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On his recent trip to New Zealand and Australia, champion driver Tim Tetrick was asked on several occasions – who’s the fastest horse you’ve ever sat behind? Each time the answer was; He’s Watching. The horse he won the 2014 Meadowlands Pace with in 1:46.8 – equalling the world record for the fastest race mile ever. In outstanding news for the Australasian breeding industry, He’s Watching – the fastest horse in the world – will kick off his stud career at Alabar in New Zealand this season. Retired last week, after a season of frustrations that kept him from the racetrack, the four-year-old He’s Watching will shortly head into quarantine for the trip down under. He’s Watching will shuttle back to North America each year but, in a coup for our breeders, the first foals by the fastest horse in the world will be bred here. From the first moment he stepped on to a racetrack, He’s Watching has been one of North America’s glamour pacers. As a two-year-old, he went on an unbeaten eight for eight winning rampage. In doing so, he broke no less than five track records - at Batavia Downs, Buffalo, Tioga, Vernon Downs and Yonkers. His win at Yonkers was in 1:52.4 - a world record for a two-year-old on a half-mile track. He won by over six lengths. His win at Tioga was in 1:50 – a world record for a two-year-old on a five-eighths track. He again won by over six lengths. After the victory at Tioga, driver Jim Morrill jnr said “… he is just so fast it is unbelievable. I asked him to go in the stretch there tonight a little bit but he could have just as easily gone in 49 tonight, he is just so fast it’s amazing.” He’s Watching was voted 2013 USTA Two-Year-Old Pacer of the Year. At the end of this incredible freshman season, a half share in He’s Watching was sold to the Muscara Racing Trust. The head of the Trust, ninety year old Joe Muscara had won the Meadowlands Pace with Mach Three in 2002. He wanted nothing more than to win it again in 2014. Sadly, Joe Muscara passed away on the Monday prior to the final of the 2014 Meadowlands Pace. That his latest superstar was named He’s Watching made an emotional week even more poignant. There was never any doubt that He’s Watching was up to the moment though, with a career defining performance to trounce a quality field in the rich final. He simply blew past the opposition in one of the most devastating displays of speed seen in our sport. He cruised home in 25.6 in the hands of Tim Tetrick to win by 2 ½ lengths in a sensational 1:46.8. This sublime victory matched the all-age world record, made him the fastest ever three-year-old at the Meadowlands and the youngest ever winner of the Meadowlands Pace. Being a 13 June foal, he had remarkably only turned three twenty-nine days earlier. After this victory, driver Tim Tetrick said “Unbelievable. He is a great horse and I was lucky to pick up the drive. He really exploded all the way to the wire.” What’s more, he told trainer David Menary that He’s Watching “had more left in the tank.” The Meadowlands Pace The secret to He’s Watching’s brilliance can possibly be found in his breeding. He has a freakish pedigree. His sire American Ideal is by a son of the champion mare Leah Almahurst and is out of a daughter another champion mare in Three Diamonds. These two outstanding mares are closely related having their third and second dam respectively as the great K Nora. Remarkably, the dam of He’s Watching carries the same cross. His own fourth dam is Leah Almahurst and the dam of his maternal grandsire is Three Diamonds. So four strains of a dominant mare in K Nora via sex-balanced duplications of two champion mares – a pedigree enthusiasts paradise. To round off a great pedigree he also has eight daughters of Tar Heel (six of them unique) in his sixth generation. He’s Watching retires to stud with $1,129,215 in earnings, five track records and two of his three world records still standing. Standing 15 hands and powerfully built, He’s Watching is best summed up by one of his owners as “strutting into the parade ring with a look that said - who wants to fight me today?” Very few could. He’s Watching will be available at NZ$6,000 (plus GST) in New Zealand and A$6,000 (incl GST) in Australia.

There have been hundreds of New Zealand bred mares exported to North America over the years but only a small percentage are ever bred from in the Northern Hemisphere. A few make their way back to New Zealand but a lot are given away as hacks One well performed New Zealand bred mare that is being bred from in North America is the Caprock mare Smooth Latin. Trained in New Zealand in the first instance by John Hay and then Ray Norton, Smooth Latin won four races here and just $25,000 before being exported to North America in early 2000. Smooth Latin did a big job on the track in North America, taking a mark of 1:52.1 and in the process took her overall stake earnings to $217,884. However it is in the broodmare barn that she has really excelled. Smooth Latin's first foal was by McArdle and named McApulco and he took a mark of 1:51.2 on his way to earning $365,942. Next up was Morguns Romeo 1:53 ($44,875) by Artiscape and the third foal was another McArdle colt in McAracas 1:51.4 ($170,579) The fourth foal from Smooth Latin was by Red River Hanover and is her only filly to date in Redy La Mar 1:56.1 ($44,192) while her fifth by Royal Mattjesty in Mattista was her only non winner to date. The sixth foal from Smooth Latin was the very smart Shadow Play colt in Shadios 1:49.4 ($82,860) who has issues from half way through his three year old campaign and never really fulfilled his potential. The seventh foal from Smooth Latin is the Jeremes Jet three year old Robert Hill 1:51. ($158,190) who last week took out a $105,000 division of the Ontario Sires Stakes and looks potentially the best of Smooth Latin's progeny to date. Smooth Latin was lucky enough to be bred from in North America but a lot of well bred, well performed New Zealand mares are being left on the shelf after they finish racing. The cost of the transport back to New Zealand is very expensive but maybe New Zealand breeders should be looking to bring home some of our better performed mares that are being wasted in North America. Harnesslink Media

One of New Zealands most promising harness racing reinsman Matthew Williamson has been on edge for several weeks now. Cemented onto 499 lifetime wins, the North Otago reinsman has run second after second in his quest to crack the 500 mark. The longer it took the more good humoured banter he has taken from his fellow reinsman and people within the industry. Speaking to him mid-week Matthew wasn't over confident that he could turn it around with this weeks book of drives. His best undoubtedly was Springbank Eden at Addington Raceway but Matthew felt that Springbank Eden's luck was about as good as his and that they would probably run second again. With a lap to go tonight that looked very likely as Springbank Eden was parked outside a tearaway leader in Lisa Marie P with Dexter Dunn in the bike. However passing the 800 metres mark Matthew was able to slip Springbank Eden down onto Lisa Marie P's back and from there Springbank Eden was always a big winning chance. These two drew away from the field on the corner and Springbank Eden took the whole length of the Addington straight to nail Lisa Marie P and help bring up Matty's 500th win as a reinsman. Matty was all smiles as he returned to scale and was quick to deflect all the accolades heading his way. " It is good to get the monkey off the back." "Half way up the straight I thought I was going to run second again but to his credit Springbank Eden has dug in and got the job done." " With natural improvement, he should be a nice drive in the next twelve months," Matty said. Since his first drive Matty has always looked someone headed to the top and he was quick to thank those who have helped him along the way. " Dad (Phil) has been a big help all the way through and it was great to crack the 500 wins on one he trained." "Geoff and Jude Knight have been super as well and without their support I wouldn't be where I am today so I can't thank them enough," Matty said. As someone who has regular contact with Matty in relation to his upcoming drives, I can attest to the fact that he is always open and honest and a pleasure to deal with which is not always the way with leading reinsman. The way Matty is driving and the success he is having it won't be that long before we are celebrating the 1000 win mark for this talented reinsman. Harnesslink Media

Maurice McKendry is recognised as one of the best reinsman to grace the harness racing industry in New Zealand. One of only two reinsman to crack the 3000 barrier in the history of the sport in New Zealand, Maurice is showing no signs of slowing down. After a short break recently, Maurice has come back in dynamic form and several of his recent wins are just textbook drives which have been great to watch. The most recent was the win of Sir Ritchie at Alexandra Park tonight. The son of Christian Cullen has been in great form since stepping onto the track but was let go a bit by punters due to the strength of the field. Maurice took hold of Sir Ritchie early from barrier two as several runners went to war with the first 600 metres whizzing by in under 41 seconds as Cyclone Kate worked her way to the front. Just as Cyclone Kate looked to back off the pace with 1100 metres to go, Maurice launched Sir Ritchie three wide and grabbed the front with 800 metres to go. From there try as they might Sir Ritchie and Maurice had their measure and they still had 3/4 of a length to spare at the finish.  The 2200 metres went by in a quick 2:40.8, a mile rate of 1:57.6 with closing sectionals of 58.7 and 28. and Sir Ritchie paid back his supporters with a $10:70 win dividend. Maurice is closing in on 3100 wins in the cart with stakes nearing the $26,500,000 mark and continues to display all the attributes that have made him the great reinsman that he still is. Harnesslink Media 

The middle of winter is not usually the place to launch a talented horse on his harness racing career but such is the case tonight with the debut run of the smart two year old Franco Cristiano in race one at Addington. This great looking son of Bettor's Delight was purchased out of last years New Zealand Premier sale for $92,500 after Robert Dunn saw the sales video of the colt from the Spreydon Lodge draft. " As soon as I saw the video, where he looked a quality horse, I went and inspected him and was really impressed and ended up buying him," Robert told Harnesslink today Not only is Franco Cristaino a good looker but he has the pedigree to go with it. Franco Cristiano is from a daughter of the outstanding broodmare Cherubic who left eight winners and all were black print winners and her daughters have bred on as well. It has not been all plain sailing since his purchase at the sales. " He was quite hard to get going actually." "Gavin (Burgess) who breaks all of mine in had a lot of problems getting him to pace and we had to pull his hopples right up to get him to function." "When he came back into the stable he was better, but he just didn't have any confidence so we took our time with him." "We qualified him and gave him another wee break and he has come back in  this time like the horse we always thought he could be." " He is not foolproof yet but he is getting there." " He is a horse that feels like he has a lot of bottom to him and he should develop into a really smart three and four year old," Robert said. With John in Auckland driving the northern team tonight at Alexandra Park, the plum drive on Franco Cristiano has fallen to stable reinsman Sam Ottley and going by his recent trial at Rangiora he should make his debut a winning one tonight at Addington. Harnesslink Media

This is the time in the harness racing season where the two years that are just behind the very best tend to put maiden fields to the sword. Race nine at Alexandra Park tonight has a field full of such two year olds and several of the runners look capable of winning a race at short notice. One who really impressed in his first brief campaign was the Elsu gelding El Jacko. El Jacko was thrown in the deep end in his first campaign running up against the likes of Lazarus and Chase The Dream and got things wrong in his first couple of starts but his fourth in the Young Guns Final behind the All Stars pair and Code Black was a really smart run and confirmed the big private reputation that El Jacko has always had. Tonight El Jacko has the advantage of drawing barrier one but the field is full of some handy sorts and he won't have things all his own way. Co-trainer Logan Hollis was circumspect when assessing his chances earlier this week. “He hasn’t raced since March and has only had three races as a 2-year-old and he galloped twice." "He did get around okay in the (Group One) Young Guns Cardigan Stakes and he has been trialling well and he worked very well today (Wednesday)." "He’s certainly got plenty of ability." "He just needs time but he can win on Friday." "Fergie has driven him twice before and will give him every possible chance from the ace draw," Logan said. El Jacko certainly looks one to follow in the new season and looks to have the potential to go a fair way. Harnesslink Media

New Zealand's leading male two year trotter in 2014/2015 in Conon Bridge is about to head across the Tasman to tackle some late season classics in Victoria. A $7,000 purchase from last years New Zealand Premier Yearling sale at Christchurch, the son of Raffaello Ambrosio has looked well above average from the first time he stepped onto a track. The winner of three from five starts at two, Conon Bridge has looked more than capable of mixing it with High Gait and Missandei from the All Star barn with his only run where he finished out of the money being when he went off stride in the Harness Jewels. Trained by master trotting trainer Paul Nairn and driven by North Canterbury reinsman Bob Butt, Conon Bridge has two main targets on his Victorian raid as Bob Butt explained to Harnesslink this week. " The first target is the $ 50,000 Redwood Classic over 2190 metres on the second of August at Maryborough which is an open two year old race." " The distance won't hold any worries for him as he showed when winning over 2400 metres last weekend." " Safely through that, Conon Bidge will tackle the Australasian Breeders Crown series and it is a bit different this year with $84,000 finals for both Colts / geldings and fillies so we won't meet the All Stars fillies in that series which is a bonus," Bob said. Bob was really impressed with Conon Bridge's latest performance last weekend where he came off 10 metres to win a C1-C2 handicap trot. " He only did what he had to last Sunday but it is never easy for two year old trotters to beat the older horses over ground so there was a lot of merit in the run," Bob said. Conon Bridge has already earned $51,597 in his debut season and in his present form could well crack the $100,000 mark before he finishes this campaign. Harnesslink Media

A much better week from our harness racing tipsters with seven chalking up winners and another six running into a place which was a big turnaround from the couple of weeks beforehand. John Dunn led the way with the $11 shot Wick at Addington while others to get on the winners board included Brad Williamson, Gavin Smith, Todd Mitchell,Steven Reid, Bob Butt and Scott Phelan. It could have been even better with southern trainer Brendon McLellan having difficulty choosing between Jessica Sanchez and Mr Handleman. In the end he went for Jessica Sanchez who was disappointing while Mr Handleman got home at odds of $12 to one. This week there are four meetings and we have selections for them all. Cambridge - Thursday night Peter Scaife - Thought Mokosun could turn his form around and win race 2 Maurice McKendry - Reckons even from the outside of the gate, Dream To Share can win race 3 Steven Reid - Thinks first starter Mo Casino can upset on debut, also in race 3 Geoff Small - Gives Everlasting Grace even from the second line a big chance in race 5 Steve Richardson - Likes the chances of first starter Vega Star in race 8 Scott Phelan - Rates Superimposed a big chance even from the second line, also in race 8 Sean McCaffrey - Thought Soldier from the draw might get the better of the 2 year olds, also in race 8   Auckland - Friday night Todd MacFarlane - Rates Youbetteryoubet an upset chance from barrier one in race 2 Mark Jones - Reckons Pomme Roy can win again in a very hot field in race 4 Todd Mitchell - Thinks Leanne's Boy can upset the hotpots in race 5 John Dunn - Thought Return To Sender was a big chance in race 6 Tony Herlihy - Gives The Fascinator a big chance of taking out race 7   Addington - Friday night Gerard O"Reilly - Gave Zin Zan a chance to bounce back and wine race 6 Tim Williams - Rates Lovetodream very hard to beat from barrier 3 , also in race 6 Matthew Williamson - Reckons Springbank Eden is well overdue and will win race 7 Ricky May - Thought Tetrick back to a maiden race would be hard to beat in race 8   Rangiora - Sunday afternoon John Curtin - Thinks that if Squaw goes away with them, she will win race 2  Blair Orange - Gives the 8 year old Shantahlia Knight a big chance of winning race 5 Gavin Smith - Rates Courtney John a chance of turning her form around, also in race 5   Harnesslink Media

It’s just under four months to New Zealand’s most prestigious harness racing racing carnival with Cup Week in Christchurch, with the highlight being Cup Day at Addington on Tuesday 10 November and the running of the celebrated Christchurch Casino New Zealand Trotting Cup. Addington is pleased to announce that this spring the Cup will be run for $750,000 and the Woodlands New Zealand Free For All on Show Day, Friday 13 November for $250,000 which represents a total of $1 million in stakes on offer. This equates to a combined increase of $100,000 on 2014 levels. New Zealand Metropolitan Trotting Club Chairman Mr Barry Dent commented “Given the increases in stakes for both the Christchurch Casino New Zealand Trotting Cup and the Woodlands New Zealand Free For All, I am sure the club will attract and the public will get to see the very best Australasian standardbreds racing during Cup Week. November can’t come soon enough.” The initial nomination fee of $375 plus GST for the Group One $750,000 Christchurch Casino New Zealand Trotting Cup is due on Wednesday 12 August at 3pm NZ time. There is no early nomination fee for the Woodlands New Zealand Free For All. For full details including breakdowns of stakes on the Cup and Free For All please visit Alternatively please contact Brian, Richard or Colin at Addington’s Racing Department on (03) 338 9094. Ged Mooar Marketing & Commercial Manager Addington

Harness racing chiefs are pushing for a new rule to prohibit the administration of alkalising agents for one clear day before a horse races to stamp out the practice of "half-shaking." The move is a precursor to the introduction of far tougher penalties for high bicarb levels and is expected to generate the most debate at the annual conference of racing clubs in Christchurch next month. The remit, recommended by the Racing Integrity Unit and the equine codes' veterinary advisor Dr Andrew Grierson, seeks to amend the current rule which prevents alkalising agents being given on raceday. The "milkshaking" of horses has been a significant threat to the integrity of the industry since its height in the 1990s when unscrupulous trainers loaded their animals up with bicarb to stop the build-up of lactic acid and delay muscle fatigue. But while high levels are rare these days, persistent cheaters have been known to give lower doses, known as "half-shakes". And it had been shown internationally that by prohibiting the administration of alkalising agents on the day prior to the race, the incidence of "half-shaking" is significantly reduced. In most horses, the beneficial effect of a milkshake peaks six hours after administration and the TCO2 level returns to normal after 12 hours.  The rule change is designed to bring New Zealand into line with overseas racing jurisdictions and further enhance stakeholder confidence in the harness industry. Grierson believes now that the TCO2 threshold has been raised to 36 - and trainers aren't prosecuted unless the level is over 37 - the next step is to bring in the one clear day restriction so "there was not a shadow of doubt that breaches signalled "intent". "The previous system wasn't working because we were still getting TCO2 anomalies occurring and the one thing we don't want is to have innocent people being charged." Grierson said the chances of a TCO2 level of 37 being a naturally occurring event were one in two million and, at the actionable level of 37.1, the chances were one in 3.9 million. The stats were one in 5893 million for a level over 38. "A lot of people in the industry believe the JCA shold adopt penalties reflecting those statistical odds," said Grierson who believes the authority is receptive to the call. Grierson said under the present rule it was possible for cheats to shake a horse the night before raceday in the hope its level would still be raised slightly for competition. Ironically, there was no data to support the theory that "half-shaked" horses performed better. Horses with levels of 34-35 did not win more races than those with levels closer to the national mean of 30.6. And the levels of horses who finished in the first five were not higher than the also-rans. "There is no medical justification for treating your horse that close to a race and, if you have to, is your horse suitable to race anyway?" Horseman should have no concern that the rule might impinge on their animals' welfare by preventing traditional treatments when away at a two-day meeting. If a trainer felt a horse who'd raced say on a Friday needed a drench the next day to help it recover for a Sunday race, they could still seek an exemption from a stipendiary steward. The clear move in international circles was to extend the previously accepted no-treatment-on-raceday to one of no treatment for one clear day before racing. Already Australian authorities had moved to make it illegal to administer any cobalt-raising supplement for one clear day before competition. In other remits to go before the conference: ■ It will be an offence for a person to not only acquire, but attempt to acquire, an out-of-competition banned substance. Those substances are the ones for which there is no therapeutic reason for use at any time. ■ Horses injected with corticosteroids in the preceding eight days will be banned not only from racing but also from being trained on a club-run track. While a valuable way of managing inflammatory joint disease, corticosteroids can be undetectable in urine but still having an effect, thereby hiding impending failure and increasing the risk of catastrophic events.   ■ The 30 metre distance stipulation for horses being disqualified if their sulky wheels track inside the marker line will be removed. The rule change seeks to have horses able to be put out if they are deemed to have merely gained an advantage, rather than focusing on the distance covered inside the markers. Judicial committees would have more discretion to deal with individual cases. Horses whose wheels go inside the markers trying to force a run they are not entitled to inside the passing lane could then be disqualified, regardless of distance travelled.  And, on the other hand, horses three back on the markers, who go inside markers but cannot possibly benefit from it, do not have to be automatically put out.    ■ To clarify a rule introduced last year,  the connections of a horse which is interfered with can seek compensation from the owners of  the culprit, but only if its chances of receiving higher stake money are prejudiced. Owners have until 30 minutes after the last race to lodge an information with the stewards who may order that a portion of the stake money earned by the transgressor be paid to the victim. Under the new rules, horses cannot be promoted ahead of those who interfere with them unless it can be proved they would have beaten that runner home without the interference. Barry Lichter

The changes in the harness racing breeding industry in the last twenty years have been huge and have fundamentally changed the way the business operates in the Southern Hemisphere. From shuttling stallions to frozen semen there is hardly a sire in the world who is unavailable to breeders in Australasia. A side effect of that of course is how much harder it is today for young stallions  to get established or to be in some cases even given a chance. One who falls squarely into the latter category is the Matts Scooter stallion Rob Roy Mattgregor. A smart racehorse in North America with a best time of 1:49.6 and $612,751, Rob Roy Mattgregor's real appeal to breeders lay in his pedigree. The Direct Scooter sireline has been on fire in New Zealand for nearly twenty years so Kiwi breeders needed no introduction there. It is the maternal family of Rob Roy Mattgregor that seals the deal and the reason he was given a shot at stud in New Zealand and Australia Rob Roy Mattgregor is a half brother to Predator DVM 1:50 ($627,993) from Cheer Me Up, a 1:56.2 full sister to the dam of Make A Deal 1:50.2 ($610,249) and Cheer Me Up is also a half sister to the dam of  the great racehorse and sire Western Ideal 1:48 ($1,455,422). Another half sister to Cheer Me Up is Best Of Memories who has produced Mr Feelgood 1:49 ($3,366,157) and Remember When 1:50.3 ($1,245,718). The grand-dam of Rob Roy Mattgregor is the former brilliant racemare Leah Almahurst 1:52.3 ($1,053,201). This is the other side of the brilliant Three Diamonds family and it is a noted sire producing family. Rob Roy Mattgregor only stood one season in New Zealand and covered 71 mares who produced 52 live foals which are two year olds in the 2014-2015 season. Rob Roy Mattgregor also has nine two year olds in Australia this season for one unplaced starter to date  In New Zealand to be honest, they have been very slow out of the blocks with just four qualifiers to date but last night Rob Roy Mattgregor broke his duck as a sire when the Bruce Negus trained filly Em Ay in the hands of leading reinsman Dexter Dunn was successful at Forbury Park. After that one season here, Rob Roy Mattgregor was moved to Australia where he has just 17 yearlings on the ground and that is all there will be as he died not long after siring that crop. As of today Rob Roy Mattgregor hasn't exactly set the world on fire but now that he is deceased it wouldn't be a surprise if his stock turn that around in the next year or two. Harnesslink Media

When it comes to preparing trotters in the North Island, harness racing trainers Michelle Wallis and Bernie Hackett are two of the best around. Last night they lined up the talented but erratic Lady J in the first of the night. Slowly but surely Michelle and Bernie have turned the speedy but unruly daughter of Majestic Son into a racemare and lately she has started to look more like the racehorse she is bred to be. Regular pilot Todd Mitchell had Lady J away well from the 2200 metres stand and she settled three back on the inner after 200 metres. With 1200 metres to go Todd eased Lady J out into the running line to sit parked but he put no pressure into the leader, Landora's Amber with Nicky Chilcott in the bike. With no mid race moves, Todd was content to sit on her wheel until 400 metres from home where he pressed the go button and Lady J quickly put the race to bed, sprinting clear for an emphatic 4 1/4 length victory. Lady J trotted the 2200 metres from a stand in 2:56.5 with smart closing sectionals of 59.5 and 28.9. Driver Todd Mitchell was quick to acknowledge the great job Michelle and Bernie had done with the headstrong trotter. "She did that really easily tonight, I never even pulled the plugs." " The last couple of weeks she has been trotting really square and her manners have come good so a lot of the credit must go to Michelle and Bernie for the job they have done with her." " It was a timely win tonight actually as Michelle told me prior to the race that they are looking to retire her and send her to the broodmare paddock in August," Todd said. Lady J certainly has the breeding to make her mark as a broodmare. By leading trotting sire Majestic Son, Lady J is from a Muscles Yankee daughter of the former outstanding age group trotter in Inda Bank 1:58.9 ($138,660) Lady J may only have one win beside her name as she heads to stud but the ease and style of her win last night suggested she is way better than that. Harnesslink Media  

Every week at the moment, New Zealand bred harness racing stock are heading to the Northern Hemisphere as a combination of improving stakes in some stakes and the rapidly depreciating dollar sees the market heat up quite a bit. This Wednesday night just gone saw another plane load  leave for North America and we thought we would highlight some of the stock leaving. * Onedin Mach - 4 B g Mach Three - Stylish Onedin - 37 starts, 10 wins,  4 seconds,  9 thirds,    Lt $68,338   Lovely four year old who has always been competitive whatever he has been in. Has won ten here but placed thirteen times against some of the best four year olds going around. Should suit the style of racing he will encounter in North America. * Fiery Lustre- 6 B g Red River Hanover - Holmes Lustre - 70 starts, 6 wins,10 seconds,9 thirds,Lt $58,590 Has really come of age in the last few months and has only missed a first four placing once in its last ten starts. Has gate speed and likes to lead but can also really let down off a solid clip so should be suited to the style of racing in North America. *Mighty Peruvian-6 Brg Peruvian Hanover- Ella's Lass- 61 starts,8 wins,16 seconds,6 thirds,Lt $61,210 Another horse who has had a busy but productive season at the ripe old age of six. Has run in the first three in sixteen of his twenty seven starts this season and is definitely racing in the best form of his career His last win from barrier nine over the 1950 metres at Addington in a 1:57.4 mile rate and winning by nine lengths was his career best performance. Very honest and will suit racing in North America. *Elisaveta-5 Br m Grinfromeartoear - Boryana - 48 starts, 4 wins,  11 seconds,  9 thirds, Lt $37,895 Bred to Northern Hemisphere time which is always a plus when selling into that market. Has a very good record here over 1600/1700 metres and has gate speed so she should love the mile racing. As her record shows she has been placed in the first three in 50% of her starts so honest as well. By all accounts the next plane is all but full already and it appears that the recent spike in sales to North America is showing no signs of abating. Harnesslink Media

Harness racing reinsman Robbie Close is now just one final hurdle away from his own near-perfect season. And you could bet your final dollar that the talented young horseman will be doing everything possible to overcome it. Close added the McMillians New Zealand Junior Driver Championships to his impressive season haul last night meaning he is both the New Zealand and Australasian Young Drivers Champion in the same season. But that wasn’t all. In winning the final of the three heats of last night’s competition on Pammy’s Boy, Close not only secured himself the championship, but brought up his 100th career driving win in the process. And he was pretty chuffed about both. “It’s a pretty awesome feeling to win my 100th race, but to do in these circumstances just makes it even better,’’ he said. But while the titles and accolades are all great, Close knows he’s got one more major assignment to tick off the list before the season ends and that’s getting his name at the top of the junior drivers premiership – a spot currently held by Stevie Golding. After Closes’ victory last night the margin is three with Golding picking up a winning double. “It’s going to be tough to peg Stevie back, but things are going pretty good so I’ll be giving it my best.’’ Heading into last night’s competition Close wasn’t all that confident of his chances. He picked up a vital third in the opening event of the night on The Persuader before sitting out the middle leg due to not being allocated a drive due to low numbers. In Pammy’s Boy, Close knew he had a horse capable and took luck out of the equation by sending the Murray Edmonds trained trotter straight to the front and dominating from there on. “It’s really nice to be able to achieve all this on one of Murray’s horses. “Murray really supported me early on in my career and gave me a lot of drives so it’s fitting.’’ Brad Williamson made the play early in last night’s competition by winning the opening heat on board the Greg and Nina Hope trained Western Art after a well thought out and perfectly executed drive. He beat home defending champion Michelle Neilson who pulled out all stops on Nui Toc Tien but just came up short in what was an all-South Island dominant with the first six placings going to the six Mainland representatives. The result was almost perfectly reversed in the second of the three heats with Tony Cameron producing a peach of a drive on Fair Dinkum Bromac to get the Mark Jones trained pacer home past the post first. He beat Michael Blakemore (Best Defence) and Jack MacKinnon (Scanreco Bay) with Neilson’s fifth placing on Alexy shutting out a North Island clean sweep. The result left the competition up in the air heading into the final race but Close produced a cagey drive to get the chocolates on Pammy’s Boy – narrowly beating home Kyle Marshall (Blue Don) and MacKinnon (Visualise). Close finished with 34 points, well clear of Neilson and MacKinnon who tied on 27 points. Neilson got the nod for second placing overall on the basis of finishing second in the opening heat. The other major prize of the night – the North v. South challenge was claimed by the South Island side who won with 147 points to the North’s 137. Matt Markham

Our harness racing tipsters are certainly in the doldrums at the moment. Last week was one of the worst since we started the ringaround and with the meetings this week it might not get any better. Last week just Mark Jones and Scott Phelan tipped out winners and we only managed another four placings over the whole weekend. We can only look forward when it is as bad as that and this week we have four meetings and we have selections for them all. Addington - Thursday night Blair Orange - Thinks River Black will very hard to beat in race 1 Brad Williamson - Likes the chances of Western Art in race 2 Peter Scaife - Reckons Happy Heidi, drawn on the back of Western Art will win race 2 Matthew Williamson - Thought Duchesse de l'Amour could go back to back in race 3 Steve Richardson (TAB) - Giving Price Of Fame another chance, thinks he can also win race 3 John Dunn - Rates Wick as a big winning chance in race 5 Gavin Smith - Thought Naughty Maravu would be sharper this week and could win race 7 Mark Jones - Thinks Perissa will be very hard to beat again in race 8 Terry Chmiel - Gives Little Tess a good each way chance, also in race 8 John Curtin - Likes Easy Rider to upset the hotpot and win race 9 Auckland - Friday night Todd Mitchell - Rates Lady Jay as well overdue and thinks she can win race 1 Steven Reid - Thinks Unforgiving has trained on from her last win and can take out race 6 Tony Herlihy - Reckons Vice Consul is well overdue and can win, also in race 6 Forbury Park - Friday night Brendon McLellan - Rates Jessica Sanchez a big each way chance at huge odds in race 2 Nathan Williamson - Thinks he can break the bank with Anothersuperstar in race 6 Shane Walkinshaw - Reckons Takitimu Express can go one better this week and win race 7 Craig Ferguson - Thought Mordecai from a decent barrier for a change could win race 9  Ashburton - Sunday afternoon Ricky May - Thought Franco Harrington did enough first up to suggest he could win race 3 Gerard O'Reilly - Gave Automatic a bit of a push and thought he could win race 4 Bob Butt - Reckons Conon Bridge will take all sorts of beating in race 7

Harness racing fans in Australia are getting use to seeing those blue colours with the grey stars at their meetings and the seemingly endless production line of high class horses that the All Star barn bring over from New Zealand. The latest horse from the champion barn to head across the Tasman is this years leading two year old trotter in High Gait. The winner of five from six in New Zealand this season and only beaten by half a head in the other race, High Gait was given a look at Menangle on Tuesday afternoon at the trials. Starting in a two year old pacing event, Mark Purdon settled the daughter of Muscles Yankee three back on the inner early as Its Inevitable and Michael Muscat set a quick tempo in front with Hell Bent and Kevin Pizzuto in the trail. These three slipped away from the rest of the field as they turned for home with Hell Bent challenging Its Inevitable strongly but High Gait was jogging in behind the leader and never saw daylight when full of running. The run itself had plenty of merit but when the time was announced of 1:55.5 for the winner Its Inevitable, the run of High Gait grew in statue. She was timed in 1:55.8 with closing sectionals of 56.8 and 27.7 and she clocked that while looking to have something in reserve. Her goal on the trip is the Australasian Breeders Crown and on Tuesday's run, she is without doubt the one to beat. Another All Star runner to have a hit out prior to racing next week was Dream About Me. Allowed to drop out to last in a small four horse field, she sprinted home hard held in 26.2 and looks ready to carry on her winning ways next week. Harnesslink Media  

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