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Angus Burga won by seven lengths at the Pukekohe Workouts last Saturday but Ken Sefonte still thinks he’s a bit of a meat head – a hamburger even. The rising six-year-old will return from a four month spell in the last race at Alexandra Park on Friday night. Trainer Sefonte said Angus Burga had matured physically but was still a gold coin or two short upstairs. “He’s taken such a long time to get to where he is. I’ve had to bring him in and out of work every couple of months. Perhaps he’s starting to finally click on about what this racing game is all about, but I wouldn’t be getting too carried away with that workout win. “There were only three in it and they didn’t run much time, but I was pleased with his sectionals,” Sefonte said. Angus Burga and Peter Ferguson trotted Saturday’s 2500m standing start workout right handed in 3:35.7 (mile rate 2:18.8) and home in 60.1 and 28.7. Angus Burga has the bloodlines to be an absolute trotting star. He is the second of five foals, and first colt, out of the 2008 Rowe Cup winner, Our Sunny Whizz. The now 15-year-old Sundon - Hanover Whiz mare won 19 of her 45 starts ($348,781) for trainer, Sefonte. Her only other major victory came in the Group Three City of Sails Free-For-All, also in 2008, but she did place in several others including a second behind One Over Kenny in the 2007 Rowe Cup. Sefonte, who has half a dozen in work, had 13 starters to the races this season and Angus Burga has provided him with a second and third at Alexandra Park on February 10 and 24 respectively. Angus Burga has 24 days to break Sefonte’s duck for the season. “He’s good enough to win one this month but I think he will make a better six-year-old. He’s only had eight starts, so he’s still got a lot of improving to do yet. He just needs to sort his head out,” the Kumeu horseman said. “His mother was such a lovely natured mare, but you can certainly tell he is an Angus Hall. He’s got a few tricks and isn’t the easiest horse to train,” he added. Sefonte said he would not be lining his trotter up in mobile starts. “I’ll chase the stands everywhere. I’m not a mobile fan with this horse. If he does win a standing start he will then only have mobiles to call on, it’s not right,” Sefonte said. Angus Burga will start from the unruly four gate in Friday's Italian Night at the Races Handicap for the maiden R43 to R49 trotters. Angus Burga is assessed at R46. Trottech has him as their first pick. “I’ve got a lovely Majestic Son rising two-year-old out of Our Sunny Whiz that I'm quite excited about. The family and owners have been very good to me over the years," Sefonte said. The breeders are Sheryl Lean (Waimauku), Robert Armour Southey (Waimauku), Keith Southey (Waimauku), and Robert Morton Southey (Snells Beach). The bay is owned by Lean and Robert Morton Southey. “They have been advertising the Angus Burger on TV all week. I hope that is a good luck omen,” Sefonte said. Duane Ranger

When caught in the shadows of greatness, it can be quite easy to slip under the radar. So while we once again marvel in the driving supremo that is Dexter Dunn, there’s another who is sitting just back behind him, doing incredible things without much of the same recognition. And it probably won’t be until August 1, when we take a bit more time to sit back and look at the current season that we release just what Blair Orange has achieved this season as being exceptional. With 155 winners on the board, Orange is low-flying. He’s just 20 wins behind Dunn on the national premiership and is showing no signs of slowing down from what has been a remarkable season in the sulky. To put his efforts into context, his current tally would see him win every driver’s premiership bar one if Dexter wasn’t around and come the end of this month that statistic will have improved again to being every premiership in the history of harness racing. Only Maurice McKendry’s once record breaking effort of 161 winners back in 1989 is better that Orange’s current figure - just six wins shy of McKendry’s mark. For the past 10 years, where Dunn has dominated, he’s never really been pushed. His first premiership was won by a mere eight wins over Peter Ferguson, but the rest have been pretty much plain sailing. But this year Orange has pushed Dunn to new levels and despite the 20 win gap heading into racing today, he looks set to continue to nip at the heels of the current world driving champion until deep into the season. After a good day at Gore yesterday and a tidy night at Addington on Friday, Orange will be looking to add to the tally when he steps out at Rangiora today for a small book of drives which feature some really strong winning chances. A brace of drives for good mate Paul Court appear to be his leading chances, including the consistent RR Sand Dollar who drops into a very winnable race for her. Last raced in the Southern Belle Final where she finished fifth behind Break Dance, RR Sand Dollar returns to the stand start today for just the second time in 33 start career but has the ability to overcome that slight hurdle and be a serious player. Orange also drives Christian Cullen debutant, Artistic Jewel for Court. The three-year-old filly, who is a half-sister to Classical Art has shown enough at trials to suggest she could be a major player on debut, especially from the one barrier draw. Maiden trotter, Paradise Spur also gives Orange a good chance of making it three maiden trotting wins for the weekend after Celtic Thunder’s victory on Friday night and then Clover Lady’s yesterday at Gore. On each of those two occasions Orange showed extreme skill to nurse both horses around and get the best possible result and he’ll need to the same with Paradise Spur who has shown a liking for doing the odd thing wrong in her career.   Rangiora Selections - By Matt Markham Race 1: 12 -Eja Patron, 14 - Leading The Way, 13- Sweet As, 9- Waihemo Art Race 2: 12- Woodstone, 11- Jerry Garcia, 1- Sea Rover, 10- Gambling On Race 3: 15- Hashtag, 2- Green Fingers, 4- Don’t Tell Ange, 10- Spooky Race 4: 7- I Am Yours, 6- Rocknroll Magic, 1- Handsome Hero, 9- Take After Me Race 5: 7- Sundees Son, 11- Majestic Man, 4- BJ Lindenny, 9- BD Son Race 6: 12- Star Commander, 15- Blue Blazer, 16- Spondulicks, 1- Artistic Jewels Race 7: 5- Just Ben, 7- Magical Mitch, 11- Bella Jones, 9- Midfrew Tarpediem Race 8: 6- Pirate Bay, 7- Bailey’s Knight, 3- Sky City King, 12- Classie Margaret Race 9: 4- Redwood Invasion, 1- Sarah Palin, 9 Xmas Joyella, 11- Cuddly Jess Race 10: 10- Smithy, 5- RR Sand Dollar, 8- Franco Tai, 4- Ceemerock Race 11: 7- Novak, 12- Bontz, 5- Bird Of Paradise, 4- That’s Bettor Best Bet: I Am Yours (Race 4) Value: Hashtag (Race 3)

This season’s Parawai Thames Grass Cup winner, Sir Richie, is now the 2017 North Island Country Cups champion. The 5-year-old Christian Cullen - Wicklow Express gelding won last night's (Tuesday) $25,000 Revital Fertilisers sponsored event at Cambridge Raceway by two lengths. It was Sir Richie’s seventh career win in 35 starts and he was the $23.40, 10th favourite of the 11 starters. He was the seventh highest qualifier for the Final. For his trainers Steve Telfer and Chris Garlick, it was their first North Island Country Cups title. “It’s really satisfying winning a race that you have set a horse for several months ago. He’s been a bit unlucky in recent starts and Maurice (McKendry) has got on well with the horse for most of his career. “He might have paid more than $20 but going into the Final I thought he was an each-way chance because it was a fairly even field and any horse with a good trip could have won,” Telfer said. After a nice start from gate two McKendry settled Sir Richie third and then nabbed the one-one position at the bell. In the lane Sir Richie had too much stamina and held out second favourite Mo Casino (Zac Butcher) and the pace-making, Beyond The Silence (Lyn Neal). Sir Richie paced the 2700m stand in 3:23.1 (mile rate 2:01 even) and came home in 60.9 and 30.5. Telfer said Sir Richie’s owners could be looking to sell him but he would know more when they had returned from overseas. “He’s found Alexandra Park a bit tough in recent starts and I know there was talk about selling him. Tim and Jane Fleming from Taranaki own him and we will be talking to them when they return from Canada. “Apparently they are delighted with his win. They watched the race on the internet,” said Telfer who is working about 25 standardbreds with Garlick at Ardmore. “He’s a good honest horse who would do a good job in Australia, but I think there’s still a win or two left in him here. Maurice drove the horse a treat last night. “He gave him the good trip and then got him home without over-using him. We are rapt. That was a lovely drive,” Telfer said. Sir Richie was bred by Brian Fleming. Meanwhile, the Peter and Vaughan Blanchard trained Tact Ollie (Peter Ferguson) was the only horse to record a sub-two minute mile-rate at yesterday's twilight meeting. The 5-year-old Badlands Hanover gelding notched up his second career win in the second event - $10,000 Lizzie Of Rosslands Kidz Kartz Pace. The most impressive winner of the evening came in the third event when the Logan Hollis and Shane Robertson trained Three Kisses (Hollis), won the $8,000 WF Feeds Maiden Pace by a whopping 10 lengths. It was the 3-year-old Mach Three filly's first win in 11 starts.   Duane Ranger    

Raglan trainer Chris Webber reckons if Fleeting Grin can cop the Manawatu track then he can win his first $14,000 Palmerston North City Gold Cup at the Raceway tonight (Friday). But he insisted 2500m mobile for the up to 90 rated pacers was not the main target for Fleeting Grin. “He’s a better standing start horse but this is the only race I could get into him before the Hawera Cup in a fortnight. That’s a stand and his main goal prior to the Country Cups Final on Anzac Day. “I don’t mind him drawing the second line because there’s not much between him and the type of horses he races against. Anyone of six or seven can win the race given luck in the running,” Webber said. Fleeting Grin, who has drawn 10 of 10 (three on the second line) is the second highest rated pacer in the field with 75 – two behind first day winner Marshall Star, who has drawn six. “He’s a pretty consistent horse but I think he is more suited to the grass, but in saying that he’s capable of surprising on the grit. “He’s not a high speed pacer and that’s why he doesn’t go too good at Alexandra Park. If he can get one go at them he can win because he’s such an honest pacer,” Webber said. Fleeting Grin hasn’t finished further back than sixth in his last 14 starts and his most recent form-line reads 3-4-2-2. The 6-year-old Grinfromeartoear gelding was claimed by Webber for $6,000 off Craig and Josh Kennett at the Cambridge meeting on Christmas Eve. “I’m working three and breaking one in on my own property at Raglan. I’ve got my own 650m track,” the 47-year-old Waikato horseman said. Peter Ferguson will do the driving behind Fleeting Grin again because Webber said he opted to keep the same driver on when he claimed him. “I like driving, but Peter is doing a good job with him. He also did a lot of driving for my father (Ken),” Webber said. Fleeting Grin has raced 51 times for seven wins (five from a stand), 15 placings and he has banked just over $50,000 in stakes. One of those wins and six of those placings have come while being trained by Webber. “I think Imajollywally will be the toughest for him to beat, but of the two I’m taking down to Palmerston North, he’s definitely my best winning chance,” Webber said. The Webber trained Zara Brown has drawn the widest front row gate (7) in the third race - the $8,000 Bill Boyd & Associates Maiden Pace. "She went well at Stratford two starts back and has raced at Manawatu before. She’s no star but she is capable of winning a race like that,” Webber said. Webber has been training for four seasons and has trained five winners from 116 starters. Fleeting Grin provided him with his last victory at Cambridge Raceway on February 5. He's also driven 28 winners from 776 starters since 1989.   Duane Ranger

77 year old Southland breeder Roger Price played rep basketball until he was 35 years of age, and he’s had a good level of fitness through the years. However in the last three years he’s has had two hip operations and a dislocated shoulder but despite this he reckons he’s got a bit more ‘game’ time in harness racing. Although retired from training he still likes to be hands on at the stable which is now run by his son John and John’s wife Katrina and he’s still a keen breeder. “I can come back driving with the right type of horses. I’ve got to do something. You’ve got to get up and going in the morning,” he says. The Price family have been involved in horses for over 100 years with Roger’s dad Jack Price and his brother Vic successfully racing gallopers. Rorke’s Drift (Calibre – O’Rorke’s Fancy) was probably one of the best gallopers the Price family raced. He won the Birthday Handicap raced over a mile and a quarter at Wingatui in 1916 (4 year old), 1918 (6 year old), and 1921(9 year old). He also won the Dunedin Cup (one and half miles) twice in 1916 and 1919 and the Riverton Cup in 1917. The extended Price family also owned other Riverton Cup winners in The Smuggler (1933), Wild Career (1938 and 1940), Secret Flight (1942) and Fair Trial (1944). The Smuggler won the Great Autumn Handicap at Riccarton in 1934 and ran third in the 1933 NZ Cup. To add to the list, Vic Price also raced Golden Silver which won the 1968 Invercargill Cup when trained by Rex Cochrane. But it’s the Standardbreds that Roger has been involved with for most of his life.And its one mare’s record, that of Belladonna that he’s extremely proud of. When you look at Belladonna’s progeny line on the HRNZ website you could think “good consistent mare that’s left some handy winners.” But dig a little deeper and go offshore. Add up what her progeny has done on the racetrack and she has a truly remarkable record. She’s the dam of horses that have won 115 races. When researching this article you start by looking at mares that have won the coveted New Zealand Broodmare of the Year Award. The only mare (that I can see) that sits above Belladonna (and she’s another Southland bred horse) is Loyal Trick who posted her record mainly through the deeds of Young Quinn (59), Loyal Gentry (46) and Gold and Brown (21). She’s left winners of 128 races. The Belladonna family goes back a fair way and is also responsible for producing quality Southland owned mare Fight For Glory. Fight For Glory’s fourth dam is New Way and her fourth dam is Miri Rei which is also the fourth dam of Belladonna. Both were bred by JA Flynn. Miri Rei also left a handy type in Master Kent (Garrison Hanover – Maidstone). He was good enough to race in the 1966 Kindergarten Stakes finishing second to Holy Hal. Trained by Cecil Devine, he won two races at three and three as a four year old. He also had numerous placings including third in the 1968 Cheviot Cup. “He was probably the best we had out of the family. He sliced a tendon when he was the favourite for the Methven Cup. Cecil Devine was one of the nicest guys when it came to owners. He always said no one knows more about your horse than you and me.” Belladonna’s mother Bella Kent (Brad Hanover – Maidstone) was raced by Roger and Linc McLean and won one race for trainer Henry Skinner at the Northern Southland meeting in February 1976. “She showed a lot of ability. Every time we got her fit she was always in season and she would not run when she was in season. We got sick and tired of that so we put her to Bo Scots Blue Chip.” Belladonna qualified at Winton in December 1991 for Price, then was sent up north. “She showed some ability down here. In those days we used to have a couple of hundred horses at the trials. It was difficult to get a win at the trials to get a start at the races. I got tired of that and Richard Brosnan put me onto this lady in the North Island. She had three starts with the horse up there and she went pretty average so she was sent back home.” Although she was tried again it was to no avail, so a career at stud beckoned. “I think we had another go after she got home but she didn’t go much good so coming home from the trials one day we decide to drop her off at the stud to be served by Bo Scots Blue Chip. He was an exceptionally good racehorse so I went there.” Her first foal was Cadillac Kent which won once when Peter Ferguson drove him to win at Forbury. He was sold shortly afterwards and went on to win another twenty races in Australia. The mare’s next winner was Holmes Hanover filly Bellaholmes. She won her first two starts for training partners Roger and his daughter-in-law Katrina Price. She finished her racing career in the south by running fifth in the 2001 Southland Oaks final, won by Shortys Girl. Soon afterwards her training was taken over by Mark Purdon who drove her to finish third in the New Zealand Oaks. “She was an exceptionally good mare. We thought it was better to have her up there to win that race (New Zealand Oaks) but unfortunately she drew the outside of the front row and finished third.” At her next start she won the Group Two North Island Breeders Stakes. That was her sixth win. Soon after she was sold to Joe Muscara and continued her racing career in America where she won another sixteen races.   “Selling her was better money than there was in farming. She hardly ever ran out of the money over there. She was a typical Holmes (Holmes Hanover). She was tough but she could run as well.” After Bellaholmes, the winners continued from Belladonna and many, after reaching their mark (handicap) here or commanding good money, were sold to either Australia or America. “Most of the breed have been able to run out of the gate and that’s what kept me in the game.” One that never made the races but was rated by Price, was Master Chef (Frugal Gourmet – Belladonna) “As a three year old he ended up cracking a pedal bone and we turned him out for six months. We brought him back and took him to the trials. He bolted in (winning by nine lengths) and he was ready to take to the races and then he split the cannon bone again. He showed me a lot of ability.” Of the four American raced foals out of Belladonna, Scotty Mach has won the most races winning 30 and recording the fastest mile time of 1-49.4. “He was a typical Mach Three. He wanted to run and we had a lot of fun with him. You get to the stage in New Zealand where you get up to that top class which is tough. In America they can put them in classes that suit them. The same thing happens in Australia. We’ve sold a lot of one win horses here and they’ve gone on to win a lot more races whereas here they’d be struggling to win another race.” Although Roger has stepped away from breeding leaving that up to John and Katrina,  he’s still keeping an eye on two of Belladonna’s daughters -  Bellavita (Mach Three) which has a Well Said yearling filly and is due to foal to American Ideal, and Donnamach (Mach Three) whichhas been served by He’s Watching. So with a few more quiet drives and the excitement of seeing Belladonna’s family continue to produce winners, Roger and his wife Helen have a few more chapters left to be written in terms of their involvement in harness racing in Southland.   Belladonna’s winning list: Left 12 foals 10 qualified and won 115 races. Cadillac Kent (Cadillac) 1 New Zealand win and 20 Australian wins (21) Bellaholmes (Holmes Hanover) 6 New Zealand wins and 16 American wins (22) Pocket Master (In The Pocket) 0 New Zealand wins and 11 American wins (11) Pocket Express (In The Pocket) 4 New Zealand wins and 8 American wins (12) Bella’s Fella (Holmes Hanover) 1 New Zealand win and 8 Australian wins (9) Scotty Mac (Mach Three) 9 New Zealand wins and 30 American wins (39) Bellavita (Mach Three) 1 New Zealand win (1) Donnamach (Mach Three) 2 New Zealand wins (2)   Some of our high rating mares (number of wins):   Loyal Trick dam of Young Quinn (59), Judy Charles (2), Loyal Gentry (46) and Gold and Brown (21) total 128. Significant dam of National Image (13), The Unicorn (29), Pacific Flight (47), Gliding By (8), All Bar One (5), Gold Crusader (1) and Sign Of Home (1) total 104 Colwyn Bay mother of the great Cardigan Bay (80), Conway Bay (1) and Bold Bay (3) for a total of 84 Scuse Me dam of Megabucks (12), Splendid Dream (2), La Filou (1), Coca Vicola (1), Pardin Me (1), Imagine Me (9), Toledo (8), Abide By Me (4), Idolise Me (4), Adore Me (26), Ohoka Jett (1) and Have Faith In Me (14) total 83 Fleet’s Pocket mother of Mighty Pocketlands (4), Flying Pocketlands (21), Mighty Flying Thomas (22), Mighty Flying Mac (14), Flying McPocket (6), Mighty Flying Major (8), and Mighty Flying Deal (4) Total 81. Splendid Dream dam of Hands Christian (13), Christen Me (32), Splendid Bet (5), Aliante (8), Dream About Me (16), Accumulator (1) Total 75. If you know of other mares (there will be a few) that have hit 100 plus winners, please contact me Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing

Peter and Vaughan Blanchard only have one starter lining up at today’s (Tuesday) low-key Harness Racing Waikato meeting at Cambridge Raceway and thanks to a scratching they could now win the $6,000 seventh event. Tact Ollie only made the field because of Idealistic's withdrawal, and Blanchard (Peter) really liked the 5-year-old's chances. "He's ran two good races since he's been with us – one on the Tauranga grass and the other at Cambridge. He's trained on real well since his last start win on the track a couple of weeks ago (February 16). I think he can go close again," Blanchard said. Tact Ollie will start from four on the second line in the Sean McCaffrey Farewell Mobile for the R50 to R57 pacers. Tact Ollie is the top rated pacer in the field with an R57 rating. It will be his eighth lifetime start after finishing a third (Forbury Park) and a second (Winton) in his first four starts for Winton trainer Trevor Proctor. "He came up here last September and had a couple of starts at Alexandra Park (fifth and 11th) before we tipped him out in October. He's worked super since," the Franklin horseman said. The Badlands Hanover gelding then won his workout by a head at Pukekohe on January 28 with a 2:04.4 mile rate. James Stormont did the driving that day. Peter Ferguson, who has driven him in all four of his North island starts will be in the sulky again today. “We expect a bold run from him at Cambridge. He’s been perfect this time in,” said Blanchard who works 15 with his son at the Pukekohe track. Tact Ollie is the only starter from the Blanchard stable today and will be looking for his second consecutive win at Cambridge Raceway after winning from the second line over the same 2200m mobile distance last start. Ferguson settled back in the field with the 5-year-old that night. In fact they were still last heading into the back straight the final time before he was set alight. They were four, and then five wide on the turn before putting in a big powerful sprint to get up and nail favourite, G B Maverick and Kyle Marshall right on the line. Tact Ollie was the $18.30 seventh favourite of 12 and stopped the clock in 2:45.6 (mile rate 2:01.1) and home in 61.5 and 31.1. That was his first look at Cambridge. Meanwhile Cambridge Raceway’s leading trainer this season, Todd Mitchell can upset Tact Ollie with the black Elsu gelding he conditions and will drive. Raschker (R54) has won twice and placed four times from 12 starts on the track and has drawn ideally at one. The 5-year-old will get a nice sit along the markers and has the sprint to get over the top of them if saved for one run. Mitchell will also line up Shardon's Pearl in the fourth event - the Jame's Waikato Tab's Amateur Drivers Mobile for the up to R65 pacers. Bruce Dickens, who has had one win and two placings from seven amateur drives this season, will do the steering. Mitchell currently leads the Cambridge Raceway training premiership by eight points. The NRM sponsored ‘Top 10’ leader-board going into today’s meeting is: 1) Todd Mitchell 83; 2) Steve Telfer & Chris Garlick 75; 3) Barry Purdon 66; 4) Tim Vince 60; 5) Ray Green 49; 6) Arna Donnelly 44; 7) Mike Berger 36; 8) Sean McCaffrey & Ross Paynter 35; 9) Steven Reid & Simon McMullan 33; 10) Mark Purdon & Natalie Rasmussen 32. Duane Ranger

Kelvin Entwisle never knew he was a winner yesterday (Sunday). The Christchurch owner was swimming with his children when he got the good news. Entwisle owns the Majestic Son trotter, Mighty Sunny, and when he went to watch his gelding race, the 6-year-old had already notched up his third consecutive victory. This time the Todd Mitchell trained and Sailesh Abernethy driven Mighty Sunny won on the Stratford grass from 30 metres behind – just three days after he did the same off the front-line on the New Plymouth grass. Those wins were both as the $2 and $1.90 favourites respectively. On February 12 Mighty Sunny won at Wanganui as an $11 fifth favourite. “I was rapt when I heard the news. I haven’t even seen the race yet but I will watch it on HRNZ later. I got the starting time wrong. That’s three straight wins on the grass now. “I think that’s where he’s at his best. It’s a shame there’s only the Hawera grass track meeting left this season. He obviously likes the grass,” he said. “He’s on the market. I’m sure he’d do a super job in Aussie,” added Entwisle, who bought Mighty Sunny off Jason Teaz two Decembers ago. Mighty Sunny notched up his seventh career win in 54 starts in the $7,000 Brian Darth Funeral Services Handicap for the R48 to R70 trotters. Abernethy took him around to dispute the lead on the far turn and when Grey Stoke (Peter Ferguson) broke underneath him he was left clear on the turn. Mighty Sunny held out second favourite War Machine (David Butcher) by half a length and trotted the 2600m stand in 3:33.9 (mile rate 2:12.4). His final sectionals were 63.3 and 32.5. Entwisle praised the work Mitchell had done leading into Mighty Sunny’s hatrick. “Todd has done a good job and so did his previous trainer, Andrew Grant, who put in all the early ground work. Both must be applauded for the great job they have done with the horse. “He’s got an R75 rating now so I’d say Todd will just keep him truckin’ around Cambridge because the horse doesn’t go very well the other way around,” said Entwisle. Meanwhile, the Nicky Chilcott trained and driven Everything claimed the feature event – the $10,000 Quintin Oakes Builders Stratford Cup for the R60 and faster pacers. The Sands A Flyin gelding was the $3.40 favourite. It was the brown 5-year-old’s sixth win in 12 starts. He’s also placed three times. It was also his second Country Cups win this season after nailing the Otaki Cup on January 29. Everything, who is out of the seven-win ($45, 478) Camtastic mare For The Girls, is owned by the Summer Fun Number 1 Syndicate. “We formed the Syndicate because a lot of people wanted me to get them involved in racing. We have had a wee bit of success to date but nothing major. This horse just tops it all off," Chilcott said. Everything paced the 2600m stand in 3:31.6 (mile rate 2:10.9) with final 800m and 400m sectionals of 60.3 and 29.6. Fleeting Grin (Ferguson) and second favourite Kenrick (David Butcher were second and third a neck and a head away. All three started from the 10m handicap. Everything was bred by Hambletonian Limited.  Duane Ranger

Former All White player and coach Ricki Herbert could be seen driving standardbreds around Cambridge Raceway early next year. The 55-year-old says he can think of nothing better to do in his spare time, and would love to get more involved in harness racing when he returns to live in the Waikato at the start of the 2017 school year. “I remember those early morning training sessions. Those were the days. It brought me closer to Dad and what he did,” India-based Herbert said. Herbert’s father Clive trained more than 150 winners and won almost $1 million in stakes. He trained 1993 Rowe Cup champion for a time as well as open class pacer Metal Mickey. “Harness racing is in my blood and I got the same thrill and satisfaction preparing a football team to victory as what I did winning with a pacer or trotter,” Herbert said. "Sport and horse racing follow similar preparation regimes and the emotion and pleasure when they both win is very similar," he added. Herbert, who has driven three place-getters from 18 starters between 1990 and 1994, will in January take up position as the Director of Football at St Peter's, Cambridge - a private school with a roll of just over 1,000 students. “It will be an extensive and demanding role and I’ve also taken up a Technical Advisory role with the Cambridge Football Club on a part-time basis. “But there’s nothing I’d love to do more than jog a horse early in the morning or after work. I am so pleased to be moving to a rich racing area like Cambridge. “Even if I don’t get to jog one I will be an avid spectator. In fact I still keep a close eye on the sport. I’ll still probably go down in the mornings and watch them train,” Herbert said. “It’s just something I love to do,” he added. He said he knew Cambridge reinsman Peter Ferguson quite well and believed that he could possibly get him involved more. “I was actually at a Cambridge meeting five or six weeks ago with my father and son (Kale). T’s something I’m definitely going to do more when I come back home,” Herbert said. Herbert will rent a home in Cambridge and still keep his home in Paraparaumu. He said the reason he was coming to Cambridge was because of St Peter’s Principal, Dale Burden. “I was so impressed with Dale’s vision for football at the school. I had no hesitation signing,” Herbert said. He said Redcliffe Pass was his favourite horse that his father trained. "David Moss and Metal Mickey were champions but Dad did all the work when he had them. I might have done jog work if I was lucky but I had a more hands-on association with Redcliffe Pass, Franco Gold, Captain Ricki and Vance Lustre. "Redcliffe Pass was a special horse to me because we got him off Derek Jones as a C2 and then progressed him through to C9. He was close to my heart and it was a very sad day when we he broke down and we had to put him down. "That day showed me the human side to racing and how tough it could be," Herbert said. Herbert paid a tribute to his father Clive and what he taught him but said he also learnt a lot from his legendary neighbour at Clevedon, Roy Purdon. "We worked horses at Mike Barry's property next to Roy's place and other icons of the sport like Mark Purdon and Tony Herlihy also worked there. I got to know them very well and they all taught me a lot. They were more than neighbours," Herbert said. But no matter what Herbert achieves in harness racing he will always be remembered as the coach of the New Zealand All Whites soccer team that went through the 2010 World Cup unbeaten with draws against Slovakia, Italy and Paraguay. "I've had some great moments in the sport. I represented my country as an 18-year-old in the 1982 World Cup but beating Bahrain to qualify this year was arguably the greatest moment in my life. It had taken 28 years to get a New Zealand team back to the World Cup and as a coach it was an extremely proud moment." For the record, Herbert played 61 times for New Zealand from 1980 to1989. He played for Southampton and 49 times for the club he supports - Wolverhampton Wanderers. Since The World Cup he has coached the Wellington Phoenix (2007-2013); North East United (2014-2015) Papua New Guinea U23 (2015); the Maldives national team (2015-2016). He is currently the ‘Star Sports’ TV front-man and journalist for the India Super Football League. “Again it’s something different to coaching football and something I am really enjoying. We are up to round 7 at the moment and the grand Final is on December 18. “Then it’s back home for Christmas and then my new life at Cambridge. One I am very much looking forward to,” Herbert said. A man who has often achieved his goals, Herbert said he would one day love to win his first race in the sulky and then get involved in a New Zealand Cup winner. “That's the goal. But then again isn’t winning the great cup is everyone in harness racing’s dream isn’t it?” he questioned. Duane Ranger

Peter Ferguson will line up four greyhounds in race 1 tomorrow. That would be just a normal headline for most greyhound followers, but this has a few things different about it. Cambridge based Peter Ferguson is a well known Harness Racing trainer/driver and along with son Dylan, Wife Wendy and Sam Wibbly (boyfriend of Amy, Peter's daughter) will line up four runners at Cambridge Raceway tomorrow. Race 1 @ 12pm. Box 1 - Making It Up – Peter to box Box 3 - Classy Delta – Wendy to box Box 4 - Howard I Know – Sam to box Box 6 - So Over It – Dylan to box “So Over It is probably the best chance - Dylan’s put dibs on him but then, what would he know, he’s chosen to drive The Crown Jewels over Acougarzsun on Friday night! “But he has shown more box and race sense. Ha, he’ll probably come out, knock half them down, and go straight to the fence.” said Ferguson when spoken to by Barry Lichter of Andrew Fitzgerald

Liza Milina can see no reason why Moment Of Truth will not line up as a 14-year-old next season. She said he could even have his 200th start in 2016-2017. “Mentally and physically he’s as good as when I got him two years ago. He loves going fast. He’s happiest when he can go flat out. He really loves his beach training and racing,” owner-trainer Milina said. Does he what!  The Sundon gelding, who was born on October 15, 2002, won his 28th race when having his 176th start in Sunday’s $7,000 Thames Jockey Club C2-C5 Claiming Pace at Alexandra Park. Moment Of Truth (10m) and driver Peter Ferguson trotted the 2700m standing start event in 3:29.9 (mile rate 2:05) with final 800m and 400m sectionals of 60.3 and 29.6. He was the $5.60 second favourite in the nine-horse field. “The only time we put a sulky on him is race-day. I train him on the Murawai Beach behind the 4-wheel drive with my partner Matt ((Bray). He does the driving and I’m sitting at the back with the horses. “He always wants to go flat out. He’s happiest when he can do that. We can get up to 50km/h. Pete does a great job of driving him on race-day,” Kumeu-based Milina said. She said she didn’t mind making the three-hour round trip to the beach to work the old boy. “When he’s happy he races well. He can be a terrible puller when he doesn’t get his own way. I use a lot of natural products on him. I care for him like he’s my boyfriend,” Milina said. Milina wasn’t kidding when saying that. “I have two boyfriends and Matt will tell you I treat Moment Of Truth way better than him. The horse and I will retire together and he will always be with me. “I love him so much. I hate claiming races because there is always the risk of losing him, but I won’t let that happen. I’ve already claimed him back three times and have bought him back once,” said Milina. Moment Of Truth has now provided Milina with her most successful season as a trainer. He won three times for her in her debut training year last season and has won another three in 2015-2016. Yaldy Boyz has also won twice for Milina this season. “I’m loving it. I just want happy horses and when you have got happy horses they tend to race well. Moment of Truth is one of a kind. He is precious. I feel he is part of me,” Milina said. The bay gelding has now banked $247, 202. “If he can’t go fast he gets the sulks. He didn’t like it when I retired him. He was moping about like a sad thing. All he wants to do is race. So how can you retire a horse when all he wants to do is race? “He will tell me when it’s time to retire him,” the 50-year-old said. If Moment Of Truth does turn out in 2016-2017 it will be his 12th consecutive season of racing. Courtesy of Duane Ranger

This is the time in the harness racing season where the two years that are just behind the very best tend to put maiden fields to the sword. Race nine at Alexandra Park tonight has a field full of such two year olds and several of the runners look capable of winning a race at short notice. One who really impressed in his first brief campaign was the Elsu gelding El Jacko. El Jacko was thrown in the deep end in his first campaign running up against the likes of Lazarus and Chase The Dream and got things wrong in his first couple of starts but his fourth in the Young Guns Final behind the All Stars pair and Code Black was a really smart run and confirmed the big private reputation that El Jacko has always had. Tonight El Jacko has the advantage of drawing barrier one but the field is full of some handy sorts and he won't have things all his own way. Co-trainer Logan Hollis was circumspect when assessing his chances earlier this week. “He hasn’t raced since March and has only had three races as a 2-year-old and he galloped twice." "He did get around okay in the (Group One) Young Guns Cardigan Stakes and he has been trialling well and he worked very well today (Wednesday)." "He’s certainly got plenty of ability." "He just needs time but he can win on Friday." "Fergie has driven him twice before and will give him every possible chance from the ace draw," Logan said. El Jacko certainly looks one to follow in the new season and looks to have the potential to go a fair way. Harnesslink Media

Twelve of the best harness racing reinsmen in Australasia lined up this afternoon in Invercargill for the inaugural Trans Tasman driving challenge and no quarter was asked or given as bragging rights for the next twelve months were on the line. Chris Alford, Lance Justice, Greg Sugars and Kerryn Manning formed a strong team for the Australians and Justice was his usual confident self prior to the event. " I have a team of superstars who have probably won more races individually than all the Kiwis put together" he said. The North Island had a formidable lineup with Maurice McKendry, David Butcher, Peter Ferguson and Zac Butcher being a good combination of experience and youth. The South Island team also had talent to burn with Dexter Dunn joined by Ricky May, Blair Orange and Nathan Williamson who all having big seasons to this point. The points system was run on a 10 - 7 - 5 - 3 - 1 basis over the six races and that meant consistency was just as important as winning a heat. Lance Justice struck first for the Aussies in heat one while Manning and Alford also chimed in with wins  and Sugars a second but they didn't  trouble the scorer much in some heats. Their combined total after the six heats was 45 points with Chris Alford their highest points scorer with 16 from a win and two placings. The South Island team were in the points all afternoon but Ricky May was the only driver to record a win in the six races. Their combined total after six heats was 49 points with Dexter Dunn their highest points scorer with three thirds and 15 points. The two elder statesmen of the North Island team in Maurice McKendry and David Butcher showed their class throughout the day. David Butcher collected points in every race while Maurice had a win, two seconds and a third to lay the foundation for a winning total. Overall the North island team racked up 62 points for a comfortable win while Maurice Mckendry won the individual title on 29 points from his team mate David Butcher on 24 points. The whole day seemed to enjoyed by all the drivers involved and the Invercargill Harness Racing Club should be congratulated for bringing  todays event to fruition. Harnesslink Media - Check results here 

The North Island has won the fifth annual ‘Island Of Origin’ series at Alexandra Park. The Peter Ferguson captained team of six beat the South Island by 25 points to 11 tonight (Friday August 29th). Points were awarded on a 3-2-1 basis for first, second, and third. Ferguson was rapt with the victory. “We didn’t come here to run second. It’s a great concept and I’m rapt to have won it. We all did our bit. 3-2 sounds very nice,” Fergie said. South Island captain Ricky May, who replaced the suspended Anthony Butt as skipper, enjoyed the night. “It’s a great concept especially with owners getting penalty free wins. We were going pretty good early on and then we faded a bit," May said. The North Island paid $1.80 for their third victory. “I really enjoyed it and am always proud to represent the South Island,” he added. Zac Butcher won the Individual title and paid $4.60 on the New Zealand TAB. He amassed eight points thanks to two wins and a second. Blair Orange (six points) finished second with two wins, while Tony Herlihy (MNZM) was third with five points from two seconds and a third. ‘The Postman’ aka Orange delivered in the first heat with a win behind the Andrew and Lyn Neal trained Lucky Fortune. Butcher then won the second heat behind the Stephen Doody trained Te Kawau, while Ferguson led the way with a third heat victory behind the Richard Brosnan trained Torbjorn. The fourth heat went to Orange and the Roni Lauren trained I Got Rhythm before Butcher won the fifth heat behind the Stewart Ashworth trained Machinegun Kelly. The last heat was won by Todd Mitchell and the Peter Scaife trained Rip Roaring. The teams were: North Island: Peter Ferguson (c), Tony Herlihy (MNZM), Todd Mitchell, Philip Butcher, Zac Butcher, and Scott Phelan. South Island: Ricky May (c), Gerard O’Reilly, Dexter Dunn, Blair Orange, Jim Curtin, and Mark Jones. The Island Of Origin winners: 2014: North Island. 2013: North Island. 2012: South Island. 2011: South Island. 2010: North Island. Courtesy Of Harness Racing New Zealand

Well known and respected trainer/driver Richard Brosnan caused a real stir recently when he went public with his concerns about the problems facing the harness racing industry and that he was seriously thinking of giving the game away. Tonight at Alexandra Park he let his horses do the talking and showed that he had lost none of those training skills honed by over forty years in the industry.  The six year old Dream Vacation gelding Torbjorn was off 20 meters in the C1/C3 2700 meters stand trot and came into the race with a last start third to his credit. With regular pilot Peter Ferguson in the bike, Torbjorn made his usual safe beginning and settled three back in the running line in the ten horse field and that's where he stayed until 400 meters from home where Peter Ferguson sent him forward three wide in search of the leaders. All the way up the straight Torbjorn kept making ground and grabbed the leader Sastre in the shadows of the post for a narrow but deserved victory. He trotted the 2700 meters from a stand in 3:30.7, with closing sectionals of 60.4 and 29.6. It was Torbjorn's fourth win in 30 starts along with 10 placings and took his stake earnings to $44,527 Torbjorn was bred and is raced by Bernie Lim who has been a long time stable client of Richard Brosnan's. Torbjorn is from Sun Lamp, a Sundon daughter of the Bonefish mare Kiwi Kipper who was imported to New Zealand by the late Sir Roy McKenzie. Sun Lamp is closely related to the outstanding age group trotter Royal Aspirations 1:56.5 ($282,999) and the top trotting mare Aspiring Lass (12 wins) ($107,065). Tonights win by Torbjorn proved once again that when it comes to training winners, Richard Brosnan has always been one of the best in the business and can still find his way to the winners circle. Harnesslink Media    

The best harness racing drivers from the North and South Islands square off in six races at Alexandra Park on Friday night (August 29th). Named the Island Of Origin series, it has brought together the best drivers in New Zealand in a contest that decides bragging rights between the islands for the next twelve months. Points are scored on a 3 - 2 - 1 basis and judging by the fields and the spread of form horses to both camps, it should be a close and exciting contest. The South Island team is full of talent with last seasons leading driver Dexter Dunn joined by Ricky May, Mark Jones, Blair Orange, Gerald O'Reilly and Jimmy Curtin.. The North Island team is just as talented with the "Iceman" Tony Herlihy teaming up with Zac Butcher, Philip Butcher, Peter Ferguson, Todd Mitchell and Scott Phelan. Most home teams have an edge to start with and that was added to just a little bit by the fact that the Northern horsemen have 31 drives on Friday night compared to 30 for the Southern horsemen. All the races for the invited drivers are penalty free which is a nice bonus for the trainers and owners who have supported the series with their horses. The most interesting race for the invited drivers is undoubtedly race three, the C2 - C5 mobile pace over 2200 meters. Last seasons smart 3 year old Te Kawau looks hard to beat but a couple of real up and comers could prove troublesome with a run to suit. Royal Taz has won his last two for Tony Herlihy in the manner of a horse going places and from his handy draw looms as a genuine threat to the favourite. Pricillas Girl has run two slashers this time in and appeals as a value runner if the other two go to war at any stage. Six of the other runners in the field have either won or been placed at their last start so the favoured trio won't have it all their own way. The invited drivers creates real interest leading into Friday night and the Auckland Trotting Club should be applauded for bringing the concept to fruition. Harnesslink Media 

Winning harness races has become a habit for the leading dual code trainer Graeme Rogerson. In partnership in the harness racing side of the business with former leading harness trainer Peter Blanchard, this duo of top horsemen continue to produce a steady stream of winners from their base at Tuhikaramea in the Waikato. Last night at Cambridge the duo added another winner to the list when Art I Special won the the Support Local Promotion handicap pace with the added bonus that Graeme owns the horse as well. This 5 year old son of Artsplace went straight to the top after 100 meters in the hands of promising junior driver, Dylan Ferguson and though pressured a couple of times during the running had enough in reserve to hold out the late challenge of Westburn Courage which was driven by his father, Peter Ferguson. It was the third win this season and fourth overall from 24 starts for this promising pacer who has also netted eight minor placings. He covered the 2200 meters stand in 2:48.7, a mile rate of 2:3.4 with closing sectionals of 57.7 and 28.4. As with a lot of the Rogerson/Blanchard  team, Art I Special is bred to be good. He is from Vicario, who apart from being the dam of two outstanding horses already in Stunin Cullen 1:54.1 ($1,493,716) and Coburg 1:56.8 ($205,176) is also a half sister to another top liner in Il Vicolo 1:56.7 ($1,580,948). Art I Special may never reach the heights of his famous siblings but he does look to have something to offer in the next few months going by the manner of his win last night. Harnesslink media

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