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By Jonny Turner Trainers Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen have chosen Oamaru as the starting point for Miracle Mile winner Spankem’s New Zealand Cup campaign. The 5yr-old, who looked sharp winning his first public appearance of the new season at Tuesday’s Ashburton trials, will be set for the Hannon Memorial on September 22. Spankem unleashed an eye-catching burst of speed to outsprint his Hannon-bound stablemates, Ultimate Sniper and Chase Auckland, in their 2400m handicap.  Purdon said he has been delighted with the way his Miracle Mile winner has returned from his winter spell. “He has come back really well, we are very happy with him,” the trainer-driver said.  Ultimate Sniper, was far from disgraced when overhauled by Spankem and runner-up, Clasina Maria, in the last 100m of Tuesday’s event.  The 4yr-old a half a length and a neck behind the first two in his first public appearance since winning the New Zealand Derby in April. Ultimate Sniper has returned in excellent following his battler with the knee problem, which required surgery, that ended his brilliant 3yr-old season.  Purdon said the 4yr-old and fourth placegetter, Chase Auckland, had also pleased him since returning to training.  “Ultimate Sniper had a little bit longer out than the other two.” “But, I have been very happy with the three of them, they have all been training well at home.” “And I was happy with their efforts in the trial.” Spankem and his two stablemates will trail again, next week, before heading to Oamaru for the Hannon Memorial. “We will trial them again next week and then we will look to kick them off in the Hannon,” Purdon said.  Purdon and Rasmussen’s remaining two New Zealand Cup nominees –Thefixer and Ashley Locaz – could also head to the trails this week. Defending New Zealand Cup champion, Thefixer, could not trial this week as his fitness has slipped behind his three stablemates that stepped out on Tuesday.  The pacer had to be given a few easy days to recover from a hoof issue, recently. Purdon confirmed it was the same issue that dogged the 6yr-old ahead of his epic home straight duel with Tiger Tara in last year’s New Zealand Cup.   “He has just had a slight setback, but he is over that now and he should be at the trials next week – all going well.” “It’s the same hoof problem, but we are a bit more advanced with our knowledge now, so we were on to it straight away.” Purdon said Thefixer’s hoof issue was one that was unlikely to go away.  “He is just one of those horses - we are just going to have to monitor it and keep on top of it.”  Classy trotter Oscar Bonavena looked sharp in winning the fast class trot at Tuesday’s trials.  Purdon and Rasmussen gave the 4yr-old a month off over winter, rather than sending him to the Breeders Crown. That plan could pay big race dividends at the New Zealand Cup carnival.  “We gave him those last couple of runs for the Breeders Crown, but there are probably bigger things in store for him,” Purdon said.  Oscar Bonavena powered to the line showing no signs that the knee issue that ruined his 3yr-old season was still affecting him. Purdon said the Dominion would be the major target for the lightly raced squaregaiter.  “We are rapt with him, hopefully he will be there at Cup week in the big ones.” The All Stars stable have just two Dominion nominees with Winterfell in contention for the 3200m feature, as well. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

Superstar pacer Turn It Up is out of the New Zealand Cup and Auckland Inter Dominions and almost certain not to race again this year. The Auckland Cup, Easter Cup and Harness Jewels winner has undergone an operation to remove cartilage damage in both his front legs, an issue which may have been bothering him in the second half of this season. While trainer Mark Purdon says the prognosis is good for a full recovery the time Turn It Up will need off to recover from the operation rules him out of the biggest races of the domestic season. “The vets have told us 12 weeks away from training,” Purdon told the Herald. “So it probably won’t even be back jogging until mid-September and that means the New Zealand Cup and the Inter Dominions in Auckland are definitely gone. “And I’d be almost certain he won’t race again this year so the Auckland Cup would be gone too. “But that still leaves some big races in Australia in the second half of the season, races like the Hunter Cup and Miracle Mile. “So while it is disappointing to not have him for races like the Cup and the Interdoms, long-term it is the right thing for the horse.”Purdon says the issues weren’t causing Turn It Up any pain when racing but they could have deteriorated with time so operating now was the best option. Turn It Up, who has never finished further back than second in 15 starts, having won 11 of them, was favourite for both the New Zealand Cup and the Inter Dominion but markets are now suspended. His withdrawal still leaves the All Stars with the two New Zealand favourites in Miracle Mile winner Spankem and defending Cup champion Thefixer. Michael Guerin

If anyone thought that Stent was vulnerable in the $80,000 New Zealand Trotting Championship at last nights harness racing meeting at Addington, (we did) then it took just three minutes and fifteen seconds to well and truly put that idea to bed. Before the race had even got under way there was a major surprise when the well performed Kincaslough refused to score up twice and was late scratched as a result. Everyone thought driver Colin De Filippi from barrier three would head straight to the front with Stent and that was the first surprise as Colin stayed out of the early rush. Todd Mitchell and Prime Power flew the gate to lead from barrier seven with Stent settling into the one by one behind One Over Da Moon in the death. Mark Jones worked Master Lavros forward from the second line and grabbed the lead after 700 metres and set a quick tempo up front. Due to the tempo there were few mid race moves with the exception being Clover Don who worked forward to the death with 1200 metres to go. At the 500 metres mark Mark Jones tried to steal a break on the field and turned for home four lengths in front  but the challengers were emerging from the pack. First King Denny appeared and then Stent went straight past them all to grab a very game Masters Lavros in the shadows of the winning post for an emphatic victory. Sheemon who followed Stent everywhere switched to the inside in the straight and flew late for third just in front of King Denny who made a very promising debut in town hall company. A minor highlight of the race was the run of Alley Way, who flew late for sixth after being last on the final bend. Colin was a touch apprehensive turning for home. " I thought I may have left it too late to move because Master Lavros is a class trotter and is hard to reel in." " Having said that I have a lot of confidence in my fellow and I knew they would know we were there," Colin said. Owner Trevor Casey was one proud man post race " That was a huge performance." " I thought we were too far back on the turn so to get up and win was a great run," Trevor said. Master Lavros went his best race for the season and there is plenty of room for improvement. " I didn't even give him a trial before last week and I've left him really big this time in so there should be plenty of improvement in him." " His condition gave out the last bit but I couldn't be happier with how he is trotting." " We will head to the Rowe Cup now with a bit of confidence, " Mark said. The unlucky horse once again was the northerner Prime Power. Trainer Todd Mitchell was rueful about a shoeing change he had made. " I changed his shoes four starts ago and fitted him with a lighter shoe." " He was fine with them at Auckland but he struggled with them on the Addington surface." " I was jogging tonight on the corner which makes it even more disappointing." " I think back at Auckland he will be fine, but we may change the shoes back anyway," Todd said It was a special night for Trevor Casey at Addington as not only does he own Stent but he also shares in the ownership of the brilliant Welcome Stakes winner last night in Waikiki Beach. The cherry on top for Trevor was last nights win edged Stent over the $1,000,000 mark in lifetime earnings and the way he is going he could set new overall marks for stake earnings for a trotter in Australasia in the next couple of years. Harnesslink Media  

One of the best fields on the the big night of harness racing at Addington tonight is the New Zealand Trotting Championship which has drawn together probably the best field for an open class trot all season. This is our runner by runner preview for the New Zealand Trotting Championship. 1) Valmagne - Starts: 60    Wins: 8    Secs: 10    Thirds: 8    Life: $78,468 Was in great form earlier in the season but has only had one run back from a break to get ready for this. Blew out on the grass at Oamaru where he started off 50 metres so there is a nagging doubt about whether he is ready for this. Draw is a big plus but lack of race fitness means we struggle to see him as a first four player. 2) Kincaslough - Starts: 29    Wins: 10   Secs: 3    Thirds: 3    Life: $121,336 Her last start at Auckland was her worst run this season and that came after she had jumped a shadow at her previous start at Alexandra Park. Just starting to worry that the big season she has had to date is starting to catch up with her. Does have gate speed so may get to the markers first and secure the trail behind Stent who will lead from barrier three. With that kind of run she becomes a trifecta and first four chance. 3) Stent -  Starts: 57    Wins: 26    Secs: 15    Thirds: 5    Life: $965,155 In the form of his life at the moment and looking to become a millionaire tonight. Will work to the lead and very hard to beat from there. Not unbeatable however as 2600 metres is not his best distance and he comes back to the chasing pack a bit the longer the race distance. Top pick but will be challenged by a couple here. 4) Sheemon - Starts: 52    Wins: 15   Secs: 17    Thirds: 9    Life: $413,828  Took a while to hit form in Australia but very unlucky in the Southern Star final where he was denied a run in the straight. Won't beat Stent out of the gate but will still look to go forward and get a run close to the pace and hope there is plenty of pressure up front which we think there will be. With Dexter in the bike he is a must have for all combination bets. 5) Alley Way - Starts: 39    Wins: 11    Secs: 9    Thirds: 3    Life: $85,161 Is right in the zone at the moment but this is his biggest test to date. Everything points to him being very competitive here and he is not out of this by any means. We don't think he can win the race tonight but with a run to suit he can be a trifecta and first four chance at good odds. 6) King Denny - Starts: 19    Wins: 9    Secs: 3    Thirds: 0    Life: $195,302 His last three wins have all been outstanding after being very slow away from the standing start on every occasion. The mobile start is a huge plus for him and he is right in this race due to that. He does not have the speed of Stent but he is a wonderful stayer and we think he will try to turn it into a staying test. The big danger to the favourite. 7) Prime Power -  Starts: 34    Wins: 14    Secs: 6    Thirds: 6    Life: $214,969  No luck last week at Addington so disregard that run when assessing his chances here. Previous run at Auckland was huge and has been going great guns all season prior to last week. Boring pole goes on this week which will correct last weeks problem and we think he is one of the big players here. Include in all combinations 8) One Over Da Moon - Starts: 30    Wins: 11    Secs: 3    Thirds: 2    Life: $175,505  Only had his first run for seven months last Friday and blew out the last bit as you would expect. Still went a mighty race but it is another big step up this week. Draw and lack of racing means we struggle to see him in four. 9) King Of Strathfield - Starts: 113    Wins: 21   Secs: 19    Thirds: 14    Life: $258,097 Since his move out to the beach with Robert Dunn he has started to turn his form around. He has always raced better away from the real elite trotters and that coupled with the draw means we can't see him in four. Not for us.                                                                          SECOND LINE 10) Vulcan - Starts: 96    Wins: 20    Secs: 12    Thirds: 8    Life: $1,004,369  When he first went out to the beach, he looked like his old self for four or five starts. Now he just looks like he is going through the motions to us. Draw means he could end up three or four back on the inner and we struggle to see how he could be a first four player from there. Not for us. 11) Master Lavros - Starts: 37    Wins: 15  Secs: 4    Thirds: 2    Life: $359,046 The enigma of the field for sure but there is no denying the talent. Broke last week from the stand but trotted the best we have seen him trot this season after his early gallop. At his best he would trouble all of them here and if he trots like he did last week, he is a player here. Include in all combinations. 12) Clover Don - Starts: 86    Wins: 23    Secs: 12    Thirds: 12    Life: $285,870 Forget last week form the stand but the problem he has here is he likes to lead in his races and that ain't happening here. Can over race in the field and that along with the draw makes this too hard in our opinion. Not for us. 13) Jaccka Justy - Starts: 54    Wins: 13   Secs: 3    Thirds: 4    Life: $232,163 Very talented on his day but you never really know which Jaccka Justy is going to turn up. After trialing brilliantly leading into last week, he went very average last Friday night. Just as likely to turn that form around here when you least expect it but from the draw and going by last weeks run we can't see him as a first four player. Not for us. 14) Springbank Sam - Starts: 60    Wins: 17   Secs: 8    Thirds: 7    Life: $282,913  Has been in good form most of the season but at a level away from the real elite trotters. At his peak he would have been a major player here but he just seems to have lost a length this season to us. Has the master Phil Williamson in the bike but the draw and the field mean we struggle to see him as a first four player. SELECTIONS Stent is the obvious choice here and the way he went in Australia shows he is right in the zone at the moment. However we still reckon that King Denny will give him plenty to think about tonight. The dangers to this pair for us are the class horses in the field in Sheemon, Prime Power and Master Lavros.  Throw in Kincaslough and Alley Way to bolster up those first fours. Harnesslink Media  

The old saying in harness racing that form is temporary and class is permanent was never better displayed when Vulcan turned his career around with an outstanding win at Addington last night. The 8 year old son of Earl has been a big player at the elite level in the not to distant past but has been struggling during the last twelve months  to recapture that sort of form. This is a trotter who has racked up 10 Group 1 wins on both sides of the Tasman with 5 Group 1 wins in both Australia and New Zealand. In New Zealand his victories include the coveted Dominion Handicap, two Harness Jewels victories as well as successes in the New Zealand Trotting Championship and New Zealand Trotting Free For All. In Australia his biggest wins were in the inaugural Great Southern Star (Heat + Final), The Knight Pistol Trot, V L Dullard Trotting Cup and the Australian Trotting Grand Prix. It is an outstanding record however you look at it and judging by last nights win he is not finished yet. With his form dropping away this season,the decision was made after the Dominion Handicap this year to lease a share of the horse to Roddy Butt. Vulcan was transferred to the beach training complex of David and Catherine Butt with Roddy doing most of the day to day work with the horse since his transfer.  In his three runs from his new quarters Vulcan was ok at Geraldine before running a much better race to run 4th at Methven last Sunday to Royal Aspirations in the trotters Green Mile. Last night driver Bob Butt who was wearing Roddy's colours had Vulcan away well from his 35 metres handicap and he settled seventh in the running early. Working up on the inner, Vulcan was four back as Vacanza set a hectic pace in front. Going past the 800 metres Vulcan was shuffled back to last and then hooked on to the three wide line on Valmagne's back. Going past the 500 metres mark Bob pushed the go button and Vulcan looped the field and shot clear as they turned for home. At the line Vulcan was still 3 1/2 lengths to the good of Royal Aspirations in a display that was more like the Vulcan of old. Vulcan trotted the 2600 metres from a stand in 3:15.4, a mile rate of 2:00.9 and only 6/10ths of a second outside of the New Zealand record for the trip held by Royal Aspirations. It was Vulcan's 19th career win and along with 19 placings took his earning to $994,969 and cracking the million is now on the radar. "It would be great to crack the million with him as he deserves it after what he has achieved," Bob Butt told Harnesslink this morning. "That is the immediate aim and we will just keep him to races like the one last night to give him every chance to crack the million," Bob said. Judging by the manner of his last to first burst last night it won't be too long until Vulcan cracks the million dollar mark. Never a horse that has received the accolades his performances have deserved, Vulcan deserves every bit of praise that he will receive when he cracks the million mark in the next few weeks. Harnesslink Media  

The Butt brothers Tim and Anthony announced today that their imported superstar trotter Peak had been retired and would now take up full time stud duties. Peak was the flagship for an attempt by the Butt brothers to strengthen the trotting breed down under. The trotting breed in Australasia has always been the poor cousin in the harness racing industry in the Southern Hemisphere. Pacing has always been in the ascendancy and with access to the best sires in the world for the last fifteen plus years has closed the gap with North America. Trotting broodmare owners have not been as well served over the same period but in the last two or three years attempts have been made on several fronts to change that. One of those attempts was the importation of three well bred and performed European trotters by the well respected Butt brothers. Having witnessed first hand on their travels to Europe the ability and gait of European sired trotters, the Butt brothers imported the three entires and syndicated them to stable clients with a view to racing them first and then standing them at stud if they proved themselves in local conditions. As most people realize, it was a very brave decision to try to bring three stallions half way around the world and attempt to get them to adjust to the different racing style in New Zealand and the different training methods. The first of the three stallions to set foot on a New Zealand track was the son of the French super sire Ganymede in Peak. Although not 100% ready,Peak made his New Zealand debut in the Group 3 trotters Flying Mile at Ashburton in October 2013 and what a debut it was. Parked early, Peak worked to the front after 400 metres for Anthony Butt but was attacked from a long way out by The Fiery Ginga which should have made him a sitting duck in the straight. The whole way up the long Ashburton straight Peak lead and come post time he was still in front after cutting out the mile in 1:57.6. It was a wonderful introduction to New Zealand racing and held the promise of better things to come. Second up was the $80,000 Group 1 New Zealand Trotting FFA on Cup Day in 2013. Parked for the first 800 metres, Anthony took Peak to the front with 1200 metres to go and in a replay of Ashburton was immediately attacked again by The Fiery Ginga. Clear as they turned for home, Peak was challenged by a wall of trotters with 100 metres to go and when seemingly beaten got off the canvas to come back and grab the win. Peak's winning time was 2:26.4, a mile rate of 1:57.7 over the 2000 metres which was just outside the New Zealand record held by I Can Doosit It was a stunning performance and one that cemented him as one of the favourites for the $250,000 Group 1 Dominion Handicap three days later. Away well, Peak was shuffled back in the running line before joining the three wide chain at the 800 metres mark. Sent four wide by Anthony at the 500 metres mark, Peak looked poised to challenge as he ranged up to the leaders with 200 to go but then uncharacteristically broke and lost all chance. Sore the next morning, Peak has fought soundness issues ever since. Given a long break, Peak was readied for the 2014 New Zealand Cup meeting but when the pressure went on the soundness problems returned. Already available to New Zealand trotting breeders as Peak combined training with stud work, Peak has already served over twenty mares this season and with the announcement today of his retirement from the track that number should swell by a lot more before the end of the breeding season. The Butt brothers have had several champion trotters through their barn over the years with the likes of Lyell Creek 1:52.4 $2,961,137 and Take A Moment 1:56.7 $1,164,356 to name just two but their is no mistaking how highly they rated Peak. Anthony was effusive in his praise of the son of Ganymede. “The most clean gaited trotter I have ever driven. He is the perfect trotter with speed, gait , heart and manners. When you ask him to go he goes, and keeps going” he said. Tim was no less impressed by the abilities of Peak. “He is such a beautiful horse with a massive heart and superb attitude. He has an unbelievable gait, far superior to any other trotter I have trained. His will to win was his biggest asset,"  he said. Standing for a fee of $2500 +GST, Peak should get his chance to make it as a sire. The two other trotters brought in from Europe with Peak have been a mixed bag to date. Kvintet Avenger had one start in New Zealand before joining the Brent Lilley stable in Victoria where he has looked a trotter on the rise. In seven starts for Lilley, Kvintet Avenger has had five wins and two placings for $41,388 in stakes and looks headed for the best grades.  The other import was Sir Lexington who has won one race from six appearances to date but has had a decent spell and bigger things are expected of him when he resumes shortly. All things considered the Butt brothers should take a lot of heart out of the fact they were able to transport a horse like Peak half way around the world and turn him out a winner at the highest level. Harnesslink Media      

Harness racing recently saw the brilliant Monarchy gelding Sovereignty retired due to soundness problems and he has been joined in the retirement paddock today by another Monarchy gelding in Stylish Monarch who has also succumbed to soundness problems. Trained for all but one start in his career  by his Timaru trainer Murray Tapper, Stylish Monarch at his peak was as good as any trotter going around in New Zealand in the last ten years.  Between 2009 and 2011, Stylish Monarch was the horse they all had to beat in the big trotting races in New Zealand. Partnered with champion reinsman Ricky May through most of his career, Stylish Monarch claimed two New Zealand Trotting Championships (Group One) over the brilliant I Can Doosit and a stunning win in the Group Two Flying Mile at Cambridge over Sovereignty in 1:57.5. The biggest win for Stylish Monarch was undoubtedly his victory in the Group One $200,000 Dominion Handicap where he again defeated I Can Doosit in a stunning 4:02.9 for the 3200 meters from a stand. Plagued by soundness issues, Stylish Monarch was retired in August of 2013. However around May this year Murray Tapper took Stylish Monarch back to the stables because he was looking so well in the paddock. The plan was to use him as a training partner for the younger horses in the stable but Stylish Monarch was so impressive and sound that Tapper decided to try to get him back to the races. The first few trials were encouraging but after a less than stellar performance at his fourth trial, Stylish Monarch came up sore a few days later. So Stylish Monarch goes to the retirement paddock having faced the starter just 60 times for 17 wins and 21 placings for $500,620 in stakes. Harness racing today is dominated by the big stables in the main but Stylish Monarch and Murray Tapper proved once again that the little guy can still succeed at the top level. Harnesslink Media    

Top trotter King Charlie, who reached the heights of Group One stardom when winning the Northern Derby as a three-year-old, has been retired after finishing eighth at Addington on Sunday. The injury plagued trotter who was sidelined on numerous occasions during his career due to hind suspensory problems, won on 15 occasions during his 70 start career earning stakes in excess of $200,000. The now ten-year-old Monarchy half-brother to NZ Trotting Derby winner Shezoneoftheboyz was purchased out of the barn of Neil Munro as an early three-year-old by Paul and Pauline Renwick for trainer Nigel McGrath, who trained the gelding for the remainder of his career. As well as success in the Northern Derby, King Charlie also finished second in the 4YO Harness Jewels Ruby and the New Zealand Trotting Championship. McGrath said that King Charlie was becoming very hard to place under our handicapping system which is one of the main reasons for his retirement. He will now live out the rest of his days as a riding hack. Meanwhile, McGrath has also retired eight-win pacer Chechnya due to similar circumstances. By Mitchell Robertson

Don’t expect last Friday’s Addington feature trot winner – Phil’s Gift – to line up in the Group One $200,000 Dominion Trot on Show Day (November 15). Trainer Murray Tapper said he preferred to start the Sundon gelding in the Free-For-All on Cup Day (November 12). “I’ll talk to the owners again but they know how I feel. I’d rather start him in the shorter race on Cup Day than I would the Dominion. “There’s no way he could back up in three days for both. He’s not that type of horse. Racing can take a lot out of him and he can take some time to recover. The 3200m is a bit far for him at this stage,” Tapper said. “I think he would be a better Dominion horse in 13 months,” added the Timaru horseman. Tapper said the 6-year-old bay had to be driven with a sit and that’s exactly what Ricky May did on Friday. “He has won in front before but as he’s gone through the grades it’s got harder, and I’ve now trained him to have one sprint at them. “It’s a tougher class opposition now and I’ve had to adjust my trainer because of that. He’s got a very good sprint when saved for the run. That was evident on Friday,” Tapper said. May had Phil’s Gift second last early and swinging for home were still in that position with favourite Escapee snookered last on the markers. They both flew down the outer with Phil’s Gift hanging on to beat Escapee and Mark Purdon by half a head. Raydon and David Butt were 2-1/2 lengths back in third. They won the $7,500, C3 and faster trot in 3:23.2. Mile rate for the 2600m stand: 2:05.7. Last 800m: 59.8. Last 400m: 28.9. Phil’s Gift started from the 40m back-mark and was the $5.80 third favourite. That was his ninth win in 33 starts and he’s also placed eight times for $76,997. Tapper paid $16,000 for him at the Christchurch yearling sales. He said he was easily the best of the 12 horses he had in work at Levels in South Canterbury, but said Phil’s Gift had some way to go to surpassing the best trotter he’s trained – the recently retired Stylish Monarch, and Group One winning 10-year-old son of Monarchy, who has won 17 races and $500,620. “Phil’s Gift has more speed but Stylish Monarch is a tougher grinder who can churn out solid quarters. “We’ll see exactly where Phil’s Gift is at when he lines up on Cup Day. He would make a good Australian horse and that could be an option down the track but for now it’s all about progressing through to compete with the best,” the 50-year-old said. Phil’s Gift is owned by K.P. Tapper, R.L.P. Scott, P.F. Parker, and M. L. Hynes. He was bred by Colin and Rona McKay. He is the seventh foal of eight out of the one-win Speedy Summit mare, Ilona Del. Phil’s Gift’s full sister (and fourth foal), Jasmyn’s Gift won 17 races, including the Group One New Zealand Trotting Championship and New Zealand Trotting Free-For-All. Phil’s Gift’s biggest win to date was the $25,000 Group Three Glenferrie Farm Trotters Championship in March. Friday’s win was his second race back since finishing fifth behind Charlemagne in the Harness Jewels final at Ashburton in June. Exciting trotter Experiment heading to Addington Exciting Southland trotter, Experiment will head to Addington Raceway to compete in two mid-graded races on Cup and Show Day. The 5-year-old Sundon mare confirmed the trip north when notching up her third win in a row and fourth in five starts this season at the Riverton Trotting Club’s meeting on Sunday (November 3). The Tony Barron trained Experiment blitzed her opposition with an effortless front-running display in the in the $8,000 Never Cleaver Fishing discretionary for the C1 and faster trotters. She has also won at the Wairio, Gore, and Forbury Park meetings this season, after racing 12 times in 2012-2013 for just two placings. Errol Forde (72) owns Experiment with his partner Jan Hawthorn (68). The retired Makarewa resident said now that his mare had turned the corner she would definitely now be heading to Christchurch. “I’m still on a high. I’ve had horses since the 1980s but never had one this good. I would never have ever thought I’d have a horse good enough to win three races in a row. “She will now head north and take on some of the best in her grade. One day, maybe two years, I’d like to think she could make a Dominion horse. That is one race I’d really like to win,” Forde said. He said Experiment had been a work in progress and it now appeared that Barron had ironed out most of her issues. “We had a bit of trouble with her early on. She had a few bad habits, but with training, time and age she has developed into a nice trotter. “We are hoping she will go on with it now she has won four races,” Forde said. Brent Barclay got Experiment away quickly from her 10m handicap on Sunday and then when they hit the front at the 2000m, the race was for second. Experiment simply out-trotted her 12 opponents, stopping the clock in 3:34.8 (2700m stand) with final 800m and 400m sprints of 60 and 28.9. Her winning mile rate was 2:08. She was the $3.60 favourite. Forde and Hawthorn have two-and-a-half years left on their four-year lease. Then then have right of purchase from breeder Michael House. “She’s still got plenty of time and there’s plenty of improvement left in her yet,” said Forde who does a bit of work with his pride and joy. Forde, who worked in the engineering trade, retired to Makarewa from Nightcaps and assisted Ron Barron there before he retired. “Ron asked me if I wanted to buy Experiment and it all went from there. That’s how Tony ended up with her,” Forde said. He said Experiment’s racing future would not be decided until after her race on Show Day. “That’s when we will sit down and plan her racing. Auckland could be an option over Christmas because Tony has campaigned horses up there before. “I’ve never had a horse good enough to race up there. It is a possibility, but like I said it all depends how she fronts up in Christchurch,” Forde said. Experiment has now won just under $20,000 from her 18 starts, which includes four wins and three placings. By Duane Ranger (Courtesy of Harness Racing New Zealand)

North Canterbury harness racing enthusiast Ray Carlson has opted for a $100 each way bet for winning the New Zealand TAB and Harnesslink's latest fixed odds betting competition.

He was only 0.1 of a second off the winning time but that was still good enough for North Canterbury harness racing enthusiast Ray Carlson to win our latest fixed odds betting competition.

Great Southern Star champion Vulcan brought up a 'Sonny Bill dozen (10) of Group One wins when taking out tonight's (Saturday March 30) harness racing feature for the trotters- the New Zealand Trotting Championship (Gr1).

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