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Every week we ring over 20 of the leading drivers and trainers in New Zealand for their best drive or starter over the weekend. This week has already been very profitable for followers of the ringaround with Brendon McLellan already nailing Repeat After Me at odds of nearly 14 to 1 at Winton yesterday. Todays selections were a bit more conservative except for North Canterbury trainer Robbie Holmes who was very keen on the chances of Bridget Blue Chip in race 5 today at  the Amberley Trotting Clubs meeting at Rangiora. Punters couldn't have her after three unplaced runs and sent her out the eighth favourite in the fourteen horse field. Away well from barrier two today in the 1950 metres mobile, Robbie settled Bridget Blue Chip three back in the running line and she remained there until 900 metres from home where she hopped on to the three wide train on the back of Mighty Empire. Caught three wide in the open from the 700 metres mark, Bridget Blue Chip looked to be battling on the corner but just kept finding in the straight and grabbed a game Mighty Empire right on the line for a great win. The three year old daughter of Santana Blue Chip paced the 1950 metres on the grass in a smart 2:29, a mile rate of 2:02.9. Robbie was all smiles as he ungeared Bridget Blue Chip after the race. " This filly had been unlucky a couple of times and I knew she was a lot better than her form suggested." " She was pretty flat on the corner but just kept finding in the straight. " It was a pretty gutsy performance," Robbie said. Robbie has liked the filly for a while and wasn't  surprised by her run today. "She is such a lovely gaited filly and a pleasure to do anything with. " She is from an In The Pocket daughter of Kates First 1:54.4 ($624,023) so she lacks nothing on the score of breeding." " I don't want to get carried away so I think we will just stick to grade racing at present and not rush her at this point," Robbie said. Followers of the Harnesslink ringaround would have been smiling to themselves today when the win dividend of $23.20 was posted and those same followers would have known that Robbie has been on a roll recently with todays winner his third winning tip in a row. Harnesslink Media  

Harness racing is all about timing in a lot of cases with a lot of young drivers getting their big break by being in the right place at the right time. Loren Lester has being wondering for the last few months weather she had got her timing right with her move to the Colin and Julie Defilippi barn last June. It was more of a swap as Sam Ottley moved from the Defilippi barn to Robert Dunn's as she attempted to win the junior driver title and Loren went from the Dunn barn to the Defilippi barn to cover her move. That temporary move has now become permanent for both of the lady drivers and Sam has been on a real roll at Robert Dunn's winning 22 races prior to today. Loren on the other hand has struggled for drives with Colin and Julie running a much smaller stable, having only faced the starter six times prior to today but snared the drive on Millicent with Colin in Melbourne with Stent. The daughter of Monkey Bones was away well today and  Loren took her to an early lead before handing up to Nigel McGrath on the well supported Cyclone Jeter after 500 metres and getting a lovely trail from there.  Cyclone Jeter was still in front as they turned for home where Loren took full advantage of the passing lane with Millicent to dash away for an easy 2 1/4 length victory. Loren has certainly done the hard yards having been working in the harness racing industry since she left school. " I spent three years at Gavin Smiths when I left school and then moved around a bit before settling at Robert Dunn's." " The move to Colin and Julies has been good for me and they are great to work for." " It has been a real learning experience" "I'm glad I made the move and am really enjoying it," Loren said. In her third year as a junior, todays win was the second for Loren. " It was about time to be honest." " It has taken a bit longer than I thought it would." "The other winner I drove, Macy Supreme was here at Rangiora as well," Loren said. In her only other drive today Loren finished a close up fourth on Ygritte in the maiden trot  All a lot of the young junior drivers need is the opportunity to show their skills and Loren certainly took her opportunity today with a very polished display behind Millicent. Harnesslink Media  

The harness racing workouts at Rangiora today (January 28th) featured 20 heats but most interest was centred around the six two year old heats. There were plenty of well bred youngsters on display and some budding stars put their hands up today. We thought we would comment on all the juveniles that impressed us in their heats and as has become common in the last few seasons, most of those were runners belonging to the All Stars Stable. Chase The Dream - Straight to the front and gave nothing a look in in taking out his 2000 metres heat in 2:30.5, a mile rate of 2:01 with closing sectionals of 57.9 and 28.5 Seemed to do it with a fair bit in reserve and backed up his impressive trial win at Ashburton last week. Obvious contender for feature races coming up in the next few weeks. Waikiki Beach - Settled well back in the running,but made ground impressively late to run second to Chase The Dream, beaten two lengths. Ran through the line and seems to have a fair bit of bottom to him. One or two look better at the moment but he is the type to keep getting better with trials/racing. Major Ben - Settled midfield on the inner before breezing from the 600 and was holding his stablemate Motu Premier the last 50 metres after giving him the drag home. He cut the 2000 metres out in 2:29.5, the fastest time of the day, a mile rate of 2:00.2 with closing sectionals of 57.7 and 28.6. It was another impressive display after his 1:57.6 mile at the Ashburton trials last week. A big son of Art Major, Major Ben has all the attributes you look for in a top two year old and he looks to have a big future.  Linton Shard - Nice run for third this week after a handy workout win last week and the Changeover half brother to Smiling Shard 1:53.7 ($1,178,793) and Pemberton Shard 1:55.8 ($187,997) continues to impress. The addition of Dexter in the bike should make him competitive. Motu Premier - Ran his stablemate Major Ben to a head but did have the drag home on his back. Showed real improvement on his third at last weeks Ashburton trials and further improvement on today's effort will make him competitive where ever he starts. Mastercraftsman - Having his first run away from home, the son of Bettors Delight was very impressive storming home late to grab Ice Crusher. Cut out the 2000 metres in 2:30.9, a mile rate of 2:01.3 with closing sectionals of 58.1 and 29.3. Will definitely improve of his first run which makes him a major player anywhere he goes. Ice Crusher - Went good last week at the workouts but better again this week and has all the ringcraft to make a two year old. Looks a touch off a few mentioned here but manners and ringcraft will take him a long way. Dream About Me - The three quarter sister to champion mare Adore Me was very impressive finishing quickly late for the win. She paced the 2000 metres in 2:33..2, a mile rate of 2:03.2 with closing sectionals of 58.6 and 28.3 This was her first run back after a couple of unplaced trial runs in November and there is a lot of upside in this filly. Emeli Maguire - This daughter of Rocknroll Hanover is a half sister to the brilliant Lizzie Maguire 1:55.1 ($477,366). A winner and placed at her two previous trials last October/November, Emeli Maguire has come back  really well and looks a filly with a big future. Northern Velocity - Didn't run time today but very impressive performance. Last at the 800 metres, she worked forward from there and was too strong in the straight.   Has had plenty of practice to date and looks to have plenty of upside. Arden's Choice - Again she didn't run time but very impressive closing 800 metres of 57.2 shows she is a two year old of real potential A half sister to such standouts as Bettors Strike 1:55.7 ($890,201) Rocknroll Arden 1:54.8 ($172,154) and  Southwind Arden 1:58.4 ($150,127) means she has the breeding to match her ability. Also has the ringcraft to go with her ability Mackenzie - Big powerful filly who really made ground stylishly the last bit to push Arden's Choice. Coming off the back of a very impressive win last week at Ashburton, Mackenzie looks like a filly that can do a lot of work and still finish off her races. Mackenzie is by Rocknroll Heaven from the champion Australian racemare Kept For Pleasure 1:56 ($542,343) so she lacks nothing in the breeding department. The best Rocknroll Heavens to date have all been fillies so she ticks all the boxes. Harnesslink Media

Every now and again when you are out and about at the harness racing trials around Canterbury you come across a horse with " potential star" written all over them. So it was yesterday at the Rangiora workouts when Robbie Holmes produced a very smart three year old in Kiwi Legend who gave his opposition windburn as he went past them in his maiden heat. Held in very high regard by Robbie, Kiwi Legend has all the hallmarks of a top class horse with breeding to match his ability. He is a son of the champion sire Art Major from the very smart racemare Kiwi's Can Fly who recorded four wins and two placings from just seven starts in a career restricted by injury. Kiwis Can Fly was a half sister to the champion racemare Kiwi Ingenuity 1:52.1 ($491,821) who was also raced by Kiwi Legend's breeders Put through the yearling sales at Christchurch, Kiwi Legend was brought home by his breeder Hamish Scott when he only made $25,000 and syndicated which has turned out to be a very astute decision. Given time to fill out into his generous frame,  Kiwi Legend is now ready to let the rest of us see what Robbie has known for a while as he builds towards his career debut on Saturday week. " He is a lovely horse to do anything with and he has such a great attitude" "We have waited for him to fill out and mature but I think we will rewarded in the long term for our patience," Robbie told Harnesslink last night. Yesterday was the first time that Robbie had asked Kiwi Legend to seriously stretch out in his workouts and trials to date. " His race debut is fast approaching so he needed to do a bit more yesterday with a view to Saturday week." "He has really high speed and can sustain that speed from a long way out," Robbie  said. The immediate aim for Kiwi Legend is to qualify for the Southern Supremacy Final in April but Robbie has not given up hope of  a Derby start. " We nominated him for the Derby and he will tell us over the next few weeks if we are being realistic or not." " I am pretty confident that he will measure up," Robbie said. This season's crop of three year olds has been notable for the number of talented horses racing and Kiwi Legend looks set to add to that depth in the next few weeks.  Harnesslink Media

The emerging star of New Zealand harness racing has had a change of plans after an ordinary trial at Rangiora on Monday, Dalton Bromac has been in stunning form over the last few months with several outstanding wins against quality opposition. His win over 2200 metres at Auckland on December 19th in a 1:54.2 mile rate which broke the New Zealand record for the distance by 2.1 seconds had a lot of experienced pundits labeling Dalton Bromac as the most promising horse in the country. Trainer Benny Hill was aiming Dalton Bromac at the Pelorus Classic next weekend in an attempt to secure the invite to the Chariots Of Fire which goes to the winner of the race. Taken to the Rangiora trials in preparation for that race, Dalton Bromac won but not in a style that pleased his trainer. Even though he cut out the 2000 metres in a 1:58.8 mile rate, Benny was not impressed " I wasn't happy at all with how he trialed on Monday." " He wasn't himself and I think he was trying to tell me he needs a wee break, " Benny said. Dalton Bromac was being aimed at the Chariots Of Fire but all that went by the way after Monday's trial and after a brief letup Benny has mapped out a new programme for the son of Major In Art. " Now that we are not going to Australia I am going to set him for the Taylor Mile and the Messenger at Auckland in late April," Benny said. Dalton Bromac has come a long way in a very short time and being looked after at this stage of his career should ensure that he fulfills his huge potential. Harnesslink Media  

Overport Lodge trainer Mark Jones kept the wins ticking over for owner Kypros Kotzikas with a winning double earlier this week to end the 2014 racing year. He scored narrow wins behind close relatives, Charming Lavra, at Motukarara on Monday, December 29, and with Astrapi, at Rangiora on New Year’s Eve. Charming Lavra, first-up since last racing in June, stepped well from the outside of the front row and trailed up three back on the outer in the Phil Murfitt Orthodontist Trot. Mark switched her three wide with cover behind Native’s Brite Gem at the 600m and she unwound well wide out to just head off Tehoro Ruby (trail) and front-runner Need Success. She trotted the 2180m from a stand in 2:57.6, a mile rate of 2:11.6, with the leaders last 800m in 62.8s. Charming Lavra, a 3YO daughter of CR Commando, is the first foal from Lavra Miriam (1:57.4, four wins), an Earl half-sister to 2006 Melbourne Interdominion Trot Final winner Delft (1:53, US), Top Notch Lavros (five wins), Lavros The Great (one), Honky Tonk Hero (one) and Astrapi (now four wins from 27 starts). She only raced four times at two, picking up a third and a fourth against the older maiden trotters, before being spelled. Charming Lavra is raced by Kypros Kotzikas with partner Jane Campbell. Mr Kotzikas’s white and blue Lavros Lodge colours were to the fore again a couple of days later at Rangiora when Astrapi held Kowhai Whiz by a nose in the Bob Butt Sponsored by ‘The Yaldy’ Mobile Trot. Mark found a good trailing spot on the outer for Astrapi, with Kowhai Whiz (Glenys Chmiel) tracking their every move. The pair knuckled down to it over the final 30m with Astrapi, the 5YO gelded son of Sundon and Miriam, just lasting in a useful 2:32.3 for the mobile 2000m. His time, however, didn’t threaten Just A Cracker’s Rangiora track mark for trotters over the trip of 2:29.2, set four years ago. Courtesy of Jeff Scott - Mark Jones Racing Stables  -  Check site here  

A minor training setback didn’t stop the strong summer form of Perissa, who came up with a career best run time-wise, to win a C1 pace at Rangiora on December 31, 2014, in the hands of trainer-driver Mark Jones. The 5YO Art Major-Riwaka Star mare made the most of the conditions at Rangiora to take out the Stevie Golding Sponsored by ‘The Yaldy’ Mobile Pace in a smart 2:24.8 (1:56.4 mile rate) for the mobile 2000m. Her time was the fastest recorded of any winner at the Rangiora Raceway. She lowered the mares mark, formerly held by Lulli Midfrew, at 2:25.2, set in 2013, and was also 0.1 of a second inside the 3YO fillies mark set by Spirit Of Art (also a NZ age group mark for a filly) at Rangiora on April 28, 2013. Perissa has been a model of consistency in four starts since joining the Overport Lodge stables of Mark Jones, now racking up two wins and two seconds. She pressed forward from the six gate to the front at the 1300m and kept going strongly to hold by three-quarters of a length from Flying Heather, Donegal Jimmy Dave and favourite Cullen Keefe. Her overall record now stands at three wins and six placings from 31 starts for $26,646 for breeder-owners, Steve and Maureen O’Brien. Steve O’Brien had good success himself as a trainer in the late 1980s with a Smooth Fella mare in Cool Charm Girl, who won 11 in NZ and took a 1:53.6 mile mark in North America. Now retired, he also trained useful mares in recent times in Lets Talk Art  (six wins) and her dam Natural Talker (five wins), while he drove Perissa to her maiden win (30-to-one) at Addington in June 2013. Perissa is the last foal from Riwaka Star, an In The Pocket mare from Tabella Ace, a Splapstick mare who won three from 19 starts for Roy and Barry Purdon in the late 1980s. Riwaka Star, who recorded five placings from just 10 starts, including a third to Happy Golucky and Impish in the 1999 G2 Nevele R Stud Stakes, is a half-sister to a Group One winning filly in Slaps (2:00.2, Aust, 22 wins & $A142,344 including the 1993 South Australian Oaks). She is also a sister to Riwaka Rocket (1:56, Aust, 28 wins & $119,227), and a half-sister to another useful Australian winner in Riwaka Vance (1:57.6, Aust, 15 wins & $A114,499), and the NZ winner Kaipara Rocket (four wins). Courtesy Of Jeff Scott - Mark Jones Harness Racing Stables   Check site here  

Canterbury harness racing trainer Steve Dolan has been going through a bit of a quiet patch lately by his own high standards but a couple of recent acquisitions to the stable look capable of turning that around. The Badlands Hanover gelding Cimarron had his first start for the stable yesterday at Motukarara and didn't disappoint with a nice run for a close up second to the smart Big Texas and it was a run that suggested that he won't be a maiden for long. Steve brought the horse for a syndicate of a dozen people as a low cost entry into harness racing for the group. " He was a cheapie I brought for a syndicate of new owners to let them experience the thrill of racing a horse." "He is no star but he will pick up a race or two and hopefully convert a few of the new owners into long term owners," Steve told Harnesslink today. Cimarron is from the Astreos mare Samantha B who is a half sister to the smart Blackjacky ($54,104) while the grand dam Rare Vintage is a half sister to the former outstanding pacer Impressionist 1:57.9 ($427,005)  The other recent purchase for stable clients was the 4 year old Man Around Town gelding Nui Toc Tien who after an unlucky third at Addington first up for the stable had won his next start with a fair degree of authority at Rangiora last week. That win qualified Nui Toc Tien for the $12,000 Wakefield and Williams Grass Track Championship final at Motukarara yesterday but he had the misfortune to draw the outside of the second row for the mobile 2000 metres race. Driver Dexter Dunn sent him forward early and he worked to the front at the 1200 metres mark. Although hotly challenged early in the run home, Nui Toc Tien really dug deep  when Dexter asked him and he went strongly to the line for another authorative victory. Purchased off breeder/trainer Neil Ure after a smart run for second at Ashburton during Cup Week, Steve thinks that Nui Toc Tien has a bright future. " He was recommended to one of my owners Mark Wooton by Mitchell Kerr as a horse with a future." "We purchased him off Neil Ure and he had done a great job with him and it was a pleasure to buy such a well educated and conditioned horse." "He is a lovely type with both a great gait and speed and has a super attitude as well" "Dexter really likes him and said his win yesterday was a lot easier than it looked," Steve said. Steve has decided a short break of three weeks is in order now and then he will map out a programme for Nui Toc Tien. "I think he has a big future and could go a wee way," Steve said. Although you wouldn't call Nui Toc Tien a "blue blood" being by Man Around Town from a Falcon's Icon mare, his maternal family is littered with outstanding horses. Champion racemares in Arania and Hurrania are close up in his maternal line and his dam Nui Thi Vai is closely related to such smart types as Smooth Trickster 1:54.3 ($156,874), Pulse 1:50 ($196,551) and Glenroydon 1:51.3 ($119,791) to mention just a few. Steve Dolan has developed a reputation as an astute trainer with an eye for a promising horse and his two recent purchases have only further built on that reputation. Harnesslink Media   

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

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