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Overport Lodge trainer Mark Jones has capable mare Goodness Gracious Me warming up for the summer circuit. Goodness Gracious Me, first-up since July, ran Willow close at the Rangiora workouts on Wednesday, December 3. The 4YO Christian Cullen mare is the winner of four from 23 starts, but reverts to the C2 grade with dropback age group concessions. She trailed three back for Mark behind the Allstars stablemates Willow and Linda Lovegrace in the C2-4 mobile heat on Wednesday. Goodness Gracious Me may have headed Willow in the run home before the latter kicked back for a half a head win. “She (Goodness Gracious Me) blew out the last little bit,” Mark said. “I’ll look for a junior drivers race, then she can go to to Winton for (Southern Belle) Speed Series heat on December 29th,” he said. Willow ran the mobile 2000m in 2:30.2 (2:00.8 mile rate) in the hands of Tim Williams, the winner pacing her last 800m in 57.2s and final 400m in 27.4s. Strike On Command, a catch drive for Wayne Higgs, tailed the five horse field and wasn’t asked for a serious effort in the run home. Rocker Band, the qualified but unraced 3YO filly by Rocknroll Hanover from 2005 New Zealand Cup winner Mainland Banner (1:55.1), shaped well winning a C0 mobile pace. She backed up a good finish at the workouts a week earlier by coming from back and wide to run down raceplaced Nui Toc Tien, the latter a newcomer to the Steve Dolan team. Rocker Band won the mobile 2000m heat in 2:34.9, the leaders running their last 800m in 58.8s and final 400m in 28.8s. The Greg Brodie-owned Rocker Band could make her race debut at Winton on December 20. “She’s not paid up for anything, but we could make the $14,000 late payment for the Nevele R with her,” Mark said. Rocker Band was put aside after she beat Storm Maguire, Whitershadeofpale and Maritime Arden, in a 2000m qualifier (2:02 rate) at Rangiora in April. Qualified but unraced Bettor Luck (4g Bettor’s Delight-Pocket Conquest, by In The Pocket-Victor Supreme), battled away for third behind Danielle Van De Camp and As Kiwi As in his C0 heat in 3:29.9 (2600m). Bettor Luck trailed up for Michelle Neilson. He has taken time after running fifth of seven in his qualifier at Ashburton in November last year. Kowhai Sunrise, resuming, led up in the C1-3 trot but broke and failed to settle in the run home, allowing Clifden Clowers to beat Sunrise Invasion in 3:30 (2600m). Courtesy of Mark Jones Racing Stables - Check site here

One of the hardest things to get right in the harness racing industry is the management of large syndicates and the issues that go with that. Most attempts at large scale syndication have faltered but one operator who seems to have got the structure right and is having success is the Go Harness group established by Noel Kennard. Run by Noel with the help of former HRNZ journalist John Robinson, the Go Harness syndicates were set up to try to make the cost of racing standardbreds more affordable to a wider cross - section of the public and they have succeeded in bringing a lot of new people into the industry. One of their first syndicates was the "Trotting For Fun" group which was established in late 2012. Initially the syndicate brought Saratoga off Wayne Feiss from Australia. Racing from the All Stars barn prior to being purchased, the son of Muscles Yankee was left with the All Stars team and has done a super job for the syndicate. Since his purchase Saratoga has had 15 starts for 5 wins and 4 placings for $38,378 in stakes. Saratoga was moved recently to the barn of Ken Barron to take advantage of the swimming pool there on the advice of Mark Purdon. When the syndicate was formed three other yearling fillies were leased from well known breeder Ivan McNicholl to round out the syndicate. One was injured as a 2 year old and retired to stud but the other two are on track to make their mark on the racetrack this season. Both remaining fillies are beautifully bred and have both qualified already. Harriet Of Mot is by Monarchy from the very talented Sundon mare Harriet Hughes who won five races from just 13 starts. Harriet Hughes ran second in the Group 2 Trotters Championship to One Over Kenny and third in the Group 1 Trotting derby as a 3 year old. The other filly Eilish Aimee is by Love You and is a half sister to Harriet Hughes as well as Earl Of Mot ($535,756)  Ella Powell ($118,495) and  is a three quarter sister to Amore Stride ($99,156). Eilish Aimee lines up for her first start tomorrow at Timaru and while it is a big ask for a 3 year old filly to do everything right first time, John Robinson knows the ability is there. "The trainers Craig and Aimee Edmonds have always had a high opinion of the filly and think long term she could go a fair way." "They have had most of this family through their hands and think Eilish Aimee has a big future," John said. A trial winner at Rangiora last Monday, Eilish Aimee impressed track watchers and driver John Dunn with a very professional display and that has given John Robinson some confidence heading into her debut run. "John was quite impressed with her on Monday and has taken the drive tomorrow." "Whatever she does tomorrow she can have a brief letup and come back in the new year after a short break," he said Harriet Of Mot is also qualified but won't be seen out just yet according to John. "She can still be a bit headstrong so we are in no hurry with her as she has the family ability," he said. John Robinson swears one of the keys to running large syndicates is the communication between the trainers and the syndicates management and he can't  praise Craig and Aimee Edmonds enough. " They are just great to deal with and keep us up to date on everything." " We don't have to ring them, they ring us which makes our job so much easier," John said  Large scale syndications are never easy to manage but the Go Harness team have obviously got the formulae just right judging by their results to date. Harnesslink Media     

One of two runners on Sunday at Wyndham could propel one of the nice guys in New Zealand harness racing in Cran Dalgety into that elite group who have trained 1000 winners. Two winners on Thursday at Rangiora took him to 999 winners and both his winners look to have a big future. Bettor Think Twice appreciated the drop back in class from Sires Stakes racing to a C0 fillies and mares race and won the race at the start when Dexter Dunn sent her forward and she missed all the mayhem when Quaint Glen broke after 200 metres. Taken to the front with 1300 metres to run by Dexter, Bettor Think Twice scooted over her last 400 metres in 28.2 for a comfortable 2 and1/2 length victory over the very unlucky Tintinara who was involved in the early skirmish. Bettor Think Twice is bred to be good as she is the first foal from the former smart 2 year old Rona Lorraine ($133,270) who is a half sister to none other than last years champion 3 year old filly, Venus Serena 1:52.1 ($664,886) A $78,000 dollar yearling purchase, yesterday's win took Bettor Think Twice's earnings to $24,461 with the promise of plenty more to come. The second winner that Cran produced yesterday was Bungalow Bill and he produced an outstanding performance to come from last at the 900 metres mark to get up and beat the smart 3 year old Smithy in a very quick 2:26.9 for the 2000 metres mobile. Dexter was at his very best as he saved ground on the corner by switching back to the inner after sweeping up wide down the back and that enabled Bungalow Bill to get up in the shadows of the post for a breathtaking win. Bungalow Bill also lacks nothing on the score of breeding being by Bettor's Delight from the smart racemare Strawberry Fields ($48,430) who is a half sister to the former outstanding juvenile Lennon 1:52 ($349,539). That was the second win for Bungalow Bill from just two starts and he looks very hard to roll in the $20,000 Graduation Final on Cup Day where he has drawn barrier two. Cran has two chances to crack the 1000 barrier at Wyndham on Sunday in Supriya and Margarita and both look huge winning chances. It is a shame in a way if it does happen at Wyndham as the man who has driven a big chunk of those winners in Dexter Dunn  will not be driving the Dalgety horses on Sunday. However one thing is a given. Cran's feat in training 1000 winners whenever it happens will be warmly received by his peers who hold the West Melton trainer in high regard.  Harnesslink Media    

The harness racing action moved to the trials at Rangiora yesterday after the huge day at Ashburton on Monday and saw a large batch of 2 year olds strut their stuff for the first time. The first of the 2 year old heats was for the fillies and all six runners were from the all conquering All Stars team. Arden's Choice by Panspacificflight did enough to grab the pacemaking Sophisticated Lady (Mach Three) in the last few metres but the whole six finished within a couple of lengths of each other in their first serious hitout. The overall time of 2:42.7 in the very windy conditions was what you would expect from a first up run and it should be upwards and onwards from here. The second of the 2 year old heats for colts and geldings saw a 3 year old added to the 5 runners in the form of Bettor Be Smooth and as you would expect he was too strong for the juveniles. Two All Stars runners in Chase The Dream (Bettor's Delight)  and Waikiki Beach (Somebeachsomewhere) closed in the straight but were still 1 1/4 and 2 1/2 lengths in arrears at the finish. However as the last 800 metres was cut out in a blistering 56.6 and 400 metres in 28.6, in less than ideal conditions, then both 2 year olds look to be very promising. In the third 2 year old heat which was also for colts and geldings, another of the All Stars team in Major Ben was very impressive. Slow to begin from the outside alley, Major Ben (Art Major) looped the field after 300 metres and was too strong afterwards winning by two lengths in the fastest time of the three heats of 2:37.2. with closing sectionals of 58.6 and 28.5 Stablemate Lazarus (Bettor's Delight) made ground late to grab second from Audi Hare (Mach Three) from the Michael House barn. Major Ben was easily the biggest of the 2 year olds on display yesterday but seems to have speed to match his size. There was plenty of talented horseflesh in some of the other heats yesterday and this is how we saw them. Isaiah looked very forward as he nabbed a game Venus Serena in his heat which was cut out in a 1:59.8 mile rate with smart sectionals in the conditions of 56.8 and 28.1 Both look ready to rumble come Cup week Itz Bettor To Win made ground well behind the first two for third and can't be far away from making his 3 year old debut. Ancient Moonlight and Cut Loose were very impressive in a C0 heat, clearing out a long way from home with only half a head separating them at the finish. The overall time of 2:30.7 was excellent in the conditions and both horses look to be early winners on that run. Ranfurly Rulz looked forward to resume when winning his heat in a 1:59.8 mile rate when the wind was at its worst and after he had done all the work in front. Princess Galleon trialed again like a trotter who is going to win one at short notice when she cleared out by five lengths in her heat. Webb Ellis and Highview Freddy were only separated by a half head in their heat and both look ready to win a maiden at short notice. Overall apart from the wind, it was a day that threw up several smart horses for racing around New Zealand Cup week Harnesslink Media

Todays C8 and faster heat at the Rangiora harness racing trials was only a five horse affair but it was a heat full of class The heats were run on a fine day but with a bitterly cold wind blowing. Christen Me was the headline act along with Adore Me, Hands Christian, Fly Like An Eagle and Pass Them By. Fly Like An Eagle did just that at the start, scooting out to an early lead with Pass Them By, Adore Me, Hands Christian and Christen Me all racing in single file behind the leader. Passing the 900 metres mark, Tim Williams upped the pace in front with Fly Like An Eagle. Mark Purdon was the first to move at the 700 metres mark when he moved Adore Me out into the running line and Hands Christian and Natalie Rasmussen were quickly onto her back with Christen Me and Dexter Dunn biding his time at the rear. As they turned for home Adore Me gradually began to wear down Fly Like An Eagle and was then immediately attacked by Hands Christian. As these two looked like they would fight out the finish, Christen Me suddenly joined in and grabbed Adore Me for a narrow but impressive victory with Hands Christian another neck away in third. Fly Like An Eagle and Pass Them By finished in line right behind the first three. The 2600 metres from a stand was covered in 3:20.7 with the last 800 metres off the front covered in a super quick 54.6 and the last 400 metres in 27.5 Christen Me was three lengths last at the 800 and was privately timed to run that section in 53.4 with his closing 400 metres in 26.9 and what was more impressive was he seemed to do it with something in reserve. The All Stars team were happy with all of their runners. HANDS CHRISTIAN (Natalie)  "No a good run. He got a bit relaxed for a bit and I had to give him a smack on the rear to keep him up to it but they ran home in fast time and he is on target" she said ADORE ME (Mark)  "I was happy how she went. She is ready to run next week on that, he said  FLY LIKE AN EAGLE (Tim) "I didn't expect to be in front but he shot out so well that was where we finished up. He just blew out the last bit (last 800m in 54.6) and will be better for the run" said Tim "We will probably give Fly Like An Eagle another workout, maybe on Saturday before he goes to the races" Mark said. With his performance today, Christen Me sent a clear message that he is right on track for the second Tuesday in November and cemented his position as the major threat to Terror To Love's quest for four New Zealand Cups. Harnesslink Media  

 Terror To Love capped off another truly remarkable season with an effortless victory in the $50,000 Wai-Eyre Farm Rangiora Classic at Rangiora Raceway today. The champion pacer, who will now spell before being set for a tilt at a fourth consecutive New Zealand Cup, settled at the tail of the field before looping the pack with a lap to go find the parked position. He then dashed away at the top of the straight to win comprehensively by 1 & ¼ lenghts over Border Control. Pemberton Shard was a further 2 & ½ lenghts away in third, while Vice Chairman rounded out the First4. Terror To Love paced the 2600 metre journey in a slick 3-09.7, which is just 0.7 of a second outside of Arden Rooney’s track record. “It’s great to head to the spelling paddock a winner,” said owner Terry McDonald. “We were beaten by a great horse in Adore Me last start and I am already looking forward to the rematch,” he added. McDonald said he was once again overwhelmed by the response his champion had been given by his many fans. “It’s great to bring him out to a country meeting and show him off to the public,” said McDonald. He doesn’t race away from the major tracks very often but the club put on a great stake of $50,000 for this race and that is one of the main reasons we decided to give him one more start for the season,” he concluded. But Terror To Love is not the only champion pacer who finished his season in grand style today. Australian superstar Beautide is now also heading to the pasture for a well deserved break after finishing his terrific season with a win in the Group 1 Len Smith Mile at Menangle. By Mitchell Robertson

Washydke’s Jesse Wederell has now trained his first winner but is still yet to see one of his horses cross the line in first place. “I got that excited that I was jumping up and down and in the end it ended up being nothing more than a blur,” laughed the young enthusiastic horseman. Wederell, who is in his first season of training, broke his duck when his four-year-old Sand’s A Flyin gelding, Garibaldi, was successful in the fourth race at Rangiora today. “He has always had plenty of ability but he seems to have really clicked of late,” said Wederell, who also owns the gelding. “He may have had 13 starts but he is still pretty inexperienced, so I expect him to get better in time,” he enthused. “He is still learning what this racing game is all about.” Garibaldi is one of two two-year-olds that 21-year-old Wederell purchased of Brendon Hill in 2012. The other is Phil Monty, who Wederell recently sold to Lance Justice for good money after a very good second at Addington on February 27. “He is a really nice horse and I have kept a ten percent share in him,” enthused Wederell. “He should do a super job over there for Lance. Both Garibaldi and Phil Monty were purchased out of the Harness Racing Weekly for $1000 apiece. “I was looking for a horse at the time and I liked their breeding,” recalled Wederell. “Garibaldi’s mother (Western Starr) went 1-50 in America as a three-year-old.” “But I never dreamed I’d get two nice horses to kick off my career. I guess you could say I’ve been a bit lucky.” When asked what he was going to do with his newly found wealth, Wederell said that a new Ute could well be on the cards. It may even be towing Garibaldi next time he arrives at the races. Meanwhile, Arden Rooney was an impressive winner of the $25,000 North Canterbury Country Cups Final and will now target the $100,000 Easter Cup on April 19. By Mitchell Robertson

Rangiora based horsewoman Maria Perriton achieved a rare feat when Lisa Marie P, a horse she bred, owns, trains, and drives, was successful at her local meeting. Perriton, who puts a P on the end of the names of all the horses she breeds, (e.g.: Pricilla P and Zara P) is a part of the Rangiora Trotting Club committee, which added to the special occasion. Lisa Marie P was driven to perfection as well, leading from the tapes before handing up to the favourite The Bog. The daughter of Dream Vaction then dived up the ‘Yaldy’ lane to get the win by the barest of margins over The Bog. The 58.6 last half indicates the win won’t be her last, but in the meantime, Perriton is just happy to be celebrating this one. Lisa Marie P upset by paying huge odds of $38.30 and $6.60, but those who study their Rangiora trial form would have been smiling all the way to the tote. Perriton as well as training,driving,owning and breeding horses, also prepares yearlings for the sales - So I guess you could say she is a jack of all trades. By Mitchell Robertson

The ring-around continues to produce numerous winners, and last week was no exception with Anthony Butt, Blair Orange, Nathan Williamson, Steve Richardson and Simon Lawson all producing the goods. As well as the five winners, the ring-around also produced five placegetters and a quinella. So, what are we getting the money off this week? Anthony Butt: Thinks the very progressive Pass Them By can repeat the dose in race six at Addington on Friday. Blair Orange: Thinks the very talented Someardensomewhere will take all sorts of stopping in his division of the Super Series on Friday – Addington, race nine. John Dunn: Believes Comenche is a nice each-way chance in the first race at Rangiora on Sunday. Jonny Cox: Has opted for Washington Flier, who he also tipped when she won last start. She goes around in the seventh race at Winton on Sunday. Ken Barron: Has gone for the consistent Comply Or Die. He looks atleast a place chance in race six at Addington. Mark Jones: Rates the chances of first starter Remiss. Look for her to kick off your Friday night on a good note in race one. Matthew Williamson & Steve Richardson (T.A.B): Have both opted for Idle Bones, who was huge last start after making a mistake. Hopefully she can make amends in race three at Addington. Nathan Williamson: Thinks Canthinkofaname will prove very hard to beat in a lower grade Claimers Race on Sunday – Winton, race three. Sean McCaffrey: Likes the chances of Awayonvacation, who looks a super chance  in the tenth race at Alexandra Park on Friday. Simon Lawson: Thinks Jogo Bonito, who threw it away worse than Team Emirates NZ last start, can redeem himself in race five at Alexandra Park on Friday. Tim Williams: Has opted for the talented Jocy Jaccka. She competes in the tenth race at Winton on Sunday. Harnesslink roughie of the week: Wings Of Hope – Alexandra Park, race eight. *There will be more horses added to the ring-around later on in the day so be sure to check again then. By Mitchell Robertson

Congratulations to Andrew Armour, Dexter Dunn, John Dunn, Maurice McKendry and Nathan Williamson who all tipped out winners last week. As well as the five winners, there was also six minor placegetters tipped out. Here are this week’s selections Anthony Butt: Has gone for Elusive Chick as his best bet of the week, she resumes off the back of her super Harness Jewels win in the sixth race at Rangiora on Friday. Blair Orange: Thinks Machs A Flyin, who looked very unlucky in his fresh-up run at Addington last week, will take all sorts of stopping in the fourth race at Timaru on Sunday. Colin DeFilippi: Believes the progressive Smoken Roman can make it five wins from his last six starts in the eighth race at Timaru on Sunday Dexter Dunn: Thinks Born In The USA can break his maiden status in the third race at Rangiora tomorrow. Gavin Smith: Has opted for Incredible Anvil this week. She would have run in the money last week had she not gone off stride, and looks a bold chance in the first race at Rangiora tomorrow. John Dunn: Said he doesn’t have a great book of drives this week. But he does rate Bad Girlsrbest as a good each-way prospect in the fourth race at Timaru on Sunday. Ken Barron: Said that True South is the best of his three drives this weekend. He goes around in the second race at Rangiora tomorrow. Mark Jones: Thinks Offtocullect should extend his impressive record in the fourth race at Rangiora tomorrow. Big Is Good looks the main and possibly only danger. Ray Green: Can simply not see Lincolns Megastar getting beat in the second race at Alexandra Park on Friday. Simon Lawson: Thinks Charge Forward could possibly cause a minor upset in Friday’s Spring Cup at Alexandra Park – race seven. Stephen McNally: Rates Xmas Joyella as his bet of the week. She goes around in the first race at Timaru on Sunday. Steve Richardson (T.A.B): Thinks Easy On The Eye will start his New Zealand Cup campaign on a winning note – Alexandra Park, race seven. Todd Mitchell: Believes stable newcomer Continental Auto can kicks things off on a winning note – Alexandra Park, race six. By Mitchell Robertson      

Congratulations to last week’s winning tipsters, Blair Orange, Matt Williamson and Scott Phelan. Although there was only three winners last week, there were a further five placegetters. But hopefully we can still step it up a notch this week. Anthony Butt: Likes the chances of Idle Eyre in the ninth race at Addington on Friday night. Blair Orange & Mark Jones: Think Ready For Takeoff can go back-to-back -Rangiora, race six. John Dunn: Thinks Kotare Mahal might be the one to crack the ton – Addington, race one. Ken Barron: Rates the chances of Moonlight Gambler – Addington, race ten. Matthew Williamson: Thinks Elbeau gives him his best of a trip to the winners circle – Rangiora, race six. Nathan Williamson: Is hoping to trot the whole way, and win with Given – Addington, race six. Ricky May: Who is fresh from a holiday in Las Vegas, thinks Copy My Past can copy his past and win again – Addington, race five. Simon Lawson: Rates Macy Delight as his best of the week – Cambridge, race six. Stephen McNally: Will keep Mark McNamara smiling by saying Ataahua Tiki is his best chance of the week – Addington, race five. Todd Mitchell: Has again opted for Carlos – Cambridge, race two. Zac Butcher: Thinks Bad Boy Hughie will take some stopping in the first race at Alexandra Park on Friday. by Mitchell Robertson

The New Zealand Racing Laboratory Services has advised the Racing Integrity Unit of an elevated TCO2 result from the blood sample taken from the horse Wally’s Girl following its win in Race 6, the Breeder’s Golden Girls Mobile Trot at the Timaru Harness Racing Club’s meeting on Sunday 7 July 2013. Wally’s Girl is trained by Mr J T Keast & Ms H Westrum. Wally's Girl's high TCO2 is the third in the last month, the first was the Neville Gorrie trained Mattjestic Rebeck who return one when finishing third at Blenhiem on the 27th of June while the Gavin Cook trained Valhalla also returned an elevated level when unplaced at Rangiora on the 30th of June. RIU Officials are conducting inquiries into all three cases.  

Highly talented three-year-old filly Helena Jet made it three straight wins when taking out today’s 2-4 win Coupland’s Bakeries Timaru Winter Cup in emphatic style.

Achieving your first training success is no mean feat but to do it with a trotter that has shocking conformation is a big achievement. “He’s a crock, but like all of my animals he’s my friend first and racehorse second. It’s a shame he’s not formed right because he has got a bit of ability but he’s not the type you can race week in and week out,” said trainer James Ramsay.

Congratulations to Blair Orange, Jonny Cox, Mark Jones, Ricky May and Todd Mitchell who tipped out winners last week. The best result was Jonny Cox's tip Chal Fire, who romped in at odds of $5.50. This week is the biggest ring-around to date with a record 19 horsemen handing out their best chance, so we are hoping for plenty of winners!

Over the last few days, we've all remembered how special Anzac Day is to us and our friends across the Tasman. From a harness racing perspective, Christian Cullen has been taking us down memory lane himself – reminding us why he's one of the greatest stallions ever!

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