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If anyone thought that Stent was vulnerable in the $80,000 New Zealand Trotting Championship at last nights harness racing meeting at Addington, (we did) then it took just three minutes and fifteen seconds to well and truly put that idea to bed. Before the race had even got under way there was a major surprise when the well performed Kincaslough refused to score up twice and was late scratched as a result. Everyone thought driver Colin De Filippi from barrier three would head straight to the front with Stent and that was the first surprise as Colin stayed out of the early rush. Todd Mitchell and Prime Power flew the gate to lead from barrier seven with Stent settling into the one by one behind One Over Da Moon in the death. Mark Jones worked Master Lavros forward from the second line and grabbed the lead after 700 metres and set a quick tempo up front. Due to the tempo there were few mid race moves with the exception being Clover Don who worked forward to the death with 1200 metres to go. At the 500 metres mark Mark Jones tried to steal a break on the field and turned for home four lengths in front  but the challengers were emerging from the pack. First King Denny appeared and then Stent went straight past them all to grab a very game Masters Lavros in the shadows of the winning post for an emphatic victory. Sheemon who followed Stent everywhere switched to the inside in the straight and flew late for third just in front of King Denny who made a very promising debut in town hall company. A minor highlight of the race was the run of Alley Way, who flew late for sixth after being last on the final bend. Colin was a touch apprehensive turning for home. " I thought I may have left it too late to move because Master Lavros is a class trotter and is hard to reel in." " Having said that I have a lot of confidence in my fellow and I knew they would know we were there," Colin said. Owner Trevor Casey was one proud man post race " That was a huge performance." " I thought we were too far back on the turn so to get up and win was a great run," Trevor said. Master Lavros went his best race for the season and there is plenty of room for improvement. " I didn't even give him a trial before last week and I've left him really big this time in so there should be plenty of improvement in him." " His condition gave out the last bit but I couldn't be happier with how he is trotting." " We will head to the Rowe Cup now with a bit of confidence, " Mark said. The unlucky horse once again was the northerner Prime Power. Trainer Todd Mitchell was rueful about a shoeing change he had made. " I changed his shoes four starts ago and fitted him with a lighter shoe." " He was fine with them at Auckland but he struggled with them on the Addington surface." " I was jogging tonight on the corner which makes it even more disappointing." " I think back at Auckland he will be fine, but we may change the shoes back anyway," Todd said It was a special night for Trevor Casey at Addington as not only does he own Stent but he also shares in the ownership of the brilliant Welcome Stakes winner last night in Waikiki Beach. The cherry on top for Trevor was last nights win edged Stent over the $1,000,000 mark in lifetime earnings and the way he is going he could set new overall marks for stake earnings for a trotter in Australasia in the next couple of years. Harnesslink Media  

Harness racing looks to have a budding superstar in the form of this years outstanding three year old, Have Faith In Me. This years Muscara Standardbreds New Zealand Derby at Addington in Christchurch was expected to be a two horse battle between Follow The Stars and Have Faith In Me and thats exactly how it turned out. Brilliant Strike led out from barrier one for Ricky May but handed up after 250 metres to Follow The Stars and Mark Purdon. The rest of the field were in single file with Have Faith In Me five back on the inner. With 1700 metres to run Itz Bettor To Win moved out into the running line and Have Faith In Me was straight onto his back in the one by one. With 1200 metres to go Tim Williams hooked the full brother to Adore Me out of the one by one and went up and sat parked on the wheel of Follow The Stars. The two went together all the way to the straight where Have Faith In Me just ran straight past Follow The Stars and strolled to what seemed an effortless victory by 1 3/4 lengths from a gallant Follow The Stars with another 1 3/4 lengths back to Brilliant Strike in third. The son of Bettor's Delight paced the 2600 metres from the mobile in chilly conditions in a very quick 3:09.2, a mile rate of 1:57 with closing sectionals of 55 and 27.4. That broke the New Zealand record held by Classiesistar by one tenth of a second and broke the race record held by Auckland Reactor by two tenths of a second. And believe it or not, when Have Faith In Me came back to the birdcage, the ear plugs were still in. Tim Williams was a happy man speaking to Harnesslink post race. " I came out and sat parked because I wanted to get handy before the speed really went on." " He actually got to the front really easily and won with a bit in hand."  " He knocked off when he got to the front tonight or else he would have won by a bit more, " Tim said. Tim thinks we haven't seen the best of Have Faith In Me yet. " He still a big kid really so there is plenty of upside with him yet," Tim said. Mark Purdon was more than happy with Follow The Stars. " He has gone super but the other horse just has his measure at the moment." " My horse has run time and stuck on great but it hasn't been good enough," Mark said. Ricky May was shaking his head post race with the run of Brilliant Strike. " My horse has gone super but just when I thought I was going to join in on the corner, the other two got away from me." " I couldn't ask anything more of my horse but it just shows you how good you have to be these days, " Ricky said. Trained by Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen, Have Faith In Me continues to go from strength to strength and looks a horse with a huge future. Harnesslink Media

The old adage in harness racing of their being no such thing as a certainty in racing was reinforced yet again tonight at Addington in Christchurch when Speeding Spur overcame the hot favourite Prince Fearless to win the New Zealand Trotting Derby. Prince Fearless from barrier three was all the rage with punters with Speeding Spur was allowed to drift to six to one after he drew barrier six. Habibti Ivy flew the gate from barrier seven and grabbed an early lead before handing up to Prince Fearless after 500 metres. No sooner had he reached the front, Prince Fearless was attacked by Speeding Spur and Josh Dickie and the two star three year olds went to war for the next 300 metres before Speeding Spur finally made the front. Josh kept up a steady tempo in front before upping the speed down the back straight the last time. As they turned for home Mark sprung out of the trail with Prince Fearless but try as he might he couldn't get up to Speeding Spur who went on for a decisive 1 1/4 length victory. Habibti Ivy fought on well on the inner for third in front of an unlucky Monbet who made up a huge amount of ground to run fourth. A minor highlight of the race was the run of Sky Commander who ran on well late for a close up fifth in his first outing at this level. Speeding Spur covered the 2600 metres from the mobile in a new New Zealand record for a three year old of 3:15.7, a mile rate of 2:01.1 with closing sectionals of 57.9 and 28.7 Trainer John Dickie was confident going into tonights race. " We learnt a lot from our defeat to Prince Fearless at Ashburton." " He is much better rolling along as he is such a good stayer. ' The plan tonight was to go forward and we never going to die wondering." "Once he got to the front, I didn't think they would beat him," John said.  Safely through tonight, Speeding Spur will now head home to Clevedon to prepare for a series of races at Alexandra Park. " The two big races are the Sires Stakes and the Northern Derby so there is plenty to look forward to," John said. Tonights win was one of the best performances this writer has ever seen from a three year old trotter and the son of Pegasus Spur looks to have a big future. Harnesslink Media

A common comment in the last twelve months amongst harness racing breeders down under was the disappointment with the performance of Somebeachsomewhere since he arrived on the scene. Now within the space of two months the leading North American sire is starting to really fire down under with first Menin Gate winning the Victorian Derby and now Waikiki Beach is creating an enormous impression in the two year old ranks in New Zealand. Brought out of the APG sale last year, Waikiki Beach lined up tonight at Addington Raceway, Christchurch in the $40,000 Group 2 New Zealand Welcome Stakes and the public sent him out a warm favourite. Motu Premier flew the gate early frrom barrier seven and grabbed an early lead from Waikiki Beach who settled into the trail. After 400 metres Chase The Dream started to work forward to the death but before he got there, Mark Purdon hooked Waikiki Beach out of the trail and took him to the lead. Chase The Dream sat on his wheel but applied little pressure and when Mark pressed the go button on the corner, Waikiki Beach shot clear for an easy victory. Motu Premier went his usual honest race for second while Chase The Dream fought on well for third. The unlucky runner was Arden's Choice who looked sure to run second until she had a gallop at the 150 metres mark. Waikiki Beach paced the 1950 metres in 2:25.7, a mile rate of 2:00.2 with closing sectionals of 57.6 and 27.1. Mark Purdon was pretty confident once he found the front. " I was really impressed with him last week at the trials when I tried him in front." " Once I got there tonight he relaxed really well and I was pretty confident once I wasn't taken on." " He is off to the APG series in Australia and will be very competitive," Mark said. Tim Williams was happy with the run of Motu Premier. " I had to use him early but he got a really good run after that. " The tempo didn't suit him at all as he would prefer the speed on all the way," Tim said. Natalie Rasmussen thought Chase The Dream hadn't helped himself. " He went a bit rough on the last bend which cost him a lot of momentum." " But for that I think he would have run second." " Overall I'm happy with run," Natalie said. Matt Anderson was at a loss to explain why Arden's Choice broke with 150 metres to go. " She broke out of the gate the other night at Alexandra Park and tonight near the finish." " It was really disappointing as she was going to run second," Matt said.  Somebeachsomewhere is really stepping up to the plate now and the knockers are pretty quiet these days. Harnesslink Media  

One of the best fields on the the big night of harness racing at Addington tonight is the New Zealand Trotting Championship which has drawn together probably the best field for an open class trot all season. This is our runner by runner preview for the New Zealand Trotting Championship. 1) Valmagne - Starts: 60    Wins: 8    Secs: 10    Thirds: 8    Life: $78,468 Was in great form earlier in the season but has only had one run back from a break to get ready for this. Blew out on the grass at Oamaru where he started off 50 metres so there is a nagging doubt about whether he is ready for this. Draw is a big plus but lack of race fitness means we struggle to see him as a first four player. 2) Kincaslough - Starts: 29    Wins: 10   Secs: 3    Thirds: 3    Life: $121,336 Her last start at Auckland was her worst run this season and that came after she had jumped a shadow at her previous start at Alexandra Park. Just starting to worry that the big season she has had to date is starting to catch up with her. Does have gate speed so may get to the markers first and secure the trail behind Stent who will lead from barrier three. With that kind of run she becomes a trifecta and first four chance. 3) Stent -  Starts: 57    Wins: 26    Secs: 15    Thirds: 5    Life: $965,155 In the form of his life at the moment and looking to become a millionaire tonight. Will work to the lead and very hard to beat from there. Not unbeatable however as 2600 metres is not his best distance and he comes back to the chasing pack a bit the longer the race distance. Top pick but will be challenged by a couple here. 4) Sheemon - Starts: 52    Wins: 15   Secs: 17    Thirds: 9    Life: $413,828  Took a while to hit form in Australia but very unlucky in the Southern Star final where he was denied a run in the straight. Won't beat Stent out of the gate but will still look to go forward and get a run close to the pace and hope there is plenty of pressure up front which we think there will be. With Dexter in the bike he is a must have for all combination bets. 5) Alley Way - Starts: 39    Wins: 11    Secs: 9    Thirds: 3    Life: $85,161 Is right in the zone at the moment but this is his biggest test to date. Everything points to him being very competitive here and he is not out of this by any means. We don't think he can win the race tonight but with a run to suit he can be a trifecta and first four chance at good odds. 6) King Denny - Starts: 19    Wins: 9    Secs: 3    Thirds: 0    Life: $195,302 His last three wins have all been outstanding after being very slow away from the standing start on every occasion. The mobile start is a huge plus for him and he is right in this race due to that. He does not have the speed of Stent but he is a wonderful stayer and we think he will try to turn it into a staying test. The big danger to the favourite. 7) Prime Power -  Starts: 34    Wins: 14    Secs: 6    Thirds: 6    Life: $214,969  No luck last week at Addington so disregard that run when assessing his chances here. Previous run at Auckland was huge and has been going great guns all season prior to last week. Boring pole goes on this week which will correct last weeks problem and we think he is one of the big players here. Include in all combinations 8) One Over Da Moon - Starts: 30    Wins: 11    Secs: 3    Thirds: 2    Life: $175,505  Only had his first run for seven months last Friday and blew out the last bit as you would expect. Still went a mighty race but it is another big step up this week. Draw and lack of racing means we struggle to see him in four. 9) King Of Strathfield - Starts: 113    Wins: 21   Secs: 19    Thirds: 14    Life: $258,097 Since his move out to the beach with Robert Dunn he has started to turn his form around. He has always raced better away from the real elite trotters and that coupled with the draw means we can't see him in four. Not for us.                                                                          SECOND LINE 10) Vulcan - Starts: 96    Wins: 20    Secs: 12    Thirds: 8    Life: $1,004,369  When he first went out to the beach, he looked like his old self for four or five starts. Now he just looks like he is going through the motions to us. Draw means he could end up three or four back on the inner and we struggle to see how he could be a first four player from there. Not for us. 11) Master Lavros - Starts: 37    Wins: 15  Secs: 4    Thirds: 2    Life: $359,046 The enigma of the field for sure but there is no denying the talent. Broke last week from the stand but trotted the best we have seen him trot this season after his early gallop. At his best he would trouble all of them here and if he trots like he did last week, he is a player here. Include in all combinations. 12) Clover Don - Starts: 86    Wins: 23    Secs: 12    Thirds: 12    Life: $285,870 Forget last week form the stand but the problem he has here is he likes to lead in his races and that ain't happening here. Can over race in the field and that along with the draw makes this too hard in our opinion. Not for us. 13) Jaccka Justy - Starts: 54    Wins: 13   Secs: 3    Thirds: 4    Life: $232,163 Very talented on his day but you never really know which Jaccka Justy is going to turn up. After trialing brilliantly leading into last week, he went very average last Friday night. Just as likely to turn that form around here when you least expect it but from the draw and going by last weeks run we can't see him as a first four player. Not for us. 14) Springbank Sam - Starts: 60    Wins: 17   Secs: 8    Thirds: 7    Life: $282,913  Has been in good form most of the season but at a level away from the real elite trotters. At his peak he would have been a major player here but he just seems to have lost a length this season to us. Has the master Phil Williamson in the bike but the draw and the field mean we struggle to see him as a first four player. SELECTIONS Stent is the obvious choice here and the way he went in Australia shows he is right in the zone at the moment. However we still reckon that King Denny will give him plenty to think about tonight. The dangers to this pair for us are the class horses in the field in Sheemon, Prime Power and Master Lavros.  Throw in Kincaslough and Alley Way to bolster up those first fours. Harnesslink Media  

Another feature race on the big night of harness racing at Addington on Friday night is the New Zealand Trotting Derby and it has thankfully at least drawn a field with double figure runners. Here is our preview of the New Zealand Trotting Derby. 1) Starlight Starbright - Starts: 22    Wins: 2   Secs: 0    Thirds: 5    Life: $14,907 Has shown a lot of ability at times but not consistently and not at this level. Several outside him can really leave the gate and he could end up four or five deep from barrier one which negates any advantage the draw gave him. We can't see him in four. Not for us 2) Springbank Eden - Starts: 15    Wins: 2   Secs: 1    Thirds: 1    Life: $12,621 Another one plagued by inconsistency throughout his career but has been slowly getting better and has something to offer here. Can get off the gate good so we think he will look to lead and then trail the favourite Prince Fearless. Still have doubts he can run in four even from the trail but draw and mobile give him an outside chance of running in the first four. 3) Prince Fearless - Starts: 10    Wins: 3    Secs: 3    Thirds: 0    Life: $89,144 We think the extra distance this week in the Derby is what this horse has been crying out for. He is a dead set stayer and as he showed on Cup day the 2600 metres will hold no fears for him. Privately timed to run his last 2400 metres that day in 2:58.6 and still won without being driven out. Should lead and hard to see how they run him down from there. Top pick for us. 4) Wanna Play - Starts: 16    Wins: 2   Secs: 3    Thirds: 4    Life: $59,795 Has had a few issues since going to Auckland but went a lot more like her old self last week Very good stayer so 2600 metres will suit down to the ground. Really good run last week where she came from last at the 400 metres to run fifth after having absolutely no luck in the running. Trifecta and first four player with run to suit. 5) BD Love - Starts: 6    Wins: 3    Secs: 1    Thirds: 1    Life: $27,504 Talented son of Love You who is a dead set stayer like most of the Love You's so the 2600 metres is right up his alley. Can do work in his races and still keep going so can be put in the race when ever Ken Barron wants. A couple here may have the wood on him ability wise but won't be far away. First four player for us. 6) Speeding Spur - Starts: 12    Wins: 6    Secs: 2    Thirds: 2    Life: $61,946  Has been in great form all season with his only defeat in six starts coming in the Hambletonian at Ashburton to Prince Fearless. Smart win over 2700 metres last time at Alexandra Park so the distance is no worry for him. If he had drawn inside of Prince Fearless he would have had a great chance of rolling the favourite but being out at six makes it tough. Huge chance regardless so include in everything. 7) Habibti Ivy - Starts: 6    Wins: 3    Secs: 0    Thirds: 2    Life: $33,495  Easy win in the Trotting Oaks last week and extra distance here won't worry her at all. Ran on very strongly at the start before that to finish right with Prince Fearless and Monbet and is still on the improve so a live chance here. Appeals as a real out and out stayer so she is a must include for all combination takers. Include in everything. 8) Soney Beatt - Starts: 18    Wins: 2   Secs: 2    Thirds: 2    Life: $14,965 Not the worst in this field and he is one that will appreciate the extra distance. However the draw of barrier eight coupled with the quality of the field makes this mission impossible in our view. Not for us. 9) Fiery Mountain Girl - Scratched                                                                            SECOND LINE 10) Monbet - Starts: 11    Wins: 6    Secs: 1    Thirds: 1    Life: $86,807 This is one horse that needed a draw and one on the second line behind an average beginner is the last thing the Hopes would have been looking for. Outstanding talent who with any luck can still play a big part here. Driver Ricky May will be hoping that Prince Fearless and Speeding Spur go to war a long way out because if that happens then it will bring Monbet right into the contest late in the piece. Include in everything. 11) Sky Commander - Starts: 8    Wins: 2   Secs: 1    Thirds: 5    Life: $10,320 Nice horse in the making who has great manners and a big motor. A recent addition to the huge Merv and Meg Butterworth racing team, this race may have come to early for him in our view. Handled the gate really well at his only start behind it so could get a cosy run through behind Springbank Eden. A few here would look to have the wood on him at this stage but one to take notes on for the future. SELECTIONS From the draw it is hard to go past Prince Fearless. He has gate speed and should lead and from there he is very very hard to beat. Speeding Spur is going great  but is going to have lift even further to win here. Still a clear second pick from the draw. But for his bad draw Monbet would be vying for favouritism here and should he get a run to suit is still a major player. Throw in Wanna Play, BD Love and Habibti Ivy for trifectas and first fours. Harnesslink Media

One of the issues at the moment in harness racing in New Zealand is the size of the fields in some of our classic races. The Muscara Standardbreds New Zealand Derby at Addington on Friday night is a good example having only drawn eight runners which is a shame for the club and the sponsors. This is our runner by runner preview of this years Muscara Standardbreds New Zealand Derby. 1) Brilliant Strike - Starts: 13    Wins: 6    Secs: 2    Thirds: 3    Life: $57,167 Not suited at all last week when they sprinted home in 54.8 and 26.7  Needs the speed to be on all the way to be a chance of getting amongst it here as he lacks the really high speed of some of his competition. Great stayer so Ricky May will be hoping they go 3:09 and not 3:13. Trifecta and first four chance from the draw. 2) Follow The Stars - Starts: 18    Wins: 13   Secs: 4    Thirds: 0    Life: $598,844 Going great guns at the moment and nothing wrong with his last four runs even though he has run second every time. Drawn inside his nemesis Have Faith In Me this time and should lead and from there will be very hard to beat. Has a great all round game so able to adapt to whats happening during the race better than most. One of two winning chances and include in everything. 3) Smithy - Starts: 10    Wins: 3   Secs: 1    Thirds: 0    Life: $23,661 Has always looked a nice horse in the making and last couple of wins haven't surprised us in the least. Would prefer him over something shorter than this distance and this is a huge step up from what he has been facing. Hard to see him as a first four player here. 4) Itz Bettor To Win - Starts: 11    Wins: 6    Secs: 2    Thirds: 0    Life: $85,475 Had been in great form leading into the Great Northern Derby and after getting a nice run in transit, he showed nothing when hooked out, stopping badly. That run was too bad to be true for a horse of his ability and he has been under a cloud since, missing the Flying Stakes last week. Impressed the stable with his work on Monday which is why he is in the field but lack of recent racing sees him as a trifecta and first four player only. 5) Have Faith In Me - Starts: 11    Wins: 6    Secs: 2    Thirds: 0    Life: $365,381 Just continues to improve every time he steps on the track and is managing to stay one step ahead of his stablemate Follow The Stars. Should be even better for last weeks run in the Flying Stakes and like all top horses he just seems to be able to find a way to win at the moment. The only horse here who can beat Follow The Stars if he leads and hard to separate the two in our book. One of two winning chances and include in everything. 6) Art Union - Starts: 24    Wins: 12    Secs: 5    Thirds: 1    Life: $153,883 Had a real dig for the lead last week and missed and that was the end of his chances in the Flying Stakes. Has had a long and arduous season so far and it appears to have sapped his energy a wee bit and to us he is not going as good now as he was back in November. Even with Dexter in the bike, he is only an outside first four chance for us. 7) McArdle Star -  Starts: 4    Wins: 3    Secs: 0    Thirds: 1    Life: $16,955 Very patiently handled three year old who has looked well above average in short career to date. Wouldn't be here if the stable didn't think he was up to it but lack of experience may count against him in this field. Has run 3:13 for the 2600 metres after doing a power of work and did it easy so a definite first four player for us. 8) Hug The Wind - Starts: 14    Wins: 5   Secs: 6    Thirds: 2    Life: $237,457 Got involved in an early burn last week which caught up with him late in the race. That was his first run off the place for three weeks and he would have derived a lot of benefit from it. Just looks half a length down on his two more favoured stablemates but looks to have the wood on all the rest Third pick for us and hard to see him not running in three. SELECTIONS Everything says Follow The Stars will win from the draw and he will be very difficult to beat if as expected he goes straight to the front. However Have Faith In Me continues to step up and is still on the improve and we think he can once again get the better of Follow The Stars. There will nothing in it but these two look a couple of lengths better than the rest. Third looks just as clear cut for us with Hug The Wind a length behind the first two but a length in front of the rest. For first fours throw in Brilliant Strike, Itz Bettor To Win and McArdle Star Harnesslink Media  

Last week was a mixed bag but two very wet tracks at both Ascot Park and Methven didn't help with the conditions hampering a lot of runners. We managed five winners with the best dividend going to Bob Butt at Methven with Ancient Moonlight while others to select winners were John Dunn, Tim Williams, Nathan Williamson and Scott Phelan and we also had five placings as well. This week there are only the four meetings and we cover them all. Manawatu - Thursday night Kyle Marshall - Gives Soul Hanover a great each way chance in race 2 Todd Mitchell - Thinks on his runs to date they can't beat Alta Leroy in race 8    Auckland - Friday night Tony Herlihy - Thought Uandmebabe would be hard to beat from her good draw in race 7 Scott Phelan - Very bullish about the chances of Bettor B Amazed, also in race 7 Maurice McKendry - Gives the two year old Shandale a big chance of winning race 8 Steven Reid - Rates Aquickone on her work this week as the one to beat in race 9   Addington - Friday night Terry Chmiel - Thought Danny Del Vito from barrier one could upset them in race 1 John Dunn - Gives Culinary Delight a big push to return to the winners list, also in race 1 Bob Butt - Looking for the trifecta in race one where Bob thinks Gracious Me will be hard to beat Robbie Holmes - Thought Aile Rouge could get a piece of it at good odds in race 2 Brad Williamson - Very bullish about the chances of the very smart Father Christmas, also in race 2 John Curtin (Harnesslink) Reckons Waikiki Beach will beat Chase The Dream and win race 4 Blair Orange - Thinks Habibti Ivy will match it with the boys in the Derby and win race 5 Gerard O'Reilly - Thought Tiger Tara would be improved this week and a each way chance in race 6 Matthew Williamson - Knows Alley Way is up against it this week but a great place chance in race 7 Tim Williams - Keeps giving out Have Faith In Me and he keeps winning, this week in race 8 Ricky May - Rapt with the run of Dalton Bromac last week and won't have him beaten in race 9   Invercargill - Sunday afternoon Brendon McLellan - Reckons Leigh Major must be due a change of luck and can win race1 Steve Richardson(TAB) - Really likes the chances of Denn Nee Nose Best in race 3 Clark Barron - Gave Real Raider a big chance to clear maidens in race 4 Nathan Williamson - Thought Franco Tyson would be a great each way chance at good odds in race 8   Harnesslink Media

You can sign up now in case you have not received the most recent  Harnesslink newsletter called Insider Access, and here is your chance.  Just fill in the form below and within seconds you will be on track for the latest news in harness racing that you will not see or read about anywhere else, even on our own website. Each issue includes an in-depth Stallion review not available anywhere else. All previous reviews can now be viewed at Sign up to "Insider Access" Full Name Email Subscribe This week’s Insider Access newsletter contains the following feature stories: Where are the NZ two-year-olds? - A common complaint heard these days in New Zealand is where are all the two year olds? On trial day there is an abundance of two-year-olds in evidence but come race day a lot of clubs are struggling to get a field of even eight runners. Now a lot of trainers have one look at the nominations and see a couple from the All Star barn and keep their two year olds for another day and you can't really blame them. Stallion Review – MUSCLES YANKEE – Continuing on with our stallion review series today we have produced an in depth review for the excellent racehorse and stallion Muscles Yankee 1:52.2 ($1,424,938). We need more Sam Stathis types in our sport - Recently harness racing in North America received a big positive boost and it did not come in the form of a long shot winning at a racetrack or someone setting a track record. It came from a real estate business transaction in south Florida. Don’t miss out on the next edition of Insider Access. The newsletter currently comes out every other Tuesday morning (North America), Tuesday afternoon (Europe) and Wednesday morning (Australasia).

The Racing Integrity Unit has filed an application with the Judicial Control Authority (JCA), for a breach of Rules 1004(1A) and 1004D of the New Zealand Rules of Harness Racing. They are requesting the disqualification of Ventimiglia (trainers A P and L M Neal) from Race 2 at the Waikato Harness Racing Club’s Meeting held at Cambridge Raceway on 30 January 2015.  This follows confirmation that a post-race sample taken from Ventimiglia had tested positive to a prohibited substance.  As the matter is now the subject of a JCA hearing no further comment will be made.  Mike Godber   

The time honoured harness racing classic for two year olds, the Welcome Stakes is up for grabs on Friday night and we thought an in depth preview was in order. New Zealand Welcome Stakes 1) Arden's Choice - Starts: 3    Wins: 0    Secs: 2    Thirds: 0    Life: $9,550 Lovely filly who followed up two big runs leading into the Young Guns Fillies final at Alexandra Park by throwing her toys out in the big race with an early gallop. Ability not in question and while two or three of the colts may have her measure, she is more than capable of holding her own against most here. Trifecta and first four chance from the draw. 2) Classie Brigade - First Tote Start Beautifully bred son of Bettor's Delight from the former top racemare Trigirl Brigade 1:52.3 (pld) $143,711) who was a $60,000 purchase at last years Australasian Classic sale at Karaka. Has been prominent at trials and workouts in Canterbury but yet to win one yet from four attempts. His last trial was his best effort though with a 4 1/2 length second to Waikiki Beach at Rangiora. A work in progress for us and not in this field at this stage. 3) Sophisticated Lady - Starts: 2    Wins: 0    Secs: 1    Thirds: 0    Life: $4,668 Very good run on debut in Leonard Memorial when a smart second to Northern Velocity. Disappointing in the Caduceus Club Classic last Saturday at Invercargill but in her defence the track was very wet and she didn't look comfortable in it at anytime during the race. Still learning what the racing game is all about and at this stage we would prefer her in a fillies race rather than up against the colts here. 4) Waikiki Beach - Starts: 1    Wins: 1  Secs: 0    Thirds: 0    Life: $16,300  Outstanding debut at Invercargill in the $25,000 Kindergarten Stakes where he zipped the last 400 metres on a slushy track in 26.7  This big impressive looking son of Somebeachsomewhere was super impressive at last Wednesdays workouts at Rangiora and showed real speed off the gate which is a big plus here. The draw makes him the one to beat in our book but it won't be easy with Chase The Dream in here as well. Include in everything. 5) Vanquished - Starts: 1    Wins: 0  Secs: 0    Thirds: 0    Life: $1,150 Another well bred son of Bettors Delight who cost $26,000 at last years Premier sale at Christchurch. Has won a couple of workouts but not against the horses he faces here. His first up fourth in a field of five from barrier one was just ok and too many here  have the wood on him for us to see him as a major player. Not for us. 6) Ice Crusher - First Tote Start This smart looking son of Chistian Cullen cost $68,000 at last years Premier sale at Christchurch. Was looking sharp at trials and workouts in January after which he had a brief let up and he has come back in late March with a couple of tidy runs including a quiet third today at Rangiora. Has run time and looks a progressive type to us and appeals as a roughie to spike up those trifectas and first fours.  7) Motu Premier - Starts: 3    Wins: 0   Secs: 1    Thirds: 2    Life: $9,091 Lovely Bettors Delight colt who has gone three smart races in his career to date. Unlucky third in the Sapling Stakes after jumping a shadow on the corner which was followed by a run at Invercargill for second on a slushy track which he didn't seem to handle all that well. Last start third third to Chase The Dream was full of merit as he drew the widest in the small field and worked mid race as well. A must have for all combination takers. 8) Chase The Dream - Starts: 4    Wins: 4    Secs: 0    Thirds: 0    Life: $99,414 ($99,414) Unbeaten in four starts as a juvenile but that record is under threat here from his stablemate Waikiki Beach. Has great ringcraft which all the smart two year olds have and has an all round game being both quick and tough. You can't do anymore than win and being a Bettors Delight he won't give up his unbeaten streak without a real fight. But for the draw would have been first pick. Include in everything 9) MacKenzie - First Tote Start This daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven from the former outstanding racemare Kept For Pleasure 1:56 ($542,343) was an $82,000 purchase at last years Australian Pacing Gold sale at Sydney. Has been very prominent at trials around Canterbury and is being aimed at the APG sales race series in Australia. Big strong filly who has shown the ability to work in her trials and workouts. Quiet trial win at Rangiora today but home in 27.1 and not out of her depth here but draw makes it hard. Include in first fours SELECTIONS  This really is an All Star barn benefit. The draw makes us lean towards Waikiki Beach who has looked special at trials and his one raceday start. The obvious danger is Chase The Dream and these two look the obvious quinella. Motu Premier is a clear third choice for us in front of Arden's Choice, Ice Crusher and MacKenzie who should fight out that fourth placing. Harnesslink Media

24 March 2015 - Three-times Christchurch Casino New Zealand Trotting Cup winner Terror To Love will start for a final time when he lines up in the Group One $100,000 Breckon Farms / All Stars Racing Stables Easter Cup on Easter Saturday, the 4th April. A race he won in 2013. “The King”, as he is known to many in the industry, lines up in this Friday’s Group Three $25,000 Gordon Roxburgh Free-For-All, before facing the starters tape for the final time in the Easter Cup over his favourite 3200 metre distance where he’ll lead the field out onto the track. It’s appropriate that he finishes his racing career at his favourite racetrack, he’s won 16 of his 32 starts at Addington, the champ will bow out as one of the greatest pacers we have ever seen with his career highlight undoubtedly being crowned a three-time winner of New Zealand’s holy grail, the New Zealand Trotting Cup. A feat only equalled by two other great pacers - Indianapolis and False Step many years ago. That won’t be the last time fans will get to see “The Terror” though. The winner of over a staggering $2.4 million will be back to be officially farewelled on The Breeders New Zealand Oaks Night at Addington on Friday 15 May, before entering his new career as a stallion where he’ll stand at Pinelea Farm in Weedons, Canterbury. Fans will get the opportunity to see “The Terror” on the night. He’ll parade up the home straight, a presentation hosted by The Met will take place and there’ll be promotions throughout the evening to honour one of the greatest equine athletes ever to grace the racetracks of Australasia. Adding to this, his owner Terry McDonald will be generously donating a stallion service for Terror To Love which will no doubt be warmly received, as there’ll be a large number of breeders on course attending a function on Oaks Night. Make sure you are at Addington to see “The Terror” and be part of a farewell he so richly deserves. Ged Mooar Marketing & Commercial Manager

The N.Z. Sires Stakes Board has reviewed the budget for the Nevele R Fillies Series and is pleased to announce that the stake of the Final, to be held at Addington on Saturday 9th May, will rise from $140,000 to $150,000.   There are two more heats left to be run – Forbury Park on 2nd April and Addington on 23rd April.   Fight For Glory, The Agent Orange and Rocker Band are all automatic qualifers for the Nevele R Final with their heat wins.   Both The Agent Orange and Rocker Bank have won two heats and are ineligible to contest the remaining heats.   An estimated $15,000 consolation is to be held the same date as the Final, providing there four or more acceptors.   Doreen Graham  

NON RACEDAY INQUIRY RIU V J COX - DECISION DATED 6 MARCH 2015   BEFORE A JUDICIAL COMMITTEE OF THE JUDICIAL CONTROL AUTHORITY UNDER THE RACING ACT 2003 AND IN THE MATTER of the New Zealand Rules of Harness Racing. BETWEEN RACING INTEGRITY UNIT (RIU) - Informant AND JOHNNY COX, Open Horseman - Respondent Information: A1407 Judicial Committee: Prof G Hall, Chairman - Mr P Knowles, Committee Member Appearing: Mr C Allison, for the Informant The Respondent in person Date of hearing: 19 February 2015 DECISION OF JUDICIAL COMMITTEE [1] Mr J Cox is the holder of an Open Horseman’s licence, which was issued under the New Zealand Rules of Harness Racing. He is charged with a breach of r 869(3)(g) in that when driving CERATO in race 8 at the Central Otago TC meeting at Omakau on 2 January last he drove in a manner capable of diminishing the chances of that horse winning by vying for the lead at an excessive pace over the opening 800 metres of the race. [2] Rule 869 states: (3) No horseman in any race shall drive: … (g) in any manner capable of diminishing the chances of his horse winning. [3] Mr Allison provided written authorisation for the charge to be laid in a letter signed by Mr M Godber General Manager of the RIU, dated 16 January 2015. [4] Mr Allison stated that the crux of the informant’s case was that the respondent had vied for the lead with Mr Williamson at an excessive pace when there were other options available to him. Informant’s case [5] Mr Allison called Mr N McIntyre to give evidence. [6] Mr McIntyre stated he is employed by the RIU and his current position is Co-Chief Stipendiary Steward. He said he has had 11 years’ experience as a stipendiary steward. [7] Mr McIntyre stated that Mr Cox had been licensed as a horseman since 2002 when initially licensed as a Trials Horseman before obtaining a Junior Horseman’s licence in 2003. Mr Cox had held an Open Horseman's licence since 2008. During this period Mr Cox has had in excess of 4000 race-day drives. [8] Mr McIntyre played and commented on a video of the race in question. He explained it was a mobile pace over 2000 metres for Class 1 horses and that Mr Cox was the driver of CERATO. [9] CERATO, which was 3/3 in the betting, drew 2 on the front line in a full field of 14 horses. [10] Immediately after the start CERATO was driven forward by Mr Cox and after crossing Mr Dunn, he reached the lead. THE SHAKEY MISTRESS driven by Mr M Williamson challenged him for the lead. THE SHAKEY MISTRESS ended up in the parked position on the outside of CERATO. These two horses then began to draw clear of the remaining horses in the race rounding the first bend. [11] The initial 400 metres of the race was run in 26.4 seconds. [12] As the field travelled around the first bend some 200 metres after the start THE SHAKEY MISTRESS almost cleared CERATO on her inside. However, Mr Cox continued to keep his horse’s legs inside THE SHAKEY MISTRESS and Mr Williamson was unable to shift inwards to the lead. He said Mr Cox was flicking the reins and tapping the horse up in order to keep himself in position and to prevent Mr Williamson crossing him. [13] Upon straightening into the home straight on the first occasion CERATO had improved back inside THE SHAKEY MISTRESS. At this stage Mr Williamson reined up THE SHAKEY MISTRESS in another attempt to gain the lead, which was unsuccessful, as Mr Cox had again tapped up CERATO. [14] Near the 1300 metres mark (about 100 metres before the winning post) Mr Williamson finally restrained THE SHAKEY MISTRESS to take a trail behind CERATO. At this point Mr Cox eased the speed but Mr McIntyre believed the damage had been done to the chances of CERATO by the time that horse reached the winning post for the first time. [15] Mr McIntyre said Mr Cox had the option of letting Mr Williamson go past and to drop into the trail. If he had wanted to, Mr Cox could then have come back out. He said at no point in the first 800 metres had Mr Cox taken hold of his horse or eased back. [16] When CERATO reached the winning post after 800 metres CERATO and THE SHAKEY MISTRESS were in excess of 20 metres clear of the chasing bunch. This margin equates to approximately 8-9 lengths. The field was spread out over approximately 80 metres. Mr McIntyre said this highlighted the fact the two horses were going too quickly. The other drivers, a number of whom were also very experienced, were not chasing their horses up to get behind the two leaders at this stage of the race because they would be aware the speed was simply too quick. [17] The time for the opening 800 metres was 54.8 seconds. At this stage of the race the field still had 1200 metres to run. The pace then eased for the next 400 metres, which was run in 31.3 seconds. This enabled the field to catch the two tearaway early leaders. [18] Shortly after passing the 1300 metres mark CERATO was challenged for the lead. CERATO fought off the challenge for the lead again briefly, however the horse was retreating prior to the 1600 metres. CERATO eventually finished in 12th placing in excess of 23 lengths from the winner in a time of 2.30.6. [19] The overall time for the race was a new track record of 2.25.89. The previous track record set in 2014 was 2.27.8. The leaders ran the last 800 metres in 59.7 with the last 400 metres in 29.9. [20] The 400 metres splits for the race were: 1st 400 metres - 26.4       2nd 400 metres - 28.4               1st 800 metres - 54.8 3rd 400 metres - 31.3       4th 400 metres - 29.8               2nd 800 metres - 61.1 Last 400 metres - 29.9 [21] The times for the other 2000 metre races on the day were also produced. These demonstrated that the only race with a slower last 800 metres was a C0 trot. The times for the first 800 metres were all slower. [22] Mr McIntyre produced sectional times from the Harness Jewels meeting at Cambridge Raceway in 2014. These demonstrated that the 1st 800 metres of the race at issue was run in a quicker time than the adjusted times for the 1st 809 metres in any of the Jewels races despite those being higher quality horses. Weather conditions were similar and each track was hard and fast. [23] CERATO was only having its second raceday start. After comparing the Jewels times, he said that by the end of the first 800 metres CERATO’s chances in a 2000 metre C1 pace at Omakau were effectively over. [24] CERATO was the subject of a post-race veterinary examination by Dr P Gillespie, with no abnormalities detected. [25] Mr McIntyre concluded his evidence by responding to a question from the Committee. He stated that he was not concerned with the first 100 metres of the race as horses would position themselves at this time. However, if they had “burned” over the first 100 metres they would then ease but this was not what happened on this occasion. In his opinion, there were other options available to both Mr Cox and Mr Williamson. 26] Mr Allison cited the decisions in Chilcott v HRNZ (22 March 2010) and J & C (19 October 2000). These were both Appeals Tribunal decisions. [27] Mr Allison pointed out on the video that at one point CERATO was having trouble holding its gait. This was further evidence, he said, of CERATO racing at excessive speed. Respondent’s case [28] Mr Cox stated that it was a question of tactics versus options. He said he was “not overly driving” CERATO. There were a few flicks with the whip; that was all. In contrast, Mr Williamson had to slap his horse to keep up. It was Mr Williamson who dictated the speed, not him. Mr Williamson was chasing his horse up harder than he was. [29] Mr Cox said he was happy with CERATO and was confident it would perform well. It had won its only previous start. [30] Mr Cox said CERATO liked to lead and if he had pulled back and then gone round, the horse would have worked harder and expended more energy. In his opinion, it was not an option to pull back. He added though, that it had gone through his mind to pull back at one point but he decided to go with his original decision not to hand up and to keep the lead. [31] Mr Cox commented on the video. He said he was happy to roll out to the lead. He flicked his horse twice with the stick. He said at the mile marker Mr Williamson yelled, “I’ll stay there”. He said he answered, “No.” He explained he took Mr Williamson to be saying if he got the lead he would not hand up. By answering, “No”, he was telling Mr Williamson he would not trail. There was no other talking. [32] Mr Cox said he did not believe he had had to urge his horse to any great extent but he emphasised he had decided to keep the lead. He said Mr Williamson had had two goes for the lead despite the fact he believed he had made it clear to Mr Williamson that he was not going to hand up the lead to him. He said Mr Williamson’s horse was not a favoured runner and he was not going to hand up to her. He said the horse had led at her previous start and had been flat 500 or 600 metres from home. He said there were some horses he would have handed up to but not to THE SHAKEY MISTRESS. [33] Mr Cox demonstrated Mr Williamson slapping his horse up in the straight before taking hold about 100 metres before the winning post. He said by the time he reached the winning post the first time he was aware they had been going quick. However, he had only had to tap CERATO two or three times. He was not aware how far the other horses were behind him and Mr Williamson. He accepted 26.4 was a very quick first 400 metres for this class of horse. He had not realised it was that fast at the time but the time was explained by the fact both he and Mr Williamson were intent on the lead. If he had wanted to trail, he would have handed up straight away. [34] Mr Cox acknowledged that CERATO had taken a few rough steps and he had had to take a hold. This was just because of the speed. He had not previously required a horse to run a first half in 54.8 and on reflection it was unlikely a horse having done so would be competitive at the end of the race. Summing up [35] Mr Allison stated the rule was one of strict liability and that the informant only had to establish that Mr Cox had driven in a manner capable of diminishing the chances of CERATO. Although on this occasion CERATO did lose its chance. He said the case was not one about tactics but the actual speed at which the two horses had raced for some 700 metres when each was vying for the lead. This speed was excessive, as was demonstrated by the sectional times, which spoke for themselves. CERATO was having only its second start and after the first 800 metres its chances were gone. It could not be competitive over the concluding stages because of the energy expended over the first 800 metres. [36] Mr Cox replied he wanted the lead and he was not going to hand up to Mr Williamson because of the ability of Mr Williamson’s horse. Decision [37] As the Appeals Tribunal in J & C emphasised, each race will depend on its own particular circumstances, especially as they unfold during the race. The obligation to drive within the Rules of Harness Racing, exhibiting skill and utilising experience, rests with the driver for the duration of that race. [38] We have found J & C to be of particular assistance. Factors identified in that case as being relevant to a determination of a charge under r 868(2) were: • The distance of the race; • The stage of the race where duelling occurred; • The distance over which the duelling occurred; • The extent to which the horses in question were ahead of the rest of the field; • The speed at which the horses were travelling in order to maintain or take the lead, in this regard of relevance are the sectional times for the race; • The energy expended in having to maintain or reach the lead, in this regard of relevance is did the driver have to urge the horse merely by shaking the reins or did the driver have to resort to use of whip, pulling earplugs etc; • The availability to the drivers of options other than those that were adopted. [39] As did the Appeals Tribunal in Chilcott, we believe that a consideration of these factors will assist in the determination of this charge, despite the charge being laid under r 869(3)(g). [40] CERATO was having its 2nd start. Mr Cox has stated that he rated the horse after its first up win at Forbury Park. On that occasion the horse had a trail and finished best. He also believed that the horse was capable of holding off an early challenge and running on. The horse had form, obvious ability, and Mr Cox drove it with confidence expecting it to run on and win. [41] The concern of the stipendiary stewards is with the manner in which Mr Cox drove over the first 800 metres of the race and, more particularly, the speed at which this distance was run. [42] The race was run over the sprint distance of 2000 metres. CERATO and THE SHAKEY MISTRESS ran the opening 400 metres in 26.4 and the first 800 metres in 54.8. The second opening 400 metres was slower, so at some point they eased off the pace a little. We accept it would have taken 100 to 150 metres for the field to settle. The damage with respect to pace occurred between the 300 metres to the 700 metres. This latter mark was the point where the two drivers opted for different tactics with Mr Williamson finally sitting up on his horse and going for cover and Mr Cox then commencing to slow the pace. The duelling thus continued for some 400 metres. Mr Cox acknowledged the opening times were fast for the class of horse. [43] The field had formed 100 to 150 metres after the start. Mr Cox took CERATO to the lead. Mr Williamson ended up sitting outside him. He persisted for the next 500 metres to endeavour to wrest the lead off Mr Cox. He was unsuccessful in his endeavours as he was never sufficiently clear of Mr Cox, who urged his horse forward to keep his position to the inside of Mr Williamson. By the time Mr Williamson restrained THE SHAKEY MISTRESS and took a trail behind CERATO, there was some 20 to 30 metres back to the head of the rest of the field. Mr Cox then, as we have noted, proceeded to slow the pace, but driving in a manner capable of diminishing the winning chances of CERATO had in our view already occurred. [44] That both Mr Cox and Mr Williamson were intent on leading is evidenced by the vigorous manner in which Mr Williamson reined up his horse and Mr Cox’s response each time he did, which was to urge CERATO forward. Its clear from the videos that Mr Cox was trying to hold the lead and by doing so was going to make THE SHAKEY MISTRESS work hard to get there. He had an opportunity to let her take the lead but chose to maintain his position despite running a very quick 400 metres. [45] We are of the view that 400 metres was plenty of ground for the two horsemen to sort themselves out. Mr Cox’s determined denial of the lead to Mr Williamson simply continued for too long. At the 600 metres point of the race, Mr Williamson chased his horse up to again try to cross. Mr Cox again responded to keep him out. Of concern to us is the fact that after having been successful in seeing off Mr Williamson’s first attempt to take the lead, Mr Cox did not consider a change in tactics. He persisted in reining up CERATO whenever Mr Williamson attempted to cross him. There was ample opportunity before and at the 600 metres for Mr Cox to ease CERATO and to trail THE SHAKEY MISTRESS and, if he so wished, to come out again. [46] We believe the adoption of either of these tactics soon after it became evident to him that Mr Williamson was not going to cease his challenge for the lead would have prevented Mr Cox from falling foul of r 869(3)(g). He may not have desired to follow what he believed to be a lesser-performed horse, as he has described THE SHAKEY MISTRESS to us, but, nonetheless, that driving tactic was preferable to his continuing to duel for the lead with Mr Williamson at a speed and over a distance that was inevitably going to exhaust the reserves of his horse. Similarly, he could have attempted to progress around Mr Williamson after Mr Williamson had obtained the lead. Whether or not Mr Williamson would have allowed him to do so is of course not known. Mr Williamson may not have been prepared to do so considering the effort he had made to wrest the lead from Mr Cox. If that was the case, Mr Cox could have pulled back and again taken the trail. The body of the field was trailing at a sufficient distance to allow of that possibility. It is his failure to adopt either of these tactics that we hold brings Mr Cox’s actions within the purview of r 869(3)(g). [47] Mr Cox says he yelled out to Mr Williamson that he was not going to hand up the lead and that Mr Williamson said he would not hand up if Mr Cox gave the lead to him. Mr Cox did not tell the Committee whether he believed this included handing the lead back to CERATO or was directed more particularly to other horses in the race. This notwithstanding, Mr Williamson by his continuing to rein up THE SHAKEY MISTRESS, sitting outside Mr Cox, and attempting to cross should have made it clear to Mr Cox that continuing to press forward at speed was capable of diminishing the winning chances of CERATO. [48] Mr Cox clearly had a game plan in mind; this was to keep the lead unless it was a favoured runner that wanted to cross him. THE SHAKEY MISTRESS in Mr Cox’s mind was not such a horse (it was 7/9 in the betting) and he was concerned she would stop as she had done at her previous start. Mr Cox never changed his tactics; Mr Williamson did by grabbing hold of THE SHAKEY MISTRESS and eventually dropping in to trail CERATO just before the winning post the first time. [49] We note that the sectional times are very quick for this grade of horse, indeed for any grade of horse. While we are reluctant to place any great weight on the Harness Jewels times due to the distance and track being different, they do support this conclusion. With the 54.8 for the first 800 metres it was inevitable by the time Mr Cox had prevented Mr Williamson crossing for a second time and Mr Williamson dropped back to trail, CERATO would fade before the end of the race. Mr Cox has acknowledged the opening times were fast for the class of horse. We note the last 800 metres of this race was slower than the other 2000 metre races on the day by a significant margin. [50] It is our view that Mr Cox should have desisted in his determination to prevent THE SHAKEY MISTRESS from obtaining the lead a long time before the 700 metres point. Indeed, he only slowed the pace of the race once CERATO ceased to challenge for the lead. He had the option to ease CERATO, hand up the lead, and take a breather behind THE SHAKEY MISTRESS. There was the further option, as we have noted, of coming out later and taking the lead back, should he have so wished. It should have been evident to Mr Cox from the manner in which Mr Williamson was chasing his horse up and trying to cross that he was determined to get the lead off Mr Cox. We believe Mr Cox was equally fixed in his determination not to hand up, despite the speed at which he was required to travel to prevent Mr Williamson from crossing. Mr Williamson had made his intentions abundantly clear. Mr Cox simply chose to ignore this fact. [51] Having regard to the sectional times for the first 800 metres, we are of the view that the chances of CERATO winning the race were diminished by Mr Cox’s actions from the 300 metres to the 700 metres in his urging CERATO forward to keep the lead whenever Mr Williamson looked likely to cross him. [52] We thus find that Mr Cox drove in a manner that was not only capable of diminishing the chances of CERATO winning but did in fact diminish that horse’s chances of so doing. The charge under r 869(3)(g) is proved. [53] We require written submissions as to penalty and costs. [54] Mr Allison is to file his submissions within seven working days of receipt of this decision. [55] Mr Cox is to file his submissions within seven working days of receipt of the informant’s submissions. Dated at Dunedin this 6th day of March 2015. Geoff Hall                         Chairman Paul Knowles                    Committee Member  

Conditions weren't up to much at the Northern Southland harness racing meeting at Invercargill yesterday with intermittent rain making the track slushy from early in the day. However anyone who was lucky enough to be on course for the $25,000 Caduceus Club Classic for two year old fillies witnessed a performance by Northern Velocity that will live long in the memory bank. Northern Velocity is a half sister to Penbrook Benny ($907,890) bred by Jordash Breeding Trust. The big strapping daughter of Mach Three got off the gate good for young driver Matt Anderson from barrier five in the slushy conditions and worked her way to the front after 400 metres. No sooner had Northern Velocity made it to the front, she was attacked for the lead by Chevrons Champion and Dexter Dunn and the two fillies went head to head right down the back straight before Dexter eased his filly. Pat Campbell led the three wide line up with Gina Grace on her back through the straight with a lap to go As soon as Gina Grace got to the death seat at the 1000 metres, driver Gerard O'Reilly pressed the go button and got three quarters of a length on Northern Velocity but couldn't cross her. These two went head to head down the back straight with Northern Velocity upping the tempo even more passing the 400 metres mark. Just when everyone expected Northern Velocity to come back to the field after such an arduous trip, she kicked away for an emphatic seven and a half lengths victory. What gave the run even more merit was her winning time of 2:44.5 was a new track record for two year old fillies over the 2200 metres and it was achieved on a slushy track and after a run from hell. Matt Anderson thought he was on the best filly yesterday and drove her accordingly. "I wasn't planning to go to the front." "I was in two minds actually as the first bend at Invercargill is quite tricky and you can't rush them in to it." "She got off the gate alright and found the top easily." "She got a  little bit keen when Dexter Dunn came up and had a good look." "I was just trying to get a bit of a breather when Gerard came around on Gina Grace." "She wasn't going good enough to hand up to." "My filly deserved the win," said Anderson. Northern Velocity was so impressive yesterday that it would not be a surprise to see her take out one of the two year old fillies classics later in the season Harnesslink Media  

With the top two harness racing mares in the country in Adore Me and Helena Jet having been retired recently, the title of New Zealand's best mare was up for grabs tonight at Addington in the $100,000 New Zealand Breeders Stakes. Venus Serena was the public elect from barrier three and she showed last night that at her best, there is no better mare in the country at present.. Driver John Dunn let the daughter of Mach Three work her way to the front after 250 metres and from there she controlled the tempo of the race. With a mile to go John started to up the tempo with Venus Serena and it was obvious a long way from home that most were struggling with the speed up front. The well supported New Years Jay worked around to the death at the 1000 metres mark and the race just hotted up even more. Down the back straight John turned the wick up again with a 27.9 quarter and most were struggling to make ground as they turned for home. The way the race had been run was set up for a swooper and Willow who had been last at the 600 metres flew home along the inner but Venus Serena was still a length to the good at the line. Pemberton Shard went her usual honest race running into third ahead of Here We Go Again who ran on well late for fourth. In the very windy conditions, Venus Serena paced the 2600 metres in 3:12, a mile rate of 1:58.8 with the last mile in a very quick 1:55.7 and closing sectionals of 57.3 and 29.4  John Dunn was happy to see Venus Serena back to something like her best. " That was such a gutsy run tonight and she felt more like her old self." " There is a really strong wind out there tonight and she ran into it twice so it was a top effort." " I eased off the speed early which I probably shouldn't have but once I let her roll she had them in trouble," John said. Trainer Geoff Dunn was a contented man post race. " She deserved that tonight as she hasn't really gone a bad race all season." "Bad draws have cost her a few times this season and that was the first time she had had a decent barrier." "Once she found the front, I knew she would be hard to beat." Geoff has deliberately given Venus Serena a lighter season. " Right through her two and three year old seasons, every race was a track or New Zealand record and that has to take a toll." "So we decided to give her an easier time at four in the hope that if we look after her now, we will be rewarded down the line," Geoff said. The only target left for the mare this season now is the Harness Jewels and last nights win has given her the bankroll to assure her a start in the May 30th feature. Harnesslink Media  

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