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Last week the ring-around produced six winners with Matthew Williamson, Nathan Williamson, Scott Phelan, Ricky May, John Dunn, and I all delivering the goods. The best result was my tip Spell which romped in at odds $5.50. Let’s see what winners we have in store for you this week: Cambridge – Thursday Jay Abernethy: Thinks Equulei can kick the ring-around off in style in the first race at Cambridge. Simon Lawson: Rates Betty Boop Brogden as a good each-way chance in the fourth race on the card. Alexandra Park – Friday Todd Mitchell: Has opted for Miss Lotty, who was seen doing her best work late when second last start. She looks a good chance in the first race. Brent Mangos: expects impressive trialist Vibhuti to prove very tough to roll – race four. Steve Richardson (T.A.B): Has opted for Djokovic, who looks a bold chance in race five. Scott Phelan: Rates the chances of inform pacer Cyamach, who looks a strong chance despite meeting a very good field in the sixth race at Alexandra Park. Addington – Friday Ken Barron: Expects both Bracken Ridge (race two) and Quaint Glen (Rangiora race 3) to prove very hard to beat. Mitchell Robertson (Harnesslink): Bracken Ridge – race two Mark Jones: Thinks the consistent Jaccka Len can break through for another win – race five. Gavin Smith: Rates She’s Extreme as a good place chance in the sixth event on the card. John Dunn: Is expecting a big run from two-year-old filly Cullens First Meddle – race six. Tim Williams: Has opted for smart mare Here We Go Again, who downed likely favourite Fifth Edition in her last start – race eight. Matthew Williamson: Expects Ohoka Benson to be hard to beat in what looks an average C1 field – race ten. Rangiora – Sunday Terry Chmiel: Has opted for the inform That Guy Finn, who looks a good chance despite meeting a strong C1 and 2 line-up – race six. Jonny Cox:  Thinks Explosive Art can continue to explode through the grades – race nine.  

Ever since his first appearance at the harness racing trials this season, the Tim Butt trained two year old Field Marshal has turned heads with his combination of good looks and raw ability. After a series of impressive runs at the trials, Field Marshal was thrown in the deep end with a debut run in the New Zealand Welcome Stakes against the best two year olds in New Zealand. Try as he might, Field Marshal didn't have the ringcraft that night and appeared all at sea for driver Anthony Butt. Given a month gap before he was next produced at Timaru, Field Marshal comfortably accounted for a maiden field at Timaru in a 2:00.6 mile rate for the 2000 meters and looked to be back on track. A week later Field Marshal lined up again at Oamaru against older horses. Drawing nine at the barrier in the 2000 meters mobile , he was three wide until the 700 meter before finding the death seat. From there he fought like a tiger to run a meritorious second to the smart Mako Banner. What made the run even better was that the 2000 meters was cut out in 2:25.4, a mile rate of 1:56.9 with closing sectionals of 56.7 and 27.7. After such a hard run, Field Marshal did not race again for five weeks until he went around at Rangiora in a 2000 meters mobile. Sent straight to the front from a handy draw, Field Marshal was pressured in front the whole way which told in the last 100 as he was swamped by a couple of swoopers. The time for the 2000 meters mobile in bitterly cold winter conditions was 2:26.7, a mile rate of 1:58 which was a top effort by Field Marshal as a two year old against older horses. Sent North after that run for a Breeders Crown heat, Field Marshal had a “ walkover” win as he was the only eligible horse nominated. In preparation for tonights race at Cambridge he had a run at the workouts on Saturday and scored a stylish four length win in 2:46.9 for the 2200 meters mobile, a mile rate of 2:02 with closing sectionals of 56.2 and 27.4. It showed that Field Marshal even from his draw of eight tonight in the John Makgill Memorial Pace is the horse they all have to beat. Not only is Field Marshal by the top sire Art Major but he is also from the top mare Foreal. Foreal was one of the best mares of her time in Australasia, taking a record of 1:57.4 on her way to winning $664,800 in a stellar career. Safely through tonight, Field Marshal may yet head to Australia for the Breeders Crown semi finals in August. If he was to make the trip to Australia for the Breeders Crown, Field Marshal has all the credentials to be a serious contender. Field Marshall seen here winning at Timaru   Harnesslink media

The Alabar News is out and about and it can also be read online. A must read for all breeders and sales buyers, It contains plenty of interesting information, including interviews with leading trainers Mark Purdon and Robert Dunn, as well as a look at Anne and Bill Anderson’s Lauriston Bloodstock. Alabar’s new star stallions A Rocknroll Dance and Alta Christiano are also profiled. To read the Alabar News please click here: http://bit.ly/1k6YaFw

This winter in harness racing in New Zealand has been like no other in living memory. The winter racing scene is usually left to the lesser performed horses to strut their stuff and it is not often that a potential top liner appears at this time of year. However this season we have seen several debutantes win in a manner that suggested a big future. Both Connoisseur and Rycroft created a huge impression when winning on debut and were quickly snapped up by Australian buyers. This Friday at Alexandra Park in the Hydroflow Mobile Pace we have another horse making his debut who looks to have a big future. Trained at Pukekohe by Brent Mangos, Vibhuti has been burning up the trial tracks in recent weeks and looks to have talent to burn. Last Saturday at Alexandra Park at the Auckland Trotting Club workouts, Vibhuti gave a display not often seen by unraced maidens. Not only did he distance his opponents by 6 lengths, but he paced the 2200 meters in 2:45.9, a mile rate of 2:01.3 with the last 800 meters in a quick 57.5 and the last 400 meters in a sizzling 26.7 That would win most maiden 2200 meters races at Alexandra Park and even from the second row on Friday night, Vibhuti looks very hard to hold out. The 3 year old son of American Ideal is bred to be good. A half-brother to Mr Chin 1:51.2 ($410,837) and Light Hearted 1:56.6 ($138,452) Vibhuti is closely  related to the former star age group pacer in New Zealand in Butlers First 1:57.4 ($380,883). The family was introduced to New Zealand by David Phillips in his National Bloodstock days when he imported the Keystone Ore mare Lady's First. Hambletonian Limited, the breeder of Vibhuti is the most recent arm of the David Phillips breeding operation. Raced by Hambletonian Limited in partnership with Tony Shaw, Vibhuti is the name for the sacred ash used in Religious worship in Hinduism. Judging by his recent workout performance, Vibhuti doesn't look like he will need any divine intervention to find his way to the winners circle on Friday night.. Harnesslink media

Two of the biggest spectacles of Cup Week are set to receive a stakes boost, but it’s a decision at the other end of the spectrum which will come as the best news out of Addington Raceway this week. The New Zealand Trotting Cup and Dominion Handicap will both gain a raise of $50,000 for this year with the Cup now worth $700,000 and the Dominion shifting to $250,000. But it’s the decision by Addington officials to raise their minimum stakes in the new season that will draw the most applause after plenty of frustration has been aired in recent months. Currently set at $5,000, the minimum stake will now sit at $7,000 – a 40 per cent rise. Feature race days will also receive a boost in the lower grades with CO races going from $8,000 to $9,000 and C1 graded races jumping from $10,000 to $11,000. Addington have kept the good news coming too with the new season set to also see 2 per cent of each stake paid out to connections of horses who don’t figure in a stakes bearing dividend. Addington Raceway made the stakes increase announcement at the grand opening of a new administration block on top of the stabling complex which will play home to the new drivers room along with JCA members and the main Trackside base on race night. Also announced at the opening was a new look to the popular Show Day Futurity which will see $84,000 worth of stakes paid out during the first half of the season. As well as the $40,000 Final on Show Day, those paid up for the series will also be eligible to compete in a number of other specially programmed races in the lead up to the second week of November as well as a $11,000 race in December which will be open to all those who are paid up with the exception of those who finish in the top three placings in the final. The build up to this year’s New Zealand Trotting will also see a change this year. The Cup will still travel along the same path toward the $700,000 event but the hotly contested Canterbury Classic in October will this year, for the first time, carry an extra incentive. As opposed to the usual automatic entry into the Cup for the winner, the top three place getters will now be invited. The change shouldn’t see too many changes to the norm if previous seasons are anything to go on. By the time the Classic rolls around the pecking order for the Cup is almost done and dusted and those who have finished in the top three in recent years have already qualified, or are well up the order of rankings. By Matt Markham (Harness Racing New Zealand) Important Dates for Cup and Dominion This year nominations for the 2014 Christchurch Casino New Zealand Trotting Cup and Hellers Dominion at Addington will be taken earlier than previous years to increase exposure and to enable fixed odds markets to open mid-August. Nominations for both races will close at 3.00pm on Wednesday 13 August 2014. Christchurch Casino NZ Trotting Cup - $700,000 - Group 1 - 11 November 2014 Initial nomination fee Wednesday 13 August 3pm NZ time $350 First late nomination fee Wednesday 27 August 3pm NZ time $3,500 First withdrawal fee Monday 15 September 3pmNZ time $700 Second withdrawal fee Monday 13 October 3pm NZ time $1,400 Final late nomination fee Wednesday 5 November 11am NZ time $17,500 Starting fee $8,750 All fees are plus GST. Hellers Dominion - $250,000 - Group 1 - 14 November 2014 Initial nomination fee Wednesday 13 August 3pm NZ time $125 First late nomination fee Wednesday 27 August 3pm NZ time $1,250 First withdrawal fee Monday 15 September 3pmNZ time $250 Second withdrawal fee Monday 13 October 3pm NZ time $500 Final late nomination fee Wednesday 5 November 11am NZ time $6,250 Starting fee $3,125 All fees are plus GST. All fees above are included in the total stakes pay out and will contribute to the increase in stakes for both Group 1 races. The Christchurch Casino NZ Trotting Cup will be run for a stake of $700,000 and the Hellers Dominion for $250,000, both up $50,000 on 2013. Please note that horses must be withdrawn on the specified dates above otherwise owners will be liable for payments. For full details including breakdowns of stakes on the above please visit www.addington.co.nz from Friday 25 July. Alternatively, please call Brian Rabbitt or Richard Bromley of Addington’s Racing Department on (03) 338 9094. August Nominations for $84,000 Show Day Futurity Series Tuesday 22 July The Show Day Futurity Series (SDFS) will once again be programmed this spring at Addington Raceway with estimated stakes of $84,000. Addington is also pleased to announce that for the second year running, harness racing enthusiasts Glenys and Philip Kennard are sponsoring and the series will be known as the Glenys & Philip Kennard/Graphite Developments Ltd Futurity Series. Nominations will close on 13 August at 3pm. The well-patronised series will cater for 3-year-old and older pacers assessed at C0 as at 1 July 2014 with the following criteria to be satisfied:  Nomination fee is set at $100 plus GST with all funds received included in the stake for the SDFS Final on 14 November  A horse must have started at least twice in the period from 8 August to 31 October at a NZ Metropolitan Trotting Club meeting In 2014 it is proposed to run up to five races in the SDFS with the following conditions:  5 September – **horses assessed at C0 to C1 2600m - $11,000  17 October – **horses assessed at C0 only 2600m - $11,000  14 November – ***SDFS Final - $40,000  28 November – Horses who were not eligible to and did not contest the Final on 14 November - $11,000  11 December – Open to all SDFS horses excluding those horses who finish 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the Final on 14 November - $11,000 Total estimated stakes $84,000. **Subject to programming. ***Total stake for the SDFS Final is estimated at $40,000 which is subject to total number of nominations. All runners to receive a minimum of $800 for starting in the Final subject to same conditions. Full details can be viewed from Friday 25 July at www.addington.co.nz under Racing – Promotions and Incentives. Alternatively, please phone Brian Rabbitt or Richard Bromley of Addington’s Racing Department on 03 338-9094. Ged Mooar Marketing & Commercial Manager Addington  

There have been a lot of great trotting stallions over the lifetime of harness racing in Australasia but there has never been one as good as Sundon. Right from the time he first went to the stallion barn, Sundon has cast a huge shadow over all the other trotting sires available in Australasia. In the last few years many have been quick to suggest that his time has passed and that the new boys on the block were ready to assume the mantle of “king”of the trotting sires. Well judging by the results the 28 year old son of Arndon has achieved this season in both Australia and New Zealand, the obiturary may be a bit premature. His stats in New Zealand are as compelling as ever. Not only has he topped the stallion sires list again for trotters but Sundon has all but won the broodmare title for allcomers this season. His broodmares have produced the winners of $2,259,369 to date  this season to place him second only to In The Pocket, a fantastic achievement for a trotting stallion. He is a staggering $1,751,754 ahead of his nearest trotting rival on the broodmare stakes won list. In Australia Sundon has yet again topped the trotting sires list and the broodmare sires list as well. AUSTRALIA  1st sires list             2nd sires list          1st Broodmare list          2nd Broodmare list    Sundon                       Earl                           Sundon                              Aereus  $1,120,540                $764,926                   $1,615,601                      $437,689 As you see he is still number one by a fair margin as a sire and is completely dominant as a broodmare sire in Australia. NEW ZEALAND 1st sires list             2nd sires list          1st Broodmare list          2nd Broodmare list   Sundon                      Monarchy                     Sundon                        Chiola Hanover   $1,506,904              $1,035,930                   $2,259,369                        $507,575 Again he is still nearly half a million clear on the sires list but is a huge $1,751,794 ahead of Chiola Hanover on the broodmare sires list. And just to reinforce that he still has the ability to sire that smart young horse, Sundon has sired Australia's best 2 year old trotter this season in Eljaykay Phoenix ($110,569). All in all another great season for the greatest trotting sire to have ever stood in Australasia. Harnesslink media

2010 Dominion Handicap winner Stylish Monarch made a surprise appearance at the Timaru trials on Saturday. The 17-race winner, who was thought to be retired after going amiss again back in August of last year, has been back in work with original trainer Murray Tapper for several months. “He made his own mind up,” said Tapper. “He had been out for six odd months when he started galloping around the paddock like a mad man so I decided to bring him into work to help educate my young trotters,” he explained. But that didn’t exactly go to plan as the son of Monarchy, who has earned over half of a million dollars and currently holds the New Zealand trotting record for 3200 metres, quickly found his racing spirit. “As he got fitter he became very competitive again and I could never hold him,” said Tapper. “He just used to trot away from the young ones which wasn’t doing anyone any favours,” he laughed. Stylish Monarch finished third of three in his trial, but was only beaten just over four lenghts by 9-win pacer Motu Speedy Star who started of equal terms. “I was very pleased with his trial and, more importantly, how his legs look afterwards,” said Tapper. “He is still a day-to-day proposition but at this stage his legs look great and don’t look like going any time soon,” Tapper said as he touched wood. Tapper said if the Group One winning 10-year-old showed any signs of soreness it would be curtains on his career and this time it would be for good. “He has been too good of a horse to me for me to put him from pain,” he stressed. Tapper said Stylish Monarch would trial at least two more times before making a possible comeback in August. “I’m not making any rash plans at this stage,” said Tapper.”I think there is a C3 & faster trot for him sometime in mid-August but I won’t be rushing him to get there.” “He is ten-years-old now so I am just hopeful that he will still have the same speed and stamina because even if his 10-15% down on his best he is going to struggle,” admitted Tapper. “But even if he could be competitive again at the highest level it would be a dream come true,” he enthused. By Mitchell Robertson

Champion broodmare Scuse Me looks set on making what could be the most impressive black-type page ever seen in a catalogue. The speedy Butler BG race mare, who has proved to be the pride and joy of long-time breeder and owner Charles Roberts, won eight races including the Noel Taylor Mile on the racetrack. When winning that Group One race in 1998 she set a long-standing mares mile record of 1:53.5. The now 20yo daughter of Super Smooth has had eleven foals of racing age and when talented freshman Have Faith In Me was successful at Ashburton on Sunday it was her eleventh winner. Have Faith In Me, A Bettor’s Delight full-brother to Adore Me, was purchased on behalf of the Dunford's by Mark Purdon for $55,000  at the 2013 Karaka Sale. He was a mammoth second in his debut behind stablemate Change Stride, before making light work of his opposition in his second start, unleashing a 26.7 last quarter to dash away for an effortless three length win. Apart  from champion mare Adore Me ($880,469), Scuse Me has also left the smart performers Toledo ($88,514) , Imagine Me ($247,175), and Megabucks, who won six races in New Zealand before heading to America where he paced a mile in 1:49.6. She is also the dam of Splendid Dreams, who won two of six starts before she was retired to stud where she has produced millionaire pacer Christen Me and the injury plagued Hands Christian, who downed Terror To Love in the 2012 Easter Cup. Hands Christian is back on the comeback trail and, like close relations Christen Me and Adore Me, he is being set for the 2014 New Zealand Cup in November, giving the blue blood family a three-pronged attack on the great race. Splendid Dreams is also the dam of In The Pocket mare Splendid Deal, who already in her short broodmare career has produced Group One performers Splendour and (Our) Maxim. They, like Adore Me and Have Faith In Me, are both by Bettor’s Delight, highlighting what is a golden gross over the Scuse Me family. Other recent winners from this ever-strengthening family, which have predominately been trained by the Purdon’s, include juvenile Lightfingered, who was a recent winner at Addington. He too is by Bettor’s Delight out of an In The Pocket daughter of Scuse Me in La Filou. The next cab off the ranks for Scuse Me is a Bettor’s Delight yearling filly called Revere Me. She also has a Bettor’s Delight weanling colt called All About Me and is back in foal to the super sire. But, come November, this family may have already developed into one of the best ever and Scuse Me, or her daughter Splendid Dreams, may have produced their very first New Zealand Cup winner. By Mitchell Robertson      

When Alannah Hall and Have Faith In Me were successful at Ashburton yesterday it was the 56th time that Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen have trained multiple winners on a card this season. The 55th time was last Friday night at Addington where they were successful with Saratoga and Vice Consul, who where both driven by Mark Purdon. However, on Sunday Purdon was driving at Maryborough in Victoria so it was Rasmussen who did the driving honours. In the first race she gave two-year-old trotting filly Alannah Hall a beautiful trip in the trail before using the passing lane for a neck win. Owned by The Good Sports Syndicate which has enjoyed a tremendous season, Alannah Hall is a half-sister to top three-year-old trotter (Our) Twentyten and is the fourth New Zealand winner by top American stallion Angus Hall. Remarkably, Purdon and Rasmussen also train two of his other three NZ winners in (My) Arya, who finished a very good second in the Redwood Classic on Sunday, and the talented Petite One. Rasmussen then guided Adore’s full-brother, Have Faith In Me, to an effortless win, dashing away for a three length win in a slick last quarter of 26.7. Bettor With Bourbon, who is also from a family that Purdon has had plenty of success with, finished in second with stable foreman Ross Payne in the bike. Both juveniles are owned by the Dunfords, giving them the race Quinella. The lethal partnership has now trained 19 individial two-year-old winners this season and 156 in total, which is 18 winners more than Purdon’s previous best term of 138 when in partnership with Grant Payne. By Mitchell Robertson

After seeing Katy Perry roar at her Australian debut at Melton on Saturday night, the local two-year-old fillies' Breeders Crown contingent must be a tad jittery. At her most recent start before the weekend's Tatlow Stakes win at Tabcorp Park, Katy Perry came in second behind Joanne’s A Delight in a Breeders Crown heat in New Zealand. Joanne’s A Delight is headed Down Under along with another filly in Linda Lovegrace to contest the Breeders Crown. They finished second and third behind Supersonic Miss on Harness Jewels Day and were considered ahead of Katy Perry in Breeders Crown pecking order before Saturday night. So the Aussies it would seem might need to find a few metres. Katy Perry defeated highly rated Soho Tokyo by 2.5 metres on Saturday night, working to the lead early despite a back-row draw and comfortably holding off all late challengers. But who's to say Australia's leading Crown contender has already been seen? Maybe there’s a yet-to-race filly capable of grabbing headlines between now and Breeders Crown finals. Watch this space. By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Australia)

Nevele R Stud in Canterbury must be over the moon with the results achieved by their first season sire, Changeover 1:53.4 ($2,426,765). The biggest stakes winning son of the great sire and now sire of sires, In The Pocket 1:49.3 ($1,537,473) has had a great debut season with his first crop of two year olds this year. With a crop of 151 eligible to race this season it was always expected that Changeover would have plenty of runners from this crop with the main question being how smart they would be. Early on they were a touch disappointing but as the season wore on they got better and better and by the end  of the season the doubters had been silenced. Of his colts to really step up, Oneover 1:56.5 plc ($19,383) was probably the pick of them even though he didn't win. Oneover went super when placed in a couple of the better two year old races and should develop into a lovely three year old next season. Another colt to show up was the dual winner Prince Of Pops 2:00.7 ($20,648) who also showed enough in top company to suggest a lot more wins were in store. Of his fillies Supriya 2:00.1 looked very smart in a handful of starts while Nuala 1:58.8 (2000 mts) created a big impression winning her debut and was subsequently sold to Western Australia for a six figure sum. Changeover has had seven winners in New  Zealand to date which places him third on the New Zealand sires list for individual two year olds winners in 2013/2014 season. Another five of that first crop have been sold to Australia and won on that side of the Tasman as well. They include the very smart Controversial 1:57.1 who is three for three so far this season while other winners include Mister Lennox 2:02.3  Spendthelot 2:02.1  Beaudiene Bill 2:03 and Big Spending Telf 2:00.7. A lot of the Changeovers were produced at the trials with 32 qualifying during the season which bodes well for their three year old seasons. Two of those to really impress at trials but who never raced at two were the fillies Atchoo 1:59.2 and Docey Doe 1:59.6 who judging by their qualifying runs both look to have big three year old seasons in front of them. All in all Nevele R Stud could not have expected better results than those that Changeover delivered this season. Changeover has 99 yearlings ready to step out as two year olds next season with another crop of 89 behind that while he served a large book of 142 last season. Judging by the results of this seasons two year olds, Changeover looks to have a big future as a sire. Prince Of Pops Harnesslink media

The Dunn family name has been around harness racing circles as long as most remember. In recent years, it has been youngest son Dexter who has hogged many of the headlines as he breaks records none would of thought possible. However, today 20 July is a day the family will proudly remember as the day the patriarch of the family, Robert (RJ) Dunn trained his 100th winner for 2013-2014 harness racing season, joining a small but select club of trainers who have also done so.   While the 100 win milestone had been creeping closer over the last few weeks, starting this week, there still 4 winners required. With 18 runners engaged over three meetings it seemed inevitable that this week would be it. Starting on Thursday night, 2yr old Johnny Jet did the right thing, scoring the first win of his fledgling career, at the last Forbury Park meeting of the season. Onto Friday night, it was a recent newcomer to the stable, Westburn Warrior, that took the winning count to 98. Today's Ashburton meeting was full of promise. "To be honest I was quite confident about the two that won doing the job," reflected Robert. "I was also quite keen on the 2yr old filly (Cullens First Meddle)." Unfortunately this runner lost her stride early in the race and finished tailed off.  After having had little luck recently, Art Critic came home with an undeniable run over the top of them, in the 5th race for driver Sam Ottley, who must surely have wrapped up the junior drivers premiership now also. She has built to an unassailable lead with 49 win for the season. Coming to the last of the day and the question was would it be 99 not out heading into the next week of racing? A confident drive by John with newcomer to the stable in Wesley Silcox, quickly put an end to this debate. After looming large on the turn, he eyeballed pacemaker Change Time before quickly asserting his dominance, going on to win by 2 lengths without being overly extended.   While the 100 win milestone was not something that the stable had set out to do at the start of the season, over the last two months it certainly became a point of focus. "I wouldn't call getting there the highlight of my career," said Robert, "but it is something to be proud of and tribute to a great team effort." "If you'd told me two years ago that I would train 100 winners in a season, I would have told you, that you are kidding." The 2011-2012 season was disappointing by the high standards that had been set previously and produced just 44 winners. An opportunity to lease some boxes at Woodend beach came about and from there the results began to grow. A career high of 90 wins were achieved in the 2012-2013 season and some new stars unveiled. So it was that high hopes were set for the current season. A lightning start to the season that had the stable going toe-to-toe with the powerful Purdon/Rasmussen barn up to the end of January, was followed by quieter months in the autumn and early winter. "It did look a bit tough at one stage," confessed Robert. However, the annual Nelson/Marlborough winter circuit got things rolling again. Starting July, it became a case of not if, but when. That said it is a huge sense of relief as well as pride that all involved in the stable operations must be feeling today. For Robert, this is just another tick in the box for an already stellar training career in which he has trained a New Zealand Cup winner - Mainland Banner - in 2005 and trained and driven Master Musician to win the 1992 Auckland Cup. With new stars in the form of Elios and Franco Nelson, hopes will be high for these features in the upcoming season. In all, Robert has now trained the winners of 960 races in New Zealand and $9,905,373 in stake-earnings. These days the stable operation is solely based at the beach and who could argue with it as a recipe for success. While the kudos goes to Robert, he would be the first to acknowledge the role of eldest son John in being Robert's "unofficial" training partner and right-hand man. John has worked tirelessly setting high standards for all to follow. No-one would begrudge his success. John has also had another great year in the cart, driving 92 winners to date (4th in the premiership). By Mike Drury (ROBERT DUNN RACING)

Popular Canterbury harness racing trainer Robert Dunn cracked the 100 winners for the season for the first time as a trainer when a recent recruit to the stable Wesley Silcox took out the the Tinwald Tavern Mobile Pace at Ashburton today. Robert has had the stable firing on all cylinders all season and to reach the coverted 100  club is a just reward for all the hard work the stable has put in throughout the season. Wesley Silcox was recently purchased for stable clients out of the Brent White barn after two very impressive wins at the recent Nelson meeting with the original owner deciding to stay in and remain part of the ownership group. It is not the first time that Robert Dunn has bought out of the Brent White stable with Elios 1:55 ($213,676) an earlier purchase. Steadied out of the gate today from barrier two by driver John Dunn, Wesley Silcox slotted into a nice possie in the running line for the first 1400 meters. Sent forward outside the leader Change Time at the 1000 meter mark, Wesley Silcox sat there until they turned for home when he kicked away for an impressive two length victory with John Dunn hardly moving in the cart. The win made it three from three for Wesley Silcox and the good looking son of Courage Under Fire looks to have a huge future in front of him. He paced the 2400 meters from the mobile in a swift 3:00.6, a mile rate of 2:01 with impressive closing sectionals of 56.2 and 27.5. Falcon's Goddess, the dam of Wesley Silcox is a 1:58.5 daughter of the former smart Soky's Atom mare, Soky's Lass 1:58.9 ($34,754). Soky's Lass is very closely related to two of the best horses to ever set foot on a racetrack in New Zealand in Luxury Liner 1:56.9 ($1,721,984) and Christopher Vance 1:54.6 ($1,747,167). It is a family that has been a bit quiet in recent years but in Wesley Silcox it looks to have found another star. Wesley Silcox Harnesslink media

The West Melton trainer Gavin Mills has had a lot of success in harness racing over the years with progeny from the Vance Hanover mare, Fair Play. Of course the one Gavin will always remember  the most is the one that he sold to the present starter in Canterbury, Pete Lamb. Named Play On, the son of Bellam won an Interdominion Final for Pete Lamb at Alexandra Park in 2005 on his way to earning a very healthy $290,966. Even after Play On, Gavin has never been tempted to cover Fair Play with fashionable sires but it hasn't stopped the mare from producing four other winners including Another Player ($62,008), Will Play ($52,758) and Lighting Play ($41,052). The most recent winner from the mare is the Thanksgiving gelding, Thanksforplaying who won his second race for the season and third overall when he was successful in the Moore Architecture Handicap Trot at Ashburton today Sunday the 20th of July. Away well for a change, driver Chris McDowell settled him in the trail after 300 meters and from there Thanksforplaying got shuffled back to the point where he ended up five back on the inner at the 800 meter mark. Still five deep as the field turned for home, Chris McDowell angled him out to the centre of the track and he came with a storming late run to win going away from a handy field of lower grade trotters. Thansforplaying trotted the 2400 meters from a stand in a smart 3:07.1, a mile rate of 2:05.4 with the last half off the front in 60.3 and the quarter in 29.7. Even though he ran a couple of nice thirds at Nelson and Malborough recently, Thanksforplaying was completely let go by punters, paying $59.10 for the win. Thanksforplaying is his own worst enemy most of the time but as today showed, when he trots all the way he is very hard to hold out.   Thanksforplaying Harnesslink media

Harness racing can be a cruel game at times with some horses forever seeming to have bad luck. The Bucket List would have to be near the front of that queue in the last twelve months with a run of bad luck you wouldn't wish on anybody. After The Bucket List had won four of his first seven starts, he was thrown in the deep end against the best of his age group at three. While he performed really well, it was a steep learning curve for the Christian Cullen entire and seem to shake his confidence for a while. A nice run for second behind Pass Them By 1:53.6 ($175,081), beaten a ½ neck in a 1:57.3 mile rate over 2200 meters convinced trainer Geoff Small to send The Bucket List to Ashburton for the 3 year old Harness Jewels. Although never a winning chance in a race run in 1:50.6, The Bucket List went super to run 1:52.1, beating home two very smart horses in Franco Nelson 1:53.1 ($425,446) and Elios 1:55 ($213,676) in the process. Reappearing at Alexandra Park in January 2014, The Bucket List looked ready to fulfill his early potential with a brilliant win, coming from last at the 500 meter mark to beat a field containing Ideal Belle 1:52.2 (pl) ($176,409)  Maxim 1:56.6 $396,913) and Sky Major 1:52 ($411,002). He paced the 2200 meters in a brilliant 2:39.4, a mile rate of 1:56.6 with closing sectionals of 56.7 and 28.3 and looked set for a huge season. But from that point on, The Bucket List has hit one brick wall after another. Renowned for having a lethal sprint if saved for one run, the Bucket List has had a succession of runs where he was late getting clear, blocked for a run or pushed back at the wrong time. The luck had to change eventually and last night at Alexandra Park, The Bucket List got the kind of run he has been seeking for a while now. Leading early in the 2700 meters stand, driver Philip Butcher took a trail after 400 meters and soon after was three back on the inner as the smart 3 year old Regulus went to the front. Thats where he stayed until they turned for home where he angled for a run up the passing lane and burst through late to win going away by two lengths. He paced the 2700 from a stand in 3:27.8, a mile rate of 2:03.8 with smart closing sectionals of 56.7 and 27.6. It was his sixth lifetime win coupled with twelve placings which has seen him bank $76,945 in stakes to date. Now that his luck has turned, it wouldn't surprise anyone if The Bucket List strung a few wins together in the next few weeks. Harnesslink media  

Champion harness racing driver Ricky May notched up his third season century in succession when winning aboard the Dave Anderson trained Abbey Cullen at Addington last night. The win was May’s third for the night after good mate Mark Jones put him on Zakspatrol and Sabellian in order to help him reach the milestone. Both 3YO pacers were winners of their two-horse Breeders Crown heats. However, Zakspatrol was actually a narrow second and was a promoted winner after Artismee was relegated for galloping over the line. Driven positively by May, Abbey Cullen held up from her ace alley before undergoing a mid-race attack from Smart Alex. She then kicked strongly in the straight to hold off a late bid from Smart Alex who was able to drop into the trail when the mid-race speed went on. Hikoi finished a further a one and a quarter lengths away in third. The win was the Christian Cullen mares first from fourteen starts. It was also the first time May has taken the reins behind the four-year-old. May then went on to notch up his 101st win  for the season, and fourth for the night,  when winning aboard the smart Brendon Hill trained pacer Dalton Bromac, who looked back to the horse that we saw in his South Island debut two starts back. After missing away from the standing start, May worked Dalton Bromac into the race three-wide before taking a one-one sit down the back straight. He then worked the gelding into the clear rounding the final bend, with the three-year-old letting down strongly for a comprehensive win despite not running straight. Robbie Close, who has been the caretaker trainer of the gelding during the week, said that he believes Dalton Bromac is a better horse when coming from behind, which may be the reason he was slightly disappointing when a well beaten third after leading up in his second start in the south. “He is still pretty green and I think he is a better horse when he is chasing,” revealed Close. “I also think the 2600 metre trips suit him as he is a very good stayer and can follow pace,” he added. The season century tops off what has been another tremendous innings for May. Not only did he notch up his seventh New Zealand Cup victory but he was also victorious in the Auckland Cup. His emphatic win aboard Monbet in the Harness Jewels 2YO Ruby, which gave long-time supporters Greg & Nina Hope their first Group One win in New Zealand, was another one of his highlights. Meanwhile, Robert Dunn is now just two wins shy of training 100 winners in a season for the first time after winning a heat of the Golden Girls with Westburn Warrior. His tally could have been 99 had Artismee not been relegated. By Mitchell Robertson

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