A trying season for Harness Racing Driver Stevie Golding will finish with a deserving championship crown. The 25-year-old, in his final days in the junior ranks has come from behind to win the New Zealand junior drivers' championships at Addington on Friday night. Twelve months ago Golding was locked in a battle with Robbie Close for the national juniors' premiership - a contest that ended in a tie. But with just 19 wins this season, Golding's final year as a junior, has not reached those dizzy heights with Brad Williamson a runaway premiership leader on 70 wins. "It's a good achievement to get in the series, I was happy to just be in it," Golding said. Golding, who described the championship win as "a massive thrill" felt the series looked even on paper but admits he was happy with his three drives when the fields came out. "Obviously I didn't think I could just go out there and win it but I did like the look of what I had." One of the biggest thrills for Golding was knowing that his name would be up with the illustrious list of drivers who have gone to prominent careers in the industry after winning the championship. The win was fitting for Golding who lost his final chance to win the Darren DeFilippi Memorial when Donsmedad was a late scratching when she injured herself in the float on the way to the track. Golding is currently studying real estate papers for another career option but will continue to drive as much as possible next season. Just like in 2014, the third heat ended in heartbreak for Dylan Ferguson. Ferguson won heat two with with $65 shot Eja Patron for Russley trainer Brad Mowbray and a second in the opening heat with The Silver Fox put him in the box seat. Going into the final heat he lead with 29 points, as he did in 2014, but could only manage 11th place with Sauchiehall to finish on 31 points. At the other end of the field, Golding and the Benny Hill-trained Pay Me Way was able to win the final heat to move Golding from 17 to 34 points. Ferguson's 31 points was enough to hold onto second and Darren DeFilippi Memorial winner Katie Cox took out third with 27 points. Mat Kermeen
Champion harness racing trainer Mark Purdon is adamant his superstar Have Faith In Me is as good as any pacer in the world. And he should know, having just watched the best in North America live. Purdon and partner Natalie Rasmussen have just returned from a month-long trip to the United States and Canada during which they spent time at the stables of leading trainers Jimmy Takter and Ron Burke. They also saw the elite US free-for-all pacers race, headed by the big three of Always B Miki, Wiggle It Jiggleit and Freaky Feet Pete. While Purdon has huge respect for the trio, he is certain his Miracle Mile winner Have Faith In Me is at least as good. “They are very, very good horses, especially those three but our horse is just as good. I have no doubt about that.” It is hard to argue with Purdon, who is never one for over-rating his horses. The top US free-for-allers can break 1:47 for a mile but they spend their entire careers being honed for magical miles, whereas Have Faith In Me paced an Australasian record 1:47.5 winning the the Miracle Mile in February only a few starts after winning a 3200m standing start Auckland Cup on December 31. Fully ingratiated into US style racing with one of their wider, faster sulkies behind him and Have Faith In Me would clearly be a sub 1:47 pacer. “I am sure he would be but I don’t think there is any great desire to race him up there,” Purdon told the New Zealand Herald. “If he is the best down here this season, which we hope he will be, then he can win more money than he could up there because up there he would be one of three or four with similar ability.” Purdon had his first real look at Have Faith In Me in a month yesterday and is certain the four-year-old has thickened and should be stronger next season. But before you start looking for somewhere to back him in the New Zealand Cup be warned --- while that is his first goal it is by no means certain. Purdon and Rasmussen have the three New Zealand Cup favourites, the other two being Lazarus and Smolda, and will let the trio tell them who will be suited to the New Zealand Cup on November 8 or who might be better off in Perth at the Inter Dominions, which start two weeks later. “At this stage we will bring all three of them up and start racing mid September with the Cup as their aim,” he explains. “But if any of them didn’t feel like they were right for the Cup then we could change tact. Have Faith In Me for example, if he started to gallop away from the stands in his lead-up races we could favour the Interdoms, because they are all mobile, especially as he would be on the unruly in the Cup, which is like being off a handicap. So we will aim them at the Cup and see what happens.” Purdon was thrilled and surprised by just how much Lazarus has filled out during his spell, which will hopefully help him bridge the gap from champion three-year-old to open class performer by Cup time. Purdon says his time away from his Rolleston base gave him and Rasmussen a chance to learn how trainers like Burke and Takter go about their business as well as consider their own as they stare down another premiership win. “At some stage we would like to have less horses but after the numbers we got from the yearling sales this season I’d say we are going to have about the same size stable again next season. “And the trip was great but we don’t have any aspirations to try training up there. We have a lot invested in the property down here and you can’t just up and move that to the States. “So while I’d like to go up there and visit those top trainers again, because you always learn things, I don’t see us campaigning horses up there any time soon.” Courtesy of Michael Guerin
Alexandra Park says record attendance at its recent annual mid-winter Christmas parties is a great precursor to its Christmas At The Races hospitality evenings with the harness racing dates now confirmed for November and December. “We were blown away by how quickly and how many tickets we sold to our recent mid-winter Christmas parties. Subsequently we’re telling people to book early if they want to secure one of our very popular Christmas At The Races evenings, says Alexandra Park Sales & Marketing Manager Joel Reichardt. The Christmas At The Races evenings will take place on Fridays 11, 18, 25 November and 2, 9, 16 December as well as Thursday 22 December. The sought after dining packages are renowned for delivering delicious food, electric atmosphere, classic harness racing, and live entertainment after the last race. In the interim, plenty of action is scheduled on and off the track at Alexandra Park On Friday 16 September Thai Night will be back at Alexandra Park. Enjoy an all-you-can-eat Thai Buffet, a fully themed room, a drink on arrival and of course all the excitement of live racing action. The Thai Night package is only $55 per person. Also on 16 September sports team, schools, social clubs and other groups have a great opportunity to raise money for an upcoming event or trip at Your Fundraising At The Park. All they have to do is sell tickets and Alexandra Park will provide the hospitality with part of the proceeds from every ticket sold going towards each group’s fundraising goals. Then on Friday 7 and 14 October Alexandra Park is hosting its Tropical Race Nights, with dining packages starting from just $60 per person and a trip for two to Vanuatu to be won thanks to Air Vanuatu and Mangoes Resort. Also on Friday 14 October enjoy the fabulous Spring/Summer collections of top New Zealand designers Hailwood, Carlson, Yvonne Bennetti, Trish Peng and Knuefermann for Fashion At The Park. Wine and dine in glamourous style with a three course dining package for $99 per person, whilst watching fashion that will turn your head between races. “Our dining packages are always exceptional with our delicious all-you-can-eat carveries and buffets. What’s more there’s plenty of atmosphere with some prime viewing spots on offer to sit back and watch some exciting racing under lights,” says Mr Reichardt. For further information on the dining packages for Christmas At The Races, Thai Night, Your Fundraising At The Park, Tropical Race Nights or Fashion At The Park 2016 click on this link.. For all bookings please or call (09) 631-1165 or email email@example.com On all nights general admission for the public into Alexandra Park as well as parking remain free and race-books are also complimentary. www.alexandrapark.co.nz
Alexandra Park has revealed its biggest penthouse for sale comes with a staggering 140 square metres of external balconies – almost the same size as an entire average New Zealand house! The three remaining penthouses come with significant living space inside and out – 279sqm, 234sqm and 349sqm plus large external balconies of 51sqm, 64sqm and 140sqm. They are priced between $2.95m and $4.75m and form part of Alexandra Park’s significant urban village development on Green Lane West currently under construction. Lead architect Richard Naish of Auckland’s award-winning RTA Studio says Auckland apartment buyers are increasingly wanting more usable but also private outdoor space. He says responding to that market desire has ensured a key point of design difference in the Alexandra Park apartments and penthouses. “We have developed the concept of the garden room, rather than the usual open balcony. With our design, people have operable sun and privacy screens as well as plenty of additional space which they can customise to ensure the ultimate outdoor space,” he says. When it’s wet the electronic louvre roof coverings with rain activated sensors will ensure all year round use. Eight levels up the penthouse balconies also come with some expansive views including the volcanic cones of Mt Hobson, Mt St John, Mt Eden, One Tree Hill, as well as the central city’s skyline, Rangitoto, Waitemata Harbour, and the Hauraki Gulf. “What’s more we’ve also delivered contextual relevance, paying homage to the neighbouring Epsom residential architecture and horse racing. Hence the side screens are inspired by the fretwork of grandstands and Victorian villas of the surrounding area,” says Mr Naish. Inside, the living areas of the penthouses are spacious and include a gas fireplace as well as double-glazed floor to ceiling glass. What’s more the stud height is a very generous at three metres. Two of the three penthouses get three carparks, and each will house beautiful Gaggenau kitchen appliances. “Alexandra Park’s penthouses are second to none with their dramatic views of the cones, city, sea, Cornwall Park and One Tree Hill coupled with the spacious living ranging in total size from 298sqm to 489sqm. This includes 51sqm to 140sqm of balconies which create exemplary indoor-outdoor living,” says Alexandra Park chief executive Dominique Dowding. “The interiors have been designed by RTA to be elegant, sophisticated, spacious with highly appointed inclusions, fits-outs and fireplaces. They boast three bedrooms and multiple living areas. What’s more there are only three of these left for sale,” she says. As well as their superior specifications and finish, Ms Dowding says the penthouses come with some unprecedented amenity. The village beneath will include a grocer, boutique retail and some soon to be announced cafes and restaurants. Not to mention Lido Cinema and historic Cornwall Park both just across the road. “Another point of difference for Alexandra Park is the fact that all apartments and penthouses come with freehold titles and of course our central Epsom location also puts you right in the double grammar zone. While there’s plenty of Auckland apartments in the zone, I can’t think of any other penthouses of this size and quality that are,” says Ms Dowding. Construction has now begun in the Auckland Trotting Club’s former car park on Green Lane West for what is one of the biggest brownfield developments in the city. Over 80% of the 246 apartments have now sold unconditionally, with the first of the 750 residents set to move in from late next year. “People can see and really appreciate the efforts we’re going to, not only to design and build quality apartments and penthouses, but a world-class urban village and entire community,” says Ms Dowding. While RTA Studio is the lead architect, celebrated Vancouver urban design expert Joe Hruda is overseeing the outside transformation which will include plenty of world-class public spaces and promenades. N-Compass are the project managers. The on-site apartment display suite is open from 12pm to 4pm daily or by appointment by calling 0800-275-484 or visiting www.apliving.co.nz Link to watch the latest two-minute CGI video of Alexandra Park’s urban village: For further information contact Dominique Dowding: (021) 377-303 or (09) 630-9700
Nevele R Stud is thrilled to announce another exciting addition to their already elite trotting sires ranks, in the form of arguably North America's best young square-gaiter in recent years Father Patrick t2, 1:52.2f; t3, 1:50.4f ($2,600,571) - the richest and fastest son of champion harness racing sire Cantab Hall. The US and Canadian 2YO Trotting Colt of the Year in 2013 and US 3YO Trotting Colt of the Year in 2014, Father Patrick was an exceptional racehorse, winning 23 races and $2.6 million in stakes. As a 2-year-old Father Patrick won 10 of his 11 starts with 7 of these in sub 1:55 times, including a world record performance of 1:52.2 when taking out a Breeders Crown elimination at Pocono Downs. His major victories at 2 included the $500,000 Breeders Crown Final, the $365,000 Wellwood Memorial by five and a half lengths, the $280,000 Peter Haughton Memorial, the Champlain Stakes (again by a margin of five lengths) and the Bluegrass Stakes at The Red Mile, Lexington. As a 3-year-old, Father Patrick was the richest standardbred of the year, winning a massive $1.7 million in stakes in a very fruitful season that saw the outstanding youngster record back-to-back victories in the Breeders Crown, as well as wins in the Beal Memorial, Canadian Trotting Classic, Stanley Dancer Memorial, Zweig Memorial, American-National Stakes, Bluegrass Stakes and the Pennsylvania Sires Stakes Final. Father Patrick took his lifetime mark of 1:50.4 when defeating recent Elitloppet winner Nuncio in the $500,000 Beal Memorial at Pocono Downs. His time remains the fastest ever recorded by a 3-year-old colt or gelding on a 5/8ths of a mile track and the equal fastest by any 3-year-old trotter. Trained by Jimmy Takter throughout his career, Father Patrick was rated by the legendary conditioner as the "best horse" that he had ever trained - high praise when you consider Takter has had the likes of Moni Maker, Malabar Man, See You At Peelers, Pampered Princess, Kadabra, Passionate Glide and Pinkman, to name just a few, through his barn over the years. Father Patrick is certainly the complete package when it comes to choosing a stallion for your trotting broodmare this season, as he not only boasts unrivalled racetrack performance but also some of the best bloodlines available in the world. His sire Cantab Hall is currently the leading US All Age Trotting Sire and was himself a million dollar plus earning US 2YO Trotting Colt and Trotter of the Year. Cantab Hall has established himself as one of the most influential trotting sires in North America, having sired the winners of over $59 million, 168 $100,000 earners, 29 in 1:53 and 7 millionaires including Wild Honey, Explosive Matter, Uncle Peter and Pastor Stephen. Father Patrick's maternal line is no less illustrious with his dam Gala Dream (by Enjoy Lavec) also leaving, in addition to Father Patrick, another US 2YO Trotting Colt of the Year and millionaire square-gaiter, Pastor Stephen t3, 1:52.8 ($1,058,188) and the $100,000+ earners Whom Shall I Fear t3, 1:52.8 ($163,935) and Stan The Man 1:53.6 ($182,144) from 6 foals of racing age. His second dam Maple Frosting (by Valley Victory), also an outstanding producer, has left the world champion 2005 US and Canadian 2YO Trotting Colt of the Year Chocolatier t3, 1:53 ($1,328,250) (making it an incredible three US 2YO Trotting Colts of the Year in the first two generations), along with the multiple stakes race winner Sugar Trader t3, 1:53.8 ($734,610). Chocolatier has since gone on to be a successful sire in Sweden with his best offspring to date the champion mare Your Highness (SEK9,000,537) - the winner of the Copenhagen Cup, Olympic Trot and Oslo Grand Prix so far in 2016. Standing at Diamond Creek Farm in Pennsylvania and commanding the same service fee as his sire, US$20,000, Father Patrick served a restricted book of mares whilst still racing in 2015 and has had a terrific book of close to 130 mares this year. His first crop of foals look outstanding types and can be viewed on the Diamond Creek Farm website (www.diamondcreekfarm.com) and Facebook page. Available in Australasia via frozen semen, Father Patrick's fee for the 2016-17 season is NZ$9,000 +GST (AU$9,900 incl GST). The service fee is pay on live foal and he is included in the Nevele R multiple mare discounts. There is limited semen available and bookings will be taken on a first in first served basis. For more information or bookings please visit nevelerstud.co.nz or phone the Nevele R office 03 349 8627, Nikki Reed 0274 346 401 or from Australia free-phone 1800 150 855.
Bets of the week ringaround 6 winners for the ring around, selected by, Short priced special, Andre Poutama, Ricky May, Stephen McNally, Nathan Williamson and Bob Butt. This week we cover 5 meetings Forbury Park - Thursday Night John Morrison - Tact Ollie, Race 1. Matt Cross - Carrie Miss Mach, Race 2. Nathan Williamson - Golden Gate Race 6. Peter Scaife - Tuherbs Two Race 8. Mystery Value Place Bet - Hudson Sally, Race 8. Addington Raceway - Friday Night Mystery Each way - Laughing Cavalier, Race 1. Andrew Fitzgerald - Royal Jester, Race 3. Bob Butt - Junior, Race 4. Blair Orange - Expressive Victor, Race 5. Brad Williamson - Brads Kenny, Race 7. Craig Ferguson - Mr Handle Man, Race 9. Short Priced Special - G I Joe, Race 11. Alexandra Park - Friday Night Andre Poutama - Like A Hurricane, Race 2. John Curtin - Rakarazor, Race 4. Oamaru Raceway - Sunday Afternoon Jonny Cox - Maddisons Desire, Race 4 John Dunn - Blood and Whiskey, Race 5. Waikato - Sunday Afternoon Stephen Richardson - Party Rage, Race 1. Jay Abernethy - Sliver Stream - Race 8. Harnesslink Media
A brief look at some of the happenings from the past week in the world of harness racing. POUTAMA CLOSES IN ON 100 Popular North Island junior driver, Andre Poutama moved to within striking distance of his 100th career winning drive with a victory on Reine Des Gitans on Friday night at Alexandra Park. The Pukekohe based junior took his season tally to 29, a personal best, in the process. Currently fourth on the national junior drivers’ premiership, Poutama is just two wins behind his closest rival, Craig Ferguson with less than a month of racing remaining in the season. MUSCLE MASS AVAILABLE DOWN UNDER Nevele R Stud were pleased to announce that they have secured the rights to provide frozen semen from outstanding trotting sire, Muscle Mass to New Zealand breeders this breeding season. The sire of the 2YO Ruby quinella last month in Custodian and Heavyweight Hero, Muscle Mass is expected to be in high demand and already Nevele R has insisted breeders book early as only a limited amount of semen is being made available to both New Zealand and Australia. LIVE TO TELL LEADING IRON HORSE Burnham pacer, Live To Tell, has one hand on the title of the 2015-2016 season’s Iron Horse. The Bruce Negus trained pacer, who raced twice at Forbury on Friday night, has lined up on 40 occasions so far this season - has won twice and placed on four occasions. She will race again on Thursday night at Addington as will her closest rivals, Hudson Sally who has had 38 starts. Hudson Sally is also nominated for the Oamaru meeting on Sunday. DUAL ROLE FOR ONE OVER DA MOON Brilliantly bred trotter, One Over Da Moon will be available to breeders this season. The highly talented square gaiter who won the Ashburton Trotters’ Flying Mile earlier this season will serve a dual role for his owners Lex and Heather Williams. As well as spending time in the breeding barn, he will also continue to race - initially with Paul Nairn before returning to the the North Island and into the care of Tony Herlihy. A son of brilliant mare, One Over Kenny, One Over Da Moon lacks for nothing in the breeding department and will hold strong appeal for breeders across Australasia. DJOKOVIC CHASING FOUR IN A ROW While his namesake might have bowed out of Wimbledon earlier this week, it’s full steam ahead for Djokovic on Friday night. The Luk Chin trained trotter will be looking to go one step further than the usual game, set and match when he shoots for his fourth consecutive win against a handy field of trotters at Alexandra Park. The son of Sundon will have his 80th start on Friday night. MILESTONE WATCH A number of horseman around the country are currently sitting close to notable milestones in their careers. Jimmy Curtin is just two wins shy of 1500 driving wins in New Zealand, Phil Williamson is four wins short of 500 while Dean Taylor is currently on 492 training wins. In the North Island, Steven Reid is on 990 career wins. On Friday night at at Forbury Park, popular Southland horseman, Brent Barclay reached 600 driving wins for his career with a double. He reached the target when he won the Forbury Sprint Series with Risk Factor before Bettor Go Hurry took him to 601 wins. SOUTH OF THE WAITAKI SERIES KICKS OFF Nominations for the first heat of the Macca Lodge Trained South of the Waitaki Series which is this Friday night at Addington are strong. 14 horses have been nominated for the event, which is open to horses who are three-year-old and older and handicapped at C1 and below prior to nominations closing for the first heat provided they were trained south of the Waitaki river prior to May 1 this year. There are three rounds of heats held over the month of July with an $11,000 final at the end of the month. The first ever series, held last season, was won by Tact Tate. HRNZ MEDIA
Outstanding Kiwi pacer, Christen Me, will have to overcome a tricky second line draw if he is to win Saturday night’s harness racing Group Two Sunshine Sprint at Albion Park. The Cran Dalgety trained gelding will start from the inside of the second row in the 1660m event - the same draw which saw him beaten in the Wondias Mate two weeks ago. On that occasion his regular pilot, Dexter Dunn, was able to extricate his charge off the fence and into the running line early but that task might not be quite as simple this week. In his favour is that he follows out an in-form Ultimate Art who does have strong gate speed. So Dunn will have a decision to make early on as to whether or not he takes the gamble at staying on Ultimate Art’s back or whether he tries to get off the fence again. Dalgety, who is currently holidaying with his family in America, said late last week that Christen Me had progressed on nicely since his first up run and was doing well in the care of his travelling companion, Murray Howard. “The reports from Muz have all been very positive,” Dalgety said. “He should be an improved horse with that run under his belt but he will have to be because it’s going to be a lot stronger this time round.” Len Smith Mile winner, Hectorjayjay has made the trip to Queensland for this week and then next’s weeks $200,000 Blacks A Fake - while Ohoka Punter adds another dimension to the race as well. The Nathan Purdon trained pacer, who was third in the Len Smith Mile after doing a power of work hasn’t been blessed with a great barrier draw either, starting from the outside of the second line. Fellow Kiwi pacer, Nek Time received a much better draw in her bid to win back-to-back Oaks for Terry and Glenys Chmiel. The speedy filly, who dominated Saturday night’s Gold Coast Oaks has drawn up well in barrier four this week for the $75,000 Group One Queensland Oaks. Owned by Robert and Sharyn Symon, Nek Time is an outside chance of extending her Brisbane stay to contest next week’s Queensland Derby. If she was to win this week she would then be in line for a $30,000 bonus as part of the UBET Picket Fence Initiative which rewards horses who can win twice in the lead up to the grand finale night of racing on July 16 and win one of four selected races on that programme. Already a winner of the Southland Oaks and Harness 5000 on New Zealand soil this season a win this weekend and then potentially even the following week would cap off an incredible season. From 16 starts this season the daughter of Gotta Go Cullect has won on six occasions with six further placings. She’s won $90,000 in the process with the promise of a lot more both on and off the track in the future. Matt Markham
Did Hanress Racing owner Neil Pilcher have a wee inkling or was it yet another smart business move by Trevor Casey? A few days prior to Our Waikiki Beach’s first defeat in 20 starts at Menangle yesterday (Tuesday) Casey bought out Pilcher’s third share in the gifted 3-year-old. Casey now owns two thirds of Our Waikiki Beach with the remaining third owned by Cheryl Rasmussen of Australia. “Neil doesn’t want to travel around as much as he used to and I’m the opposite when I work allows. He’s had a lot of success in racing and I made an offer to him. “I wanted to keep the major shareholding in New Zealand,” Casey told Harness Racing New Zealand a few hours before Our Waikiki Beach’s shock 1.4 metre second behind outsider Ideal Situation in the $9,000 C91.3 FM Mobile for the C5-plus pacers. The $1.10 hot favourite and Luke McCarthy led into the straight but was overhauled 50m out. The winning time for the mile was 1:52.8 with 28.3, 28.9, 27.9, and 27.7 sectionals. It was also the Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen trained bay’s first defeat in 13 starts on the track. He has recorded a 1:50.6 mile at Menangle. But Casey who travelled to Sydney to watch his pride and joy run, rated the Somebeachsomewhere gelding right up there with Lazarus and Stent as the best horses he has owned. “Mark and Natalie have always had a high opinion of this horse and he has reinforced that on the racetrack. He could be anything. People have told me he could easily go a sub 1:50 mile. There’s not much between him and Lazarus but just now I’d probably rate him second just behind Lazarus,” Casey said. “It’s amazing to think that I part-own two of the best 3-year-olds going around in Australasia,” he added. Casey and his co-owners paid $70,000 for Our Waikiki Beach at the Melbourne Sales, simply because they wanted to buy a well-bred Somebeachsomewhere gelding. The 55-year-old Christchurch businessman said the horse nicknamed ‘Barney’ would line up in a Breeder’s Crown heat in Sydney next week before heading to Melton for the Finals next month. Thereafter Casey said Our Waikiki Beach would spell for six weeks and then come back and tackle the big 4-year-old races in both Australia and at Alexandra Park. “The Chariots Of Fire, the Taylor Mile and the Messenger are races I’d like to see him start in but as always Mark and Natalie will make the final call. “They are very astute trainers and I back them in all they do. I’m guided by them,” said Casey. He said Our Waikiki Beach would not start in this year’s New Zealand Cup but fellow 3-year-old Lazarus would. “No we will be concentrating on the 4-year-old races with him next season. He will line up in a Cup one day but not next year. That is Lazarus’s target and at this stage of their respective careers he’s more the Cup horse,” said Casey. As for records Casey said enjoy them while you can. “They all get broken eventually. I just love seeing my horses win and if they happen to break records or run quick times, then that’s a bonus,” he said. Our Waikiki Beach has won four Group 1 races. As a 2-year-old he won the Australian Pacing Gold, the New South Wales Breeders Challenge and the Australasian Breeders Crown. This season he took out the rich New South Wales Derby. The gelding has won $674,221 in his career and there has never been a faster three year old in the Southern Hemisphere. Our Waikiki Beach equalled the time set by Border Control of 1:50.6 when he won a race at Menangle in February. Only six standardbreds have won more than 19 consecutive races in Australasia. San Simeon holds the record with a winning streak of 29. Lucky Creed, Maori’s Idol and Courage Under Fire won 24 races in a row while Aachen and Lyell Creek won 20. With his second placing on Tuesday Our Waikiki Beach joined Satinover, Hyperstat, Village Kid and Lombo Pocket Watch with 19 consecutive wins. Auckland Reactor won his first 17 races in a row. Duane Ranger
We are getting through the winter well so far with the top spring horses jogging up and a small racing team. We are concentrating on next season's two year olds of course and I have a high opinion of them. Even better than last year's crop and I rated them right up there. Such good pacers most of them are. They are running easy 800m in about 20 at this stage but so many of them are so well gaited I am sure they will have the speed to match. Janet and I are "house sitting" for Mark and Natalie at the moment and its a beautiful place to live. Moving out again will be the hard part ! My highlight for the season -and there were a lot of highlights for the stable-is Have Faith In Me's Auckland Cup win. It was a great performance but added to that and Tim's drive was the work that had gone into getting him right for the standing start. For quite a while he was very tricky in that department but the extra work paid off that time. I don't know whether he will win Horse of the Year because I think sometimes the horses who do well early in the season probably have a lower profile at the end of the season but whoever of the two win both of them will be deserving winners. Another special highlight was the number of quinellas and even trifectas Mark and Natalie ran in the big Group One races. It is very hard to do that any time and this season again it happened quite a lot of the time. They really are great trainers anddrivers. I have never worked for better and I've worked for some top men back home. My biggest disappointment ? Probably Vincent going amiss when he looked so promising as a two year old. But the good newsis he will be back. I have to say my job has been made a lot easier by the staff we have here. They work together well and they work hard and we have those sort of people from bottom to top. We have particularly good travelling staff too which makes you sleep better at night when horses are a long way from home-they are usually the really valuable ones. I think this is the best staff I have worked with here and it just makes your job so much easier especially at times like this when you are in charge. I am just hoping things will carry on the way they are until Mark and Natalie return and things get really serious for the new season. It has certainly been a great one this season. Duane Marfisi www.allstarsracingstables.com
A projected total of $70,000 in stakes is available at the NZMTC harness racing meeting held at Addington on Friday, 5 August for the 12th Alabar Super Series for lower grade pacers & trotters. The three races on the 5 August provide the following opportunities for; C0 pacers prior to racing on 15 May 2016 – Stake $23,500 C1 to C2 pacers prior to racing on 15 May 2016 – Stake $23,500 C0 to C2 trotters prior to racing on 15 May 2016 – Stake $23,500 ALL STARTERS in these races are to RECEIVE A MINIMUM STAKE of $500. Conditions; To qualify to start in these races, owners horse(s) must have started at least twice at a NZMTC Race Meeting between 21st May 2016 and 31st July 2016. Opportunities to race at NZMTC to ensure your horse(s) qualify for the Super Series; Friday, 8 July Friday, 15 July Friday, 22 July Friday, 29 July Sunday, 31 July General Information; There is no enrolment fee payable. Field selection will be based on a points system. Full details and conditions of the up and coming Alabar Super Series can be found under the Racing - Promotions and Incentives section at addington.co.nz or contact Brian Rabbitt, Richard Bromley or Colin Steele at the Addington Racing Department on (03) 338 9094. The next round of the Alabar Super Series is to be confirmed, but tentatively it will be held on Friday, 7 October 2016. Keryn McElroy
Racing's co-chief stipendiary steward Ross Neal has resigned for personal reasons and to pursue other interests, he said on Monday. The Racing Integrity Unit (RIU) confirmed the resignation of Neal, whose personal life had been in the public spotlight. The RIU polices the racing industry. In May, it was revealed he was with Harness Racing New Zealand (HRNZ) employee Lyn O'Connell in a Christchurch motel in February when she suffered a heart attack. She died in hospital a few days later. READ MORE: Racing industry anti-corruption boss should resign over fatal affair, says husband Her husband, Blair O'Connell, a Motukarara breeder and trainer, in May called for Neal to resign. In a statement Neal, who has been in the role for eight years, said he had chosen to resign. Neal, who recently returned from a period of annual leave, described his decision to resign as "extremely difficult". "I am and continue to be passionate about the integrity and performance of our industry and believe I have been true to the intent and purpose of my role throughout my time in this role. "My commitment to the reputation of the industry has seen me make the extremely difficult decision to resign. However, I will continue to be an avid supporter." Blair O'Connell said in May his wife, licensing secretary for HRNZ, wanted to become a stipendiary steward and told him Neal was helping her with that process. In fact, O'Connell believed, Neal had taken the opportunity to conduct an affair with her for more than a year. O'Connell could not be reached for comment on Monday. Attempts to contact Neal on Monday were unsuccessful. It is unknown what his "personal reasons" for resigning are. His mobile phone went straight to voicemail. A recorded voice message said he was no longer working for the RIU and directed all work-related calls to its general manager Mike Godber. Godber said he understood Neal did not wish to comment further. Godber said he could not comment when asked whether Neal had jumped, or was pushed. Neal had been an excellent co-chief stipendiary steward and was committed to the industry, Godber said. Mat Kermeen
Harness Racing Waikato was over the moon with the way Jewels Day 2016 unfolded. In fact HRW described the day as the best Jewels meeting it had ever hosted. HRW president and Harness Racing New Zealand executive member Rob Lawson said the brilliant weather conditions in New Zealand and poor weather in Australia ensured a massive off-course turnover. It also meant the largest Australian TV audience for a Jewels meeting. Jewels betting with the Australian TABs on June 4 was up over A$1million on last season, jumping from A$663,013 to a massive A$1,696,1467. On-course Turnover was $311,000 however that is a slightly misleading figure in that it includes inter-track betting. That saw HRW even out-perform the Ellerslie and Wanganui thoroughbred meetings run at the same time, a result Australian harness racing bosses wouldn’t dare dream of in their country. The skyrocketing turnover was enormously boosted by the Queensland Oaks meeting at Eagle Farm as well as other Australian gallops meetings being abandoned because of torrential rain, meaning the entire Jewels meeting moved to the premium Australian racing coverage channel, Sky1. "The weather was spectacular. The Track outstanding and we received many favourable comments from the drivers about the state of the track. The Facilities were again presented in pristine condition which was a real credit to our grounds staff. The racing was of the highest order. We couldn't have asked for anything better," Lawson, a Waikato-based licensed trainer said. "The Sky 1 exposure in Australia ended being a complete bonus that will benefit the entire industry going forward," he added. Lawson said HRW was pleased to be able to present to the entire harness industry a successful event that highlighted our great sport. "We are yet to crunch all of the numbers but are confident that it will be a financial success with benefits flowing through all North Island harness participants. Our predominant staff in Kerry Wells and Mike Weston once again showed how capable they are in presenting an outstanding showcase of harness racing," Lawson said He said total domestic turnover was $2.442 million, which was the second highest in Jewels history. "Export Turnover (Australians betting on the Jewels) was $1.7 million – the highest turnover in New Zealand harness racing history. And in other HRW news, Lawson said former Auckland Trotting Club marketing and assistant racing manager, David Branch will join HRW on August 1 as Business Development Manager. "David is returning from England especially for the job. We are excited to have on board someone of David’s capabilities and knowledge in our team. David’s prime task will be to grow the revenue earning opportunities of harness racing in the Waikato and surrounds, and push us into the future with regards to facilities, income, and entertainment. "This is a fresh new additional position and will see David work alongside Kerry and Mike to project Cambridge Raceway and harness racing in the region into a new era. Lawson said he was also excited that John Coulam has joined him on the HRNZ executive. "I am delighted to have another HRW person on the Executive with me. It will strengthen the representation from this region and also John’s business acumen will be an asset to the Board," Lawson said. "Not to mention that he is a 'good guy’ with a real passion for harness racing," he added. Duane Ranger
Nevele R Stud, in conjunction with Kentuckiana Stallion Management, is pleased to announce that Muscle Mass - the stallion currently taking juvenile trotting by storm in both NZ and Australia - will be available to Australasian breeders for the first time since 2012 this coming harness racing breeding season. Currently the leading sire of 2-year-old trotters in both NZ and Australia, Muscle Mass has had a sensational season with his first crop of any real size, siring the first two runners home (Custodian and Heavyweight Hero) in the Group 1 Harness Jewels 2YO Ruby last month and across the Tasman Group 1 Vicbred Platinum Home Grown Classic winner Illawong Shimmer, as well as the exciting Group 2 Tatlow Stakes winning youngster and recent Vicbred Super Series Final runner-up Illawong Byron, along with the Group 1 place-getter Sval Queen. Available just the once previously (through frozen semen in 2009), Muscle Mass's first Australasian crop of only nine live foals has produced six winners to date including the current season Tontine Trotters Series winner K D Muscles 1:56.8 ($98,760, 6 wins) and the Group 2 Bacardi Lindy Mares Trot runner-up Zhenya ($69,607, 10 wins). Muscle Mass was himself a world champion 2-year-old trotter, winning all seven of his juvenile starts including the Final of the American-National Stakes, Bluegrass Stakes and International Stallion Stakes, before injury curtailed his career at three. A real trotting blue-blood, Muscle Mass is a son of the breed-shaping, champion stallion Muscles Yankee out of the multiple juvenile stakes-winning Pine Chip mare Graceful Touch, who has also left the Hambletonian winner Muscle Massive 1:51 ($1,245,297) and Merrie Annabelle Trot and New Jersey Sires Stakes winner Thatsnotmyname 1:55 ($340,730) to date. His second dam Act Of Grace 1:52.6 ($403,525) was a top flight race-filly from the same crop as the freakish Continentalvictory and like her also raced the top colts and geldings on numerous occasions. From just two foals Act Of Grace left World Trotting Derby and Zweig Memorial winner Cobol 1:54 ($417,457), along with Graceful Touch. With four crops of racing age in North America, Muscle Mass has established himself as the leading trotting sire in Ontario and has sired multiple Ontario Sires Stakes Gold champions including the O'Brien 2YO and 3YO Trotting Filly of the Year Riveting Rosie 1:52.8 ($973,336) and Muscle Matters 1:53.2 ($487,972). Muscle Mass's service fee for the coming season is NZ$7,000 + GST (AU$7,700 incl. GST) and in good news for breeders, and a first for a Nevele R frozen semen sire, Muscle Mass will be included in the Stud's standard multiple mare discounts. His service fee is payable on positive test. Nevele R General Manager Ged Mooar encourages breeders to book early as there is limited semen available in both countries. Bookings will be taken on a first-in-first-served basis and can be made online through the Nevele R website – nevelerstud.co.nz or alternatively by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, phoning the office 03 349 8627, Nikki Reed 0274 346 401 or Freephone 1800 150 855 from Australia.
Harness Racing trainer/driver Bob Butt may have won the feature at Phar Lap on Sunday but his second win of the day was the most satisfying. Butt topped off a big weekend by winning the Timaru Winter Cup when driving Easy Rider to victory for his parents David and Catherine Butt who train the winner of four races at their Woodend Beach base. However, Hall Of Fame's win in the last race, a c1 pace, gave Butt a race-to-race driving double but more importantly a training win of his own. An eight length winner on debut at Addington in October, Half Of Fame went to Alexandra Park for the Christmas carnival but was never able to show his best. "I took him up north and he got really crook so I had to give him a long spell," Butt said. The Rocknroll Hanover three-year-old was a one and three quarter length winner in a c1 pace on Sunday - his first start since December 18. Sunday's win was a major relief for Butt as the talented pacer returned to form. Butt said Hall Of Fame is likely to have one or two more starts before being sent for a spell in preparation for a cup week campaign. Easy Rider was quick away from the front tape in the Timaru Winter Cup and Butt drove him hard to beat Well Armed to the lead but with just over a lap to run he give it away when Blair Orange sent Highview Freddy, who started off 20m, forward. "Highview Freddy's always better in front so I knew if I could hold the lead he would be coming around at some point." Easy Rider was then able to sit in the trail until he was let loose up the passing lane. "He's just that sort of horse, if he gets that perfect run he's always dangerous," Butt said. Easy Rider, raced by Tony McGrath, beat home Highview Freddy by a head with a further length back to Well Armed. The Art Official four-year-old made it back-to-back victories after winning a c1-c2 junior drivers race at Rangiora in the hands of Matt Anderson on June 19. Hall Of Fame's win was Butt's second training win over the weekend with Matatoki winning a c1-c2 trot at Addington on Thursday night to give him a 100 per cent success rate with just the two runners being lined up. Matatoki was Butt's third driving win at Addington with earlier wins coming in Breeders Crown heats behind the Paul Nairn-trained pair of Conon Bridge and Wilma's Mate. Matatoki is likely to have another start before also being spelled for cup week. Matt Kermeen
Harness Racing Co-trainer Terry Chmiel is toying with the idea of extending Nek Time's Brisbane campaign after she won the Gold Coast Oaks in Brisbane on Saturday night. Another big run by Nek Time in next Saturday's Queensland Oaks could persuade Chmiel and training partner wife Glenys to consider starting her in the Queensland Derby a week later. Wins in all three races would earn her a Picket Fence Bonus of A$30,000 (NZ$31,360). A grade race on the same programme as the Derby is also an option for Nek Time. Reinsman Dexter Dunn drove Nek Time in front in Saturday's Gold Coast Oaks (2138m mobile), with the filly fighting off two challengers for the early lead. Nek Time held on comfortably by two lengths in a mile rate of 1:56.6. She sped over the closing 800m in 57 and 400m in 28.9. "She had a good blow afterwards and should improve for next week," Terry Chmiel said from Brisbane. The daughter of Gotta Go Cullect doesn't need to lead and can work a bit in races. "She's in the zone, let's hope she stays in it." Southland owners Robert and Sharyn Symon were at Albion Park for the win. "It was a pretty big thrill . . . the club really turned it on for us," Robert Symon said. Glenys Chmiel, who is looking after the team at Leeston, will join her husband and the Symons in Brisbane on Thursday. Nek Time's win on Saturday also marked the first time the Chmiels had raced a horse in Australia. Terry has not driven there, unlike Glenys who finished third in the Australasian Junior Drivers' Championship in South Australia in the 1990s. Dexter Dunn's other two drives on Saturday night were Rubys Bad Boy (fifth) and Candyliscious (fifth). Meanwhile, Our Waikiki Beach has drawn No 1 for a C5 and faster mobile mile at Menangle, Sydney, on Tuesday. The unbeaten three-year-old, trained by Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen, will be shooting for his 20th win. Luke McCarthy is booked to drive. The race will be televised on Trackside at 7.17pm (NZ time). Among his rivals is ex-Kiwi Four Starzzz Flash, who has not won since his success in the Group III Maurice Holmes Vase at Addington in September, 2013. Mat Kermeen