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The NZ Oaks was won easily in the end but it might well have been won at the beginning. Natalie, in superb form with three Group wins from three drives, thought so when she was able to swing in from three wide and get in front of Belle of Montana. But her decision to improve in the middle stages to take the front while the sectionals were a little relaxed was the key to an easy win. “She felt good and I though I will be off and make the ones most likely work to beat her. She never really felt like she would be beaten in the run home. A great filly and she was on her game tonight” The win heightened the 3yo Filly of the Year award contest which Belle of Montana looked to have a lead after the Nevele R last week. Now it is likely to come down to the Harness Jewels in two weeks. Princess Tiffany ran close 3.08 for the 2600m breaking by close to a second the record set by Spanish Armada two years ago. She continued a great run for owners Phil and Margaret Creighton and Braeden and Caroline Whitelock who separately set new records on the night. One aspect of that was that the Whitelocks Kayla Marie completed a “double second” chasing Belle of Montana home in the Nevele R Final and Princess Tiffany in the NZ Oaks. Bubbled Up again looked a little off her peak finishing midfield after having enjoyed a nice run The Oaks win by Princess Tiffany “It seems surreal -but its actually real” -that sum up by Mike Woodlock co-owner of One Change with Trevor Casey and All Stars, seemed to sum up the remarkable rise of the two year old with his five for five win in the $170,000 Sires Stakes Final at Addington. As for Trevor tears came to his eyes as he remembered his long time partner, the late Neil Pilcher, an original owner of the youngster after he was passed in as a yearling for $20,000 Bought post sale by the stable for $30,000, Neil’s share was taken up by All Stars on his death and Mike, a retired teacher at St Andrews College who helps out at All Stars, was offered a share. He had previously raced a horse successfully with “Pilch”. As chief admirer and handler Ashleigh said “the dream continues” after One Change, looking headed by Flying Even Bettor close to the post kicked back to win. Natalie had given him the run of the race but said afterward it went “nothing like I expected” “I didn’t know how much gate speed he had because he hasn’t be used out of the gate previously. But he had it and we got the break. I wasn’t sure we’d won. Flying Even Bettor, which went a terrific race came back at us and I wasn’t confident at all” One Change has now won over $200,000 not a bad return on his yearling price. He now heads to the Jewels and possibly the Breeders Crown in August if all goes well in the interim. “He’s done nothing wrong and shown he has the early speed as well” Mark said “Smooth Deal was disappointing and he will come out of the Jewels on that run. He is going backwards when he should be going forward” His recovery rate raised questions as well, Natalie said later. But Amazing Dream compensated Bill and Jean Feiss handsomely with an impressive win in the rich PGG Wrightson Sales Final. Natalie wasn’t afraid to use her ability to get handy and then lead and she held on gamely to win well. “She’s a good filly and she is improving. She has always been game but she has a bit of speed too which I used tonight. That was a top effort from her really” Meanwhile even Mark was somewhat taken aback with the ease of Winterfell’s win the FFA Trot which guaranteed him a start in the Jewels. “Really he won that easily and while I expected a top run I didn’t think it would be that easy” Mark said of the big trotter who has hit peak at the right time.   Courtesy of All Stars Racing Stables

The New Zealand Oaks may have had an Australian flavour to it, however the New Zealand undertones to the success are prominent throughout. Australian breeder George Tennent was at Addington having travelled from Victoria to watch his pride and joy take on the best fillies in New Zealand on Friday night, and his recipe for success is one of many highs and lows. George bred Shez All Rock after eying up her mother at the New Zealand Yearling sales in 2011. “I bought the mare Irish Loch at the Yearling Sales where I had up to six people check her over and nobody could fault her," he said. “Murtel McCarthy told the people I had inspecting the filly she was looking for a huge amount which had me worried, but I managed to pick her up for $11,500. “And then the Earthquake happened, and I was thrown to the ground and had never experienced anything like it before!” “I’d been doing research on a filly that had been racing with Hamish Hunter and he had a horse called Timely Loch and I’d seen her race a bit. Next thing I see the sale book over there and here’s Irish Loch." Irish Loch is the Mach Three dam of Shez All Rock and was out of the lightly tried Falcon Seelster mare, Lady Loch. While the Mach Three/Falcon Seelster cross was lightly tried at the time, it would go on to produce the likes of Fly like An Eagle, Fiery Falcon and Venus Serena. Timely Loch (Christian Cullen) was easily the best of the Lady Loch foals who were seven fillies no less. Timely Loch would win three races for Hamish Hunter and one for Michael House before racing in New South Wales and retiring with 12 wins to her name. The irony and good fortune for her owners is she has just this season left her first foal, a colt by Rock N Roll Heaven no less but we come back to them shortly via the Shez All Rock purchase! There had been a slew of good horses come out the family and you don’t have to look much further then Shez All Rock’s fifth dam Heatherloch (Lumber Dream) who was an honest mare that won six races. She was sold by Roydon Lodge at a dispersal sale after failing to set the world alight as a broodmare, but that would soon change. She was sold with a Yankee Reb colt at foot whose deeds among her other progeny would credit her with New Zealand Broodmare of the Year in 1989. Yankee Loch (Yankee Reb colt sold at foot with mare) was the only trotting bred foal from the mare but he would win the Rowe Cup, Interdominion Trotting Final and New Zealand Trotter of the Year in the same season his mother was awarded Broodmare of the Year. Other good performers from the maternal family included Scottish Loch, Patches, Global Force and Black Loch who was injured after winning the Sapling Stakes and prematurely being retired from racing. While it was a solid family, it wasn’t a great one given the number of foals that were bred and the top sires many of them were by. However, patience was eventually rewarded for those that have persisted with the family. Tennent unfortunately never got the opportunity to try his acquisition as a racehorse after taking her home to Victoria. “I should have left her in New Zealand with Ernie Knight to be broken in but I made a big mistake before bringing her back to Australia," he said. "Usually I do a lot of research with the people I send my horses to be educated with. But someone told me to send it to such and such and it was the biggest mistake I ever made because they wrecked the filly before she could even get started and she never recovered. “I tried with various trainers to correct her issues and bad habits but a Mach Three filly who had that much speed was never to recover from being broken in poorly. She never even qualified. She has developed into a beautiful mare but you move on and we made the decision to breed from her. “I then had contact with a man in South Australia called Robert O’Court who does breeding analysis and sets up the bloodlines, and he reckoned Rock N Roll Heaven was the one. “She was prepared for the sales and she had only had a few people inspect her over the three days the sales were on. "Frustratingly she went for only 12,500. It was disappointing because other ones we had bred were averaging around $30k, and I guess she was quite small and I’m not sure if the white blaze on her face put people off. “She’s missed at stud and slipped at stud, but is safely in foal to Pet Rock this season,” he said. Pet Rock currently sits fourth on the USA 3 year old sires list and stood his first season at stud in New Zealand this year. “When we sell our yearlings, sometimes my wife will say kiss er goodbye because they can go to the wrong people. “But Mark Pitt whose a lovely fella and we get on well, he purchased the filly even though a lot of people were trying to turn him off buying her. But his family are part of a very famous harness family in New South Wales called the Dieberts, and they purchased Timely loch, and that’s where the connection come up. “They knew all about the family and originally Timely Loch was trained by Hamish Hunter down south where she broke down. Somehow or another Timely Loch ended up in Michael House’s care and he was able to get her to win in a very fast time at Ashburton over a mile (1:55.5) and sold her to the Dieberts. Shez All Rock must have shown some ability because they sent her to Rock N Roll Heaven,” he said. “They had a few problems breaking her in I believe but I got a call some months later asking me if there any more progeny out of the mare which in hindsight tells you she might have been a bit special." Shez All Rock was looking to join a very select list of fillies to complete the New Zealand, Victorian and new South Wales Oaks on Friday night. Dream About Me, Fight For Glory, Copper Beach and Pullover Brown have pulled off the Victorian/NZ Oaks double in recent years and Elect To Live and Under Cover Lover had done the NSW/NZ Oaks double. Only Bonnie Frost in 1970 had ever done the three-peat showing just how remarkable the accomplishment is. “Mark Pitt called me on Friday before the Oaks and told me that Mark was happy with how she was working. And it was such a thrill to travel over and watch her win the New Zealand Oaks from the birdcage. The hospitality we experienced was unbelievable and you people treated me like royalty it was just remarkable. “When she won the Victorian Oaks there was only one board member present and there wasn’t even an official presentation,” he said. The filly with a blaze Sweet Lou would be proud of was hard to miss as she made her way around Addington in the green Harness Jewels colours, and even harder to miss were the tears of joy in Tennent's eyes as he tried to take it all in. It is what we breed horses for and the emotion and buzz from seeing your stock win races like that is not a thrill you can get from a bottle. Tennent says the mare will be mated this season with Art Major as it is a cross he is keen to try before the stallion retires. “There is plenty of time to go back to Rock N Roll Heaven,” he joked. Whoever Irish loch is served by, you can bet George Tennent who is a seller of his stock will do better than the $12,000 he got for her first foal when he takes the next one to the sales! This article featured in the Breeders Update, click here to read the most recent issue: https://goo.gl/oG7S8N Click here to subscribe: https://goo.gl/qDyGev   Courtesy of Brad Reid NZ Standardbred Breeders Association  

The New Zealand Oaks may have had some Australian flavour too it, but the breeding story had a New Zealand recipe! Shez All Rock's dam was an $11,500 purchase moments before the 2011 Canterbury Earthquake at the PGG Wrightson Ltd Yearling Sales. George Tennent of Victoria (pictured left) discussed his tale of breeding the first filly since 1970 to win the New Zealand, Victorian & NSW Oaks. Read about here in our 50th edition of Breeders Update: https://goo.gl/oG7S8N   Courtesy of Brad Reid NZ Standardbred Breeders Association

Speedy Australian 3yo harness racing filly Shez All Rock has crushed the opposition in the $150,000 (Gr1) NZ Oaks in what was her first New Zealand start at Addington raceway tonight. Co-trainer and driver Mark Purdon settled Shez All Rock back beyond midfield early in the race before looping the field to lead with 800m to go and then easily holding the rest of the field off up the straight. In the end Shez All Rock won untouched by more than two lengths despite a skip and a gallop just after the line. Purdon was rapt with the win saying she would improve a lot after tonights run. "I wasn't sure what to expect tonight but she delivered and delivered stylishly. "When we were travelling so well in the race and when I let her down a bit turning for home, I knew nothing would come off her back and beat her," he said after the race.  The race favourite Elle Mac was game in defeat running second and Bettor Trix was just as good in third, making it an All Stars trifecta in the race. Shez All Rock (Rock N Roll Heaven - Irish Loch) paced the 2600m mobile in 3-11.0, with a closing 800m in 56.7 and 400m in 26.9 seconds.  Harnesslink Media  

The best horse trained in New Zealand most punters have never heard of faces a daunting Kiwi debut at Addington tonight. Dual Oaks winner Shez All Rock not only has to overcome a second line draw in the $150,000 New Zealand Oaks but her new, red hot stablemate Elle Mac. Shez All Rock might ring a few bells with the keener New Zealand harness racing fans but to many she will be a new name. But there is no doubting her class. She has won seven of her eight starts including the NSW and Victoria Oaks, the two strongest pacing fillies classics in Australia when trained there, so she arrives here already established as the real deal. Shez All Rock is here for a two-race campaign, tonight and the Jewels at Cambridge on June 2, and has joined the All Stars stable after being purchased by clients of former Kiwi trainer Chris Ryder. But she has come a long way to find a horse right next door in the stabling block as her main danger and trainer Mark Purdon admits the cards are in Elle Mac's favour tonight. "Shez All Rock is a very good filly, no doubt about that, so we are stoked to get her, even if she isn't here for that long," said Purdon. "But she is still settling in and she is very much used to the Australian style of racing, where often they go hard the whole way, and because of that she really likes to run. "Whereas our fillies are more used to distance racing and the more relaxed style over here so, with them both drawn the second line this week, you have to think Elle Mac has the advantage. "She is on her home track, has won the Northern Oaks over 2700m and has obviously been with us from day one. "So I am not saying she is the better filly, I guess we will find that out over the next month, but Elle Mac has a lot more in her favour this week." Elle Mac smashed most of her rivals tonight in last week's 1950m Nevele R Final and looks even better suited to 2600m so it is hard to make a case to bet against her, no matter how good Shez All Rock is. Although she will be short odds a Purdon-Rasmussen win in tonight's richest race looks all but a certainty. They have the four favourites in the $170,000 Sires' Stakes Final and Another Masterpiece deserves favouritism for an array of reasons. He has been a constant improver at the highest level, has gate speed and the draw to use it and will only need to perform to the level he did in the Sales Series Pace two weeks ago to go close to winning again. Stablemate Jessie Duke should be fitter for his second in that race while War Dan Delight is something of the forgotten horse in the stable's juvenile bunch. He suffered a virus last month and is still on the way back up but Purdon says on raw ability he rates alongside the two favourites. "They are all very similar but Another Masterpiece is the one who has the form on the board at the moment and the draw. "But if War Dan Delight sits on his back he might run him close." Later in the night, northern trotter Paramount King looks perfectly placed in the $70,000 Sales Series Trot with many of the stars of that grade missing. By Michael Guerin Courtesy of The New Zealand Herald

After sustaining payments were taken recently, we are delighted that 25 top class 3YO pacing fillies remain in contention for the Group One $150,000 The Breeders FastTrack NZ Oaks to be held at Addington on Friday 18 May.   Nominations include all leading New Zealand based fillies, headed up by Elle Mac, Bettor Joy and Dizzy Miss Lizzy.   Our leading fillies will have a strong Australian challenge this year with exciting fillies Shez All Rock and Soho Burning Love looking very likely to make the trip.    There has been a late nomination for Southland based, filly Betterthanbrie.   The updated fixed odds prices (NZ Dollars) is available on https://www.tab.co.nz/racing/#1970   For full details on the breakdown of stakes and conditions, please visit addington.co.nz/racing/promotions-incentives/.   Nominations include:   Anytime Betterthanbrie Bettor Joy Bettor Trix Bridesdale Robyn Chitura Come Dance With Me De Lancome Delight In Me Dibaba Dizzy Miss Lizzy Elle Mac Feel The Money Gold Orchid Jenora Kensington Kate Lilac Star Miss You Raksbet Reklaws Gem Samskara Shebang Shez All Rock (AUS) Soho Burning Love (AUS) With The Band   HRNZ

Nominations have recently closed for the harness racing 2018 Group One $150,000 The Breeders FastTrack New Zealand Oaks which will be held on 18 May.   A very pleasing number of 37 pacing fillies have been nominated.   It is also fantastic to see two Australian entries; Soho Burning Love (Auckland Reactor) and Shez All Rock (Rock N Roll Heaven) amongst the nominations.   Their current fixed odds prices (NZ Dollars) will be released by the TAB early next week.   Please note sustaining fee is due on Wednesday, 18 April 2018 at 3pm (NZ time).   For full details on the breakdown of stakes and conditions, please click here..    Alternatively, please call Addington’s Racing Department on 03 338 9094.   Alfie Romeo - Washington VC Anytime - Bettor's Delight Bardot - Stunin Cullen Be Mine Tonight - Changeover Bettor Joy - Bettor's Delight Bettor Trix - Bettor's Delight Bridesdale Robyn - Christian Cullen Change Is Good - Changeover Chitura - Changeover Come Dance With Me - Bettor's Delight De Lancome - Bettor's Delight Delight In Me - Bettor's Delight Dibaba - Shadow Play Dizzy Miss Lizzy - Changeover Elle Mac - Bettor's Delight Feel The Money - Bettor's Delight Gold Orchid - Bettor's Delight Gooddealehemily - American Ideal Immortal Change - Changeover Jenora - Mister Big Kensington Kate - Bettor's Delight Lilac Star - Mach Three Machitelli - Mach Three Miss Big - Mister Big Miss You - Betterthancheddar Nemera Franco - Bettor's Delight Nimah Franco - Tintin In America Onedin Reign - Sir Lincoln Raksbet - Bettor's Delight Reklaw's Gem - Christian Cullen Samskara - Christian Cullen Shebang - Mach Three Shez All Rock (AUS) - Rock N Roll Heaven Smoke N Reactor - Auckland Reactor Soho Burning Love (AUS) - Auckland Reactor Sweet Mary - Always A Virgin With The Band - Changeover   Keryn McElroy

14 March 2018 - We are excited to announce that not only are the nominations now open for the New Zealand Oaks, but there is a new co-sponsor associated with this harness racing time-honoured fillies race.        “We are thrilled to welcome FastTrack Insurance to co-sponsor the NZ Oaks with The Breeders” says Addington’s Chief Executive Peter Jensen.  “This prestigious race is the ultimate fillies race that all breeders aspires to win.  With nominations now open, the countdown is on to find New Zealand’s 3YO pacing filly for season 2017-18.  We are looking forward to Friday 18 May with much anticipation, to see who will win The Breeders FastTrack New Zealand Oaks.”  John Mooney, the chair of the NZSBA states; “We are particularly pleased with FastTrack’s sponsorship of The NZ Oaks. We have developed a close and effective working relationship with David Archer and the FastTrack Insurance Team, and we are looking forward to it continuing.” “The FastTrack concept brings tangible benefits to racing throughout this country” says FastTrack Insurance Chief Executive David Archer. “If you sign up with FastTrack Insurance, an agreed portion of your premium goes directly to your local Racing Club - or the national prize money pool, it is as simple as that”. The Breeders FastTrack New Zealand Oaks - $150,000 – Group 1 on 18 May 2018 Initial nomination fee due    Wednesday 21 March 2018 3.00pm (NZ time)        $86.25 First late nomination fee due  Wednesday 18 April 2018 3.00pm (NZ time)             $862.50 Sustaining fee due                Wednesday 18 April 2018 3.00pm (NZ time)          $258.75  Final late nomination fee due  Monday 14 May 2018 1.00pm (NZ time)                   $4,312.50 Starting fee                                                                                                                $2,415.00 Nominations close on Wednesday 21 March 2018 at 3.00pm. All fees are including GST. All fees above are included in the total stakes pay out. The fixed odds markets will be available shortly after nominations close. For full details on the breakdown of stakes and conditions please call Addington’s Racing Department on 03 338 9094, or alternatively, please visit http://www.addington.co.nz/racing/promotions-incentives/. For further details and to enquire about FastTrack Insurance, please visit https://www.fasttrackinsurance.co.nz/. For more information about The Breeders, please visit; http://www.harnessracing.co.nz/.

Natalie Rasmussen’s reserved, but powerful, raise of the fist at the end of last night’s New Zealand Oaks at Addington was a salute to a filly who she is fast considering to be one of her favourite horses of all time. Naturally, nothing will ever quite measure up to the legendary Black’s A Fake, but if you asked the 16-time New Zealand Group One winning driver who was next, Spanish Armada’s name would be right up there. “I’ve just got so much time for this horse,” Rasmussen said. “She’s everything you could ask for in a horse really, she’s one of my most favourite horses at the moment.” With brimming confidence and a strong knowledge of what was going on around her, Rasmussen was on a one-way mission in the $150,000 Group One last night and was never going to back down from the challenge of starting off the second row and having to work her way into the race. “I just had so much faith in her, and what she is capable of. “Her work during the week was exceptional I thought and she really felt on top of her game so I knew we were good to go heading into the race. “The circumstances worked out alright, but she did have to work quite a few times in the race in tricky conditions. “But her staying ability was always going to be her best asset and it showed with the way she really kept at it the entire way to the line.” Despite the inclement weather, Spanish Armada still managed to stop the clock in a staggering 3:09.1, obliterating the previous best mark for a three-year-old filly in a 2600 metre mobile, which was held by De Lovely from when we won the Oaks in 3:10.9 back in 2010. It was another magical moment for Jean Feiss, who has enjoyed a stellar run over the past few seasons. And that fun hasn’t stopped. The Harness Jewels are the next stop on the path to greatness for Spanish Armada and based on her performances over the past two weeks, she’s going to be the one they all have to beat again over the mile at Ashburton. Bonnie Joan was a gallant second, beaten by a superstar, after doing plenty of work. “She’s gone great, as good as she could have really,” Dexter Dunn said of his drive. Upmost Delight emerged from the pack to run a strong third and earn herself a Jewels berth while Mark Purdon was simply beaming at the effort of Partyon who ran on strongly from well back in the field for fourth. Purdon, less than 45 minutes earlier, had been tasting big race success himself as a driver when he partnered Spankem to win the Sires’ Stakes Final for the two-year-olds. The Jewels leader in the Emerald, Spankem enjoyed a nice trip just off the speed before unleashing to win effortlessly. “He deserved that big one,” Purdon said after the race. “And with that run he was always going to be very hard to beat I thought. “He’s quite an exceptional horse.” Spankem is owned by the same connections who enjoyed the win of The Devil’s Own in last week’s Yearling Sales Series Final, capping a big week for the group who will now look forward to the Jewels with both horses.   Matt Markham  

Dexter Dunn is ready to declare war on the All Stars in the two richest races at Addington tonight - but only one of them by choice. Dunn pilots both Alta Maestro in the $170,000 Sires' Stakes Final and Bonnie Joan in the $150,000 NZ Oaks and is adamant he will be leading and not handing up to his favoured Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen-trained rivals. And if that means he goes down fighting, so be it says Dunn. "I think if I hand up to either Spankem [Sires' Stakes] or Spanish Armada [Oaks] I am probably conceding defeat," Dunn told the Herald. "They are both good front runners with gate speed so I might as well use that advantage. "So the plan is definitely to stay in front of both and I think they can both win, even though the All Stars are very hard to beat at the premiers," he said. Dunn says his tactics on Bonnie Joan are borne out of confidence gained in recent weeks, whereas with Alta Maestro the big colt probably gets the final say. "I am not sure I could hand up on him," admits Dunn. "He is a hard-charging horse and I don't really see him as a horse I could hand up on. He will get to the front and keep rolling and he rated 1:52.4 for the 1950m last week so I don't think he will need to go a lot quicker. "It probably just depends what sort of run Spankem gets whether he can beat us or not." Spankem has looked the best of the juvenile crop but not by much and if he has to come from further back than the one-one to run down Alta Maestro it will be a huge challenge. The Devil's Own looks the only other serious winning chance. The Oaks has a two-horse war look to it after the scratching of Delightful Memphis, with Spanish Armada clearly superior in the Nevele R Final last Friday but Bonnie Joan outstanding in second. Tonight Bonnie Joan looks a certain leader which suggests Spanish Armada will have to sit parked outside her to win, a place very few Oaks are won from. With NSW and Northern Oaks winner Partyon underperforming last Friday, punters could easily make a small percentage profit by backing both Spanish Armada (book) and Bonnie Joan (tote) as it's hard to imagine that one of the two won't win. On a stellar night of harness racing, Enghien looks the best multi anchor, albeit adding only 20 per cent to your dividend. One Muscle Hill is starting to get his manners right so appeals in the juvenile trot where the value comes in the form of the little pro Renezmae and talented but erratic Majestic Man. Even a bad draw shouldn't stop Elle Mac in the $150,000 Fillies Sales Series while the race of the night might be the main trot, with four serious four-year-old Jewels contenders up against the find of the season in Habibti Ivy. The All Stars favour Cash N Flow over Waikiki Beach in the Winter Cup, while Let It Ride is the one to beat in the Sires' Stakes Sophomore. Michael Guerin Friday night fancies • Multi Anchor: Enghien (Addington, R3) Manners are spot on and should add 20 per cent to your multi bet. • Going places: Cash N Flow (Addington, R6): Beat The Orange Agent two starts ago so can down open classers again. • Manners: Majestic Man (Addington, R5): Can do things wrong but might have the biggest motor in this field. - NZ Herald Read more by Michael Guerin  Email Michael Guerin

Cran Dalgety expected Bonnie Joan to run in the top three of last week’s Nevele R Fillies Final, but the manner in which she produced the performance to dead-heat for second, left even the usually collected Dalgety suitably impressed. Off a second line draw the Southland Oaks winner was fantastic in defeat, working hard to get outside the leader before applying the pressure inside the final 600 metres. “It was a huge performance,” Dalgety said. “I expected her to run a big race, but even that exceeded my expectations and probably justified the opinion I have of her in some ways too.” The Somebeachsomewhere filly who has now won seven of her 12 career appearances gets her chance to go one better this week in the Group One $150,000 New Zealand Oaks, where instead of being handicapped by the barrier draw like she was last week, she’s now firmly in the box seat to make the play if her driver Dexter Dunn should choose to do so. Even more pleasing for Dalgety this week however than the front line barrier draw has been the manner in which Bonnie Joan has come through last week’s assignment with flying colours. “Dare I say it that she’s actually improved off the run which is quite encouraging from my perspective. “She was bright and bubbly the next day and has really been good in her work this week so hopefully we are that little bit better again this week because we know we will have to be.” With her good draw, the expectation is that Dunn might light the speedy filly up early to win the race to the markers and with Dunn’s knack of producing huge front-running drives in big races, an attempted all of the way performance isn’t out of the question. Bookmakers have reacted to the performance of Bonnie Joan by enlisting her a $2.60 favourite behind last week’s Nevele R Fillies winner, Spanish Armada ($2.30) in their early markets. They are the only two horses dominating the betting with the third line being held by Partyon who has the outside of the front line barrier draw of nine to contend with if she is to become a Northern and New Zealand Oaks winner.   Matt Markham

Second withdrawals closed recently for the Group One $150,000 The Breeders NZ Pacing Oaks which will be held at Addington on Friday, 19 May.   14 Fillies remain in contention for this time honoured event, headlined by Partyon, Spanish Armada and the impressive winner of the Southland Oaks Bonnie Joan. The Australian filly Petacular was a notable withdrawal having gone to the spelling paddock.   Their current fixed odds prices (NZ Dollars) are outlined below and can be viewed at   https://www.tab.co.nz/racing/#975     A total of seven Group and Listed Races will be held on this evening with just under $600,000 in stakes on offer.     KERYN MCELROY BUSINESS & MARKETING MANAGER  

Harness racing nominations have recently closed for the 2017 The Breeders NZ Pacing Oaks. 35 pacing fillies have been nominated, including Petacular from Australia who was runner up to the unbeaten Partyon in last Saturday night’s NSW Oaks. Their current fixed odds prices (NZ Dollars) will be released by the TAB early next week. Please note first withdrawals (sustaining fee) are due on Wednesday, 29 March 2017 at 3pm (NZ time). For full details on the breakdown of stakes, conditions, and the nomination form, please visit addington.co.nz/racing/promotions-incentives/. Alternatively, please call Addington’s Racing Department on 03 338 9094.   KERYN MCELROY BUSINESS & MARKETING MANAGER

Mark Purdon is warning punters Dream About Me is no certainty at the Harness Jewels. The winner of 14 races from just 15 starts has been crunched into $1.35 favouritism in the pre-barrier market for the three-year-old Diamond, following her almost unbelievable win in the Group I New Zealand Oaks on Saturday. Purdon, who co-trains the Bettor's Delight filly with Natalie Rasmussen, said the win was easily a career-best performance at Addington Raceway but believes the barrier draws will play a key role in the Group I Jewels on June 4. Dream About Me's form in the Oaks is leading to comparisons with Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen's 2014 New Zealand Trotting Cup winner Adore Me.  And if the winner of more than $750,000 in stakes does draw poorly, Purdon is rejecting speculation that she only has to line up to win. "I wouldn't say that over a mile at Cambridge. The draws will be crucial and the other two fillies (Golden Goddess and Piccadilly Princes) are very good to so you wouldn't want to have too much bad luck," he said. Purdon and Rasmussen along with Dream About Me's owners will not be drawn into a decision on heading across the Tasman for the Breeders Crown until the Jewels are out of the way. "We'll probably make final decisions after the Jewels. "She's had a great season and there are the mares' races for next year so it will come down to whether we go that way (Breeders Crown) or set her for those mares' races here nest season," Purdon said. Dream About Me settled second to last in Saturday's Oaks from her second line draw but with around 1500m to run Purdon was on the move around the field, three wide without cover. It took the pair more than half a lap to get to the breeze in driving rain and windy conditions and Purdon admitted after the race he was questioning whether the filly had enough left in the tank to finish off the 2600m trip. "I thought it would come down to a dour sort of stayers' race and the last furlong would be down to the survival of the toughest and thankfully it turned out she was the toughest." Purdon was helped by the tiring Amazon Lily giving him the opportunity to duck into the trail behind leader Golden Goddess before taking an inside run to win by half a length. "She's just exceptional," Purdon said of Dream About Me. Golden Goddess is a $3.40 chance for the Jewels with the third All Stars stablemate Piccadilly Princess ($6) the only other runner in single figures. The All Stars stable trained the trifecta in the Sires Stakes for two-year-old colts and geldings with More The Better again edging stablemate Pacing Major. More The Better is a $1.80 favourite for the two-year-old Emerald at the Harness Jewels with Pacing Major at $2.50. Titan Banner, a newcomer to the Purdon and Rasmussen stable, has moved into a $2.50 second favourite for the four-year-old Emerald following his upset win over Christen Me in the Winter Cup. Christen Me did start 20m behind Titan Banner, formerly trained by Graeme Anderson, and only went down by a neck. Field Marshal, who is recovering well following a bout of colic last Tuesday, remains Emerald favourite at $1.65.     Purdon and Rasmussen trained six of the 12 winners at Addington with Bettor Be Gold, The Manipulator and Heaven Rocks joining the three feature winners. Purdon drove five winners with Rasmussen picking up one. The All Stars stable then picked up a Group II placing at Menangle when High Gait finished second in the New South Wales Trotting Oaks on Saturday night. Meanwhile, Purdon's son Nathan picked up his first training win on Saturday night when Ohoka Punter, formerly trained by Tony Herlihy, won his the first start of his Queensland campaign. Mat Kermeen

With the big names falling out of contention for 4-year-old Diamond, Harness racing trainer ​Mark Jones believes Rocker Band is now a winning chance at the Harness Jewels - but there is a downside. The withdrawals of last year's three-year-old Diamond winner The Orange Agent (injured), Fight For Glory (retired), Start Dreaming (injured) and then Australian invite Arms Of An Angel (virus), there is no dominant favourite. Now the most open of the nine divisions, Jones knows there is probably eight or nine other trainers sharing his confidence.  Better B Amazed ($3.60), Expressive Victor ($4.20), Democrat Party ($4.60) and On The Town are the main pre-barrier draw hopes with Rocker Band at $9.50. Jones believes the draws with be crucial. "The second line wouldn't be too bad but we wouldn't want to draw wide as you need to be handy at Cambridge. "With her (Arms Of An Angel) coming out it's probably opened it up for eight or nine horses so it could be very even," Jones said. Sunday's Oamaru meeting is the last chance for potential Jewels runners to increase their season's stake money to qualify into the fields. The race has become much more of a priority to Jones and Rocker Band's owner Greg Brodie because of the defections of so many leading chances. Rocker Band, the daughter of Rocknroll Hanover and 2005 New Zealand Cup winner Mainland Banner, has been progressing nicely since her last-start 12th in the Group I Breeders Stakes on April 1, when she raced keenly for a good chunk of the 2600m trip. "Her record over a mile is pretty good and she's a speed horse," Jones said. Rocker Band's recent Rangiora Workout win Meanwhile, Tim Butt is a relieved man following duel Group I winner Field Marshal's recovery from a minor bout of colic on Tuesday. The Taylor Mile and Messenger winner was brilliant in his Auckland campaign and is a $1.55 favourite for the 4-year-old Emerald at the Jewels. Butt said you can never take anything for granted in the racing game and colic was an occupational hazard with horses but he was confident the minor setback was now behind the winner of eight of his last 10 races and 14 from 25 overall. "He'll just take it quietly for a couple of days but we kept the work into him after Auckland so that will help him," Butt said. Missing the Jewels would have been tough for Butt and owners Syd and Shona Brown, who bred the Art Major entire out of their outstanding race mare Foreal, because he missed much of his three-year-old season following a wind operation. Pre-barrier draw, Field Marshal looks the horse to beat but newcomer to the All Stars barn, Titan Banner, has been backed into $3.40.     "On form he looks like the best horse in the race but you still need a bit of luck in those big races." The All Stars stable looks to have both Group I features at Addington on Saturday in the bag with favourites in the New Zealand Oaks and 2-year-old Sires Stakes for colts and geldings. The All Stars barn of Mark Purdon​ and Natalie Rasmussen also looks likely to pick up a win across the Tasman to round out the day when High Gait, who will be driven by Darren Hancock, contests the Group II New South Wales Trotting Oaks. Christen Me should have enough class to win the Winter Cup (3200m) off 30m but front-markers New Years Jay and Titan Banner (off 10m) will make him work. Mat Kermeen

Nek Time has done everything to justify her booming reputation but will need to go to the next level at Addington on Saturday. The smart filly gets her first Harness Racing Group I start of the season in the New Zealand Oaks when she takes on the All Stars star trio. Co-trainers Terry and Glenys Chmiel knew there was something special about Nek Time from the time she walked into their Leeston stable but the Group II Southland Oaks and Listed Harness 5000 winner faces her toughest test of the season in the Oaks. This season Nek Time has been cutting out times and performances the Chmiels always knew she was capable but the Mark Purdon​​ and Natalie Rasmussen-trained trio of Dream About Me, Golden Goddess and Piccadilly Princess, who made up the trifecta in last Saturday's Group I Nevele R final, are a much tougher prospect. Drawing barrier 13 has not stopped bookmakers opening Dream About Me a $1.75 favourite with Golden Goddess (barrier two) at $2.60 and Piccadilly Princess (barrier 12) $5.50. "They do look like exceptional fillies and will take a power of beating," Terry Chmiel said. Nek Time, who did not race in the Nevele R, is a $26 chance from her outside draw of barrier eight. "If we could run in the top five from that draw we would be over the moon." But there is some cause for confidence that Nek Time could be the biggest danger to a All Stars trifecta. The Gotta Go Cullect​ filly, who races in the colours of owners Robert and Sharyn Symon, has not been sighted on race day since her Southland Oaks win (April 17) but has been active at the trials. "Her last two trials have been really good and her works been very consistent," Chmiel said. In her most recent trial on at Motukarara (May 9), Nek Time sprinted home from last at the bend to run into a close fourth behind Christen Me. She was good enough to run against the likes of Dream About Me in Group I company at two and finish fourth in the Harness Jewels, but Chmiel said there is no comparison to where Nek Time is at now. "She's grown a lot and she's really come on this season, she looks super," Chmiel said. This season, the ultra consistent filly has been a revelation with five wins and five placings in just 12 starts. Chmiel believes the tough filly's best chance in the Oaks is if someone goes really hard off the front line and pushes the speed early. "If they go 3:09 or 3:10 it will be right up her alley, anything around a 1:53 mile rate will suit her," Chmiel said. He expects Nek Time's driver Dexter Dunn to look to slot in around mid field. "You can't go right back because once you are behind them (Dream About Me and Piccadilly Princess) you will never get it back so hopefully he can slot in somewhere and maybe move before them." Following Saturday's run in the Oaks, Nek Time will head north for the Harness Jewels (June 4). Nek Time, the New Zealand record holder for a filly or mare from a 2400m mobile (2:53.00), is an $18 chance in the pre-barrier Jewels market. Presuming she comes through that run in good order, Nek Time is likely to head to Queensland for the $20,000 Gold Coast Oaks (July 2) as a lead up to the Group I $75,000 Queensland Oaks seven days later. Mat Keermen

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