial Breeding Services Limited. Hjalmarsson had big praise for driver Argue. “When Rob got him to step and then get to the lead like he did, I didn’t mind him being way out on his own in the pace-making role. It was a good gutsy positive drive. I’m just rapt the horse finally showed something on race-day. “I like the kid (Argue). He’s a good driver and promising young horseman. I am proud that he got his 15th career win through The Rev. He’s now a premier night driver and I’m pleased to say that we helped him on his way,” Hjalmarsson said. Argue felt he was on the winner a long way from home. “After we had gone 200m he was just in the zone and trotting like a toff. I knew I had it won at the 600 because he was trotting real fluent and safe,” Argue said. “I've hit all my goals for the season and gone past $100,000 in season stakes. That was my 12th win. That was a great way to end the season at Cambridge,” he added. Hjalmarsson said he had virtually retired from driving, and it was encouraging to call on young drivers who were prepared to both work and listen. His last driving success came behind his beloved Amy's Invasion at Waimate on December 16, 2012. She finished a 10.5 length fourth behind her stablemate on Sunday. Another highlight of the meeting came in the first ever Monte Saddle Trot, which was raced between the sixth and seventh events. The 2200m Monte attracted six entries with Commander Paris and Catherine Cameron winning by a large margin from Makarewa Jake (Riina Maattanen), and Majestic Ali and Tyla Hackett third. Wallis and Hackett only had three horses in the saddle trot and they nailed the trifecta. The Jim Cole trained Cool Sun and David Medcalfe were fourth. Only two horses recorded sub two-minute mile rates at Sunday’s meeting. They were the Arna Donnelly trained and Scott Phelan driven Glenferrie Duster (1:58 even), and the Ray Green trained and David Butcher driven Rocknroll Lincoln (1:59.9). Both were favourites paying $1.60 and $2 respectively. Duane Ranger  

Stu Campbell, who gave away training standardbreds two years ago, was back as a winning owner at Forbury Park on Saturday with Pres The Belle. The three-year-old filly is fittingly a trotter, as Campbell had good success with trotters among them Fleur’s Invasion (12 wins), Daisy Belle (eight) and Elayjay (nine) when based at Ocean View. He won 149 races as a trainer but moved onto other business interests in 2014. Pres The Belle, who was having her third start, is by The Pres from Daisy Belle raced by Campbell in partnership with Des Minehan and Stuart Heal, both of Cromwell and Dexter Nind, of Waitane (Southland) on lease from Ashburton breeders Keith and Bevan Grice. She is trained at Mosgiel by Darryn Simpson. The same owners were involved with Waitoto Express, the last winner trained by Campbell at Forbury Park in May, 2014. Campbell had his first win with the pacer Sir Tom at Forbury Park in January, 1983. Daisy Belle (by Sundon) had her first win at Forbury Park in 2004. Pres The Belle is her third foal and first to race. Two of her foals, a Bacardi Lindy colt (2011) and a colt foaled in 2014 by The Pres, have died of colic. Ken Dempster, who retired after 35 years as judge and earlier five years as assistant judge for the Forbury Park Trotting Club, took a set of reins for a lap of the track in a dual sulky with a pacer, co-driven by Nathan Williamson. Dempster gave a salute as he passed the winning post. Dempster took on additional duties with on-course announcements on Saturday after Dave McDonald, the scheduled commentator for the meeting was sidelined. McDonald was unwell when he arrived at the track. He was taken by ambulance to Dunedin Hospital for observation. He was discharged later in the day and drove back to his home in Invercargill. Commentaries were done from Trackside television, first by George Simon and later Matthew Cross in the Christchurch studio. Tayler Strong  

Rory McIlwrick used experience to good purpose when winning the McMillan Equine Feeds 2017 New Zealand Junior Drivers Championship. The series concluded at Forbury Park yesterday (Saturday) when McIlwrick won the heat for trotters with Mr Majestic and finished second in the heat for pacers with Franco Huntington. He had won the two heats, both for pacers, at Addington the previous night with Bettor Chance and Gypsy’s Choice. He finished the series with 63 points, 31 ahead of his nearest rival, Ben Butcher. He was the major contributor to the 200 point tally for the the South Island team against 135 for the North Island. McIlwrick (25) completes his time as a Junior driver on July 31. “It is definitely a highlight of my time as a junior, a culmination of my whole career. It was special and great meeting all of the young people involved in the series,’’ he said. “The trainers did a great job with the horses I drove.” McIlwrick had contested one other series in his six seasons as a junior driver, being unplaced in 2013 when Simon Lawson was the winner. McIlwrick had on side his own experience and the experience of trainer Ali Malcolmson, who prepares Mr Majestic. McIlwrick has now won 112 races from 1254 drives.  He is the leading junior this season with 38 wins, his best season, ahead of 26  in 2015/16. He reached 100 wins on the trotter Och Aye The Noo at Forbury Park in March. McIlwrick stood down from driving for the last five weeks of last season after accumulating 74 wins in order to remain a junior this season and pursue the leading junior driver title. He rates his win on Golden Gate in an intermediate trot at the 2016 NZ Cup meeting as his best. He drove his first winner, Tactical Attraction at Invercargill in December, 2011 when based in Southland. He has been with the stable of Martin Denton in recent times. “I will just go where the wind takes me,’’ he said. He began work with the stable of Mark Purdon and has had time with Robert Dunn, Cran Dalgety (18 months), Kirk Larsen, John Caldow (three months at Melton), Nathan Williamson, Amber Hoffman, Graeme Anderson and Phil Williamson. Mr Majestic lasted to win the heat by a nose from Dusky Eyre after McIlwrick improved from sixth in the running to lead at the 500m. “I was hoarse with yelling at him over the closing stages and just hoped I had held on,’’  said McIlwrick. Franco Huntington made most of the pace in his heat and finished three quarters of a length from Arthur Lowe, driven by Dylan Ferguson.   The final points table for the championship: Rory McIlwrick 63 Ben Butcher 32 Katie Cox  31 Kimberly Butt 30 John Morrison 29 Mark Johnson 26 Matt Anderson 25 Dylan Ferguson 24 Jack MacKinnon 24 Sheree Tomlinson 22 Robert Argue 16 Tony Cameron 13   South Island 200 North Island 135 Tayler Strong

Sometimes it is not about the money. Because Mark Purdon’s third Derby winner of the season has proven to be his most satisfying because he could share it with some of those closest to him. Purdon trained and drove The More The Better to overcome a second line draw in the A$75,000 Queensland Derby on Saturday night, last season’s juvenile of the year remaining unbeaten in three Australian starts. Winning Derbys is a lucrative hobby for Purdon, having already captured the two strongest in Australasia this season with Vincent --- training the quinella in the NZ Derby and trifecta in the NSW classic. But Saturday was different because not only does the champion trainer part own The More The Better, he shares in that ownership with his father Roy and his long-time friend Sir David Levene. Roy is the patriarch of the world-famous racing dynasty and the most popular figure in New Zealand harness racing but now 90, he rarely races horses these days. So to have him on track at Albion Park was something special. “It made for a very special win,” says Mark. “Dad made the effort to come across and so did Pilch (close family friend Neil Pilcher). We have had a great week and got out every day to see people and have a look around. “So to have both of them here as well as the boys (sons Nathan and Michael) makes this win more memorable.” The More The Better hasn’t improved as much this season as stablemates Vincent and Ultimate Machete so has dropped down the pecking order but his unbeaten Queensland campaign and the looming Breeders Crown prove the three-year-old season is now so long there are plenty of spoils to go around. His win was the consolation as the end of a tough week for Purdon-Rasmussen stables with first Smolda and then superstar filly Spanish Armada retired. “We think she has a fracture in her leg and there was no way we would take any risks with her so she will be retired to stud,” says Purdon. A standout juvenile, Spanish Armada was the best of her age this season, winning a string of group ones but her NZ Oaks victory in May was one of the greatest in the classic’s long history. Saturday’s other Albion Park highlight was the supersonic sprint that saw Hectorjayay down My Field Marshal in the A$200,000 Blacks A Fake. Michael Guerin

Ashburton harness racing fixed odds movers as at 11:25am Race 1 - Eden Creek $2.90 leads win betting over Dragon Boy $3.90.   Race 2 - Tara Tutaia $2.20 is easily the best backed runner in win & multi betting.   Race 3 - Goodtime Gamble $3.80 & Majestic Moment $3.80 are equal leaders in multi betting.   Race 4 - The early money here is saying Bettor Joy $1.90 - $1.50 is the best of good things.   Race 5 - Bettor Than That $2.20 has taken 80% of early win money with strong support also coming for The Kiwi Way $4.20.   Race 6 - Mistacullect $3.40 leads win betting over Bet On A Rascal $12.00.   Race 7 - Mr Fahrenheit $13.00 - $9.00 is best backed in win betting over All Lit Up $4.80.   Race 8 - Master Moonlite $1.50 - $1.32 is the only runner wanted in both win & multi betting.  Harnesslink Media Courtesy of Stephen Richardson (TAB)

Cambridge harness racing fixed odds movers as at 11:25am Race 1 - Stand Sure $3.70 is best backed in win betting over Kate Jackson $8.50.   Race 2 - Donna May $4.50 leads win betting over Way To Go $4.80.   Race 3 - Nava $1.70 easily leads multi betting with some early win money coming for Flash Boy $16.00.   Race 4 - Glenferrie Duster $1.65 easily leads win & multi betting.   Race 5 - Precious Moment $4.80 is best backed in win & multi betting.   Race 6 - Trinity Bromac $4.60 is leading win & multi betting.   Race 7 - Drover's Eyre $8.50 & Lola Jones $5.80 are the best backed runners here.    Race 8 - Rocknroll Lincoln $2.70 is racing in multi betting with Rascher easily leading win betting.    Race 9 - Floating On Eyre $9.50 is easily best backed in win betting over M T Pockets $8.00.   Harnesslink Media Courtesy of Stephen Richardson (TAB)  

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