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The South Island harness racing community is in mourning after the death of popular Canterbury trainer Mike Austin. Austin, who was based at West Melton, had held a trainer's licence since 1978. His last last runner to the races was Idle Moose, who ran third at Addington on Friday night. He died on Saturday, surrounded by his family, after a long brave battle with illness. The last of Austin's 271 training wins came with Idle Monkey at the Cheviot meeting on March 5. Austin, best known for his ability with trotters, enjoyed great success over the years with horses like Ado's Invasion, Ranger Globe, Idle Rules, Toomuch To Do and free-legged pacer Nutwood. Several drivers at Sunday's Rangiora meeting wore black armbands as a mark of respect to Austin. A large turnout from the racing community is expected to farewell Austin at his funeral service at Westpark Chapel on Thursday. ASSP

A mystery illness has left David Butt’s Jewels dream hanging by a thread after he initially feared he had a stroke last week. The Canterbury horseman will have to pass a doctor’s examination to be allowed to drive the well-fancied Wilma’s Mate at Saturday’s $1.2million meeting at Ashburton. Butt was hospitalized last Thursday after suffering from severe dizziness when he woke up. “I couldn’t get my balance and felt like I was going to fall over when I tried to walk,” said the Inter Dominion-winning reinsman. “Too be honest, I was scared I had had a stroke because I had never felt anything like that before. “For the first few days I was dizzy and couldn’t stand light or noise but the doctors tell me I have been suffering from vertigo. “They said it is relatively common and now I have had it I keep hearing from other people they have had it to. But it was a real shock.” Butt says many of the symptoms have now cleared, with the return of his balance the next and most important step. “It is getting better but I am still not driving work at home. “The stipes (stewards) know and they have told me I have to get a clearance from the doctor on Friday to be able to drive on Saturday. “The strange part is the doctors can’t tell me exactly what has gone wrong. “The two most likely reasons are a head knock or a virus of some type and I haven’t had any head knocks so the virus sounds the most likely reason. “If that has what caused it the doctors said I could have had it for a while lying dormant.”  Butt has two scheduled Jewels drives with Wilma’s Mate the second favourite for the $100,000 four-year-old trot after drawing the ace. “I’d love to drive her because I really think she can win but obviously I won’t be driving her if I’m now right. “So the doctors will tell me on Friday but it has improved quite a lot the last few days.” For all his success Butt has driven just one Jewels winner, One Over Da Moon, at Ashburton in 2013 for Wilma’s Mate’s trainers Paul Nairn. Should he not be able to take the reins on Saturday his son Bob would seem the most likely replacement as he won races on Wilma’s Mate last season. Wilma’s Mate is the $4 second favourite for her division on Saturday, with Southland  mare Dark Horse still at $2.50 with the New Zealand TAB, though she opened $4.50 with Australian bookmakers post-draw last Friday. The big shortener in the that market has been Marcoola, with last season’s champion three-year-old trotter into $4.20 after looking more aggressive at the Ashburton workouts on Saturday. Michael Guerin

Gentleman Sir enhanced his chances of a 2017 Jewels crown with a courageous win at Alexandra Park last Friday night. But his Kumeu 65-year-old trainer, Lew Driver, like most of us watching, thought the 4-year-old had blown his chances soon after the start of the $14,999 Garrards Horse & Hound R60 to R97 Trot. "I thought, ‘oh no I've booked his tickets and he’s going no good’. What am I doing am I taking him south? But those thoughts went in and out of my head very quickly. When David (Butcher) got him down after a few bobbles I thought ‘yes he can get around them and win this’. "I think the horse just suffered from a 'momentary lapse of reason'. That's the third time he has broken in his career, but David said he's really coming to it nicely. He said he was peaking at just the right time and he hadn’t seen him trot so fluent, once his mistake was behind him," Driver said. "If Saturday's Jewels Final was a stand I'd have my reservations, but after Friday's run, and now that he's drawn three in a mobile mile, he can give that even field a real shake," he added. Gentleman Sir opened up as a $13 favourite to win this Saturday's Group One $150,000 McMillan Feeds 4-year-old Ruby Trot. The Love You-Tip Your Hat Loui (by Continentalman) gelding is now the $14-sixth favourite behind Dark Horse ($2.50), Wilma's Mate ($4), Marcoola ($4.50), and Temporale and Lemond who are both at $7.20. Driver believed one of six or seven horses could win the race, with the trip to suit. "I can see why Dark Horse is favourite because he has got a lot of speed, but you can't discount Lemond, Temporale or Paul Nairn’s one either (Wilma’s Mate). “Actually they have all qualified for the final and any one of them, with the run, can win it. That includes us. My fella has got a bit of ability and we have yet to see the best of him. “His win on Friday impressed me. He's the best horse, and certainly the best drawn horse I've had in a Jewels Final," said Driver. "David might have said he’s trotting in career-best form, but he has still got a wee way to go to be the best trotter I have trained. Triffid (eight wins) finished fourth in a Rowe Cup and was an open class trotter. "Sadly he died of a heart attack when he was leading by six lengths at the Cambridge Trials (October 2001). He was special.” Gentleman Sir was startled by the starting tapes and added another 15 metres to his 10m handicap on Friday. Butcher settled him at the back of the field and they were second last (three-back on the outer) at the bell. Then just prior to the home turn Butcher followed eventual runner-up Yagunnakissmeornot and Jack MacKinnon out of the one-one. Then in the lane they wound down Yagunnakissmeornot in the last 25 metres to win by half a length. The Love You gelding trotted the 2700m stand in 3:29.2 (mile rate 2:04.5) and came home in 59.4 and 28.9. It was the bay's fourth win in 10 starts. He's also placed four times since winning on debut at Cambridge Raceway on January 13. Gentleman Sir was the $2.60 favourite. Driver said his horse had come through Friday's race in good fashion. "He's pulled up real well and his legs are nice and cool and he's eaten up everything. He will fly out early on Tuesday morning and Mark Smolenski will house both of us. "I'm grateful for that and Mark said he was delighted to have the horse back at his property again after he spent his early prep there. “Mark qualified him in early November and then he came up here. After the Jewels he will be spelled at Rosie Trevaris' agistment farm in Burnham," Driver said. Six horses will board that 4am Tuesday flight - one of which will be fellow Alexandra Park winner from Friday - Gotta Go Dali Queen. The Dali - Gotta Go Harmony filly was the only stater from The Frank Cooney and Tate Hopkins stable and she obliged as a $9.40 fourth favourite in the seventh event. Maurice McKendry sat patiently with the 3-year-old in the trail and then in the passing lane the bay out-sprinted favourite Alta Intrigue (Zac Butcher) by three-quarters-of-a length in 2:01.5 for the 1700m mobile. Gotta Go Dali Queen has drawn two in Saturday's 3-year-old Diamond Pace and with a last half of 55 seconds even on Friday she must rate at least a place chance against Spanish Armada and company. Zac Butcher might have finished second in that$14,999 R76 to R97 trot, but he did provide the individual highlight of the night. The gifted 25-year-old drove four winners one the 10-race card. They were: The Ray Green trained $3 favourite - King Of Swing (race 2); the Peter and Vaughan Blanchard trained $4.40 second favourite - Lovely Bundy (race 3); the Steven Reid trained $4.50 second favourite - Pleasurable (race 5); and the Barry Purdon trained $9.10 third favourite - Maheer Magic (race 9). Meanwhile, Waikato reinswoman, Megan Teaz, notched up her first driving success of the season when sitting parked and winning behind One Bid Buys in the first event – the $8,000 Reharvest Mobile for the Up to R47 maiden trotters.. It was 364 days since her last win when In Full Flight won for Teaz and her husband Jason at Alexandra Park on May 27 last year. The Ohaupo reinswoman, and Mum, has now driven 18 winners from 363 starters since getting her driver’s licence in 2008. The Teaz husband and wife training duo have now conditioned 21 winners from 220 starters since 2011.   Duane Ranger

Brett Gray snuck out to a five win lead over Nathan Williamson in the race for the Southland trainers premiership, with the win of Machjagger at Ascot Park on Saturday. Williamson has gone without a win since the success of Jewels favourite Dark Horse at Winton a fortnight ago while Gray won twice that day and has added a couple since. He has moved to 22 wins for the season, just one less than his tally at the end of May last year while on 17, Williamson is nine behind his and they've had a similar number of starters. While Gray is pleased with the way he is travelling and intends to race at Forbury Park during the winter, maintaining his advantage over Williamson is not a biggie. “It would be nice to win but I'll just take it as it comes, I'm not ambitious like that,” he said. Gray said the most horses he has had racing at any time has been 18, the current number is 14, and it is likely to fluctuate around that for the balance of the season. With four wins, Jimmy Mack has been his biggest contributor but is among the recent departures. “The High Roller has just been sold, Jimmy Mack is going to Ross Olivieri in West Australia and G I Joe to Kerryn Manning in Melbourne,” he advised. Jimmy Mack, and Fight For Glory's half brother G I Joe, are among a number Gray has trained through the season for Butterworth Racing. G I Joe didn't win for Gray, starting just three times for a two thirds and a fourth, but along with Jimmy Mack's four wins, Gray's win with President Roydon at Cromwell has given him five for the Butterworths so far this term. Now with Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen, President Roydon is a chance in the three year old Ruby at the Jewels next weekend. So too is Mr Mojito and Manning, a winner at Winton in April last year for Gray who is currently down to two Butterworth horses in the team. Gray trained The High Roller for the Ludemann family of Tapanui and one of his three wins this season was on Wario Mile Day in 1:55.5. Last month, The High Achiever was another winner for the Ludemanns. Of his 12 individual winners, Machjagger, Jimmy Mack, The High Roller, Mighty Flying Deal, Young Conqueror and El Capitan have all been multiple contributors. Notably, Williamson was the driver in four of Grays wins. The job is usually given to Brent Barclay, who has won 14 times this season for Gray, including aboard Machjagger at Waikouaiti in February. But not on Saturday. Barclay had won last week on the Peter Hunter-trained Bold Ruler and stayed aboard so Tim Williams took the opportunity and made the most of it. In front soon after the start, the pair stayed there and after reeling off a last half in 57.4, scored by two and three quarter lengths. “He's had some feet issues and filling in his back legs so he's been down at the beach the past few weeks, I send a few there from time to time,” Gray said, “he's a real stayer and best in front, the good draw helped him today.” From the first crop of the Christian Cullen sire Justa Tiger, Machjagger was a winner on debut in November 2014 and was Justa Tiger's only New Zealand winner from then until the successes of Captain Mannering and Admiral's Flight in the past couple of months. The five year old is raced by Steve and Claire Sloan and their son Brad. Mac Henry

Mark Purdon wasn’t too worried, but the punters who have backed Heaven Rocks into short favouritism for Saturday 4YO Emerald might have been a little concerned about what transpired at the Ashburton Workouts on Saturday. The $1.50 favourite for the $150,000 event on Saturday, was beaten by two of his three-year-old stablemates at the annual Jewels workouts on Saturday after leading for the last 1000 metres. Back again too was the hitch in his gait that must make even the calmest of his fans nervous, but while to those watching on it didn’t look pretty, sitting behind him Mark Purdon wasn’t all that concerned. “I still thought he went good, it was what he needed,” Purdon said. “It’s my first drive of him for a while, so it was good to get a perspective on where he is at and I just felt he was reaching for his hopples a wee bit up the straight which would explain that rolling action he had going on.” Heaven Rock’s was first collared by More The Better who had sat outside him from the 800 metre mark. And then the pair were both picked up late by Stars Align who had led early then trailed his stablemate. “They are both really nice horses,” Purdon said. “It’s a shame More The Better has drawn out wider than the others on Saturday because it will make it that much harder for him.” The All Stars team also gave a big tick to two-year-old pacer, Ashley Locaz who won impressively earlier in proceedings while other Jewels contenders to impress on the day included Lady Chatto, Star Commander and The Black Prince. But, If there was a statement to be made ahead of saturday’s Harness Jewels meeting, then Clint Ford made it. Ford’s outstanding trotter, Marcoola, has been one of the mystery horses of this year’s Jewels meeting due to injury seeing him out in the paddock for most of 2017 and a poor fresh up run, by his usually high standards, at Addington earlier this month.. But in one minute and 56.5 seconds on Saturday afternoon, Ford and Marcoola elevated themselves right back to the top of the pecking order for Saturday’s, $100,000 Four-Year-Old Ruby with a brutal display against some of his key rivals. Clearly not there for a quiet run, Marcoola well and truly blew any cobwebs out of the system with a rugged performance that left some quality flesh behind him gasping for air as he ran his rivals off their hooves in the one mile heat. “We made the fatal mistake last year of going too easy on him leading into the Jewels,” trainer Ken Ford said. “Instead of heading to Cambridge to get a good run under the belt we went to Pukekohe and didn’t quite get the run we needed which left us wanting the next week. “So we were never going to make the same mistake again, he was here today for a good blowout and he got that.” Surged forward from an outside barrier draw, Marcoola found the front and never looked back, trotting through the first 800 metres in 59 seconds to be 10 lengths clear running off the back straight. That margin extended even further at the 400 metre mark, and although clearly tiring inside the final furlong, he was doing the necessary to hold of his rivals to win in 1:56.5. “He cops racing pretty well, so that should bring him right on,” Ford said. Marcoola will start from out wide in the Four-Year-Old Ruby, but judging by Saturday’s effort, he won’t be leaving anything to chance. Missandei emerged late from the pack to run an encouraging second, but all were playing second fiddle to Marcoola who stole the show. Matt Markham

Brad Williamson has chosen to drive Majestic Man in the 2-year-old trotters section of the Harness Jewels at Ashburton on Saturday. Brad was given the choice of drives by his trainer father, Phil, who also Springbank Lachie and Majestic Connies in the race. Brother Matthew is driving Springbank Lachie and another brother, Nathan will take the reins on Majestic Connies. “It was a tough decision. They are all good horses. I drive Majestic Man and Springbank Lachie at home,’’ said Brad. “Springbank Lachie was a bit sick after his last start second (eight lengths behind One Muscle Hill in the Yearling Sales Final) but he seems right again.” Brad (22) drove Springback Lachie to impressively win the NZ Trotting Stakes and Majestic Man to a last start win the Sires’ Stakes Championship. He has driven Majestic Man in two other wins from four starts. Matthew drove Majestic Connies in his last start win at Invercargill. He was also aboard BJ Lindenny, runner up to Majestic Man in the SS race. Brad (22) has had four drives in the HJ with his best effort a third on Monnay when there was a section for 5-year-old trotters at Ashburton in 2013.   Trainer Graeme Anderson was pleased with Eamon Maguire after driving him to win workout at Forbury Park on Sunday in preparation for the 3-year-old pacers section of the Harness Jewels. Eamon Maguire led for the last 1200m and he was not extended to return 2.44 for 2200m (mobile), the last 800m in 58.1. He finished a length clear of stablemates Elusive Flight and Sovereign Banner. “It was just what he needed. He is very well and on target but couldn’t have got a worse draw (nine – the outside of the front line),’’ said Anderson. Eamon Maguire has made his mark among the 3-year-olds this season with a dashing win in the Southern Supremacy Stakes final, a third in the NZ Derby and second in the Sires Stakes Sophomore Classic. Break Dance, who has not raced since she won at Alexandra Park on April 28, won a workout at Ashburton on Saturday. There is a race to suit the Amber Hoffman-trained mare at Invercargill on Saturday week. War Horse, a newcomer to the stable, won a workout at Forbury Park on Sunday. Tayler Strong

Colleen Negus is very much in control of the New Zealand Amateur drivers Championship being held this weekend heading into the last day of racing today at Rangiora. The amateur horsewoman picked up success in Friday night's  one and only heat at Addington on board Eja Patron to give herself maximum points ahead of today’s two heats and with the plumb drive on Highland Reign today, she’s got a great opportunity to make it two wins for the series and, potentially, claim the overall title. Alan Edge, who finished second in Friday night’s heat, may lead the charge for those trying to chase down Negus this afternoon with his two drives today both hailing from the stable of Bruce Negus who could clean sweep the series as a trainer with a number of chances. Edge will drive Gerald in the opening heat today from a good draw which will see him a likely early leader with good gate speed and he then hops on board the in-form Living Legend in the second heat. North Islanders, Cheree and Sheryl Wigg both have strong chances in the second heat of the day with Sheryl on Waihemo Art and Cheree on Gabby’s Delight, who should get a nice run on the markers. Adam White has the drive on Take After Me in the second heat giving him a good chance to push for higher honours while Todd Woodward also has two strong drives for the day in That’s Bettor in the opening event and then Eastwood Cheiftain in the second. Away from the amateur driving championship, the watch will be very much on Colin DeFillippi as he edges closer to that magical 2000 win mark in the sulky. His victory on Hotdiggetycullen in Friday night at Addington took him to 1997 career NZ wins. He has three chances today with the best of those the talented Cullen’s Joy who will be looking to go one better than the first up second at Oamaru last weekend in a talented-filled maiden event early on in the day. He then has two each-way chance drives for Robbie Holmes to close out his day in Dragon Sun at Tehoro Dazzle, both of whom are good chances based on their best ability.   Super Selector - Matt Markham 1: #13 That’s Bettor, #2 Gerald, #3 Franco Calpih, #6 Caesar’s Quest 2: #4 Mr Farenheit, #10 Jerry Garcia, #9 Lord Roydon, #1 Kai Time 3: #1 Take After Me, #6 Highland Reign, #12 Pat Campbell, #11 Gabby’s Star 4: #5 Cullen’s Joy, #9 For The Corz, #15 Hot off The Press, #8 Come Dance With Me 5: #11 Missinemate, #5 Courageous Becqui, #9 Handsome Hero, #3 Just Ben 6: #1 Redwood Invasion, #14 Craddock, #12 He’s Like The Wind, #6 Sarah Palin 7: #5 Junkyard Mase, #12 Theboyslightup, #9 Save The Day, #6 Magical Mitch 8: #8 Oona, #2 Tehoro Dazzle, #13 All Settled Down, #12 Westar Bella 9: #4 Late Mail, #1 Rocknroll Magic, #8 Bevan’s Cullen, #6 Distinctive Del 10: #1 Hilarious Magic, #12 Ace High, #4 Bushido, #10 Novak Best Bet: Hilarious Magic (Race 10) Value: Missinmemate (Race 5)

With her win today Spotlight The Valley looks to have wrapped up the Caduceus Club of Southland Trotter of the Year title. The Robert Wilson trained five year old mare has won four races this season and has been placed numerous times. She did her early education for Wilson before he decided that he liked her enough to buy her. "We worked Spotlight The Valley and De Vito on the Balfour track as young horses. We bought De Vito for the Balfour Syndicate and Spotlight The Valley for the Sunbeam Syndicate," Wilson said. From the twenty metre mark driver Blair Orange settled the Skyvalley mare four back on the inside while Mass Invasion made the pace. With 1600 metres to run Orange moved Spotlight The Valley off the inside running line to sit parked. At the top of the straight she took charge and won easily by a length and three quarters from a late charging Jen Jaccka. "She just keeps trying. We've been coming back over the last few weeks because we've had our eye on the Southland Trotter of the Year (award). With that win today we're just about clear I would say."  Wilson, who has been a long time harness racing administrator for the Northern Southland Trotting Club has now trained eleven winners this season - his best in the six years he's had a licence.   "It's been my passion for many many years and it's good to be doing things on the other side (training) of things now." Photo - Bruce Stewart With the season nearly over he says Spotlight The Valley may find it hard to compete in the future in handicap races in this country.  "I think she's the sort of horse that would do a fantastic job in Australia. She'd probably be in the money most weeks."  Seven of Wilson's eleven winners have been driven by Blair Orange.  "This year I've given him first option on every horse I've had at the races. Often he's got drives for Paul Court or Mark Jones and I understand that but we've gone good together."  Meanwhile Wilson's focus shifts to Ashburton in seven days when he has his first runner at the Harness Jewels. Eagle Galleon which is owned by him and good friend Gary Allen will start in the Group One $100,00. McMillan Feeds Four Year Old Ruby. He'll be driven by Dexter Dunn.  Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing  

Giant five year old mare Machjagger is tough but needs a good draw to show her best ,according to Ryal Bush harness racing trainer Brett Gray. "She does go good when she gets a good draw and she probably hasn't had one since she won at Waikouaiti," he said after the Justa Tiger mare won her third race at Ascot Park today. Driver Tim Williams took the mare straight to the lead and she held on to beat My Georgie Boy by two and three quarter lengths. "She's just better on top. She's often hard to get there because she doesn't have a lot of gait speed."    Machjagger winning her third race at Ascot Park                              - Photo Bruce Stewart Gray was quick to give some of the credit for todays win to Oreti Beach trainer Paul 'Tank' Ellis.  "She's been out on the beach for the last couple of weeks with Tank wading in the water. She's had a bit of a big leg and Tank's done a great job. It's been good giving her an environment change to keep the wheels rolling. She's also had a few feet issues. A bit of beach therapy does wonders."  Machjagger is part owned by Stu Sloan of Tussock Creek who was on-course to see the mare win today. She's out of the Mach Three mare Mach N Elle which is also the dam of eight win gelding Darcee. The win was the twenty second for Gray who leads the Southland Trainers Premiership by five wins over last year's winner Nathan Williamson.  Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing

Invercargill harness racing fixed odds movers as at 11:10am Race 2 - Dipendra $4.50 is best backed over Moniburns $21.   Race 3 - Lausanne Lass $15 - $8.50 is best backed over Jacks N Jazz $16.   Race 4 - Laura Bush $6.20 leads win betting over November Guy $11 - $9.50.   Race 5 - Canardly Remember $12.50 - $7.00 is best backed over The Best Christian $2.20.   Race 6 - Fern Lea $2.80 easily leads win betting over Delightful Dani $3.90.   Race 7 - Poppymalda $2.30 leads win & multi betting.    Race 8 - Royal Tribute $2.50 - $2.20 is the only runner wanted here.   Race 9 - Wayward Roc $2.50 easily leads win & multi betting.   Race 10 - The High Achiever $5.00 leads multi betting easily.   Race 11 - Shezacullengirl $3.30 - $3.00 is the only runner wanted in both win & multi betting.   Blair Orange $7.00 is the best backed driver in today's challenge     Harnesslink Media  Courtesy of Stephen Richardson(TAB)

The two day suspension of Nathan Williamson for a whip-rule violation at Oamaru on Sunday has provided his right hand man Matt Purvis with a pretty attractive book of drives at Invercargill on Saturday. Although domiciled in the south since the beginning of the season, none of the five wins recorded by junior driver Purvis this term have been achieved in Southland and only one has been for a trainer from within the province. He has seven drives on Saturday, all seven are for Southland trainers and five of them are for Williamson. Not surprisingly, Purvis rates Poppymalda in the Southland Farm Machinery Fire Of 2016 R53 to R90 trot, his best if the day. The six year old is unbeaten in two starts since returning from a break, which began in December 2015 following a tendon injury in her right (off) hind leg. Purvis has been part of the comeback. “I drive her every day,” he said. Third at the previous Ashburton Jewels, Poppymalda clearly has the quality to make it a hat-trick but off 45 metres over only 2200, it won't be easy in a useful 12-horse field.  “She usually pings the gate, I hope we can make use of that,” said Purvis who takes the reins of Williamson runners in all three of the day's trots. The consistent Denn Nee Nose Best takes her place in the Nothing Runs Likes A Deere up to R53 Trot. Used early from the eight-draw last week to lead then trail, the mare produced her usual honest finish for fourth. From the handy four-barrier this week she looks a top hope again. Svelt contests the Southland Farm Machinery & Tractor Hire South Trot for non-winners and has drawn the ace. The filly, raced by Williamson's wife Katie, had her first raceday experience last week and went away well from one on the second line but broke after about 250 metres when being eased off the back of the runner in front of her. It was later ruled Svelt should have started from seven off the front and she was declared a non-runner. “She's come a long way in a short time and has got ability,” said Purvis, “I won't punch her out, I'll look after her, if she holds together she can be in it.” First starter Born To Run contests the John Deere 9R Series Tractors Mobile Pace for non-winner males. The two year old is a half-brother to Dancing In the Dark, a winner for Purvis at Timaru in November. Both are co-owned by his father John. “He's still green but has got a motor, we've got a high opinion of him but eight's not an ideal draw.” Purvis drives Gangnam Style in the Southland Farm Machinery Home Of John Deere R58 to R68 Mobile Pace. Two starts back the four year old finished second at Forbury Park after leading early and trailling for the final 1300 metres.  Handy early last week, he was shuffled back and had too much to do in the straight. “He hasn't been getting the most economic runs but with the right trip he can be in it,” said Purvis. His first outside drive comes on Tangled Up In Blue for Brent McIntyre. The son of Panspacificflight goes from barrier two in the John Deere 8R Series Tractors up to R46 Mobile Pace. “His run last week was better than it looked and from a good draw we should get up on the speed, that's his go,” said Purvis whose other outside drive is Steve Baucke's Delight My Soul in the John Deere 6R & 6M Tractors R54 to R57 Mobile Pace. Her 13-draw continues the run of outside marbles that have dogged the four year old since her win three-starts back. “She had no luck from wide draws at Addington but has a good burst with just one run and should be in it,” Purvis remarked. Mac Henry

If there are racing gods, it appears they take multi bets. Because either that or a remarkable set of coincidences have seen many of the long-term favourites draw almost perfectly for next Saturday's Harness Jewels. And while there is often a twist in the last week heading into the Jewels, there could be as many as seven odds-on favourites at Ashburton’s $1.2million meeting. Of the six odds-on favourites before the draw, all have drawn the front row for their mobile mile assignments, with four of them to start from barrier three or inside. The two others, Enghien (barrier seven in three-year-old Ruby) and Spanish Armada (likely to start from six in the three-year-old Diamond) are not natural gate flyers so are probably better suited drawn wider on the front line. The huge winners from the draws were Piccadilly Princess, who gets the ace in the four-year-old mares’ pace while Spankem will be red hot in the juvenile boys pace from barrier two. Ultimate Machete is perfectly placed at barrier three in the three-year-old male pace while last-start disappointment Elle Mac will be odds-on again from barrier two in the juvenile female pace, especially with key rival Dizzy Miss Lizzy drawn the inside of the second line. That leaves probably two truly open punting contests in the two-year-old and four-year-old trots, where the more favoured runners have had mixed luck with the draws. The hardest horse of the entire meeting to price must have been Heaven Rocks in the four-year-old make pace even though he was always going to be starting from the unruly. While most horses conceding a start to near open class rivals around Ashburton over a mile would have no chance, he is a freakish talent and will still be first pick for many. He was as low as $1.50 in pre-draw markets and remained there but with stablemate Waikiki Beach drawn to try and lead from barrier six expect pressure to come on his $4.20 opening quote. Heaven Rocks will have his final public work at the Ashburton workouts today where he takes on nearly forgotten stablemate More The Better, who heads to the Jewels without a race start in nearly three months. But the most anticipated workout today will be the three and four-year-old trot, where Lemond and long-time Jewels favourite but dramatic last-start failure Marcoola clash in a field that also contains Habibti Inta, Chevron Express and Missandei. Wilma’s Mate will contest a handicap trot head while northern three-year-old trot entrant C K Spur will take on the pacers at tomorrow’s (Saturday) Pukekohe workouts. By Michael Guerin Here are the full fields for the Harness Jewels; Ashburton Trotting Club Inc         Saturday  3  June Radio    Meeting:   HARNESS JEWELS 2017 (Day 1) at Ashburton Raceway Chairperson of Stewards: Nick Ydgren Compressed Report TAB Minibook TAB Booklet Custom Racebook Runner Index Track Map Track Weather Radio Trackside   TAB details (Meeting 8): Doubles - Races 2 & 3; 4 & 5; 6 & 7; 8 & 9 Trebles - Races 1, 2 & 3; 4, 5 & 6; 7, 8 & 9 Terminating Pick6 - Races 4-9 inclusive guaranteed to $100,000 terminating Quaddie - Races 2-5 inclusive with a starting pool of $10,000; 6-9 inclusive First4 - Races 1; 2; 3; 4; 5; 6; 7; 8; 9 all with a starting pool of $10,000          Race 1 [11:47am] ASHBURTON GUARDIAN 2YO DIAMOND (MOBILE PACE) (Gr1)  $150,000, 2YO FILLIES, 1609m  Race 2 [12:22pm] NEUMANNS TYRES & THE TYRE GENERAL 2YO RUBY (MOBILE TROT) (Gr1)  $100,000, 2YO, 1609m  Race 3 [12:57pm] WOODLANDS STUD 4YO DIAMOND (MOBILE PACE) (Gr1)  $150,000, 4YO MARES, 1609m  Race 4 [1:32pm] MID CANTERBURY TROTTING OWNERS ASSN 3YO DIAMOND (MOB PACE) (Gr1)  $150,000, 3YO FILLIES MOBILE, 1609m  Race 5 [2:07pm] CHRISTCHURCH CASINO 3YO RUBY (MOBILE TROT) (Gr1)  $100,000, 3YO, 1609m  Race 6 [2:42pm] COMMODORE AIRPORT HOTEL 2YO EMERALD (MOBILE PACE) (Gr1)  $150,000, 2YO COLTS & GELDINGS, 1609m  Race 7 [3:17pm] McMILLAN FEEDS 4YO EMERALD (MOBILE PACE) (Gr1)  $150,000, 4YO GELDINGS & ENTIRES, 1609m  Race 8 [3:52pm] McMILLAN FEEDS 4YO RUBY (MOBILE TROT) (Gr1)  $100,000, 4YO, 1609m  Race 9 [4:27pm] HANLEY FORMULA 3YO EMERALD (MOBILE PACE) (Gr1)  $150,000, 3YO COLTS & GELDINGS, 1609m   Race 1 [11:47am] ASHBURTON GUARDIAN 2YO DIAMOND (MOBILE PACE) (Gr1)  $150,000, 2YO FILLIES, 1609m    Racebook    Gear    Front Line Limit      Race History    Jewels Leader Board   For 2-year-old pacing fillies. Book Form Age Sex     Name   Rating Draw Hdcp Driver Trainer   1 610 2 f     Chevrons Reward   R53 1 Front Gavin Smith P B Burrows   2 11114 2 f     Elle Mac   R85 2 Front Natalie Rasmussen M Purdon & Ms N C Rasmussen   3 623285 2 f     Caitlyn Clarke   MR55 3 Front Zac Butcher B Purdon   4 236558 2 f     A Lister   MR50 4 Front Mark Purdon M Purdon & Ms N C Rasmussen   5 17732 2 f     New York Rain   R61 5 Front Joshua Dickie J W Dickie & J I Dickie   6 04641 2 f     Angel Of Harlem   R55 6 Front   R B Ward   7 210993 2 f     Bettor Joy   R59 7 Front Dexter Dunn C T Dalgety   8 314576 2 f     Purest Silk   R57 8 Front Brent Mangos B M Mangos   9 2327 2 f     Shenandoah   MR54 9 Front Tim Williams M Purdon & Ms N C Rasmussen   ---------------------------- Second Line ---------------------------- 10 151 2 f     Dizzy Miss Lizzy   R68 10 Front Blair Orange N R McGrath   11 112F4 2 f     Lady Chatto   R63 11 Front   T G Butt   12 5331 2 f     Repartee   R54 12 Front Nathan Williamson Mrs K V Price & F J Price   13 21354 2 f     Sweet Mary   R54 13 Front Matthew Williamson B K Mowbray   14 602050 2 f     Reklaw's Gem E1 MR45 U1 Front John Dunn R J Dunn            Notifiable Gear Changes:    No Gear Changes      Horse Movements:    Caitlyn Clarke to Jeff Whittaker at Springston, New York Rain to Bob Butt at Woodend Beach         Race 2 [12:22pm] NEUMANNS TYRES & THE TYRE GENERAL 2YO RUBY (MOBILE TROT) (Gr1)  $100,000, 2YO, 1609m    Racebook    Gear    Front Line Limit      Race History    Jewels Leader Board   For 2-year-old trotters. Book Form Age Sex     Name   Rating Draw Hdcp Driver Trainer   1 323P0 2 c     Majestic Hurricane E1 MR51 1 Front Blair Orange K & T Barron   2 12 2 g     Springbank Lachie   R60 2 Front   P M Williamson   3 110360 2 g     Sundees Son   R56 3 Front John Dunn R J Dunn   4 12 2 f     Aoraki   R56 4 Front Ricky May G P & Mrs N M Hope   5 31 2 g     Majestic Connies   R54 5 Front   P M Williamson   6 450670 2 g     Imperial Whiz   MR44 6 Front Alan Clark A L Clark   7 1121D5 2 g     Paramount King   R56 7 Front Joshua Dickie J W Dickie & J I Dickie   8 722552 2 g     BJ Lindenny   MR52 8 Front   D J Bennett   9 41 2 g     Marquis De Sade   R52 9 Front David Butt P C Nairn   ---------------------------- Second Line ---------------------------- 10 143410 2 c     One Muscle Hill   R63 10 Front Mark Purdon Mrs N C Molander   11 811827 2 g     Castlereagh   R56 11 Front Samantha Ottley M P Jones   12 46314 2 f     Renezmae   R55 12 Front Dexter Dunn J D Harrington   13 321223 2 g     More Shades Of Gold   R56 13 Front Todd Mitchell D W & Mrs C McGowan   14 1011 2 g     Majestic Man   R65 U1 Front   P M Williamson            Notifiable Gear Changes:    No Gear Changes      Horse Movements:    Paramount King to Bob Butt at Woodend Beach, One Muscle Hill to Mark Purdon & Natalie Rasmussen at Rolleston, More Shades Of Gold to Brad Mowbray at Russley         Race 3 [12:57pm] WOODLANDS STUD 4YO DIAMOND (MOBILE PACE) (Gr1)  $150,000, 4YO MARES, 1609m    Racebook    Gear    Front Line Limit      Race History    Jewels Leader Board   For 4-year-old pacing mares. Book Form Age Sex     Name   Rating Draw Hdcp Driver Trainer   1 126452 4 m     Piccadilly Princess   R120 1 Front Mark Purdon M Purdon & Ms N C Rasmussen   2 775490 4 m     Cullen Who   R75 2 Front Ken Barron K & T Barron   3 132452 4 m     Hopes And Dreams E1 R70 3 Front   G J Anderson   4 121380 4 m     Hard Days Night   R56 4 Front Kimberly Butt(J) Mrs L M Jones   5 240088 4 m     Bronze Over   R88 5 Front Bob Butt R J Butt   6 660565 4 m     Arden's Choice   R96 6 Front Zac Butcher B Purdon   7 572352 4 m     Queen Bee Bardon   R67 7 Front Craig Thornley B A Waldron   8 136416 4 m     Ultimate Desire   R81 8 Front Dexter Dunn B K Mowbray   9 253000 4 m     Cmeerock   R68 9 Front Tim Williams R J Dunn   ---------------------------- Second Line ---------------------------- 10 911652 4 m     RR Sand Dollar   R74 10 Front Blair Orange P T Court   11 259320 4 m     Glenferrie Classic   R75 11 Front Samantha Ottley M P Jones   12 12P101 4 m     Rocknroll Princess   R73 12 Front David Butcher S G Telfer & C D Garlick   13 122177 4 m     Kayteeoh Denario   R68 13 Front   R W Todd   14 802098 4 m     Hopeful Harriet   R64 14 Front   R W Todd            Notifiable Gear Changes:    No Gear Changes      Horse Movements:    Arden's Choice to Jeff Whittaker at Springston, Rocknroll Princess to Robert Dunn at Woodend Beach         Race 4 [1:32pm] MID CANTERBURY TROTTING OWNERS ASSN 3YO DIAMOND (MOB PACE) (Gr1)  $150,000, 3YO FILLIES MOBILE, 1609m    Racebook    Gear    Front Line Limit      Race History    Jewels Leader Board   For 3-year-old pacing fillies. Book Form Age Sex     Name   Rating Draw Hdcp Driver Trainer   1 211222 3 f     Delightful Memphis   R101 1 Front   M P Jones   2 222116 3 f     Patanjali E1 R64 2 Front Stephen McNally T S & Mrs G S Chmiel   3 121557 3 f     Juice Brogden   R68 3 Front Nicky Chilcott Miss N A Chilcott   4 6X5302 3 f     Major Rocket   R62 4 Front   C T Dalgety   5 321611 3 f     Gotta Go Dali Queen   R84 5 Front Maurice McKendry F D Cooney & T R Hopkins   6 691149 3 f     Delishka   R71 6 Front Matthew Williamson B K Mowbray   7 131411 3 f     Spanish Armada   R110 7 Front Natalie Rasmussen M Purdon & Ms N C Rasmussen   8 231376 3 f     Seaswift Joy   R88 8 Front Jim Curtin M I Shinn   9 35X363 3 f     Utmost Delight   R69 9 Front Zac Butcher S J Reid   ---------------------------- Second Line ---------------------------- 10 317458 3 f     Step Up   R65 10 Front David Butcher S G Telfer & C D Garlick   11 533485 3 f     American Empress   R62 11 Front Sailesh Abernethy J M Young   12 115144 3 f     Partyon   R110 12 Front Mark Purdon M Purdon & Ms N C Rasmussen   13 111122 3 f     Bonnie Joan   R98 13 Front   C T Dalgety   14 334110 3 f     Shezza GNP   R73 14 Front   K & T Barron            Notifiable Gear Changes:    No Gear Changes      Horse Movements:    Juice Brogden to David & Catherine Butt at Woodend Beach, Utmost Delight to Paul Court at West Melton, Step Up to Robert Dunn at Woodend Beach, American Empress to Steven McRae at West Melton         Race 5 [2:07pm] CHRISTCHURCH CASINO 3YO RUBY (MOBILE TROT) (Gr1)  $100,000, 3YO, 1609m    Racebook    Gear    Front Line Limit      Race History    Jewels Leader Board   For 3-year-old trotters. Book Form Age Sex     Name   Rating Draw Hdcp Driver Trainer   1 213975 3 c     War Machine   R58 1 Front Derek Balle D M Balle   2 732242 3 g     President Roydon   R62 2 Front   M Purdon & Ms N C Rasmussen   3 921132 3 f     Chevron Express   R82 3 Front   C T Dalgety   4 480131 3 f     Ruthless Kayla   R60 4 Front Samantha Ottley K T Fairbairn   5 121543 3 g     C K Spur   R74 5 Front Joshua Dickie J W Dickie & J I Dickie   6 218690 3 f     Regal Love   R60 6 Front   M Purdon & Ms N C Rasmussen   7 111111 3 g     Enghien   R110 7 Front Ricky May G P & Mrs N M Hope   8 51D 3 f     Kissmeimloaded   R58 8 Front Jack MacKinnon(J) J A MacKinnon   9 284310 3 g     War Spirit   R56 9 Front   K D Townley   ---------------------------- Second Line ---------------------------- 10 153551 3 g     BD Khaosan   R58 10 Front Jonny Cox T D Bagrie   11 909272 3 c     Habibi Inta   R66 11 Front Blair Orange P C Nairn   12 354642 3 f     Needle   R70 12 Front Colin DeFilippi C J & J DeFilippi   13 528202 3 g     Muscles Galore   R52 13 Front John Dunn C D & Miss A D Edmonds   14 333201 3 f     One Bid Buys E1 R55 14 Front Megan Teaz J L & Mrs M A Teaz            Notifiable Gear Changes:    No Gear Changes      Horse Movements:    War Machine to David & Catherine Butt at Woodend Beach, Kissmeimloaded to Robert Dunn at Woodend Beach         Race 6 [2:42pm] COMMODORE AIRPORT HOTEL 2YO EMERALD (MOBILE PACE) (Gr1)  $150,000, 2YO COLTS & GELDINGS, 1609m    Racebook    Gear    Front Line Limit      Race History    Jewels Leader Board   For 2-year-old pacing colts & geldings. Book Form Age Sex     Name   Rating Draw Hdcp Driver Trainer   1 204 2 g     Bright Diamond   MR50 1 Front Gavin Smith G D Smith   2 211131 2 c     Spankem   R85 2 Front Mark Purdon M Purdon & Ms N C Rasmussen   3 208X 2 c     Royal Tribute   MR49 3 Front   P T Court   4 8478 2 g     Bailey Major   MR48 4 Front Tim Williams M Purdon & Ms N C Rasmussen   5 310 2 c     Star Commander   R54 5 Front   N R McGrath   6 42 2 c     Liberal Arden E1 MR51 6 Front   T S & Mrs G S Chmiel   7 13327 2 g     The Black Prince   R57 7 Front Todd Macfarlane T A Macfarlane   8 42148 2 c     Aloka   R62 8 Front Blair Orange N R McGrath   9 131124 2 c     Alta Maestro   R85 9 Front   R J Dunn   ---------------------------- Second Line ---------------------------- 10 128512 2 g     Ashley Locaz   R60 10 Front   M Purdon & Ms N C Rasmussen   11 142362 2 c     Culpeka   R59 11 Front Brent Mangos B M Mangos   12 33633 2 c     Fizzing   MR52 12 Front   C T Dalgety   13 292355 2 c     All U Need Is Faith   R59 13 Front   M Purdon & Ms N C Rasmussen   14 651213 2 c     The Devils Own   R75 14 Front Natalie Rasmussen M Purdon & Ms N C Rasmussen            Notifiable Gear Changes:    Royal Tribute: BL-Off    Legend      Horse Movements:    The Black Prince to Jamie Gameson at Burnham         Race 7 [3:17pm] McMILLAN FEEDS 4YO EMERALD (MOBILE PACE) (Gr1)  $150,000, 4YO GELDINGS & ENTIRES, 1609m    Racebook    Gear    Front Line Limit      Race History    Jewels Leader Board   For 4-year-old pacing geldings & entires. Book Form Age Sex     Name   Rating Draw Hdcp Driver Trainer   1 306630 4 g     Don Domingo   R69 1 Front Blair Orange K & T Barron   2 1015X3 4 g     Mr Mojito   R107 2 Front Kerryn Manning Ms K E Manning   3 742212 4 g     Bettor Ops   R86 3 Front Kirk Larsen K N Larsen   4 617345 4 g     Eldolar   R72 4 Front Scott Phelan Miss A M Donnelly   5 869141 4 g     Buster Brady   R105 5 Front Dexter Dunn K J Austin   6 442223 4 g     Waikiki Beach   R128 6 Front   M Purdon & Ms N C Rasmussen   7 254157 4 h     Ears Burning   R96 7 Front Nigel McGrath N R McGrath   8 222203 4 g     Mo Casino   R69 8 Front Zac Butcher S J Reid   9 512116 4 g     Cash N Flow   R100 9 Front Tim Williams M Purdon & Ms N C Rasmussen   ---------------------------- Second Line ---------------------------- 10 213352 4 g     Sparkling Delight   R73 10 Front Gerard O'Reilly G D O'Reilly   11 723423 4 g     Crackamoa   R67 11 Front John Dunn R J Dunn   12 414516 4 h     Max Phactor   R82 12 Front David Butcher M G Berger   13 341019 4 g     Mighty American E1 R70 13 Front   K & T Barron   14 P11211 4 g     Heaven Rocks   R120 U1 Front Natalie Rasmussen M Purdon & Ms N C Rasmussen            Notifiable Gear Changes:    Mr Mojito: BL-On    Legend      Horse Movements:    Buster Brady to Regan Todd at Woodend Beach         Race 8 [3:52pm] McMILLAN FEEDS 4YO RUBY (MOBILE TROT) (Gr1)  $100,000, 4YO, 1609m    Racebook    Gear    Front Line Limit      Race History    Jewels Leader Board   For 4-year-old trotters. Book Form Age Sex     Name   Rating Draw Hdcp Driver Trainer   1 420429 4 m     Wilma's Mate   R104 1 Front David Butt P C Nairn   2 901524 4 g     Trouble Giero E1 R62 2 Front Stephen McNally B J White   3 213101 4 g     Gentleman Sir   R80 3 Front David Butcher L C Driver   4 1P1011 4 m     Dark Horse   R89 4 Front Nathan Williamson N P Williamson   5 062223 4 m     Sundons Flyer   R67 5 Front Blair Orange B R Negus   6 902121 4 g     McLovin   R71 6 Front Amber Lethaby R H Jenkins   7 4157X0 4 h     Marcoola   R115 7 Front Clint Ford K B Ford   8 212416 4 g     Temporale   R102 8 Front Tony Herlihy A G Herlihy MNZM   9 015836 4 g     Justamollyarcher   R55 9 Front Sheree Tomlinson(J) R H Jenkins   ---------------------------- Second Line ---------------------------- 10 312664 4 g     Lemond   R89 10 Front Colin DeFilippi R O Paynter   11 972145 4 g     Beg Hall   R61 11 Front Kimberly Butt(J) T G Butt   12 502851 4 m     Missandei   R82 12 Front Samantha Ottley B R Negus   13 565411 4 g     Eagle Galleon   R53 13 Front Dexter Dunn R E Wilson   14 741103 4 g     Red Hot Poker   R60 14 Front John Dunn G C Telfer            Notifiable Gear Changes:    No Gear Changes      Horse Movements:    McLovin to Mark Jones at Burnham, Temporale to Mark Purdon & Natalie Rasmussen at Rolleston, Lemond to Colin & Julie DeFilippi at Broadfield         Race 9 [4:27pm] HANLEY FORMULA 3YO EMERALD (MOBILE PACE) (Gr1)  $150,000, 3YO COLTS & GELDINGS, 1609m    Racebook    Gear    Front Line Limit      Race History    Jewels Leader Board   For 3-year-old pacing colts & geldings. Book Form Age Sex     Name   Rating Draw Hdcp Driver Trainer   1 833352 3 g     Rhythm N Blues   R71 1 Front David Butcher S G Telfer & C D Garlick   2 502236 3 c     Mongolian Storm   R76 2 Front   P T Court   3 132212 3 c     Ultimate Machete   R110 3 Front   M Purdon & Ms N C Rasmussen   4 181X21 3 g     Thefixer   R85 4 Front   M Purdon & Ms N C Rasmussen   5 232125 3 c     More The Better   R102 5 Front Mark Purdon M Purdon & Ms N C Rasmussen   6 869716 3 g     Jack's Legend   R83 6 Front Barry Purdon B Purdon   7 111167 3 g     Let It Ride   R84 7 Front Craig Thornley T G Butt   8 215123 3 g     Forgotten Highway   R80 8 Front Nathan Williamson M P Kerr   9 113312 3 g     Eamon Maguire   R100 9 Front Dexter Dunn G J Anderson   ---------------------------- Second Line ---------------------------- 10 591101 3 c     Mongolian Hero   R91 10 Front   P T Court   11 622294 3 g     A G's White Socks E1 R77 11 Front Ricky May G P & Mrs N M Hope   12 121400 3 g     Tiger Thompson   R73 12 Front Jim Curtin B K Mowbray   13 809811 3 c     Stars Align   R95 13 Front   M Purdon & Ms N C Rasmussen   14 184224 3 g     Shineonucrazydiamond   R72 14 Front Nathan Purdon(J) C T Dalgety            Notifiable Gear Changes:    No Gear Changes      Horse Movements:    Jack's Legend to Jeff Whittaker at Springston

Alan Mason and Neville Simpson, life members of the Oamaru Harness Racing Club, have extended their association as owners of Majestic Connies, the 2-year-old trotter who qualified for the Harness Jewels with his win at Invercargill on Saturday. Majestic Connies joined his stablemates Majestic Man and Springbank Lachie among qualifiers for the $100,000  Harness Jewels. The trio are trained  at Oamaru by Phil Williamson, who has also qualified on a time basis the 2-year-old trotter The Commando (CR Commando – Castleton’s Jewel) this season. Majestic Connies, Majestic Man and Springbank Lachie are by Majestic Son, who has seven progeny qualified for the 2-year-old trotter section of the Harness Jewels. Majestic Son has sired Harness Jewels trotting winners King Denny(at three and four) and One Over Da Moon (at two). Williamson bought Majestic Connies for $9000 at the PGG Wrightson premier yearling sale last year when  the colt out of Sunny Connie colt was offered by Mike Stevens and the estate of his wife, Glenis. Mason, Simpson, Peter Evans, a member of the committee of the NZ Metropolitan Trotting Club and the Wagovi syndicate (managed by Gordon Stewart, of Cromwell) subsequently became the owners. “I have now won 21 races racing trotters out of the Williamson stable,” said Mason. Lets Get Serious, Galleons Triumph, All Action Man and Hengroen are among his winners. Lets Get Serious has been the star performer with 10 wins, including the 2006  NZ Trotting Championship. Lets Get Serious, whom Mason bought for $2500 as an unraced rising 3-year-old at a mixed sale in Christchurch was sold to Joe Muscara, of New York  when rising six. Lets Get Serious was exported and won 28 races in the United States and Canada. He returned to NZ to win two races as a 9-year-old at Alexandra Park for Mark Purdon and Grant Payne before returning to North America to win another four races, taking his total to 44 and $1 million in stakes. Simpson, who has been involved with the administration of harness racing in Oamaru for 50 years, won races with the trotters Supernatural (four) and Royal Braemar (three) in the 1980s. He bred Supernatural (by Jack Chance), a half brother to Royal Braemar (by Regal Yankee). Supernatural was trained at Duntroon (north Otago) by Stewart Sutherland and won his first race at Invercargill in 1983. Majestic Connies is the second foal of Sunny Connie, who won two races, both at Forbury Park as a 4yr-old in 2011 when trained by Robert Anderson. She was driven in those wins by Matthew Williamson, who drove Majestic Connies in his win. Her first foal, Sunny Monarch (by Monarchy) qualified as a 3-year-old last season. Sunny Connie is a half sister by Continentalman to Dragons Den, who won six when trained by Anderson and one in Perth. Driving engagements for the Williamson 2-year-olds in the Harness Jewels have yet to be decided. “I have three sons (Matthew, Brad and Nathan) and they will have first call,” said Phil. Matthew also drove BJ Lindenny to finish second to Majestic Man, driven by brother Brad in the $55,000 NZ Sires Stakes Championship at Addington last Friday. That win justified the $6000 late entry fee by owners the Griffins syndicate. Brad has also driven Springbank Lachie to win the NZ Trotting Stakes. Springbank Lachie was showing symptoms of a cold after he finished second, eight lengths from One Muscle Hill in the Yearling Sales Final at his subsequent start and he has been treated. Zoey’s Gift, the winner of two of her five starts and third in the NZ Trotting Oaks last time out for the Williamson stable has been transferred to Australia by Sydney owners Emilio and Mary Rosati. Zoey’s Gift was sent to Auckland for the Northern Oaks but she did not come to hand in two workouts. Tayler Strong Harness Racing New Zealand

For many of harness racing’s biggest names the most important goal today isn’t a win at Addington or Alexandra Park. Because while both premier tracks race tonight, the focus for many will be where their stars draw in next week’s Harness Jewels. The draws for the $1.2million day will be conducted just after noon and should be on the HRNZ website by 12.30pm. For most heading to the Ashburton super meeting, the draws will be the difference between a possible placing or just making up the numbers. Mike Berger is a prime example. The Cambridge trainer races Max Phactor in the feature at Alexandra Park tonight before he flies south next week for the four-year-old Emerald. “For horses like ours the draw is everything,” admits Berger. “We know we might not be able to beat Heaven Rocks or even Waikiki Beach but if we draw well and he can use his gate speed he can run a place for sure. “But if he draws poorly he could go 1:52 and have no chance.” Berger says the much-improved entire deserves his shot, especially after finishing fourth to Lazarus in the Taylor Mile. “One of the reasons we are going is the new race, the Uncut Gems, is worth $40,000 down there two weeks after the Jewels and he could also start in that.” While Max Phactor has the gate speed to be perfectly suited by the 1700m of race seven tonight, Berger surprisingly rates Lusty Mac his better chance in the race. “She is one of the best horses I have ever trained, but she has had her issues along the way. “If they go hard she can win, even from the widest barrier draw.” Driver Zac Butcher will also have his eye on the HRNZ website this afternoon before heading to The Park. “I think I’ve got four Jewels drives and the draws will be crucial,” he offers. “If a mare like Arden’s Dream can draw well then we have a chance of beating Piccadilly Princess. If she doesn’t then it becomes a lot harder. “The same goes for Caitlyn Clarke, Jack’s Legend and Utmost Delight so its always interesting when you see where you draw for the Jewels.” While Butcher won’t be getting too confident about his drives next week, he rates Opoutama in race eight tonight as very hard to beat. “She has good gate speed and it has taken horses like Juice Brogden and Gotta Go Dali Queen to beat her lately so this race looks ideal.” By Michael Guerin

As a dam, she’s already considered as being highly successful, but the real calling for Rob The Nest may just come as a grand-dam if this year’s Four-Year-Old Ruby at next week’s Harness Jewels is anything to go by. The dam of super trotters, Sonofthedon and Thedonson, will have three of her descendants contesting the $100,000 4YO Ruby at next weekend’s Harness Jewels meeting in Ashburton. Eagle Galleon, Wilma’s Mate and Ruby leader, Temporale will all line up on June 3 and will do so as cousins with all three coming from half-sisters who all hail from Rob The Nest. Former Harness Racing New Zealand chairman, Gary Allen, who bred Wilma’s Mate’s dam, Mybrotherwasastar and Eagle Galleon’s dam, Galleon’s Assault and also raced Rob The Nest was particularly proud of the achievement. “For three half-sisters to all have a runner in the Jewels is quite an effort,” Allen said. “It’s been a wonderful family for a long time.” Neil Munro, who raced Rob The Nest with Allen, bred Whosinthenest who is the dam of Rowe Cup winner Temporale. For Allen, Jewels Day and the 4YO Ruby will bring dual roles. For the first time he will be able to enjoy the day as a racing enthusiast away from the shackles of being a required for a dignitary role as part of the HRNZ board. There as a breeder, Allen is also in as an owner with Eagle Galleon. The Robert Wilson trained four-year-old began the season as a maiden but will find himself next week taking on horses who have won multiple Group One races in their careers. “It’s very exciting to have him there,” Allen said. “In the last month or so, he has very much matured as a racehorse, we never probably thought he would be a chance of making it to be honest. “But he’s got better each time he’s stepped out and it’s going to be very exciting to have him a part of the day.” Dexter Dunn has been booked to drive the horse but Allen was being very realistic about his chances. “I think it would be a pipedream to think that we could win it, but if he’s running on at the finish I will be over the moon.” Eagle Galleon is a $101 chance in the Ruby while cousins Temporale ($5.20) and Wilma’s Mate ($3.90) are much more favoured. By Matt Markham

The best driving talents in the New Zealand amateur driving ranks will take centre stage in Canterbury this weekend as part of the 2017 New Zealand Amateur Driving Championships. The first of three heats to be held over the next three days opens proceedings tonight at Addington Raceway with 12 drivers competing for national glory before heading to Rangiora on Sunday for a further two heats. Six drivers each from the North and South Island will take part in the annual series with some hugely successful names filling the roster over the three races. The South Island line up of Mike Maynard, Richard Sissons, Adam White, Colleen Negus, Todd Woodward and Alan Edge have close to 100 amateur driving wins between them along with a number of open driving victories. Woodward leads that tally with more than 220 driving wins in his career. From the North Island; Warren Rich, Cheree and Sheryl Wigg, Danny Blakemore, Jeff Darby and Gerry Cronin will do the business. Early advantage for the series looks to sit with Sissons who has drawn Take After Me for North Canterbury trainer, Glen Scott, in the opening race of the championship. Meanwhile it will be a case of blowing out any final cobwebs for a number of horses at tonight’s Addington ahead of next weekend’s Harness Jewels. A number of horses going around at tonight’s meeting will be in action next weekend. There will be a lot of eyes on the talented Don Domingo who returns after being late scratched from last weekend’s Premier meeting. He hails from the in-form Ken and Tony Barron stable and will be looking for a good hit out ahead of the four-year-old Emerald in eight days time. With the one fire Blair Orange in the bike, the son of American Ideal has come a long way in his debut season, winning three races from his 10 starts. Life won’t be easy from a widish draw over the 1950 metres, especially with some strong opposition to contend with. Orange will have a good handle on some of his strongest opposition with two other runners hailing from the Barron brothers stable, Runaway Three and Amazon Lily. He has also been in the sulky to drive Malik to victory in his last three starts for Paul Court. The talented pacer will have Ricky May in the bike tonight as he looks to make it four wins in a row from the unruly drawn on the outside of the second line. Matt Markham’s Addington Selections Race 1: Take After Me, Franco Caliph, Eja Patron, Handlebar Hank Race 2: Hashtag, Bubble Gum, Nicky Anew, Debnita Rose Race 3: Regal Assassin, Idle Moose, Spots Gold N Girl, Elvis P Race 4: Rum In The Sun, Reign On Me, Native’s Lasting Love, Tehoro Dazzle Race 5: Moonrock, Superfecta, Usain Colt, Donegal Carrickfinn Race 6: Don Domingo, Celestial Arden, Bet On Rascal, Rocknroll Princess Race 7: Needle, BD Khaosan, Sundon’s Flyer, Donsmedad Race 8: Tupelo Mississippi, Midfrew Tarpediem, Vinny Gambini, Takitimu Express Race 9: Bright Diamond, Gentle Giant, Indiana Dreaming, Bettor Aim Race 10: Duplicated, Daylight Robbery, English Rose, Pirate Bay Best Bet: Duplicated (Race 10) Value: Bright Diamond (Race 9) By Matt Markham Harness Racing New Zealand

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