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There is nowhere Nicky Chilcott would rather be than the West Coast this weekend.  Because while there is a premier meeting at Alexandra Park on Friday night,  Chilcott says the two Team Teal Lady Drivers Challenge races starting at Westport on Friday mean more to her.  And for a very personal reason.  Chilcott is one of the three ambassadors who have helped fly the teal flag during the Teal Pants campaign, which has been running in harness racing since February 1 and raise funds for the fight against Ovarian cancer.  With $400 being donated every time a female drivers wearing the teal pants wins a New Zealand race, $24,000 has already been raised with a goal of $30,000 by Sunday’s end of the campaign.  The fundraising has been widely embraced by the harness racing industry but finishes with a high this weekend with female-drivers only races in which all drivers will wear the teal pants at both Westport and Reefton.  And Chilcott wouldn’t miss it for the world.  “My mother (Lyn) is a cervical cancer survivor so it is a subject very close to my heart,” says Chilcott.  “So I am proud to go down there and drive alongside all the other women.  “I’ll be honest, we are a bit short of staff at the moment and it is a tricky time to be away but this is more important than that. I wish I could have done more to help.” Then with her trademark cheeky chuckle Chilcott admits to a small bonus to her West Coast trip.  “I think I have driven at most of the tracks around the country but never Westport or Reefton so that will be a great experience.  “That and all the people you meet. I find that any time you travel you meet new people make new contacts.  “So to do all that, with the other female drivers and for such a great cause it is going to be a special weekend.” The Westport club will double the usual club donation of $100 per Teal pants win at their meeting to $200 and every race will have a punters club draw where the winner gets two $50 bets, one for themselves and one for the campaign. Reefton will end the campaign with a blaze of teal on Sunday with any patron who wears teal going into the draw to win $1500 worth of prizes. Michael Guerin

The Westport and Reefton Trotting Clubs will each be holding a Ladies only race in support of Team Teal at their March meetings. We encourage trainers to support this race as part of the Teal Pants Campaign which finishes on the 10th March at Reefton. Please see the conditions for both races below.   Westport 8th March and Reefton 10th March.   6 - 4YO & OLDER R40 TO R55 MOBILE PACE INV.DRV              Distance: 2600m 'TEAM TEAL' LADY DRIVERS CHALLENGE. Of $9000 ($5000, $1200, $650, $350, others $180). For R40 to R55 4yo-&-older pacers. This race is for Invited Lady Drivers only. Rating Penalty Free Race. ­For more information see Special Condition 4. PLEASE NOTE: any Nomination for this race must be accompanied by one of the eligible Lady Drivers included in Special Condition 4.­   Special Condition… 4. TEAM TEAL LADY DRIVERS' CHALLENGE:  Race 6 on this Programme is a Rating Penalty Free Invited Lady Drivers Race. A horse's Nomination for this race must be accompanied by notification of a Lady Driver. The following list are drivers that have declared themselves available to be invited to drive in these races: Nicky Chilcott (Team Teal Ambassador) Ellie Barron (Team Teal Ambassador) Samantha Ottley (Team Teal Ambassador) Ashleigh Stewart Hayley Clarke Sarah O'Reilly Amanda Tomlinson Kerryn Tomlinson Sheree Tomlinson Kendra Gill Kimberly Butt Jessica Young Loren Lester Oliva Thornley Mikayla Lewis Maria Perriton If any other lady drivers are intending on driving in these races please let Courtney at Harness Racing New Zealand know so you can be added to the above list of drivers that are able to drive in the ladies races. If your name is not on the list you will not be eligible to drive in the ladies races. Courtney Clarke - courtney@hrnz.co.nz or 027 636 4355   HRNZ Marketing

Trackside Coverage - 5 March – 11 March (please note the following is subject to change) Wednesday Cambridge (TS2) 8.30pm The Box Seat (TS1) – on the show this week The Auckland Carnival is in full swing - we check out the winners from Friday and some potentials for this week. Plus we also recognise some significant Harness racing milestones.  Thursday 6am In The Gig (TS1) Forbury (TS1) Friday Westport (TS1) Alexandra Park (TS1) Saturday Invercargill (TS2) Sunday Reefton (TS1)   Cambridge – Wednesday 7 March An eight race card starting at 5.31pm. Entry to the course is free.   Forbury Park TC – Thursday 8 March An 11 race card featuring a $25,000 Pick Six. First race starts at 5.27pm. Entry is free and there are multiple dining options available at the Forbury Park Sports Bar and Bistro oncourse.   Westport TC – Friday 9 March Following the recent Cyclones Fehi and Gita the Westport Trotting Club are thrilled to announce that their racing surface for their meeting on Friday 9 March has bounced back in great order. Following Cyclone Fehi, which hit the West Coast hard in early February, the track was inundated with sea water from a large surge caused by the storm. “It wasn’t the rain so much that hurt us there,” said Club President Dan Moloney. “But the wind that caused the surge and brought sea water on to the racing surface and grounds.” The sea water caused damage to the grass, with a patchy surface appearing after the water subsided. But Moloney was quick to praise the Club’s members and the swift efforts involved to resurrect the track.  “We applied gypsum and ammonium sulfate and are amazed at how well the track has recovered. We are pleased that we are going to have a very good racing surface next week.” “Luckily following Gita we only had a tree fall at the racecourse. But no actual damage to the racing surface itself.” The Club is looking forward to welcoming racing connections back to Patterson Park, and there is one regular in particular that will take sentimental focus. “We understand that Margo Nyhan and Peter Davis will bring Sarah Palin here as part of her farewell tour,” said Moloney. “Sarah Palin her first two races here during March meetings in her career, and we are thrilled that she will be here for one last Westport appearance.” Sarah Palin is in foal and is currently on a ‘farewell tour’ as dubbed by her connections. She recently won her tenth career race, and has remarkably placed a further fifty times during her career. Entry to the course is free, and there will be a BBQ and live music after the last with two TAB windows remaining open for those who wish to wager on the Auckland meeting.    Friday 9th March Premier Night Derby Night For the lovers of the harness-racing action, The Top of the Park and the Tasman will be open with deluxe Derby Night packages and a fantastic view. Derby Night at the Top of the Park and the Tasman Room | Packages Include: · Delicious gourmet buffet dinner · Premium Beverage Package OR Cash Bar · Private betting facilities within the room · Race book for each guest Prices from $60- $120.00 Book online at https://www.alexandrapark.co.nz/ or e-mail dining@alexandrapark.nz   Northern Southland – Saturday 10 March It will be quite a day at the Northern Southland Trotting Club meeting at Ascot Park Raceway in Invercargill on Saturday. The meeting features three Group 3 races, the Yaldhurst Hotel Northern Southland Cup, the Prydes Easi-Feeds Southern Lights Handicap Trot and the Alabar NZ / Caduceus Club Of Southland 2yo Fillies Mobile Pace. In addition the programme also includes the Haras des Trotteurs Southland Trotting Oaks and the Caduceus Club Of Southland Super Nugget Final. As well as some premier racing the day will also bring to a conclusion the Northern Southland Trotting Club’s season long competition. One more lucky winner will be found on Saturday from a draw of all losing tote tickets and they will join Brian Pitcher and Isla Palmer, winners at the club’s earlier meetings, in the final draw to win one of three great prizes. The major prize is a trip to the Easter Cup at Addington on Saturday 31 March courtesy of the Yaldhurst Hotel, second a trip for two to Stewart Island with airfares, accommodation and breakfast courtesy of Stewart Island Flights while the third placegetter will receive a two night stay at the Distinction Luxmore Hotel in Te Anau.  Owners are welcome to join the club in the Alabar NZ Owners Room on the day.   The first race is timed to start at 12.00 noon and admission is free.   Reefton Trotting Club – Sunday 11 March Entry is free to this meeting and will see the very last race meeting for Team Teal 2018 in New Zealand. Wear teal and go into the draw to win great prizes oncourse on the day!   Addington Raceway & Events Centre March Racemeetings There is great racing at Addington over the next few weeks with over $500,000 in Stakes up for grabs.  We would love to host you.  Please see below some fabulous dining options for you to consider. Friday 16 March – Mediaworks Race Night Four-Star Race Meeting Friday 23 March – 5-Star Race Meeting Easter Saturday 31 March – 4-Star Race Meeting   Trackside Dining Options Are you needing to entertain clients or organize staff functions? Add a unique Trackside Dining Experience. You can choose from our fabulous Gold, Silver or Bronze packages. Gold Package – Premier viewing, divine four course buffet dining, premium beverage package and effective & innovative marketing. $93 + GST per person. Silver Package – Premier viewing, divine four course buffet dining and premium beverage package. $80 + GST per person. Bronze Package – Premier viewing and divine four course buffet dining. $54 + GST per person. Spectators Open till Late! Our fabulous array of pizzas and delicious burger options will be available for all to enjoy. (Gluten free and vegetarian options available). $15 A La Carte Dining – Choose from five of our divine dishes that are available in the Christian Cullen Lounge, located on level 1 of the Metropolitan Stand. (Gluten free and vegetarian options available). Stables BBQ – Enjoy a bite to eat from the Stables BBQ. Whether it is a juicy burger or a pottle of chips, your hunger cravings will be satisfied. The BBQ is located at the stables entrance directly beside the Lindauer Lawn. Next Rugby Match - CRUSADERS VS. BULLS – Friday 23 March – 7.35PM – Hot off the Press - Spectators is now offering an amazing $15 Pizza and Beer Game Day Special, as well as the popular $10 Burger and Beer Special! Remember, all Spectators Supporters Club Card members have access to free car parking on the Addington Site (entry to the carpark is off Wrights Road). Enjoy your pizza, or burger and beer with friends, before heading over to the game. Dream result. If you are not a Supporters Club Card member and you would like to join, visit www.spectators.co.nz   Heading to an event at Horncastle Arena or AMI Stadium? - Make sure you pop in to Spectators before the event for a cold drink and delicious food! Spectators has ample free parking as well, you can’t go wrong.  Next SAAC Course at Addington -The next Stabling Area Awareness Course for kids is 23 March at 5pm. For more information please visit http://www.addington.co.nz/racing/stabling-area-awareness-course/   Hawera Easter Family Fun Meeting – 31 March, 2 April The Hawera Harness Racing Club invites you to be a part of their Easter Family Fun Meeting to be held on Saturday 31 March and Monday 2 April (Easter Monday). Club President Brendan Towers describes the meeting as a ‘trainer’s weekend away’ and explains that the club are there to make the meeting an enjoyable one for all who attend. “We will be holding dinner and entertainment for connections that are at the meeting on the Friday and Saturday nights, and are also here to assist with anything needed for horses and those connected with them,” said Towers. “We can help you find the right hotel or accommodation option, just get in touch and we will happily help.” The grass track meeting features the Hawera Cup and will be focused on family entertainment too, with free entry on both days and bouncy castles and plenty to keep the kids amused. For more information please get in contact with Brendan Towers 027 236 0016 or email haweraharnessracing@gmail.com   Methven Owners’ Day and Expo - Sunday 15 April The Methven Trotting Club will hold an Owners Day at their April race meeting to be held at Mt Harding Racecourse on Sunday 15 April. The club warmly invites industry merchants and also fellow club administrators to attend the event and be a part of their owner’s experience and expo at the meeting. This will provide an opportunity to promote products or clubs to owners present on the day. The club wishes to reward owners with a horse in at their meeting by hosting them in the Mt Hutt Lounge oncourse. They will also invite owners from the region to attend and offer special catering options on the day for them, and encourage non owners to come along and find out how they can become a part of the action. Those with ownership opportunities are welcome to contact the club in terms of potential options to promote ownership to potential new clients. For more information on how you can be a part of this special event please contact Nigel Armstrong on 027 328 2206 or email wstvue@xtra.co.nz   Friday April 20th Premier Night American Night Our phenomenally popular American Night is back for 2018! We’ll have the stars and stripes rolled back out from the Top of the Park to The Alex, and be serving up the very best of the US with another fantastic US-inspired all-you-can-eat buffet menu sure to satisfy – and of course we’ll be sure to get some top-class entertainment on board once again! Book your American Night table ASAP as this night is sure to sell out fast! American Night in the Tasman Room or Top of the Park  From $60pp | Buffet only From $125pp | Full beverage package including specialty US beer Vintage Cars, Pin up girls and amazing entertainment!!!   Jess Smith Communication and Ownership Co-Ordinator | Harness Racing New Zealand Inc      

One of the men who make the West Coast racing machine was honoured in style in Reefton on Saturday. Long-time Reefton club president Tony Thomas was made a life member of the club, coming as a double celebration as the club nears the completion of their new tote building. That should mean the Reefton facilities are in perfect shape for their annual harness meeting on December 30, which is followed by the gallops racing there on January 16. Thomas has not only been at the helm of the club for well over a decade but has trained and owned horses with success.  To have a look at the Facebook Post with some photos click here!   Michael Guerin

John Bartlett is considering starting a campaign to get harness racing to the West Coast more often and when you look at the Ashworth’s Beach trainer’s record you can understand why. The relatively new trainer to the training ranks of Canterbury, in just his third season, picked up his first winning double on Sunday at Reefton when two new acquisitions to his stable, Terrier and King Size were successful. It continued a great run for Bartlett on the Coast with five of his eight career wins coming on the western side of the Southern Alps. “I’ve had a pretty good run over there, surely they could race there a bit more often,” Barlett said. “It’s a place I can target horses for and we actually purchased Terrier because we thought he could win a race over there.” From just a small racing team, the results of the North Canterbury trainer make for compelling reading. He’s had 64 starters in his two and half seasons of training for eight wins and nine placings - often with horses who he has picked up off other trainers. With three in work at the moment, he’s keeping busy enough - doing the majority of his training on the beach or around a paddock at his property beside the main road through to Amberley. “Three is enough at the moment, and to get two wins with them in one day was great. “The other horse, Got A Beauty, should pick one up at some point in the season you would think, he just needs the luck that the other two got on Sunday.” Bartlett continued his association with Robbie Close at the weekend with the talented young horseman on both of his winners. Close has driven six of Bartlett’s winners now with Katie Cox on board Young Mister Grace when he won at the same Reefton meeting last year and Dexter Dunn on Verdun when he gave Bartlett his first success as a trainer at Forbury in October of 2014. “I like using the lightweight drivers, especially on the grass. “Robbie is a good young driver and it was actually him who recommended we buy Terrier after he had driven him a couple of times.” Bartlett admitted to not having had both horses long prior to heading to the Coast and said he took two horses, along with Got A Beauty, over the hills in pretty good fettle. “I thought they all went well on the first day, King Size got a little wound up by a false start which didn’t help him. “But they got the right luck that you need and both got the job done so it was a good result.” There’s nine months until racing returns to the West Coast at Christmas, but you can bet your last dollar that Bartlett already had one eye on the meeting as he looks to continue his great record there. “It’s a great place to go with a horse, they’re great people who really look after you when you are over there. “We will be going back for sure.” Matt Markham

The name of 'Geddes' has been heavily involved in harness racing in New Zealand as long as the records go back. As Jim Geddes was explaining to the writer yesterday afternoon at Reefton, his great great grand father was driving in a race in Canterbury as far back as 1868 and the family have been involved ever since. These days Jim trains in conjunction with his son James Geddes and they always have a handy horse or two in the barn. Yesterday they lined up four starters at the Reefton meeting and came away with two winners and a placegetter for a great result for the small Norwood based barn. First up was the four year old American Ideal mare in Bontz who lead early for James before taking a trail behind the favourite Blade and when angled into the clear at the top of the straight, she simply ran away and hid from the opposition by 3 1/2 lengths. Extremely unlucky on the first day at Westport on Friday, James was very confident going into yesterday's race. " I took a trail on Friday behind the $2.00 shot but it stopped badly on the last corner and dragged me out the back." " I was absolutely jogging at the time and would have won easily so I was out early today to make sure I didn't get caught again." " I thought Bontz was good enough to go around in the good fillies races last year but she use to tie up something shocking and we had to put her aside. " This year we give her a mixture of swimming and galloping but not too much of either to be honest and it seems to be working.' She has got the ability to win a few more races yet, James told Harnesslink yesterday afternoon. Four races later the stablemate Mogul made it two wins from two starts over the weekend when he proved way too strong for a good field of C1 pacers in the hands of stand in driver Ricky May as James was driving the stablemate Buckeye. Away well early, Mogul joined the three wide line and progressed to the parked position with a lap to go. From there he got cover behind the favourite Latin Lloyd and when Ricky asked him for an effort on the corner, Mogul quickly sprinted up to them and past them for an impressive victory. Ricky May was suitably impressed. " He doesn't know anything yet but he has got a lot of bottom to him and showed a bit of speed when I pulled him out. " He has got the makings of a nice horse." James was just as impressed with the son of American Ideal. " That is only the fourth time off the place in his career to date." " He qualified the first time we took him off the place in mid January and then we gave him a quiet C0 trial before coming to the coast." " Both his wins here have been on raw ability as he hasn't got any ring craft yet." " He gives you the feel of a really nice horse in the making but whether that is for me or not is another matter." "I am milking 800 cows and have heaps of young ones at home so the racehorses are all for sale at the moment." Megan Mcintyre has been a great help with the young ones at home and I can't thank her enough but we have nine yearlings and seven weanlings at the moment so we need to be turning them over," James said. Harnesslink Media

The four year old gelding Culley Backy provided Methven trainer Michael Heenan with a well overdue win yesterday when he was successful in the Thomas Freight Pace at the harness racing meeting at Reefton. Facing the starter yesterday for the eighteenth time,Culley Backy had already been placed six times in his previous seventeen starts and had had little luck throughout his short career. Taken straight to the front yesterday by leading driver Ricky May, Culley Backy set a solid tempo in front and had them all in trouble as they straightened for home and when Ricky asked for the big effort, the son of Gotta Go Cullect shot clear and won with with plenty in hand by 2 1/2 lengths. Culley Backy paced the 2000 metres from the stand in 2:38.6 with closing sectionals on the grass of 59.6 and 29.1. Michael was relieved that Culley Backy had finally put a complete performance together. " He has promised to do that for a while to be honest but he rarely gets the rub of the green this horse and it was nice to see him in front today and out of trouble for once." " He has had a lot of little issues that haven't helped the cause as well but we seem to be getting on top of these at the moment," Michael told Harnesslink yesterday afternoon. Michael and his wife Di bought Culley Backy off local Methven trainer Danny McKendry as a three year old. " Danny likes to sell his horses that he develops while they are still three year olds but Culley Backy had had a couple of setbacks and it was getting late in the season when we bought him." "Danny quite liked him which is always a good recommendation as he is a great judge, " Michael said. Culley Backy qualified quite impressively at Ashburton last year but a shoulder injury has taken a lot longer to come right than initially envisaged which has hindered his progress. Varying his training routine to help his recovery, Michael discovered that Culley Backy can trot quite impressively. " He looks to have a fair bit of upside as a trotter in my opinion and I will be switching him over to trotting full time in the near future." " I may give him a start in an upcoming Junior Drivers event as a pacer but after that I will concentrate on sorting out his switch to trotting. "I gave him a run at the qualifying trials as a trotter and he missed away badly but made up a huge amount of ground after that and was well inside the time required so the ability is there" " He only broke because he touched himself behind so sorting that issue is the first priority at the moment," Michael said. Harnesslink Media  

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