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By Jonny Turner Interdominion star A G’s White Socks could book a ticket to Australia if he continues his form resurgence in Thursday’s Central Otago Trotting Cup. Like many holiday makers, the Canterbury pacer has gotten out of the city and headed to the more relaxing surrounds of Central Otago for today’s popular meeting. The Greg and Nina Hope trained pacer would have been a leading contender in Tuesday night’s Auckland Cup had he stayed north after his Interdominion campaign. Avoiding standing start racing and the possibility of an Australian trip mean Omakau racegoers get to see A G’s White Socks in Thursday’s 2000m group 3 feature. “The reason we brought him down was to have a go with him at Omakau and then make our mind up about him going to Australia,” Greg Hope said. “We also didn’t really want to put the horse through standing starts again.” “They are not his forte and we just felt we could undo things if he went in the Auckland Cup.” The Hunter Cup at Melton would be A G’s White Socks’ main aim if he books his Australian trip with a good run on Thursday. Reverting to mobile racing and a change of A G’s White Socks’ feeding regime saw the 6yr-old bounce back to his best form with two Interdominion heat wins before his commendable fifth in the series final. The pacer has not started since that effort behind Ultimate Sniper. Pleasing work since then means A G’s White Socks is fit and ready for Thursday. “He had about five days off after the final and then he flew back down and I have been pretty pleased with him since,” Hope said. “He has worked nice.” Most of A G’s White Socks’ rivals’ form leading in to Thursday’s feature comes through two races. Heisenberg beat home Jazzy Star and Nandolo when winning last week’s Ashburton Cup. Vintage Cheddar sprinted past Franco Santino and Swamp Major to win the Wairio Cup days prior. The Hopes have a team to follow at today’s Omakau meeting. Luella looks a strong chance in race 11 following her third behind talented fillies Sugar Loaf and Pearl Harbour at Winton on Tuesday. Mossdale Art was a brave mile (1609m) winner in the smart time of 1.53.7 at the same meeting. The 4yr-old will take on a talented field in race 9. Bev’s K One starts for the Hope stable in race 2 after producing two solid trial performances recently.   Didjabringthebeers happy to be home Canterbury trotter Didjabringthebeers has been back in his happy place ahead of today’s feature trot at Omakau. The 6yr-old brings a patchy form line in to the 2000m mobile event thanks to a less than impressive Interdominion campaign. The Monarchy squaregaiter was clearly off his game during the Alexandra Park series, producing two uncharacteristic breaks in its last two heats. Exactly why the horse was not happy in Auckland remains a mystery to trainer John Howe. But what is clear to the West Melton horseman is that his trotter is happy to be home. “I am not exactly sure what went on in Auckland to be honest,” Howe said. “I don’t think it was the right-handed way of going because he has worked really well that way down here.” “Something wasn’t right, he just wasn’t happy up there.” Didjabringthebeers has not started since he was pulled up on night three of the Interdominions, nearly a month ago. Howe has no concerns about his 6yr-old’s fitness going in to today’s race with that gap between races. “He seems to have bounced back well,” Howe said. “I gave him a good hit out at home this week and he seems pretty right.” The last time Didjabringthebeers faced conditions similar to today’s race – racing left handed over a sprint distance – he produced a career best effort for third behind Tough Monarch in the group 1 New Zealand Free For All at Addington. Fellow Interdominion campaigner Pres The Belle looks one of the horses to beat in today’s feature trot. The Robert Dunn trained trotter relished a drop in class from the Auckland series when showing brilliant gate speed to lead an win her last start at Addington. Heavyweight Hero, who is another leading contender for today’s race, was left in Pres The Belle’s wake when six length behind her in second. Howe also starts Nandolo in today’s Central Otago Trotting Cup. The trainer expects the pacer to be fitter for his last start fourth in the Ashburton Cup. Nandolo was run down by three horses rated at longer odds than him, including Central Otago Trotting Cup rival Heisenberg, in the Christmas Eve event. Howe suspects the horse’s fitness was not quite up to the mark and he should strip in better condition on Thursday. “He got away on me a bit, he had a really good blow after the race, he might have been a run short.” “To my eye he had Heisenberg beaten at the top of the straight and next thing he got tired in the last 150m.” “But, he was the first horse home off 30m.” Nandolo and Heisenberg will start from level marks from behind the mobile on Thursday. Howe’s day starts in race 7 when Aladdin Sane lines up after winning his first start for the season at Ashburton. The 4yr-old will clash with highly talented Southland trotter Chinese Whisper and the consistent Only One Way.  Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

Below is a full run down of Club News over the holiday season. Be sure to check out what is happening new you and get your friends and family together and support a local meeting!    Southern Harness Regional News The Southern Harness holiday racing season kicks off in earnest with the Wairio Trotting Club meeting, featuring the Otautau 4 Square Supermarket Wairio Cup, at Central Southland Raceway in Winton on Saturday 22 December. This is always a popular day with free tent sites available for groups and businesses. The kids are well catered for too with $2 mini jeep rides while Santa will pay a visit to the course to hold a lolly scramble. The first race is timed for 12noon and admission is free.   Great prizes to be won at Gore Gore is the place to be on 27 December where the Gore Harness Racing Club is holding a $10,000 Pick 10 winners competition that is sure to create a lot of interest. There is also a $1000 prize for the person who can pick the most continuous winners on the day - check out the Gore Harness Racing Club facebook page for details. There are plenty of free activities for the kids while on track the highlights are the MLT Gore Cup and a new open 3yo race with a new sponsor, ‘The Cardrona Distillery’ who are sponsoring alongside loyal sponsor the Mataura Licensing Trust – the trophy a case of alcohol from Cardrona Distillery.          The first race is at 2.28pm and admission is free. Relax on New Year’s Eve at Winton If you are looking for a nice, quiet relaxing, New Year’s Eve, look no further than Central Southland Raceway in Winton. The first race is scheduled for 1.48pm and the highlight will be the Fast Track Insurance Southern Belle Speed Series Heat. Bring the picnic, kick back and relax. Another great day in store at Omakau Trots The Central Otago Trotting Club always turn on a great day of entertainment and innovation and this year will be no exception when the Omakau Trots take place at the Omakau Racecourse on Wednesday, January 2. The Omakau Trots are an iconic event, one that provides a wonderful family atmosphere with top-class harness racing, heaps of free entertainment for the children, and plenty of activity, competitions and prizes for all ages. Prizes up for grabs this year include tickets to January's Gibbston Valley Winery concert and a 2019 season pass to Highlanders home games. The feature race will again be the McLaren Transport/RD Petroleum Central Otago Trotting Cup supported by a programme that will see superb harness racing action. Every year the club comes up with new innovations and this year it is the Witches Of West View 2 Syndicate Competition which will give two people the opportunity to own a share of their own racehorse for a year at no cost. Courtesy of Nigel Armstrong and the Central Otago Trotting Club details are available on the club's facebook page - "Omakau Trots 2019". The competition is open to ladies only and you must be on course on 2 January to participate. Entries close on the facebook page on 30 December so be quick. Another facebook based competition prior to the event is the Own The Moment Syndicate prize which will give someone the opportunity to receive owners privileges and the opportunity to own a share of a horse on race day courtesy of Kirk and Michelle Larsen. Entries for this competition will close on 24 December and the prize will provide a great experience for a racegoer. Fashion On The Field for the ladies (18 and over) will be one of the major highlights again this year, and with support from the Otago Daily Times, Jamie's Jewellers of Alexandra, Orbit House Of Travel, Dunedin and Henry's Wine, Beer & Spirits there are some great prizes on the line, first prize alone valued at over $1000. Entries are taken early in the day, so don’t be late! The Omakau Trots are a drawcard for families because of the fantastic array of free children’s entertainment. The biggest ever bouncy castle to come to the Omakau Racecourse, aqua bubble, mini-jeeps, pony rides, an obstacle course, kids tote, a massive lolly scramble and a scavenger hunt with fantastic prizes up for grabs and more are all part of a massive day. The family sulky derby has become a popular feature of the event and a Punters Club, lucky punter competitions and losing ticket draws for rides on the mobile barrier are popular features for the adults as is the big screen which allows you to follow the action closely. For more than 50 years holiday-makers have gathered at the Omakau Racecourse to enjoy quality family time under the trees with their picnics and often to catch up with friends from past race days. There is also a selection of local community groups offering a wide range of food and beverages, from espresso coffee to whitebait, plus a licensed booth on course. Gates open at 10.30am, and the first race is scheduled to start around 12.20pm. Admission is just $10 for adults, while under-18s are free. Great day out in Roxburgh Another hugely popular race meeting on the calendar of holiday makers takes place two days after Omakau when the Roxburgh Trotting Club hold their annual meeting at the Roxburgh Racecourse on 4 January. The Peters Genetics Roxburgh Cup headlines an action packed race programme on the track while in keeping with summertime harness racing in Central Otago there is a day of entertainment and fun for all ages which will guarantee a great day out for everyone. Gates open at 11am, and the first race is scheduled for 1.03pm.    Fashion in the Field is always a highlight, and once again a tremendous prize pool has been assembled – more details will appear on the Southern Harness Racing facebook page as the day approaches. A punters club will operate on the day, while the Jimmy’s Pies Lucky Punter Competition will give a punter $50 to spend on each race, and a lucky-losing-ticket draw will result in someone on course winning a mobile phone. There is a huge amount of entertainment for the kids including the bungy tramp, Mini Jeeps, Aqua Bubble, jousting, a bouncy castle, and Astro Ball. There will be a variety of food and beverages available around the course, in what has become a wonderful picnic day full of great racing and entertainment. Admission is $10 for adults, and under-18s are free. INTERISLANDER SUMMER FESTIVAL CROMWELL TROTS The final meeting of the Central Otago harness racing circuit takes place at Cromwell Racecourse on Sunday 6 January. The Interislander Summer Festival Cromwell Trots continues to grow in popularity and features grass track racing at its best with the feature event the Havtime Breeding/M&S Little Cromwell Cup. The first race is scheduled for 12noon and admission is $10 with under 18’s free. In addition to the exciting race programme there will be a tremendous entertainment programme with something for everyone. Fashion In The Field features categories for the Best Dressed Lady, Best Dressed Man, Best Dressed Couple, Best Dressed Boy, Best Dressed Girl, Best Dressed Under 7 and the Best Hat/Fascinator. For the boys there is the Abs For The Lads Competition while judges will be on the lookout for the Best Car Park Picnic. The More FM Kids Go Racing Area features plenty of great activity for the Under 12’s while there are also free mini jeep rides and a kids running race. Losing tote tickets can win you a ride on the mobile. A Punters Club will operate and there will be plenty of food and beverage on course. TWILIGHT RACING WITH THE NORTHERN SOUTHLAND TROTTING CLUB Summer twilight racing at Ascot Park Raceway in Invercargill with the Northern Southland Trotting Club is the go on Thursday 10 January with the House Of Travel Lakers Summer Cup the feature event along with several other quality harness races. A losing ticket draw after Race 6 will see one lucky punter win a $250 betting voucher with an opportunity for that winner to go on and win a $1000 betting voucher at the club’s final meeting later in the season. Owners are welcome in the Alabar Owners Room and one owner will go in the club’s season long competition with three great prizes up for grabs. Admission is free and the first race is timed for 3.00pm.    Cambridge Raceway - Club to mark Centenary in style A great night of summer racing with plenty of atmosphere promises to entertain racegoers attending Cambridge Raceway’s January 11 meeting next year, which will mark the centenary of the Waikato-Bay of Plenty Harness Incorporated racing club. Established in 1919, the club has become an integral part of the Cambridge community. Not only has it become the epicenter for racing in the region, its facilities have also been widely utilised, including as a training camp for the New Zealand military during World War II. To mark the milestone, the club plans to celebrate in style with the night taking on a 1920’s Great Gatsby and Peaky Blinders theme and racegoers are encouraged to dress-up accordingly. “We want to make a really big night of the centenary meeting,” Cambridge Raceway chief executive Dave Branch said. “It’s all going to be dress-up, the whole place will be decked out in a 1920’s theme. “We want to create a great atmosphere and pack the grass verge out along the front of the grandstand with hospitality, the Skyline Lounge will also be open, the Alf Walsh Lounge will take on a speakeasy vibe for the night and we will also have our Colts and Fillies Club to entertain the children. “We’re not only celebrating racing at Cambridge but also the past 100 years of the Cambridge township and we’re involving the Cambridge Community in the promotions and the race night. “There will be a 1920s themed window dressing competition in the lead up to the event.” The night will also offer a great card of racing, including the Gr.2 Waikato Flying Mile (1609m) and the Gr.3 Cambridge Trotters Flying Stakes (1700m), which have been specifically moved to mark the celebration. “Traditionally they have been on that earlier January meeting, but this will space it out a bit more from the Auckland (new year’s eve) meeting, so hopefully we will get a few of the better horses from the Auckland Cup (Gr.1, 3200m),” Branch said. The Waikato Flying Mile has been a key race for the club, with its inaugural running in 1966, and plenty of quality graduates have gone on to perform at elite level. “It’s always a race that has brought the crowds,” Branch said. “I remember Christian Cullen when he won the race, and going through the past winners it’s a pretty impressive roll of honour.” Other notable winners include champion pacers Young Quinn, Luxury Liner and Christopher Vance, while recent winners include race record holder Adore Me (1.51.6) and current world-beater Lazarus. Branch said there has been many highlights for the club in its 100 years, including the running of the Harness Jewels every second year since its inception, but the construction of the grandstand in the 1970s has been the club’s biggest achievement. “The Jewels has definitely been a highlight, but building the grandstand has been the biggest highlight for the club,” Branch said. “The Jewels this year has been the biggest highlight for myself as chief executive of the club and also retaining it for 2020. There has been a lot of learning from this year’s event, so we’re excited to see what we can offer in 2020. “We have got a fairly new team at the raceway and everybody is keen and wanting to move the place forward, which is fantastic.” The gates to Cambridge Raceway will open at 5pm on January 11, with racegoers encouraged to dress-up for the 1920’s theme. For more information visit this page – Cambridge Raceway   Ashburton Trotting Club Sunday 23rd December Meeting The Ashburton Trotting Club are running a meeting on Sunday 23rd December. This meeting will be run to raise funds for the Ashburton Branch of the NZ Cancer Society. The local Pakeke Lions club will on hand to collect a gold coin donation as an entry fee, as well as running a BBQ lunch also with a gold coin donation. All funds raised from this will go to the Ashburton Branch of the NZ Cancer Society. The meeting will also be run as a family fun day with children’s running races and activities, with Santa Claus making an appearance throughout the day. It will be a relaxed picnic atmosphere with light entertainment and music for families and groups to enjoy. Owners on the day will be able to collect an owners ribbon from the secretary’s office which will entitle them for a 20% discount on refreshments around the course.   Westport Trotting Club – 26, 28 December The Westport Trotting Club is looking forward to their two day summer meeting on the 26th and 27th of December. Early indications are that Boxing Day will be a popular event with the marquees sold out and patrons coming from far and wide to support the Club. After the flood surge in February the Tearooms and Grandstand Bar have both been extensively renovated and completed in time for this meeting. The latest edition of the Westport Trotting Club caps are proving popular and it has been noted that a few have made their way to the East Coast and have been featuring prominently around the Canterbury grass track circuit. Caps will be on sale both days at Westport for the giveaway price of $10. The Club was slightly disappointed last year with the number of horses in the feature race the Westport Cup. While the quality was there the club had hoped for a full field given the stake money available and the prestige attached to the Cup. In an effort to encourage greater participation the Club has joined with Fasttrack insurance in providing a $5000 “prize” which will be drawn after the Cup Race with all runners, barring the winner, going in to the draw. In essence any horse finishing second to last could win the $5000. As usual there will be plenty of on course entertainment as part of the Interislander Summer Festival. Included in this package will be the Fashion in the Fields Competition which grows in popularity from year to year. As for the weather well it has been a hot summer so far with enough moisture to keep the grass green and the track in great order. The forecast for Boxing Day is for a morning shower, sun and some cloud with a high of 20 degrees. Sounds like just another day in Paradise.   Banks Peninsula – 29 December Join us for our fantastic Race Day Event at The Trots At Mot on Saturday 29th December. We will have 10 amazing grass track harness races, at the Motukarara Raceway, kicking off from 12noon to 5pm. A day at Interislander Summer Festival Motukarara Trots is a popular way to enjoy the break between Christmas and New Year. It's one of the biggest racedays on the calendar for the South Island - attracting a crowd of thousands. Make sure you're there to join the celebrations! There will be a host of free children’s entertainment including pony rides, bouncy castle, face painting and the big bouncy bungee! We will also have an array of food trucks to feed the crowds. Secure your trackside spot and invite your friends, Whānau, colleagues, fellow social clubbers or sports club members to celebrate the holidays at The Trots At Mot! We have the following options available: Exclusive Mot Hill Sites: We have a limited number of Exclusive Mot Hill Sites, slap bang in the middle of the action, right next to the bird cage and members stand. From your elevated vantage point, you will have clear views of the track, bird cage and stables giving you a 360 view of all the grass track harness race action!   Reefton Trotting Club – 30 December A New Promotion this year for our forth coming "Interislander Summer Festival of Racing" Race day on 30th December 2018. For the dedicated and hardworking persons behind the scenes, presenting their horses professionally with sometimes not a lot of recognition, the Reefton Trotting Club are excited to announce a new competition for this section of the industry to look forward to at our meeting. Format as follows:  The previous format of a "Best Presented Horse" and the associated prize in each race remains as per normal. The connections of the winning "Best Presented Horse' in each race are then obilged to nominate their horse's "Strapper" to the secretary’s office immediately following their success. Whilst the runners for Race 10 are completing their preliminaries, the days results will be collated and the "Supreme Strapper' for 2018 will be announced. In the birdcage immediately following Race 10 the winner or winners representative will be presented with the Reefton Trotting Club's "Strappers Cup" for 2018 and a $100 voucher. Reefton Trotting Club's "Interislander Summer Festival of Racing" continues this year and one of the "Off" track features is the extremely popular "Glamour in the Goldfields" best dressed competition.  This event over recent years has developed from a minor side attraction to a integral and vital part of our race day. Embracing all ages from children, to the elegant lady, to the fine gentleman, this event appeals to the general public who each year continue to greet the contestants presentation with great enthusiasm. "Kids Go Racing" ensure that the children are well entertained and this year the Reefton Trotting Club have commissioned the services of a top Christchurch band for between race ambience and relaxation Good Coffee, Good Food, Great Mr Whppy ice creams and best of all Great Racing make the Reefton Racecourse the place to be on Sunday 30th December.   Central Otago Trotting Club News - 2 January The Central Otago Trotting Club is proud to announce two exciting competitions which will soon be live on their facebook page! Witches of Westview competition  Be in to win a share in a syndicate of ‘Witches of West View 2 Syndicate’ courtesy of Nigel Armstrong & Central Otago Trotting Club. This is your opportunity to ‘own’ a share in your own racehorse from 2nd January 2019 through to ………………… You will not have to contribute any money at any stage to pay for the syndicate. This is an opportunity to be involved in racing up to 6 horses throughout New Zealand. At the end of it you may even receive a pay-out – if the horses do well enough, though we can’t guarantee that. This is a fantastic no risk opportunity for you to experience the thrill of racing as an owner. To enter you all you need to do is type Witches in the comments, tag a friend and share the Facebook page. On race day entries will be drawn against a horse (in a yet to be specified race) in a sweepstake manner. The winning and 2ndplace getting horses in that race will receive a share each. In the event of a dead heat for 2nd, the club will try to get an additional share, otherwise it would be decided by coin toss. Entries close 30 Dec 2018 Terms & Conditions of ‘Witches of West View 2 Syndicate’ Open only to females Be 18yrs or over to enter Only one entry per person Enter on Facebook page ‘Omakau Trots 2019’ Must be on course at Omakau Racecourse, 2 January 2019 to pick up prize or will it will be redrawn. Photos & names may be used by the COTC or syndicate for future promotions. To have photo ID on the day All bona fide entries will go into a draw to be drawn on raceday. COTC committee members & partners are ineligible to enter. For full terms and conditions see ‘Witches of West View 2 Syndicate’ rules. ‘Own the Moment Syndicate’ compliments of Kirk & Michelle Larsen This competition will give you a phantom share of a racehorse at Omakau on 2nd January 2019. The winner will receive complimentary admission and carpark tickets for 4 people. At the course once you have identified yourself at the secretary’s office you will receive 4 complimentary race books, you will be treated like an owner throughout the day. A COTC committee member will take you to meet the trainer and horse. You will be invited to watch the race from the owners & trainers stand. If the horse is a winner, then you will have the opportunity to have your photo taken with it. The club will put $50 each way on the horse for you – if you win the dividend is yours. After the race you will receive an invite to the president’s bar. To enter all you have to do is type Own the Moment in the comments, tag a mate and share the facebook page. Entries close on 24 Dec 12 noon If you are excited about owning a share in a syndicate, follow the link Terms & Conditions of ‘Own the Moment Syndicate’ Be 18yrs or over to enter Only one entry per person Enter on Facebook page ‘Omakau Trots 2019’ Will be drawn on 24 Dec 2018 Must be on course on the day to collect prize – 2ndJan Photos & names may be used by the COTC or syndicate for future promotions. To have photo ID on the day All bona fide entries will go into a draw to be drawn on raceday. COTC committee members & partners are ineligible to enter. For all full terms and conditions see the Facebook Page.    Rangiora - 3 January Join the action. Twilight race meeting. Free  On Course Entry Family focused Harness Racing  Top Quality Racing plus Family Entertainment for everyone including Bouncy castle, Drive World Self Drive Jeeps , Face Painting, Air Brush Tattoos , plus more.   Nelson Harness Racing Club, Friday Jan 11 & Sunday Jan 13 Richmond Park The Nelson Harness Club extends an invitation to all owners and trainers to race in sunny Nelson for their two-day summer race meeting. Come and join us for great hospitality, weather and racing and entertainment Great stakes are on offer with the club increasing their purses from last summer.  The Nelson Pine Industries Summer Cup has a stake of $14000 and it Prelude has a stake of $10000.  All other races are for purses of $8000 to $9000, with maiden winners collecting a bonus $1500. FOOD & BEVERAGES Hot food and drink will be available in the Drivers Room for all trainers, drivers and their staff.  A coffee cart will be outside the numbers room in the stabling area.  Food and drink will also be available to purchase at the food and drink stalls. BBQ & BREAKFASTS The club would like to invite all trainers, drivers, staff and owners to attend a BBQ on Thursday 10th January from 5 -7 pm.  The club are putting this on in recognition of your continued support of our race meeting.  There will be raffles available so bring a few coins. Breakfast will be again available from 7am on Friday, Saturday and Sunday mornings at the OTB rooms. All winning connections are invited to celebrate their success in the Presidents room after photos in the birdcage.  Race Images will be on course and will have a range of options for winning connections to purchase! Kidz Kartz will be in action both days of the meeting, back where it all started in 2007, with Nelson holding the very first Kidz Kartz races in the South Island. The Dunstan Double – Dunstan Horse Feeds continue their growing association within the harness racing industry by offering five bags of feed to each and every horse that completes a double at the meeting. So any horse that wins both days at Richmond Park will take home five bags of feed for their trainer. A reminder that as this is an Inter-Island Summer Festival meeting there will be a charge at the gate so do bring with you an email/text you will receive when fields are finalised, which will give you free entry onto the course. Programmes are available on the HRNZ website contact Jason Broad for all nominations and stabling requirements. PH: 021 127 2912 The Nelson Harness Racing Club would like to thank all their sponsors the trainers, drivers and owners who support them in bringing Harness Racing to the Top of the South!   Kapiti Coast Harness Racing Club Inc Update Fantastic news Harness racing enthusiasts and participants. The Kapiti Coast Harness Racing Club can confirm that our 2019 Racing License has been recently granted by the NZ Racing Board for Friday 1st February and Sunday 3rd February to be held on the MAIN OUTSIDE TRACK of the Otaki Maori Race Course, Otaki. This is North Island GRASS TRACK harness racing at its very best. A successful galloping race meeting was held last Thursday on the Otaki Maori Race course and the track came through with ‘flying colours’ , after extensive drainage work and grass reseeding of the surface. By February 2019 we expect the grass track to offer a near “perfect” racing surface for all HARNESS participants.   The Club anticipates that stakes will be on a par with our 2018 meeting, being $9,000 per race , with the Wellington Trotting Cup run on the Friday with a stake of $12,000 and the Otaki Cup run on the Sunday for $12,000.[ These stakes were the highest of any North Island Grass track harness meeting in 2018]. There will be 10 races programmed each day.   The usual Kapiti hospitality will be on offer for all industry participants and owners. We welcome you all with open arms on the Kapiti Coast at Otaki Racecourse in early February 2019. Chris Craddock Vice President Kapiti Coast Harness Racing Club Inc. 027 410 2420         HRNZ Marketing

Central Otago harness racing fixed odds movers as at 11:00am Race 1 - Sweet Loress $2.80 leads win & multi betting easily.   Race 2 - Horse Of Course $2.80 is the only runner wanted in early betting.   Race 3 - Hicori is the big mover here and is into $2.00 from the opening odds of $3.30. Days Of Redemption was late scratched at 6:58pm yesterday and any bets placed prior to that time will have 11% win & 13% deductions applied. Largest bets on Hicori $910 at $3.30, $1,428 at $2.40, $1,818 at $2.10 (X2).     Race 4 - Foo Fighter $3.20 leads win betting over Varenna $5.00 - $4.20.   Race 5 - Tuapeka Trick $1.70 easily leads multi betting. Longshot Firstjoy $30.00 - $26.00 has taken some early win money.     Race 6 - The Dominator $6.80 - $6.00 leads win betting with One Over Da Stars $3.60 leading multi betting over Too Cool $3.80.    Race 7 - The short priced Anna Malak $1.50 easily leads win & multi betting. Largest bet on the favourite early $1,334 at $1.50. Bontz $25.00 - $21.00 has attracted some early win support.    Race 8 -  Raukapuka Ruler $2.50 leads multi betting over Tiger Thompson $2.80 with that runner leading win betting over Eamon Maguire $10.50 - $9.00.   Race 9 -  Harriet Of Mot $1.65 is the only runner wanted in multi betting but in win betting best backed is Jen Jaccka $17.00 - $11.00 with the largest bets $625 & $500 at $17.00.   Race 10 - Sporstcaster $2.60 leads multi betting easily over Frankie Jones $4.20 with Magnate Mara $14.00 - $9.00 leading win betting.   Harnesslink Media Courtesy of Stephen Richardson (TAB)    

Classie Brigade is proving a worthy replacement for Elios for owners Mark McKinnon and Colin Eynon.   Classie Brigade posted his ninth win with success in track and race record time in the $30,000 Central Otago Cup free-for-all at Omakau on Monday.   Classie Brigade ran the 2600m (mobile) in 3.09.9 (1.57.5 mile rate) when he edged out stablemate Ears Burning and Captain Dolmio. He bettered the mark of 3.10 set by Quick As A Trick in the race last year.   Elios won 10 races including the 2014 NZ Messenger and Futurity Stakes at Cambridge when trained by Robert Dunn with McKinnon, of Auckkland and Eynon, of Tauranga in the ownership. Elios went amiss in a tendon.   Eynon’s son, Grant is also in the ownership of Classie Brigade, trained at Weedons by Nigel McGrath.    “I will take the three of them down for the Invercargill Cup (January 28),” said McGrath. He was also referring to Ears Burning and Maverick, who was scratched today to give him every chance to recover from his second placing in the Ashburton Cup on Boxing Day. Classie Brigade had won that race with Ears Burning third.   McKinnon was at Omakau to accept the trophy. He is on holiday in Queenstown with his wife, Joanna.   Classie Brigade has been driven in his two Cup wins by Blair Orange, who drove Delishka to win today, maintaining his lead in the premiership.   Orange soon had Classie Brigade  off the markers after starting from one on the second row. He got cover from the 1000m when Captain Dolmio moved outside the pacemaker, Costa Del Magnifico.   Classie Brigade prevailed by a head from Ears Burning, who came from three back on the outer. Captain Dolmio was a game third, half a head back.   Todd Woodward has had winners in three roles as a horseman at Omakau after driving Whoosh Factor to win the race for amateur drivers today. Woodward had his first win as a trainer at Omakau in 1999 with Stronechrubie, driven by Jo Herbert.   Woodward was back there in 2001 to train and drive Lockerup to win. He trained and drove Howzat Look and Dame’s Fella to win on the track in 2002. Woodwood drove the winners of 228 races as a junior and open horseman, the last at a Marlborough meeting in June, 2011. He did not drive last season. He returned to the scene as an amateur driver this season and has driven three winners from 10 drives.   Ernie Knight, the 83-year-old West Melton owner-breeder, who has been in ill-health, was successful with Delishka. The 3-year-old filly was having her fifth start. Knight races Delishka with Christchurch trainer Brad Mowbray.   Delishka is the first foal to race out of Balishka, who won seven races for Knight and Mowbray. Knight bred Mister Zion (Red River Hanover – Cross Lady) who won at group one level as a pacer (2010 South Australia Cup) and trotter (2013 Australian Trotting Championship Final).   He had won two races as a pacer under the name Zion in New Zealand when trained by Jim Curtin. Mowbray  completed his first double at a meeting when Ultimate Desire won later in the day.   Brads Kenny provided the star turn when he won by  nine and three quarter lengths. He had not raced for three months but his three wins have been fresh up.   Monty Python, a stablemate of Brads Kenny with Phil Williamson, caused an upset  when edged out hot favourite Master Lavros in the last few strides of the $9000 free-for-all for trotters.   Brads Kenny and Monty Python were both driven by Matthew Williamson. Monty Python trailed Master Lavros who set a leisurely pace. It was the tenth win for Monty Python, raced by David Beckingsale and the Griffins syndicate involving some 40 persons.   “He (Master Lavros) had every chance. We just hope he pulls up sound and he will continue his racing at Addington,’’ said Mark Jones, his trainer-driver.   Tayler Strong

The Central Otago Trotting Club meeting at Omakau just after New Year has always attracted plenty of handy horses from Canterbury down to Southland and yesterday was no exception. The very smart two year old trotter from last year in Gunners Coin with Dexter Dunn in the bike was backed as though he was unbeatable in the maiden trot but a first starter from the powerful Phil Williamson barn in Royal Kenny had other ideas. The four year old daughter of leading sire Majestic Son went straight to the front from barrier two for inform reinsman Brad Williamson and sent up a hot tempo right from the start of the 2000 metres race. Royal Kenny and Brad had a lot of them off the bit with a lap to go and there was no let up as they went clear by four or five lengths down the back straight the last time. As they turned for home, Brad had a quick look and saw he had the race in safe keeping and let Royal Kenny work down to the finish with Brad sitting quietly in the bike. Gunners Coin got home super for second after having an interrupted run in the last lap in front of Denn Nee Nose Best who had trailed from the start but they were both still over three lengths in arrears at the finishing line. What made the run of Royal Kenny even more meritorious was the brilliant time of 2:29.8, a mile rate of 2:00.5 with closing sectionals of 59.2 and 29.7 The time broke the previous track record for a trotter for 2000 metres at Omakau by 2.6 seconds Brad was suitably impressed with the debut effort " We knew that she was way better than a maiden but had the odd doubt with Gunners Coin being in the field." "She won that very easily, I didn't even pull the plugs." " She has really improved in the last six months and shows no sign of stopping yet." " It is a breed that is really tough and has plenty of stamina and thats why I drove her like that." " She only had a couple of  trials prior to her debut so there should be plenty of improvement left in her yet," Brad said. A half sister to the smart trotter Queen Kenny (7 wins), the dam of Royal Kenny is a race winning full sister to the millionaire One Over Kenny 1:57 ($1,098,007), One Under Kenny (11 wins) and a half sister to One Kenny (19 wins) and it is a family that continues to produce star trotters generation after generation. Going by her win at Omakau, Royal Kenny looks to have inherited all the family ability Harnesslink Media  

NON RACEDAY INQUIRY RIU V J COX - DECISION DATED 6 MARCH 2015   BEFORE A JUDICIAL COMMITTEE OF THE JUDICIAL CONTROL AUTHORITY UNDER THE RACING ACT 2003 AND IN THE MATTER of the New Zealand Rules of Harness Racing. BETWEEN RACING INTEGRITY UNIT (RIU) - Informant AND JOHNNY COX, Open Horseman - Respondent Information: A1407 Judicial Committee: Prof G Hall, Chairman - Mr P Knowles, Committee Member Appearing: Mr C Allison, for the Informant The Respondent in person Date of hearing: 19 February 2015 DECISION OF JUDICIAL COMMITTEE [1] Mr J Cox is the holder of an Open Horseman’s licence, which was issued under the New Zealand Rules of Harness Racing. He is charged with a breach of r 869(3)(g) in that when driving CERATO in race 8 at the Central Otago TC meeting at Omakau on 2 January last he drove in a manner capable of diminishing the chances of that horse winning by vying for the lead at an excessive pace over the opening 800 metres of the race. [2] Rule 869 states: (3) No horseman in any race shall drive: … (g) in any manner capable of diminishing the chances of his horse winning. [3] Mr Allison provided written authorisation for the charge to be laid in a letter signed by Mr M Godber General Manager of the RIU, dated 16 January 2015. [4] Mr Allison stated that the crux of the informant’s case was that the respondent had vied for the lead with Mr Williamson at an excessive pace when there were other options available to him. Informant’s case [5] Mr Allison called Mr N McIntyre to give evidence. [6] Mr McIntyre stated he is employed by the RIU and his current position is Co-Chief Stipendiary Steward. He said he has had 11 years’ experience as a stipendiary steward. [7] Mr McIntyre stated that Mr Cox had been licensed as a horseman since 2002 when initially licensed as a Trials Horseman before obtaining a Junior Horseman’s licence in 2003. Mr Cox had held an Open Horseman's licence since 2008. During this period Mr Cox has had in excess of 4000 race-day drives. [8] Mr McIntyre played and commented on a video of the race in question. He explained it was a mobile pace over 2000 metres for Class 1 horses and that Mr Cox was the driver of CERATO. [9] CERATO, which was 3/3 in the betting, drew 2 on the front line in a full field of 14 horses. [10] Immediately after the start CERATO was driven forward by Mr Cox and after crossing Mr Dunn, he reached the lead. THE SHAKEY MISTRESS driven by Mr M Williamson challenged him for the lead. THE SHAKEY MISTRESS ended up in the parked position on the outside of CERATO. These two horses then began to draw clear of the remaining horses in the race rounding the first bend. [11] The initial 400 metres of the race was run in 26.4 seconds. [12] As the field travelled around the first bend some 200 metres after the start THE SHAKEY MISTRESS almost cleared CERATO on her inside. However, Mr Cox continued to keep his horse’s legs inside THE SHAKEY MISTRESS and Mr Williamson was unable to shift inwards to the lead. He said Mr Cox was flicking the reins and tapping the horse up in order to keep himself in position and to prevent Mr Williamson crossing him. [13] Upon straightening into the home straight on the first occasion CERATO had improved back inside THE SHAKEY MISTRESS. At this stage Mr Williamson reined up THE SHAKEY MISTRESS in another attempt to gain the lead, which was unsuccessful, as Mr Cox had again tapped up CERATO. [14] Near the 1300 metres mark (about 100 metres before the winning post) Mr Williamson finally restrained THE SHAKEY MISTRESS to take a trail behind CERATO. At this point Mr Cox eased the speed but Mr McIntyre believed the damage had been done to the chances of CERATO by the time that horse reached the winning post for the first time. [15] Mr McIntyre said Mr Cox had the option of letting Mr Williamson go past and to drop into the trail. If he had wanted to, Mr Cox could then have come back out. He said at no point in the first 800 metres had Mr Cox taken hold of his horse or eased back. [16] When CERATO reached the winning post after 800 metres CERATO and THE SHAKEY MISTRESS were in excess of 20 metres clear of the chasing bunch. This margin equates to approximately 8-9 lengths. The field was spread out over approximately 80 metres. Mr McIntyre said this highlighted the fact the two horses were going too quickly. The other drivers, a number of whom were also very experienced, were not chasing their horses up to get behind the two leaders at this stage of the race because they would be aware the speed was simply too quick. [17] The time for the opening 800 metres was 54.8 seconds. At this stage of the race the field still had 1200 metres to run. The pace then eased for the next 400 metres, which was run in 31.3 seconds. This enabled the field to catch the two tearaway early leaders. [18] Shortly after passing the 1300 metres mark CERATO was challenged for the lead. CERATO fought off the challenge for the lead again briefly, however the horse was retreating prior to the 1600 metres. CERATO eventually finished in 12th placing in excess of 23 lengths from the winner in a time of 2.30.6. [19] The overall time for the race was a new track record of 2.25.89. The previous track record set in 2014 was 2.27.8. The leaders ran the last 800 metres in 59.7 with the last 400 metres in 29.9. [20] The 400 metres splits for the race were: 1st 400 metres - 26.4       2nd 400 metres - 28.4               1st 800 metres - 54.8 3rd 400 metres - 31.3       4th 400 metres - 29.8               2nd 800 metres - 61.1 Last 400 metres - 29.9 [21] The times for the other 2000 metre races on the day were also produced. These demonstrated that the only race with a slower last 800 metres was a C0 trot. The times for the first 800 metres were all slower. [22] Mr McIntyre produced sectional times from the Harness Jewels meeting at Cambridge Raceway in 2014. These demonstrated that the 1st 800 metres of the race at issue was run in a quicker time than the adjusted times for the 1st 809 metres in any of the Jewels races despite those being higher quality horses. Weather conditions were similar and each track was hard and fast. [23] CERATO was only having its second raceday start. After comparing the Jewels times, he said that by the end of the first 800 metres CERATO’s chances in a 2000 metre C1 pace at Omakau were effectively over. [24] CERATO was the subject of a post-race veterinary examination by Dr P Gillespie, with no abnormalities detected. [25] Mr McIntyre concluded his evidence by responding to a question from the Committee. He stated that he was not concerned with the first 100 metres of the race as horses would position themselves at this time. However, if they had “burned” over the first 100 metres they would then ease but this was not what happened on this occasion. In his opinion, there were other options available to both Mr Cox and Mr Williamson. 26] Mr Allison cited the decisions in Chilcott v HRNZ (22 March 2010) and J & C (19 October 2000). These were both Appeals Tribunal decisions. [27] Mr Allison pointed out on the video that at one point CERATO was having trouble holding its gait. This was further evidence, he said, of CERATO racing at excessive speed. Respondent’s case [28] Mr Cox stated that it was a question of tactics versus options. He said he was “not overly driving” CERATO. There were a few flicks with the whip; that was all. In contrast, Mr Williamson had to slap his horse to keep up. It was Mr Williamson who dictated the speed, not him. Mr Williamson was chasing his horse up harder than he was. [29] Mr Cox said he was happy with CERATO and was confident it would perform well. It had won its only previous start. [30] Mr Cox said CERATO liked to lead and if he had pulled back and then gone round, the horse would have worked harder and expended more energy. In his opinion, it was not an option to pull back. He added though, that it had gone through his mind to pull back at one point but he decided to go with his original decision not to hand up and to keep the lead. [31] Mr Cox commented on the video. He said he was happy to roll out to the lead. He flicked his horse twice with the stick. He said at the mile marker Mr Williamson yelled, “I’ll stay there”. He said he answered, “No.” He explained he took Mr Williamson to be saying if he got the lead he would not hand up. By answering, “No”, he was telling Mr Williamson he would not trail. There was no other talking. [32] Mr Cox said he did not believe he had had to urge his horse to any great extent but he emphasised he had decided to keep the lead. He said Mr Williamson had had two goes for the lead despite the fact he believed he had made it clear to Mr Williamson that he was not going to hand up the lead to him. He said Mr Williamson’s horse was not a favoured runner and he was not going to hand up to her. He said the horse had led at her previous start and had been flat 500 or 600 metres from home. He said there were some horses he would have handed up to but not to THE SHAKEY MISTRESS. [33] Mr Cox demonstrated Mr Williamson slapping his horse up in the straight before taking hold about 100 metres before the winning post. He said by the time he reached the winning post the first time he was aware they had been going quick. However, he had only had to tap CERATO two or three times. He was not aware how far the other horses were behind him and Mr Williamson. He accepted 26.4 was a very quick first 400 metres for this class of horse. He had not realised it was that fast at the time but the time was explained by the fact both he and Mr Williamson were intent on the lead. If he had wanted to trail, he would have handed up straight away. [34] Mr Cox acknowledged that CERATO had taken a few rough steps and he had had to take a hold. This was just because of the speed. He had not previously required a horse to run a first half in 54.8 and on reflection it was unlikely a horse having done so would be competitive at the end of the race. Summing up [35] Mr Allison stated the rule was one of strict liability and that the informant only had to establish that Mr Cox had driven in a manner capable of diminishing the chances of CERATO. Although on this occasion CERATO did lose its chance. He said the case was not one about tactics but the actual speed at which the two horses had raced for some 700 metres when each was vying for the lead. This speed was excessive, as was demonstrated by the sectional times, which spoke for themselves. CERATO was having only its second start and after the first 800 metres its chances were gone. It could not be competitive over the concluding stages because of the energy expended over the first 800 metres. [36] Mr Cox replied he wanted the lead and he was not going to hand up to Mr Williamson because of the ability of Mr Williamson’s horse. Decision [37] As the Appeals Tribunal in J & C emphasised, each race will depend on its own particular circumstances, especially as they unfold during the race. The obligation to drive within the Rules of Harness Racing, exhibiting skill and utilising experience, rests with the driver for the duration of that race. [38] We have found J & C to be of particular assistance. Factors identified in that case as being relevant to a determination of a charge under r 868(2) were: • The distance of the race; • The stage of the race where duelling occurred; • The distance over which the duelling occurred; • The extent to which the horses in question were ahead of the rest of the field; • The speed at which the horses were travelling in order to maintain or take the lead, in this regard of relevance are the sectional times for the race; • The energy expended in having to maintain or reach the lead, in this regard of relevance is did the driver have to urge the horse merely by shaking the reins or did the driver have to resort to use of whip, pulling earplugs etc; • The availability to the drivers of options other than those that were adopted. [39] As did the Appeals Tribunal in Chilcott, we believe that a consideration of these factors will assist in the determination of this charge, despite the charge being laid under r 869(3)(g). [40] CERATO was having its 2nd start. Mr Cox has stated that he rated the horse after its first up win at Forbury Park. On that occasion the horse had a trail and finished best. He also believed that the horse was capable of holding off an early challenge and running on. The horse had form, obvious ability, and Mr Cox drove it with confidence expecting it to run on and win. [41] The concern of the stipendiary stewards is with the manner in which Mr Cox drove over the first 800 metres of the race and, more particularly, the speed at which this distance was run. [42] The race was run over the sprint distance of 2000 metres. CERATO and THE SHAKEY MISTRESS ran the opening 400 metres in 26.4 and the first 800 metres in 54.8. The second opening 400 metres was slower, so at some point they eased off the pace a little. We accept it would have taken 100 to 150 metres for the field to settle. The damage with respect to pace occurred between the 300 metres to the 700 metres. This latter mark was the point where the two drivers opted for different tactics with Mr Williamson finally sitting up on his horse and going for cover and Mr Cox then commencing to slow the pace. The duelling thus continued for some 400 metres. Mr Cox acknowledged the opening times were fast for the class of horse. [43] The field had formed 100 to 150 metres after the start. Mr Cox took CERATO to the lead. Mr Williamson ended up sitting outside him. He persisted for the next 500 metres to endeavour to wrest the lead off Mr Cox. He was unsuccessful in his endeavours as he was never sufficiently clear of Mr Cox, who urged his horse forward to keep his position to the inside of Mr Williamson. By the time Mr Williamson restrained THE SHAKEY MISTRESS and took a trail behind CERATO, there was some 20 to 30 metres back to the head of the rest of the field. Mr Cox then, as we have noted, proceeded to slow the pace, but driving in a manner capable of diminishing the winning chances of CERATO had in our view already occurred. [44] That both Mr Cox and Mr Williamson were intent on leading is evidenced by the vigorous manner in which Mr Williamson reined up his horse and Mr Cox’s response each time he did, which was to urge CERATO forward. Its clear from the videos that Mr Cox was trying to hold the lead and by doing so was going to make THE SHAKEY MISTRESS work hard to get there. He had an opportunity to let her take the lead but chose to maintain his position despite running a very quick 400 metres. [45] We are of the view that 400 metres was plenty of ground for the two horsemen to sort themselves out. Mr Cox’s determined denial of the lead to Mr Williamson simply continued for too long. At the 600 metres point of the race, Mr Williamson chased his horse up to again try to cross. Mr Cox again responded to keep him out. Of concern to us is the fact that after having been successful in seeing off Mr Williamson’s first attempt to take the lead, Mr Cox did not consider a change in tactics. He persisted in reining up CERATO whenever Mr Williamson attempted to cross him. There was ample opportunity before and at the 600 metres for Mr Cox to ease CERATO and to trail THE SHAKEY MISTRESS and, if he so wished, to come out again. [46] We believe the adoption of either of these tactics soon after it became evident to him that Mr Williamson was not going to cease his challenge for the lead would have prevented Mr Cox from falling foul of r 869(3)(g). He may not have desired to follow what he believed to be a lesser-performed horse, as he has described THE SHAKEY MISTRESS to us, but, nonetheless, that driving tactic was preferable to his continuing to duel for the lead with Mr Williamson at a speed and over a distance that was inevitably going to exhaust the reserves of his horse. Similarly, he could have attempted to progress around Mr Williamson after Mr Williamson had obtained the lead. Whether or not Mr Williamson would have allowed him to do so is of course not known. Mr Williamson may not have been prepared to do so considering the effort he had made to wrest the lead from Mr Cox. If that was the case, Mr Cox could have pulled back and again taken the trail. The body of the field was trailing at a sufficient distance to allow of that possibility. It is his failure to adopt either of these tactics that we hold brings Mr Cox’s actions within the purview of r 869(3)(g). [47] Mr Cox says he yelled out to Mr Williamson that he was not going to hand up the lead and that Mr Williamson said he would not hand up if Mr Cox gave the lead to him. Mr Cox did not tell the Committee whether he believed this included handing the lead back to CERATO or was directed more particularly to other horses in the race. This notwithstanding, Mr Williamson by his continuing to rein up THE SHAKEY MISTRESS, sitting outside Mr Cox, and attempting to cross should have made it clear to Mr Cox that continuing to press forward at speed was capable of diminishing the winning chances of CERATO. [48] Mr Cox clearly had a game plan in mind; this was to keep the lead unless it was a favoured runner that wanted to cross him. THE SHAKEY MISTRESS in Mr Cox’s mind was not such a horse (it was 7/9 in the betting) and he was concerned she would stop as she had done at her previous start. Mr Cox never changed his tactics; Mr Williamson did by grabbing hold of THE SHAKEY MISTRESS and eventually dropping in to trail CERATO just before the winning post the first time. [49] We note that the sectional times are very quick for this grade of horse, indeed for any grade of horse. While we are reluctant to place any great weight on the Harness Jewels times due to the distance and track being different, they do support this conclusion. With the 54.8 for the first 800 metres it was inevitable by the time Mr Cox had prevented Mr Williamson crossing for a second time and Mr Williamson dropped back to trail, CERATO would fade before the end of the race. Mr Cox has acknowledged the opening times were fast for the class of horse. We note the last 800 metres of this race was slower than the other 2000 metre races on the day by a significant margin. [50] It is our view that Mr Cox should have desisted in his determination to prevent THE SHAKEY MISTRESS from obtaining the lead a long time before the 700 metres point. Indeed, he only slowed the pace of the race once CERATO ceased to challenge for the lead. He had the option to ease CERATO, hand up the lead, and take a breather behind THE SHAKEY MISTRESS. There was the further option, as we have noted, of coming out later and taking the lead back, should he have so wished. It should have been evident to Mr Cox from the manner in which Mr Williamson was chasing his horse up and trying to cross that he was determined to get the lead off Mr Cox. We believe Mr Cox was equally fixed in his determination not to hand up, despite the speed at which he was required to travel to prevent Mr Williamson from crossing. Mr Williamson had made his intentions abundantly clear. Mr Cox simply chose to ignore this fact. [51] Having regard to the sectional times for the first 800 metres, we are of the view that the chances of CERATO winning the race were diminished by Mr Cox’s actions from the 300 metres to the 700 metres in his urging CERATO forward to keep the lead whenever Mr Williamson looked likely to cross him. [52] We thus find that Mr Cox drove in a manner that was not only capable of diminishing the chances of CERATO winning but did in fact diminish that horse’s chances of so doing. The charge under r 869(3)(g) is proved. [53] We require written submissions as to penalty and costs. [54] Mr Allison is to file his submissions within seven working days of receipt of this decision. [55] Mr Cox is to file his submissions within seven working days of receipt of the informant’s submissions. Dated at Dunedin this 6th day of March 2015. Geoff Hall                         Chairman Paul Knowles                    Committee Member  

It is not very often that the harness racing enthusiasts in Central Otago get to see a million dollar winner but it happened yesterday when the old warrior Vulcan won the FFA mobile trot at Omakau Raceway in Central Otago. The eight year old son of Earl looked to be coming to the end of his career a few starts ago but since being leased by Roddy Butt after Cup Week in November, Vulcan has got a new lease on life. Stabled at David and Catherines Butt's property at Woodend, Vulcan has responded to the beach training and his win two starts ago at Addington in a tick outside the New Zealand record showed he was back on track. A creditable fourth at Ashburton on Boxing Day after being the lone back marker on 30 metres, Vulcan looked much better placed today under the mobile start conditions. Regular driver Bob Butt gave Vulcan out as his horse to follow in the pre Xmas ringaround as he thought he was hitting top form Drawing the outside barrier under the preferential draw system,  Bob  sent Vulcan forward from the start and he worked to the lead after 400 metres. Attacked by the inform Alley Way and Matthew Williamson shortly after, Bob took a trail with Vulcan in what would prove to be the winning move. Alley Way kept up a steady tempo and led for home but was quickly claimed by Vulcan up the passing lane who went on for a comfortable 1 3/4 length victory over a solidly finishing Saratota with Alley Way holding third. It was Vulcan's 20th career win and more importantly took Vulcan over the $1,000,000 threshhold in career earnings. Considering the significance of the win Bob gave a rather subdued whip flourish as he hit the line. "I don't like to get too carried away with things like that but I was rapt the old fella had won and cracked the million." "Jenny Butt (part owner) was there which made it that bit more special" "On paper he looked a bit good for them really and I expected him to be hard to beat," Bob told Harnesslink this morning. A lot of pundits thought Vulcan had gone just okay at Ashburton at his previous run but Bob thought the run had plenty of merit. " He was the lone backmarker on 30 metres and was chasing the whole way." "He went 3:2.7 for the 2400 metres which was the quickest in the race and I thought the run was full of merit." "Starting off level terms yesterday gave him a huge advantage, " Bob said. Future plans for Vulcan are already set with the veteran to head south for the Northern Southland meeting on January 15th. " There is a 3200 metres race there which will suit him down to the ground. "It is a handicap event and he will be off 40 metres but being two miles it gives him a chance to make up the handicap,"  Bob said. Harnesslink would like to join with the rest of the industry in congratulating Tim Butt , Anthony Butt, Roddy Butt, Bob Butt and the myriad of others who have contibuted to Vulcan making the millionaires club. Harnesslink Media  

Six figure yearlings at the yearly sales have become common place in the last few years but six figure sums for trotting bred yearlings are still a bit of a rarity at harness racing sales. One of the biggest sales prices for a trotting bred yearling ever seen in New Zealand was that paid for the royally bred colt yesterday Eden. By the brilliant North American super sire Angus Hall, Springfield Eden was the second foal of the four win Sundon mare, Landora's Special who was a daughter of the brilliant racemare Landora's Pride ($426,857). Two half sisters to Landora's Special had made the maternal family the hottest in Australasia. First Landora's Gift produced the outstanding trotter Sundon's Gift ($1,275,264) while another half sister Invasions Pride left Let Me Thru ($453,945) The first foal from Landora's Special is the very promising Eyre I Come who judging by his super win on Cup Day in November is headed for the top. So all in all everything pointed to Springfield Eden being a star and hence why he made $127,500. Things started out promisingly enough when he finished fourth in the first couple of 2 year old trots in Canterbury behind the likes of Monbet, Ayra and Wanna Play. That was quickly followed by an easy win against the older horses at Waikouaiti but from there the wheels fell off with two unplaced runs in the 2 year old classics after early mistakes. Springbank Eden had started his 3 year old season the same way, blowing the standing start in both his early season races at Winton and Wairio. Yesterday at the Omakau Raceway in Central Otago, Springfield Eden had one thing in his favour - the race was from behind the mobile. Sent forward from barrier four by driver Matthew Williamson, Springfield Eden set a solid tempo right from the start and it was obvious a long way out that he had the field in trouble. And thats how it turned out with Matthew hardly moving in the cart as Springfield Eden went to the line a comfortable two length winner. Springfield Eden trotted the 2000 metres from the mobile in 2:33.4, a mile rate of 2:03.4 with closing sectionals of 59.9 and 30.2. Matthew thought it was the mobile that made all the difference yesterday. "He hadn't looked like stepping at his first two starts but he has always been good behind the mobile" "He has real good speed off the gate which is a plus," Matthew told Harnesslink this morning. Matthew thought that Springfield Eden still had a few issues to sort out before any thoughts of taking on the best 3 year olds were entertained. " We are still having issues with his gait but he is getting better." "There is no doubting the ability but you have to be doing everything 100% when you are taking on the best and he is not there yet. " He is as good a looking horse as you would see and lovely to do anything with so he is worth waiting for," Matthew said. The win continued Matthew's good run over the holiday period with him having racked up four wins and numerous placings since the Gore meeting on Boxing day. Harnesslink Media  

The hugely popular Interislander Summer Festival Omakau Trots are on at the Omakau Racecourse (South Island, New Zealand) on Wednesday 2 January. Interislander Summer Festival is a relaxing, fun, family picnic day with top class harness racing, free entertainment for the children and plenty of activity for all ages. The feature race will be the Otago Daily Times Central Otago Trotting Cup.

Soutland harness racing star Franco Ledger followed up some solid form with a resounding win in yesterday's (Monday) Central Otago Trotting Cup at Omakau.

Hot favourites were the order of the day at the Central Otago Trotting Club's meeting held at Omakau Racecourse yesterday (Sunday January 1). Favourite punters received their just rewards in nine of the eleven races on the harness racing program including the Group Three Central Otago Trotting Cup which went the way of the $1.30 favourite Stunin Cullen.

It is a busy but exciting time for Southern Harness racing over the upcoming festive season. Several traditional and very popular race meetings are scheduled for the region over the Christmas and New Year period.

What a difference a week makes. Just last week Stunin Cullen was as short as $2.20 New Zealand Cup favourite and had the harness racing world at his hooves. Now he is being set for the Omakau Cup. - Not the glamour of the Victoria Cup, or trying to sneak a Miracle Mile invite.

New Zealand's exciting new harness racing, galloping and greyhound commentator Thomas Wood regards his family, Reon Murtha and George Simon as the biggest influences in his brief but impressive racing calling career to date.

The well bred Cullen's Creek continued his advance through the harness racing grades with a stylish win in the Central Otago Trotting Cup (2600m mob) yesterday (Saturday - December 02) on the Omakau grass track in Central Otago.

The New Zealand racing industry has hit out at Labour MP Brendon Burns, who has urged gaming trusts which give large percentages of their distributed funds to racing stakes money to stop. "Even if their own trust deeds allow such practices, the funding of gambling through gambling is regarded as inappropriate by many New Zealanders," the Christchurch Central MP said.

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