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Todays harness racing Pick Six at Winton looks to have a couple of easier legs with some classy Canterbury horses heading down to try to pick up the spoils at Central Southland Raceway. Canterbury trainer Paul Court again has several horses entered for todays meeting with the two win pacer Stickman a top chance in the fourth leg of Pick Six after an unlucky run last start in Southland last start. His first starter Mongolian Warrior also has winning claims in the first leg of Pick Six, after some good trial performances in the Canterbury region. Woodend beach trainer Regan Todd has two horses engaged at the meeting, with Vulcans Star and Ready To Bloom both making the trip South. Ready To Bloom looks to be one of the bets of the day in the last leg of Pick Six. The Bettor's Delight 4yo warmed up with a sharp trial at Ashburton two weeks ago where he ran second and closed strongly with a sub 27 second quarter. Drawn handily at barrier two he looks to be the early leader and a good anchor in the last leg of the $25,000 Pick Six. This afternoon the pick six is on Races 3-8 inclusive and guaranteed to $25,000 if struck. Leg 1     Race 4 [3:51pm] Some good horses who have trialed well have their first starts today. Vulcan Star, Mongolian Warrior and Charlton Reactor all have shown promise at their trials and workouts and all are good chances in the first leg of Pick Six. Our top chance however is Paddyproudfoot who ran a stunning last half in 54.5 when running second at the recent workouts on this track behind Mighty Flying Art who is also running in this race. Paddyproudfoot still looks green but he might be too fast for this field if he is handy to the leaders on the turn.   Leg 2     Race 5 [4:17pm] This leg is a very open field of R40 to 55 trotters and take as many as your budget allows. Brian is the TAB favourite and would be a good chance if he steps but he has been making errors in his races. King Cassidy is another who shows ability and also always has support on the tote but is prone to making mistakes.   Leg 3     Race 6 [4:48pm] Another even field here but we have narrowed it down to four horses in this leg. Double Rainbow gets a better draw to work with and is needed along with Bridesdale Robyn, Iwanadancewitsumbody and Zenola's Art.   Leg 4     Race 7 [5:16pm] Stickman stands out in this leg after an unlucky run at his previous start. The Croupier ran second to Stickman at his first ever start and he would be a good backup along with Robyns Playboy who ran third to Stickman and The Croupier in the same race.   Leg 5     Race 8 [5:43pm] An even field of rated R56 and faster pacers made even trickier with the race being from the stand. Ossessione is a quick beginner who could lead here for a long way and he would be our top pick here. Also needed are Bettor Enforce who trialed well recently, Jabali,Benio Ben and Tiziano.    Leg 6     Race 9 [6:15pm]  The final leg looks an ideal race for Ready To Bloom and quite happy to make him our Pick Six anchor today.   Suggested Pick Six   ($36.00 for 10%) Leg 1     3,7,13 Leg 2     4,5,7,15 Leg 3     2,5,7,10 Leg 4     5,9,11 Leg 5     3,6,8,9,11 Leg 6     2   Harnesslink Media    

Mark's winning drive behind Show Gait, trained by Reagan Todd for Natalie's mother, Cheryl, in the 3yo filly trot at the Breeder's Crown was quickly outshone by the stunning performance from Princess Tiffany in posting her 9th win from 9 starts after being parked and severely tested by rival Kualoa who led most of the way in the 2yo Pacing Final. Tiffany looked to be battling after a scorching second to last quarter in 27 but living up to Mark's rating as the best juvenile filly he and Natalie have trained, rallied with true grit and class to win the $A290,000 stake in 2.40.2 giving All Stars its 11th Breeder's Crown win though it was the 13th for Mark as a driver. It was her third Group 1 win for Braeden and Caroline Whitelock and Phil and Margaret Creighton. Her mile rate of 1.55.3 was faster than that of the 3 year old colts race, giving some idea of the great performance Tiffany put up. She thus emulates the feat of Partyon who won the Jewels-BC double two years ago. She won her first 10 races in a row-something Princess Tiffany has right in her sights after a well deserved spell.  Unhappily it didn't work out quite so well for ANOTHER MASTERPIECE in the 3yo final. He was checked out of the race at the start and while mounting a huge effort after a classic drive from Mark he just found his early exertions a little too much in a last 800m in 54.5 settling for a valiant third. Earlier in the night Stress Factor, a former All Star, won the 3yo trot for the Brent Lilley stable.   Courtesy of All Stars Racing Stable http://www.allstarsracingstables.com/  

The first four races at Menangle on a quiet Tuesday afternoon usually slip by without a lot of interest on this side of the Tasman. But then again, they rarely contain two Harness Jewels winners and a Sales Series Trot star. So today's mid-afternoon Sydney harness should not only be worth a watch but also prove a valuable guide to the rich Breeders Crown in Victoria on August 25. The meeting is headlined by unbeaten juvenile pacing filly Princess Tiffany (race three) and fellow Jewels winner Another Masterpiece (four). Princess Tiffany meets some handy two-year-old rivals but is so brilliant, anything but a victory would be disappointing, especially as trainer Mark Purdon has been thrilled with her preparation. Rivals like Regulus have shown themselves to be good 1m 55s mile juveniles but Princess Tiffany came from last to win her Jewels untouched in 1m 54.2s, suggesting she will remain unbeaten. To split his pair, Purdon has put Another Masterpiece in a maiden race, but oddly, he ends up against former talented stablemate Gentle Giant, who was an Ashburton feature raceday winner for the All Stars last October and could have been expected to go further in life than he has. So while he might have to pace 1m 55s for his mobile mile, Another Masterpiece has gone two seconds faster than that and should also jog home. The programme kicks off with Show Gait, who has been travelling with the Purdon-Rasmussen team, making her Australian debut in a lower grade standing start 2300m trot. The Sales Series winner has shown high speed for a three-year-old trotting filly but trainer Regan Todd says she is still peaking. "My aim is to have her spot on for the Breeders Final so she has to be a little bit underdone but she has definitely improved since she got here," Todd said. "It is a lot warmer here than at home [Canterbury] and it has really brought her on. And her race being 2300m and a stand suits better than some of the mad miles over here." To add to the strong Kiwi flavour at the meeting, former northern pacer Bettor Step Aside makes his Australian debut in race five after being sold out of the Derek Balle stable and looks ideally placed. Michael Guerin

Art Major gelding Swamp Major repaid his group of loyal owners when he won the bMAC Sheetmetal Limited Diamonds Day Handicap Pace at Ascot Park today(Sunday). It was the gelding's first win in over two years after he went amiss.  He was good enough as a three year old to run placings behind the likes of Heaven Rocks, Lazurus, Moonrock and Buster Brady. He's been trained for most of his career by Ken Barron but has  recently been transferred to the Woodend Beach establishment of former Southlander Regan Todd.  "He's just got better with racing but that's what you'd expect after being away from the track for so long. I toyed with putting him in the Northern Southland Cup the last time we were down. In hindsight I'm glad we didn't. We were going to go to Ashburton (cancelled meeting) with him so we were real lucky," Todd said. Swamp Major beating Mighty Santana - Photo Bruce Stewart. Going into today's R60 and faster handicap he was one of three runners off the front mark and driver Samantha Ottley made the most of that advantage.  "After Thursday's work we were going into it happy. I knew the back markers would be hard to beat but it was just good that he stepped out and got to the front real early." After trailing for the first part of the race Ottley hooked the gelding out from the trail and took over the lead with two laps to run. She held on to the lead right to the finishing post beating Mighty Santana by three quarters of a length. Swamp Major is owned by breeder Trevor Ryder, along with Allan Lindsay, Scott McCrea, Sue McCrea, Cleland Murdoch and John Duff.  Cleland Murdoch, Trevor Ryder, John Duff, sponsor Brendon McIntyre and Allan Lindsay - Photo Bruce Stewart "I'm pretty lucky really. Most people would start panicking. They've just let me do my thing and the horse has paid them back today."     Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing

The Regan Todd trained mare Spirit Of Delight which is part-owned by new Southland Stags Rugby coach Dave Hewett won the $20,000 Southern Belle Speed Series Final at the Central Southland Raceway at Winton today. The four year old, driven by Samantha Ottley came with a late run to get up and beat Especial by a head with a further length and a quarter back to favourite Somejoy.  "The speed was on a little bit early which suited her. They kept going round and I was a wee bit concerned when I got back a bit. I know when she's on her game she's got a wicked sprint which she's shown in the past. She's a typical Bettor's Delight - only does what she has to but when you push the go button she's really got some wheels there," said Ottley after the win. Turning in Ottley had got back further than she would have liked and it took her a while to get Spirit of Delight up and going. But she came with a paralysing run down the outside of the track. "When I hooked her out I was mucking about trying to get my plugs (ear plugs) out. I got balanced up and asked her to go and she really lifted. To her credit there were a couple of nice mares ahead of her so it was no mean feat getting past them. She hit the line strongly and it's great getting these wins that's for sure." Spirit Of Delight (4) beating Especial (6) - Photo Bruce Stewart. The winning time was 1-55.2. It was the second time Ottley has won this race. She won with Rocker Band back in 2016. The win was the mare's second this season and fourth career win. Her only other win this season was on this track at the end of last year when she won the Equine Stakes, driven by Brendon McLellan. Previous Southern Belle Speed Series Winners  Year Winner Driver Trainer Time Winning Sire 2008        Artishake RT May Jamie Gameson 1-56.2            Artiscape 2009 Mywayorthehighway JR Dunn Robert Dunn 1-57.4 In The Pocket 2010 Beaudiene Bad Babe DJ Dunn Murray Brown 1-57.2 Badlands Hanover 2011 Hannah DJ Dunn Jeremy Douglas 1-54.3 Badlands Hanover 2012 Pembrook's Delight MJ Williamson Geoff and Jude Knight 1-56.5 Bettor's Delight 2013 Better To Be Bad BG Barclay Steve Ashton 1-54.4 Badlands Hanover 2014 Helena Jet RT May Greg and Nina Hope 1-54.4 Jereme's Jet 2015 Sell A Bit Stephen NcNally Brent White 1-54.1 Julius Caesar 2016 Rocker Band Samantha Ottley Mark Jones 1-55.4 Rocknroll Hanover 2017 Break Dance Jonny Cox Amber Hoffman 1-53.3 Art Major 2018 Spirit Of Delight Samantha Ottley Regan Todd 1-55.2 Bettor's Delight   Bruce Stewart Southland Harness racing Spirit Of Delight winning her final

It was the 'old firm' at work on Sunday when the Regan Todd trained Spirit Of Delight and driver Brendon 'Snow' McLellan won the AON Insurance Southern Belle Equine Stakes at Winton. Todd began his harness career with McLellan before heading north to work for Davey and Catherine Butt and then later for Mark Jones.  "He drove my first winner (Del Sur - Gore September 2010) and my fiftieth winner. He's got a pretty good strike rate for me old Snowy," said Todd.  In Sunday's race, McLellan took Spirit O Delight straight to the front from barrier one and despite been tapped up inside the last 400 metres she came away to beat Kiwi On Show by three quarters of a length. Todd says this race had been on the stable radar for some time.  "When we turned her out at the end of last season Charlotte Mooney was in charge of the Syndicate and we thought this race would be a good one for her. Winning the race also qualifies her of the Southern Belle Speed Series Final. It's worked out perfectly and it's pretty pleasing when it pays off."   Spirit Of Delight has been with Todd since June last year after starting her career with Steve Telfer and Chris Garlick at Papakura. Her three wins to date have been from the Todd barn. "She raced in some good races up north but they decided to send her down for some beach training so we're pretty lucky to get her really. I think she used to feel her knees a bit but we've had no issues that way with her. Being on the soft surface all the time has helped her."  She's owned by the Woodlands Partnership Syndicate who are All Black captain Kieran Reed, former All Black halfback Andy Ellis, Dave Hewitt new Southland Stags coach, and RJ (Dick)Taylor. The same partnership owns trotter Speeding Spur. "I haven't met them yet but it'll be good to bump into them one day. I'm still a Stags fan." Todd says although Spirit Of Delight has started over shorter sprint distances for the majority of her career he feels she'll be even better over longer distances. "When she races in those mares races, (for example the) 2600 metre mobile you'll probably see the best of her then. She doesn't worry about things too much and she's pretty laidback and relaxed. It looked like she was going to get beat on Sunday, then at the end she kicked away."     Her dam Spirit Of Eros has been a great broodmare leaving Crown Law, the winner of 18 races in Australia and another 10 in America, Bettor Spirits the winner of 14 races, Spirit And Desire 14 wins and Spirit Of Art 6 wins.  Spirit Of Eros has a Sweet Lou colt in next month's Australasian Classic Yearling Sale in Auckland. "There's some good mares races (for Spirit Of Delight) at Addington at the start of February so I'll target them now to see if she can measure up to those better ones. I think she can, but you don't know until you try. I know she lead up the other day but she's probably better driven off them."   Todd had further success yesterday when first starter Hicori won at the Central Otago meeting at Omakau.  The three year old was initially trained by Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen but was transferred to Todd's barn after having one workout as a two year old for the pair. "He's just needed time and it was good of the owners to send him out to me at the beach. He's probably another three months away from being at his best. He's still a bit weak in his gait."   Prior to yesterday's win he'd been to two workouts, won his qualifying trial at Banks Peninsula in October and finished third in another trial in North Canterbury in the middle of last month.  Hicori's winning time of 3-20.9 for the 2600 metre stand was a new track record for three year old colts and geldings. The old mark of 3-21.1 was set by Guru in 2004. "I've still got a bit of ironing out to do with him. He seems untapped really and every time he's gone off the place he's stepped up. He's going to have to keep improving but I don't think it's going to phase him going up in the grades. Dexter's (driver Dexter Dunn) of the opinion that he's still pretty green and he's going to take a lot of improvement out of it. It's good to hear that from a fella like him."  Hicori is out of the five win Christian Cullen mare Paddy Brown and was bred by the Braeside Lodge in Palmerston North which is run by the Whitelocks. "There's a Nuggets Final at Northern Southland next week but I've sent him home as it's probably going to be too much for him. It was stinking hot yesterday and you could tell he'd had a run after. We might come back in two or three weeks to see if he can measure up and be a Supremacy horse later in the season."   Todd has had a training license for eight years and says he has twenty horses in work at the moment at Woodend Beach. At one point he was also looking after a good number of horses for Burnham trainer Mark Jones whom he used to work for fulltime. "He just keeps two or three at the beach now. Not the numbers we used to. He's concentrating on the young ones now."   Meanwhile quality gelding Swamp Major, who was knocked over and injured his hind fetlock at Winton last month is on the road to recovery. He had to be boxed after the injury and has been looked after by local vets Brendon Bell and Heather Cottle. "The vets (Canterbury) are going to see him today and hopefully we can get him out into a paddock and get a bit of weight on him because he's lightened up heaps. Brendon and Heather did a great job in looking after him down south. He was boxed for four days before he was floated home. He should be alright. It's just a matter of letting that wound heal up. It's pretty disappointing because the owners have waited eighteen months to get him back to the races."  Hicori winning at Omakau   Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing

In what could be considered one of the drop backs of the season, there’s only one serious concern for Hopeful Harriet ahead of her assignment at Nelson today. And that concern is herself. The dour little Regan Todd trained mare drops from a Group One Harness Jewels Diamond last Saturday to a Rating 50-65 event today on the opening day of the Nelson Harness Racing Club’s winter meeting and her driver Robbie Close is confident that will make her super competitive. “We’ve just got to get the first bit right,” Close said of the stand start affair. “It’s probably not so much the actual stand start, but she tends to get a little rough after 100 metres or so, but if we can get through that then we should be right in amongst it I would have thought.” Beaten 25 lengths behind Piccadilly Princess last Saturday, Hopeful Harriet’s performance in the Group One was probably better than what it may have initially looked. Close was more than happy with the effort too. “She was going to run in the top five I think, but she got the speed wobbles around that last bend. “So her effort actually looks a lot worse than it was.” The pair have a good record when they travel to the top of the South Island having won the Marlborough Cup earlier this year and they’ve placed twice on the course before as well. They meet an even field today with the in-form It’s All Over Now appearing to be one of their toughest opposition. Close has a strong book of drives throughout the day including Hopeful Harriet but rated Terrier for John Bartlett as one of his better hopes. “I would like to think Harriet will be my best chance, but Terrier is going good races without a lot of luck and I think with a bit more of that we can get a slice of that race. “Sunny Bill wouldn’t be the worst either if he trotted all the way.” He also drives debutant Lily Ducket, newcomer to the Regan Todd barn My Nikayla, Got A Beauty and Paul’s Verdict.   Selections by Matt Markham Race 1: Mr Farenheit, Ali Lindenny, Girlz N Boys, Star Pride Race 2: Boults On Fire, Beach Skipper, Rishi, Mister Slick Race 3: J Nine, My Nikayla, Fear Rockn, Playingintheshadows Race 4: Spondulicks, Theboyslightup, Chelsea Ella, Command Lustre Race 5: Trouble Giero, Redwood Invasion, Jayceekay, Bacardi N Coke Race 6: Takitimu Express, Bella Jones, Exceptional Man, Born Again Delight Race 7: Gunpowder, Cullenz Diamond, Jakira, Terrier Race 8: Benicio, Alpha Rock, Culley Backy, Bevan’s Cullen Race 9: Hopeful Harriet, It’s All Over Now, Our Quinn, Emily Blunt Race 10: Billy Badger, Ace High, Hypervelocity, English Rose Best Bet: Billy Badger (Race 10) Value: Hopeful Harriet (Race 9)

For a horse who four weeks ago wasn’t a show of making the Harness Jewels, Buster Brady has certainly risen to the occasion. And judging by his effort to win Friday night’s Winter Cup at Addington, the old Buster is firmly back in business and that means he’s not without a forlorn hope in a very good field in the 4YO Emerald in two weeks time. The win also gave further plaudits to the decision of Buster Brady’s trainer Jock Austin to send his star pacer out to the beach and into the care of Regan Todd. “He’ certainly feels like the old version of Buster Brady,” driver Dexter Dunn said after the race. Having his third start since becoming a beach resident, Buster Brady enjoyed a saloon run in the trail throughout the two mile event behind the pace-making Classie Brigade. With that run and a last mile which was recorded in 1:53, Dunn had the pleasure of simply angling Buster Brady into the clear air up the passing lane and surging him to the line to hold off the late challenge of Piccadilly Princess to claim the win. The performance will elevate Buster Brady up the rankings ahead of the Jewels - a race which now becomes a realistic target. “We have to have a look at it now,” Todd said. “But ultimately that will be up to Jock, but I’d be surprised if it didn’t work out that way. “He’s going good and really enjoying the beach.” The second placing of Piccadilly Princess should be enough to see her into Jewels contention, although there are some contenders still to race over the weekend who could usurp her if they are successful. Waikiki Beach, who started off a 30 metre handicap, was brave in his effort for third after sitting parked -a performance which sees him right in contention for Jewels success when he squares off with Heaven Rocks on June 3. Matt Markham  

They say that a change is as good as a holiday and in the case of Buster Brady it’s worked the oracle. After a frustrating period of a lack of form, the talented pacer got things back on track with an impressive performance to beat a high quality field at Addington on Friday night in his first start since spending some time out at the Woodend Beach stable of Regan Todd. Still officially trained by his initial trainer, Kyle Austin, the four-year-old pacer picked himself up off the canvas to run past some talented competition in the final stages of Friday night’s assignment, shocking both Austin and Todd in the process. “We were heading a bit into the unknown with him really,” Todd said. “From working him on the beach you could tell that he was a pretty nice horse, but you never really know until you get into the race environment exactly what they are going to be like. “But it seems the change of scenery has helped him a lot because he showed a lot of fight.” It was a big call for Austin to make to send the best horse he has ever trained to someone else to try and reinvigorate his star, but he said that at the end of the day it was the best decision to make by the horse. “I’ve had a few concerns that he’s got a couple of niggly little issues for a while now and that was why I don’t think he was showing his best form. “So, we decided that it was best to see if the beach would help him and it would appear it has. “I thought his effort on Friday night was great, he looked dead and buried on the home turn but really dug deep to find the line. “It was a lot more like him.” With some good stake money in the bank this season, Buster Brady currently now sits 12th on the order of entry for the Four-Year-Old Emerald at next month’s Harness Jewels meeting in Ashburton. While accepting it would be nice to start there, Austin said it wasn’t something they would chase. “If he does enough to get in the field then that will be great we will head there and have a crack against some really top horses. “But there are other options for him, there’s also the Sires’ Stakes race a couple weeks after that so if he doesn’t make the Jewels we can just have a look at the race instead.” Todd and Austin plan to return to Addington this Friday night to try and make it back-to-back victories. The challenge will be slightly more difficult for the camp with some strong nominations for the $20,000 event including Heaven Rock’s, Classie Brigade, Piccadilly Princess and Moonrock. Matt Markham  

Canterbury trainers Mark Jones and Regan Todd are both chasing the features at Winton on Sunday with favoured runners and both have realistic chances. Todd's representative in the $20,000 final of the Southern Belle Speed Series for mares four year old and older is Kayteeoh Denario who has the right credentials to win. On hand for the first race of the series at Winton in December, Kayteeoh Denario drew one but was crossed and shuffled. She had a wall in front of her turning in, waited, then flew for third.  At Wyndham on 5 February for the third heat, she was clearly superior when winning in 1:54.9, and didn't race again until the Addington meeting on the last day of March. From the 13 draw over 1950 metres, the mare sat back, joined the three-wide line, bided her time and ran home strongly for second out wide.  “She seems on song for this week,” Todd said, “we ran at Addington with the Southern Belle in mind, with a bit of luck she won't be far away.” Glenferrie Classic, daughter of Mainland Banner and part-owned in the south, is the Jones entrant. She won the Winton heat in December in 1:55.9 and raced on until a disappointing result in the Waikouaiti Cup on 12 February.  As preparation for Sunday, the four year old reappeared at the Addington trials on 27 March. In the hands of Jones and up against the stars in murky conditions, the mare sat fourth in line until asked to sprint from the 400. Waikiki Beach, who had dictated in front, reeled off a final 400 on the easy track in 27.8 and although Glenferrie Classic chased in vain, she looked solid to the end. Another Canterbury visitor in contention is the Brad Mowbray-trained Ultimate Desire who also contested the December heat at Winton. Drawn outside on the second line, the daughter of Real Desire ended up parked for the majority of the trip and was swamped late finishing sixth in 1:56.3. In the second heat, at Ascot Park, Ultimate Desire drew the outside of the front line, was parked briefly, got the one-one then snuck into the trail down the back. No explosive finish but she kept on for third. Another outside-of-the-front line draw at Ashburton on 4 February but with Dexter Dunn in the sulky she was soon in the one-one, applied the pressure across the top and held to win in an impressive 1:52.6. Although she goes from the outside of the front again on Sunday, Dunn will have the reins. “Dexter asked where we were going and when he knew, he was happy to stick with her,” Mowbray said. “She's good enough to lead or follow and Dexter's the expert, I'll leave it to him.” In her latest start, Ultimate Desire took on the top liners in the group one Breeders Stakes, again went from wide on the front line, sat back and ran home gamely along the poles for sixth. In the $14,000 Winton Businesses Cup, all eyes will be on top filly Delightful Memphis. Last time on the track, on Wairio Mile Day, she ran home from the back of the small field to stop the clock in a provincial record 1:51.9. On Sunday she has to go from a stand in public for the first time in her career.  In her favour, Delightful Memphis will be alone on the 20 metre back-mark and she has the services of top driver Blair Orange. Given a safe and not too tardy beginning, class should be enough to see her retain her unbeaten record in Southland. Just by starting, she will become eligible to run in the group two Southland Oaks at Ascot Park on April 30. Todd's Cup entrant is Torrid Bromac who was previously with Steven McRae and ran fifth behind Heaven Rocks and Classie Brigade in last season's Southern Supremacy Stakes. He has the services of Dunn on Sunday. “Dexter drives a few for me, he's never driven Torrid Bromac but I was talking to him at the trials and he's got the job,” Todd said. “There was no race for him at Addington so we thought we may as well have a crack. He's race hardened and should be competitive in that field. Take Delightful Memphis out and its fairly even. He goes from four on the 10 metre mark, outside the locally-bred half-brother to Fight for Glory in G I Joe. The Butterworth-owned four year old, now with Brett Gray, hasn't raced since July but won a workout at Wyndham in 3:02.8 last Saturday, beating race rivals, Bettor Ops and The Big Boss.   Mac Henry

A $15 chance for tonight’s Premier Mares’ Championship at Addington, Hopeful Harriet isn’t being given much hope of success. But that’s not stopping the dour mare’s trainer, Regan Todd, from thinking she can get herself in on the action if things happen to fall in the right places for her during the Group 2 $40,000 event. A brilliant winner of the Marlborough Cup two starts back, the diminutive mare has shown a real liking for a dog fight and may get conditions to suit tonight from a good barrier draw. “Her win at Blenheim showed she is capable of doing it,” Todd said. “I wouldn’t read too much into her last start, in fact I think we will forget it, and just base it on what she did when she won. “I’ve been really happy with her work this week so hopefully we are on the right track.” Drawn barrier three, Hopeful Harriet has the slight disadvantage of having two speedy mares drawn inside her in Bronze Over and C A Penny, but there’s some confidence she can hold her own out of the gate if she needs to. “I’ll be leaving it to Robbie (Close), he can judge things once they are out there. But if we had to ask her to run a bit early I think she would. “Ideally it’s a case of getting ourselves into the best possible spot and seeing what happens from there. “But I’d like to think she’s a bit of a chance, it’s not a field of stars, just some nice honest mares.” Todd has just one other runner engaged at the meeting in Righteous Brother who, despite some strong recent efforts was opened at $33 last night due to the fact he takes on an incredibly strong field including the likes of; The Honey Badger, Rakapuka Ruler, Don Domingo, A G’s Whitesocks and Cash N Flow. “He’s probably a place chance at best in a field like that, but he’ll begin quick and put himself in the race.” Todd will be able to get his most high-pressure moment of the night out of the way early too when Master Lavros steps out in the Summer Trotting Free-For-All. As the pseudo trainer of the two-time Dominion winner, Todd knows better than anyone how the big trotter is progressing. And he’s been pretty happy this week. “I’ve noticed he’s stepped up a bit since that last run, his work yesterday (Wednesday) was very good I thought. “But it won’t be easy from out wide over 1950 so we will just be happy if he does everything right and gets around safely and pulls up sound.” Life won’t be easy for Master Lavros though with Marcoola returning to the mix for the event while other good performers like Harriet Of Mot and Everybody Knows are also engaged in the race. Super Selector - Addington - By Matt Markham Race 1: Spanish Armada, Delightful Memphis, Trendy Bromac, Pick My Pocket Race 2: Bailey’s Knight, Let It Ride, Hilarious Magic, Articulight Race 3: Le Reveur, Hey Yo, Habibti Ivy, Gershwin Race 4: Mrs Browns Boys, The Valiant, Culley Backy, Our Quinn Race 5: Marcoola, Master Lavros, Everybody Knows, Harriet Of Mot Race 6: Tiger Thompson, Gotta Go Ya Hu, Real Obsession, Wanted Man Race 7: Classie Brigade, Captain Dolmio, Christen Me, Locharburn Race 8: Rakapuka Ruler, Don Domingo, A G’s Whitesocks, Cash N Flow Race 9: Heaven Rocks, Ears Burning, Cable Beach, Buster Brady Race 10: Queen Bee Bardon, Better B Amazed, CA Penny, Hopeful Harriet Race 11: Chevron Express, All Settled Down, Lavros Jack, Redwood Invasion Race 12: Franco Hampton, Bettor To Be Tricky, Molly Sims, Makers Mark Best Bet: Tiger Thompson (Race 6) Value: Hey Yo (Race 3)

The locally bred Kayteeoh Denario qualified for the harness racing Southern Belle Speed Series when she won at Wyndham today. Bred and raced by Mark and Pauline O'Connor of Myross Bush the four year old mare is named after the couple's second daughter Katelyn Therese O'Connor who had her birthday on Friday. "She works in Auckland for ANZ at the Foreign Exchange desk and we've just caught up with her in Central. I said to her it could be a good omen having her birthday and the horse running today," said Mark. "I said to all the kids that once they got into full time employment I'd name a horse after them. She was the first into the workforce out of the four kids."  Kayteeoh Denario is by Rocknroll Hanover and after being developed by Wayne Adams at two and three, was transferred to Regan Todd's stable at Woodend Beach.  "She did brush a knee so we thought her best chance if she was to make it being a broodmare was to send her up to Regan on the beach. He's worked her in a straight line and doesn't have the hopples or spreaders on her. She does need the spreaders on race day."  In yesterday's race Dexter Dunn trialled early before taking up the lead in the 1609 metre event. She held on to beat RR Sand Dollar by a length and a quarter with Break Dance a neck back in third. The Mark Jones trained Aymar was unlucky sitting hard on the back of the winner. The winning time was 1-54.9.   Kayteeoh Denario and Dexter Dunn holding out RR Sand Dollar (7)         Photo Bruce Stewart. "He'd (Regan Todd) targeted the Southern Belle Speed Series to try and get a time for her and give her that broodmare opportunity. It's nice when a plan comes together and it all works out." Having won this heat Kayteeoh Denario is now ineligible to run in any other heats in the series. The $20,000 final is at Winton on the 9th April.  "We'll just keep her ticking over and bring her down for the final." Kayteeoh Denario is out of the Presidential Ball mare Goodtogo Denario which is a full sister to Spero Denario which won ten races for Cran Dalgety.  "She (Goodtogo Denario) won first up at the races and looked real smart but developed an attitude problem. We tried her a few more times and she didn't really show much so we retired her to breed from. We leased her to Woodlands Stud for a couple of seasons. She's dropped a colt to Sweet Lou this spring and is going back to him then we get her back after that." The O'Connors have a Well Said two year old colt called Nota Bene Denario which is currently located at Nigel McGrath's stable.   "We actually had him on a 50/50 deal with a guy called Dylan Stratford but he's relocated to Australia so we've taken the horse back and we'll push on. He'll go to Regan's stable."  Regan Todd holds Kayteeoh Denario for Mark and Pauline O'Connor    -    Photo Bruce Stewart The O'Connor's attention now switches to the Sale of The Stars where they have three yearlings being put through their final paces before sale day on the 21st and 22nd February. One colt they're excited about is Lot 288 Ronnie Pickering who is by Art Major out of Shezaball the winner of eight races.  "He's the best yearling we've had the chance to prepare. He looks to me to be the perfect package. He's a big strong guy, mature and sensible and well conformed. We're so pleased with this bloke that we've taken the mare back to Art Major." He is Shezaball's second foal. Her first, Rockaball, recently qualified for Ken and Tony Barron.    Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing

Not all that long ago, Bruce Taylor wasn’t sure what the future held for Hopeful Harriet. The daughter of Shark Gesture had won once and placed on half a dozen occasions from 16 starts for Mark Fuller – her victory coming courtesy of a promotion in her debut race at Timaru. Fuller informed Taylor that he thought he’d done as much as he could with the mare and so Taylor and co-owner Marg Evans, had a decision to make. “We had three options; Manawatu, Gore or the beach,” he recalled. The choice became the beach and Hopeful Harriet was transferred into the stable of Regan Todd – and there’s been no looking back since. And on Sunday, at Blenheim, the dour little mare claimed her biggest scalp when she wore down Alta Orlando to win the Peter Yealands Wines Marlborough Cup in the hands of Robbie Close. “It’s a great thrill and we are very grateful for the job that Regan and his team have done with her,” Taylor said. Hopeful Harriet has now won five races and placed on 11 occasions for stakes of $40,000 and judging by her performances on Sunday, she’s a long way from being finished too. In a small, six horse field, there was the potential for things to turn into a procession when Alta Orlando found the front inside the final lap, but Close threw caution to the wind and refused to lie down without a fight. He sent Hopeful Harriet up to eyeball the $1.20 favourite and was given plenty from the mare in front of him as she ground her way to victory in a two-horse battle that lasted for close to 800 metres. “I thought if we sat back we might have been able to run second,” Close said. “But by getting up outside Johnny (John Dunn) we were able to make sure it didn’t just turn into a sprint home and give ourselves a better chance at winning.” It proved to be the winning of the race as Hopeful Harriet gain the upper advantage halfway down the Waterlea straight before going on to win by half a length. It was Closes’ second Cup victory after he drove Mac’s Creation to victory for Hayley Morgan in the 2015 Northland Cup at Ruakaka. Hopeful Harriet will likely now be aimed at the Amberley Cup in a fortnight before potentially the Hororata Cup. The Country Cups Final at Methven is also on the radar. Ken Barron picked up his 500th training success on Sunday at Blenheim when Runaway Three was successful. Barron, who started in partnership with long-time supporter, John Lischner before going out on his own and then teaming up with his brother, Tony this season. Matt Markham

There was no one more in awe of what Master Lavros managed to achieve at Addington on Friday night than the man who spends the most time with him – Regan Todd. The two-time Dominion Handicap winner produced one of the more remarkable returns to racing after almost exactly a year away from the track when he was victorious in a small, but select, field of trotters after galloping away from behind the mobile and giving his rivals at least 50 metres. To see the gelding’s massive frame still there at the finish and sticking his head out at the time when it matters most came as a welcome view considering the disarray of the open class trotting ranks currently with Monbet, Stent and Speeding Spur all on the sidelines. “It’s good to have him back,” Todd said on Saturday. “I was pretty proud of him, to do that after being away for so long was pretty impressive I thought.” While winning was nice, the major goal for the Mark Jones trained horse was to come through the run unscathed. Todd said that initially it appeared as though his battle-scarred legs had come through the race well. “His tendons were nice and tight this morning (Saturday) which is a good sign. “There were a few marks from where he galloped on himself but we will have him scanned and checked over just to be safe.” While Auckland was initially ear-marked next for Master Lavros, Todd expected a decision to be made early in the week to head to Central Otago early in the New Year instead before building up to the Rowe Cup later in the season.  “That is what I think is going to happen, we don’t want to push him too much.” Trainer Mark Jones confirmed that on Sunday night that the scans had shown up nothing. But Auckland was definitely off the table. “He scanned up great, but greed can kill a man and we have nothing to prove,” Jones said. “We will just take the patient approach with him and Omakau is a little closer to home.” Friday night’s win was the 20th in the career for Master Lavros from just 47 starts and his stake earnings are now close to $600,000. HRNZ 

Two of the forgotten stars of New Zealand harness racing are slowly but surely building towards a comeback in the first half of next season. Open class trotting stars, Stent and Master Lavros have both had their seasons cut short by injury but are pleasing their respective trainers in their build up towards making it back to the track. Stent, who was found to be suffering from a hole in his suspensory, has done six weeks jogging at the stables of his trainers, Colin and Julie DeFilippi. “He’s coming along nicely,” Colin said. “We had him scanned and given the once over last week and the vet was very happy with him so at this stage it’s all systems go.” After an initial preparation which involved a lot of walking and swimming, Stent was sent to the Methven Equine Centre for three weeks. The business which specialises in massage, swimming and agistment is situated a few kilometres east of Methven. “It was purely just to give him a bit of a break and in a way that he didn’t have to put too much pressure on himself. “It worked really well, he came back in great nick.” DeFilippi said that it was a case of so far so good in terms of soundness for the $1 million earner, but there is no rush to get him back to the races. “He’s due to step up his work in the next month and then we will look at getting into some serious fast work if everything is still OK. “We won’t be pushing him though, he will tell us if and when he is ready.” DeFilippi and Stent’s owner Trevor Casey won’t make any plans for the gelding until they know they have a horse who is 100 per cent which means that Cup Week in November isn’t a lock in. “The Dominion would be nice, especially to take on Monbet. “He’s clearly the best now, but we aren’t that far behind when we are right so it would be a great clash.” On the other side of State Highway One, Mark Jones is all smiles at the progress of this season’s Dominion Handicap winner, Master Lavros. The big gelding did an extensive stint in the care of noted thoroughbred trainer, Brian Court after he suffered a hind suspensory injury late last year. “He seems really good, he’s been out on the beach with Regan (Regan Todd) for the best part of two months now. “He never really went to the paddock, Brian Court had him for quite a while and he just did fitness on the water walker and treadmill.” Like DeFilippi, Jones is in no rush to get back to the track. “It would be nice to be ready for Cup Week, but the horse deserves to find his own way there if that’s the case. “We certainly won’t be pushing him that’s for sure.” Master Lavros will be scanned next Monday to find out whether or not he is ready to take the next step up in his work. Matt Markham

The  victory of Master Lavros turned back the clock. The giant gelding led throughout to claim his second Gr.1 $255,000 Hellers Dominion at Addington in Christchurch defeating Alley Way and Sheemon in the 3200m stand start harness racing feature. Master Lavros scored in this event two years ago. The winning drive from Mark Jones, a former world driving champion, was inch perfect as he dictated terms nicely in front while race favourite Stent sat midfield in the moving line after a tardy beginning. Jones was able to quicken and slacken the speed which made it awfully hard for his rivals to find their groove. It was a perfect reminder that Jones is a truly gifted reinsman, one of the very best in Australasia. And while Jones is listed officially as the trainer, the man that pours his heart and soul into the gifted trotter is Regan Todd. Operating two stables, Jones is based at Burnham while Todd operates the Woodend Beach stables, of which Master Lavros is based and trained. Since winning this event back in 2013, connections have been left frustrated and perplexed as the gelding struggled to regain that dominating form that catapulted him to early stardom. The expectation and pressure created cracks and last season proved disappointing with only two victories from 11 starts, many breaks were made in running. But the seven-year-old has returned in solid form this season and the reason is simple, he’s sound and trotting perfectly. Master Lavros rated 4:05.9 which equates to a milerate of 2:03.6 while he covered his final 800m in a slick 57.6 seconds. The time was slightly slower than what he recorded two years ago. Master Lavros is now a dual Dominion champion while he has also collected the North Island’s major trotting event, the Rowe Cup. His earnings have now surpassed $500,000. The Sundon – Lavra Noblesse gelding is raced by his breeder, Kypros Kotzikas. Race favourite Stent finished fifth and had his chance after his early miscue, the Dominion proving to be his ‘bogey’ race. The next leg of the Australian Pacing Gold Trotting Masters will be staged on February 6, the Gr.1 $100,000 Seelite Windows & Doors Australian Trotting Grand Prix at TABCORP Park, Melton. by Chris Barsby

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