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Harness racing punters got back on track last night at Addington with four favourites from the 9 races winning, along with two 2nd favs and three 3rd favs.  The best 'Fixed Odds' opening price on a winner was the first starter in race 4 'Yankee Tara' $5.20 - $1.95   The average winner's opening 'Fixed Odds' on the nine races was $3.92 verse $3.85 on the closing tote price. The average 'Fixed Odds' opening odds on the closing tote favourites was $2.72 compared to $2.66.    Early money at Alexandra Park tonight.   Race 1 - Last start winner CK Spur $2.90 is the best backed with $1,000 at $2.90 the largest bet so far with George $11.50 - $9.50 next best following a $900 bet at $11.50.   CK Spur dominates multi betting with next best Thebestlove $6.20.    Race 2- Rariza has taken a $2,000 bet at $2.30 and easily best backed over Crystal Sparkles $5.50 - $5.00.   In multi betting Rariza leads clearly over Crystal Sparkles and Kaitlyn $2.80 - $3.00.      Race 3- Three runner's have taken early money here with the best backed in order Cowboy N Aliens $3.60 - $3.20, Wrangler $15 - $10 and Shadow Pass $3.40 - $3.00.   No money as yet on Laredo which would suggest punters are waiting for his odds to drift which he is currently doing $2.30 - $2.70 but he does lead multi betting from Cowboy N Aliens and Shadow Pass.    Race 4 - Best backed is No Way Else with $400 at $5.80 the largest bet and the next best backed is Miss Daisy $3.80 - $3.60.   Billy Badger $3.40 leads multi bets over Neighlor $4.00 - $4.30.    Race 5 - A very quiet market early with the best backed Stunning Shadow $8.50 over Alta Michaela $13 - $9.00.   Multi betting shows no clear leader here but best backed is Waingaro Mara $4.40.   Race 6 - The outsider Scarrymcleary $19 - $15 is the best backed early over the $2.20 favourite Blackguard's Corner $2.20 who also dominates multi betting.   Race 7 -  Start Dreaming $4.60 - $3.60 holds 50% of early win money and is going 3 to 1 over the next best backed runners in multi betting Little Rascal $6.20 and Hughie Green $2.60 - $2.80.   This is an early lead to us that she will start closer in final odds to the current favourite Hughie Green.      Race 8 - Easily best backed on the win 'book' is Lovely Bundy the $3.30 favourite over Speedy Lavros $16 but Blood And Whisky $3.60 leads early multi betting.   Race 9 - A very quiet early market here with the best backed Opoutama $4.40 - $4.20 and she also leads multi betting over Kilkeel Lady $4.80 and Alta Valencia $5.00.   Race 10 - Not a lot of interest early in the Claimers race but Stunin Banner $1.55 - $1.45 totally dominates multi betting.     Invercargill Harness race at Ascot Park tomorrow with the first race starting at 12:58pm and the 'Fixed Odds' markets will open tonight around 6:00pm  - 7:00pm along with the Group 3 Alabar DG Jones Trotting Cup to be raced at Motukarara on Sunday at 4:04pm.     Harnesslink Media Courtesy of Stephen Richardson TAB

Ross Johnson isn’t getting too carried away with the imminent career of Cowboys N Aliens but knows the well-bred 3-year-old is the first foal out of the best horse he and his wife Janine Cole, have bred and raced. Johnson, who is the managing director of the international race-horse transport company – IRT, and is also an Auckland Trotting Club director, has been involved in harness racing since the early 1980s. It all started from the late 1979 with Boyden Hanover - Librette 21-win mare Indette, who was bred by Johnson’s parents, Colin and Margaret. “Cowgirls N Indians is the best Janene (Cole) and I have bred and owned. She won two Group 1 races. We bred this fella with Bruce Carter and his wife Mary. “He (Cowboys N Aliens) has a hard act to follow but we will know more about him after a couple more races. Geoff (Small) has taken his time with him and we are quite excited,” Johnson said. Cowboys N Aliens will start from the ace draw in Friday’s third event at Alexandra Park. It will be his second race after finishing a satisfactory seventh on debut on the same track on September 16. “We aren’t even sure if he has gate speed and will hold up from one. He’s certainly got the potential, but he’s a work in progress. Friday’s race will help but we will know a whole lot more in a month or two,” 53-year-old Johnson said. A week before his race-night debut, Cowboys N Aliens won a seven-horse workout by one-and-a-quarter lengths. The Somebeachsomewhere gelding’s winning mile rate was 2:01 even, with final sectionals of 60.1 and 29.2. The last four dams in Cowboys N Aliens family have won 22 races ($644,215) and four Group 1s between them. His dam Cowgirls N Indians (Real Desire - Barn Dance Betty) won seven of her 12 starts and placed three times for $375,723 including a victory in the Group 1 $150,000 Harness Jewels 2YO Ruby Diamond in 2011 recording a 1:56 mile. The Ian Small trained brown mare also won the Group 1 $312,000 Australasian Breeders Crown 2YO Fillies Series in Victoria - also in August 2011. In May of that year Cowgirls N Indians also ran second behind O Baby in the Group 1 $160,000 New Zealand Sires Stakes Fillies Championship. Grand-dam, that late Barn Dance Betty (In The Pocket - Party Party, 1:59.1) won four races for Waiuku trainer Michelle Wallis; great-grand-dam – Party Party 1:53.2 (Mister Hanover II - Bee Gee's Dream) won nine races and $199,786 for the Roy and Barry Purdon, Mark Purdon and then Wallis. Party Party won two Group 1 races including the $60,000 Caduceus Club 2YO Fillies Classic in 1995 and then in 1996 the $100,000 Nevele R Fillies 3YO Final. Great-great-grand dam Bee Gee’s Dream won two races for Roy and Barry Purdon (Butler B G - Parisian Dream) and her mother 1973 Sly Yankee - Nurse Brigade mare, Parisian Dream, who won two races. Her dam, Nurse Brigade (Light Brigade - Super Nurse) was born in 1959 but no racing stats are shown. Meanwhile the Johnson and Cole bred Cowgirls N Indians has so far left three foals - Cowboys N Aliens (2.01.3); a 2-year-old brown Somebeachsomewhere colt named Cowboys N Indians; and a brown American Ideal filly called Cowgirls N Angels. Cowgirls N Indians is expected to leave a Bettor’s Delight foal next week. David Butcher will again drive Cowboys N Aliens on Friday. Last start they drew five and finished seventh over the same 2200m mobile journey - some 10.5 lengths behind the winner, Jack’s Legend. “I’m sure he will be improved by the run. It’s just good to have the mare’s first foal at the races,” Johnson said.   Duane Ranger

The continuing trend of junior drivers wanting to pursue their careers across the Tasman has hit again – this time with the North Island’s leading junior, Sean Grayling. The 20-year-old, who has been with Barry Purdon for the last five years, will start working with New South Wales trainer Paul Fitzpatrick at his Camden Stables on October 10. Grayling will leave Purdon on October 7 and will have his last New Zealand drives at the Auckland Trotting Club’s meeting later that night. He said he was excited about the prospect of working in a new country. Grayling also liked the idea that there were up to eight meetings a week in New South Wales compared to one, maybe two per week, in the North Island. Fitzpatrick is a top Australian harness racing trainer with experience dating back several decades. He is a member of the exclusive five-strong 'Harold Park Living Legends Club'. He also raced Australian Horse-of-the-Year Lombo Pocket Watch and currently works a team of 35 south-west of Sydney. “I mentioned it to Paul in passing when I was over there with Sky Major and Start Dreaming in February. It’s something I have always wanted to do. “Then Gavin (Fitzpatrick) rang me out of the blue last month saying one of their staff had left and the opportunity had come up. “I’ve thought long and hard about it and I spoke to Dad (Tony) and Barry about the move and they agreed with my decision. I felt the time was right to do it. I came straight from school to Barry and Katrina’s and I have learnt so much working at their stable. I am forever grateful,” Grayling said. Grayling, who has never driven better than what he has this season, looked destined to beat his personal best tally of 15 wins this season. He achieved his first driving double at ‘The Park’ on August 26. But instead Grayling is now one of several New Zealand junior drivers who have made the move across the ditch in recent years, and one of dozens in years gone by who have preceded him. More recently Joe Moka, Jacob Wallace, Dylan Ferguson, Fergus Schumacher, Shane Butcher, Nathan Purdon, Emmett Brosnan, Michael Purdon and Michael Blakemore are just some Kiwi juniors who have either departed these shores for Australia, and have remained there, or have returned. Even Dexter Dunn did a stint in Australia and then returned home. Matty White went to Perth and stayed there so what does Hall-Of-Famer Purdon think of Grayling’s move? “I’ll miss him when he’s gone but it’s something he’s been wanting to do for a while now. It will be good for him to experience something new especially now that he’s going to a very good stable. “Sean thinks there will be a few more opportunities for his driving over there and I hope there is. He is driving well now and getting out on track more which certainly helps improve his driving. But this has been on his mind for a while now and it’s best he gets out of his system and gets over there and give it a real crack. He can always come home again,” Purdon said. “Sean worked hard for us and I wish him all the best and hope he does really well,” he added. Heading into this Friday’s (September 30) meeting at Alexandra Park. Grayling was the leading North Island junior driver this season with four wins and two seconds from 20 drives – two clear of Andrew Drake. It was his best start to a season and even he admits it is going to be hard saying goodbye to ‘Northern Headquarters’ on Friday week. “The junior claiming rule helped a little bit, and even though it was hard to get outside drives at Alexandra Park and Cambridge, it’s still going to be hard leaving Auckland. It’s all I’ve known really, but when I was in Australia I absolutely loved it,” Grayling said. Grayling gets his chance to drive in his first Spring Cup on Friday night when he will steer the Purdon trained The Faithful. He also has a drive behind the Ray Darby trained Bro Fawkes S in the first race. They were the two horses that provided him with his first and only ‘driving double’ last month. “It’s an honour to drive in a big race for Barry. In fact driving in any race in his colours was big for me. The Faithful is so honest and you can never write him off. “I am thankful for all the drives Barry has given me. I’m also thankful to Zac (Butcher) for his driving advice as well. You never stop learning at that place,” Grayling said. The former Pukekohe High School student said he was looking forward to working with the Fitzpatricks' and their 35-strong team. “I’m excited because it is something new and something different. The stable is only 15 minutes away from Menangle and that’s the top track in New South Wales. “I really liked what I saw when I went over there. I’m going to another top stable. They have their own track as well. It will be a real learning curve there as well. I think the experience will do me the world of good,” Grayling said. Grayling paid a tribute to all those who had supported him especially his father, Amanda Kiddie, and his sponsor who would continue to support him in Australia - John Harris from JGH Chartered Accountants. Grayling has achieved 19 winners, 19 seconds, and 20 thirds ($177,411) from 187 starters since getting his licence in 2013-2014. His URD strike-rate is 0.1937.   Duane Ranger

Don’t let the usual fresh up harness hoodoo put you off Hughie Green in the $20,000 Spring Cup at Alexandra Park tonight. Because while it seems the majority of our pacing elite get beaten in the first start of their campaigns these days tonight’s sprint looks the big fella’s to lose. Already this season we have seen the absolute best pacers return, be driven cold and finish on nicely in the best races, none of which pays the punter. It is often the nature of open class races early in the season, with those at the front of the field having quinellaed all three open class races so far this season. Which could make you think twice about backing Hughue Green off a 10m handicap over 2200m tonight, especially as the pacing giant hasn’t raced since April and hasn’t won since December. His astute and conservative trainer Brian Hughes doesn’t do much to boost punter confidence, admitting he wouldn’t be surprised if Hughie was beaten even though he is happy with his condition. But for all of that, picking something to beat the favourite is hard to do with any confidence. Hughie Green is, after all, a genuine open class force, good enough to be pipped on the post by Have Faith In Me in last season’s Auckland Cup, beating home the likes of Smolda, Tiger Tara and Ohoka Punter. That only confirmed the ability he showed right from his three-year-old days and he has regularly reeled off sensational sectionals at The Park. He did something similar at the Pukekohe workouts last Saturday, continuing a strong spring build up with an easy win in 55.7 seconds for his final 800m, the last 400m in a sizzling 26. He was reined up by driver Maurice McKendry, insuring his lungs were opened up and his mind put on the job for tonight’s sprint. While the 10m handicap is hardly ideal, he has only seven rivals and three of those  the front have never raced in open class, the exception being Beyond The Silence who won this race two years ago but has battled since. Of his rivals joining Hughie Green on the 10m, Start Dreaming was a brilliant last start winner, her 53.1 second last 800m the fastest officially clocked at Alexandra Park. But this is her first serious open class contest and while she may measure up she has yet to prove she can beat an Auckland Cup placegetter. So you would want $5 for her compared with a base line dividend of $2 for Hughie Green to make her value. Rocker Band is a Jewels winner but new to open class so that leaves the consistent No Doctor Needed as the only other threat and he has beaten both Hughie Green and his glamour stablemate The Orange Agent before. So he might be the better upset option a price approaching $9-$10, but in reality, unless Hughie Green misses away -- and his standing start manners are usually good --- he should defy the first-up defeat trend. Also returning tonight is handy intermediate grade trotter Blackguard’s Corner, good enough to finish fifth to Monbet in the Rowe Cup. He is now trained by Tony Herlihy and gets a healthy 30m start over key rivals Realmein, who looks back to his best and the enigmatic Cool Cobber.   Michael Guerin

Arden’s Concord is now in the Papakura stable of Tony Herlihy after changing hands. The 5-year-old son of Panspacificflight- Madam Maroussia gelding  won six of his 18 starts for Westwood trainer Graeme Anderson, Brian Sceats and Wendy Muldrew.  Arden’s Concord has won  his last two starts, both at Oamaru. His most recent win was under difficulties when a hopple shortener pin did not release. One Over Da Moon, winner of two of his three starts this season for Herlihy, is back with Paul Nairn at Leeston for a South Island campaign. One Over Da Moon won eight races when trained initially by Nairn. The Majestic Son entire has carried on to win another 13 races, the majority with Herlihy. Highview Illusion who was claimed out of the Anderson stable after his last start win at Invercargill, is now with Bruce Graham at Charing Cross. King Kone has his first start since joining the Roxburgh stable of Geoff and Jude Knight at the Northern Southland meeting on Saturday. He will be driven by his new part-owner, Genevieve Crawford, a junior with the stable. The Earl gelding won two races at Forbury Park during the winter when in the care of Craig Buchan at North Taieri for Brent Borcoskie.   Tayler Strong

Addington Raceway and the New Zealand Racing Board (NZRB) have further enhanced the growing international reputation of the quality of New Zealand’s harness racing product with a close up finish, in esteemed company, for the Simulcast Award presented at the 24th annual International Simulcast Conference recently held in New Orleans. The Simulcast Award honours excellence in the presentation of a racetrack’s live race product. In announcing Santa Anita Park as this year’s winner, organisers have made special mention of the quality of the combined Addington Raceway/NZRB entry. “The winner had noteworthy competition in this very close race from Keeneland and Addington Raceway in New Zealand, with Del Mar, Saratoga and Woodbine also receiving votes. Each received first, second or third-place votes on several ballots,” commented Jane Murray, Director of Services for the Thoroughbred Racing Associations of North America, joint host of the Conference with Harness Tracks of America. Addington Raceway Chief Executive Dean McKenzie commented, “With our entry to be mentioned in the same company as Santa Anita Park and Keeneland, two iconic world class tracks is extremely humbling for us here at Addington. Our entry featured the outstanding coverage the team at the NZRB put together for Christchurch Casino New Zealand Cup Day in 2015 and this international recognition for everyone who helps put New Zealand’s biggest day of racing together is a wonderful achievement for the industry as a whole. To effectively make the podium for such a prestigious award is clear evidence that we have a wonderful product in New Zealand which is the equal of anywhere in the world.” KERYN MCELROY

Last weeks harness racing saw our selectors get a number of winners again and also some decent outside place dividends.  John Dunn had the longest price last week when Cmeerock paid $5.00 for a place at Addington on Friday night, The longest priced winner was Stephen McNally on Ultimate Fella also on Friday night. With big fields and four meetings this week, the selectors can hopefully point you into a few winners in both the North and South Islands. Note: We will keep adding to this page if more tips come in after the deadline, so check back often.   NZ Metropolitan at Addington on Thursday night Gavin Smith - Gavin thinks Blade might be a rough eachway chance in Race 2 Robbie Close - Robbie says his best chance would be Daylight Robbery also in Race 2 Sheree Tomlinson - is going for Cruzy Dude as her best chance this week in Race 3 John Morrison - John thinks Thisismylastflight is the best for him this week also in Race 3 Stephen Richardson - likes Yankee Tara after his good workout win in Race 4 Blair Orange - Blair says Mongolian Hero would be his best drive this weekend in Race 7 John Curtin - John thinks Hey Yo can get a win tonight in Race 8 Jim Curtin -  says his best chance this week is Le Lievre's Gift also in Race 8   Auckland at Alexandra Park on Friday night Tony Herlihy - Tony is opting for Crystal Sparkles is his best drive at Auckland in Race 2 John Dunn - John thinks Billy Badger is the best of his drives this week in Race 4 Todd Macfarlane - Todd is going for Runrunjimmydunn as his best this week also in Race 4 Maurice McKendry - says Neighlor would be his best chance also in Race 4 Jay Abernethy - is opting for Hadrian as his best chance at Auckland in Race 5 Andre Poutama - thinks his best chance this week is Art Of Gold also in race 5 Dylan Ferguson - says Hot Chocolate Tart is an each way chance in Race 6 Scott Phelan - Scott thinks No Doctor Needed would be his best chance in Race 7   Northern Southland at Ascot Park on Saturday Andrew Suddaby - is going for Insignificant as his best chance this week in Race 1 Geoff Knight - Geoff thinks Seduce Me would be his best chance in Race 2 Brent Barclay - says his best drive would be Reciprocity also in Race 2 Shane Walkinshaw - Shane thinks Bettor Than Most is his best chance in Race 4 Brad Williamson - Brad is opting for Springbank Eden as his best this week in Race 5 Rory Mcllwrick - thinks Golden Gate is his best drive also in Race 5 Nathan Williamson - Nathan thinks Pulling The Strings would be his best drive in Race 7 Murray Brown - says Northview Dave is the best chance for him in Race 9   Further tips for Northern Southland can be found at Southland Harness   Banks Peninsular at Motukarara on Sunday Ricky May - Ricky thinks his best drive this week would be Pay Me Interest in Race 3 Bob Butt - says Miss Medley is the best chance for him also in Race 3 Mark Jones - thinks Righteous Brother is a good chance for Regan Todd in Race 4 Stephen McNally - thinks Xmas Joyella is his best drive this week in Race 6 Matthew Williamson - is going for Boomer Bailey as his best chance in Race 7 Terry Chmiel - says Mighty Empire would be his best drive this week in Race 9 Gerard O'Reilly - says Gypsies Choice would be a good eachway chance in Race 10 Harnesslink workout reporter - Thinks Bobby T is a good chance also in Race 10     Last few days to enter the Bets of The Week ringaround competition  . The competition will be run over 17 weeks starting on Thursday October 6th 2016 and ending January 29th 2017. Each selector will have an imaginary $10.00 eachway placed on their selection and winning dividends will be added to their score each week. The highest three scores at the end of the competition will win: First prize       $300.00 Second prize   $150.00 Third prize        $50.00 All selectors are eligible to win the prizes available. Email your name and phone number to by September 30th 2016 to be one of 5 drawn entries to join the competition along with the trainers and drivers. The competition is free to enter. Enter to join the fun with New Zealands leading trainers and drivers.   Harnesslink Media                    

Punter's will be hoping harness racing favourite's perform a lot better tonight at Addington than last week.   Last week only 13% of favourite's won from 30 races win compared to 27% in NZ gallops (49 races) & NZ greyhounds 32% (114 races).   That favourite winning percentage is the lowest that we can remember for a long time.   Race 1 - The win market is very quiet early but easily the best backed in multi betting is Glass Half Full $4.60 - $3.80 & he is the only one they want.   He did go out the favourite in debut last season and could do it again tonight (current favourite Shona Mary $3.00).    Race 2 - The only one they want here is Daylight Robbery $3.80 - $3.40 with the largest bet $1,000 at $3.80.   Race 3 - The big go early here and the only one they want is debut winner Thisismylastflight $6.60 - $3.90 with the largest bet $1,000 at $6.00 and he leads equally with the $2.50 favourite Hall Of Fame in multi bets.    Race 4 - As soon as the market opened for this race punters came hard and fast for Yankee Tara $5.20 - $2.50 with the largest bet $750 at $4.80 & $500 at $3.20.   The last bet taken last night on Yankee Tara was $300 at $2.50 which along with it going 2 to 1 in multi betting over the $1.75 - $2.30 favourite in Mongolia is telling us it could start the favourite.   He is a half brother to Tiger Tara & trailed well so well done to the punter's who were waiting for the markets to open and jumped on the $5.20 opening odds.   If the favourite who is having his first standing start steps the 'book' might make money if he doesn't we are going to be in trouble.     Race 5 - Just A Dude $3.40 - $3.20 is the only runner backed in single win betting and multi's.   Race 6 - Best backed in what look's like a very competitive field on paper is Maverick $5.20 and in multi betting he is only slightly behind the $2.80 favourite Expressive Victor.   Race 7 - The $1.70 favourite has taken some win money but clearly leads multi betting over Smithy $9.00- $7.00 who does hold the most money on the win 'book' early.   Race 8 - Best backed is Hey Yo $3.60 followed by Le Lievre's Gift $5.60 & these two lead multi betting.   Race 9 - Michelangelo $2.20 - $2.10 is all they want both in win & multi betting.     Harnesslink Media Courtesy of Stephen Richardson TAB  

It’s been a battle but Bob Butt thinks he’s finally on top of things with his talented pacer Hall Of Fame. The Woodend Beach horseman is reserving his judgement on whether or not he’s completely out of the woods with the raw talent though until he sees what he can do tonight at Addington when he takes on a tidy fields of opposition in the junior drivers’ event. The son of Rocknroll Hanover boomed onto the scene last season when he won his debut by a crushing eight lengths and it appeared as though good things were in line for the remainder of his three-year-old season. It was shortly after that win though that things started to go pear-shaped. “He got real crook when I took him up to Auckland, they think it was travel sickness,” Butt said. “It really messed up his bloods and we’ve had to do a whole heap of work to get them back to where they should be. “Even when I brought him back up last time we were still working on them.” This time around though it’s a lot more positive and Butt has, touch wood, not endured any issues while bringing the pacer up to fitness after a short let up. “He’s been really good this time in, the bloods have been perfect and I’ve been pretty happy with his work.” A quiet workout at Methven on Saturday, where he placed behind Outta Sight, will have brought Hall Of Fame forward in his fitness and should see him ready to roll tonight when he steps out onto Addington. Matt Anderson has secured the drive on the gelding. “Matt’s a good young driver, I think we have to be competitive but it’s a pretty strong line up, there’s some good horses in there so it won’t be easy. “I’d be pretty disappointed if he wasn’t right up there though.” Butt will also line up debutant pacer Hashtag who starts from the unruly in a very strong maiden 2000 metre stand. “It’s one of the best maiden fields I’ve seen for a while, so it’s not going to be easy. “If everything fell into place we’d be right there but it’s going to be a big ask. “He goes pretty good though, I thought his workout at Methven on Saturday was really good.” With nine horses in work currently, Butt is ticking over nicely as he looks to reach his last season tally of eight winners. With Matatoki sold out of the stable late last season the hunt is on for another rising star like him and Butt said the vacancy sign is always out on the front gate for new horses looking for revitalisation through the use of the beach.   Matt Markham

Harness racing at Addington tomorrow night sees another heat of the "Kiwi punters championship" to be run on course during the evening. The pick six is $25,000 and is run on the last six races at the meeting.  We preview the Pick Six starting in Race 4 at 7:02pm.  Race 4  The first leg is a fifteen horse maiden field that has many chances including several first starters. The favorite will be Mongolian Storm who finished third behind a field of smart 3yos here last week and if he steps from the stand he is the horse to beat. First starters Mikey Maguire and Yankee Tara have been good at workouts and are worth including. Race 5 Just A Dude was good last start flashing home late in the piece and he should be hard to beat on that run. The Fox has been racing well in similar fields and Agatha Tyron has trialed well in preration to this. Jean Sebastian has the draw and can win if he trails but could get pushed back on the fence. Race 6 A lot of depth in this field and a few needed. Callenburg was good winning at the recent Ashburton trials. Maverick was also good winning at Motukarara on Saturday leading most of the way. Expressive Victor is in great form and is needed also Race 7 Mongolian Hero raced well against the best 2yos last season and if fit enough should be too good for this field. For backups include Black Regal Princess who has Dexter on and gate speed and Smithy who has been trialing ok. Race 8 This is Hey Yo's chance to get another win. She was running home too late last start but has the motor to win. Royal Shine and Phil's Gift for cover Race 9 Michelangelo looks an anchor here with the standing start the only issue. Gun Powder and Living Legend needed if the favorite misses away.   Our suggested Pick Six $16.20 gives you 10% Leg 1     11 Leg 2     1,5,7,8 Leg 3     3,5,7 Leg 4     1,7,8 Leg 5      7,9,10 Leg 6      4,5,6   Harnesslink Addington Selections Race 1 Glass Half Full, Shona Mary, Star Pride, Shay Scott Race 2 Daylight Robbery, Blade, Rocki Warrior, Smoldering Ashes Race 3 Cruzy Dude, Hall Of Fame, Highland Reign, Illegal Immigrant Race 4 Mongolian Storm, Yankee Tara, Mikey Maguire, Hastag  Race 5 Just A Dude, Agatha Tyron, The Fox, Jean Sebastien Race 6 Maverick, Callenburg, Expressive Victor, Tangos Delight Race 7 Mongolian Hero, Black Regal Princess, Smithy, Shillelagh Race 8 Hey Yo, Royal Shine, Phil's Gift, Little Mo Race 9 Michelangelo, Gunpowder, Living legend, Franco Tai Best Bet : Mongolian Storm Value Bet: Blade   Harnesslink Media  

An exciting new series dedicated to Standardbred Breeding is coming to Trackside next week. It has been named 'Standard Bred'. Sheldon Murtha, a member of the Canterbury Standardbred Breeders Association and well-known broadcaster, approached The Breeders with the idea of a TV series as a possible gap in the market, and something that could give our breeding industry a much needed push in terms of mainstream coverage. What has materialised is incredibly exciting, with two seasons of six 30 minute episodes about standardbred breeding to be produced by Sheldon this year with the first season airing on Trackside 1 October 4th (Tuesday) at 7:30pm. It will continue every Tuesday at 7:30pm thereafter. “Being on the Canterbury Standardbred Breeders Association they were looking to allocate some money to marketing such as websites and magazines. I stuck my oar in and said well why don’t we try and fund or make a standardbred breeding show to at least put us alongside the thoroughbreds in terms of mainstream representation.” “I bumped into Mary Anne Twentyman at the thoroughbred sales and ran it past her to gauge Trackside’s interest. What they were after being strapped for time was for somebody to come up with a concept and the money to push it through. So what started as an idea for getting Trackside to produce a show turned into let’s get Sheldon to do it!” Sheldon Murtha is no stranger to trackside and the racing public having held various broadcasting roles over the years. “The shows are being supported by the breeding industry to start with, and the show is a world first which is exciting. There’s no standardbred breeding show anywhere. It’s got plenty of legs and it can go where it likes and potentially go a long way to globalizing the sport. The breeding side of the industry has gone a long way in terms of globalizing the product in the last ten years. “Places like North America and more recently the trotting in Europe have become more intertwined with down under with the transported semen and access to their top stallions. “We have become increasingly connected so there is an aim to reflect that and put New Zealand harness racing up there as world class product that is equal to anything anywhere.” For those who have seen the thoroughbred model of Bred to Win, you can rest assured in the fact you won’t be put to sleep with boring advertorials from our major studs. “We’ve gone with an approach of making the series more of a Country Calendar style affair, to tell the human interest stories of breeders around the country who often wouldn’t get their time in the sun and allow them to tell their story. It’s a great way of capturing the enthusiasm and passion that is abundant in the breeding industry.” Doing anything mainstream requires cash in the bank, and without the support of numerous industry participants, HRNZ and the four breeders associations, none of the above would have been possible. With the show being able to be disseminated through our online channels, and also the likelihood of being picked up in Australia for their Sky Racing channels, we are immensely excited at the prospect of showcasing our product in the modern and professional sphere of television. A massive thanks must go to the following for their financial support of the series; Alabar Stud Breckon Farms Canterbury Standardbred Breeders Assn Dancingonmoonlight Farm Harness Racing New Zealand Lincoln Farms Nevele R Stud North Island Standardbred Breeders Assn Southland Standardbred Breeders Assn Stallions Australasia Woodlands Stud HRNZ News

Brent Lilley is returning “home” for NZ Cup Week and could take as many as three of his stable stars with him. Lilley, who has continued to grow into one of Victoria’s top trainers since moving from NZ, said classy pacer Messini and rejuvenated veteran trotter Kyvalley Blur would definitely head to Addington. And, in an exciting twist, Lilley said he was seriously considering taking Australia’s champion trotter Keystone Del across as well. “That’s a real chance,” he said. “He (Keystone Del) will resume at Melton on Saturday week and I’ll talk more with the owners after that. “You know how much I love Cup Week and to go back with some of my best horses will be great.” Keystone Del has not raced since winning at Ballarat on May 28. The US-bred Kyvalley Blur, who started his career with the now retired Chris Lang Sr, has won 19 of his 83 starts and earned $317,293. Most importantly, the gelding has won both starts this season and is racing in career-best form. Messini, who boasts 21 wins from his 60 starts and $512,021 in earnings, took a few runs to find form this campaign, but looked good beating a handy field in the Preux Chevalier free-for-all at Melton at his latest run on September 17.   Adam Hamilton

As a young kid sitting in his father’s lap while they worked horses Sam Payne knew he wanted to be out on the track driving horses seriously one day. On Sunday one of the young rising talents of the junior driver ranks in New Zealand took the first major step towards a successful career in the sulky when he reined home his first winner, Happy Heidi, at Rangiora. And what a peach of a drive it was too. Payne showed experience and skill beyond his years to find a saloon passage through from last at the 400 metre mark to win a strong line up although for a moment he did wonder if he’d messed it up. “She ran up onto the back of them at the top of the straight and I thought we weren’t going to get the gap,” Payne said. “Luckily the horse down on the inside started stopping and we managed to get the run and the horse did the rest really. “She’s got a great turn of foot and it panned of perfectly, it was a great thrill to get the monkey off the back.” 18-year-old Payne has been working for Happy Heidi’s trainer, John Coaster Howe for the best part of a year and a half now and the West Melton horseman has played a key role in kickstarting his career. “I owe a lot to Coaster, he really pushed me to get my licence and has given me plenty of opportunities out there on the track so I owe him a lot. “He’s great to work for and is even better to drive for because as long as the horse is looked after he’s happy.” The son of successful horseman, Greg Payne, Sam left school at the first available opportunity and began to look at his options within the industry. “I got out of there (school) pretty quickly, it just wasn’t for me. I wanted to be working with horses. “I went and spent three months in Australia and then came back and started working for Coaster.” With win No.1 on the board and safely tucked away in the cupboard, Payne is keen to keep the roll ticking over and like any young aspiring driver just starting out in the industry his goals are pretty simple. “I just want to drive as many winners as I can, that’s the focus at the moment. “Just being out there and mixing it with everyone is a pretty cool experience too though. “One day I might like to get into the training side of things, but for now I’m quite keen on the driving side of things and seeing if we can give that a pretty good crack.” Payne took just 10 drives to get his career officially underway and he’s hoping that his 11th drive, which comes at Addington on Thursday night might be able to give him a good chance of going back-to-back. “I think I’m driving Art I Am on Thursday night in a junior drivers’ race. “He should be a good drive, he went great last start.” If it doesn’t pan out though, don’t worry. This won’t be the last time you read about Sam Payne winning races.   Matt Markham

There are not that many mystery novels on the bookshelves (or internet) that center around harness racing, but recently author Tina Sugarman penned Horse Flesh, a novel that for many will be an enticing read. This fiction novel enters the highly competitive world of Standardbred horse racing, and is an exhilarating debut from an insider.  While many in the industry may take offense to the outright knocks on the industry, one must remember this is fiction and the author’s right to “jazz it up” to make it a riveting read to outsiders, should be taken into consideration. Then again, with all the recent controversy surrounding the Little Brown Jug last week, the events in this novel may seem to be spot on. The story features a brilliant harness racing driver whose drug habit risks costing him everything, his cousin, a trainer who refuses to compromise her integrity, a mysterious individual known only as the Scorpion, lurking in the shadows, pulling the strings, the Director of Racing trying desperately to clean up the industry, his mentor and best friend who has his own agenda, a low life groom who knows too much for his own good, the Canadian Mountie who inadvertently gets involved, with unforeseen consequences, and a veterinarian caught between two worlds. These are just some of the players in Horse Flesh, where passions run high and where the distinction between right and wrong, good and evil, is always blurred.  I found the book to be fascinating, very fast paced and with shocking twists and turns. At first I was turned off as the book did not “grab me” right off the bat and I was not happy with some of the demeaning references to the industry as an insider. As I read on and understood the characters that made up the novel, I had trouble at times to put the book down. It drew me into the read to see where the story was going, what was going to happen to some of the stars and how was author Tina Sugarman going to tie this all together in the end. She did a superb job with some great insights that people in the industry should consider. She got the job done and her HORSE FLESH is a breakthrough debut novel set to entertain not only horse and racing enthusiasts, but fiction fans looking for a fresh read.  Tina’s blending of the life events of four yearlings into becoming racehorses was very well done and woven nicely into the novel. The paperback version is very thick, over 700 pages of small type, so some might want to get the Kindle or Nook version. And don’t expect to read this one overnight! Tina Sugarman writes from her personal experiences and gives a compelling insight into the world of harness racing. She has been involved with Standardbred horse racing in Ontario for nearly two decades, spending summers on a horse farm nearby Mohawk Raceway, the premier harness racing track in Canada. This novel is available through all major booksellers. by Steven Wolf, for Harnesslink

 Harness racing tough horse Titan Banner held on by a nose to beat stablemate More The Better in a strong workout at Ashburton this afternoon. The former Graeme Anderson trained pacer will join stablemates Lazarus, Have Faith In Me and Smolda in the New Zealand Cup in November In todays workout the Art Major five-year-old held off the strong challenge of last season’s leading two-year-old pacer, More The Better after working to the lead and controlling the race from the 1000 metre mark. Titan Banner ran his last 800 metres in 56.5 seconds and his last 400m in a quick 25.9 seconds. The run will top him off nicely and trainer Natalie Rasmussen has suggested he will go to the trials again next week and then head to the Methven Cup on 16th October 2016. The Purdon/Rasmussen stable had 13 horses engaged at the workouts today and won every heat they had a horse in. Ultimate Machete was very impressive winning his heat after working hard to lead and then easily sprinting a last quarter in 26.5 second to win narrowly but well. Major Hippie, a three-year-old by Art Major, also won impressively while other stable runners to win were Spondulicks, Smiley Sophie and Boults On Fire.   Titan Banner winning todays workout   Harnesslink Media    

Cambridge junior driver Mark Johnson knows just how hard it is to attract outside drives but is hoping he can launch his career after achieving North Island honours at Alexandra Park earlier this month. The 20-year-old backed up that ‘Premier Cadet’ prize at the annual North Island Harness Racing Awards with his first win of the season at Cambridge Raceway last Thursday. “I had so many people I didn’t know come up to me and congratulate me on Awards night. It was a huge honour both winning and having such nice people come to me. “It’s all about getting my name out there. I haven’t got any new drives as a result of that night but at least I know more people now and they know who I am, and that’s what it’s all about in this game – getting people to know and believe in you,” Johnson said. “I’m also very grateful to the sponsors - Auckland Harness Racing Trust for the Award. There were other good quality nominees who could have won it,” he added. Johnson has been driving for less than two seasons. His fifth career win came via a very nice drive behind his boss’s (Arna Donnelly) pacer – He’s Novak – in the $7,000 Dunstan Feeds R59 to R70 Junior Drivers Mobile. “It was an amazing feeling to be travelling so well and to be able to pull out and go around the rest of the field at speed. Then to know that you are travelling well enough to win. ‘It doesn't happen often because my other wins have been near or on the pace. It was an awesome feeling. He’s a big Elsu (4yo) who is a pleasure to drive,” Johnson said. “I’m grateful to the owners – Arna, and Graeme and Bev Hulston for putting me on,” he added. Johnson has now landed five wins and 10 placings from 73 starters since 2015. He has a one from three strike rate this season. Johnson’s first win came via the Donnelly trained Pure Christian, also at Cambridge Raceway on June 2 last year. His first Alexandra Park winner came 58 days later via the Donnelly trained No Way Else. “All l I want to be is a good driver. I’ve won the Cadet Award and now I want to win a Juniors title, and I can only get that if people give me a chance and then see that I can drive. “I’m so grateful for the opportunities Arna has given me, but outside the stable there haven’t been too many opportunities,” Johnson said. Johnson had no desire to drive standardbreds when he was a little fella growing up in Wollongong (NSW) in Australia. But that all changed in 2007 when his father, Mike, his Mum, Leanne and his five brothers and sisters relocated from New South Wales to Hamilton. Johnson senior took up a position as a computer programmer. Then in stepped Peter and Wendy Ferguson from Waikato Kidz Kartz and an excitable 11-year-old Australian kid became hooked on our great sport. “The moment he sat behind a Kidz Kartz pony that was it. Peter and Wendy were great. They really fuelled his fire. We had never seen anything like that in Australia. “We couldn’t believe how much Mark had taken to the horses and then when he started driving Kidz Kartz winners that was it. We saw how passionate he was about driving,” Johnson’s father said.   Duane Ranger

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