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John Dunn is hoping the return of two potential open class pacers will offset the loss of No Doctor Needed. No Doctor Needed, who ran ninth in the New Zealand Trotting Cup for Dunn's father Robert earlier this month, has been switched to the Steve Telfer and Chris Garlick barn in Papakura for his future racing. But providing they can stay sound, two replacements are waiting in the wings for the Dunn stable. Elios made a long awaited return at the North Canterbury workouts at Rangiora  Raceway on Wednesday in his first outing since failing badly in last season's Auckland Cup. A Group I winner in the 2014 Messenger when he beat the likes of Arden Rooney, Franco Nelson, Mossdale Conner and Besotted, Elios got so ill from a virus late last season there were no guarantees of him making it back to the races. Additional issues along the way have not helped his cause. Elios' first outing was more than satisfactory and the Dunns will be hopefully of a similar performance when Wesley Silcox makes his comeback from injury at Saturday's workouts at Pukekohe. A winner of 10 from 28 and more than $220,000 in stakes, Elios ran second to Bay Emerald by half a length in a 2:00.1 mile rate for the 2000m but made up late ground sharply from the back of the six horse field. In context, Bay Emerald has only won one from 36 but Dunn was happy to see the lightly raced 6-year-old get through the run safely. He said they would be looking after Elios in the short term and will let him guide them when he is ready to step back up. "I've said to the owners that we are not making any strong plans at this stage, we will just get through another couple of trials and see where we are at then." A winner of eight from 12, Wesley Silcox won his last three starts on the trot before pulling up lame with a tendon injury back in March. "He might not have been a horse that attracted a lot of hype but he always seemed to step up and get the job done," Dunn said. At this stage there are no plans for a race day return with Wesley Silcox. Mat Kermeen Reproduced with permission of Stuff NZ    -    Check site here

Leading into todays harness racing meeting at Addington, Ryal Bush trainer Nathan Williamson had some sleepless nights worrying about Statham and how he would perform on his first trip to Addington Raceway. Surprisingly beaten first up for the season at Rangiora last Thursday, Nathan immediately had a blood taken and the news was all bad. Not only was he tying up but he had an issue with stress. The Vet's prognosis was Statham could start today but only if he had a very quiet week with no hoppled work. Nathan was worried about what the vet told him. “He said he was stressed and I put that down to it being his first time away from home on his own.” “The tying up I can deal with easily but having to back off his training regime put me under stress as well,” Nathan said. Being a big gross type of horse, Statham needs plenty of work to keep him up to the mark and Nathan was unsure how he would go today off the back of such a soft week. Nathan didn't need to worry as Statham gave a sublime performance to reinforce his reputation as one of the most promising pacers in Southland. Three wide for the first 600 metres, Statham took the lead with 2000 metres to go and proceeded to run them off their feet. Come the finish Statham still had 1 ½ lengths to spare. What gave the performance more merit was Statham cut out the 2600 metres in 3:12.5, a mile rate of 1:59.1 with closing sectionals of 57.7 and 28.1. Nathan was a relieved man speaking to Harnesslink after the race. “ I thought he would be terribly short but his class got him through.” “He blew the house down after the race so it was a super effort to win like he did.” “ He would have only been 80% today so it was a great effort,” Nathan said. Statham is only lightly raced todate but he has shown enough already to suggest he has a very big future. Harnesslink Media  

The harness racing meeting at Rangiora on Thursday saw the debut of the four year gelding Star Fantasy for the old team of Benny Hill and Ricky May. The son of Gotta Go Cullect drew badly on the second line but was very well supported by the betting public off the back of a series of impressive trial runs in Canterbury. Three wide with cover for most of the last lap, Star Fantasy burst down the outside late to win narrowly without being knocked about by driver Ricky May. Developed in Southland by Nathan Williamson, Star Fantasy qualified for Nathan at Gore at the end of August. " I owned a part of him and I am in the process of developing new stables so he was for sale right from the start." "I always thought a bit of him and it doesn't surprise me he won first up" Nathan said. Ricky May was bullish about the chances of Star Fantasy before the race and predicted a bright future for him post race. " He is very green and has lots to learn so there is a lot of upside to him." " I didn't really ask him for too much in the straight as he was always going to win anyway." " Once he gets a bit of ringcraft, he could go a fair way," Ricky said. Trainer Benny Hill  was more than happy with Star Fantasy's first up effort " He has got a lot to learn but there is plenty to like about him." " He just needs to be taken quietly at this stage or you could undo all the good work." " Ricky is the perfect driver for a horse like this" " We will just see how he comes through this race first but we may head to Ashburton next week,"Benny said. In the process of rebuilding his team at the moment, Benny has several promising young horses in the pipeline that will be seen out at workouts and trials in the next few weeks. Harnesslink Media  

Templeton harness racing trainer Jim Curtin was very confident going into the C1 pace at Rangiora yesterday that his smart three year old Hickstead would be hard to beat. And so it proved with Hickstead going away well from the stand and working to the front after 200 metres. From there Jim controlled the tempo and when he asked the son of Mach Three to go as they turned for home, he quickly put daylight between him and the competition and cruised down to the line for an effortless victory. Jim has always had an opinion of Hickstead and with every subsequent run, Hickstead is showing why. " He is just getting better with each run." " His manners are super which is always a big plus and as he learns the racing game he just keeps improving," Jim said. Bought for $26,000 at the 2014 yearling sales, Hickstead impressed in a handful of starts at two and has stepped up again at three. " He is  a bit unusual for a Mach Three in that he is very laid back." " Most of the Mach Three's can get a bit hot but he is the exact opposite. " Nothing gets him too excited, he is so laid back" " I would rather have a horse that way than one who gets all stirred up," Jim said. Immediate plans for the horse have yet to be settled but he won't be joining the Curtin team on their annual pilgrimage to the West Coast at Christmas. " He would handle the grass as good as gold but he is a bit too smart to be taking to the Coast." " We will just look around for races closer to home for him," Jim said. With his great standing start manners and his continual improvement there are plenty of opportunities around Canterbury for Hickstead to build on his impressive record. Harnesslink Media 

It may have been a smallish crowd at today's harness racing meeting at Rangiora but you wouldn't have thought so by the noise generated on course during the last 200 metres of race 7, the C1-C3 trot over 2000 metres. Kowhai Whiz in the hands of Laura McKay had hit the front not long after straightening for home and Laura's support crew certainly cheered her home over the last bit. Laura, who works for Mark Jones was having only her third lifetime drive and showed real maturity for such a young and inexperienced driver to work forward over the last 800 metres and time her run to perfection. You couldn't get the smile off Laura's face post race. " I can't believe it has happened so quickly." " It is just such a great feeling to win a race, its hard to explain what it feels like." Laura has had a great grounding in harness racing having spent three years at Cran Dalgetys before spending eight months with Kerry Ann Turner in Sydney. On returning to New Zealand she hooked up with the Mark Jones barn. "I have been there for six or seven months and I can't thank Mark enough for having the confidence in me to put me up for the two drives today." "Hopefully I might get a few more drives after today," Laura said. One thing Laura will never be short of is advice. " My grandparents are Clive and Rona McKay and Justin Le Lievre is my step father so their is always plenty of advice on offer," Laura said. The patience and timing Laura showed today would suggest she has a lot more winners in front of her. Harnesslink Media

Injury plagued pacer Didjamakem Bolt has made a significant step towards a race day comeback after a workout at the harness racing workouts at Rangiora yesterday. The Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen trained pacer was charging through the grades in 2013, seemingly assured of making open class company, until a cannon bone fracture halted his rapid progress. No date has been set for a race day return yet, but his second in a heat at the Rangiora workouts on Wednesday is encouraging. The now 7-year-old Tinted Cloud gelding, who has a record of nine starts for six wins and a second, was devastating when sound. In seven starts in New Zealand Didjamakem Bolt won six and ran second in the other. In two starts across the Tasman he ran fourth and fifth. There was a brief comeback back in January when he won a trial over Border Control and Christen Me at Ashburton but he did not get back to the races as planned. Purdon was pleased with the opening hit out and said all going well Didjamakem Bolt would be back to the trials or workouts next week. All Stars stablemate Lazarus won the heat over 2000m by half a length. Lazarus is heading for the for the fifth and final heat of the Sires Stakes 3-year-old colts and geldings at Addington on October 23. The Bettor's Delight colt has not been to the races since winning the Harness Jewels as a 2-year-old but looks like he will be more than competitive in his 3-year-old campaign. There were no records broken when he paced the 2000m in 2-38.1, with a mile rate of 2-07.1 and closing sectionals of 58.4 and 27.9, but he lead off the mobile to the winning post easily enough. Last season's 3-year-old of the year Have Faith In Me had a quiet run in behind the field in his first public run since winning the Jewels. The four time Group I winner settled at the rear of the five strong field and jogged home in behind them under a tight hold. Trotting mare Petite One and 3-year-old pacing filly MacKenzie were also workout winners for the All Stars stable. Mat Kermeen Reproduced with permission of Stuff NZ     -     Check site here

Harness racing trainer David Butt is in no hurry to get Habibti back to the races. Butt, who co-trains the classy trotter with wife Catherine, has a tentative date of early October for a race day return but no specific target race and the duo are taking a patient approach.  A 6-year-old daughter of Love You, Habibti was out of action for seven months with a ligament injury suffered after her last race day start in the Group III Ashburton Trotters Flying Mile in October 2014. Habibti, a winner of 15 races from 35 starts, showed enough to suggest she would be challenging the likes of Stent, Sheemon and Master Lavros last season before her injury and, if she stays sound, Butt cannot see any reason why she would not be just as competitive this season. "I'm really happy with where she is at the moment," Butt said. Habibti ran second to Kincaslough, another Love You mare, in the feature trot at the Rangiora trials on Wednesday. Driven by co-trainer Aimee Edmonds, Kincaslough lead for all but the first couple of hundred metres to win by one and a half lengths, with a further length back to Harrysul. Butt was patient with Habibti, sitting three back on the pegs behind Xmas Joyella as Kincaslough extended to a two and a half length lead as the field rounded the final bend. Around the 200m mark, Butt asked Habibti to go and she did not disappoint. The horse never looked like catching Kincaslough but definitely made ground with a strong finishing burst. Kincaslough trotted the 2600m in 3:24.7 with a mile rate of 2:06.6 and closing sectionals of 59.3 and 29.5. Butt confirmed Habibti will return to Rangiora for the workouts next Wednesday as the husband and wife team will continue to monitor her progress. Habibti holds a nomination for the Group I Dominion Handicap but there will plenty of options later in the season. The former Derby winner already has more than $300,000 in the bank and with a recorded of five wins from seven starts in Australia, another trip across the Tasman looks to be a viable option. Mat Kermeen Reproduced with the permission of Stuff NZ  -  Check site here

Michael House is optimistic Franco Nelson is on right on track for November 10. The Christian Cullen 6-year-old made his first public appearance for House at the Rangiora trials on Wednesday since being transferred from the Robert Dunn stable. Franco Nelson is injury free after having surgery three months ago to remove a bone chip from a back leg and House is hoping he can go one better than his second behind Adore Me in the New Zealand Trotting Cup last year. After his heroics during Cup Week, when he also ran third in the Group I New Zealand free-for-all, Franco Nelson was plagued by issues. He has not won a race since using his blinding sprint to win the 4-year-old Emerald back in May 2014. Franco Nelson pinged away from the tapes at Rangiora and House was leading heading into the first bend despite his 30m handicap. "He's a very fast horse saved for one run, he's not a leader, but he started that good I didn't have a choice," House said. House kept him under a strong hold in the final 150m to finish fourth in a more than satisfactory return. "It's not ideal to have other horses run past you, but I wasn't going to knock him around in his first run back," he said. House was happy with the hit out and said Franco Nelson would return to the trials at Addington on Monday, but a comeback race had not yet been decided. "He's only about 80 per cent fit but there is plenty of time and I think we're in a good place," House said. Anthony Butt will return home from Victoria to drive Franco Nelson in the cup. Saveapatrol came up the passing lane after trailing Franco Nelson to beat a gutsy No Doctor Needed by a nose, with Tiger Tara flying home late for third a further length back. No Doctor Needed sat parked for most of the last half mile and was still making ground on Saveapatrol at the post. Saveapatrol paced the 2600m in 3-24.9 with a mile rate of 2-06.8 and closing sectionals of 55.5 and 26.9. Mat Kermeen Reproduced with the permission of Stuff NZ - Check site here  

The harness racing  meetings set down for Rangiora HRC on Sunday 4 October and Timaru HRC on 11 October have been swapped. The grandstand at Rangiora Racecourse is having maintenance undertaken to get it up to fire code standard. There is doubt that the maintenance will be completed by 4 October, in time for its scheduled meeting. It is certain however to be completed by the following Sunday (11th). To avoid any potential problems the two country meetings mentioned above are swapping. The programmes for each meeting will stay with the respective dates as they are designed to complement the Friday night Addington meetings of that week. For up-to-date and revised Programme information visit Stacey Markham

Leading harness racing trainer Cran Dalgety is never without some sire stakes contenders in his barn and tonight at Addington he lines up a three year old who looks a sire stakes horse in the making. Linton Shard is a big upstanding son of Changeover who is a half brother to both Smiling Shard 1:53.7 ($1,178,793) and Pemberton Shard 1:55.2 ($229.578) while his dam Sly Shard (4 wins) is a half sister to Sly Flyin 1:53.6 ($911,689) so he lacks nothing on the score of breeding. First produced in January - February of this year, Linton Shard raced and was competitive with Waikiki Beach and Chase The Dream at trials and workouts around Canterbury but looked the type that needed time and he was put aside and given a good break. Reappearing in mid July, Linton Shard impressed with an effortless win at the Rangiora workouts ten days ago, running home in 58 flat without being seriously asked. Tonight he faces a nice field of maidens with several handy runners but drawn at barrier two, Linton Shard should really be winning this if he has any sires stakes aspirations. Trainer Cran Dalgety has a bit of time for Linton Shard. " He did really well to qualify in the time he did back in February but he needed another six months to fill out into his frame." " He's come up really good and won at the workouts for "Red" last week so we'll have a go." " A race over 1950 metres might have been better for him first up but this was the only race for him," Cran said. Whatever he does tonight, it may pay to follow Linton Shard in his next few assignments as he looks a horse with a lot of upside. Harnesslink Media  

One of harness racing's most promising partnerships is on the verge of reaching two significant milestones. Ken Barron and Blair Orange's first season together has been full of highlights and Change Time's victory in Sunday's Winter Cup was another exclamation mark on a season that has shattered all expectations.  With the Barron-trained Livura a winner earlier in the day at the Rangiora Harness Racing Club's meeting, the Barron-Orange combination scored a winning double. Orange now heads into Forbury Park's meeting on Thursday with 98 wins for the season. He went past the 100 mark for the first time last season with 106 winners. With Addington on Friday night and Timaru on Sunday, Orange is a strong chance to reach the century by the end of the weekend if not sooner. Barron's two winners on Sunday have taken him to 49 training wins for the season. Despite going close on a couple of occasions, on his own and in partnership with John Lischner, Barron has never reached 50 wins in a season but the West Melton trainer is certain to break the milestone before the current one is out. Orange credits getting an economical trip as the difference for Change Time who upset the field to win the Winter Cup at a $17 quote. "Finding the trail was definitely the key," Orange said. Change Time's form line was nothing to get excited about going into the Winter Cup but she has come out of the four-year-old Diamond at the Harness Jewels and some quality fields when racing in Auckland. "Last start she had to sit parked and was found wanting a bit, but she's always been better with a sit," Orange said. Change Time's win was Orange's second Winter Cup in as many weeks after he won the Marlborough version last week with Lilac Desire. The Christian Cullen mare picked up her seventh career at Rangiora but her racing days are numbered. A four-year-old mare out of Chaangerr, Change Time will head to Australia at the end of the season to be retired to the broodmare paddock. Orange will always have fond memories of the mare that brought him his 1000th driving win with her victory at Addington back in January. Talented three-year-old Bracken Ridge is another leaving the Barron stable after being sold to Perth but Orange said there was still plenty of talent in Barron's stable. Gerard O'Reilly, Ricky May and Robbie Close also drove winning doubles at the Rangiora meeting. Woodend Beach trainers Greg and Nina Hope continued their standout season with three winners in the last three races of the day. The husband and wife partnership now have 66 winners for the season, just one shy of their best of 67 in 2013. Meanwhile, Dexter Dunn brought up his 200th win of the season at Forbury Park on Friday night. Dunn started the night on 196 winners and brought up the double century with his fourth win of the night with Give Me Strength. It is the fourth time he has gone past 200 winners in a season but in 2012 and 2013 he was finished on 199. By Mat Kermeen Reprinted with permission

Last Sunday saw the first two heats of the harness racing NZ Amateur Drivers Championships of 2015 held at the Rangiora Raceway with full fields of 12 runners in each heat. Thankfully, giving the Aucklanders taking part in the races no cause to moan about the cold, the day dawned a glorious example of Canterbury Autumn weather, and the scene was set for some competitive racing. And that is just what we saw. The first heat, over 2000 metres was a very even betting affair, with no horse standing out on the tote and some good value to be had. One of those slightly over the odds was Mark McNamara’s horse up from the Tony Barron barn, Heretic Franco. It seems that many thought that the big mares’ ‘scorched earth’ tactics that resulted in her recent Forbury win wouldn’t be repeated, but driven perfectly to instructions, Richard Sissons let the daughter of Lis Mara roll, and at the 400 metre mark, she looked home. However, Little Lion Man, under the guidance of Danny Blakemore slowly ate into her lead up the passing lane and actually hit the front short of the post. Not to be denied though, Richard extracted another ounce of energy from his charge and she fought back bravely to take the decision in an exciting finish. The second heat also provided a stirring finish with the two favourites fighting out a nose finish, well clear of the opposition. Daniel Reardon and Gavin Cook kept their favoured charges back off the pace while there was a spirited contest for the lead over the first 1000 metres, and then they swept up together and took over. Turning for home Daniel on Bandana led Gavin Cook on Take After Me, and after another exciting battle up the straight, just clung on for a narrow victory. All in all, two contests worthy of their Championship status. Thanks to the generosity of the Rangiora HRC, drivers and connections of the horses involved we were then treated to a superb lunch and refreshments in a private area to renew friendships, relive their experiences, and look forward to the second round of the Championships, to be staged at Alexandra Park on Sunday 3 May. The current standings on the New Zealand Championships Points Table is as follows: Daniel Reardon 20 Gavin Cook    19 Steve Phillips    18 John McDermott    16 Alan Edge        15 Danny Blakemore    15 Richard Sissons    15 Jeff Darby    13 Gerry Cronin    12 Sue Blake    8 John Kriechbaumer    5 James Brownlee    2 Pete Cook

The All Stars Harness Racing Stables juggernaut is really hitting top gear this week with horses racing in Group  races on both sides of the Tasman.   Over the course of Thursday through Sunday, Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen will line up 23 horses at five race meetings from Addington to Menangle and most of those runners have a big winning chance.   Most interest will centre on Our Waikiki Beach in the A$322,000 Australian Pacing Gold Final at Menangle on Sunday where after drawing barrier one and the withdrawal through injury of his biggest danger in Goodtime Sammy, Our Waikiki Beach looks incredibly hard to beat.   On the same programme the All Stars barn has the rejuvenated pacer Our Smolda lining up in the Len Smith mile and while Beautide is a deserving favourite, Smolda will test him in his present form.   At Tabcorp Park Melton on Friday night, the All Stars barn has two runners and both are big winning chances.   The smart two year old filly MacKenzie goes round in the $30,000 semi finals of the Australian Pacing Gold while the outstanding three year old colt Follow The Stars goes around in the $25,000 Caduceus Club Cup.   On the other side of the Tasman, the All Stars barn is represented at three meetings in New Zealand with runners in all of the big races.   At Addington on Thursday night the top two year old Chase The Dream lines up in a $25,000 heat of the New Zealand Sires Stakes which is notable for the New Zealand debut of the very smart Shane Tritton trained Salty Robyn.   Later on in the evening on Thursday night the All Stars barn is lining up Fight For Glory, Classical Art, Supersonic Miss and Linda Lovegrace in a heat of the Nevele R Fillies series and with those four top fillies involved they should dominate the race.   At Alexandra Park on Friday night, the All Stars barn have ten runners involved starting with Prince Fearless and Arya in the $80,000 Great Northern Trotting Derby in which for once the All Stars duo are probably only running for place money against Speeding Spur and Monbet.   The All Stars barn has four runners in the $150,000 Sires Stakes final for two year old fillies and three of them look big winning chances.   The unbeaten half sister to Christen Me in Dream About Me looks very hard to beat but her stiffest competition is likely to come from her stablemates Arden's Choice and Northern Velocity.   In the $100,000 New Zealand Messenger, the All Stars barn has two runners who are both big winning chances in Border Control and Isaiah.   That is followed by King Denny in the $150,000 Rowe Cup in which he looks to be a good each way chance and then in the last race of the night they have Willow, who on last weeks winning run would look a good thing in this race.   On Sunday the All Star barn have four runners in Petite One, Kept Under Wraps, Light Fingered and The Manipulator in grade races and going by their last start efforts, all four would be big winning chances.   Looking at that list of starters over five meetings in two countries with a lot of the races carrying Group status is just another reminder if one was needed of what an outstanding training partnership Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen are.   Harnesslink Media  

The NZ Championship for Amateur Drivers commences on Sunday at Rangiora and a young harness racing driver that has drawn the horseflesh to be to the fore is Daniel Reardon. Describing Reardon as young may seem strange when he is thirty eight but amongst the twelve drivers seeking the title he is the baby of the pack. His relative youth by Amateur standards hides a life that has been busy with harness racing driving and training opportunities. When even more youthful he learnt his craft working for Brian Kerr and then Mark Purdon. He is now engaged in training a team of eight horses between juggling shift-work out at Christchurch airport. Originally licensed as a junior driver for seven years prior to 2002 his efforts yielded two wins from seventy nine drives in that time. Frustrated with the lack of driving opportunities he moved into the role of part-time trainer. With the advent of a more regular schedule of Amateur tote races Reardon seized the opportunity to return to what he really loved doing. In his first season back he has already snared two wins behind Franco Tyrone and is now looking forward enthusiastically to the finals series. “I’m really loving being back into the driving” stated Reardon when asked recently, “To be involved in the NZ champs is a dream come true, Amateur racing has really lifted the enjoyment I am getting out of the sport”. “As a trainer it has also helped me with the placement of horses in suitable races which is great for my owners” observed Reardon when considering his involvement in the amateur side of harness racing. With the drivers being allocated randomly a certain amount good fortune is required at the draw. Reardon is well placed after drawing last week’s impressive winner at Banks Peninsula in Bandana from the powerful Hope barn. His second drive Firebreak may lack an impressive form line but when in the right mood is capable of keeping Daniels points tally ticking over from his good draw. A couple of older drivers who are set to make the challenge of becoming the champion even harder for Reardon are Steve Phillips and Gavin Cook. Phillips has drawn two last start winners, one who was particularly impressive is the Bruce Negus trained Highland Reign. Whilst Cook has drawn one of his own team, the in-form Seelster which he backs up with the promising Take After Me in the next heat. Both drivers have vast experience in these types of competitions at both the local and international level so they present a formidable challenge for Reardon to overcome.   But it is a challenge for which the younger Reardon is well equipped for and he is clearly excited to tackle. The four race series concludes with two heats at the Thames TC meeting on 3rd May at Alexandra Park.  Gavin Cook

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  

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