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By Garrick Knight An eye-catching run seven days prior gave an indication of what was to come from Accelere at Alexandra Park on Friday night. On the back of an aggressive drive from usual pilot Todd Mitchell, the Logan Hollis and Shane Robertson-trained gelding thumped his opponents with a jarring 2.40.2 (1.57.1 MR) run. Punters sent him out second favourite after an impressive finish in stronger company the week prior, despite only finishing sixth. “We were pretty confident heading in to tonight,” said Hollis. “His last three starts have been good, he’s just either had bad draws or bad luck.” They thought enough of him to tackle the Sires Stakes series this time last year and then the Northern Derby back in March, suffice to say his connections have turned down numerous decent offers to date. “He was just big and weak so we gave him a good two-month spell.” Mitchell went forward and set a strong tempo, not giving anything else a look in, though Magilligan Point mounted a strong late challenge to push him close to the line. “We don’t ever really tell Todd how to drive him. “Basically, it was just ‘pop him out of the gate and see how he feels.” Obviously, he was feeling pretty good. There are no major plans for the son of Auckland Reactor, though he will be “raced sparingly” according to his trainers. “We’ll just race him here and there and look after him. “It’s nice to be able to win a race as a rating 50 that carries a stake of $15,000. “It wasn’t the richest race on the night but it’s still good money.” Accelere continues the good record of his dam, Exposay who has now left four decent horses, including the former Hollis & Robertson pacer El Jacko, now a star in Perth. “He’s won 22 races. She’s also left Pakipaki, who did a good job for us, and VC Manoevure (13 wins). Emilio Rosati purchased the current two-year-old out of the mare – a filly by Somebeachsomewhere – and it’s in training next door to Hollis and Robertson’s at Lincoln Farms with Ray Green. The stable couldn’t quite pull off a double with their promising three-year-old maiden, Christianshavtime, who managed only fourth. They make up two thirds of the current race team, one which has been eroded in recent months by the sales of the likes of Big Mach, Katamach, Destined For Heaven, Three Kisses and The Notorious One. “We’ve sold six horses this year, which has really depleted our barn. “So, it’s pretty quiet at the moment but the yearlings are about to come in later this month to get ready for the sales. “We are preparing 14 this year, which will keep us very busy.” Elsewhere on the night, John and Josh Dickie, Arna Donnelly and Barry Purdon all recorded training doubles while Inter Dominion prospects, Temporale and Massive Metro, got their preparations back on track with good placings off long marks in the night’s feature trot. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

South Auckland harness racing driver Simon Lawson faces a near 18-month suspension from the sulky after admitting betting on other horses in two races he drove in. But Lawson, who has also received a $8000 fine, has been cleared of any race fixing or not trying with his horses, after investigations by both the police and racing authorities. Lawson admitted profiting from $205 worth of bets placed by friend and fellow harness racing licence holder Gareth Dixon, who not involved in the race, on winning horse Mr Natural in race 10 at Alexandra Park on May 25 last year. Lawson, who is believed to have been responsible for half of the stake of the bet, drove rival My Royal Roxy, who finished fifth in the race. Mr Dixon is alleged to have placed the bets on the race and was also charged by racing authorities but with a much lesser charge and no decision has been made public in his case. Lawson and Dixon won around $1000 each out of a series of bets on Mr Natural. Lawson also admitted having a $100 each way bet on pacer Madam Connoistre in an Alexandra Park race on July 20 even though he was driving race rival, Ziyad. Madam Connoistre finished second and Ziyad finished last when driven by Lawson and has not raced again because of a lack of ability. Lawson made $150 from the place component of the bet. Both cases were prosecuted by the Racing Integrity Unit in front of the Judicial Control Authority after police interviewed some of the drivers in the first race and found there was no race fixing involved. The betting patterns on the two races confirmed no illegal activity. The cases were separate matters from the on-going police investigation into alleged race fixing involving several South Island-based harness racing participants in the South Island which has resulted in legal charges still to be heard by the courts. The JCA ruling says Lawson can not drive in races from January 15 this year (when he was stood down by the RIU) until the end of next racing season on July 31, 2019. He was also fined $8000 but can still train horses, which he would not have been able to do if disqualified. With no suggestion of race fixing or foul play, the length of the suspension and the large fine can be seen as a very clear message to racing licence holders, that those who are not allowed to bet in races they can affect the outcome of, but still do, will face far stiffer penalties than in the past. Lawson was not available for comment.   Michael Guerin

Yesterday the Price family of Winton had one on those magical days that are rare in harness racing when Perfect Stride and Pearl Harbour each won their juvenile races at Alexandra Park in Auckland. Pearl Harbour won a heat of the Crombie Lockwood Bloodstock Young Guns Fillies Series while Perfect Stride, which they bred with John’s parents Roger and Helen Price, won its two year old race. “It’s lovely to see the babies stepping out. We’re pretty proud,” Katrina Price said. Pearl Harbour was broken in and developed by John and Katrina, qualifying the Somebeachsomewhere filly at Winton in mid December. She was then sent north to Barry Purdon’s stable with the aim of starting her in the Young Guns Fillies Series. This is not the first time they’ve sent a filly north to Purdon’s. Democrat Party as a two year old was sent north in 2013. She won at her first start and subsequently in March 2014 won the Young Guns Fillies Final. “John spoke to Barry during the week and he was pretty bullish heading into the race. He thinks she’s very strong and has plenty of speed. He was worried about the draw and he wasn’t sure what Scott (driver Scott Phelan) would do off the gate.” John and Katrina have been very patient with Pearl Harbour knowing the potential was always there but that it needed managing. “She was pretty hot when she was being broken in. Here at home we’ve done lots and lots of slow work. When we broke her in she did a couple of months of walking. We took her a few times to the Winton track and Nathan (Williamson) came and drove her. She had a workout and a trial and the first time he deliberately pulled her back just to educate her. In her trial there were only two runners so she when to the front. At that stage Nathan said she would have lots of gate speed but he didn’t want to pull that switch. From day one she knew how to race and had that real competitive streak.” Pearl Harbour The Prices have entered Captain Nemo (Lot 360) which is a three quarter brother to Pearl Harbour in next month’s NZB Standardbred Sale in Christchurch. He’s by first season sire Captaintreacherous. Price says that Captain Nemo was a late foal that’s going to appreciate time. “He’s at least at the same stage as Pearl Harbour was. He’s a big rangy horse with a completely different brain on him, laid back, relaxed - a big cruisy dude.” The win by Pearl Harbour was also a bonus for West Otago breeders John and Judy Stiven who bred her dam Arden Caviar. The Stivens have a Bettors Delight filly by Arden Caviar’s full-sister Rocknroll Arden in the sale and Southwind Arden which is also owned by them has a Captaintreacherous colt in the catalogue.     Arden's Delight and Captain Arden - Photos Supplied  The Prices bought Arden Caviar from the Stivens after she was withdrawn from the yearling sales in 2013 due to having a skin complaint. “She had speed but just didn’t have the racing brain. That family has so much depth to it. When you look at Winter Rose, the job she’s done and you go further back with horses like Bella’s Boy - It was a family that we really wanted to get into.” Arden Caviar has a Betting Line colt on the ground and she has been served again by Captaintreacherous. “In speaking to David James at Empire (Empire Stallions), the Captaintreacherous’s have a completely different attitude to the Somebeachsomewheres. We’ve had three Somebeachsomewhere’s and they’ve all been pretty hot. You’ve just had to be careful with how you develop them.” The Price’s other success last night, Perfect Stride, (formally named Chicago Cub) was bred by John, Katrina, Roger and Helen Price and was the top selling lot at last year’s National Yearling Sale in Christchurch. He was bought by Emilio and Mary Rosati for $190,000. Perfect Stride Added to the magical day was a workout win at Winton by Perfect Stride’s half-sister Rockabilly Blues. She’s won two of her three starts and will resume her racing career at the Invercargill Cup Meeting this Saturday where she’ll line up in the Arden Lodge Robin Dundee Crown. It’s great to see Southern Bred Southern Reared Two Year Olds having success on a premier track in Auckland. Bruce Stewart

Welcome to November everyone... It's that time of year where everything starts to really heat up - our upcoming meeting this Friday (16 November) will kick off the first of eight 'Christmas At The Races' meetings for us here at The Park and despite the dreaded 'Santa Cap' being back in action right up until our final C.A.T.R meeting on Friday 21 December, this period of racing really is a great opportunity for us all to showcase our sport to the wider viewing audience and convert the 10,000+ attendees we will host during this period into regular race-going harness racing fans! Friday 16 November will also mark the night that the new 'ATC Coloured Saddlecloths' are introduced into the racing action here at The Park - these are the same saddlecloths that are used with success throughout Australia and with many of our C.A.T.R guests having never placed a bet before, it is envisaged that these new coloured saddlecloths will help counteract some of the barriers that are currently prohibiting these new attendees to The Park from getting involved in the racing action from a punting side of things! Last year we had a couple of trainers/drivers put their hands up and kindly volunteer 5 minutes of their time to do a quick meet-and-greet with some of these groups - providing an industry insight for these patrons and a few tips for these new punters to follow throughout the night! If anyone would like to be involved with a similar thing this C.A.T.R please don't hesitate to get in touch with Regan - this would be a great way for trainers to showcase themselves to the wider general audience and you never know - you may just get an owner or two from it which would be great for everyone involved :) As mentioned in October's newsletter, the ATC will be re-introducing the parading of all horses in numerical order into the birdcage and also onto the track in the coming weeks - with the meeting of December 7 when this will fully enforced into racing policy here at the ATC. Further communication will be sent out to all those concerned in the coming weeks on the processes around this and how it will be managed/actioned. Digital clocks have now been installed in the stables and so there will be no excuses to miss out on being a part of this! If you have a known fractious horse and you feel it will be detrimental to both the horse & birdcage procedure to be parading prior to entry onto the track, please advise either Regan or the Stipes of this. Another item that the ATC has decided to action into our racing policy is for no talking between drivers once horses have entered onto the track prior to race commencement. At a time when we need to be highlighting and promoting the integrity in our sport, the ATC have decided that there is no need for drivers to be talking to each other once on track (in all instances other than where a driver needs to communicate with another due to an immediate safety issue). Again, this will be actioned into ATC racing policy as of the meeting of December 7 in order to allow for the smooth & successful implementation of these new policies but we encourage all participants to get used to both this and the numerical birdcage procedure over the remaining meetings in November so that come December 7 everyone is well ahead of the game and ready to kick this off in style! The ATC want to promote the professionalism in our sport and this is an integral part of ensuring that we are maintaining standards that promote & enable this to occur. There will be one more ATC O&T newsletter before the year's end however we would like to kindly remind all of those connections who have horses that may be on a path to 2018 Auckland Cup and/or National Trot Group One glory that initial nominations for both of these races close 11.00am on Friday November 30 - these can be given to Regan @ the ATC Racing Office on either 09 631 1163 / 027 249 1205. Please note that no initial nomination or sustaining payments are required if received by this date so no matter how likely you feel you are to be there come the big day on NYE, you have to be in it to win it so why not chance your arm, give your horse/s a nom and see how 2018 can end on a winning note! The tentative programme for this meeting of December 31 (and all of December for that matter) are currently available online at HRNZ and full race conditions for these Group One features can be found there. Looking ahead to the remaining three meetings for November and below are a few things to note down in your diary in terms of programming and what you can look forward to sinking your teeth into! - There is a junior drivers 2700m handicap trot programmed for the meeting of November 16 for up-to-R65 trotters - The meetings of November 16 & 30 both have a 2700m R60 & faster handicap pace programmed. We have been aiming to programme a standing start for these R60+ horses at the trials/workouts at Franklin over the past month or so and we will continue to do so over the balance of November & into December to help all horses who may have not seen the tapes prepare for these races. - Another Monte Saddle Trot has been included for the programme of November 23. Again this race will be dependent of the balance of nominations received for the approved race licence for this meeting - however with a Monte programmed for the Saturday meeting's of December 8 & 15 you get the feeling it won't be long now until the first Monte tote race is run here @ The Park. For any queries relating to the Monte races (and how to qualify your horse if you are interested), please speak to ATC Racing Committee Chair & Board Member Derek Balle. - The F&M race for the meeting of November 23 will be a 2200m handicap pace with a maximum back mark of 20m - this will be programmed as a R40-75 & (R76-80 with a junior concession claim) F&M's race and has being programmed in this way to see if greater support for these races can be garnered to help them get off the ground. - The first 2YO race for the season has been included for the programme of November 30 (subject to nominations) - The junior drivers race (pace) on the programme of November 30 has had the rating band extended to now include the R40-65 rated pacers. As usual, this race will include the standard field selection policy of preference going to those horses who have not previously won a penalty free drivers race & where possible and to mix the balance of the R40-65 open races, this race will be selected from the top rating downwards. A note for trainers & drivers - if you have any concerns over the condition of the track on racenight please direct these concerns directly to Todd Macfarlane (Chair of the Horsemen's Association). Todd and the ATC track staff communicate regularly on racenight and should there be any concerns over the condition of the track, these will be communicated to the track staff via Todd and rectified in a timely manner. Also a reminder for all drivers on racenight - could please remember to warm-up your horse on the outside of the track - this helps to minimise any deterioration to the inside of the track and the subsequent issues that comes with such effects. We wish everyone a great November and hope that together we can make the next two months great viewing for all involved! As always - if you ever have any queries relating to anything racing here at the ATC, please don't hesitate to give Regan a call! Regards, Regan Cotter Racing Manager 09 631 1163 027 249 1205 Additional information The SAAC (Stable Area Awareness Course) for children aged 6-14 years will take place 1 hour prior to the start of the first tote race on the first meeting of each month here at The Park. Children who pass this course will be issued with a temporary pass which will admit them to the stables when under the supervision of an adult. They will then be issued with photo ID and a lanyard for easy access on racenight (when again under the supervision of an adult). Children are permitted to turn up on the night to partake in the course but we do ask that parents/guardians let the club know (Racing Manager Regan Cotter) when their child will be attending to assist us through this period. Upcoming S.A.A.C (Stable Area Awareness Course for children aged 6-14) course dates as follows - Friday November 16 Friday December 7 If you have any questions relating to any of the H&S procedures & policies please don't hesitate to contact Regan or ATC H&S Manager Shane Primrose - / 09 631 1189 Programmes Programmes for November & December (tentative) are now online @ Upcoming November & December Race Meetings @ The Park Friday November 16 Friday November 23 Friday November 30 Friday December 7 (G3 Summer Cup & Northern Breeders Stakes) Saturday December 8 Friday December 14 (G1 Queen Of Hearts) Saturday December 15 Friday December 21 Monday December 31 (G1 Auckland Cup & National Trot) Upcoming Trial & Workout dates For those of you who like to get in early and see the videos ASAP (prior to the official results been entered) please remember the race videos can be viewed on (note these will be available via this link once Magness is able to upload the videos onto the HRNZ website). Saturday 17th November - Workouts - Franklin Saturday 24th November - Trials (RH) & Workouts - Franklin Saturday 1st December - Trials (RH) & Workouts - Franklin Tuesday 11th December - Workouts - Franklin Tuesday 18th December - Trials (RH) & Workouts - Franklin Saturday 22nd December - Trials (RH) & Workouts - Franklin Saturday 29th December - Workouts - Franklin   What's On @ The Park       Indulge in our amazing Christmas-themed all-you-can-eat buffet with beverage packages available     Nothing wrong with a bit of competition! Place your bets & feel the thrill with live harness-racing     The night goes on! Live DJ to follow in the Alex Bar & Eatery after the racing action       Get excited! We've got spot prizes to giveaway throughout the night. Are you feeling lucky?     Ooo-la-la! We'll have a photographer making the rounds, snapping shots & creating your Christmas memories     Ho! Ho! Ho! Top the night off with a visit from the jolly man himself who may be merry enough to dish out some pressies!           Want to be away from the crowds and in your own intimate setting for this years Christmas Party? We can provide the venue, food, drink and decorations... Just let us know when! Take the stress out of planning, contact us today & let's get started before it's too late! CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO   From Weddings to Conferences, School Balls & Leavers Dinners. We have spaces and accompanying packages to suit all. • 8 function rooms • Accommodate up to 500 guests • Delicious, varied in-house catering • Selection of beverage packages • Decoration options • AV hire CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO   P: 09 630 9718 | E:     Our Christmas Day Lunch is a definite crowd pleaser! Featuring a delicious buffet and a huge range of beverages to suit. We're excited for you and your family & friends to celebrate Christmas at Alexandra Park. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO   Auckland Cup Day is coming up fast and we want you there! Don't know what to do with the kids? Bring them along! We have the ultimate FREE family fun day planned with an amazing activities & entertainment line-up! CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO     Alexandra Park Raceway Green Lane West, Epsom, Auckland      

Many of you are probably in the same boat as all of us here at The Park trying to figure out where on earth 2018 has gone! In saying that though, you can't really complain when the sun & daylight has replaced the chill and darkness! Spring racing really kicked into action last Friday night on our Cancer Society Daffodil Raceday - which also coincided with the second of our 'mile night's' which once again provided a very entertaining and competitive night of racing action. A big thanks goes to everyone involved in these nights so far - the support that we have received from both owners and trainers has been fantastic and really has allowed us to create a new level of hype around these nights. A big congratulations goes to the connections of Mortician who was victorious in the mile trot - earning himself and his connections a national record for his efforts. And no we haven't missed (how could you possibly forget) the heroics of the Ray Green trained and Andre Poutama driven Northview Hustler with his all-the-way victory in the Spring Cup. It was a superbly rated drive from Andre and made for one heck of a finish down the straight. It was great to see (and hear) the winning connections showing such emotion as victory edged closer come the final 200m - highlighting the thrill that harness racing ownership has to offer. We wish all the connections of the Northern trained NZ Cup aspirants the very best of luck as they prepare for the second Tuesday of November - we'll be cheering for you all! October has two meetings for the month, on the 12th & 26th respectively and we can assure you that there won't be any shortage of action-packed entertainment on track. Club officials have been in touch with Gary Hall Snr and if all plays out as expected over the next few weeks,  the star of WA Chicago Bull will be gracing us with his presence on the night of October 26th as he makes his way also down to Addington for the NZ Cup. Other features on this night will be Heat 1 of the Alabar Sires Stakes series for 3YO Fillies & Heat 4 of the McMillan Equine Feeds Series for the 3YO C&G as well as the much anticipated Monte Saddle trot tote race. The Monte horses and committee behind getting these races off the ground have been grinding away in preparation for this historical event and we are looking forward to seeing them on track. It must be made mention though that this race will only be run should nominations not hold up for the balance of the 10 race licence on this date. The ATC has made a commitment to programming at least three Monte tote races for $6K throughout October-December and should this not get off the ground on the 26th, another has been programmed for November 23 with the programmes of December 8 & 15 (both Saturday meetings) to include a Monte race too. Other points of note to make for connections is the programming of a 3200m handicap trot for R40 - 60 trotters on the programme of October 12. Again this race will be subject to nominations but it would be great to get the support the mile trot did so we can continue to programme these types of races that offer something a little different from the norm and a great viewing spectacle and something for punters to sink their teeth into. A claimers only race has also been programmed for this night for horses with a claiming price of up to $10K and it would be great to get this off the ground. Racing for a stake of $14,500 against like animals, why not put a claiming price on your horse and see how you go - or even better, should the race get off the ground, round-up a group of your mates and put in a claim - the best part is you can all come back to the track the following meeting and see your new pride and joy already racing under your name! The highlight of October 12 will no doubt be the $20K Kerry Hoggard Memorial - The Holmes DG & after last Friday's running of the Spring Cup, it promises to be another not-to-be-missed event. Looking forward to the coming months and there is plenty to talk about (however we will cover all of this off in November's edition of the ATC O&T newsletter). Below are a few things to note down in your diary for November & early December -  - The first 2YO race for the season has been included for the programme of November 30(however again subject to nominations) - There is a junior drivers 2700m handicap trot programmed for the meeting of November 16 for the up-to-R65 trotters - The junior drivers race (pace) on the programme of November 30 has had the rating band extended to now include the R40-65 rated pacers. As usual, this race will include the standard field selection policy of preference going to those horses who have not previously won a penalty free drivers race & where possible and to mix the balance of the R40-65 open races, this race will be selected from the top rating downwards.  - The programmes of November 16 & 30 both have a R60 & faster handicap pace included in them - so if you have a horse who falls into this category and may not have seen the tapes before, please do not hesitate to get in touch with Regan when nominating for the workouts to express your interest in having a go behind the tapes. - An amateur drivers race will be included in the programme for both Saturday December 8 & 15 for a stake TBC.  The club will measure the success of these races and the support they receive however it is envisaged that throughout the winter months of June-August 2019 an amateur winter series will be programmed here at The Park. Conditions and ratings bands for both the December races and the proposed winter series in 2019 are also still TBC. ​Going forward (and confirmation of this will be communicated to all horsemen/women prior to this coming into force) the ATC have decided that the birdcage procedure of parading in numerical order prior to going on track will once again be re-instated. Countdown clocks will be installed throughout the stables prior to the commencement of this to help allow for the smooth transition of re-instating this protocol. Coinciding with this will be the introduction of new colored saddlecloths (similar to that used at a majority of Metropolitan tracks in Australia). These are due to arrive in the next few weeks and will allow for greater interaction between punters and our racing product. A note for trainers & drivers - if you have any concerns over the condition of the track on racenight please direct these concerns directly to Todd Macfarlane (Chair of the Horsemen's Association). Todd and the ATC track staff communicate regularly on racenight and should there be any concerns over the condition of the track, these will be communicated to the track staff via Todd and rectified in a timely manner. Also a reminder for all drivers on racenight - could please remember to warm-up your horse on the outside of the track - this helps to minimise any deterioration to the inside of the track and the subsequent issues that comes with such effects. Regan Cotter Racing Manager 09 631 1163 027 249 1205 Additional information The SAAC (Stable Area Awareness Course) for children aged 6-14 years will take place 1 hour prior to the start of the first tote race on the first meeting of each month here at The Park. Children who pass this course will be issued with a temporary pass which will admit them to the stables when under the supervision of an adult. They will then be issued with photo ID and a lanyard for easy access on racenight (when again under the supervision of an adult). Children are permitted to turn up on the night to partake in the course but we do ask that parents/guardians let the club know (Racing Manager Regan Cotter) when their child will be attending to assist us through this period. Upcoming S.A.A.C (Stable Area Awareness Course for children aged 6-14) course dates as follows - Friday October 12 If you have any questions relating to any of the new H&S procedures & policies please don't hesitate to contact Regan or ATC H&S Manager Shane Primrose - / 09 631 1189 Programmes Programmes for October & November (tentative) are now online  @ Upcoming  Race Meetings @ The Park Friday October 12 - (The Holmes DG) Friday August 26 Upcoming Trial & Workout dates For those of you who like to get in early and see the videos ASAP (prior to the official results been entered) please remember the race videos can be viewed on (note these will be available via this link once Magness is able to upload the videos onto the HRNZ website). Saturday 6th October- Trials (RH) & Workouts – Franklin Saturday 13th October- Trials (LH) & Workouts – Franklin Saturday 20th October - Workouts – Franklin Saturday 27th October- Trials (RH) & Workouts – Franklin

The Auckland Trotting Club is taking a dramatic approach to becoming the country's premier harness racing club by turning every race night into a premier meeting. The ATC will boost stakes for all meetings next year to be at what is now the premier level, an increase of $40,000 per meeting. For now, New Zealand premier meetings have minimum $20,000 stakes and from next March that will be the average stake at Alexandra Park for all meetings. ATC president Bruce Carter has announced starting March 2019 the club's normal Friday night meetings will consist of two $25,000 races, two $15,000 races for maidens or those for the weak 40-50 rating band and the rest of the races will be worth $20,000. That means the non-group races at Alexandra Park from next March will average $20,000. "The stakes are based on nine-race programmes at our meetings and they will be guaranteed, we won't be relying on external funding from things like the race fields legislation which we can't control," says Carter. "We realise stakes have to go up because costs continue to go up and we want to show this commitment now. "We need more horses racing at Alexandra Park. At the moment that number is about 9.3 per race on average and we aim to get that to 11 per race and then more after that. "That is crucial to helping boost turnover but also make the industry more sustainable for trainers." The two $25,000 race guaranteed each night will usually be for the tightest class pacing and trotting races, meaning some meetings in winter races mere two or three-win front races will carry the $25,000 stake. "We realise how hard it is to keep those intermediate grade horses in the country because owners get tempted to send them offshore or sell them. "But this should mean those horses who are in that grade or just below the best open class horses can race here every meeting for usually $25,000 at never below $20,000, which makes them very viable." The new stake levels will catapult Alexandra Park further ahead of the pack Australasian-wide but their greatest problem is still field sizes. "It is remarkable, we can't attract rating 40-50 horses for plenty of meetings now racing for $14,000 whereas trainers will race at Cambridge, instead, for a lot less than that. "And the thing about it is, they are still racing the same horses, rating 40-50s, who are hardly the stars of the game," says Carter. "So I think some trainers and owners could look at their attitudes to racing here and hopefully this will help with that." The ATC will not raise stakes for their actual premier meetings but the most comforting part of Carter's announcement is that it isn't reliant on the New Zealand Racing Board reaching its financial targets, which are being hampered by the delays to the race fields legislation being passed. The money will come from the completion of the of the two major real estate developments at Alexandra Park, with their commercial and residential spaces. The first tower has already been significantly delayed but almost all the owners of the apartments pre-purchased are sticking with the development as they have increased in price since they were originally purchased. "The delay is unfortunate but were circumstances beyond our control but we are confident we will have the first building open in the New Year," says Carter. "And with that money coming online I want to thank the board and management who have worked incredibly hard to make this all happen." The latest series of increases in stakes means Alexandra Park have almost doubled stakes in five years. On the up - Alexandra Park have announced their highest stakes level increases. - From next year all meetings at Alexandra Park will have an average stake of $20,000. - The first real estate development at Alexandra Park should, after delays, be open in the New Year. Michael Guerin

Alexandra Park harness racing fixed odds movers as at 12:30pm   Race 1 - Lovely Bundy $2.70 & Madam Spur $3.00 are joint leaders in multi betting.   Race 2 - Better Step Aside is the big win mover here $12.00 - $7.00 with early money also coming for The Big Cheese $5.50.   Race 3 - The Crown Jewels $5.20 - $4.60 is the only runner wanted early here.    Race 4 - Culpeka $2.50 is huge in win & multi betting.    Race 5 - The only two runners wanted early here are Sea Of Gold $5.00 - $4.00 & Caitlyn Clarke $4.40.   Race 6 - A quiet win & multi market early here with Bopper Jet $6.20 the best backed on the win 'book'.   Race 7 - Star Galleria $1.45 is easily the best backed in win & multi betting with the only other runner attracting some interest Step Up at $6.00.   Race 8 - Loveonthelawn $3.00 leads early win & multi betting.   Race 9 - Swinging $4.50 easily leads early multi betting.    Harnesslink Media Courtesy of Stephen Richardson (TAB)

Members of the Auckland Trotting Club formally received and signed off their 2017 Annual Report at the harness racings organisation’s Annual General Meeting this week. Chief Executive of Alexandra Park, Dominique Dowding, says considerable progress has been made on the club’s number one strategic priority to reinvigorate harness racing. This was helped by the fact that all 246 apartments in the club’s mixed-use development had sold unconditionally - raising nearly $295 million, with the ‘urban village’ on Green Lane West now well under construction. “The ongoing development of Green Lane West will ensure the club can keep revitalising both its venues and products going forward. For example, by 2018/19 the club will be receiving additional revenue via the likes of its new retail leases,” says Ms Dowding. Auckland Trotting Club president Bruce Carter says the past year was one of continued improvement for the club’s financial position, with a substantial uplift in the valuation of its total assets. This follows recent rezoning approval and subdivision consent for the rest of Alexandra Park’s Green Lane West frontage. “The club has increased its net asset base to $164m in 2017 and is one of the strongest asset-based racing clubs in New Zealand, something its members can be proud of,” he says. Overall the club reported a net surplus of over $6.5m for the 2016/17 financial year. It also reported an operating profit after depreciation and amortisation of $69,000 – which was $519,000 better than the $450,000 loss budgeted for the same period. Mr Carter reported on the growth in stakes, with the club’s goal to increase them further over the next five-years.  This year with the help of the NZ Racing Board, the club increased the minimum stake per race at Alexandra Park to $12,000 - the highest for a harness racing club in New Zealand. He says further increases to stakes will be made possible with the completion of the development. He thanked members for their ongoing support and reassured them the board and staff are fully committed to ensuring the Auckland Trotting Club’s core ideals are upheld. Ms Dowding reflected on the changing racing scene in recent decades, and how in 2013 the club’s board and management embarked on an ambitious and aggressive strategy with the vision to ensure future sustainability and control its own destiny. Since then, enormous work has gone into reshaping and extracting the highest and best use of the club’s land holdings. “Four years ago, when the strategy was deployed, we had a declining racing industry, funding had plateaued, over $16m in deferred maintenance, an asset that was in dire need of revitalisation, and an organisation that had flat-lined through a lack of reinvestment. “Today there are positive signs for our industry via the growth in funding, stakes and an extremely bright future for the business of the Auckland Trotting Club. An increase in industry funding has not only enabled an increase in our stakes, but the number of race meetings has also increased from 37 to 41 for the 2017/18 season.” The Annual Report showed that demand for Alexandra Park’s functions facilities and its meetings business continues. In 2016/17 the food and beverage division earned around $6.2m in revenue, with the function centre contributing around $4.6m of that. The functions team managed over 867 events, achieving occupancy levels consistent with the previous year. Race night dining grew strongly with revenue per race night up 16% on the previous year. While the sponsorship team was successful in attracting $790,000 of revenue - an increase of 6.5%. The club’s commissions from its onsite TAB increased following a staggering operating result. In the past year the TAB at Alexandra Park lifted its turnover from $15.7m to $22m - an annual turnover that puts it $10m higher than its closest TAB competitor and cements it as New Zealand’s largest. The club’s property division contributed $2.6m in revenue this year up from $2.3m in 2016. This was driven by an increase in income from the club’s existing rental properties and by strong parking revenues including from visiting campervans during the Lions Tour. Overall operational savings were also reported, and a commitment was made that costs will continue to be challenged throughout the organisation. Ms Dowding says 62% of the club’s total revenue is now generated by other departments outside of racing which continues to grow. Nonetheless at 38%, racing income growth remains important. Field sizes have increased from 9.3 to 9.7, while the amalgamation in recent years to create the Franklin Park Training Centre continues to deliver, with the numbers of horse training at Pukekohe lifting on average from 120 to 240. Looking forward to the coming year, the club will ensure the development is completed, as well as roll out its new strategic plan for the next five years – again in the name of sustaining harness racing into the future. In racing, the club aims to continue to raise the numbers of owners, young trainers and drivers helped by a continued lift in stakes, as well as work to attract and grow new audiences. On other aspects of its business the club will continue to improve customer service, focus on driving overall sales and additional revenue streams, as well as review its current assets and venues. With the opening of its urban village from next year, including new restaurants and cafes, the club is determined to “bring back Alexandra Park as an attractive destination”. At the Annual General Meeting, Auckland Trotting Club members voted on the election of board members and the return of Bruce Carter as president. Members also voted in a new constitution, and were advised that a decision around whether to roll out a further stage of the club’s urban village development would be made later this year or early next year after a review of market conditions. Dominique Dowding: (021) 377-303 or (09) 630-9700

Alexandra Park, the home of harness racing in the North Island, has been named a finalist in the ‘Excellence in Marketing’ category for the Westpac Auckland Business Awards 2017 - Central. Chief executive Dominique Dowding says Alexandra Park’s entry focused on the marketing success of their significant new urban village development, currently under construction on Green Lane West. Within 18 months of launching the development, Alexandra Park had sold all 246 apartments in stage one and two, achieving nearly $300m in sales by late last year. Research confirmed that from all the off-plan projects in Auckland, Alexandra Park achieved the highest values and was the fastest selling. Ms Dowding says being a finalist was a credit to the Auckland Trotting Club’s board, management team, staff, and key project partners such asColliers International. Alexandra Park’s urban village marketing strategy was ground-breaking, with its look and feel breaking from tradition and its clever targeting achieving the exact desired demographics. At the same time, it was backed by a strong internal communications programme which ensured the development got off the ground and stayed on track. “Marketing was key to our apartment sales and critical to the success of our ground-floor leasing for retail and hospitality. But it was more than that. We were one of the first examples in Auckland of a completely master-planned luxury lifestyle apartment product located in suburban context. We also broke the mould by convincing the likes of well-established locals and empty nesters to opt for apartment living which was quite a sea change for Auckland.” The chief executive says for a membership-based sporting organisation to receive this business acknowledgement in a largely corporate arena reflects just how comprehensively and successfully the club has commercially transformed in recent years. Alexandra Park congratulates all category finalists and looks forward to the gala dinner on 14 November for the Westpac Auckland Business Awards 2017 - Central. For a full list of the Westpac Business Award finalists click here. For further information contact, Dominique Dowding: (021) 377-303 or (09) 630-9700  

Alexandra Park’s Sales & Marketing Manager, Joel Reichardt, says while the Park is steeped in harness racing history, it also boasts a proud historic connection to a critical Lions encounter over a century ago. Alexandra Park says its role in providing accommodation and hospitality for rugby fans this weekend might just be a good omen for the All Blacks as they take on The British & Irish Lions for the all-important third Test decider at Eden Park. Mr Reichardt has dusted off the history books which show the All Blacks beating the touring Anglo-Welsh Lions by 29-0 when they played at Alexandra Park, known then as Potters Paddock, on 25 July 1908. Twelve thousand people reportedly attended the Alexandra Park Test match which marked the last of the New Zealand tour. What’s more, it was the third Test and series decider after the Lions drew 3-3 with the All Blacks in Wellington the month before. “The fact that we’ve been given an official role this weekend as a pop-up campervan site builds on Alexandra Park’s long connections to rugby. “Let’s not forget the Auckland Blues’ training headquarters is based here and of course they were victorious against the Lions at Eden Park on 7 June. So, we’re all hoping the Alexandra Park rugby association bodes well for another positive result this Saturday.” Mr Reichardt says they’re receiving more campervan bookings for this weekend than they did for the first Test. Fans are paying $100 per self-contained campervan per night for two people, with an extra $15 for each additional guest. Facilities available to campers at Alexandra Park’s non-powered sites include plenty of toilets and showers, dumping facilities, charging stations, on-site security, a pop-up information centre and 24/7 telephone helpline. Plenty of atmosphere is also guaranteed with access to the newly-upgraded Alex Bar & Eatery, specific food and beverage deals, and of course free entry to Alexandra Park’s iconic Friday night trots. “I suspect after hearing about Alexandra Park’s legendary role in such a critical Test match over a century ago, Lions fans will probably be keener to stay with us to see if some of our magic can rub off on them,” says Joel Reichardt. For more information on the 1908 British Lions tour to New Zealand and Australia click here For further information on the campervan sites, or bookings, contact Danielle Upton (booking co-ordinator) on (027) 808-2362 or or visit For further information contact: Joel Reichardt: (021) 786-034

Presented by Winger Motors, the 2017 Oaks & Derby Festival continues with its final harness racing night, Derby Night, this Friday at Auckland’s Alexandra Park.  The big race is the Group One Woodlands Stud Northern Derby, but it’s an annual fashion competition which is also creating a lot of public interest, says Joel Reichardt, Alexandra Park Sales & Marketing Manager. The Best Dressed At The Races competition on Derby Night is open to any fashion-forward track-goers 18 years or over. There are three categories - Best Dressed Lady, Best Dressed Man and Best Headwear - with some amazing prizes on offer and one grand prize for the overall Best Dressed Supreme winner. This year the total prize pool is worth over $5,000, with the supreme winner also taking away the keys to a stylish Jeep for a week of adventure; a weekend for two at the grand Duke of Marlborough Hotel in historic Russell; and a Magnum of Mumm champagne. Friday night’s competition promises plenty of catwalk action in the Tasman Room, with the latest information on Alexandra Park’s Facebook page and website. Four of New Zealand’s most respected sartorial minds in fashion will judge the Best Dressed At The Races competition on 10 March.  The country’s most famous fashionable man, Colin Mathura-Jeffree, will be bringing his flair trackside. He will be flanked by racing darlings, Best Dressed Lady from the country’s racing tracks, Carena West and in-demand milliner and stylish woman, Claire Hahn. The group will be finished off nicely with the Herald on Sunday Fashion Editor, Michiko Hylands. Tickets are selling fast for both the Tasman Room and Top of the Park but Mr Reichardt says there remains some availability for those keen to secure the popular beverage and dining packages. Tables and tickets can be reserved and purchased by calling (09) 631-1165 or emailing General admission into Alexandra Park, car-parking and race books remain free.  For further information on the 2017 Oaks & Derby Festival visit

Alexandra Park has announced four of New Zealand’s most respected sartorial minds in fashion to judge its Best Dressed At The Races competition on Great Northern Derby Night, Friday 10 March.  The country’s most famous fashionable man, Colin Mathura-Jeffree, will be bringing his flair trackside. He will be flanked by racing darlings, Best Dressed Lady from the country’s racing tracks, Carena West and in-demand milliner and stylish woman, Claire Hahn. The group will be finished off nicely with the Herald on Sunday Fashion Editor, Michiko Hylands. “We’re incredibly excited to have secured these judges. All four come with a vast amount of experience in fashion and in judging some of New Zealand’s best dressed competitions,” says Joel Reichardt, Alexandra Park Sales & Marketing Manager. He says the judges are looking look forward to seeing what the trotting set is wearing in 2017, spotting emerging trends as well as classic race wear. Tips for those 18 years or over who may like to enter include: putting flair into what you wear; making sure your outfit is well thought out head to toe; and making your fashion mark for the twilight hours. There are three categories - Best Dressed Lady, Best Dressed Man and Best Headwear - with some amazing prizes on offer and one grand prize for the best dressed overall. The 10 March competition promises plenty of catwalk action in the Tasman Room, with further information on Alexandra Park’s Facebook page and website. Presented by Winger Motors, the 2017 Oaks & Derby Festival will in fact deliver two exciting evenings of top harness racing and great fashion. Fashion At The Oaks will take place on Friday 3 March with tickets for the glamorous evening in the Tasman Room available for $99 per person. Attendees will not only enjoy a gourmet three-course meal but a glass of bubbles on arrival, a deluxe goodie bag, and a great night of fashion shows featuring the latest collections from leading designers Adrienne Winkelmann, Kay Goss, Yvonne Bennetti, Augustine and Hailwood. On Oaks Night, New Zealand’s best three-year-old fillies will battle it out in the Group One Pascoe The Jewellers Northern Oaks. While the big race on Derby Night is the Group One Woodlands Stud Northern Derby. Tables and tickets during the festival can be reserved and purchased by calling (09) 631-1165 or emailing General admission into Alexandra Park, car-parking and race books remain free on both evenings. For further information on the 2017 Oaks & Derby Festival visit  

Stakes for Alexandra Park are set to explode, with an extra $40,000 to be poured into each meeting. And while the announcement comes with a delay, the timing is also perfect. After an enormous response to their property developments at Alexandra Park, having sold all 246 apartments in the first two stages, the Auckland Trotting Club is assured of some big dollars rolling in in the years ahead. And ATC president Bruce Carter is moving early to ensure that money goes into stakes across all levels. "We are going to increase stakes for all our meetings by $40,000 per meeting," said Carter. "It won't kick in until the start of August next year but it will definitely happen and we want to tell people now so they know something really big is in the offing." Carter says the ATC is moving now on future stakes because it wants to support the upcoming yearling sales, which start at Karaka on February 20. "We want people to be able to go to the sales knowing that by the time that horse turns three, the stakes at Alexandra Park will be way beyond anything we have seen for harness racing in this country before." A general increase of $40,000 per meeting spread across a standard 10-race card could potentially see maidens racing for $16,000, an unheard of amount for that grade anywhere in Australasia. That will raise some concerns about horses who win breaching the handicapping thresholds in Australia, where any win worth more than $15,000 attracts a metropolitan penalty, potentially affecting the export market. Carter says while the exact distribution of the stakes across grades is far from being finalised how the record levels affect the export market will be discussed. "We are all aware of that but the bottom line is the ATC wants to help local trainers, owners, breeders and vendors and we also want to keep horses in New Zealand. "We want to make racing at Alexandra Park so attractive people don't want to sell their horses." Alexandra Park already pay all starters the equivalent of $400 spread across the owners and trainers and have seen a significant increase in field sizes down in the grades but northern harness racing still struggles to retain enough better class horses. Carter says the ATC board was adamant the increases should be across the board rather than the ego-boost of increasing its glamour races like the Auckland Cup, even though it is worth far less than the New Zealand Cup. "We may look at those in the future, especially when more money from development comes online, but our commitment is to stakes that are spread across the industry and not just the better horses." The decision is a sensible one because while the Auckland Cup on December 31 was $250,000, you could have doubled it and the only realistic change is that Lazarus may have started, which would have had its benefits but also its downside. The future stakes increases are not the only change to Alexandra Park racing in recent days, with 26-year-old Regan Cotter taking over as the club's youngest ever racing manager. Cotter has worked in the racing department for 18 month and replaces Kevin Smith, who has joined HRNZ as a handicapper. Sky high stakes • An extra $40,000 will be poured into each ATC meeting. • The money will be spread across all grades, potentially raising maiden stakes to $16,000. • The stake increases will kick in on August 1, 2018. They are being announced now to help boost confidence before the yearling sales. Courtesy of Michael Guerin 

The home of harness racing in Auckland, Alexandra Park, has now sold all of its 246 high-end apartments in stage one and two of its significant residential development, with the value of total gross sales amounting to nearly $300 million. Construction is well underway at 223 Green Lane West on part of Alexandra Park’s large carpark to transform it into an urban village. The first of the 750 residents are set to move in alongside the live trotting track next year. Since launching in 2015 it has been one of the city’s largest brownfield developments and has been dubbed Auckland’s fastest selling project of its size. The apartments, townhouses, and penthouses have all achieved good prices, with the development’s largest penthouse selling last year for $4.75m by Colliers International. Alexandra Park chief executive, Dominique Dowding, says prices and popularity of the apartments have exceeded the Auckland Trotting Club’s expectations “It is truly exciting that, here in Epsom, the market has responded so positively to our medium density, mixed-use development. It completely reinforces our decision to put total emphasis on delivering absolute quality and its location has also helped considerably,” she says. Ms Dowding says other factors that buyers have cited include the comprehensively master-planned environment with great public spaces, the apartments’ ‘freehold title’ status, the double grammar school zone, and the prospect of strong capital gain. Beneath the apartments will be a unique FreshChoice grocery concept, boutique retail and some favourite New Zealand hospitality names and brands soon to be announced. The success of Alexandra Park’s urban village development was confirmed in a recent Colliers International residential project survey which assessed 27 ‘off the plan’ projects across Auckland for the first six months of last year. The Colliers International survey revealed that during that period Alexandra Park was number one across several categories including ‘total sales volume’ and ‘total sales value’ beating all other individual CBD, city and fringe projects. At the same time, Alexandra Park took out the top spot for ‘market share’ and ‘total sales by location’ when compared to all other fringe projects. Will Coates, Projects Manager in Residential Projects Marketing at Colliers International says Alexandra Park has well and truly broken a historic mould. “Auckland has historically seen large apartment developments in the CBD. After all, 64% of Auckland’s total apartment stock is located in the CBD. So to see a city fringe project of Alexandra Park’s size do so well is extremely rare,” he says. “Alexandra Park is not only selling high quality apartments, but it’s offering an entire master-planned community, including a retail High Street, as well as all the existing amenities the Auckland Trotting Club brings to the location. No other development in Auckland has ever offered this kind of mix before, and this I believe is where a large part of their success lies,” says Mr Coates.  Auckland’s award-winning RTA Studio is the lead architect and international urban design experts Civitas are overseeing the outside transformation which will include plenty of world-class public spaces and promenades. N-Compass and RDT Pacific are the project managers. Long-time New Zealand-owned construction company, Canam, is building stage one and respected Australasian company Ganellen is building stage two. At the Auckland Trotting Club’s AGM in October members approved in principle entering stage three of the urban village development and for the board to proceed with the necessary investigative work. Ms Dowding says an announcement on stage three will be made this year, following considerable and ongoing public interest. She says registrations of interest can be made via the project’s website and parties will be kept updated on the release date. For further information contact: Dominique Dowding, Alexandra Park CEO (021) 377-303 Will Coates, Colliers International (021) 730-409

Alexandra Park is celebrating Chinese New Year 2017 with a dedicated harness racing night on Friday, 10 February. “Alexandra Park has been the home of the Auckland Trotting Club since 1890 and Chinese Aucklanders are a bit part of our story. Hence we’ve decided to host a special evening showcasing traditional entertainment and a delicious all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet dinner,” says Joel Reichardt, Sales & Marketing Manager at Alexandra Park. He says tickets are selling fast for the plentiful Chinese-themed hospitality which will take place from 5.30pm at Alexandra Park’s premier 5th floor function venue, Top of the Park. As well as the entertainment and sumptuous buffet, attendees will also enjoy an outstanding view of all the exciting harness racing action under lights below. Top of the Park will be beautifully themed and decorated in celebration of the Year of the Rooster. Dining packages are just $65pp for the buffet only, and $99 for the all-inclusive beverage package. To secure tickets phone (09) 630-5660 or visit “This is set to be a fantastic evening so we’re really encouraging people to get their colleagues, family and friends together and come along. “Alexandra Park has long been known for having the best Chinese restaurant in Auckland, Grand Park. Now our own first-class chefs have designed a Chinese buffet menu which is not only comprehensive but will be packed with delicious flavours and modern twists. “We get great reviews about our food and we’re expecting exceptional feedback on our Chinese New Year offering. February 10 is not only set to be a fun night, but we’re also offering great value. Given the success of the ticket sales so far, I suspect we’ll be doing it all again next year,” says Mr Reichardt. Alexandra Park is set to roll out other internationally-themed evenings throughout the year, and on every race night general admission, car-parking and race books are free. The 2017 Oaks & Derby Festival is set for 3 and 10 March.

The man behind the magic mares won't compare them out of respect. Because having been lucky enough to train both Adore Me and Dream About Me, Mark Purdon knows he have been blessed. Dream About Me obliterated the Auckland Cup race record and her opponents in the $250,000 group one at Alexandra Park tonight, crowing herself the new queen of Australasian pacing. Settling well back off a startling speed set by Christen Me and Titan Banner, the daughter of Bettor's Delight swept into the race at the bell, sat parked and left her rivals gasping at the top of the straight. She clipped four seconds off Chokin's race and track record taking her record to 19 wins from 22 starts, with two of her defeats coming when she was luckless and the other when she was fresh-up and not at her peak. At only the halfway point of her four-year-old season she already has a record that sits alongside some of the great female pacers in New Zealand history, with the promise of so much more to come. Already in that mare's Hall Of Fame is her close relation Adore Me, who Purdon and partner Natalie Rasmussen trained to win a New Zealand Cup in record time and then pace the then fastest ever mile in Australasian history when she clocked 1:47.7 at Menangle. Adore Me couldn't win an Auckland Cup though, the race sadly ending her career when she injured herself in it two years ago. Purdon drove both and shakes his head at one following the other so quickly. "You couldn't believe you could get Dream About Me so soon after Adore Me," said Purdon. "But it is hard to compare them because I don't want to disrespect either. "Adore Me was an amazing mare but she (Dream About Me) has done just as much and more at this stage of her career. "So while we never got to see what Adore Me could have been later in her career because of her injury, maybe we will with this mare." While mares winning the Auckland Cup are rare -- Dream About Me became just the third in 33 years tonight -- she won't be asked to tackle the open class male pacers too often again this season. She is off next to Sydney for the Ladyship Mile, which means she will dodge the Miracle Mile and then her connections have a big decision to make: race into the autumn or pull stumps and have a big winter break to set her for the New Zealand Cup, a recipe that worked with Lazarus this season. Dream About Me She wasn't the only mare to smash her male rivals tonight as Quite A Moment broke the the 2700m mobile trot record in the National Trot, continuing the domination of the open class trot features for trainers Greg and Nina Hope. They have won almost everything that matters with Monbet in the last 12 months but even with the champ sidelined Quite A Moment simply outstayed her rivals, including hot favourite Marcoola. The latter pulled too hard in front and was beaten on the home bend. Quite A Moment Earlier in the meeting Ultimate Machete left no doubt as to who is the best three-year-old pacer in Australasia when he was too good for More The Better in the $200,000 PGG Wrightson Sales Series Pace. Ultimate Machete He will join Dream About Me and Lazarus, who worked well before the first race today, in Sydney with his aim being the NSW Derby. - NZ Herald Read more by Michael Guerin

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