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Well known Reporoa harness racing enthusiast Danny McGill has had a lot of smart horses over the years and in last nights Alexandra Park winner Elliesjet  he seems to have another one to keep the bank manager happy. Danny has had a great run over the years breeding such smart types as Magie Lilly Rose 1:54.1 ($202,718), Golden Trowel 1:52.4 ($117,056) and Maximus Meridius 1:52.3 ($109,515). His latest winner though has been a bit of a surprise to the noted stockman. "She is a big filly, I mean really big and I didn't think she would have any speed," he told Harnesslink today. By Jeremes Jet from the speedy Village Jasper mare Elle Mary Rose 2:00.7, Elliesjet has been given plenty of time to grow into her large frame. "The original plan was to get her up and running and try to sell her but after after the way she has gone the last two weeks we have taken the for sale sign down," Danny said today. The 4 year old mare was having just her third lifetime start last night and on the back of a super third last week was warmly supported even though she drew the outside of the second row. Patiently driven in the early stages by driver Todd Mitchell, Elliesjet settled back in the running line before Todd sent her forward after 600 metres to grab the lead. From there it turned into a procession as Elliesjet gradually increased the tempo and then powered away in the home straight for an emphatic win by four lengths. Elliesjet paced the 2200 metres in 2:45.9, a mile rate of 2:01.3 with closing sectionals of 58.1 and 28.9 Today Danny was musing that you should never judge a book by its cover. " Todd said she absolutely jogged it and had plenty left at the finish so thats very encouraging,"  "Gareth Dixon (trainer) has suggested we should look at some of the support races over the Xmas carnival at Auckland so thats where we are heading,"  he said. Its been a big week for Danny as a half sister to Elliesjet in Annie Morva was successful at Menangle last Saturday night. "She ran second in the Ladyship stakes to Adore Me at three at Alexandra Park and then we sent her to Blake Fitzpatrick in Sydney to race. "Its worked out really well as she has topped the $100,000 mark in earnings and took a mark of 1:52.9 when she won last week," Danny said Danny almost made it a trifecta for the week as a breeder when the trotter he bred Al Bundy was an unlucky third at Alexandra Park last night. With Elliesjet and Annie Morva in such fine form, Danny looks in for a very profitable summer over the next few months. Harnesslink Media  

A treble of wins for the All Stars team was highlighted by memorable results for Mickey Ward and the Patterson family and for Neil Pilcher who posted a win on his 77th birthday - as well as Matt Anderson posting his first win at Addington watched by his sponsor and family friend, Ray Coupland.  Mickey Ward has spent a good part of his life following or racing horses. His biggest moment was winning the Messenger with the Jack Smolenski -trained  OK Royal with Jack and Mickey racing him in partnership. Royal Mach raced out of All Stars for the Wards after Jack retired  but  The Royal Garden has tested his patience after a paddock accident sidelined him for a long time. Mickey wasn't travelling that well either with a serious bout of ill health which has put him in a wheelchair.  In typical humorous style Mickey loved the win but was a bit septic on the $1.50 win dividend ! "Pilch" has sold the smart Holy Grail this week but Alta Orlando who he races with Jim and Ann Gibbs won the 5th heat of the Sires Stakes anyway. Neil's record with the stock of Courage Under Fire  is outstanding and Alta Orlando, a big two year old winner last season, has proven a bargain. Heres a review of how the All Stars runners went: Stopandstare (2nd) Nathan) "Had to do a bit of work caught three wide and she fought on well (last quarter 27.9)  " - Nathan Alta Ronaldo (2nd) Natalie "He just missed away a little, not bad, but in those short races from a stand it never helps. He went good after that, fought on well. He just doesn't have that real sharp speed at this stage" - Natalie. Have Faith in Me (galloped in run up) Tim "The gate was going a bit slow for him and he started looking around and stargazing then bumped one outside him and that was that"  - Tim. (Forbury revisited !) Change Stride (4th) Mark "I wouldn't say he was disappointing. He got a good enough run but he wanted to hang and that made it hard for him. He is green yet. He will probably line up here again next Friday" -  Mark Alta Orlando (1st) Natalie "He didn't leave any excuses for them but he still does a few little things wrong. But he's tough and has the ability " - Natalie. Holy Grail (3rd) Matt "He went really good. He can sprint home and we had a good enough run but it was a good effort",- Matt. (Sold to Australia but likely to stay at Rolleston until after Sires Stakes finals) Hot Pants (1st) Matt "Yes that is my first win at Addington. Quite a thrill. We had to work a bit early but then we got a nice run and she did the rest"  The Royal Garden (1st) Tim "I thought we had got beaten. He kicks strongly though and that made the difference because he had to do a bit of work into the wind" -Tim. Courtesy Of All Stars Racing Stables - Check site here            

Colourful racecaller Mark McNamara described dramatic pacer Cody Singer as a “weirdo” after making hard work of winning his second race in six starts at Addington on Friday, October 24. “He’s a wierdo . . . in the nicest possible way,” was Mr McNamara’s summation after Cody Singer won the C1 Lindauer Lawn Cup Day Limited Tickets Available Mobile Pace. Mr McNamara was elaborating after his discription over the concluding stages when he said Cody Singer “turns on and off like a light switch.” Mr McNamara explained Cody Singer waits for others to come alongside him then goes again. Cody Singer, a massive Christian Cullen gelding with a motor to match his size, chooses to be eccentric. His two Addington wins have been far from conventional. They’ve been achieved in the most difficult fashion but the day ‘Cody’ learns to be an agreeable racehorse his opponents should be in for a severe spanking. He galloped off the unruly from a stand for his maiden win on October 10. He looped the field and looked like he was going to run fourth before hitting the go button and pulling away. His latest win came in similar circumstances. Trainer Cran Dalgety had reservations after Cody Singer drew the ace for the mobile start. The big horse was in trouble 100m after the start, tangling but soon settling at the tail of the field. Driver Dexter Dunn let the favourite roll impressively round the field four and five wide to take control with 1400m to run. However, the $2 favourite looked in danger of being run down with 100m to run, firstly by former stablemate Cracklin Rosie (trail), then Eastburn Mara (three back), along the markers. But after drifting out and balancing up, he had more to give when asked by Dexter, drawing away by three-quarters of a length. Cody Singer paced the mobile 2600m in 3:17.8 (2:02.4 mile rate), running his last 800 in 58.6s and final 400m in 27.9s. Considering his mid-race burn, it was a terrific win. Cody Singer was placed with a second warning over his mobile manners by stewards. His first came after his mobile race debut on September 5. He also became claustrophobic after being crossed drawing the one barrier there, galloping and being pulled up. Cody Singer, despite the drama that surrounds him, will have a big following if he draws anywhere but the inside for the $32,400 Graphite Developments Show Day Futurity Mobile Pace (2600m) on November 14. Kentuckiana Lodge trainer Cran Dalgety notched a winning double at Addington’s Labour Weekend meeting. He opened proceedings when hot $1.50 favourite Delightful Lana showing her class by coming out on top despite racing in the gale-force cool easterly breeze throughout the Cup Day - Only 18 Days To Go Mobile Mile. The promising 3YO Bettor’s Delight-Long Live Lana filly earned herself a 1:55.9 mile mark in the process. She was caught wide in the early rush from the four gate, pressing to the parked position with just over 1200m to run. Delightful Lana held the attentions of Betabcool, who tracked her on the outer, in the run home, holding by half a length, with Abbey Cullen, three back on the outer, finishing on wide for third, a further three-quarters of a length away. The winner breezed over the last 800m in 57.1s and 400m in 27.2s. She racked up her fourth win from eight starts for her Melbourne owners and is unbeaten in both spring 3YO starts. Resuming 3YO filly stablemates, Supriya (fourth) and Bettor Think Twice (fifth), were sound without luck in their respective engagements. Supriya worked hard from the nine gate three wide, surging to the front with 850m to run, then getting swamped over the last 100m. Bettor Think Twice tangled away first-up from the stand start, settling second last, and did well, making ground for fifth. Courtesy Cran Dalgety Racing  - Check site here        

The All Tars team have eight runners in tonights harness racing meeting at Addington and the following is how they see their runners chances. 5.55 Stopandstare (5) C0 fillies and mares Ideally placed against own sex. Nathan takes the drive and Stopandstare is owned by Michael and Natalie so the pressure will be on. Dexter's driver Supriya hardest to beat, Rating 8-Improved since Timaru debut and should go close $3.60 FF 7.25 Alta Ronaldo (9) C1 2000m Natalie Hasn't quite matched the top ones but competitive in 1.55 mile rate at Forbury well up to this class and doing well. Awkward draw should not bother from a stand but its his first and he can be a trifle headstrong at times so start crucial. Rating: 9 Should win on form but short odds first stand, $1.40 FF 7.55 Have Faith In Me (1) (Tim)Holy Grail (4) (Matt) Alta Orlando (7)  (Natalie) Change Stride (Mark) Natalie "They are all well though Holy Grail is a bit below the others at this stage. Alta Orlando and Have Faith In Me -not a lot between them. Change Stride is still improving and he got held up here last time and did well late. Have Faith In Me went terrific at Forbury and has the draw. Orlando can beat himself at times but the small field should suit him. He pulled hard last time here and that cost him. The one to beat overall if he does things right. Rating: Lead/trail scenario possible for Orlando ($1.80) and Have Faith In Me ($2.40) gives them the edge on paper and likely quinella. Change Stride looks good e/w bet at the odds just in case. 8.55 Hot Pants (8) C1-C3 trot for Junior Drivers. Matt Won well last time, first from a stand, and trotting solidly. Looks very hard to beat to add to Matt;s JD record but fixed odds price skinny for this sort of race. Rating: Only has to do things right early to be in this. $1.60 FO not great tho. 9.25 The Royal Garden (5) 4yo+ maiden Tim Just cuffed on debut and was coming back at the end.  Natural improvement from that race makes him the one to beat here. $1.40 FO says it all and tote price will be odds on too by race time. Rating: Ready to add to Tim's impressive tally this week Courtesy Of All Stars Racing Stable         Check site here

No trainer likes to see their stable star roll into a gallop at full speed. And definitely not weeks out from the biggest race of their career. But trainer Brian Hughes took at least some solace from Hughie Green’s expensive failure at Alexandra Park last Friday. And he learned a lesson that should see him bounce back on Friday night and put himself right into Sires’ Stakes calculations at Addington on November 11. Hughie Green, the racey looking son of former top mare Alta Serena, burnt punters severely when he galloped early against top class older opponents last Friday night, staging a huge recovery for third before being disqualified. Trainer Brian Hughes says the expensive mistake came when Hughie Green spotted tyre marks on the track left by he and his rivals parading before the score up for the race. “You could see them quite clearly on the video and obviously so did he,” says Hughes. “It was unfortunate for punters but for us the most important thing is he took no harm from the gallop and I thought he went very well afterwards.” Hughie Green’s performances to lose 30m at full speed and be beaten by less than that behind Lets Elope and Norvic Nightowl suggests he is the best three-year-old pacer in the North Island. Hughie Green’s unfortunately good eyesight has seen Hughes add a shadow roll to his gear for Friday and he says the gelding worked comfortably in the new gear this week. So barring another bizarre trip up tonight, he should win before heading to Addington for the Sires’ Stakes. Hughes has a great quinella chance too in My Kiwi Mate, who ran on well in a fast last 400m in the Sires’ Stakes heat last Friday and has an air of Derby potential. And earlier in the night he has another impressive last start performer in The Orange Agent in with the right draw to challenge Unforgiving in the first northern heat of the fillies Sires’ Stakes Championship. Unforgiving looked class last season and set up Supersonic Miss’s lightning quick 1:54.1 mile at the Jewels so should have the gate speed to lead from the ace on Friday. But The Orange Agent scooted a fast last 400m to make up huge ground on Strike The Gold last start, form that has been franked by the latter winning his Sires’ Stakes heat last Friday. So if she is able to sit on the favourite’s back she could be challenging hard over the last 150m. Hughie Green isn’t the only favourite on Friday night looking to get back to winning form before chasing an Addington group one, with Boizel and Cool Cobber doing the same from the back mark in the main trot. Cool Cobber was clearly the better of the pair when they last clashed, making good ground in a fast time in a race where Miss Pegasus ran the backmarkers off their hooves. She was impressive enough winning her northern debut to suggest a repeat is not out of the question but she goes back 10m in the handicaps and loses potentially valuable field position over Cool Cobber. So with any sort of cart into the race Cool Cobber should get closer if not beat Miss Pegasus, while Boizel was a victim of circumstances chasing the runaway leader last start and looks better placed. Courtesy Of Harness Racing New Zealand

The blue silks with the grey stars of the All Stars team is to harness racing what the All Blacks are to rugby. When ever they have runners in a race you need to show them the utmost respect.  So it is no surprise that a Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen quartet look set to call most of the shots in the fifth heat of the Sires’ Stakes Series tonight night at Addington. The champion stable have four runners engaged in the heat – spear-headed by the talented Alta Orlando. Second behind stable mate Hug The Wind when fresh up a fortnight ago the impressive, but sometimes unruly pacer will be looking to confirm himself a spot in the final by snaring a victory tonight.  The big pacer tends to race rather ungenerously in his races and has a tendency to want to do things wrong a lot of the time. But when on song the Courage Under Fire gelding is devastating – as he showed when winning the Sales Series Final at Addington as a two-year-old. He’s met with some resistance by his opposition including Have Faith In Me who showed he’s got more than his fair share of the family genes with an impressive effort at Forbury Park behind the low-flying Art Union. The full-brother to Adore Me has the use of an inside barrier draw and will be handy to the speed throughout which gives him perfect opportunity to showcase his blistering turn of foot. Natalie Rasmussen will drive Alta Orlando while Tim Williams is aboard Have Faith In Me. The stable’s two lesser lights, if it’s even possible to call them that, are impressive fresh-up winner Holy Grail and Change Stride who was third in behind Hug The Wind and Alta Orlando when last produced. The charge to beat the Purdon quartet will most likely be led by Mighty Flying Major. The talented three-year-old was very good when winning at Addington last week and when on song he is more than capable of footing it with any horse in the Series currently. Expresso Martini and Smithy are the other two contenders in the race. Tonights meeting could turn into somewhat of a Purdon/Rasmussen show with the All Stars stable floating an impressive line-up of horses down the Southern Motorway. Hot Pants will look to make it back-to-back wins in the junior drivers trot later in the night. The Trevor Casey owned trotter was very good when winning last time out and has the added bonus of the mobile to help her cause again tonight. Matt Anderson will do the driving. Stopandstare and The Royal Garden, who both ran solid placings on debut, look grand chances on their first up performances and Alta Ronaldo will take on a modest C1 stand field which should be well within the capable three-year-old’s reach. Courtesy Of Harness Racing New Zealand

Last week we got a good old fashioned kick up the butt with just three of our tipsters selecting a winner and only six overall were in the money. Blair Orange, Terry Chmiel and Nathan Williamson furthered their good record as selectors whilst there were plenty of hard luck stories from others all over the country. They start with a clean slate this week and have come up with plenty of value for readers with plenty of runners whose form is not the best but who our selectors give a real chance to. Manawatu - Thursday night Scott Phelan - Even though he has drawn the second row thinks Art Magic should win race 3   Auckland - Friday night Todd Mitchell - Thought Elliesjet even from barrier 12 would be hard to beat in race1 Steven Reid - Very bullish about Unforgiving from barrier one in race 4 Steve Richardson (TAB) - Likes The Orange Agent to upset Unforgiving in race 4 John Curtin (Harnesslink) - Thinks Boizel even off 40 metres can win race 5 Tony Herlihy - Rates Downunder Stride from barrier one as hard to beat in race 6 Sean McCaffrey - Rates Le Lua Invasion a good chance against the fillies and mares in race 7 Maurice McKendry - Confident that Hughie Green will atone for last week and win race 8 Zac Butcher - Likes Saffron Castleton to turn her form around in race 9   Addington - Friday night Blair Orange - Rates Quaint Glen a big chance even from barrier 12 in race 2 Tim Williams - Confident that Adore Me's little brother Have Faith In Me can win race 6 John Dunn - Feedback from stable suggests Light Up Boss will win race 7 if driver at his best Brad Williamson - Thinks The Silver Fox just needs a change of luck to win race 8 Sam Ottley - Quite keen on Bird Of Paradise to turn her form around in race 10     Manawatu - Sunday afternoon Todd Macfarlane - Rates Hudy Haxwell a royal show on the second day at Manawatu Peter Scaife - Gives Johnny Vegas a big chance on the second day at Manawatu   Tuapeka - Sunday afternoon Dexter Dunn - Reckons Margarita can make it four wins from her last five in race 6 Matthew Williamson - Thinks Alley Way can go one better than last week and win race 7 Nathan Williamson - Likes stablerunner Onedin Mach to make it four in a row in race 8 Craig Thornley - Thought Drover's Eyre would be tough to roll in race 11   Ashburton - Monday afternoon Gerard O'Reilly - Confident that Never Fear can turn her form around in race 1 Jim Curtin - Thinks Star Of Dionysis is overdue and can win race 2 Ricky May - Keen on Brilliant Strike who has a decent draw for once to win race 4 Terry Chmiel -Thought That Guy Finn even in that super hot field can win race 6   Harnesslink Media

Bandana is due to make his return to harness racing tomorrow night at Alexandra Park as he looks to get his once promising career back on track. Bandana, who is a full brother to the former smart racemare Hannah 1:54.3 ($52,,829) is closely related to the former outstanding juvenile Tuapeka Knight 1:58.1 ($198,305)   The son of Badlands Hanover looked a star in the making in his first three starts as a 2 year old, winning his first two starts by daylight and then being narrowly beaten at his third start. The subject of a sizeable offer at that point which ultimately fell through, Bandana also picked up a nasty virus at the same time and was briefly spelled. When he returned to racing, Bandana performed several notches below his best and was tipped out again for a longer spell. Brought back again, Bandana still wasn't right and was tipped out yet again by trainer/ owner Roni Lauren. Having a few little issues that needed sorting out, Roni has entrusted Bandana to local trainer Sean McCaffrey this time in, who had driven the gelding in most of his early runs. Last Saturday at the Cambridge workouts, Bandana in the hands of Sean gave his rivals including the talented Percy Jones a pacing lesson as he cut the 2200 metres out in 2:44.7, a mile rate of 2:00.4 with closing sectionals of 57.6 and 29.2 as he coasted home by 10 lengths. Sean is still not convinced that Bandana is back to his best. " He did that real easy and was waiting for them up the straight but he has to do it on raceday yet and that will the big test of where he is at " he told Harnesslink this week.  "He has a few little kinks to be ironed out yet but there is no doubting the ability is there" he said. As luck would have it, Bandana has landed a smart maiden field to make his debut for the season with Downunderstide, Love Ina Chevy and Percy Jones all looking destined for better things. To compound that, Bandana who is to be driven by champion reinsman Maurice McKendry, has drawn barrier eight and Sean knows it will be tough from out there. "He doesn't have a lot of gate speed so we will be going back at the start and look to have one last shot at them. We just have to hope there is some genuine pace up front otherwise we are up against it a bit, " he said. However tomorrow night pans out, Bandana has shown enough in his short career to date to suggest there are plenty more wins in store yet. Harnesslink Media  

The New Zealand Cup hopes of outstanding pacer Smolda hang in the balance after he was pulled out of the main lead-up race. The former Harness Jewels and Derby winner will miss Monday’s Flying Stakes at Ashburton, far and way the best and most important race on the road to the Cup. And that leaves the one-time $6 third favourite for the Cup with few genuine racing opportunities before the Addington classic on November. Smolda started his season was a moderate fourth to Terror To Love last month but was even more disappointing in Sunday’s Methven Cup, in which he lead and faded to fourth again. But this time he wasn’t up against Cup favourites Terror To Love and Christen Me and even more importantly he again looked uncomfortable in his gait, even on the huge grass track. Trainers Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen had blood test taken from Smolda which failed to shed any light on his lack lustre form so they have chosen to pull him out of the Flying Stakes. With the tight, flat Kaikoura curcuit on November 3 unlikely to suit him, Smolda faces going into the New Zealand Cup with only another minor Addington race or the Cup trial to bring him back to his peak. He has drifted out to $13 with the TAB and it would not surprise to see him bypass the great race, even though he is officially still being aimed in that direction. His absence detracts little from the Flying Stakes in which Terror To Love (9) and Christen (8) will again start from the widest draws, with Hands Christian and Adore Me alongside them, with Franco Nelson, Bit Of A Legend, Franco Ledger and Pembrook Benny adding huge depth to the field. Which made it even more surprising the TAB opened Terror To Love the $2 favourite for Monday and Christen Me at $3. Monday’s meeting also sees most of New Zealand’s best trotters clash in the Flying Mile, with one of the big winners in the draws being northerner Irish Whisper, who has drawn one.  Courtesy Of Michael Guerin - Harness Racing New Zealand

Woodlands Stud NZ Ltd is continuing its support of the Manawatu Harness Club (MHRC) by sponsoring the Bettor’s Delight Mile Series (fillies & mares) again throughout the 2014/15 season. The purpose of the series is to give owners the opportunity to obtain a sub-two minute mile rating for their filly or mare, thereby improving their breeding pedigree and encouraging them to breed in the future. There are five races in the series with the winning owners of each race receiving a voucher for 30% discount on either a Bettor’s Delight or American Ideal Service Fee plus a dress rug. The Stake for the first race is $8,500 and the club will endeavour to increase this further if the series is well supported by owners and trainers. The dates for this season are: Thursday October 23 Thursday November 27 Thursday February 19 Thursday March 26 Friday May 15 The fields are limited to 11 starters, with six on the front row and five on the second row behind the mobile gate on a preferential draw.  Last season’s races for the C1- C2 fillies and mares (3YO & older) over the 1609 metres resulted in sub two minute ratings by Chillysjustastrutter (1.57.6) on March 13 and Shestherealdeal (1.58.2) on May 16.  A further 12 horses crossed the line in under two minutes between the two races. Courtesy Of Woodlands Stud

Napoleon Bar gave Italy two horses in the top five of the UET Masters Series with a superb win in the €110,000 Gran Premio Freccia d’Europa at Naples’ Ippodromo Agnano. Napoleon Bar looks like he is ready to emerge from the shadow of the number one ranked horse in Europe, Mack Grace Sm (8h CC’s Chuckie), whose status is purely on the back of his almost unbeatable form in Italy, which he has been unable to reproduce any time he has crossed the border. Not so Napoleon Bar, who is one of a handful sons of Varenne (Pasica’Lest being the other most successful) who make a good living commuting between his place of birth and France, where he has raced with good success, unlike his more famous rival. He has really come into his own this year winning his first prestigious group II the Prix de Washington in June, following on from a win in the Group III Prix de New York in France, while this is his second Italian Group I win of the year, and his third in total. He has won 917,365 euros. Previously Napoleon Bar had been second in the Italian classic Gran Premio del Lotteria (to Mack Grace Sm) and was also runner up in his year’s European 5YO championships and been placed at group II level in France. After a speed duel off the gate driver Enrico Bellei backed off into the trail behind Mack Grace Sm who was driven as usual by Roberto Andreghetti. Mack Grace Sm set a punishing pace but when Napoleon Bar swung wide on the final bend couldn’t find any extra. Napoleon Bar powered away to win by three lengths as Mack Grace Sm wilted allowing veteran mare Linda di Casei (9m Uronometro) to get by for second. Napoleon Bar recorded a kilometer rare of 1’10”7 (1.53.4MR) for the 1600m journey. The prestigious Winter Meeting in France is but a week away, with the traditional opener, the Group II international monte Prix Reynolds, a UET Masters Series race, scheduled for next Wednesday, October 29. A few of the French heavyweights such as Tiego d’Etang (7h Chaillot) and Texas Charm (7h Cygnus d'Odyssee) and recent Criterium des 5 Ans winner Vabellino were in action this weekend at Caen in the €80,000 Prix de la Ville de Caen, a Group III international over the marathon 4400m distance and which attracted a high quality field of 17 runners. Tiego d’Etang carried a lot of money in the Prix d’Amerique, and has actually twice finished second in the Prix de Paris, the longest of the French Triple Crown, at 4150m, while Texas Charm was the early favourite for the PDA but withdrew through injury . But it was obviously a little early in both their preparations, as the pair did not figure off the 50m handicap, they were alotted. However Taormina d’Em (7m Cedre du Vivier) who was fourth in this year’s Prix de Paris (earning a coveted black type “classique” status) who in the hands of Tony Le Beller finished the strongest to defeat the favourite Vabellino (5h Ouragan de Celland), who showed his upset win in the 5YO classique was no fluke. Soleil de Fosse showed his trainer Thierry Duvaldestin enough in finishing a solid third to suggest a second start in the Prix d’Amerique might be on the cards for the 8YO son of Jag de Bellouet. Meanwhile news filtering out of Sweden is that trainer Stefan Hultman has last season’s Prix d'Amerique winner Maharajah about to resume in earnest his defence of the jewel in the French triple crown, which is held on the last weekend of January. Maharajah hasn’t raced since that epic win over Up And Quick at Vincennes in January, and has been busy covering mares at the famous Menhammar Stud in Sweden, but has been in full training for a couple of weeks now. “He is getting better and better and is still happy in training even if he is getting older”, trainer Stefan Hultman told the ATG website this week. “The goal is to travel to Paris and try to win the Prix d'Amerique one more time. We haven’t set the schedule yet, but we will not go there if we don’t think that we can win.” Maharajah (Viking Kronos), now nine years old has won 31 out of just 58 starts so far, in a career which has been beset by fetlock problems. Despite this, and judiciously managed by the massive Travkompianet syndication company, he has earned almost SEK 23.5 million (A$3.7million) which ranks him seventh place among the top earning Swedish trotters of all time. The horse he defeated last year, Up And Quick, who then went on to win the aforementioned Prix de Paris, has recently arrived at the French national training centre Grosbois in preparation for his tilt at the greatest prize in trotting, and is said to be in superb condition. Trainer Franck Leblanc said the horse will reappear in the first of the 4 “B” races the Prix de Bretagne on November 15, which carry an automatic entry into the Prix d’Amerique. View Here Courtesy Of Harness Racing New Zealand

In case you have not already signed up for Harnesslink’s great harness racing newsletter called Insider Access, then here is your chance.  Just click here and within seconds you will be on track for the latest news in harness racing that you will not see or read about anywhere else, even on our own website. This week’s Insider Access newsletter contains the following feature stories: Get your friends to enter “Win The Wheels Contest” - How would you like to win a set of $1,400US custom race bike wheels from Forward Motion Technologies, perhaps a full set of RazorHorse shoes, maybe a five gallon bucket of Lifeline Horse Supplement or a $100 Amazon gift card? NZ: Shuttle Stallions –  Where is the $$ going? Breeding operations in the southern hemisphere are locked into the use of shuttle stallions if they want to stay relevant in a hugely competitive market. They either buy a chunk of a stallion, purchase the Southern breeding rights or get a fee for service provided to the stallion owners. But where is the actual money going? NZ: Stakes money: How to calculate it - As an industry that covers different hemispheres and numerous countries, you would think that the powers that be would come up with a system regarding stakes money won that is uniformly accepted worldwide. Embryo transfers are just wrong! - Embryo transfers in race horses, just like cloning or any other unnatural forms of reproduction in horse racing, is just plain wrong. AU: Thin skinned stewards -  Following an exclusive article on Harnesslink earlier this month, Victorian horseman Lance Justice is the subject of stewards' inquiry. Angered by the suspensions he received at Melton on September 29, Justice questioned the lack of definition between light and heavy interference stating: "The stewards are too heavy handed. There is no defining difference between light, medium or heavy interference, and as such, it’s just bang...this is the sentence. Its mandatory sentencing gone mad." AU: Novelty or offensive? - In a world of political correctness, would be it okay to conduct a race limited to third generation Australians? How about a race for men only? Stallion Review – ALWAYS A VIRGIN - Continuing on with our stallion review series today we have produced an in depth review for the excellent racehorse and stallion Always A Virgin, p,3,1:48.4 ($1,135,559). Don’t miss out on the next edition of Insider Access. The newsletter currently comes out every other Tuesday morning (North America), Tuesday afternoon (Europe) and Wednesday morning (Australasia).

Thirteen-win pacer Lets Elope has ended his New Zealand career on a triumphant note. The winner of $324,978 is scheduled to leave for Australia either Wednesday (October 22) or next week. Co-owner/trainer Frank Cooney said he was left with no option but to send the 6-year-old Real desire gelding abroad. He said he made the decision well before Friday’s win in the $14,000 Smart Choice Mobile for the C3-C9 pacers at Alexandra Park. “There’s just nothing for him up here now until possibly Christmas and the New Year. He’s not quite good enough to compete against the (NZ) Cup horses and he would be handicapped out of it if he stayed up here. “Australia was the obvious option because he will be a M1 pacer there,” Cooney said. Let’s Elope was quoted at $151 to win the New Zealand Cup. He will now head to Victoria and race at Melton’s Tabcorp Park in the Brent Lilley colours. “He may come back one day because he’s owned here in New Zealand but to be honest I think he will win more over there and that’s where he will stay,” said Cooney, whose wife Anne co-owns Lets Elope with Peter Haslam and Warren Outrim. Haslam pointed out that lets Elope had never been beaten once he got to the front in his races. That trend continued in Friday’s 2200m mobile. Brilliant anticipation from driver Tony Herlihy (MNZM) saw Lets Elope sprint hard to the lead when hot favourite Hughie Green broke wildly at the 600m. The 3-year-old galloped for 200m yet still managed to finish a huge third – half a length and 7-3/4 lengths behind Lets Elope and Norvic Nightowl. Imajollywally was later promoted to third. Lets Elope stopped the clock in 2:41.8 (mile rate: 1:58.3) with final 800m and 400m sectionals of 56.1 and 26.6. Co-trainer Tate Hopkins said it was very difficult for any horse to make up ground from the back when the good horses were coming home in 56 and 26. “That’s why he’s not going to the (NZ) Cup Carnival. It’s just too hard for a horse like him to make up ground on the top horses when they are going that fast. “And they are likely to go faster in the Junior and Senior Free-For-All down south. Those were the two races he probably would have started in,” Hopkins said. “It’s sad to see him go but Frank has made the best decision for both the horse and owners,” he added. Cooney said Lets Elope was the equal best horse he had trained – alongside eight-win ($101,050) mid-1980s pacer, Kurahaupo Eden. Courtesy Duane Ranger - Harness Racing New Zealand  

Harnesslink is proud to release Stallion Sphere, a Facebook and mobile web app containing all 23 of our exclusive Stallion reviews. We hope this will become an invaluable resource to breeders and harness fans around the world, so please check it out and share with your friends using the website's inbuilt share on Facebook functionality. Reviews will be regularly updated and all statistics are current as of the date listed at the top of each review. Stats are from official sources in North America (TrackIT), Australia & New Zealand. We'll update Stallion Sphere with new reviews every 2 weeks, but make sure to subscribe to our email newsletter “Insider Access” to get the stallion reviews two weeks early. To use the Stallion Sphere simply click and drag your mouse (or finger for touch devices) around the sphere to move it around, use your mouse wheel (or pinch on mobile) to zoom. Then click on a Stallion to read the review. For the best experience use a good modern browser like Google Chrome. If you are using Internet Explorer - depending on your version – you will either see a flat grid or nothing at all. You will also need to be logged into your Facebook account to view it, although mobile devices & tablets can access it without a Facebook account. Click here to visit Stallion Sphere www.stallionsphere.com (Once you click the above link - you will need to "like" Harnesslink on Facebook to view.)

The harness racing trials at Ashburton today saw the All Stars team produce several smart performers from last season, complimented by the odd new face. First up from the barn was the smart qualifier from last week in Classical Art who won her maiden 2400 metre trial from the stand in the manner of a filly going places. Sent straight to the front by driver Mark Purdon, the 3 year old filly by Mach Three dominated throughout and comfortably held out Comacho in 3:04.7 with closing sectionals of 57.8 and 27.2 The All Stars barn lined up four runners in the C1-C2 stand over 2400 metres and ran the first four with all of their runners looking forward to resume. Last season's smart 2 year old filly Fight For Glory looks to have come back in great order after she dealt to a big field with plenty of quality, bursting out of the pack half way up the long Ashburton straight to win easily. Vice Consul was just as comfortably second with Someardensomewhere running home stylishly from last at the 600 metres for third. Last season's very smart 2 year old Itz Bettor To Win battled the last bit to finish fourth after doing plenty of work and he should benefit big time from the run. In the next heat for maiden trotters over 2400 metres from a stand, last seasons 2 year old runner up in the Jewels, Prince Fearless showed he had come back in great fettle with a faultless display to romp in untouched. Sent straight to the front by Mark Purdon, he cut out the 2400 metres in a swift 3:08.2 with closing sectionals of 57.9 and 28.2. He looks in for a big season judging by todays run. The last two All Stars runners were in the C3 and faster pace over 2400 metres from a stand and for once they didn't win the heat. Helena Jet with Dexter Dunn in the bike looped the field at the 1200 metres mark and then brushed home in 55.7 and 26.5 to comfortably hold out Isaiah with Dalton Bromac and Willow close up. All four runners went super with Dalton Bromac being privately timed to run home in 54.5 a minor highlight of this heat. Star Qualifier - Louie Finn Sent straight to the front by trainer /driver Mark Jones, this son of Grinfromeartoear looked to have plenty in reserve as he qualified 7 seconds under the required  time after brushing home in 57.2 and 27.8. Other trialists of note Beyond Belief - 3 year old filly by Shadow Play who showed plenty of potential winning her heat Mighty Flying Mac - Dexter still had a lap full of horse even after a last quarter in 26 That Guy Finn - Made up a lot of ground in fastly run heat   Harnesslink Media  

Progeny of former 2001 Australasian Breeders Crown 3YO filly champ Sparks A Flyin (1:52, US) won within hours on both sides of the Tasman on Friday night October 17, 2014. Smart colt Art Union took another stepping stone towards the $170,000 NRM Sires’ Stakes Final at Addington on November 11 at Addington, while older half-brother Bettors Fire returned to winning form at Gloucester Park, Perth. The Cran Dalgety-trained Art Union justified his hot $1.40 favouritism in the C3-6 pace at Addington, but he didn’t dominate from the outset as many anticipated. Driver Dexter Dunn, from barrier three with the Art Major colt, elected not to race second favourite Mighty Major (ace) for the early lead, settling him into a perfect one-one trail. When a move from the back came a lap out, Dexter was on the move, letting Art Union stride past Mighty Major at the 900m. The favourite kept up another strong run to hold Mighty Major by a length in a 1:57 rate for the 1950m, quickening over his last 800m in 56.1s and final 400m in 26.8s. Jim and Dr Susan Wakefield’s home-bred stretched his record to seven wins from 12 starts for $83,403, and remains unbeaten in three 3YO appearances. Bettors Fire justified his $1.70 favouritism in the $17,500 Demon Adios Discretionary Handicap in Perth. The Cran Dalgety-trained Art Union justified his hot $1.40 favouritism in the C3-6 pace at Addington, but he didn’t dominate from the outset as many anticipated. Driver Dexter Dunn, from barrier three with the Art Major colt, elected not to race second favourite Mighty Major (ace) for the early lead, settling him into a perfect one-one trail. When a move from the back came a lap out, Dexter was on the move, letting Art Union stride past Mighty Major at the 900m. The favourite kept up another strong run to hold Mighty Major by a length in a 1:57 rate for the 1950m, quickening over his last 800m in 56.1s and final 400m in 26.8s. Jim and Dr Susan Wakefield’s home-bred stretched his record to seven wins from 12 starts for $83,403, and remains unbeaten in three 3YO appearances. Bettors Fire justified his $1.70 favouritism in the $17,500 Demon Adios Discretionary Handicap in Perth. Despite start off the 30m line in a Class D pace, Bettors Fire played the iron horse, moving up parked outside fellow ex-Kiwi Bartowski over the final lap for trainer-driver Kyle Harper. The 6YO Bettors Delight gelding was too strong from the home turn, holding out fellow NZ-breds, To Transcend and False Promise, in a 2:04 rate over the 2503m. He scored by 2.4 metres, the leaders running their last 800m in 56.6s and final 400m in 28.3. Bettors Fire, who lowered his best mile rate to 1:53.8 in Perth last term, lifted his career earnings past the $A244,000 mark with his 19th win from 45 starts. Safedra (1:56.3 mile rate, 1700m), a successful half-sister to Art Union and Bettors Fire, has returned to New Zealand after an Australian stint in recent months, where she added a further two wins to her tally. The 5YO daughter of Mach Three is to commence a breeding career this term. Safedra’s best racetrack efforts have been a second to Adore Me in the 2013 Group One New Zealand Oaks, and winner of the Group Two $40,000 Southland Oaks Final. She is the winner of eight and has been 13 times placed in 35 starts for $135,577. Safedra rated 1:56.3 in a 1700m heat of the Nevele R Fillies Series at Forbury, while she has rated 1:59.8 over 2600m to win at Addington, and 1:58.7 to win over 2400m at Ashburton. Sparks A Flyin’s first five foals have all been well above average. Earlier foals from the Sands A Flyin-Belle Glade mare were Diomedes (1:57.5, Aust), the winner of 12 in Australasia, and Empyrean (1:56.2), the winner of 10 and $121,302. Bungalow Bill, the first of two Cran Dalgety-trained winners at Addington on October 17, delivered narrowly but well to beat favourite Matty Groves by half a head in the Murney Family Trust & Mid Canty Catholic Parish Mobile Maiden Pace. Driver Dexter Dunn settled him handy on the outer, then was denied the front by Ask Me Mach when having a dash for the lead a lap out. Bungalow Bill, a 3YO Bettor’s Delight gelding and the first foal from four-win 1:58.6 mare Strawberry Fields (Presidential Ball-Penny Lane), lengthened out when asked inside the final 100m to stick his head out in a three-way finish, rating 1:58 (1950m). The leaders ran their last 800m in 59s and final 400m in 27.5s. Bungalow Bill is raced by Chrissie Dalgety with Small Car World principal Graham Beirne. Chrissie gained her second win of the weekend when Margarita led over the last 900m as a $1.40 favourite to win her C1-2 fillies & mares mile at Winton in 1:57.1. Margarita, a 3YO Bettor’s Delight-Holloway filly, was the sixth consecutive winning drive on the Wairio card on a wonderful day for catch driver Tim Williams. Tim was unable to make it seven in a row in the final race with Kentuckiana Lodge debutante Tenacious Bromac, but they did well to hold third after being pressured strongly mid-race for the front by favourite Lookofalegend in a 1:56.7 mile. Courtesy Cran Dalgety Racing Stables - Check site here  

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