Search Results
1 to 16 of 15789
1 2 3 4 5 Next »

The terminal decline of harness racing in New Zealand continues unabated and the future of this industry is looking shakier by the day. The recent announcement by the New Zealand Racing Board that Harness Racing New Zealand has given up another 59 races for next season is yet another nail in the coffin of the industry in New Zealand. The rationale given by Harness Racing New Zealand is that with less races they hope to improve overall field size and improve the quality of the racing. That is about as realistic as me wanting to sleep with Demi Moore. It ain't going to happen. Both the Thoroughbred and Greyhound national bodies have maintained the same number of races as last year and logic would suggest that they will continue to take market share off harness racing as a result. Harness Racing has lost 4% of its races in just two years and that is before the big reductions in foal numbers start to kick in which will really affect the number of races we can conduct each season. So what is our governing body proposing to do to arrest the slide and turn the industry around. Apart from a bit of tinkering around the edges, in my view they are sitting on their hands while this industry goes down the gurgler. The question I would pose is how is the industry travelling in New Zealand at the grass roots level. I talk to scores of industry people each week throughout New Zealand and the feedback is overwhelmingly negative. There are a great many trainers who are looking to cross the Tasman or get out of the industry completely. These include some household names in the industry in New Zealand which leads me to conclude that we are reaching a tipping point in the industry in this country. Auckland is by far the worst area but is not alone in the disillusionment engulfing this industry throughout the country. If the current trends continue and then accelerate when the lower foal numbers kick in shortly, then I don't think harness racing in New Zealand in its present form will exist in ten years time. We need to act now and turn this industry around or prepare ourselves for its demise I know I have been beating this drum for a while but I thought that Harness Racing New Zealand would take up the challenge and they would turn things around. However they have done next to zero and this industry is now living on borrowed time. Several times over the last twelve months I have put forward proposals to change the way we do things in the harness racing industry in New Zealand to help it survive. I don't want to go back over these in detail but I will touch briefly on them here so we are all on the same page.   There are a multitude of structures that need urgent change but I will focus here on the four that I think are critical to any chance of saving this industry. 1) Management Structures The management structure of harness racing in New Zealand is more akin to that of a 1960s sports club than that of an industry that turns over hundreds of millions of dollars a year. The clubs in New Zealand were set up to run race meetings and they do an outstanding job of performing their primary function. No one can tell me that clubs that meet once a year were ever envisaged to be running the multi faceted and complex business that harness racing in 2015 has become. We need a small  business savvy board with representatives elected by the rank and file participants in the industry in conjunction with some appointed members who are there for their business acumen. 2) Breeding Incentives The breeding side of harness racing is in a death spiral at the moment and unless we do something urgently then the breeding numbers will continue to fall. We have just lost 59 races for the coming year due to lack of runners per race and with the significantly smaller crops now starting to come on stream, that reduction in races per year will accelerate in the coming years. There are several models in use worldwide where other countries heavily support their breeders and we need to follow suit and soon. There is no time to argue about the merits of each of the systems, just adopt one and use it before it is too late. 3) Handicapping system The present system for the majority of horses is not working. The system has been tinkered with for many years and it still has major flaws. A lot of trainers I speak to think the handicapping system is worst now than it has ever been. We have had some minor improvements over the last few years but at this rate we will get it fully sorted about 2050 Why have we not tried something like a points system as Richard Brosnan has been promoting for some time? It is simple, easy to follow and would extend the life of a lot of our poorer performed horses. The Australian market for our cheaper horses has virtually disappeared overnight with the tax imposed on our horses by the Australians.  Harness Racing New Zealand is trying to solve the problem by making better usage of the horses that are presently racing. A recent HRNZ quote is " We have started less horses more times".   If you take that solution to its logicial conclusion we are going to have less and less horses racing more often over time. It is the exact opposite to what they should be trying to do. The ideal would be to have more horses racing if the system was working, not less. Less horses means less owners, less trainers, less drivers and so on and so on. At some point we will be down to  just Alexandra Park and Addington if we don't change our present course. 4) New Zealand Racing Board If you want to know where the money is going in the three codes in New Zealand then look no further than the New Zealand Racing Board. The pigs have got there noses that deep in the trough that it is no wonder that the three codes are struggling to survive. I could pinpoint several examples but I think it is just as easy to set out below some of the costs associated with the New Zealand Racing Board. Operational costs of the New Zealand Racing Board - August 2014 - just after the last HRNZ annual conference. - NZRB's running costs have increased by $24.4 million in four years, a rise of 6.2%. - For the same period turnover increased by just 1.5% and income 2.3%. - Since August 2012, staff costs had risen by $2 million or 4%, an April KPMG audit report said. - The NZRB's annual report of 2013 listed staff expenses of $54.98 million. - In the NZRB's more recent half-yearly report its staff expenses for the six months ending January 31,2014, amounted to $30.71 million, up $2.5 million on 2013. - Its total expenses for the same six months were $64 million, up $3.1 million. - The 2013 annual report listed 72 staff that was paid more than $100,000. - Twenty four of those earned more than $150,000, and eight earned more than $250,000. I have been involved with this industry for nearly forty five years and not much has changed to be honest in that time, except the cost of running the Industry. We need to change the structures that run this industry and bring them into the 21st century. Its like Harness Racing New Zealand is aware that the Titanic is going down but instead of taking any action they would rather sit and listen to the band. JC

Harness racings big day  (Harness Jewels) on Saturday (May 30th) at Ashburton is nearly here and Harnesslink is doing a runner by runner preview of each division. Here is our preview of the Group 1 $150,000 3YO Emerald for three year old colts and geldings.   1) Hug The Wind  -  (Bettor's Delight - Dreaming Spires by Dream Away)   Starts: 16    Wins: 6    Secs: 6    Thirds: 2    Life: $252,457 His last start win at Addington was sensational, sitting three wide for most of the last mile which he ran in 1:55 even. The two runs before that after he came back from Australia were poor by his high standards but the last run showed he was right on song for this. Has high gate speed so can make his own luck from here. Include in everything   2) Livura   -  (Live Or Die - Zitura by Union Guy)   (Emerg 1) Starts: 20    Wins: 3   Secs: 1    Thirds: 4    Life: $34,077 Nice three year old who has been doing a good job in grade racing lately. Huge step up here in class and even if he made it back into the field from the ballot, it is very hard to see him being a first four contender in this race   3) Art Union  -  (Art Major - Sparks A Flyin by Sands A Flyin) Starts: 28    Wins: 13     Secs: 5    Thirds: 2    Life: $167,664 Was in great form in the spring but as the season has gone on he has not maintained that level. Likes to lead and set the tempo but won't get the lead off Hug The Wind so will have to settle in the running line. Hard to make a case in his present form for him to be a major player here even from the draw. First four player at best here.   4) Have Faith In Me  -  (Bettor's Delight - Scuse Me by BG's Bunny) Starts: 12    Wins: 7   Secs: 2    Thirds: 0    Life: $475,381 The best three year old in the country and ready to prove the doubters wrong once again on Saturday This is his first start for two months and a lot of pundits have suggested he is vulnerable in this race but his workout win last Saturday was super impressive and he looks ready to resume where he left off in the Derby. Has the best all round game of the favoured runners and is the clear top pick here.   5) Follow The Stars  -  (Art Major - Smyrna Duruisseau by Cams Card Shark) Starts: 22    Wins: 16    Secs: 5    Thirds: 0    Life: $664,452 Outstanding three year old who has been unlucky enough to strike a near champion in Have Faith In Me in his year. Has only missed a place once in twenty two starts and is race fit after a short Australian campaign. Have Faith In Me has had the wood on him this season when they have met and the gap has got bigger as the season has gone on. Clear second pick here but struggle to see how he beats Have Faith In Me   6) The Faithful  -  (Bettor's Delight - Running On Faith by Soky's Atom) Starts: 14    Wins: 3    Secs: 3    Thirds: 1    Life: $38,855 Has fashioned a tidy record in grade racing and not disgraced in the Northern Derby. However his form appears to have tapered off a touch lately. Great trainer/driver combo means you should never write him off completely but outside first four player at best here   7) Bettor Spirits  -  (Bettor's Delight - Spirit Of Eros by In The Pocket) Starts: 31    Wins: 7     Secs: 4    Thirds: 7    Life: $136,234 Very smart northerner who has been unlucky to draw wide outside of the favourites. Very consistent and has an all round game but the draw is just a killer here. Will have to go back or slide across and give the favourites a start and from there it is hard to see how he is a major contender. Outside first four contender here.   8) Chachingchaching -  (Mach Three - Affairs Of State by Presidential Ball) Starts: 24    Wins: 6     Secs: 3    Thirds: 2    Life: $101,579 Another smart northerner who has been given the visitors draw here. His form turned around mid season when David Butcher became his regular driver and he has been a different horse since. Another horse that if he had drawn well he would have been a strong first four player but from out here he is an outside first four player at best.   9) Burnaholeinmypocket  -  (Bettor's Delight - Kelly Maguire by Christian Cullen) Starts: 14    Wins: 6     Secs: 4    Thirds: 1    Life: $54,593 Smart Australian raider who has blazing gate speed but that isn't going to help him much out here in the grandstand. He is dammed if he goes forward and he is dammed if he doesn't. With a good draw he would have really put some spark into this race but hard to make a case for him from out here. First four player at best from the draw                                                                                                    SECOND LINE   10) Brilliant Strike  -  (Shadow Play - Christian Star by Christian Cullen) Starts: 18    Wins: 7   Secs: 2    Thirds: 5    Life: $84,180 Has had a big season, mixing it with the very best and proving very competitive. Late change of driver a bit hard to understand but loses nothing with Blair Orange in the bike. Much prefer him over a distance a lot longer than this and even though he should end up only three back on the inner at worst, you just get the feeling his best races this season are behind him. First four contender at best   11) Titan Banner  -  (Art Major - Corporate Banner by Soky's Atom) Starts: 9    Wins: 5    Secs: 3    Thirds: 0    Life: $29,291 Smart horse in the making here but this race against the best three year olds in the country may just be coming a bit early in his career for him to shine. Really good second to Hug The Wind at his last start but the winner was clearly superior on that occasion. Dexter has stuck with Art Union as you would expect so he has a new driver here in Ricky May so no difference there. Outside first four player at best   12) Prince Of Pops  -  (Changeover - Slangevar by Cameleon) Starts: 24    Wins: 6     Secs: 5    Thirds: 1    Life: $61,597 Has furnished a tidy record but mostly away from the better three year olds. Not sure that a mile is a distance that suits his talents either and from wide on the second line he really has his work cut out here. Hard to see how he could run in four from the draw.   13) Lightfingered  -  (Bettor's Delight - La Filou by In The Pocket) Starts: 8    Wins: 4     Secs: 0    Thirds: 2    Life: $31,801 The baby of the All Stars barn contingent but has fashioned a tidy record to date. Didn't look happy in the slush at Addington at his last start and prior runs were full of merit. However the draw has taken him out of the race here and hard to see how he gets into the race from wide on the second line.   14) Little Rascal  -  (Panspacificflight - Evita Franco by Live Or Die) Starts: 17    Wins: 4     Secs: 4    Thirds:3    Life: $49,292 Been based in the north most of the season and has been racing really well for a while now. Better with one run at them but hard to see from the outside of the second line how that will play out here. Draw has been terribly unkind and as a result it is hard to see how he gets into the race from out here.   SELECTIONS Have Faith In Me is the clear first pick here. A lot of pundits are suggesting that Follow The Stars has closed the gap on his stablemate but that wasn't evident at the workouts last Saturday. Follow The Stars is just as clearly second pick and from the draws it does look a two horse war. The way the draws have come out, Hug The Wind has every opportunity of making this an All Star trifecta. His last win at Addington was his best run this season and makes him a serious contender here. For trifecta and first four takers, throw in Art Union, Bettor Spirits, Burnaholeinmypocket and Brilliant Strike. Harnesslink Media

The Harness Jewels are the pinnacle of the season in New Zealand for many in the industry and this years version at the harness racing meeting at Ashburton on Saturday (May 30th) promises to be a beauty. Harnesslink has decided to do a runner by runner preview of every division. Here is our preview of the Group 1 $150,000 4YO Emerald for 4YO colts and geldings.   1) Ideal Success  -  (American Ideal - Maheer Glen by Holmes Hanover)   Starts: 27    Wins: 9    Secs: 2    Thirds: 2    Life: $60,630 Under rated type who has won nine races but away from the metropolitian tracks in the main Faced a lot of these in the New Zealand Messenger and went super, running on well late to be only three lengths from the winner after being last on the corner. Showed a bit of tow off the gate at last Saturday's workouts so should be able to hold up from a front line which doesn't have a lot of speed in close. Draw means he is a trifecta and first four player    2) Quick As A Trick  -  (Lis Mara - Quick Atom by Soky's Atom) Starts: 30    Wins:8   Secs: 3    Thirds: 3    Life: $79,148 Another horse who has won eight races but again most of them were away from Addington. Has looked really smart at times but has disappointed just as much. Last Friday nights run was average at best and not a good rehearsal for this week. Hard to make a case for him as a first four player.   3) Take After Me   -  (Holmes Hanover - Give Or Take by Live Or Die)    Starts: 22    Wins: 2     Secs: 8    Thirds: 2    Life: $30,658 A two win horse who looks right up against it here. Has yet to face a field of this quality and this is not the race to change that. Has made it back into the field from the ballot but we can't see him being competitive here.   4) Te Kawau  -  (Bettor's Delight - Haylin Express by Christian Cullen) Starts: 30    Wins: 11   Secs: 7    Thirds: 6    Life: $109,174 Lovely big horse who is honest as and will give a big sight here. Not sure if a mile is really his go but the quicker they go the whole way, the more chance he has. Will outstay most here so has to hope for plenty of mid race pressure to bring the speedsters back to him. Include in everything.    5) Milligan  -  (Grinfromeartoear - Outkast by Panorama) Starts: 51    Wins: 5    Secs: 10    Thirds: 8    Life: $46,874 Consistent gelding who always gives of his best but that won't be enough here. This is a huge step up in class from what he has been racing down south. Hard to see how he can run in four in a field of this quality.   6) Tiger Tara -  (Bettor's Delight - Tara Gold by Dream Away) Starts: 35    Wins: 11    Secs: 9    Thirds: 6    Life: $417,174 High class four year old who went two beauties up north in the Taylor Mile and the Messenger. His last run at Addington was super and he thrives on racing so will be better this week. Will head to the front and be hard to catch. Include in everything.    7) Dalton Bromac  -  Scratched   8) Provocative Prince -  (Grinfromeartoear - Catherine Zeta by Village Jasper) Starts: 30    Wins: 6     Secs: 7    Thirds: 5    Life: $61,106 Very consistent horse who takes winning form into this but not at this level. If he had drawn a good barrier then he would have been a first four player. Hard to see him as a first four contender from out here.   9) Mr Franklin  -  (Grinfromeartoear - Sheza Gem by Christian Cullen) Starts: 35    Wins: 5     Secs: 4    Thirds: 6    Life: $46,223 This campaign he has been in career best form but still doesn't win out of turn. Would like him over something a bit longer as well. The draw is the killer blow and makes his task way too hard. Can't make a case for him to be a first four contender                                                    SECOND LINE   10) Onedin Mach  -  (Mach Three - Stylish Onedin by Stand Together) Starts: 32    Wins: 9   Secs: 4    Thirds: 6    Life: $58,328 Has had his issues this season but does get a draw he can work with here. Looks like he will end up three deep on the inner at worst which makes him a first four contender. Dexter in the bike won't hurt the cause as well   11) Sky Major  -  (Art Major - Sky Beauty by In The Pocket) Starts: 39    Wins: 14    Secs: 7    Thirds: 6    Life: $670,189 The horse they all have to beat here. Loves the mile distance having won seven times over it in his career to date and right in the zone at the moment. Zac Butcher in the bike is just a bonus and hard to see him not giving this a big shake. Clear first pick here    12) Mighty Major  -  (Art Major - Isabella Anvil by Christian Cullen) Starts: 16    Wins: 6     Secs: 5    Thirds: 1    Life: $43,181 Another horse that needed a bit of help at the barrier to be a contender here. Mixed it with Dalton Bromac earlier in the season but hasn't quite been as sharp as that recently. Great driver in Blair Orange in the bike but still only an outside first four contender at best here.   13) Isaiah  -  (Art Major - EJ Becks by In The Pocket) Starts: 37    Wins: 13     Secs: 5    Thirds: 11    Life: $584,942 Was in devastating form earlier in the season and was an unlucky third in the Chariots Of Fire at Menangle. Not seen at his best at Auckland due to a foot issue but as Messini showed last week, it never pays to under estimate the All Stars barn on producing them fresh and ready to run. At his best he is right in this up to his neck and has Natalie in the bike so that is a big plus. Include in everything   14) Messini  -  (Art Major - Mesmerizing by In The Pocket) Starts: 39    Wins: 16     Secs: 9    Thirds: 2    Life: $304,884 Career best run last week to win in super time at Addington after two poor efforts at Auckland  where he didn't handle that way round. If the same Messini turns up at Ashburton then he is definitely a contender here. Does have blinding speed if held up for one run and likely to get that kind of run from out here. Include in everything. SELECTIONS The clear first pick for us is Sky Major who is in great form and loves the distance. Tiger Tara is the danger to him from the draw as he can make his own luck from the front line and is a clear second pick here. Three horses in Te Kawau, Isaiah and Messini are the next three horses in the pecking order and it is hard to favour one ahead of any of the others. Throw in Ideal Success, Onedin Mach and Mighty Major for those first fours Harnesslink Media

Harness racings big day (Harness Jewels) is fast approaching on Saturday (May 30th) at Ashburton and Harnesslink has decided to do a runner by runner preview of each division. Here is our preview of the Group 1 $100,000 4YO Ruby (Mobile Trot)​ for four year olds.    1) King Denny  -  (Majestic Son - A Touch Of Sun by Simon Roydon) Starts: 23    Wins: 9    Secs: 4    Thirds: 0    Life: $208,554 Last years best three year old who has gone to a higher level this season. Has high gate speed and tough as old boots so how they beat him from barrier one I don't know. Has been mixing it with the very best such as Stent and Master Lavros with great credit and from barrier one he looks the winner. A clear top pick here   2) Belles Son  -  (Majestic Son- Belle Galleon by Sundon) Starts: 14    Wins: 7   Secs: 0    Thirds: 0    Life: $56,318 The find of the season amongst the four year old trotters and has gone from strength to strength lately with six consecutive wins, each one better than the last. He is very tough and showed good speed as well in his last win. A big player here but hard to see how he rolls King Denny. A must include for Quinella, trifecta and first four takers   3) Valerie  -  (Majestic Son - Xena Hest by Pine Chip) Starts: 21    Wins: 14     Secs: 2    Thirds: 1    Life: $68,797  -  Scratched   4) Majestic Time  -  (Majestic Son - Time To Shine by Sundon) Starts: 22    Wins: 8   Secs: 5    Thirds:3    Life: $102,161 High class mare who has been in good touch this season without looking as sharp as she did at three. Did win her last start but that was at Oamaru and not against a field of this quality. Does like the track and distance but only a trifecta and first four player here.   5) Poppymalda  -  (Armbro Invasion - In The Sun by Sundon) Starts: 13    Wins: 5   Secs: 3    Thirds: 1    Life: $30,273 She has had a great last twelve months and looks headed to the top. Not the complete package yet but getting there slowly. Does have high speed and may surprise a few here. Include in first fours.   6) Lucky Fortune  -  (Brylin Boyz - Howz Lucky by Sundon)  Starts: 19    Wins: 5    Secs: 2    Thirds: 3    Life: $43,500 Showy horse with ability to match who needed a handy draw to be a player here. Does have high speed but draw makes this very hard for him Outside first four contender at best here.   7) Harrysul -  (Gotta Go Colluct - Smooth Nosey by Smooth Fella) Starts: 12    Wins: 4     Secs: 0    Thirds: 1    Life: $21,846 Won four in a row earlier in the season and looked very smart but form has plateaued a bit since then. Not going bad races but not looking like a Harness Jewels contender either. Workout at Ashburton last Saturday was okay without being anything special. Outside first four chance at best    8) Mum's Pride -  (Monarchy - Teachers Pride by Evander's Gold) Starts: 13    Wins: 8     Secs: 1    Thirds: 1    Life: $99,112 Outstanding trotter headed to the top but has a couple of things against him here. The draw is one issue but more importantly is the setback through illness he suffered lately means he may not strip 100% on Saturday, race fitness wise. Still the main danger to King Denny but hard to see him beating the favorite due to those issues we mentioned   9) Eyre I Come  -  (Majestic Son - Landora's Special by Sundon) Starts: 18    Wins: 3     Secs: 2    Thirds: 1    Life: $40,530 The enigma of this field for sure. Has a truck load of ability but his manners have let him down on numerous occasions. Looked to becoming into a nice vein of form but did gallop as the gate went at last Saturdays workouts. The may have due to the gate being so slow in the run up to the start because he trotted beautifully afterwards. First four chance if he does everything right                                                                                                    SECOND LINE   10) Zachary Binx  -  (Sundon - Zsa Zsa by Armbro Invasion) Starts: 25    Wins: 4   Secs: 2    Thirds: 2    Life: $30,048 Has won four races this season and looked smart doing it but form has dropped away bigtime lately. Going to get a lovely run on King Denny's back but that won't be enough to make him a contender here. Hard to have.   11) Father Christmas  -  (Love You - Juliana by Sundon) Starts: 19    Wins: 5    Secs: 3    Thirds: 4    Life: $37,380 Smart trotter who has hardly put a foot wrong all season. May lack a touch of the high speed of some here but will keep going and should get a good run on Belles Son's back. Outside first four player here.   12) All Royal Gal -  (Monarchy - Roydon Action by Sundon) Starts: 31    Wins: 4     Secs: 4    Thirds: 2    Life: $44,697 Is in career best form at the moment but the draw has ruined her chances. Needed all favours with the barrier to be a contender here and wide on the second line makes things very difficult. Hard to have from this barrier.   13) Trouble Rieu -  (Great Success - Cong Chua Rieu by Sundon) Starts: 37    Wins: 7     Secs: 8    Thirds: 6    Life: $76,766 Forget his last start in the slush at Forbury Park. His five prior runs were all first class and but for the draw he would have been a must include in everything. Even from out here he has a rough chance of running in four. The smokey to boost up those first fours    14) Santorini Sunset E1 -  (Majestic Son - Sunning by Yankee Reb) Starts: 23    Wins: 4     Secs: 1    Thirds: 0    Life: $25,475 Not lacking in ability, just in ringcraft at this stage of his career. Form at the moment is a bit of a concern but can throw in the odd smart run out of the blue when he is on his game. Starting from the unruly in a field of this strength means it is very hard to see him as a first four contender.   SELECTIONS Clear first pick is King Denny. Has gate speed to lead from barrier one and hard to see anything here running past him after that. Mums Pride and Belles Son look the logical pair to fight out second and third and it is hard to separate the pair to be honest. After that we would include Majestic Time, Poppymalda, Eyre I Come and Trouble Rieu for trifectas and first fours Harnesslink Media

Harness racings big day (Harness Jewels) is fast approaching on Saturday (May 30th) at Ashburton and Harnesslink has decided to do a runner by runner preview of each division. Here is our preview of the Group 1 $150,000 2YO Emerald for two year old colts and geldings.   1) Three Ways  -  (Mach Three- Grace Away by Dream Away)   Starts: 6    Wins: 0    Secs: 1    Thirds: 1    Life: $13,539 Smart colt who has had no luck whatsoever in his last two starts. Made ground stylishly at his last start against those he meets here. Has good gate speed so from the ace and with Dexter in the bike he becomes a trifecta and first four player   2) Motu Premier  -  (Bettor's Delight - Motu Pocket O'Jewels by In The Pocket) Starts: 7    Wins: 1   Secs:3    Thirds: 3    Life: $69,613 Lovely colt who has never missed a placing in seven starts to date. Hasn't quite got the zip of some here but will stay all day. Needs the speed on all the way to be a major player here. Must include for trifecta and first four takers   3) Salty Robyn  -  (Art Official - Holly Robyn by Live Or Die) Starts: 7    Wins: 4     Secs: 2    Thirds: 0    Life: $58,877 Disappointing in his last start at Addington but it may pay to disregard that run when assessing his chances here. A mile at a track like Ashburton is right up his alley and you know he is going forward. Ran a slasher at last Saturdays workouts at Ashburton when he brushed home in 25.5 Must include for trifecta and First four takers   4) Chase The Dream  -  (Bettor's Delight - Christian Dreamer by Christian Cullen) Starts: 8    Wins: 6   Secs: 0    Thirds: 1    Life: $197,026 Outstanding two year old who has the all round game to win this. Has high speed and can do work in his races so is very versatile which is a big plus in a race like this. Has won over a mile on this track, has the hottest driver in the country at the moment in the bike and has drawn good which are all big ticks. Big winning chance and include in everything   5) Mach Time  -  (Mach Three - Rhythmic Rose by Holmes Hanover) Starts: 7    Wins: 3    Secs: 0    Thirds: 0    Life: $20,335 Smart two year old who has won three races this season but all in grade racing and not against the two year olds. Having three of the favourites drawn inside him makes this a tricky draw and not sure where he will end up in the running from barrier five. Hard to make a case for him being a first four contender   6) Lazarus  -  (Bettor's Delight - Bethany by Christian Cullen) Starts: 7    Wins: 5    Secs: 1    Thirds: 1    Life: $190,562 Has been around from the early Young Guns heats at Auckland and is going better than ever at this late stage of the season. Has high gate speed but surprisingly didn't use it at Addington last start and got pushed back but flew late for an unlucky third. Hard to make ground on this track so should go forward from barrier six Big winning chance and a must include for all trifecta and first four takers   7) Classie Brigade  -  (Bettor's Delight - Trigirl Brigade by Mach Three) Starts: 5    Wins: 0     Secs: 2    Thirds: 0    Life: $14,766 Has gone a couple of good races this season but away from the really smart two year olds. Best run was his last run and if he had drawn in close he would have had a rough place chance. From out at barrier seven it is hard to see him as a genuine first four player.   8) Sparkling Delight -  (Bettor's Delight - Laurel Franco by Badlands Hanover) Starts: 7    Wins: 1     Secs: 0    Thirds: 1    Life: $11,404 Has been a touch disappointing to be honest. His trials prior to his racing debut were first class but he has struggled to be competitive against the better two year olds all season. From out here he looks to be on mission impossible and hard to make a case for him as a first four player   9) Code Black  -  (Bettor's Delight - Christian Watch by Falcon Seelster) Starts: 8    Wins: 2     Secs: 0    Thirds: 1    Life: $43,927 This horse just can't win a trick at the moment. Ran third in the Young Guns Final but since then his draws have just killed him. Won the Sires Stakes consolation with ease after doing plenty of work and even from out here he is a first four player                                                                                                 SECOND LINE   10) Harry Hoo  -  (Bettor's Delight - Twist N Shout by Badlands Hanover) (Emerg 1) Starts: 6    Wins: 0   Secs: 2    Thirds: 0    Life: $9,346 His first start was his best for the season and hasn't kicked on from that very promising debut run. Unlikely to make it back into the field but even if he did this is too hard for him at this stage of his career.   11) Cash N Flow  -  (Mach Three - Karen Doona by In The Pocket) Starts: 3    Wins: 1    Secs: 1    Thirds: 0    Life: $14,404 Very impressive debut run followed up by a better one when fourth in the PGG Sales race. Didn't look as though he handled the track that well last start so prepared to forgive him that run. Drawn to get a soft sit back on the inner and appeals as a horse that could get a piece of this. Include in trifectas and first fours   12) Chicago Bull  -  (Bettor's Delight - Chicago Blues by Christian Cullen) Starts: 6    Wins: 2     Secs: 1    Thirds: 0    Life: $13,715 First four runs all had merit but his last couple of starts have been off the pace. Better with one run at them but hard to make ground at Ashburton when they are running 55 second half miles off the front. Hard to make a case for him here from this draw.   13) Max Factor  -  (Art Major - Tact Philly by In The Pocket) Starts: 10    Wins: 1     Secs: 1    Thirds: 3    Life: $22,511 Won his first start and competitive in Young Guns series but doesn't seem to have kicked on in the latter part of the season. The wide second row draw has made his task a huge one at this stage of his career Hard to make a case for him from out there.   14) Shandale -  (Art Major - Delightful Dale by Bettor's Delight) Starts: 6    Wins: 1     Secs: 2    Thirds: 2    Life: $49,851 Lady luck has deserted this horse big time lately. Three wide in the open for the greater part of his last two races and still fought on for a second and a fourth. If he got a drag into the race for a change he would be a major player here. Must include for trifecta and first four takers.   SELECTIONS It is a close thing but Lazarus gets the nod here as the first pick. Track will suit and looks the one they have to beat. The main danger is the stablemate Chase The Dreams who always gives 110% on raceday and won't disappoint here. After that it is a bit of a lottery with little separating half a dozen runners. Throw in Three Ways, Motu Premier, Salty Robyn, Code Black, Cash N Flow and Shandale for trifectas and first fours. Harnesslink Media

Harness racings big day (Harness Jewels) next Saturday (May 30th) at Ashburton promises to be a beauty and Harnesslink has decided to do a runner by runner preview of each division. Here is our preview of the Group 1 $150,000 3YO Diamond for three year old fillies.   1) On The Town  -  (Bettor's Delight - Funontherun by In The Pocket)   Starts: 10    Wins: 2    Secs: 1    Thirds: 3    Life: $27,710 Her first few runs were outstanding but she is not going like that at the moment. Will get the trail behind The Orange Agent but don't think that will be enough to make her a first four player. Hard to see in four   2) The Orange Agent  -  (American Ideal - Lady Fingers by Artiscape) Starts: 16    Wins: 10   Secs:2    Thirds: 0    Life: $262,312 The best filly in the race and has the draw to prove it here. Will lead and hard to see how they beat her from in front. Can real off sub 55 half miles with ease so this race looks tailor made for her. The standout in this field from the draw and should win.   3) Start Dreaming  -  (American Ideal - Simply Devine by In The Pocket) Starts: 8    Wins: 4     Secs: 1    Thirds: 1    Life: $64,150 Over raced badly in the New Zealand Oaks at Addington and dropped out Great second in the Northern Oaks followed by three effortless wins prior to her Addington run showed she is a high class filly. Great trainer so expect her to be a lot more tractable come Saturday. Definite trifecta and first four chance.   4) Glenferrie Bronte  -  (Changeover - Equus Francoe by Falcon Seelster) Starts: 9    Wins: 5   Secs: 1    Thirds: 2    Life: $56,481 Talented Australian raider but she has picked a bad year to cross the Tasman. Fight For Glory put the top Australian fillies to the sword in the New South Wales Oaks and she is not the best here. Outside first four player for us    5) Better B Amazed  -  (Bettor's Delight - Amazed by Christian Cullen) Starts: 14    Wins: 7    Secs: 1    Thirds: 4    Life: $54,732 Talented filly who has won seven from just fourteen starts. Sat parked for a fair way in the Oaks then came out and sat parked again with a lap to go before being pushed back through the field and then finished on again for sixth. Lot of merit in the run Has gate speed to get handy early and a outside first four player for us   6) Rocker Band  -  (Rocknroll Hanover - Mainland Banner by Christian Cullen) Starts: 8    Wins: 3    Secs: 2    Thirds: 1    Life: $33,549 Put together a string of smart performances before failing badly in the Southland Oaks when off colour at her last start. Blew out late on Saturday at the workouts but up against some smart four year olds in her heat and wasn't far away in a 1:54.9 mile. At her best she would be a first four player but may be a run short.   7) Tintinara E1  -  (Falcon Seelster - Arden's Fame by In The Pocket) Starts: 11    Wins: 3     Secs: 4    Thirds: 3    Life: $23,369 Has only been out of the money once in her 11 start career to date but yet to face fillies of this class. Draw makes it very hard to see her as a player even if she did get back into the field.   8) Democrat Party -  (American Ideal - Champagne Party by Soky's Atom) Starts: 17    Wins: 3     Secs: 6    Thirds: 3    Life: $186,024 Placed in both the Nevele R Fillies Final and the New Zealand Oaks but both times it was after a soft run off a cosy draw. Very classy filly nonetheless and with Zac Butcher in the bike she won't lack for anything on the driver front. Will need a bit of luck from out here but has the class to be a trifecta and first four player.   9) Supersonic Miss  -  (Mach Three - Bella Joy by Village Jasper) Starts: 18    Wins: 6     Secs: 4    Thirds: 3    Life: $208,934 Has had no luck lately with draws or in the running. Outstanding filly at her peak and just needs a little bit of luck from out here to be a player. Won the two year old Jewels from the second line so a must include for trifecta and first four takers                                              SECOND LINE   10) Linda Lovegrace  -  (Bettor's Delight - Linda Grace by In The Pocket) Starts: 21    Wins: 6   Secs: 5    Thirds: 3    Life: $185,759 Has taken most of this season to come back to her best from a long two year old campaign. Her last three runs have all been full of merit and from the draw she should be no worst than three deep on the inner. That makes her a must include for trifecta and first four takers.   11) Fight For Glory  -  (Art Major - Breath Of Life by Village Jasper) Starts: 19    Wins: 9    Secs: 7    Thirds: 0    Life: $457,425 Outstanding filly who has been unfortunate enough to be a three year old in the same year as The Orange Agent. Reverse the draws with The Orange Agent and it would be an interesting contest but the way the draws have come out means she is up against it to beat her arch rival. Looks the quinella with The Orange Agent but hard to see her sitting outside her and beating her.    12) Princess Arts  -  (Art Major - Natal Franco by Badlands Hanover) Starts: 12    Wins: 3     Secs: 1    Thirds: 2    Life: $25,302 Has been going good all season but at a racing level below what she is now facing. Needed a handy front line draw to be a first four chance here. Therefore it is hard to make a case for her as a first four chance.   13) Change The Rulz  -  (Changeover - Victoria Rulz by Badlands Hanover) Starts: 19    Wins: 4     Secs: 1    Thirds: 5    Life: $31,168 Another filly who has had a very good season away from the top liners. Her last two runs against most of these running here have resulted in a ninth and an eighth so hard to see from this draw how she can be a threat to the favourites. Hard to make a case for her as a first four candidate   14) Classical Art  -  (Mach Three - Arts Lover by Artsplace) Starts: 12    Wins: 5     Secs: 2    Thirds: 0    Life: $77,943 Worst possible draw for a big free going filly who likes to run on the speed. Can over race in the field and can be a bit tempremental if things don't go her own way. To many negatives for her to be a major player here. Outside first four player at best    SELECTIONS The clear first pick from the draw is The Orange Agent. Brilliant front runner so this race looks hers to lose The clear second pick is the New Zealand Oaks winner Fight For Glory. Is going to have to sit outside The Orange Agent and try to wear her down which looks a big hurdle. For trifecta and first four players, include Start Dreaming, Democrat Party, Supersonic Miss and Linda Lovegrace.   Harnesslink Media

With harness racings big day (Harness Jewels) coming up on Saturday (May 30th) at Ashburton we thought we would do a runner by runner preview of each division. Here is our preview of the Group 1 $100,000 3YO Ruby (Mobile Trot)​ for three year olds.   1) Starlight Starbright  -  (Monarchy - Pat's Daughter by Gee Whiz) Starts: 27    Wins: 3    Secs: 0    Thirds: 5    Life: $20,064 In and out trotter who can show a bit on occasions. Has battled at this level in the past and we struggle to see him as a first four player even from the draw. Not for us   2) Sunny Ruby  -  (Sundon - Bright Diedre by Britewell) Starts: 21    Wins: 4   Secs: 4    Thirds: 1    Life: $34,013 Very nice filly who has really come solid over the last half dozen starts. Has real gate speed so should lead and then hand up to one of the favourites. Trifecta and first four player for us from the draw   3) Prince Fearless  -  (Majestic Son - Fear Factor by Sundon) Starts: 14    Wins: 3     Secs: 4    Thirds: 1    Life: $114,218 Started the season with a hiss and a roar but hasn't kicked on like we thought he would. Did beat Speeding Spur over a mile on this track in February and this is his best draw for a while. Will work to the front and a winning chance from there. Include in everything.   4) Habibti Ivy  -  (Love You - Ten To One by Sundon)                                                 SCRATCHED   5) Soney Beatt  -  (Sundon - Honey Beatt by Armbro Invasion) Starts: 23    Wins: 3   Secs: 2    Thirds: 2    Life: $21,191 Well performed trotter away from the age group classics. His last start against these horses was in the New Zealand Trotting Derby and he was beaten 23 lengths so hard to make a case for him here. Not for us   6) One Yankee Hall  -  (Angus Hall - Leithe Ellen by Muscles Yankee) Starts: 13    Wins: 1    Secs: 3    Thirds: 3    Life: $9,248 Nice filly who has shown a bit of potential this season but not at this level. We struggle to see her as a first four player even from the front line draw. Not for us.   7) Speeding Spur -  (Pegasus Spur - Della's Speed by Chiola Hanover) Starts: 16    Wins: 10     Secs: 2    Thirds: 2    Life: $226,061 The outstanding three year old trotter in the country who has only been beaten once this season and that was at Ashburton over a mile. Has continued to improve as the season has gone on but has had the luxury of drawing inside his main opposition in most of the age group classics. Will have to sit outside Prince Fearless to win this but we think he can. The horse to beat.   8) Springback Eden  -  (Angus Hall - Landoras Special by Sundon)  (Emerg 1) Starts: 21    Wins: 2     Secs: 1    Thirds: 2    Life: $18,044 Has been disappointing overall this season after showing a bit of promise as a two year old. Can throw the toys out every now and again and even if he has made it into the field off the ballot, we struggle to see him being a player here. Not for us.   9) Great Things Happen  -  (Love You - Calamity Gal by S J's Photo) Starts: 6    Wins: 2     Secs: 0    Thirds: 0    Life: $13,507 Outstanding win three back at Ashburton and solid effort in the slush against Speeding Spur last time out. Now on the beach with Robert Dunn and even from this shocking draw we think if he is saved for one run at them he is an outside place chance. Include in first fours.                                                   SECOND LINE   10) Petite One  -  (Angus Hall - Petite Sunset by Sundon) Starts: 11    Wins: 4   Secs: 2    Thirds: 1    Life: $43,511 Started the season looking like a real top liner but as a lot of horses do she then went through a flat patch, making mistakes more often than not. Her last three runs have been more like her old self and her workout win on Saturday at Ashburton in 1:59.2 with a last quarter in 27.1 was impressive. Drawn to end up deep on the inner but still a first four player for us   11) Monbet  -  (Love You - Diedre Darling by Sundon) Starts: 14    Wins: 6    Secs: 3    Thirds: 1    Life: $113,759 This horse just can't buy a decent draw and hasn't been able to all season. His runs against Speeding Spur at Auckland were outstanding and his trial here against the pacers last week was super impressive. Follows Sunny Ruby through and if that filly gets out like she can then Monbet could end up in a great position. Due a change of luck and the big threat to Speeding Spur for us.   12) Charming Lavra -  (CR Commando - Lavra Miriam by Earl) Starts: 18    Wins: 4     Secs: 4    Thirds: 2    Life: $39,864 Lovely filly who is right in the zone at the moment. However manners from a standing start have been the key to her success lately and couple that with the bad draw and she has her work cut out here. Trialed very nicely last Wednesday but a first four player at best for us   13) BD Love -  (Love You - Twitchit by Britewell) Starts: 8    Wins: 3     Secs: 2    Thirds: 1    Life: $41,674 Really nice horse who has done little wrong in his career to date. A front line draw would have made him a trifecta chance but from wide on the second line he is going to need a lot of luck. Outside first four player for us.   14) Rock Tonight -  (Sundon - Rock'n Rhonda by Pine Chip) Starts: 17    Wins: 3     Secs: 1    Thirds: 1    Life: $32,225 Has a lot of ability but a few tricks as well. Has won his three races from a stand but has only managed one placing from eight starts behind the mobile. That record combined with the draw makes it hard to have him as a first four player here. Not for us   SELECTIONS Speeding Spur has to be first choice after the season he has had. If Habibti Ivy comes out, his job becomes a touch easier but the way the draws have panned out, this will be his toughest test since he was beaten here in February. He is going to have to rough it but we think he is still the horse to beat. Monbet is the danger without a doubt. If he gets a run through early on the back of Sunny Ruby, it could change the whole complexion of the race. Can win with some luck early. Prince Fearless is the only horse to have lowered Speeding Spur's colours this season, on this track and at this distance. Will lead and that levels the playing field up a bit but we think the other two may just have his measure at the moment. We think these three are a length better than the rest. Throw in Sunny Ruby, Habibti Ivy, Great Things Happen, Petite One and Charming Lavra for trifectas and first fours Harnesslink Media

Harness racings big day (Harness Jewels) is rapidly approaching next Saturday (May 30th) at Ashburton and we thought we would do a runner by runner preview of each division  Here is our preview of the Group 1 $150,000 4YO Diamond for 4YO mares.   1) Lancewood Lizzie  -  (Bettor's Delight - Kamwood Elsie by Falcon Seelster)   Starts: 28    Wins: 11    Secs: 2    Thirds: 4    Life: $134,986 Smart mare with great gate speed who will lead early from here and then gets to choose who to hand up to. We are picking there will be plenty of pressure mid race so she will take a trail behind a couple here as she is better saved for one run at them. Draw makes her a major player. Include in everything   2) Cala  -  (Art Major - Lisistar by Holmes Hanover) Starts: 41    Wins:10   Secs: 8    Thirds: 2    Life: $244,247 Smart Aussie raider who could make things interesting if she has a serious look for the front. Has a good all round game so can work in her races and still kick home. Draw makes her a player here. Trifecta and first four player for us   3) Lucia Bromac  -  (McArdle - Lite Polaris by Badlands Hanover) Starts: 30    Wins: 7     Secs: 2    Thirds: 1    Life: $31,808 Speedy mare who has done a great job this season for Brent Weaver However this looks a little tough for her and we struggle to see her being a first four player. Not for us   4) Al Raza  -  (Gotta Go Collect - Al Zahra by Mach Three) Starts: 24    Wins: 9   Secs: 3    Thirds: 3    Life: $66,236 Very under-rated mare who has had a great season and with nine wins on the board, she deserves a bit of respect. Hard to see her toppling a couple here but wouldn't surprise us if she snuck into the first four. Include in trifecta's and first fours   5) Gracious Star  -  (Real Desire - Nurseme Pocket by In The Pocket) Starts: 15    Wins: 4    Secs: 4    Thirds: 1    Life: $23,983 Smart mare in a rich vein of form but this race is a huge step up. Needs to be driven for one run at them and hope for a bit of luck. We still struggle to see her in four. Not for us    6) Leigh Major  -  (Art Major - My Sharona by Badlands Hanover) Starts: 26    Wins: 4    Secs: 4    Thirds: 5    Life: $27,036 Another mare who has compiled a tidy record this season. The mile will suit but the strength of the field makes this a tough ask. We struggle to see her as a first four player. Not for us.    7) Delightful Dash  -  (Lis Mara - Coming Up Roses by Holmes Hanover) Starts: 30    Wins: 8     Secs: 8    Thirds: 6    Life: $66,253 Another mare who has tended to sneak under the radar at times but has a wonderful record and not completely out of this race. If she had drawn in closer we would have had her as a must include in trifectas and first fours. Draw makes her a rough first four chance for us.   8) Sell A Bit -  (Julius Caesar- Nomorenuki by Live Or Die) Starts: 33    Wins: 9     Secs: 6    Thirds: 6    Life: $63,368 Brent White has done a great job with this mare who has compiled a great record especially over a mile. Won in 1:54.1 at Winton from the outside of the second row after doing a power of work so not a forlorn chance here. Another mare who if she had drawn better would have had a huge chance of running in four. Draw makes her a rough first four player for us   9) Change Time  -  (Christian Cullen - Chaangerr by Vance Hanover) Starts: 32    Wins: 6     Secs: 4    Thirds: 4    Life: $64,582 Went through a purple patch earlier in the season but her form seems to have plateaued in her last few starts. Hasn't started for nearly two months and has only had one workout last Wednesday at Rangoria to fit her for this. Draw and lack of racing makes this a tough assignment in our book. Not for us                                                    SECOND LINE   10) Sweet Art  -  (Art Major - Cruzee Lass by Christen Cullen) Starts: 44    Wins: 6   Secs: 7    Thirds: 8    Life: $59,284 Talanted sit and sprint mare who has drawn to get a cosy trip on the inner. A couple here look too smart but if she got a soft enough run she could sneak into the first four. An outside first four player for us   11) C A Penny   -  (Pay Me Christen - Julianne Bromac by Badlands Hanover)  (Emerg 1) Starts: 17    Wins: 4    Secs: 1    Thirds: 1    Life: $18,719 Has struck a purple patch of form since changing stables in March with four wins and two placings in just six starts. However they have all been in the Central Districts against fields nothing like this one. Not for us   12) Willow  -  (Bettor's Delight - Listen To The Rhythm by In The Pocket) Starts: 19    Wins: 9     Secs: 4    Thirds: 3    Life: $208,665 High class mare who is right in the zone at the moment. Her workout yesterday at Ashburton where she made up a lot of ground on a 25.8 quarter to run third shows she is spot on for next Saturday. Drawn to follow out Cala so should get a lovely run through. Big winning chance and include in everything.   13) Venus Serena  -  (Mach Three - Inspiring Dash by Falcon Seelster) Starts: 28    Wins: 16     Secs: 1    Thirds: 3    Life: $764,544 Champion two and three year old who has been given a quiet season at four by Geoff Dunn in the hope she will shine at five and older. Has had her share of niggles this season as well but looked very much like the Venus Serena of old at last Tuesdays Ashburton trials where she ran the 2400 metres in 2:56.5 with the last quarter in a brisk 26.5 and really pleased her driver John Dunn. Loves this track and will be put in the race so a huge chance of winning this. Include in everything.   14) Sheeza Shark  -  (Four Starzzz Shark - Altruistic by Il Vicolo) Starts: 24    Wins: 7     Secs: 5    Thirds: 4    Life: $55,709 Very promising mare who has done a great job this season and deserves her spot here. Draw is a killer when she has to give an advantage to mares like Willow and Venus Serena. Would need so much to go her way to be a major player for us. Outside first four player at best for us. SELECTIONS For us class is permanent and that is why we have gone for Venus Serena as our top pick. She may not have had the stellar season many expected but she has been looked after with a view to the long term and her trial run last Tuesday looked like the real Venus Serana to us. Willow is the clear second pick for us and a real danger to Venus Serena. You can't fault her race form and her workout run yesterday was super. Lancewood Lizzie is a clear third pick for us from the draw and could trouble the two favourites with a run to suit. To fill out those first fours throw in Cala, Al Raza, Delighful Dash, Sell A Bit and Sheeza Shark. Harnesslink Media

With harness racing's big day only a week away, we thought we would a runner by runner preview of each division of the Harness Jewels at Ashburton next Saturday (May 30th). Here is our preview of the Group 1 $100,000 2YO Ruby (Mobile Trot)​ for two year olds.   1) Cocktail Waiter  -  (Bacardi Lindy - Gina by Sundon) Starts: 17    Wins: 0    Secs: 1    Thirds: 2    Life: $5,100 Ran a half in a minute back in early September last year but as the season has gone on, he has not improved. One or two smart runs surrounded by a whole lot of runs that were below par. Not for us.   2) Missandei  -  (Angus Hall - Pocaro by Sundon) Starts: 3    Wins: 0   Secs: 1    Thirds: 1    Life: $10,085 She has not stopped improving since her debut and has all the credentials to win this. Her workout at Ashburton yesterday against a few she faces here showed she had trained on since her last start second and she looks to be peaking perfectly for the big day. A major threat to High Gait, especially the way the draws have played out. Include in everything.    3) Gunners Coin  -  (Muscle Hill - Galleons Dream by Chiola Hanover) Starts: 2    Wins: 0     Secs: 1    Thirds: 0    Life: $12,653 Two promising runs to date and this is the best draw he has had to work with. Doesn't look super quick off the gate but looks like he can hold his spot so he should get a good run from this draw. A couple here look better but manners and driver makes him a big trifecta and first four player.   4) Wilma's Mate  -  (Pegasus Spur - Mybrotherwasastar by Sundon) Starts: 7    Wins: 2   Secs: 2    Thirds: 1    Life: $20,036 The enigma of the field for sure. Has enough ability to get right amongst it here but does have the odd chink in the armour. Best saved for one run at them as she does have high speed but one or two here have her measure. Trifecta and first four player for us.     5) Royal Willie  -  (Majestic Son - Miss Whiplash by Gee Whiz) Starts: 5    Wins: 2   Secs: 2    Thirds: 0    Life: $8,700 Smart young trotter who has shown plenty in a short career to date. Looked ready to make a race of it with Missandei at yesterday's workouts when he got a real fright when Maurice activated the removable hood for the first time and galloped. We would disregard that run due to that and we think he can get amongst it here. Include in trifectas and first fours    6) Gershwin  -  (Muscles Yankee - Allegro Agitato by Sundon) Starts: 6    Wins: 2    Secs: 1    Thirds: 1    Life: $4,853 Stablemate of Royal Willie who ran High Gait to a nose at Cambridge in 2:00 so the ability is there. Draw is good for him as it gives him time to find his feet early and his workout yesterday where he made up a lot of ground on a 27.6 quarter was very impressive. Must have for trifecta and first four players.   7) Arannalea -  (Pegasus Spur - Lady Boo Kay by Sundon) Starts: 9    Wins: 2     Secs: 1    Thirds: 1    Life: $10,966 She has high gate speed and likes to lead so that is where she will head early and has the early speed to get across even from seven. Workout yesterday was passable without being super and this field has a lot of depth. A first four player at best for us.   8) He's Like The Wind -  (Great Sucess - Sunmist by Sundon) Starts: 6    Wins: 0     Secs: 1    Thirds: 1    Life: $9,397 Huge run at his last start when after being badly checked at the start and settling miles from the bunch, he made stylishly to finish sixth. The two previous runs were both full of merit so a player here. Has high gate speed so can across early and get handy. Stable is in hot form which doesn't hurt either. Trifecta and first four player for us.   9) Aldabaran AY M  -  (Sundon - Big O E by Dream Vacation) Starts: 4    Wins: 0     Secs: 1    Thirds: 1    Life: $2,071 There abouts in most of her races without looking like winning one. Workout yesterday was in that vein of being handy without looking liking troubling the big players Add in the outside front line draw and we can't see her running in four. Not for us                                                SECOND LINE   10) Marcoola  -  (Sundon - Arabess by Grant Our Wishes)   (Emerg 1) Starts: 2    Wins: 0   Secs: 0    Thirds: 0    Life: $1,836 Has looked promising at workouts and trials but hasn't produced on raceday to date. Even if he made it back into the field, we would struggle to see him as a first four player. Not for us   11) Cyclone Chief  -  (The Prez - Cyclone Dani by Muscles Yankee) Starts: 4    Wins: 0    Secs: 0    Thirds: 2    Life: $2,772 Has put in a couple of nice runs in his four starts to date without looking like winning a race. Needed to draw handy on the front line to have any chance here. Not for us.   12) High Gait  -  (Muscles Yankee - Regal Volo by Malabar Man) Starts: 5    Wins: 5     Secs: 0    Thirds: 0    Life: $46,941 Unbeaten in five lifetime starts says it all Just when everybody thought the pack was catching up to her, she produced a huge performance to win her last start and served notice that she is still the one to beat here. Natalie is driving in superb form at the moment and they look a lethal combination. Has a great all round game and a clear first pick for us.   13) Conon Bridge -  (Raffaello Ambrosio - Deidres Girl by Roydon Boy) Starts: 3    Wins: 2     Secs: 0    Thirds: 1    Life: $44,871 His three runs to date have all had class written over them. Has started from the unruly on every occasion as he will here but that hasn't stopped him winning his last two with real authority. Still a touch green but has master trotting trainer Paul Nairn in his corner so lots of ticks for this fella. Winning chance and include in everything.   14) Dark Ops  -  (CR Commando - Constar by Continental Man) Starts: 16    Wins: 0     Secs: 1    Thirds: 1    Life: $4,341 Another one to look promising on trial and workout day but has yet to reproduce anything like that on raceday. Has been galloping more than trotting lately and we struggle to see her playing any part here. Not for us.   SELECTIONS High Gait is the clear first pick but we think she won't have it all her own way. Both Missandei and Conon Bridge have both looked more than capable of lowering the unbeaten filly's colours with a run to suit. Those three stand out for us from the pack. Throw in Gunners Coin, Wilma's Mate, Gershwin, Royal Willie and He's Like The Wind for trifecta's and first fours. Harnesslink Media

Harness racings big day, the Harness Jewels is set for next Saturday the 30th of May at Ashburton and we thought we would do a runner by runner preview of each division Here is our preview of the Group 1 $150,000 2YO Diamond for two year old fillies.   1) Bettor Love Me  -  (Bettor's Delight - Gentle Audrey by Artsplace)   Starts: 3    Wins: 0    Secs: 0    Thirds: 2    Life: $14,478 Badly checked at its last start and did well to get as close as she did in the slushy conditions. A nice third before that to Arden's Choice and Northern Velocity from a wide draw. First four player from the draw.   2) Ultimate Desire  -  (Real Desire - Ballie Hanover by Kentucky Spur) Starts: 4    Wins: 1   Secs: 0    Thirds: 1    Life: $4,130 Has created quite an impression since her debut just six weeks ago. Big win at Forbury in good time and then a huge run last Sunday at Oamaru when third. Big step up here but progressive type of filly. Throw in your first fours.   3) Allison Stokke  -  (Bettor's Delight - Isinbeyeva by Christian Cullen) Starts: 5    Wins: 1    Secs: 1    Thirds: 0    Life: $6,057 Has looked a handy filly in her brief career to date and the good draw here a big plus. Has gate speed so looks the early leader but needs a soft run after to play a part. Liable to get that with Luisanabelle Midfrew certain to go forward so becomes a first four player.   4) Nek Time  -  (Gotta Go Collect - Braithwaite by Jennas Beach Boy) Starts: 5    Wins: 1   Secs: 1    Thirds: 0    Life: $14,067 Looked very promising at trials prior to racing but has disappointed us on raceday in the main. Does have gate speed but if she is used early, she tends to battle in the run home. Not for us.   5) Luisanabelle Midfrew  -  (American Ideal - Lulabelle Midfrew by Christian Cullen) Starts: 4    Wins: 0    Secs: 2    Thirds: 0    Life: $35,723 Very smart filly with a big motor who is ideally suited to the mile distance. Has real gate speed so will lead and won't hand up so you know what you are going to get. A real chance to split up the All Stars three here. Include in everything.   6) Gamma Lady  -  (Mach Three - Maheer Lady by Badlands Hanover) Starts: 6    Wins: 1    Secs: 1    Thirds: 2    Life: $35,310 Looked very smart early on when she mixed it with the best with a lot of credit. Went through a patch of a couple of starts where she seemed lengths down on her best but seems on the up again in her last couple. Trifecta and first four player if the real Gamma Lady shows up.   7) Northern Velocity  -  (Mach Three - Northern Franco by Falcon Seelster) Starts: 7    Wins: 3     Secs: 1    Thirds: 1    Life: $137,260 Very smart filly who has done a great job at two for a filly that doesn't look a natural two year old. Maybe lacks the zip of her two stablemates but will keep going. Can get a bit unruly if things don't go her way. Trifecta and first four chance.   8) Semi's Delight  E1 -  (Bettor's Delight - Hot Shoe Shuffle by Falcon Seelster) Starts: 7    Wins: 1     Secs: 0    Thirds: 0    Life: $26,078 There is no doubting the ability but the ring craft has been letting her down lately. Still has a lot to learn and can do things wrong at times. Not for us.     9) Dream About Me  -  (Bettor's Delight - Splendid Dreams by Dream Away) Starts: 4    Wins: 4     Secs: 0    Thirds: 0    Life: $138,332 Christen Me's half sister has inherited all the family ability and is unbeaten to date. Her last win at Auckland was as good as we have seen from a two year old filly. Her win at the Ashburton workouts today was stunning, picking up Salty Robyn in a 25.5 quarter after spotting him four lengths at the 400 metres mark. Clear first pick for us and hard to see how they beat her.                                                   SECOND LINE   10) Smoke N Fire  -  (Courage Under Fire - Smoke N Mirrors by Pacific Rocket) Starts: 6    Wins: 1   Secs: 0    Thirds: 1    Life: $8,243 Really nice filly who from this draw is up against it. Has performed creditably against most of these she meets here but from the draw she could end up buried back on the inner which makes it very tough. Not for us due to the draw.   11) Arden's Choice  -  (Panspacificflight - Winter Rose by In The Pocket) Starts: 7    Wins: 2    Secs: 2    Thirds: 1    Life: $106,417 Top class filly who has pushed Dream About Me close on one occasion. Did have a few little tricks early on but seems 100% these days. The main danger to the favourite for us but after watching today's workout where Dream About Me sailed past her with ease, she will need to lift next week to win this. Include in everything.   12) Killer Queen  -  (Rock N Roll Heaven - Party Girl Becqui by Partywiththebigdog) Starts: 9    Wins: 1     Secs: 1    Thirds: 2    Life: $33,700 A filly with a big reputation that she hasn't really lived up to yet. Has looked sharp at various times but too many poor runs as well David Butcher in the bike is a big plus but the draw for us makes this fillys job very difficult. Rough first four player for us.   13) Chevrons Champion  -  (Bettor's Delight - Dreamsaregold by In The Pocket) Starts: 7    Wins: 2     Secs: 1    Thirds: 0    Life: $15,810 Started out looking like a top liner but has lost her way a bit. Fourth at Addington to Arden's Choice where she was unlucky was her best performance to date. Needed a handy draw to have any chance here. Not for us.   14) Pat Campbell  -  (Lis Mara - Penscroft by In The Pocket) Starts: 6    Wins: 1     Secs: 1    Thirds: 1    Life: $7,844 Handy filly who won't stop trying but from this draw she is up against it. Needed a soft run handy to the pace to be a first four chance so hard to make a case for her here. Not for us.   SELECTIONS Dream About Me looks in a different league to us to the rest of the field. Clear first pick. Luisanabelle Midfrew and Arden's Choice look the main dangers and seem to have a class edge on most here. Northern Velocity and Gamma Lady next cabs off the rank and looms as trifecta players. Throw in Bettor Love Me, Ultimate Desire and Allison Stokke to boost up those first fours. Harnesslink Media

It was announced today by Derek and James Delaney of Oakwood Stud that New Zealands top harness racing driver Dexter Dunn and one of New Zealands leading trainers in Cran Dalgety are both committed to coming to Ireland August 7-9 for the Ladbroke’s Vincent Delaney Memorial weekend. Dexter Dunn is the 2015 World Driving Champion, which says it all for his ability on the racetrack and he drives for trainer Cran Dalgety’s Kentuckiana Lodge which is one of the leading stables in New Zealand. “What great news to get,” said Derek Delaney, “Last year we had Anthony Butt come over and drive and because he is in Australia now, he could not make it over again this year, so he contacted Dexter Dunn and Cran Dalgety and they jumped at the opportunity to come to Ireland.” The Ladbrokes Vincent Delaney Memorial is the richest stakes race in all of Ireland and the UK. It takes place at Portmarnock Raceway just on the outskirts of Dublin. The Delaney’s have developed the race into a three-day weekend event honoring the memory of their younger brother, Vincent, who tragically passed away in 2011. The weekend gets underway Friday, August 7 with a nearly sold out seminar and gala dinner dance, then Saturday’s card features the elimination races for Delaney Memorial for two-year-old pacers and Sunday’s card has major stakes races headed by the final of the Delaney Memorial and its consolation race. “In my family on my father’s side the Dunn’s are Scottish,” Dexter Dunn said, “but my Nana is a Fitzgerald and they are of Irish decent. “I've never been to Ireland, the UK or Europe before,” Dunn said. “I am looking forward to getting over there and experiencing what Ireland has to offer. The first time I really got a good understanding of racing in Ireland was when Michael O'Mahony came over from Ireland and worked for my father Robert. I heard about the Delaney Memorial weekend when Anthony Butt when over there to drive in it last year and told me what a brilliant time it was.”   “My family hails from Scotland,” Cran Dalgety said. “My brother-in-law is Anthony Butt, who came to Dublin last year and thought it was amazing. He recommended I come over and share the experience this year. I have never been to Ireland before. “I know it will be a great experience,” Cran said, “I am sure I won’t be there to train or drive and thus will be able to fully enjoy the experience. I will have my eyes and ears wide open and always looking for bigger and better ideas because we simply never stop learning.” For more information about the Ladbrokes Vincent Delaney Memorial weekend, go to their website at By Steve Wolf - Vincent Delaney Memorial Promo

The New South Wales Trotting Oaks was run at last Saturday nights harness racing meeting at Menangle and as expected Arya produced a polished display to take out the Group  1 feature. Trevor Casey must be racking up those frequent flyer miles points as he once again crossed the Tasman to watch one of his star trotters compete and he was duly rewarded when Arya showed that manners are just as important as ability and luckily she has got big dollops of both. The minor highlight of the race was the run of the Italian bred filly My Tribeca who put up a huge performance after getting badly checked at the start. Bred to northern hemisphere time, My Tribeca was only born on the 14th of May 2012 so was barely a three year old on Saturday night and was only having her second lifetime start which adds even more merit to the run. Both Arya and My Tribeca now head to the Victorian Trotting Oaks on Saturday week and the rematch should be worth going a long way to see. Greg Hayes spoke to the connections of both horses post race. Harnesslink Media   

The New Zealand Racing Board has released its 2015/16 racing calendar with a focus on delivering better value to the community and the wider racing industry. Monetising the calendar is a key strategic focus over the coming year, and the NZ Racing Board is working closely with the Greyhound, Thoroughbred and Harness Codes on further shaping the calendar to maximise the potential from race meetings. Harness Racing New Zealand has decided to consolidate in a bid to increase field sizes and improve the quality of racing. A total of four race meetings and 59 races have been removed from the 2015/16 season and the Auckland Trotting Cup has moved back to New Years Eve. The number of Greyhound and Thoroughbred races is largely unchanged. Two of Thoroughbred's marquee races, the Auckland Cup and the Karaka Million, have moved dates in the calendar in an initiative that will improve community and industry attendance. The 2015/16 calendar, comprising 1,060 meetings and 10,877 races across the three racing Codes, has been devised to optimise returns to the industry while recognising specific requirements for racing to reflect the importance of community engagement and alignment with international meetings. Following is a summary of the key dates, features and changes to the 2015/16 racing calendar: Thoroughbred Spring Racing commences at Hastings on Saturday 29 August 2015 with the first day of the Hawkes Bay Spring Carnival New Zealand Cup and Show Week in Christchurch will run from November 7- 14 2015 Auckland Trotting Cup returns to 31December 2015 (from first week of March) Karaka Million Twilight Racing is on January 24 2016 Wellington Cup Day will be held on January 30 2016 Auckland Cup Week runs from March 5to March 12 2016 The Harness Jewels take place at Cambridge on June 4 2016 Printed 2015/16 racing calendar booklets will be available free from TAB retail outlets from mid-July. Kate Gourdie New Zealand Racing Board

Harness racing is a hard business at the best of times but when horses are removed from one stable and shifted to another, there is always a bit of ill feeling involved regardless of how well  it is handled. Last November the Robert Dunn stable went really close to winning another New Zealand Cup when Franco Nelson missed by the barest of margins from holding out Adore Me. Another top run in the New Zealand FFA cemented Franco Nelson's arrival as a genuine grand circuit horse. Unfortunately foot issues then played havoc with the star pacers season and as a result he has missed most of the big races since that great week in November. Owners Clive, Sharon and Rona McKay recently made the decision to move the son of Christian Cullen to the Michael House barn. " The main reason we moved Franco Nelson to Michael's is that there is a vet on the property full time to help with Franco Nelson's foot problems" "We knew Robert would be upset by the decision but we have to do what we think is best for the horse." "Robert and John have been very good to us which made the decision even harder," Rona McKay told Harnesslink this afternoon. Robert Dunn was philosophical about losing the stable star. " I was pretty upset at the time although I don't blame Clive or Rona." " Franco Nelson does have a lot of ongoing issues but we thought we were getting on top of them. " After all the work we put into the horse, it is disappointing to lose the horse like this," Robert said.  The open class ranks are a bit thin at the moment and Franco Nelson would be a welcome sight back on the racetrack. Harnesslink Media

With a week to go before harness racings big day at Ashburton next Saturday when the Harness Jewels are held, today was an opportunity for runners to have a look at the track before the big day. Five workouts were held involving horses who are lining up next Saturday and this is our review of the runners that took our eye at todays workouts. Salty Robyn Led early and went through the first half in 61.5 before brushing home in 55.8 and 25.5 to cut the mile out in 1:57.3 Although beaten by half a head he didn't look to be all out and took a long time to pull up. Ready to rumble next week. Ardens Choice Trailed Salty Robyn the whole way but was left a bit flat footed when he sprinted on the corner. Kept fighting gamely and although beaten two lengths, ran her last quarter out really strongly. Right on song for next week Dream About Me Hard to do justice to her run today. Sat three back on the inner behind Salty Robyn who shot four lengths clear as they went past the 400 metres. Flew home late to nab Salty Robyn on the post, making up the four lengths on a 25.5 quarter and did it without driver Tim Williams hardly moving in the cart. On that run she just wins next week. Missandei Showed gate speed to lead early and then sprinted the last 400 metres in 27.6 to win with something in hand. Continues to improve every time she goes off the place and is quickly closing the gap on her stablemate High Gait. From gate two with her gait speed,she is a winning chance next Saturday Gershwin With Ricky May in the bike he was allowed to settle last early and was still there at the 400 before making ground stylishly on a 27.6 quarter Ricky didn't pull the removable hood which gave the run even more merit and he looked a trotter with a bit of bottom to him. Has run 2:00 two and a half months ago so has the ability and from a handy front line draw he could trouble the favourites. Have Faith In Me Was a bit fresh today and ran about a bit on the first corner like he can do sometimes. Angled out on the home corner and just strolled past Isaiah and Hug The Wind with little effort it seemed. Last quarter off the front was run in 26 which he bettered and he never looked out of second gear. Hard to see him beaten next week on today's run. Follow The Stars  Followed Have Faith In Me everywhere but made no ground on him in the straight but still went really well to run second, breaking 26 for his last quarter. May need something to happen to Have Faith In Me to beat him but the clear danger if there is one to the favourite.  Willow Settled last in her heat which was the quickest of the day and still there coming off the back straight. Made ground stylishly on the inner in a 25.8 quarter to be beaten just three lengths so right on song for next week. Ideal Success Showed gate speed to lead from out wide and clocked up a 1:54.9 mile in the process and held on gamely from Kept Under Wraps. Ran his last half in 55.7 and quarter in 25.8 so a smart performance. Barrier 1 next week gives him options so he looms as a genuine place chance from the draw. Harnesslink Media

The Christian Cullen FFA at tonights harness racing meeting at Addington Raceway may not have had a big field numbers wise but with the Harness Jewels just eight days away, several of the name runners were having their final blowout before the big day. Dalton Bromac was a warm favourite in front of Sky Major and Tiger Tara while Messini was let go at ten to one in the 1950 metres mobile. Dalton Bromac and Ricky May came out firing from barrier four but were hotly challenged and headed by Tiger Tara and Gerard O'Reilly who took up the lead with 1600 metres to go. Tiger Tara was really running in front and was joined in front at the 1000 metres by Messini and Mark Purdon. The speed was upped again passing the 800 metres and the two smart four year olds sizzled down the back straight and and carried the battle around the corner and up the home straight. About 50 metres from home Messini mastered Tiger Tara and held a half neck margin at the finish. Sky Major made ground stylishly from well off the pace for third, 1 3/4 lengths away with six lengths away to a very disappointing Dalton Bromac. The 1950 metres was paced in a very quick 2:19.2 in the cool and brisk conditions, a mile rate of 1:54.8 with closing sectionals of 54.8 and 27.4 Mark Purdon was pleased to have the son of Art Major back in the winners circle. " I am really pleased that he is back to his best. " He didn't handle the Auckland way round so you can disregard those runs" " The draw (14) in the Jewels makes it very hard but at least he is back to his best," Mark said. Geoff Dunn was thrilled with the run of Tiger Tara. "He showed real gate speed and fought on great so I couldn't be happier. "He is right where I want him heading into next week and he is right on target,"Geoff said. Barry Purdon was also very happy with Sky Major. " They have run home in 54.8 and he has made up a lot of ground." " He blew out at the 100 metres but that will top him off nicely for the Jewels," Barry said. Dalton Bromac was very disappointing by his own high standards and it soon became apparent why. Post race it was discovered that Dalton Bromac had bled and he has been stood down for thirty days as a result. Benny Hill was very philosophical after the race. "At least we still have a horse." "We will take him home and give him a break and get him ready for next season," Benny said. Messini sent out a very clear message tonight that he is right in the zone at the moment and not completely out of it on Jewels day even from barrier 14. Harnesslink Media  

1 to 16 of 15789
1 2 3 4 5 Next »