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Pat’s Delight is on target for the New Zealand Free-For-All after a scintillating fresh up win in the Selwyn Paul Memorial Tuapeka Cup at Forbury Park today. Pat’s Delight eclipsed his eight rivals in close to track record time in his first race since he won the Harness Jewels for 3yr-old colts and geldings at Cambridge in June. Pat’s Delight ran the 2700m in 3.21.6, 0.3sec outside the track mark set by Wrath Of Robyn in 2015. Driver Ricky May sent Pat’s Delight to the front at the 1200m after starting from 30m and the son of Bettor’s Delight – Righteous Franco cleared out in the closing stages to win by six and three quarter lengths, the last 800m in 56.1. “Cran (Dalgety, the trainer) told me to drive him like that. He needed a decent run with the NZ Free-For-All in mind,’’ said May. It was May’s fourth win in the Tuapeka Cup, the first with Abbeyshrule in 1999 and the others with Owaka Jack (2001) and Explosive Art (2014). “He did begin very well so that’s a bonus. Many people have told me about Eamon Maguire last year. There was only nine in it (Tuapeka Cup) and he was hot favourite, off thirty (metres) and he only beat one home. It’s very hard to catch a front runner if they run like rabbits up front. He (Pat’s Delight) began well and Ricky at the mile rolled to the top. Then he controlled his own last mile so he didn’t turn into being a chaser. So a smart drive from Ricky,” said Dalgety. Pat’s Delight, raced by breeders Pat and Margaret Kubala, of Gore, has now won 10 of his 22 starts and $194,000 in stakes. “He (Pat’s Delight) has just strengthened up so much. I wanted to give him a decent break after the Jewels and that ruled out the NZ Cup this year,’’ said Pat Kubala. “I couldn’t be more pleased with the way things have gone.” Dalgety said he had the option of racing at Ashburton tomorrow or Tuapeka. “We tossed the coin between the Ashburton Handicap and this race. What swayed us was Pat living down there (in Gore) and being an older man he doesn’t come to Canterbury a lot. So I thought it was a great opportunity to show him off to him. The stakes and handicap were similar and it’s only another couple of hours down the road. We were lucky enough to get some happy owners,” he said. Dalgety says Pat’s Delight has developed into an impressive four year old stallion. “It’s interesting. You see a lot of age group two and three year olds have a hollow four year old year. I don’t know how it works. When we turned him out he had six weeks and he just went from being a boy to a man in physique. We’ve been able to lift his work load and the intensity a bit higher and he’s accepted it so that’s been exciting. From Jewels Day to now he could be 26-28 kg’s heavier. I’m sure he’ll get a touch better too.” Dalgety says he is considering the Kaikoura Cup as an option prior to the FFA but other than that he’ll remain close to home. “He’ll stay pretty tight now.” With today’s driver Ricky May committed to AG’s White Socks, Dalgety may have to look for another driver but he’s pretty relaxed about making that call. “I’m not one to plan too far ahead because it blows up in your face. I’ll naturally throw Ricky in the mix. If he can drive him that’s great if he can’t he can’t.” Trainer Dalgety and May also won with Buzinga and Just Dance. The stable had four horses at the meeting in charge of Dalgety’s son, Carter. Buzinga a 3yr-old Bettor’s Delight – Safedra filly scored comfortably after racing in the open over 1700m. It was her third win in four starts. Just Dance stormed home wide out. She is raced by the Woodlands Partnership syndicate No 23, Kieran Read and Andy Ellis.   Taylor Strong with quotes obtained by Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing  

Greg Hope had two open class reasons to smile yesterday. And that could mean the long wait for champion trotter Monbet to return to the track is almost over. Hope not only trains Monbet but New Zealand Cup contender A G’s White Socks and both are coming off setbacks of wildly different lengths. Monbet hasn’t raced for 23 months after an array of leg issues while A G’s White Socks was dragged off the track just minutes before Sunday’s Methven Cup after soft tissue damage believed to have been suffered in a raceday slip. But the news is good for both. Monbet made one of his first public appearances since winning the Dominion at the Cup carnival two years ago when Hope snuck him on to the Rangiora track for a workout yesterday. There was nothing official about it, with Monbet working solo over 2600m but it was as good as a trial and a massive step in the right direction. He trotted 3:24 for 2600m, his last 800m in 60 seconds and final 400m in 28 and most importantly pulled up sound. It was nice work and showed he is ready for a trial next week and then the races at Addington on November 2,” said Hope.  “After that, all going well, we will aim him at the Trotting Free-For-All on Cup Day (November 13).”  Hope and his wife Nina pulled Monbet out of the Dominion, New Zealand’s richest trotting race on November 17, because they believe they couldn’t get enough competitive miles into his legs in time for the gutbusting 3200m.  “And we want to do the right thing by the horse. He has won it before and it is a long season so we didn’t want to rush him.”  A G’s White Socks is improving steadily after his weird setback on Sunday and has accepted for Monday’s Flying Stakes at Ashburton and looks 90 per cent likely to start.  “What happened last Sunday was very strange. I actually worked him the morning of the race and he was great then we put him away for a while before taking him to the races.  “During that break I think he must have slipped and hurt himself a little bit. There was no sign of it at the races until he started to warm up and we had to pull him off the track.  “But I am confident we are over that now and can still get the racing into him he needs for the New Zealand Cup.” Monday’s 2400m stand looks the most important New Zealand Cup lead-up of the season so far with many of the big namesheadlined by Dream About Me (barrier 1), Eamon Maguire (2), Ultimate Machete (7) and Star Galleria (8), with A G’s White Socks to start from barrier nine if he makes the race.  In the Flying Mile for the trotters Harriet Of Mot (barrier 2, but likely to start to one) and Great Things Happen (likely barrier 2) have got the best of the draws in what is traditionally New Zealand’s fastest open class trotting mile. Michael Guerin

Several leading harness racing drivers have had their fines reduced after being charged for failing to come up into and/or maintain their position behind the starting gate at this years harness jewels at Cambridge. The normal penalty for breaking this rule is $100 but the Judicial Committee however, in all cases imposed higher penalties as the meeting was a major one with all stakes being higher than $40,000. Gavin Smith, Ricky May and Mark Purdon were fined $400. Natalie Rasmussen was fined $500 because she had been warned earlier in the day. Brent Barclay was fined $200 and his licence was suspended for one day and Terry Chmiel had imposed on him a three day suspension. All drivers appealed their penalties and all were succesfull with the fines reduced to $200 for Mark Purdon, Gavin Smith, Ricky May and Natalie Rasmussen. Terry Chmiel had his suspension reduced to two days and since two days had already been served there was no further penalty. Brent Barclay had his penalty reduced to the fine of $200 only.   Full details below: BEFORE AN APPEALS TRIBUNAL OF THE JUDICIAL CONTROL AUTHORITY FOR RACING UNDER THE RACING ACT 2003 IN THE MATTER of the New Zealand Harness Racing BETWEEN MARK PURDON TERRY CHMIEL BRENT BARCLAY NATALIE RASMUSSEN RICKY MAY GAVIN SMITH Appellants AND RACING INTEGRITY UNIT Respondent Appeals Tribunal: Mr Garry Thompson, Chairman Mr Russell McKenzie, Member Written decision issued on the 30th June 2018 It was ordered by consent that the appeals be dealt with on the papers. DECISION OF THE APPEALS TRIBUNAL OF THE JUDICIAL CONTROL AUTHORITY 1. INTRODUCTION 1.1 Each Appellant was charged under Rule 857(7) which states “no horseman shall fail to come up into and/or maintain his position” 1.2 The Rule referred to above is normally dealt with as a minor offence being listed in the Minor Infringement Schedule but the Race meeting at which this was held being the Waikato Bay of Plenty Harness Racing Club (Harness Jewels meeting) meeting on 2nd June 2018 at Cambridge Raceway had every race carrying a stake of $40,000 or greater being what is described in the Penalty Guide as a major race. 1.3 Accordingly, the RIU stewards sought to uplift the penalty amount which had a standard penalty of $100 and therefore filed the charge with the raceday Judicial Committee. 1.4 The Stewards submitted that a 100% increase in the normal penalty be imposed since in all cases these were major races. They therefore submitted that a penalty of $200.00 or an equivalent suspension was appropriate. 1.5 The Judicial Committee, however, in all cases imposed higher penalties. Messrs Smith, May and Purdon were fined $400. Ms Rasmussen was fined $500 because she had been warned earlier in the day. Mr Barclay was fined $200 and his licence was suspended for one day and Mr Chmiel had imposed on him a three day suspension. All have appealed. 2. THE APPEAL 2.1 It is necessary for the Appeals Tribunal to form its own decision on the matters placed before it and in this case the Tribunal has directed that this be dealt with on the papers. 3. SUBMISSIONS FOR THE APPELLANTS 3.1 Mr Lawson submitted that what the Stewards submitted by way of penalty was appropriate and that the penalties imposed by the Judicial Committee were excessive. 3.2 Mr Lawson raised a number of relevant matters including the fact that it was not suggested that the penalties had previously been manifestly inadequate, the losing driving fees after 6th position were the same as any other meeting, the visual aspects of knowing where 1609m starting point was created a difficulty and the mobile barrier moved faster than normal because of the distance of the race and the quality of the horses. 3.3 Mr Lawson admitted that the penalties should all be $200.00 except that Mr Barclay who received a one day suspension as well as a $200 fine simply have this replaced by a $200 fine only and Mr Chmiel who received a three day suspension, but no fine have his suspension reduced to two days. 4. SUBMISSIONS FOR THE RESPONDENT 4.1 Mr Ydgren submitted that a 100% increase on $100 being the standard penalty to $200 was appropriate except in the case of Mr Chmiel who had a previous breach of the rule so his penalty it was submitted be a two day suspension which had already been served. 4.2 Mr Ydgren explained the allowance horsemen have of half a length grace and stated that drivers are required to know where the starting position is on the track and that in the circumstances all the horseman either made a simple error and misjudged their position or were unaware of where the actual starting point was. 5. DECISION Having considered the submissions on behalf of the Appellants and the Respondent we are satisfied that a 100% increase in the penalty prescribed by Minor infringement Scheme is appropriate in the circumstances this being the submission of the RIU stewards at the Race Day Hearing. The onus is on the Appellants to show that the penalty imposed by the Judicial Committee was manifestly excessive and in our view the Appellants have discharged that onus. 6. PENALTIES We impose a penalty of $200 fine on Mark Purdon, Gavin Smith, Ricky May and Natalie Rasmussen. We impose a penalty of a two day suspension on Terry Chmiel he having had a previous breach of this rule and since two days have already been served there is no further penalty. Brent Barclay was issued with a fine of $200 and had his licence suspended for one day and his penalty is reduced to the fine of $200 only. 7. COST AND FILLING FEE Mr Lawson has made no application for costs and submits that costs should lie where they fall. He has submitted that the $250 filing fee be refunded. We agree with both those submissions. The penalties we are imposing are what were submitted by the RIU at the hearing and the Respondent should not be penalised because the appeal is successful. The Appellants should not be out of pocket as they were successful. Dated this 30th June 2018 Garry Thompson CHAIRMAN   Harnesslink Media

Bettor's Delight mare Utmost Delight has won a brutal Jewels race, finally claiming a narrow victory in stirring home stretch battle with harness racing rival Delishka. Utmost Delight had to be the best horse to win after sitting three wide and parked for most of the race while Mark Purdon took the bull by the horns and launched to the front early on All Stars runner Partyon. In the straight Utmost Delight dug deepest and beat Deliska by a half a length with a further length back to Seaswift Joy in third. Driver Ricky May gave credit to trainer Steven Reid after the race. "I have only driven her five times and she has never been out of the first two for me, so Steven always has her pretty spot on,"he said. Steven Reid said it was a great week for him. "All I can say is it has been a great week. "I had my doubts today that she could win but the way she worked during the week I thought she only needs an ounce of luck and she had no luck but still won. "I am just rapt. I am really rapt for the owners and everyone involved in the horse," he said. Utmost Delight paced the mile in 1-52.7  Harnesslink Media   Listen to owner Charlie Roberts son in law Paul Kenny Utmost Delight WOODLANDS STUD 4YO DIAMOND (MOBILE PACE) (Gr1), $150,000, 4YO MARES, 1609m   For 4-year-old pacing mares. Video  Weather: Overcast     Track: Fast      Race History     Plc Bk Horse Barrier Hcap Stakes Fav Time Margin Driver Trainer 1 13 Utmost Delight 13 fr 75,000.00 1/2 1-52.7   R T May S J Reid 2 5 Delishka 5 fr 22,500.00 3/3 1-52.8 0.50 M J Williamson B K Mowbray 3 2 Seaswift Joy 2 fr 15,000.00 2/1 1-53.2 2.40 J P Stormont J P Stormont 4 11 Opoutama 11 fr 6,375.00 8/8 1-53.3 2.80 Z E Butcher B Purdon 5 12 Partyon 12 fr 4,735.00 5/4 1-53.3 3.00 Mark Purdon M Purdon & Ms N C Rasmussen 6 7 Step Up 7 fr 3,770.00 9/9 1-53.9 5.60 D J Butcher S G Telfer 7 3 Juice Brogden 3 fr 3,770.00 6/6 1-53.9 6.00 N A Chilcott Miss N A Chilcott 8 10 Bonnie Joan 10 fr 3,770.00 4/5 1-54.0 6.10 D J Dunn C T Dalgety 9 1 Christanna 1 fr 3,770.00 10/10 1-54.5 8.90 P A Butcher M G Berger 10 8 American Empress 8 fr 3,770.00 11/12 1-54.7 9.90 S W Abernethy J M Young 11 6 Bettor's Heart 6 fr 3,770.00 7/7 1-56.0 16.10 J R Dunn P D Bagrie 12 4 Lynbar Rose 4 fr 3,770.00 12/11 1-56.7 19.60 M W McKendry MNZM J M Young $150,000.00   Scratchings SCR 9 Carlas Pixel 9                     Divs: $4.20. $1.70. $2.10. $1.60. Quinella $9.30. Trifecta $72.70. First4 $508.20. Margins: 1/2 length, 2 lengths, 1/2 length Times: Mile Rate: 1-52.7 Last 800m: 56.0 Last 400m: 28.2 Placed Horses:       Utmost Delight 2013 4 B m Bettor's Delight - Victor Supreme   (by Placid Victor)    Trainer: S J Reid, Pukekohe    Owner: C J Roberts    Breeder: C J Roberts    Delishka 2013 4 Br m Bettor's Delight - Balishka   (by Badlands Hanover)    Trainer: B K Mowbray, Russley    Owner: Nanticoke Racing Inc    Breeder: E W Knight,B K Mowbray    Seaswift Joy 2013 4 B m Bettor's Delight - Swift Belle   (by Christian Cullen)    Trainer: J P Stormont, Pukekohe    Owner: M I Shinn, Mrs P G Redmond, J R Redmond, G S Redmond, D C Redmond, A G Redmond    Breeder: M J Prendergast,Mrs P G Redmond,M I Shinn

It might seem strange two of Auckland's greatest staying races are so dependent on what happens at the start, three or even four minutes before the finish. But the start might be the winning and losing of the two biggest group ones at Alexandra Park tonight. Both the $150,000 Rowe Cup and $100,000 Messenger have enough depth to make them even but their natural lead-up races last Friday — the Anzac Cup and Taylor Mile — suggested trainer Greg Hope has the horse to beat in both. A G's White Socks led, trailed and bolted away with the Taylor Mile and has the draw to potentially do something similar in the Messenger, while Enghien has been so good in his last two starts, including the Anzac Cup when he was pushed off the track down the back straight, he is clearly the trotter to beat in the Rowe Cup.   But both face very obvious challenges in the early stages of their races. A G's White Socks might, and it is only a might, have the gate speed to hold Eamon Maguire and Star Galleria at the start of the 2700m mobile Messenger and if he does Hope will be reluctant to see driver Ricky May trail like he did last week. "I think if we hand the lead to Eamon Maguire then he will hand to his stablemate (More The Better) and we are three deep on the markers and in trouble," says Hope. "Ricky and I have discussed it and we are of the mind that if he leads we will want to stay there and take our chances." A G's White Socks's two recent group one wins, the other being the Easter Cup three starts ago, have been when he trailed and the possibility of him wanting to lead throughout if he can hold fast beginner Eamon Maguire at the start, sets the tone for a competitive race. While most major Alexandra Park staying races are won by the horses saving ground on the markers, any early battle could play into the hooves of Star Galleria, who emerges as the value in the race. But Eamon Maguire, still a very new recruit to the All Stars, was the run of the race when second in the Taylor Mile and if he crosses straight to the front he has all the options. The start of the Rowe Cup may not be as much about options as manners, with Enghien still very much a work in progress and one who has had very few standing starts on a full front line in his career. That could mean some early nerves for both he and punters tonight but Hope is confident he will handle the stand. "He is actually a very sensible horse and can begin quickly," says Hope. "When he did gallop from a stand three start ago it wasn't his fault, he got a shock when horses rushed up behind him because he had blinkers on. "But I am confident he will get it right and I am sure he is better than when he ran second in the Anzac Cup last Friday." That, coupled with the mixed form of many of his rivals, makes Enghien the horse to beat but you can make each way cases for Speeding Spur (draw and career record), Lemond (blazing Anzac Cup win) and Harriet Of Mot (occasional bursts of brilliance). The two other group ones tonight are vastly different. It is silly to bet against Winterfell in the Trotting Derby while the Sires' Stakes Championship has been thrown wide open by the unfortunate scratching of Princess Tiffany.   Michael Guerin

When it came to getting involved with horses, Philippa Hanley really didn’t have a choice. It was literally inscribed into her life the day she was born. Whilst the Hanley name is well known and respected in the animal nutrition world, it is her first name that spelled out her future. Philippa literally means ‘lover of horses.’ “I’m so horse mad,” admits Hanley. “I have always loved horses and got the bug from my late father Paul Hanley. He always had a share in a galloper.” She was admittedly ‘thoroughbred mad’ as a teenager, but found the allure of Standardbreds ten years ago when she got involved with Cool Sandy, a Sands A Flying mare she would later breed from. “I now have a few young horses and two racehorses. They are Cool Changes, who I bred, and Back In Black who I bought at the yearling sales. I have been extremely rewarded with both horses winning two races each since December. They are both having a well-earned break and are trained by Stephen Boyd and his team,” said Hanley. Cool Changes is a six-year-old Changeover gelding Hanley bred from Cool Sandy and has won three races so far.  Whilst Back In Black is a lightly raced three-year-old with a record of two wins from just eight starts to date. Some of her personal highlights so far in ownership include overcoming adversity. “Cool Changes came back from two wind operations to win a trial and Motukarara and then his first race back. That was over the top amazing and Steve Boyd did a huge job to get him back,” explained Hanley. “And my first home bred horse, Betabecool went to Australia and the USA and won over 35 races. Beginners luck but you can’t go wrong with a Bettor’s Delight can you?” “Buying De Lovely’s filly, Porscha, at this year’s yearling sales was a highlight too. I love her so much.” While winning races is a huge thrill, it’s not what drives Hanley to own Standardbreds. “My favourite thing is to be involved with a horse who just loves to race,” Hanley said. “Cool Changes and Back In Black are not champions but they just love the whole race day ritual of getting ready and being involved. As I am so horse mad I really love being a team with a keen horse and all the Boyd racing crew.” Her animal nutrition business, Hanley Supplements, specializes in very high specification nutritional products for dogs, horses and farm animals. It allows her to follow her passion in life, but to also to give back to those who desperately need support. “I heal animals with food and it works well. Through my business I sponsor free food to New Zealand’s dog shelters, and give hundreds of bags of my Hanley Formula to horse shows and horse rescue operations.” The well-being of horses is never far from her mind either, sponsoring a Kaimanawa horse each muster and also supporting life after racing. “I put a lot of cash directly into Standardbred showing and racing in New Zealand,” explained Hanley. “I’m really excited about the Standardbred as a riding horse for after they finish racing, so I help where ever I am needed.” “For my own horses racing is only the first half of their life, it’s up to me to get them trained for a cool life after racing. This costs me but I factor this in when buying and breeding, and I will pay to have a horse saddle broken when it’s finished racing.” Hanley is humble about her generosity. “There are so many amazing people in this industry doing a lot more than me. I’m just a small help to a special breed of horses which I love so much.” If you’re considering ownership Hanley would recommend it strongly to those who want a fun experience. “Some people expect to win all the time and want cash back for their investment, these people are better off buying a rental property,” she laughs. “I would recommend it if you want to have fun or love horses. It’s addictive!” - If you are wanting to find out more on how you can get involved in harness racing ownership, email Jess Smith jess@hrnz.co.nz    HRNZ Marketing

The man with the perfect draws to dominate the two glamour races at Alexandra Park tonight says it may not be that simple. Because Ricky May says while he can win both the Taylor Mile and Anzac Cup, it may not be a comfortable watch for punters. May has barrier one with A G's White Socks in the Taylor Mile and as the winner of the Easter Cup two starts ago he looks good enough to be master of his own destiny, which is exactly what he didn't do at Addington last start. "I stuffed up the drive last start, I gave Mark [Purdon, driving More The Better] the lead too easy and we had no chance after that," admits May. "So we have the ace this time and I think I have to be aggressive from the inside but the question is how aggressive because there is plenty of speed next to us. "I can see them going really hard and some of us are going to have to make decisions around the first bend." Translated into non-racing speak that means: we want to lead or trail the right horse but we don't want to go crazy trying to do so. That pretty much sums up the likes of key rivals Star Galleria, Let It Ride and Raukapuka Ruler, the drivers of all will want to get to the markers but not spend too much energy doing so because that could set the race up for More The Better. As good as his group one winning rivals are, Star Galleria has been brilliant this season and has the raw speed to give driver Tony Herlihy options so he deserves favouritism and if he can run to the front it will take a special performance to get past him. Let It Ride has had the right preparation of speed racing and was good enough at the workouts last Saturday to win while More The Better could be sitting just off the speed after a sizzling open sectional and swoop in what shapes as a great race. Enghien showed with his luckless last-start second at Addington he is now strong enough to beat the older trotters but if you are expecting a lead-and-win performance from barrier two you might be disappointed. For all his stamina he is still a quirky trotter who doesn't like being bustled and May suggests he will have to be patient early before making his move later. "He is at his best right-handed and I am sure he can win but he has been funny this season so I don't see us racing to the lead or anything like that." Enghien can undoubtedly win but with the possibility Lemond, Bordeaux and even Temporale could surge forward to get in front of him punters might be understandably reluctant to take his $2.50 opening price. Lemond appeals as the value in the race as he bounced right back to his best over 1700m last week and showed good gate speed. A repeat of that could see him press forward and even lead tonight from where he would take enormous running down. Earlier in the night the scratching of Luby Lou after she got tangled in a fence has opened up the Sires' Stakes Trot, with Renezmae and Winterfell the greatest beneficiaries while it is hard to make a case to bet on, or against, Princess Tiffany at $1.30 in the Caduceus Club Classic for the juvenile pacing fillies. Michael Guerin

In what was a minor harness racing upset, Rock N Roll Heaven gelding A G’s White Socks has ruined an All Stars clean sweep by beating the favourite More The Bettor in yesterdays $90,000 Group 1 Easter Cup. The Purdon/Rasmussen team had looked on target for winning all six of the races they had starters in, until the Greg and Nina Hope trained A G’s White Socks charged down the centre of the track to claim a deserved win in the Addington feature race. Driver Ricky May said after the race that he always thought A G’s White Socks was suited to the extreme distance of 3200m. "He has gone well over the distance before in the Auckland Cup. " Today he really sprinted when I asked him to go and he picked More The Better Up easily," he said. A G’s White Socks paced the 3200m from a stand in 4-02.1 with a closing 800m in a sizzling 55.2 with the 400m in 27.1 seconds. More The Bettor stuck on well for second after trying to lead all the way and Tiger Thompson also battled on well for third after working hard mid-race. The Hope stable also picked up the 4& 5yo Trotting Championship when Enghien led for the last 800m and won easily with May in the sulky. A G’s White Socks winning the Easter Cup Harnesslink Media

Invercargill lawyer Murray Little was in the winners circle twice at the Wyndham harness racing meeting yesterday (Saturday) when two of the horses he owns and bred won their respective races. Betterthanbrie started the ball rolling in Race Two. She settled in the last group of runners after drawing barrier thirteen and improved three wide on the back of Thisexcusebetterbeit inside the last 700 metres. Driver Dexter Dunn brought the three year old wide into the straight and she let down strongly to beat Thisexcusebetterbeit by a length and a quarter with a half a length back to favourite Semiramide who was late getting clear.  The Betterthancheddar filly qualified as a two year old from Wayne Adams barn but is now trained by Paul 'Tank' Ellis at Oreti Beach. "She got a wee injury about four or five months ago. We turned her out and decided to put her on the beach which is quite good because I get to drive her on Saturdays and Sundays," said Little who owns the barn Ellis trains out of. Betterthanbrie is out of the nine win Holmes Hanover mare Suvarno Hanover which Little owns. "I've had her (Betterthanbrie) since she was weaned and I'm never going to sell her because she's the only filly I've got out of Suvarno Hanover." Little got into the family when be bought Mach Varno at the sales. "Then Ged Mooar rang me and said do you want to buy the mother in foal to Courage Under Fire. I bought her and I've been breeding from her ever since." The Courage Under Fire colt never raced but the next foal by Bettors Delight named Wannabet won three in New Zealand and another eight in Australia. He's paced a mile there in 1-53.9. Suvarno Hanover's next foal is Betterthanbrie while she also has an American Ideal two year old colt named Wannahavtime. "He's growing and going to be a big horse so we just tipped him out this week. Kirstin Barclay's got him and he was going really well on his second prep." Little also sold the mare's yearling colt by He's Watching at the recent Christchurch sale for $18,000. He thinks there's still improvement in Betterthanbrie judging from the way she's been running on in her previous starts and he says he'd love to start her in Invercargill at the end of next month.  "I'll talk to Tank but I'd love her to race in the Southland Oaks because her mum won it." Murray Little with stable helpers                      - Photo Bruce Stewart  Later in the day the talented Mach's Back returned to the winners circle after a horror run of noughts. He settled in the last group of horses early. With 1300 metres to run, driver Ricky May sent the four year old forward three wide. He got cover briefly from favourite Come Dance With Me which had followed him up. At the 400 these two horses got down to business and under the urgings of May, Mach's Back proved too good winning by a length and a quarter. The winning time was 2-56.3. "He had teeth problems and was crossfiring but they've got that sorted out," said Little prior to the win yesterday. Like Betterthanbrie he also bred Mach's Back which is by Mach Three out of Dream Angel a full-sister to high class mare One Dream which won eighteen races and nearly $900,000.   Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing   Betterthanbrie winning    Mach's Back winning  

The most impressive winner on Cup Day at Ascot Park yesterday was the Nigel McGrath trained Sheriff which won the McKnight and Brown Mobile Pace. Driver Ricky May drove the three year old colt like he was the best horse in the race - which he was. He blasted out from gate six, took the lead and went to the line untouched to win by four and three quarters of a length from Ana Malak which came from last to run second. The winning time on an off track was 2-40.2. “It was a pretty easy drive really- he just went super. He was jogging all the way to be fair. He’s got a bit of a future this fella. If he keeps improving he’ll be right up with the top ones,” said May. Heading back                         - Photo Bruce Stewart. This was the second time May has driven the colt. He also drove him when he ran sixth in Chase Auckland's PGG Wrightson New Zealand Yearling Sales Three Year Old Final.  “He drew bad, had no luck and he ran on really strongly.”   May says that Sheriff will make an ideal Southern Supremacy Stakes runner for McGrath later in the season. Winning connections with sponsor Bernie Brown - Photo Bruce Stewart. Like Maverick, he was also bred by Ken and Anne-Marie Spicer. He's out of the Christian Cullen mare Jen Marie. The Spicers are offering a half-brother by Art Major in next month's sale in Christchurch. His name is El Dorado.  Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing    

Ameretto Sun somewhat of a grass and track specialist, could improve on his second in the Ordeal Trotting Cup at Addington.  Harness racing trainer Ken Ford has him primed to go close to winning todays Alabar DG Jones Banks Peninsular Trotting Cup at Motukarara Raceway. Ford has a good record in the race, winning it twice, with Midnight Invasion (2008) and Zachary Binz (2015). Zachary Binz who won on a bog track two years in the slowest time in the race history, is back again this year and will again be driven by Amanda Tomlinson, while Ameretto Sun will be driven by Sheree Tomlinson. Sheree Tomlinson and Ameretto Sun Destiny Jones who won the Ordeal Trotting Cup two weeks ago, will also be hard to beat in todays race. His grass track record is also solid with one win and three placings from six starts. Destiny Jones will be driven by Ricky May who won this race last year with Harrysul.  Master trainer of trotters Paul Nairn, has the race favourite Habibty Ivy in todays race.  Habibty Ivy blew the start of the Ordeal Trotting Cup and was pulled up by driver Blair Orange, but she does have a tidy grass track record and the punters have made her a hot favourite today on the FF win market at $1.70. Other good chances in the race are Belles Son, Arya and Pegusus Dream. The big mover on the FF win market today is Gore Bay in race five. TAB bookmaker Steve Richardson said  "they have really come for the Nigel McGrath first starter Gore Bay". "We opened him at $19.00 and the money came straight away, with some solid bets right down to his current price of $6.50." Trainer Nigel McGrath has a good record with three year old first starters on the track. The Motukarara track today is rated as "Dead" with overcast conditions. Banks Peninsular Trotting Cup History Year  Month   Distance Horse Hcap Owner   Driver Time   2016  Oct   2810m Harrysul 10m K R Gardner, R J Shaw   Ricky May 3-41.4   2015  Sep   2810m Zachary Binx Fr K B Ford, Mrs A J Tomlinson   Amanda Tomlinson 4-09.1   2014  Sep   2810m Clover Don 10m G K Stevenson, Mrs J A Stevenson   Robbie Holmes 3-40.7   2013  Sep   2810m Jaccka Justy Fr C F Smaill, Mrs A G Smaill   Jonny Cox 3-54.7   2012  Sep   2810m I Can Doosit 25m Breckon Racing Syndicate   Mark Purdon 3-42.4   2011  Oct   2810m Vulcan Fr Mrs J A Butt, D J McKenzie   Anthony Butt 3-37.5   2010  Oct   2810m Springbank Richard 20m R A Smith, Mrs D J Smith   Nathan Williamson 3-36.0   2009  Oct   2810m Springbank Richard 10m R A Smith, Mrs D J Smith   Nathan Williamson 3-45.4   2008  Oct   2810m Midnight Invasion Fr K B Ford, Mrs A J Tomlinson   Blair Orange 3-48.9   2007  Oct   2810m Power In Motion Fr F E Wall   Ricky May 3-51.1   2006  Oct   2785m Play On 10m P R Lamb   Craig Thornley 3-48.9   Harnesslink Media  

The field for todays PGG Wrightson Hannon Memorial at Oamaru has been reduced down to a field of seven, with the latest scratching of the Greg and Nina Hope trained Usain Colt, who has been sold to Australia.  Hope still has the current second favourite Seel The Deal engaged in the race. He is a big mover on the FF win fixed odds, caving in to $3.80 after opening longer than $5.00 on Thursday night. There is a lot of confidence in the Hope stable that Seel The Deal can go a cheeky race today, in preparation for the New Zealand Trotting Cup in November. Driver Ricky May is also quietly confident about the seven year old geldings chances and said "he could need the run without any racing, but I like him a lot in that race" Seel The Deal has been ticking along nicely at the trials and workouts. He ran slashing final sectionals at the Rangiora trials on the 13th September, running home in around 55 seconds for his last 800m in that Rangiora trial. Race rival Alta Orlando trained by Robert Dunn, zipped over his last 800m in a tick over 54 seconds in the same trial, also justifying his readiness for todays race.  The Graeme Anderson trained and Dexter Dunn driven Titian Banner is currently the warm favourite ($1.65 FF) to win the Hannon Memorial, after an easy win fresh up at Addington on the 1st September and then a good second placing to Have Faith In Me in last weekends New Brighton Cup. Seel The Deal and Alta Orlando in their latest trial   Robert Dunn also has the speedy Tuapeka Trick engaged today in Race 6 with John Dunn doing the driving. Tuapeka Trick was placed last season in the group three kindergarten stakes behind stable-mate The Brooklyn Brawler and has come back a stronger horse judging by his latest dominant win at the workouts. The well bred Bettor's Delight colt is raced by the Westview Racing Super17 Syndicate, many of whom are heading down to watch the race today.     Harnesslink Media

Top NZ harness racing trainers Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen won the New Brighton Cup on Saturday with their speedy pacer Have Faith In Me. Have Faith In Me got home quickly from a nice spot on the outer to down an ex-stablemate Titan Banner and last year's Auckland Cup winner Dream About Me. The winner ran his last 800m in 55.2 with a closing 400m in 26.89 seconds, proving he is back to somewhere near his best. ____________________________ Blair Orange won four races over the weekend to move to twenty two wins for the season, nine wins clear of second place David Butcher. Orange won three races at Addington on Saturday and added another win at Methven yesterday behind the Nigel McGrath trained Goodlookin Chick. Last years drivers premiership winner Dexter Dunn is languishing back in the pack on three wins, after missing some early season racing while he was overseas at the World Drivers Championships.. ______________________________________________________________________________________ Destiny Jones has won this years Ordeal Trotting Cup for trainer Kevin Townley and driver Ricky May. Destiny Jones finished quickly from midfield on the outer to down last years winner Ameretto Sun by a length. The two favourites Habibti Ivy and Harriet Of Mot both blew their chances with early breaks shortly after the start. Destiny Jones (The Pres - Galleons Destiny) has now won eight races and $85,379 in stakes. She trotted the 2600m mobile in 3-16.1 with a closing 800m in 59.4 and 400m in 29.9 seconds. ______________________________________________________________________________________ Jonny Cox will train in partnership with Tim Butt from the beginning of December. Tim Butt is shifting most of his stable horses to Australia shortly and will be training from a 20-horse barn at Menangle, outside Sydney. Cox will be running the satelite stable here in New Zealand. The Tim Butt trained My Field Marshall won the Garrards Horse And Hound pace (Group 3) over 1609m at  Menangle on Saturday night in 1-51.9 _______________________________________________________________________________________ Canterbury amateur harness racing driver Ray Reekie was suspended for 2 1/2 years for driving in a manner which diminished his chances of winning a race at Addington on Saturday.  Of particular concern to the Stewards was his decision to maintain his challenge for the lead for such an extended period, after his initial challenge had been unsuccessful. After hearing the explanation tendered by Mr Reekie, Stewards issued him a charge under Rule 869(3)(g) in that he drove in a manner capable of diminishing Zakspatrol's chance of winning the race.  The JCA subsequently suspended Reekie's Amateur Horseman's licence from the conclusion of racing today up to and including 15th March 2020, a period of 2 1/2 years.   Harnesslink Media  

They’ve both won two races at Rangiora this season, but only one of either Thisismylastflight or Rocki Warrior can make it three in the past 12 months in today’s Rangiora Winter Cup. The duo are two of only five horses who have won at Rangiora Harness Racing Club meetings this season and are joined by; Witheze, Donegal Carrickfin and Run To Hide - none of whom are racing at today’s final meeting for the season. Tackling the $12,000 event today, the pair both have strong each way chances. Rocki Warrior hasn’t been seen at the races since the end of January, but the Denise Ottley trained pacer looked ready to resume with a big run at his most recent trial where he incidentally beat, Thisismylastflight. Three quarters of a length separated the pair and the big Washington VC gelding has the added advantage of drawing on the front line which suits his usually quick stand start manners. The win would also give his driver, Sam Ottley a good chance to push for overall driving honours at the Rangiora Harness Racing Club meetings. She’s driven seven winners at the club’s meetings, a tally bettered only by Ricky May (9) and Dexter Dunn (8). Gavin Smith is the other in contention with his seven winners as well. The mother and daughter Ottley combination have a chance earlier in the day as well with OK I’m Bad who was third in that same trial won by Rocki Warrior. Thisismylastflight hasn’t been seen other than that trial since running fourth to James Dean at Timaru at the start of the month, but the Steven McRae trained pacer has done a wonderful job in his short career. The Panspacificflight gelding has a big motor and Craig Thornley may elect to unleash it today. James Dean is a big chance in the Winter Cup based on his Timaru win for Leo O’Reilly while Cran Dalgety and Dexter Dunn have a strong chance from Alpha Rock. Greg and Nina Hope and Robert Dunn, who both train out at Woodend Beach, head into the meeting with six winners from the Rangiora Harness Racing Club’s season with Terry and Glenys Chmiel their closest opposition with four wins.   Matt Markham’s Rangiora Selections Race 1: Fiery Comet, Family Night, Sunrise Spur, Tehoro Nova Race 2: Boomer, Out Of Aces, Bicton, Vyndetta Race 3: Got A Beauty, Zakspatrol, Bevan’s Cullen, Northview Major Race 4: Tara Tuatia, Spondulicks, Admiral, Dance N Jewel Race 5: Shes’a Tricky Bridge, Eden Franco, Crackared, Sans Le Sou Race 6: Run Boy Run, OK I’m Bad, Takitimu Express, Den’s Legacy Race 7: James Dean, Alpha Rock, Rocki Warrior, Thisismlylastflight Race 8: Ygritte, Diana Harbour, Cuddly Jess, Rocknpop Race 9: Man Of Steel, Toll Gate, Take After Me, Ask Me Art   Best Bet: Fiery Comet (Race 1) Value: Ygritte (Race 8)

Ideally, a few more would be the perfect result, but even if Paul Court only trains one more winner this season he’ll be a happy man. In just his second season of solo training, the West Melton horseman has drawn level with his debut season tally of wins with 35 victories on the board and four weeks of racing still remaining. That should spell a new personal best by the time August rolls around and Court considers that mission accomplished. “You set out at the start of the season with the goal of going better than the season before,” he said. “I’ve been lucky enough to have had a good season again, with some nice horses wearing the colours and doing the job out on the track.” After training in partnership with his father, Graham for seven seasons with close to 100 wins, the pressure was always going to be on the young trainer when he broke out on his own accord. But with 70 winners in his first two seasons and a strong team of horses around him, things are looking pretty bright. “It’s been good to be able to pick up where Dad and I left off in a way, we’d set things in motion and I’ve been able to carry it on which is great.” Incidentally, one of the finds of the season for Court was the horse who registered his 35th victory on Friday night at Addington. And he’s hoping that Malik isn’t finished either. The Somebeachsomewhere colt has now won four of his last five starts and is a horse on the rise. He beat a tidy field of intermediate grade pacers on Friday night showing some impressive qualities in the process. “He’s just getting better and better, I was a wee bit hesitant on Friday because we had taken him off the unruly, but he handled it really well and showed a bit of class against what I thought was a pretty good field. “He’s starting to stand up and show what he’s got now which is great, and the best part is that I think he will just keep getting better. “We’ll press on through the winter with him too, so hopefully he’s not finished.” The other leg of Court’s winning double on Friday night came from Beach Skipper, who took longer to win his first race than anticipated. He’d technically already won a race, but that was a dead-heat at Methven, so Friday’s victory was well overdue. And adding double the delight to the win, was the fact Court did the driving himself. Despite not driving often these days and preferring to leave that job to the likes of Blair Orange and Ricky May, Court has still managed to grab himself a win each season for the past 12 years from very limited opportunities. Matt Markham  

It is a bit like asking a parent which one of their kids they love more. So you can forgive trainer Greg Hope for taking an awfully long pause before answering what might be the question of the trotting season. Because the battle for Trotter of the Year as the annual awards in August will come down to a pair of horses -- both trained by Hope and his wife Nina -- who have had wildly contrasting seasons. In one corner is undoubtedly New Zealand’s best trotter Monbet, who only raced three times this season and won them all. More importantly two of those wins were of the highest quality, national records in both the Dominion and NZ Free-For-All during Cup week before niggles ruled him out for the season. In the other corner is his less talented, but in the contest of this season better performed, three-year-old stablemate Enghien, like Monbet a son of French stallion Love You. He has raced nine times, winning eight and only beaten in the other because he galloped. To add to his case he has won every race that matters, the two trotting Derbys, the Harness Jewels and the group two Sires’ Stakes as well as the Sales Series. His domination has been compete and utter and even though driver Ricky May couldn’t give him his head on Saturday because he wasn’t trotting faultlessly,he still won. Enghien’s season is far from finished, with two more group ones in Victoria on the horizon. “We are definitely heading there because there isn’t a lot for them as four-year-olds so we might as well take what we can get now,” said Hope. “So he will contest a Breeders Crown heat here at Addington, then go to the Victoria Derby in August and then Breeders Crown final at the end of that month.” Victory in either or both of those won’t aid Enghien’s bid for Trotter of the Year as the awards are voted on by the media before his Australian campaign begins. So the question will be: do three wins at the highest level, the last of them recorded by Monbet in November, trump eight wins from nine starts spread from the heat of December to the chill of June? “Its a tough question,” says Hope, who simply doesn’t want to answer it. “I mean, I think we all know Monbet is the best trotter in the country and Enghien isn’t in his class yet. “But I also suppose trotter of the year isn’t about the best horse but the best season. “If it was about the best horse then Monbet has to get it. But if it is about the best season then it is hard to argue with what Enghien has done.” Enghien’s win capped a remarkable last two seasons for the Hopes, with their future trainer and chief statistician son Ben telling Dad something he didn’t know. “After that win on Saturday we have now trained the winner at least once of all the major trotting races for young horses we had have a starter in for in the last couple of years. “That means the Derbys, the Sires’ Stakes, Sales Series and now all three Jewels. We needed the three-year-old Jewels because Monbet finished second in that so Enghien completed the set. “Ben keeps on top of these things so that’s kinda cool to have done that.” Hope says while the training is a family affair, some of the credit for their rapid rise to the top of trotting has to go to stallion Love You. “He has been huge for us and I don’t think he gets the credit he deserves.” Love You also sired Saturday’s two-year-old trot winner Paramount King and the runner-up in the four-year-old trot in Gentleman Sir. Monbet’s season: Three starts, three wins. * Two national records  Two group ones and a group three win. Enghien’s season: Nine starts, eight wins. One national record. Three group ones and one group two win. Michael Guerin  

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