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By Dave Di Somma, Harness News Desk    North Canterbury trainer Regan Todd isn’t one to get too carried away but he concedes that Shut Up N Dance is “pretty exciting”. Todd had success on Friday and Sunday at Addington, both with daughters of Art Major. The eye-catching Shut Up N Dance (Art Major – Dance N Delight) made it two from two while Play Philly (Art Major – Shezaball) took out the Group Three Downbytheseaside Leonard Memorial Stakes On Friday Shut Up N Dance won by nearly four lengths. She went straight to the lead, handed up to Five Star General and then shot up the passing lane when the second favourite rolled off the fence turning for home. “It worked out perfect,” said Todd As comprehensive a victory as it was, it was still nowhere near the staggering 10 length demolition she produced on debut. As for the future Todd has plans, especially now that top mares Amazing Dream, Watch Me Now and Beyond Words have all been sold overseas, though Amazing Dream will race here till June at least. “She’s pretty exciting isn’t she,” Todd says of Shut Up N Dance, “among the targets will be some of the premier meetings coming up and then onto the (Harness) Jewels” Todd got the horse from Nathan Williamson. She’d shown a lot of promise for Southland’s top trainer but was shifted north to be trained on the beach at Woodend. “She’s had some leg issues so we will try and keep her sound,” says Todd. And then in yesterday’s Group 3 Downbytheseaside Leonard Memorial Stakes for the two-year-old fillies Play Philly (Art Major – Shezaball) won her second race in just three starts. But it was a very different sort of winning performance with Robbie Close getting her into the clear after being three back the fence and then hanging on to win by a head from Suntan in a gutsy performance. “She was getting tired but she stuck on,” says Todd. The filly has come a long way in a short space of time. “She was awful as a yearling. She couldn’t pace – it took three preps before she started getting better.” “It’s great for the owner too (Scott Elliffe/Heritage Ventures), it’s the first horse he’s had with us.” Todd is now looking at an Auckland campaign for the filly, with up-coming Sires Stakes and Harness Millions races. Todd’s dual success takes him to 24 wins for the season, his best is 38 (in 2020) though stakes-wise he's set to have his best season yet . And he’s hoping for many more Art Major winners as well. “We picked up a couple at the (yearling) sales - I wouldn’t mind a stable full of them.”

By Jonny Turner    Early tactics and race tempo are set to play a vital part in how Regan Todd’s four-strong team fare at Addington on Friday night. Todd starts his night with eye-catching triallist Shut Up N Dance in race 1. The four-year-old heads into her 1980m debut assignment on the back of a workout and trial win at Rangiora. Those efforts have come after Shut Up N Dance moved north to Todd’s Woodend Beach stable after she showed promise for Nathan Williamson. “Nathan really, really liked her and he gave her a couple of workouts,” Todd said.” “She never went lame or anything silly like that, he was just a bit worried about one of her tendons.” “So he just put her aside and looked after her and he thought she would be a bit better off up here at the beach.” Shut Up N Dance has clearly trialled well ahead of her return and will front as fit as she can be without having the advantage of race day fitness. “She has had two trials and she will be ready to rumble,” Todd said. “Not having race day fitness is the only thing that could come back to bite her.” Todd returns to Addington with Play Philly following her impressive debut earlier this month. Switching from barrier 4 to barrier 8 this time means the two-year-old may need to be driven differently than in her front-running debut win. “It is going to be hard from the draw, you can’t set them alight every week,” Todd said. “If possible we will probably be looking for cover, hopefully, there is a bit of speed on and she can do it from behind this time.” Todd lines up both Hurricane Hill and Isla Elsie from behind the mobile in race 5. Hurricane Hill impressed when making up a big slice of ground after galloping in his last start at Addington. The trotter’s maiden win came from behind the mobile and reverting back from a stand looks a major plus for him on Friday night. “He has got the ability, but he is taking a bit of sorting out,” Todd said. “He is a four-year-old but he acts like he is two.” “He will get there, the penny will drop one day.” “He is hard to follow but he can do it when he wants to.” Drawing barrier 1 can be tricky for a trotting still learning the ropes, but Todd is hopeful Hurricane Hill can handle it. “He is probably better from a mobile than he is from a stand and he will probably be able to hold up and settle where he wants to.” “He was pretty good in his first start at Ashburton.” Todd also starts Isla Elsie in race 5. Like Hurricane Hill, the trotter is well capable of going a big race if she brings her manners. “I wouldn’t write her off.” “She missed away last time and never got into it.” “She did go very good up at Blenheim on the first day.” Robbie Close drives Hurricane Hill with John Dunn to steer Isla Elsie. Close also drives Play Philly while Matthew Williamson drives Shut Up N Dance. View the full Addington fields click here!

By Jonny Turner    Trainer Regan Todd heads into Saturday’s Invercargill Cup with plenty of respect for the small but select field Thefixer clashes with. The former New Zealand Cup winner visits his trainer’s home province on the back of a strong North Island campaign which ended with his second placing behind Copy That in the Cambridge Flying Mile. Some might argue Thefixer will be to be dropping in class at Ascot Park after racing New Zealand’s established open class stars. Though Todd does not fully agree with, especially considering his horse starts from the 30m back mark in Saturday’s 2700m handicap. “I wouldn’t say it is a big drop back,” Todd said. “I know the ones he raced up north are pretty smart – Self Assured and Copy That.” “But the ones down south have been pretty impressive.” “He has got to give Pembrook Playboy and horses like him 20m.” “It is still not going to be easy to win.” Thefixer comes into the Invercargill Cup without having raced in over three weeks. Todd is confident his the seven-year-old’s fitness levels are where they need to be with the work he has had since. “He had the trip home and then he was basically straight back into it.” “He has had that racing early in the New Year and at Cambridge.” “So I would be surprised if he has lost too much fitness.” “He looks good, the old fella.” Thefixer is the lone 30m marker, 10m behind 20m handicappers Vintage Cheddar and Henry Hubert. The Canterbury pacer’s biggest threat Pembrook’s Playboy starts from the 10m mark alongside Robyns Playboy. Todd hopes Thefixer’s usually brilliant standing start manners can help him overcome his handicap. “In the Franklin Cup he was off 30m and he ended up pretty handy early.” “If some of the horses in front of us were slow away it might work to our advantage.” Pembrook Playboy is set to start favourite for the Invercargill Cup after his dazzling win in the Central Otago Cup at Winton. The Nathan Williamson trained four-year-old left all of his Invercargill Cup rivals, except Thefixer and Franco Santino, in his wake when unleashing a brilliant finish to win last week. Thefixer will be driven by Bob Butt, who has picked up three catch drives on the Invercargill programme. Butt drives Robo Trouble in race 5 following the trotter’s unlucky fifth at Winton where he was denied clear running in the home straight. Butt will also combine with A Taste Of Honey in race 8 and Better Galleon in race 9.

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk    Regan Todd will be keeping close tabs on two venues on Friday. The Canterbury trainer has runners at both Nelson and Cambridge meetings, and he is particularly excited about the feature races on both cards. At the top of the South Island, Todd will contest the Nelson Pine Industries Nelson Cup (3000m) with in-form pacers Cheezel and That Alexander Guy. Cheezel heads into the race off the back of three placings, including a last start third at Motukarara over 2810m. “I was quite happy with Cheezel’s run at Motukarara on the grass,” Todd said. “She went in quite fresh, so you would like to think that she would improve a bit. “She has worked well since. She just needs a bit of luck, she is a bit of a follower if anything. “She should be alright over 3000m, she ran over 2810m last start, so another 200m shouldn’t worry her. “She is a bit hit or miss sometimes (in standing starts), so we are just hoping she steps away.” While Cheezel has drawn the ace marble, stablemate That Alexander Guy will have to navigate his way around the field from his 20m back mark. It’s the Group Three performer’s first start since his third-placing at Timaru early last month, but Todd said he wouldn’t be surprised if the gelding featured in the finish on Friday. “That Alexander Guy seems well within himself and he is going well,” Todd said. “You would like to think that he will tighten up a lot better for the mile on Sunday. “He is not in there without a chance, it is quite an even field.” Further north, Group One winner Thefixer will be looking to rectify his late break in the Gr.1 Auckland Cup (3200m) last start when he lines-up in the Gr.2 McMillan Equine Feeds Flying Mile Mobile Pace (1609m) at Cambridge Raceway. “It’s one of those things that’s hard to put it (break) down to, but Bob (Butt, driver) was of the opinion that he might have got his knee around that last bend when they were trying to run into it, but it’s just one of those things that you have got to put behind you,” Todd said. Thefixer has drawn barrier five in the seven-horse field and Todd believes he will need a lot of luck from that draw. “It is going to be hard from there, especially Copy That drawing inside him,” Todd said. “He is likely to bowl forward and lead and park the rest of them. “We are going to need a good run from there really, it will just depend where he ends up early.”

In less than 24 hours the biggest event on the harness racing calendar will go ahead at Christchurch’s Addington Raceway. For one North Canterbury harness racing trainer, Regan Todd, it’ll be his first Cup Day start. In June this year he took over The Fixer, who previously won the cup in 2018 under the famous Purdon-Rasmussen stable. “It’s one of those races you watch as a kid and go, 'Oh, I wouldn’t mind doing that one day,'" Todd said. "So to finally get one. Yeah, it’s special.” He’s been training The Fixer daily at Woodend Beach, where the stables back onto. “It’s therapeutic for them, especially the ones that get sore feet.” Whilst it’s been a bumpy road to the cup for The Fixer, Todd believes he’s in with a good shot. “I’m not a bullish kind of person, but he won’t disgrace himself – he’s in a good space at the moment.” The horse is just $5000 shy of winning $1,000,000 in its career. Come time for racing at 5.35pm today, Todd will be hoping The Fixer keeps the cool, calm, composure he shows at Woodend Beach. TV One News

By Dave Di Somma - Harness News Desk    2018 New Zealand Cup winner Thefixer  is no longer an All Star. The  nearly one million dollar earner has left the powerful All Stars Stables of Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen  to join Regan Todd on the beach at Woodend in North Canterbury. “He was Natalie’s project”, says Thefixer’s part-owner Phil Kennard, “and it’s never easy to shift a horse but everyone agreed that his best chance of getting back was going to the beach.” The son of Bettor’s Delight has long had foot issues  - “he’s just got soft feet”. Now six and  with a record of 12 wins from 37 starts Thefixer has not won a race in New Zealand since that Cup triumph at Addington on November 13 2018. Since then though  he’s run third to Ultimate Sniper in the 2019 Interdominion final, second to Spankem second in the 2019 Miracle Mile in Sydney, and second to Self Assured in the Auckland Cup on New Year’s Eve (2019) .   “He’s a lightly raced horse,” said Kennard, “and physically he has no other issues apart from his feet”. Todd has been associated with the horse before, in the lead up to his  2018 Cup win. Then Thefixer  was still officially in Purdon and Rasmussen’s care. Now the stable change is permanent. “It’s pretty exciting,” said Todd,  “ we are hoping the beach will take the pressure off his feet, rather than being on the track all the time.”   At the other end of the spectrum the  32-year-old is also officially training promising four-year-old Percy. Initially with Phil Burrows the American Ideal gelding  has been transferred to Todd after two luckless starts at Addington , where he’s started favourite and finished fourth. While Todd is officially in charge much of the day-to-day training is the responsibility of his offsider and trials driver Tom Bamford. His family, who are sprinkled around the South Island, own the horse and yes the horse’s name does have some significance.   “My nana – her father was Percy and she had a brother called Percy” Percy will debut for the stable on Friday in race 3 at Addington – the IRT “Flying Horses since 1972” mobile pace.  “He has very high speed and he goes well, the first step is to win a maiden on Friday night and go from there.” As for Thefixer,  he is a longer term proposition as he builds to the trials potentially in September and then the  traditional pre- Cup races leading up to November.   “He will let us know if he’s ready,” said Todd.

The old saying that change can be as good as a holiday rang true when harness racing trainer Regan Todd took two well-bred half-sisters and produced them to win first up in his colours. The great benefactor in all of this were long time industry participants Alan Rose and John Howe. Elation is a word not often used to describe the feeling on a racetrack, but Rose admits to having no embarrassment in saying that the tears were flowing in the birdcage. “I had a friend ring me up that I haven’t heard from since school days and he said, to win one race in a day is marvellous. But to win two races in a day is champion,” said Rose. The two were victorious on the first day of the Wakaiouiti meeting in February and their wins were special for many reasons. None more than the fact that Canstar (4yo Bettor’s Delight) and Duastar (3yo Art Major) were both bred from a mare that Rose and his racing partner John Howe had some success with on the track. Canstar Duastar The pair are the first and second foals from Starlet Lavra, a five-win Jereme's Jet mare who is out of the In The Pocket mare, Florentine Star. Regular readers may be thinking, ‘this Star breed rings a bell’? Florentine Star is a full sister to Star Command, mother of West Australian Derby winner, Patronus Star. “Starlet Lavra was a tremendous race mare and she comes out of the Queen's Treasure maternal line, which is full of good horses through its various branches,” he quipped. Last week we heard about the good Open Class horses like Starship and Anvil Star which are close relatives of Canstar and Duastar. But various taproots tracing back to Queens Treasure (1930) include offspring such as Holmes DG and 1984 NZ Cup winner Camelot amongst a litany of good open class and juvenile horses. Rose’s involvement in Harness Racing began at the same time a young Canterbury lad was making his way in the training ranks. “We had raced a lot of horses with Terry Chmiel and were with him when he went out on his own originally,” said Rose. “We hadn’t had a lot of luck but he was on the lookout for a nice one. “Mark Jones had said to Terry that he would want to have a look at a horse that was owned 50/50 by Tim Butt and Kypros Kotzikas. “She was a two-year-old and the funny story about her is that I was at the Motukarara trials and there was a heat being run for emerging two-year-olds. “There were three of Tim Butt’s and two of Nigel McGrath’s, and I sort of said to myself how do I get myself one of these two-year-olds that can get up and go early like these guys have? “Well bugger me, Starlet Lavra was one of the horses in that heat. I didn’t ever think that I would be owning one of them,” he said. Starlet Lavra had shown early promise, but it was her residual value as a broodmare that ultimately saw her sold as Rose and his partner were keen on the breeding side after some unsuccessful attempts a few years prior. “Anthony Butt said to me she was from a good family, so I went to Danny Boyle at Nevele R Stud who helped me research the family. “We printed off nearly seven pages of black-type performers from Classic Families, he couldn’t believe all of the families that were coming up and I couldn’t believe my eyes,” he said. Although Starlet Lavra had the speed to make a two-year-old, Chmiel advised his clients against pushing on and instead the camp opted for the patient route. “She could have won a race as a two-year-old but we thought being a big filly we would give her time, so I took her home and looked after her and waited until her three-year-old season,” he said. Rose and Howe didn’t have to wait long for their patience to be rewarded with Starlet Lavra who won her race debut at Addington comfortably in the hands of Glenys Chmiel. After some mixed performances being thrust up in grade at a time when fillies and mares opportunities were scarce, it would be six months before she recaptured her best form. After stringing a couple of placings together in the Winter of 2013, she found her way to the winner's circle on a balmy Thursday night at Forbury Park. She lined up on Cup Day the followings season as the winner of five races from 16 starts, having won her fourth and fifth races in succession. Her fourth win was very impressive, looping the field five wide and coming from last on the turn which with the lack of camber on the Rangiora track is no mean feat. She set a track record that day for mares over 2000m from a stand, stopping the clock in 2:31.1. That record still stands today. Just as it looked like Starlet Lavra was fulfilling her early promise, the wheels fell off through no fault of her own. “We lined up on Cup Day thinking there was only one horse to beat and that was Arden Rooney, but as he could earlier in his career, he galloped off the mobile arm and was out of the race. “We were sitting midfield with cover thinking we were a big show, but when Terry hooked her out to sprint, she was going backwards and he didn’t know what the hell had happened. “Blair had driven her at the Cup Trials and had come back and said to me jokingly that he should drive this horse because she was too good for Terry. She was no Adore Me but she beat her in a trial as a three-year-old,” he said. “What it turned out was that somewhere along the line she had been injected and they had hit a nerve in her neck. It was inhibiting her breathing subsequently and we thought that rather than operate, we would breed from her. “If we got one as good as her we would be happy, and if we got something better we would have something really good,” said Rose. Starlet Lavra was on the bigger side for most mares and it was with her size in mind that Rose and Howe sent her to Bettor’s Delight, thinking the Sire’s penchant for throwing the odd smaller foal would be the equilibrium needed for a recipe of success. Mother nature likes to make a fool of us as breeders and as it turned out, the mating would produce a filly who was rather large. “Canstar was a big scopey horse like her mother, Dan Cummings had told me that that side of the breed were big horses, and we had gone to Bettor’s thinking we would get a smaller foal,” said Rose. Like any decent breeder, Rose took a glass half full approach “She was a big horse, but so was Brent Mangos’ good filly Bettor Cover Lover.” Canstar took a little time to find her feet as a racehorse despite having a bit of breeding on her side. The daughter of Bettor’s Delight was well travelled racing at 10 different venues before securing her first win at her 11th start. Rose was quick to point out she had no favours with barrier draws for much of her early career, but running 5th in an Alabar Fillies Heat behind Wainui Creek showed she was no slouch. “The draws came out and we had drawn five and we were over the moon. I rang my partner to tell him and we were sort of jumping around because Wainui creek had drawn 8. “Half an hour later they re-drew the fields and we had drawn 8 and Wainui Creek had moved into the pole,” he laughed. By now the racing partnership of Rose and Howe had a second foal from Starlet Lavra and despite being cut from a different cloth physically, the Art Major filly was showing some of the family traits of early speed. “Duastar looks like a typical Art Major, they are totally different horses to look at but she too could have been a two-year-old,” said Rose. The virtue of patience was once again applied to see the now three-year-old presented at the races on the back of some good trial form, having won a Workout at Methven leading to her debut at Rangiora. The filly failed to fire a shot and after some questions from the stipes, was found to be suffering from the effects of a virus. Back to the drawing board they went. After a couple of nice trials and workouts, she went even worse at Methven. Interestingly the stipes left her alone this time?! Looking for answers it was decided a different approach might be good for the Rose and Howe owned duo, and the pair were sent to Woodend and placed in the care of Regan Todd. Duastar must have shown a bit on the beach because despite having run 10th at her first two starts, she opened a warm third favourite in the third race at Wakaiouiti. Robbie Close had her in the running line for most of the trip and when presented, showed some real dash to reel in the favourite Krystal Delight, who had led everywhere but the finish. “The funny thing was they were horses who we didn’t think had much of a sprint, but for whatever reason Regan didn’t agree with our assessment and so it’s proven,” said Rose. Canstar completed a wonderful day for Rose when she won the eighth race on the card. Todd insists that he never worked any oracles so to speak and that the pair were nice horses and probably just down on their luck a bit. “I didn’t have to do anything too drastic mate, wee Duastar had always shown promise early on for Terry but got crook a couple of times and Canstar was in the same boat, she seems nice enough and I would like to think they will be better for it next time in,” said Todd. Both horses have franked their form and gone on with it. Canstar bolted in at her next start at Addington after being no better than midfield and showing great zip to win going away before running second in an extremely deep fillies and mares race in her final start for the season. The younger sister Duastar has proven no slouch either running fourth in a strong Nevele R Fillies heat behind Stylish Memphis and then being beaten a nose by the seven-win Doctor Tim at Waimate. Both suggest they will make Rose proud next season and he has a He’s Watching yearling and Vincent weanling out of Starlet Lavra waiting in the wings. Both are colts and the yearling is showing some promise with Regan Todd. “The He’s Watching colt is a big rangy horse like his mum and I haven’t been out to see the Vincent colt for a while but he was a nice foal like a lot of the Vincent’s,” he said. It’s always great to see the nice guys having a bit of luck and for a student of the game like Rose, his passion for breeding is now beginning to reap its rewards. “I go over all the test matings and to finally have what you think come true, you feel validated,” said Rose. By Brad Reid | NZ Standardbred Breeders Association

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  

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  

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