Search Results
1 to 16 of 14730
1 2 3 4 5 Next »

‘‘A BLIND man can see what’s happening, we’re running out of horses.’’ With that stark statement, North Auckland trainer Ray Green issued a warning that unless Harness Racing New Zealand got off its hands and did something to address the problem, the game would quickly die. Green went on the attack this week with the revelation that the number of mares served was down another 6.6% and for the first time in decades New Zealand’s foal crop will dip below 2000. Alarmingly, the number of mares bred is down to 2832, a drop of 28% on 10 years ago. And Green says that’s all down to the wonderful policy HRNZ had adopted to arrest the decline - ‘‘it’s called let’s do nothing.’’ ‘‘Breeders are quite rightly getting pissed off - the owners aren’t there to buy their horses any more because the costs are too high and stakes too low. And HRNZ is the enemy because it has done nothing to counter that.’’ Green, trainer for the powerful Lincoln Farms operation, said they had recently sold talented pacers Medley Moose, Hawkeye Bromac and Imhisdaughter to Australia because it made no sense to keep racing them here. ‘‘Medley Moose is a beautiful horse, I would love to have kept him, but we had a good offer for him and it would have been hard to win that sort of money here. The handicapping system is such that with one more win he would have been up against Terror To Love. You just have to sell them.’’ Green said owners are continually weighing up whether to take a punt and keep their horse or to sell them. ‘‘If an owner thinks his horse can win two more races, and perhaps another $10,000, if an Australian wants to give him $50,000 for his horse, it’s a no-brainer. ‘‘The Auckland Trotting Club, struggling to fill its fields, is offering higher stakes, hoping people will retain their horses. But horses will still be handicapped out of it too quickly and people will still want to sell them.’’ Green cited the case of a two-year-old in his stable who had won three races.‘‘He’s a c2 but if he wins another race over $15,000 he’ll start next year as a c3 horse and to get a run he’ll have to go in standing starts and have Besotted, our c9 horse, breathing down his neck.’’ Crazily, Besotted, who has never won a race over $15,000, is still rated an M0 in Australia and could go to Sydney and win two or three races really quickly. ‘‘They need to create more opportunities for horses to be viable here if they want to keep them. But people will not wait forever. Like cars, horses depreciate as they get older, and the more a horse wins here, the less it is worth over there. ‘‘The game’s going to die unless something is done but  the powers that be don’t seem to be interested.’’ HRNZ chief executive Edward Rennell said Green was completely wrong to say nothing was being done to solve the problem but there was no silver bullet. ‘‘Yes, the number being bred is of concern but what is encouraging is the wastage factor is less.’’ Rennell said the breeding decline was a worldwide problem. In Australia, standardbred breeding numbers dropped by 33% in the last 10 years and by 47% in North America, according to a report it commissioned from the New Zealand Standardbred Breeders’ Association. The thoroughbred code faced the same issue, he said. Rennell said while the NZ Metropolitan Trotting Club had introduced a breeders’ bonus - in the last three months 34 $500 bonuses have been paid out to breeders of tote race winners at Addington - HRNZ did not agree that all stake payouts should incorporate the same bonus, a French initiative being promoted by Studholme Bloodstock’s Brian West. ‘‘There is a limited pool of funds and if you pay some of that to the breeders that’s less that goes to the owners,’’ Rennell said. ‘‘And we are trying to make ownership more attractive and viable.’’ Rennell said HRNZ had increased the minimum stake to $5000 this season and stakes were up overall by 6%. It would be examining whether to increase the $80 payout to every starter. HRNZ was also looking at reducing the number of races next season by 2%. In the 2005-06 season, 2435 races were run while that number rose to 2743 last year, putting more strain on field sizes. Discussions were also underway with the Sires’ Stakes Board, the breeders and two principal clubs on whether changes were needed to age group and premier racing. ‘‘But we think that the changes to the handicapping system are working because field sizes are up from 10.4 starters per race to 10.6.’’ While that might not sound much, it was a significant improvement when it covered 2700 races. Rennell said the handicapping sub-committee was meeting next week to review the performance of the new system and its age group concessions and would make a recommendation on whether it thought the drop back provision should be reduced from 10 starts. The challenge for HRNZ was not only to get more horses to the races but to better use the horse population – if every horse raced just once more in a season, field sizes could be maintained. Rennell said the number of horses sold to Australia was actually down on previous years. ‘‘It averages around 850 a season but that’s down 50-100 because of the new import levy.’’  Overall, exports were similar with about 100 sent to China. WASTAGE COSTS BREEDERS $11 MILLION HALF OF all the standardbred horses we breed never get to the races. And that disturbing fact, rather than the continuing decline in numbers, will be the immediate focus for the industry’s main breeding body. The annual cost to breeders of the high level of wastage is put at $11 million in a paper by Kiely Buttell, executive manager of the NZ Standardbred Breeders’ Association. ‘‘At an average service fee of $6000, plus vet costs, stud handling fees and agistment charges of a further $1500, the annual (wastage) cost to breeders is $11 million.’’  While figures show the percentage of the foal crop wasted dropped from 61% in 1995 to 53% in 2005, Buttell says the continuing high level is a major conern. ‘‘There will always be a percentage of the foal crop that is born with defects, die at an early age or suffer accidents that will impinge on their racing viability. ‘‘But we need to understand the percentage of horses that are deemed unviable for non injury related reasons and identify solutions to address this.’’ The NZSBA would also be focussing on conception rates. Only 71% of mares served in the latest breeding season were confirmed in foal, a figure which has been static in the last 20 years despite improvements in artificial insemination in other breeds. "Serving a mare three times and not getting her into foal is a massive cost to breeders.’’ Buttell said the association had engaged Palmerston North trainer and equine researcher Jasmine Tanner to scope a research project to investigate the quality parameters of chilled standardbred semen in New Zealand in order to improve conception rates in mares and increase the economic viability for broodmare owners. Funding would be sought from the NZ Equine Research Foundation but the industry might have to foot some of the bill itself, she said. Evidence suggested it was the smaller hobby breeder who was exiting the game, citing rising breeding costs along with declining stakes. That was a problem when breeders here raced 50% of horses. BARRY LICHTER Courtesy of the Sunday Star Times

A close association with All Stars going back 12 years will end in July when Blair Orange strikes up a new career combining training with driving. Blair has entered into an agreement with Ken Barron to operate a training/driving operation similar to that which Ken enjoyed with his mentor John Lischner which resulted in Ken ultimately taking over the training operation. Blair will continue to drive free lance where he can and is sure to be seen in the All Star colours again-but not as a stable associate which he has been since 2002.  "The only reason for my leaving is that this is an opportunity too good to miss” Blair said. "It was always going to come to this sooner or later because I intended striking out on my own. This is just an ideal way to take the next step. Mark and Natalie have been involved through the process and we part on the best of terms. I have been grateful for what happened to me during my time at All Stars. It lifted me into the big time you could say and gave me great opportunities I would not have got otherwise. We have always had a good relationship and that will continue. But you have to keep moving forward. I was due to do that. I am looking forward to the challenge'' Blair was approached by Ken after the latter decided he would take a step back from race driving and concentrate more on stable administration.  Both Mark and Natalie offer Blair all the best in his new venture. As Natalie put it "We wish Blair all the best. He had been with the stable 12 years or so after all and has always been an important member of Mark's team and he justified that confidence and was very loyal.  There always comes a time when you move on and this is a good opportunity for him'' Blair joined All Stars within a couple of years of leaving junior driver ranks. In December 1997 he drove his first winner, Whizza Nova, at Reefton, trained by Tim Butt who was then his employer. His winning total in stakes was just over $7000. By 2007 his winning drives had topped $1m a season in earnings having built steadily during his stay with All Stars and have rarely dropped below that figure. Blair has set a stack of personal records including seven Harness Jewels wins and set such marks as four of the last 8 runnings of the Welcome Stakes. All Stars have helped him push his total wins to 929 and he should join the 1000 club before the end of the year. Even if the 1000th winner does not come in All Stars colours Blair would be the first to say its contribution to his career has been crucial. By David McCarthy (Courtesy of ALL STARS STABLES)

Last week was a disappointing one for the ring-around with just Blair Orange and Mark Jones producing the goods, however a form reversal is expected this weekend.   Here is what some of New Zealand's leading harness racing participants came up with for us this week.   Addington - Thursday   Josh Dickie: Was pleased with Speeding Spur in his South Island debut and expects him to be hard to roll in the feature two-year-old trot - race two.   Mark Jones:  Has opted for impressive trialist Fleeting Grin, who should take all sorts of stopping in race five on the card   Craig Thornely:  Expects Gotta Grunter, who is now on the beach with Mark Jones, to break maidens at short notice - race five   Stephen Richardson (T.A.B): Was impressed with the way Fifth Edition found the line last start. He looks well placed in race six on the card after dropping back from C2.   Matthew Williamson: Thinks Mokosun can make it three wins on end in race eight on the card.   Nigel McGrath:  Believes that Heza Mighty Monarch will take a power of beating if he is to do things right in race ten.   Mitchell Robertson (Harnesslink): Has opted for Iceobar on the back of an eyecatching fresh-up third - race eleven   Gavin Smith:  Thinks Waihemo Art is a strong chance in what looks an average maiden line-up - race twelve   Alexandra Park - Friday   Blair Orange: Expects a bold preformance from  Paramount Queen in the first race of the card. Stephen McNally: Thinks K D Muscles, who has been racing well in age group company, looks the one in race three.   Scott Phelan: Rates Sweet Art  as a good each-way chance- race seven   Todd Mitchell: Was impresed with how Prime Power worked during the week and expects him to be very hard to beat in the Anzac Cup - race nine   David Butt: Expects One Over Da Moon to prove too good if he can jump to the lead early - race eleven   Simon Lawson: Has opted for classy two-year-old Beaudiene Boaz - race twelve   Gore - Saturday   Tim Williams:  Thinks Bettor Buy It  will prove hard to beat in the Southern Supremacy- race ten   Rangiora - Sunday   Terry Chmiel: Thinks Dynamic Party looks well placed in race two despite his tricky barrier draw.   Ken Barron: Believes Pacquiao can top off a string of good runs with a win in race five.   Jonny Cox:  Is bullish about the chances of Jaccka Justy, who was a game second behind Master Lavros last start - race seven   Ricky May:  Expects Terror To Love to finish his season in style in the Rangiora Classic - race eight

Top New Zealand filly Supersonic Miss has been installed as a $1.70 favourite for the $A322,000 APG 2yo Fillies Final after landing barrier one for the Group One feature at Menangle on Sunday. The Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen trained filly, who has been successful in all of her three starts, was victorious in the American Ideal Leonard Memorial (Gr3) in her first start at Addington before travelling back to her homeland, where she has been an emphatic winner of both her APG heat and semi-final. Supersonic Miss is currently being stabled with Luke and Belinda McCarthy, who prepare one of her rivals in Bamako Mali, however her main danger looks to be the Daniel Thackeray trained Rosie OReilly, who streeted her rivals in her APG semi-final. Rosie Oreilly, who is also unbeaten, is currently the $3 second favourite with Tab.com.au and has pleased her trainer since her last win. "She has pulled up really well and hasn't missed a feed since her semi final so I couldn't be happier with her," Thackeray said. Rosie Oreilly is being stabled at the property of Jack Primmer, where she has settled in very well. Menangle on Sunday will remarkably be just one of six meetings that the All Stars team race horses at during the weekend. They will also line up Follow The Stars and Kept Under Wraps in the APG semi-finals at Melton on Friday, while also attending four domestic meetings in New Zealand. Those four domestic meetings are Addington (Thursday), Alexandra Park (Friday), Gore (Saturday), and Rangiora (Sunday). Meanwhile, a further 11 All Stars horses will head to Auckland on Sunday to prepare for the upcoming feature Alexandra Park carnival, including Border Control, Arden Rooney, Linda Lovegrace, Alleluia, and champion mare, Adore Me. By Mitchell Robertson

Dylan Ferguson achieved the biggest win of his career when he won the $25,000 North Island Country Cups Final at Hawera on Easter Monday. The 17-year-old won the C3-Oc pace behind the Pat and Mike O’Brien trained outsider, Beckinsale. It was the 4-year-old mare’s eighth win from 50 career starts, and fourth this season. For Ferguson it was his 11th win since starting his driving career at the start of the season. He’s also placed 34 times in 191 drives. “This is my biggest win by far. I’m really happy for Pat and Mike because they have supported me a lot. I’m also pleased that Dad drove Lifesofine (seventh) which freed me up for the drive behind Beckinsale,” Ferguson said. Beckinsale stepped well from her 10m handicap and Ferguson settled the daughter of Falcon Seelster three and then four deep on the inner. When the moves were made Ferguson managed to get off the markers and flew down the outside to get up and win the 3000m standing start event by three quarters of a length and a neck. Kippenberger (Simon Lawson) and favourite River Polka (Tony Herlihy MNZM) were second and third. Beckinsale, who was the $46.50 eleventh favourite, sprinted her last 800m in 60.8. Her winning mile rate was 2:17.6. “She hasn’t had things go his way recently but this time everything worked out well. We got an economical run early on which allowed her to sprint when it mattered. “It was a brave run. She is much better than what her price suggested. She was always travelling well and brought out her A-game this time,” Ferguson said. “I thought she’d go well because he seemed really happy in her warm-up,” he added. The Waikato horseman, who is employed by Graeme Rogerson and Peter Blanchard at Tauherenikau, said he was enjoying his first season of driving. “I’m getting a lot of opportunities to drive thanks to Graeme, Peter, Mike, Pat, and of course Dad. There have also been so many other owners and trainers I’m grateful to for giving me the chance to drive their horses,” he said. It’s been five months since Ferguson drove his first winner. That was on his favourite horse – Carlos at Cambridge Raceway on November 17. Ferguson left Cambridge High School at the end of Year 11 (sixth form), but if he had it his way he would have left the day he started. He said school got in the way of the horses because he had his mind set on following in the footsteps of his father Peter - and becoming one of New Zealand’s finest reinsmen. He said 2013-3014 was all about learning and taking advice from the horsemen and women around him. “I’ll just keep trying to win races and see what happens from there. I’d like to give the New Zealand Junior Champs a crack,” he said. Meanwhile, Beckinsale is owned by Pat O’Brien and was bred by the Astaire Standardbred Breeding Company. She is the second foal of five out of the seven-win Presidential Ball mare, Ballroom Babe. By Duane Ranger (Courtesy of Harness Racing New Zealand)

Knapdale horsewoman Kathaleen O’Connor nailed her first training victory when Ronnoco was successful at Invercargill today. Driven beautifully by his former trainer Robin Swain, Ronnoco burst up the passing lane to win by 1 & ¾ lengths over The Witch Doctor and Vera’s Delight. For Ronnoco, who was bred, is owned, and is now trained by O’Connor, it was his third victory from 43 starts. O’Connor, who is in her first season of training, had lined up Ronnoco on eight occasions before his breakthrough win today. The six-year-old gelding is the only horse that the horsewoman has raced as a trainer. Kathaleen is the cousin of the late Brian O’Connor and has taken over his green and tartan colours. The following race was taken out by Westmelton Willie, who led all of the way to give Timaru’s Tracey Healey her first training success of the season and her driving success since 1999. But Healey wasn’t the only driver who made it to the winners circle after a long absence as Earl Swain, who was victorious aboard Kiwi Kex, enjoyed his first driving success since 2011 in an earlier race. Meanwhile, Clark Barron crept closer to joining the 1000 win club by driving a double on the eight race card. By Mitchell Robertson

Top trotter Stent has been ruled out of the upcoming ‘Triple Crown’ at Alexandra Park by his co-trainer Colin DeFilippi and will now head for a well deserved spell. “I haven’t been happy with him since he got back from Australia,” advised DeFilippi. “He just seems jaded and has had a few problems with corns, so he will head to the spelling paddock before preparing for the Cup carnival. Stent’s brilliant Australian campaign included wins in both the Trotters Grand Prix and a heat of the Great Southern Star, while he also placed second in the Glenferrie Challenge and the Great Southern Star Final. “He won well over $A150, 000 in Australia, so I think he deserves a let-up,” he added. Meanwhile, the first leg of the ‘Triple Crown’, the Anzac Cup, will be run at on Friday night with a field that will include Superbowlcheerleader, Clover Don, Prime Power, Sovereignty, and Boizel, Flying Isa, and Zedalite, who will all return from Australia for a shot at Group One glory. One trotter that won’t be there is Master Lavros, with his trainer Mark Jones opting to steer clear of the mobile event with the giant gelding. “I want to stick to the standing starts with him so he will miss this week and race in the Greenlane Cup before eyeing up the Rowe Cup,” said Jones. By Mitchell Robertson  

 Andrew Neal fondly remembers Easter School holidays being spent travelling with his father Peter to the Hawera trots from their Marlborough home. The Neals holidayed in the rural Taranaki town while racing on the Saturday and Monday. Although Neal Senior never won a Hawera Cup he had success and memorable times while competing in North Island grass track events. Fast forward to 2014 and his son and daughter-in-law have won the last two Hawera Cups. After Delight Brigade won last year, stablemate Three Jewels added the 2014 Hawera Cup on Saturday to the Taranaki Cup he won last year. The Mach Three mare was driven a treat by (Lyn) Neal. She settled her four back on the inner from her 20m handicap and was then four back on the outside with cover. Then on the home turn Neal had Three Jewels the widest turning in, and in the straight they were simply too strong clearing out to win by 2-1/2 lengths and one length from favourite River Polka (Tony Herlihy MNZM) and second favourite Styx It To Em (Maurice McKendry). Andrew Neal was delighted with the performance. “It’s a prestigious Cup. We are thrilled with her. She’s not far behind some of the best mares running around. She was a really nice fourth behind Adore Me in the Queen Of Hearts at Alexandra Park in December. “She also won the Taranaki in the mud last year. She’s a good tough mare who I think will be a nice broodmare one day,” Neal said. “It was also a very nice drive from Lyn,” he added. It was the 5-year-old’s 11th win in 25 starts. She’s also placed nine times and now won $90,548. Three of those wins have come this season. She also won two $8,000 races in consecutive starts at Cambridge Raceway on November 17 and December 5. Stablemate Delight Brigade was scratched from the Cup due to a blood disorder, and as a precaution will be out for another couple of weeks. Neal said Three Jewels, who finished fifth in the Country Cups Final two days after her Hawera Cup win, will now continue to race at Alexandra Park and Cambridge, most likely from handicaps. “She’s won 11 races and it’s not always easy to place her but she’s a quality mare and is a lot better than what her recent form-line has displayed. “She has a win or two left in her yet, and should perform well at stud one day,” he said. Three Jewels is the third of three foals out of the one-win Falcon Seelster mare, Falcon Jewel. Younger brother Courageous Falcon (by Courage Under Fire) won four of his 17 starts in New Zealand for the Neals, before being exported to Australia on July 18, 2011 where he won seven more races. Three Jewels is owned by the Neals and Mrs K. M. Yardley. She was bred by her trainers and Mrs J. Yardley. By Duane Ranger (Courtesy of HRNZ)

Chairman Ken Barron presided over a recent meeting of the Greater Canterbury Branch, with HRNZs’ Pete Ydgren along to discuss a number of issues. Pete raised the ‘old chestnut’ of the quality of communication between some trainers and their owners. Apparently the HRNZ Board has been made aware of some complaints in this area, however the Association has always felt that, as in any line of business, if an owner is unhappy with the service his trainer offers, he should look elsewhere. On closer inspection it appears that the majority of problems concern owners receiving bills for veterinarian services for which they either had no knowledge of, or had not expected to be as high as they were. The meeting suggested that owners should obtain quotes for veterinarian services directly, and not involve the trainer in the process. Ideas such as websites, text messages or e-mails were discussed, however the consensus was that most owners preferred to speak to trainers on the phone or in person. A suggestion that workshops be held to instruct trainers was felt to be a waste of time and money, so Pete is to compile a document suggesting methods of successful communications to owners. Another matter discussed with Pete was the introduction of the proposed points system for field selection. Apparently the implementation of this system would take one person in the HRNZ IT department ten weeks, so the Handicapping Sub-Committee, which met earlier that day, had agreed that a money-won system would be a more realistic, and possibly more efficient, option. Other issues covered with Pete Ydgren included the new HRNZ Business Plan which, unlike its’ predecessors contained time frame limits, and therefore consequences if the deadlines were not met. Items of interest included the introduction of Racing Bureaux, and an investigation into the restructuring of the HRNZ Board. Note this is only an investigation, and there is no guarantee that any changes will occur as a result. One possible scenario was the establishment of a Stakeholders Council which would forward suggestions and proposals to a Board of Management. Centralisation was discussed, with Pete advising that very few tracks were owned by the Clubs themselves, so that little advantage would be gained by closures. In addition, history suggests that any such closures would lead to a drop off of interest in that particular area, both from volunteers and punters. Anthony Butt expressed disappointment that the Ashburton Club meeting was scheduled for the day after the jewels, presenting travel issues for drivers attending both meetings. John Lischner summarised a number of issues and proposals being considered by the HRNZ Board. These included harness programmes being restricted to a maximum of 11 races instead of the current 12, the extension of the rating for open class trotters from C7 to C8, and the likely abolition of Invited Drivers series, which were proving costly and difficult to arrange. John advised that HRNZ Veterinary Consultant Andrew Grierson would be attending the Associations’ National Council on 2 May to discuss current drug related issues. Part 2 next week. By Peter T Cook (Courtesy of the NZ Harness Trainers & Drivers Association)

Master Lavros isn’t the only talented trotter that Mark Jones will take north early next month. He will also take exciting three-year-old trotter Eyre I Come, who joined his stable recently after his previous trainer, David Gaffaney, was bought out by prolific harness racing owners Merv & Meg Butterworth. “Grant Hatton, who owns horses with me including Saveapatrol, owns the other half and Merv & Meg have raced horses with me in the past, so the decision was made to send him to me with a North Island campaign in mind,” advised Jones, who helped Hatton select Eyre I Come at 2012 Premier Yearling Sale. “David Gaffaney has done a super job with him but I am hoping Mark (Jones) and beach training will be able to take him to the next level,” said Grant Hatton. Eyre I Come, who is by Majestic Son out of a race winning daughter of Landora’s Pride, has had four starts and the only time he got around safety he won impressively over handy trotter Trouble Rieu. However, his reputation is so big he started second favourite in the Sales Series Trot and fifth favourite in the NZ Trotting Derby despite his intractability. “Ricky is confident he would have been very competitive in the Derby had he not galloped after handing up the parked position,” said Hatton. Jones confirmed that the Great Northern Trotting Derby would be his main aim but said that he was also likely to start in the Sires Stakes Trotters Championship the week before. Meanwhile, Jones was very happy with the run of Master Lavros on Friday night as he progresses towards the $150,000 Rowe Cup. “He had to beat that field but I was very pleased with the way he did it,” said Jones. “He will miss the Anzac Cup next week, as I want to stick to standing starts with him, but he will start in the Greenlane Cup the week after,” he added. By Mitchell Robertson  

After finishing second in the race last year with Daenerys Targaryen, Trevor Casey and the All Stars team went one better this year with Arya, who was a narrow winner of the $25,000 Group 3 2YO Trotters Stakes at Addington last night. “We were a narrow second behind One Over Da Moon last year, so It was nice to go one better this year,” said the prominent owner-breeder. Arya, who is just the second New Zealand winner by champion sire Angus Hall, was given a nice run by Colin De Fillipi before being peeled out late to gun down his stablemate Prince Fearless, who was good in defeat, by the barest of margins. Speeding Spur was game in third after sitting parked, well favourite Monbet recovered well to finish fourth after making an uncharacteristic break. “I don’t think I mind this family,” quipped Colin De Filippi who trains and drives Arya’s Group One winning older brother Stent. Arya paid odds of $11.50; however Casey wasn’t overly surpised by the win. “She was always going to be better with a couple of runs under her belt, however I do feel she will be a better horse again next season,” he advised. “The whole family seem to get better with a bit of age. Stent had two starts as a two-year-old for two gallops so she is off to a better start than him,” he enthused. The two-year-old pacing event of the night was taken out impressively by the Cran Dalgety trained Art Union, while the All Stars pair of Assassinator and Icobar, who are both co-owned by Casey, finished in second and third. By Mitchell Robertson  

Even a break down on the way to the races couldn’t stop leading trainers’ Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen from dominating another Premier nights racing at Addington. “It wasn’t an ideal start to the night but things quickly came right,” laughed Natalie Rasmussen. “Luckily, Majestic Horse Floats were able to get all of our horses there on time,” she added. The All Stars team was then successful in five of the twelve races, with Adore Me’s victory in the $100,000 Group One Easter Cup the clear highlight. Driven superbly by stand in driver Blair Orange, the champion mare began well from her ten metre handicap and soon after looped the field to take up the front running position. She then enjoyed a nice run in the van before kicking strongly in the home straight to easily hold off a long sustained run from last year’s Easter Cup winner, Terror To Love. The All Stars’ Arden Rooney, who was driven by Natalie Rasmussen, finished a further nose away in third. “Tactics were always going to be crucial in a small horse field and after she began so well I decided to make the most of her ten metre advantage over Terror,” said driver Blair Orange. “She travelled right up on the bridle the whole way and never seemed in doubt. “She is definitely right up there with Auckland Reactor as the best horse I have driven,” he added. Adore Me, who is affectionately known as Ruby around the stables, became the first four-year-old mare ever to win the Easter Cup when winning the two mile feature in a mares record time of 3-59.9. Amazingly, it is the second record Adore Me has set in the space of a week after obliterating the 2600 metre standing start record last Friday. The Taylor Mile, where she will again be driven by Blair Orange, and the New Zealand Messenger in Auckland are now her upcoming targets. The other All Stars winners at Addington were Full Speed Ahead (Blair Orange), Arya, (Colin De Filippi) Rocknroll Arden (Blair Orange), and Tokohoka (Natalie Rasmussen), while Mark Purdon was successful aboard Supersonic Miss in the APG Semi Final in Sydney, giving the barn six winners for the night. By Mitchell Robertson

Ricky May says suggestions Terror To Love is vulnerable heading into tonight's Easter Cup are off the mark. Questions have been swirling this week after the champion reinsman gave the three-time New Zealand Trotting Cup winner a quiet time of it in a two-horse trial at Ashburton on Tuesday. But while some may ponder whether or not the run will have been enough to get Terror To Love in shape to defeat champion mare Adore Me in tonight's $100,000 Group I event, May is keeping his cool, calm attitude. "I've been driving at the trials at Ashburton for 30 years," May said yesterday. "I know what a hard run can do to a horse there when they are four or five days out from a race. There have been plenty who have set that track alight during the week only to fail at the weekend." Terror To Love was timed to run his 2400m heat in 3min 8sec - a sedate effort considering he went 2min and 54.9sec for the Ashburton Flying Stakes on the course, over the same distance, last October. To May the time is irrelevant. The most successful horseman in New Zealand Trotting Cup history with seven wins was impressed with how Terror To Love looked and felt. "I thought he looked fantastic, certainly not like a horse who hasn't raced for a while. I gave him a really strong preliminary before the heat too and he felt awesome. "You can never get a [true] line on him at the trials anyway, he knows when it's raceday and grows another leg. "I was really pleased with the trial, I definitely don't think we have too much to worry about other than Adore Me." Back at his favourite track and racing over his pet distance, Terror To Love will still be favoured by many to down Adore Me tonight. The pair clashed for the first time last month in the Auckland Cup at Alexandra Park and Terror To Love emerged on top after giving the brilliant mare six to seven lengths at the top of the straight and running her down. "I think we can beat her for speed. "I'd be a little more worried if we had to sit outside her and try and beat her though." Adore Me, too, has some question marks hanging over her head. She is backing up from a gruelling 2600m event last week in which she started off a 40m handicap and set the stop watches alight by smashing the New Zealand all-comers record while also going within a whisker of beating the national mobile record as well. Tonight will be the first time Adore Me races over the ultimate distance of 3200m. In her favour though is that it is likely the lead will be waiting for her whenever she decides to come forward, with stablemate Arden Rooney looking the most likely early pacemaker. Ad Feedback "I don't think we would get the lead if we went around and he [Arden Rooney] was in front. So it's going to be pretty tactical and moves in the race will be crucial." Terror To Love was last night rated a $1.70 favourite to win the Group I with Adore Me at $2.10. Both horses are likely to offer more on the tote tonight, although the value for Adore Me is sure to entice some punters. The TAB have already taken a $5000 bet on Terror To Love. May holds a strong hand in tonight's secondary feature - the Group III $25,000 New Zealand Trotting Stakes for two-year-olds. He will drive smart trotter Monbet for Greg and Nina Hope, who suffered defeat for the first time in his career at Rangiora when beaten by BD Love. ❏ Samantha Ottley became the first female to reach 100 career driving wins while a junior driver when she was victorious with Gogirl Bromac at Forbury Park on Thursday night. After a couple of weeks stuck on 99, the talented young driver, who hails from Orari in South Canterbury, finally broke the duck and notched up the ton to continue her remarkable fledgling career.. In her first raceday drive, Ottley was successful when Nigel Paul won at the Kurow meeting on her 18th birthday. Attached to the stable of Colin and Julie de Filippi, Ottley currently sits second on the national junior drivers' championship behind North Island horseman Sailesh Abernethy. By Matt Markham (Courtesy of The Press)            

Even a cold wet night at Forbury Park couldn’t put a dampener on Samantha Ottley’s 100th driving success. “I didn’t really care that it was a miserable night at Forbury I was just excited to get my 100th,” said the junior reinswoman. Ottley notched up her 100th victory aboard the Michael House trained Gogirl Bromac, who burst up the passing lane to win by a neck after being given a beautiful trip in the trail. By winning her 100th race, Ottley cements herself in the record books as the first female to drive 100 winners whilst still a junior driver. “I’d just like to thank all of the trainers and owners that have supporter me, especially my employers Colin and Julie DeFilippi. Without them I wouldn’t be where I am now,” she added. But it wasn’t just Ottley representing the girls with distinction at Forbury Park as Katie Cox also found herself in the spotlight. The young reinswoman, who has come along in leaps and bounds as a driver, notched up her first Group driving success when combining with the Tom Twiddle trained Woodlea Legend to win the Group Three 4 & 5YO Championship at odds of $48.20. Drivers with the surname Cox have now won the Forbury Park feature two years in a row, with Jonny (no relation), having taken out the race last year with Ballindooley. Meanwhile, superstar filly Venus Serena made light work of her rivals in the Nevele R Fillies heat despite sitting parked the journey. By Mitchell Robertson

Star pacers Venus Serena and Border Control will both compete in legs of the  Pick6 at Forbury Park tonight, meaning that you should only have to pick four winners to scoop a share of the $40,000 pool. The former, Venus Serena, who is first first-up since a staggering win in the Great Northern Oaks, would only need to race close to her best form to win the Nevele R Fillies heat, while Border Control, who was a game second behind Adore Me in record time last start, should claim glory in the 4 & 5YO Championship despite his 20 metre handicap. Other features on the Forbury Park card include a heat of the Sires Stakes for two-year-old fillies which will see impressive debut winner Katy Perry go head-to-head with the well-backed Du Vella, while speedy filly Democrat Party will do battle with capable three-year-old filly Millie Sampson in the second race at Cambridge. Suggested Forbury Park Pick6: Leg 1: 2, 3, 7 Leg 2:  7 (Venus Serena) Leg 3: 1, 3, 7, 11 Leg 4: 9 (Border Control) Leg 5: 2, 3, 4, 8, 9 Leg 6: 2, 3, 6, 7 $50 = $40% By Mitchell Robertson    

Last week the ring-around produced five winners including my each-way bet of the week Dream Gal, which bolted in at odds of $6 and $1.80. Others to tip out winners included Mark Jones, Steve Richardson (TAB), Todd Mitchell, Matt Williamson, and Tim Williams. Let’s see what good oil we can dig up this week. Cambridge - Thursday Todd Mitchell: Has opted for unbeaten juvenile trotter The Driving God - race five. Scott Phelan: Thinks Seven Blue Chips can make the most of his ace alley in race number six. Stephen Richardson (T.A.B): Expects Thomas McBride to prove very hard to beat in the seventh race on the card. Simon Lawson: Has opted for Ton Tine as his Harnesslink Bet of the Week – race nine. Forbury - Thursday Nathan Williamson: Thinks the very consistent Nickelson will get some money in race three. Ricky May: Is very bullish about the chances of Pay Me Sush in the sixth race on the card. John Dunn: Has opted for Graduate Under Fire, who has been in brilliant form of late. He looks well placed in race number seven. Gavin Smith: Thinks Vincennes looks well suited to the short 1200 metre sprint distance in race nine on the card. Terry Chmiel: Expects Moondyne Joe, who was in need of a run when third in a good field last start at Addington, to prove too good - race eleven. Blair Orange & Mark Jones: Have both opted for Strike On Command, who is unbeaten from two appearances at Forbury Park - race twelve. Jonny Cox:  Rates Sara Holley, who has drawn well for Thursday’s assignment, as a very good each-way bet. She also competes in the last race on the card. Tim Williams: Has added to the puzzle by tipping Bobbie McArdle in race twelve. Trifecta perhaps? Addington - Saturday Josh Dickie: Was impressed with how Speeding Spur trialled on Monday and expects him to highly competitive in the Two-year-old Trotting Stakes - race four. Anthony Butt:  Has opted for impressive two-year-old trialist Curlimore, who looks a great chance from a good alley in race number six. Matthew Williamson: Expects Zhenya to appreciate the drop back in class in race number seven. Craig Thornley: Thinks Given only needs to trot to be competitive - race eleven. Ken Barron: Was very pleased with Pacquiao last start and expects him to prove very hard to beat in the last race on the card. Mitchell Robertson (Harnesslink): Best Bet: Snooki – Hawera (Saturday), race three. Each-way: Prince Fearless – Addington (Saturday), race four. Curlimore  - Addington (Saturday), race five Value: Dark Side  - Forbury Park (Thursday), race five.

1 to 16 of 14730
1 2 3 4 5 Next »