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Mid Canterbury drivers Ricky May and Gerard O'Reilly have been good friends for as long as either can remember but all that was put aside yesterday in the New Zealand Free For All when they fought out the finish of the $250,000 Group1 event at Addington Raceway. In a titanic home straight duel that went right to the wire, Tiger Tara with Gerard in the bike just got the call over Mossdale Conner and Ricky May. Tiger Tara and Mossdale Conner are not two of the glamour horses on the New Zealand harness racing scene, they had both been going super all season in the elite grade. Ricky lead yesterday with Mossdale Conner and was not in the mood to hand up while Gerard and Tiger Tara slotted into a lovely trail behind Arden Rooney in the one out,one back position. Turning in these two locked horns but it took Tiger Tara the length of the straight to get his nose in front of a game Mossdale Conner. Gerard was unsure if he had got up on returning to the winners circle " I knew it was really close but was unsure if we had made it." " We got a lovely run behind Arden Rooney but you never quite know you are travelling with Tiger Tara during a race as he is such a relaxed horse." " With his manners he is a lovely horse to drive and he is always up for a fight like we had today." "He just never stops trying," Gerard said. Ricky May was fuming after the race, claiming that a flat tyre he received on the last bend had almost certainly cost him the win. " Greg (Hope) had put the sliding blinds on today and we just flew the barrier and the instructions were to not hand up." "Zac was on my back with Sky Major turning into the home straight but he has tried to get through on my inside before the passing lane and has punctured my tyre." "There was never enough room and I am positive it cost Mossdale Conner the win." "I am gutted for Greg and Nina and the owners because he should have won the race," Ricky said. An enquiry was opened into the incident but was adjourned due to the fact Zac Butcher had already left the course to fly back to Auckland for drives he had at Alexandra Park last night. None of that controversy should take the gloss of a great win by Tiger Tara. Geoff Dunn, Gerard O"Reilly and Tiger Tara are a great combination and yesterday's win at the elite level will not be the last. Harnesslink Media

The open class trotting ranks are already brimming with talent and they were strengthened further today when Monbet announced his arrival at the elite level with an emphatic harness racing victory in the $80,000 New Zealand Trotting Free For All at Addington on Cup Day. The four year old son of Monarchy had always looked well above average at three and at four he has come back bigger and better.   Settling three back in the running line, driver Ricky May pressed the go button at the 400 metres mark and he looped the field and shot clear for an easy win.   Trainer Greg Hope was full of praise for Monbet, post-race.   "He showed today that he can compete with the very best and I'm thrilled with the run."   "I know Stent and Master Lavros weren't there today but they have their grand final on Friday and Monbet's grand final was today."   "I am 99.9% confident that Monbet won't be lining up in the Dominion on Friday."   "From here we will head to Auckland," Greg said.   Ricky May was happy things had worked out as planned.   "We thought there was plenty of speed on the front line so we decided to stay out of the early burn and settle handy.   "When I asked him to go he looped them pretty easily actually."   "He has pacer like speed if you can save him for one run but he is a great stayer as well so he is the complete package," Ricky said.   Greg and Nina Hope have been very patient with Monbet and are now starting to reap the rewards.     Harnesslink Media

Harness racing gelding Spirit Eclispe doesn't have any idea of how lucky he is.   Seriously hurt in 2013, the six-year-old son of Jeremes Jet has had no expense spared in his recovery and all at no cost.   Veterinary surgeon Bill Bishop donated all his time and expertise and that resulted in Spirit Eclispe making a slow but steady recovery.   Nigel McGrath took over the training, again at no cost.   The reason for the huge generosity by both Bill and Nigel was the decision to give any stakes won by Spirit Eclispe in his second go at racing to the cancer charity, Ronald McDonald House.   Placed in his first couple of starts back, no one really expected Spirit Eclispe to beat a handy field of C1 pacers on Cup Day at Addington today.   Away well to trail the leader, he took the passing lane in the straight and to the roars of the huge crowd oncourse, held on for the win.   Driver Ricky May was as surprised as anyone.   “He got a great run and went to the front quite easily actually.”   “ He was getting a bit tired the last bit but it is a great result for everyone involved” Ricky said.   Bill Bishop was just blown away by the win.   “What a fantastic result, incredible that he has been able to win on Cup day.”   “When you start something like this you hope for the best but this is just unbelievable.”   “ I am having to pinch myself, it all seems a bit surreal,” Bill said.   The old saying that good things happen to good people fits the Spirit Eclispe story perfectly.     Harnesslink Media

Driving a favourite who is expected on to win on New Zealand Cup Day at Addington Raceway is nothing new for Ricky May but doing it with a trotter is. May has won four of the last six New Zealand Trotting Cups but in 2015 his most talked about drive is in the Group I NZ Trotting free-for-all. Greg and Nina Hope's rising star of the trotting ranks, Monbet, is yet to win in genuine open class company but he has been crunched into $1.75 favouritism for his toughest test yet.  His price might be too short for some punters, but is not overly surprising given his blistering finish in the Ashburton Trotters Flying Mile and his cup trial, where he ran away from a handy field with ease. May was all smiles after the trial and although he does not like to get ahead of himself, he did admit it was impossible not to take confidence into the race. Also in Monbet's favour is his barrier draw of two for the 1950-metre mobile. All signs indicate May will be looking for an early lead. "Even right through last season we never really had a decent draw so we will be using it," Greg Hope said. Monbet's last start was a fifth in Ashburton, when he made up stacks of ground on upset race winner One Over Da Moon and champion square gaiter Stent, who finished second. "If we had have had a better draw I think we could have gone close," May said. One Over Da Moon is second favourite at $3.75 and starts from the ace with trainer-driver Tony Herlihy not being drawn into whether he would look to hold the front. "We'll just take it as it comes and see what pans out on the day." Classy mare Habibti ($13) and duel acceptor Waterloo Sunset ($18) are the value in the race and there will be plenty of interest surrounding the first New Zealand start for Tim Butt's Swedish import Daryl Boko ($18). Starting from the outside of the front line will make life difficult but the run will provide an interesting gauge of where Daryl Boko is at leading into Friday's $250,000 Dominion Handicap. Meanwhile, Cran Dalgety's cup plans have taken a hit with the scratching of one time favourite Christen Me but he is hoping stablemate Bit Of A Legend, also scratched from the cup, may be some chance of upsetting the horse many regard as the next big thing in the Group III junior free-for-all. Have Faith In Me, a $1.20 favourite from the second line over 2600m, will be running through stacks of multis but Dalgety said he will not get it handed to him on a plate. Bit Of A Legend appears to be well over the odds at $13 with his form line deceiving because he has been blowing the standing starts. "If the cup was a mobile start he would still be in it," said Dalgety who also has Art Union in the race as a $6 chance. "He's been missing away but he's been going super after his mistakes." Bit Of A Legend will contest the Group I New Zealand free-for-all on Friday. Mat Kermeen Reproduced with permission of  Stuff NZ   -   Check site here

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

When leading harness racing trainer Greg Hope was looking for a close relative of his star trotter Monbet to purchase as a broodmare, he never for one moment envisaged that she would win back her purchase price before going to stud. But that is exactly what happened when Greg purchased the talented Monarchy mare The Earth Moved for $12,000. " I had a serious look at another mare from the family but she had suffered a broken knee earlier in her life and I was worried about how that may play out down the line." "When I sent her home, they offered me The Earth Moved who had just been sent back by the people who had her on lease."  " I really liked her straight away and brought her soon after," Greg told Harnesslink this week. Not that the decision to buy The Earth Moved was unanimous in the Hope household. " Nina wasn't exactly that keen initially but I think she has come round now," Greg said. Greg purchased The Earth Moved near the end of August and in four starts since she has won three on the grit plus a fourth on the grass at Methven where she wasn't entirely happy on the puggy wet track. Since her purchase The Earth Moved has put $16,271 into the kitty and her latest win at Addington on Friday night was undoubtedly her best. Several lengths off the leader going past the 400 metres mark, The Earth Moved swooped down the outside for an emphatic victory in the hands of Ricky May. " She was always going to pick Young Stranger up in the straight before he had a late gallop, so I just eased her down the last bit ." " She has really high speed when saved for one run," Ricky said. Greg was rapt that The Earth Moved had grabbed that elusive sub two minute mile rate with her 1:59.3 rating in Friday nights win over 1950 metres. " It certainly doesn't hurt if you are selling them at the sales to have a bit of black print beside their name,  Greg said. And that is where the future of The Earth Moved lies, in the broodmare paddock. " I have booked her in to Love You" "Love You is available here this year through Dave Sanders which is great after he has missed the last two years." "The resulting foal will be a 3/4 brother or sister in blood to Monbet," Greg pointed out. With this years Australasian Breeders Crown two year old colts/geldings winner Conon Bridge being another close relative excelling on the track and Monbet looking to have come back even better at four, The Earth Moved is certainly looking one very valuable broodmare. Harnesslink Media 

Every week, Harnesslink produces the harness racing ringaround where a group of twenty odd of our leading drivers give us their best tips for the weekend racing. Results in the main have been good with the odd shocker thrown in but last night at Addington Raceway the tipsters had a night to remember. The drivers selected horses in seven races last night at Addington and bagged five winners which is a great strike rate. In started in the first when Gavin Smith selected Paris Princess who led form go to whoa and returned a healthy dividend of $6:60 Blair Orange was the next tipster to see the winners circle with the very talented Southern GNP who was backed in very short but never gave his supporters any cause for concern with an effortless victory. Onto race 6 and Mark Jones was very bullish around the chances of Franco Harrington and the way he cruised to the front and ran away and hid in the home straight showed that his confidence was not misplaced. In race 8, North Canterbury trainer/driver Robbie Holmes had two horses involved in the race and he was very keen on the chances of Clean Break with Gavin Smith in the bike even from the outside of the gate, with Robbie taking the reins on the stablemate Tehoro Holly. The win dividend of $8:70 for Clean Break was a great return for the inform trotter. As happens, the best was saved for last. Three of our tipsters chose their best drives of the week in race 9 last night. Ricky May, John Dunn and Bob Butt were all keen on the chances of their runners and as it turned out none of them were far off the mark. John Dunn worked to the lead on Mr Meddle with Bob Butt settling in the trail with Justalittlebettor and Ricky May and Change The Rulz snookered away four back on the inner. John got away with a couple of cheap quarters in front with Mr Meddle which left enough in the tank to fight off all the challengers in the home straight. Ricky May and Change The Rulz flashed late for an unlucky second just in front of Justalittlebettor and Bob Butt who held third. Mr Meddle paid $10:90 for the win with the quinella paying $15:30 and the trifecta a healthy $185:20 Throw in the double result of Clean Break and Mr Meddle of $49:50 and followers of the ringaround should have made plenty last night. Harnesslink Media

It is not unusual for leading harness racing trainer Phil Williamson to have multiple entries in trotting races but tonight at Addington, Phil has three two year olds entered in the maiden trot which is not something that happens that often. All three young trotters have shown ability at trials and workouts so to get a better line on the pecking order we spoke to Phil on how he rates his three runners. " Well there is not a lot between them to be honest." " They all go near enough without looking like being anything special." They are  all handy enough and it wouldn't surprise me if one of them won tonight. " You won't miss Blazing Under Fire as he has heaps of white on him." " He is qualified at both pacing and trotting but is a much nicer trotter so thats what we will race him as." " To be honest he would have to be the smallest horse racing in New Zealand." " Winners Shout is a nice horse who is bred to go all right on his dam's side but I think his sire might be holding him back a bit." " His manners are good and that will take you a fair way in maiden trot races." "Astral Ruler has had a run at the races so that is an advantage and he is probably the most reliable of them all." "Ricky May has the drive so he would have to be a real chance." " At home there is very little between them to be honest so I will be a lot wiser about them after tonight's race, Phil said. Phil Williamson is never short of a handy trotter and it wouldn't be a surprise to see one of his three two year olds take out the maiden trot tonight at Addington. Harnesslink Media

Our harness racing tipsters are having a bit of the winter blues at the moment with less than inspiring results some weeks. Last week saw only two of our tipsters pick winners with Sean McCaffrey and Nathan Williamson doing the honours but we did have eight placegetters and some of those such as Shane Walkinshaw's pick, Takitimu Express paid good money ($4:20) This week we have four meetings in the country and we have picks for them all. Forbury - Thursday night Nathan Williamson - Thought Spinyback was overdue and could win race 2 Shane Walkinshaw - Thinks on his work this week, Jetsdream will win race 4 Craig Ferguson - Gives Mordecai a good chance of going back to back in race 6   Auckland  - Friday night Steven Reid - Reckons Concorde even from barrier 8 will be hard to beat in race 2 Scott Phelan - If Superimposed has any luck from his bad draw,he thinks he can win race 2  Todd Mitchell - Thinks the millionaire Vulcan can add to the bankroll in race 6 Steve Richardson (TAB) - Thought Vice Consul from the front line could win race 7 Tony Herlihy -  Gives The Almighty Johnson a big chance of winning race 8 John Dunn - Rates Return To Sender as hard to roll in race 9 Mark Jones - Thought Rocker Band would be very hard to beat, also in race 9   Addington - Friday night Bob Butt - Quite bullish about the chances of the two year old Matatoki in race 1 Terry Chmiel - Thinks Maddison Hill can upset them in race 2 Tim Williams - Gives Bird Of Paradise a big show even from the second line in race 6 Gerard O'Reilly - Reckons Zin Zan must win one shortly and thinks it will be in race 7 Ricky May - Thought the southern raider Tetrick would be hard to beat in race 8 Brendon McLellan - Agrees with Ricky that Tetrick will be hard to beat in race 8 Matthew Williamson - Reckons Springbank Eden can get the chocolates in race 9   Timaru - Sunday afternoon  Blair Orange - Thought the first starter My Cash would be hard to beat in race 3 Gavin Smith - Very bullish about the chances of Great Things Happen in race 4 Brad Williamson - Reckons Kylie Castleton can bounce back and win race 6 Jim Curtin - Gives Insignificant a chance to upset them at odds, also in race 6  John Curtin - Thought Naughty Maravu only needed some luck for a change to win race 8 Robbie Holmes - Thinks Contractual Issues will be hard to hold out in race 10   Harnesslink Media

Last week was one of the better weeks overall for a while with our tipsters not far off all weekend. Six selected winners with Kyle Marshall leading the way with the $6 shot, JC Jock while Scott Phelan, Blair Orange, Tim Williams, Nathan Williamson and Ricky May also got the job done. What was so frustrating was the tipsters had eleven placegetters including ten second placings over the weekend. This week however we only have three meetings around the country and quite a few of our regulars are not in action this weekend but as usual it would pay to follow the tipsters selections on the first day at Blenheim on Friday to the second day on Sunday. Forbury Park - Thursday night Shane Walkinshaw - Thought Jetsdream just needed an ounce of luck to win race 2 Brendon McLellan - Thinks Mr Handleman is a chance at huge odds, also in race 2 Craig Ferguson - Rates Lamborne Road a big chance to bounce back and win race 5 Nathan Williamson - Thinks Betta Go Fernco can turn it around and win, also in race 5 Brad Williamson - Hopes to celebrate his 21st birthday with a win on Elusive Flight in race 7 Gavin Smith - Gives the two year old Late Mail a big chance of winning race 9 Matthew Williamson - Rates Springbank Eden a chance of upsetting them in race 11   Blenhiem - Friday afternoon Bob Butt - Quite keen on the chances of the first starter Dusky Eyre in race 1 Ricky May - Rates Delightful Jack as well overdue and thinks he will win race 2 John Dunn - Very bullish about the chances of stable runner Mr Meddle in race 6 Blair Orange - Gives Expresso Martini a big push to win race 7 Terry Chmiel - Thinks Art Exhibit is ready to strike and will win race 8     Franklin - Friday night Scott Phelan - Thinks Ideal Roman is a big chance from barrier two in race 1 Todd MacFarlane - Rates I Am The One a good each way prospect in race 4 John Curtin - Thought Bettormack second up from a break would win, also in race 4 Todd Mitchell - Reckons The Tracker can carry on his winning streak in race 5 Steven Reid - Gives Franco Nikau a chance of rolling them at big odds, also in race 5 Steven Richardson (TAB) - Rates Chosen Path fresh up a big chance of winning race 6 Kyle Marshall - Thought Kilkeel Lady from barrier two could upset them in race 10   Harnesslink Media

Leading harness racing trainers Greg and Nina Hope have never had the rub of the green all season with their stylish three year trotter Monbet. A series of niggles and bad draws has seen the son of Love You play the bridesmaid a few times this season in the Group 1 features. Tonight at Addington in cold and damp conditions, Monbet just sent a wee reminder of how really talented he is. Facing some very talented mid grade trotters, Monbet stepped cleanly from barrier one and then handed up to the free going front runner Waterloo Sunset after 200 metres. Driver Ricky May angled Monbet off Waterloo Sunset's back at the 200 metres and he flew by and away for an emphatic five length victory Monbet trotted the 2600 metres in the winter conditions in 3:23.7 with smart closing sectionals of 57.4 and 27.8. Greg Hope was philosophical about the bad luck that had plagued Monbet's three year old season. " We have deliberately looked after him all season and he has never been bottomed out in any of his races.' "It would have been nice to have got a good draw in just one of the big ones but he has only gone under by a neck and a nose in two of the group races so he has never disappointed me." "Tonight's win was penalty free which is why he was here and he can go out for a month or so now." "He won't be out too long as we want to have him up and running in the lead up to Cup week," Greg said. Driver Ricky May leaves you in no doubt about how he rates Monbet. " He is such a beautifully gaited trotter with high speed and is just a lovely horse to drive. " He showed tonight that when he gets a decent run he can really finish it off," Ricky said. Greg only has one grizzle and it is about the problems surrounding the availability of the frozen semen of leading sire, Love You. " I hope it becomes available again as he has done such a great job in New Zealand from small crops." " I will be one of the first in line if he becomes available," Greg said. Harnesslink Media  

The Christian Cullen FFA at tonights harness racing meeting at Addington Raceway may not have had a big field numbers wise but with the Harness Jewels just eight days away, several of the name runners were having their final blowout before the big day. Dalton Bromac was a warm favourite in front of Sky Major and Tiger Tara while Messini was let go at ten to one in the 1950 metres mobile. Dalton Bromac and Ricky May came out firing from barrier four but were hotly challenged and headed by Tiger Tara and Gerard O'Reilly who took up the lead with 1600 metres to go. Tiger Tara was really running in front and was joined in front at the 1000 metres by Messini and Mark Purdon. The speed was upped again passing the 800 metres and the two smart four year olds sizzled down the back straight and and carried the battle around the corner and up the home straight. About 50 metres from home Messini mastered Tiger Tara and held a half neck margin at the finish. Sky Major made ground stylishly from well off the pace for third, 1 3/4 lengths away with six lengths away to a very disappointing Dalton Bromac. The 1950 metres was paced in a very quick 2:19.2 in the cool and brisk conditions, a mile rate of 1:54.8 with closing sectionals of 54.8 and 27.4 Mark Purdon was pleased to have the son of Art Major back in the winners circle. " I am really pleased that he is back to his best. " He didn't handle the Auckland way round so you can disregard those runs" " The draw (14) in the Jewels makes it very hard but at least he is back to his best," Mark said. Geoff Dunn was thrilled with the run of Tiger Tara. "He showed real gate speed and fought on great so I couldn't be happier. "He is right where I want him heading into next week and he is right on target,"Geoff said. Barry Purdon was also very happy with Sky Major. " They have run home in 54.8 and he has made up a lot of ground." " He blew out at the 100 metres but that will top him off nicely for the Jewels," Barry said. Dalton Bromac was very disappointing by his own high standards and it soon became apparent why. Post race it was discovered that Dalton Bromac had bled and he has been stood down for thirty days as a result. Benny Hill was very philosophical after the race. "At least we still have a horse." "We will take him home and give him a break and get him ready for next season," Benny said. Messini sent out a very clear message tonight that he is right in the zone at the moment and not completely out of it on Jewels day even from barrier 14. Harnesslink Media  

By the time the PGG Sales Series final for two year old fillies was due to be run at tonights harness racing meeting at Addington, the driving rain had well and truly set in and had made conditions atrocious. The hot favourite was the Mach Three filly Northern Velocity who drew nicely at barrier five while her main opposition  Luisanabelle Midfrew drew two further out at seven. The two favourites both came off the gate at speed but due to her better barrier Northern Velocity found the front first and driver Mark Purdon was in no mood to hand up in the slushy conditions. Luisanabelle Midfrew and Matthew Williamson ended up parked in the driving rain with Kashana and Ricky May in the trail. There was no moves mid race and as they turned for home  Northern Velocity went clear and still held a 3/4 length advantage at the finish from Kashana and Killer Queen and David Butcher who had been three back on the inner. Luisanabelle finished a big fourth after sitting out parked the whole way. Northern Velocity paced the 1950 metres in 2:28.2, a mile rate of 2:02.2 with closing sectionals of 59.7 and 28. Mark Purdon was a relieved man post race.  " I didn't know how she would handle those track conditions but I knew the place to be was in front. " The conditions are really bad out there so I'm just happy to have got the job done," Mark said. Mark thought time would be Northern Velocity's best friend. " I think she will develop into a lovely three year old and if it wasn't for the Harness Jewels, she would be headed for the spelling paddock," Mark said. While probably not up with a couple of her stablemates, Northern Velocity still shapes as a player on Harness Jewels day. Harnesslink Media  

Our harness racing tipsters had another so so week although to be fair they did have a lot of close second placings over the four meetings. There were five winners selected with Clark Barron continuing his hot run at the moment along with Bob Butt, Tony Herlihy, Shane Walkinshaw and Tim Williams and they also had seven placings as well, a lot of them at good odds. This week we have five meetings but none in the deep south which has affected our number of tipsters a bit. Forbury - Thursday night Nathan Williamson - Thought Chantrey back to his favourite track could upset them in race 3 Brendon McLellan - Gives new stable runner Continental Boy a good chance of winning race 5 Shane Walkinshaw - Likes the chances of smart 3 year old Robyn's Bad Boy winning race 6 Matthew Williamson - Rates Hezabluechipboy a big winning chance in race 8  Steve Richardson - Thought The Edge Of Reason could upset them at good odds in race 9   Auckland - Friday night  Maurice McKendry - Really quite keen on the chances of the out of form Sir Richie in race 1 Todd MacFarlane - Gives the 2 year old Cyclone Chief a good chance of winning race 2 Sean McCaffrey - Thinks Yagunnakissmeornot can bounce back to winning form in race 4 Todd Mitchell - Rates Charming Lavra a big chance of winning again, also in race 4 Steven Reid - Confident that Shedontloveme will go one better this week and win 6 John Dunn - Thought Barry was due a change of luck and could win race 8   Addington - Friday night Terry Chmiel - Reckons Saint Michel with the help of the mobile will win race 2 Bob Butt - With two runs under his belt, thought Any Old Way was ready to win, also in race 2  Brad Williamson - Looks like a trifecta as Brad thinks The Silver Fox will win race 2 Tim Williams - Rates the debutante Cash N Flow as very hard to beat in race 5 Jim Curtin - Thought One Over Da Moon on his Rowe Cup run would win race 6 Gerard O'Reilly - Thinks King Of Strathfield has been going great and could win, also in race 6 Scott Phelan - Rates Bettor B Amazed a big winning chance even from barrier 9 in race 7 Blair Orange - Gives Bracken Ridge a big show of turning his form around and winning race 9   Thames - Sunday afternoon Tony Herlihy - Very bullish about the chances of Mighty Regal in race 4   Ashburton - Sunday afternoon Ricky May - Rates the first starter Cable Beach very highly and thinks he will win race 4 John Curtin - Thought Gracious Star and Michelle Neilson would make it two in a row and win race 6   Harnesslink Media

The last $20,000 heat of the Nevele R Fillies series at the harness racing meeting at Addington last night saw the reappearance of Fight For Glory for the first time since her outstanding win in the New South Wales Oaks at Menangle on March 1st. Not only did she give away race fitness to her opponents but she drew the outside of the gate at barrier nine in the 1950 metres mobile. When the mobile left Classical Art and Tim Williams came out quickly and grabbed an early lead with Fight For Glory and Natalie Rasmussen settling last from her wide draw. Passing the 1400 metres mark On The Town and Dexter Dunn worked around the field three wide and Fight For Glory followed her around and found the death seat outside Classical Art with 1000 metres to go.  That was still the order as they turned for home but half way up the Addington straight, Fight For Glory went clear for an emphatic victory by a length over a game Classical Art. Linda Lovegrace stormed home late on the inner to be close up in third after being held up on the corner while Supersonic Miss finished on into fourth to give the All Star barn the first four home. Fight For Glory paced the 1950 metres in the chilly conditions in 2:22.4, a mile rate of 1:57.4 with closing sectionals of 57.1 and 27.6. She was privately timed to run her last mile in a swift 1:56.8 while working three wide and sitting parked. Natalie Rasmussen was pleased with the run. " She's gone great really for a first up effort" " She is such a wee fatty and will improve a lot with that run under her belt." " In the early stages she got a bit keen but was fine after that," Natalie said. Tim Williams was really happy with the run of Classical Art. " She got a bit keen coming off the gate but relaxed when she found the front. " She is getting better that way all the time and I was really pleased how she fought on in the straight," Tim said. Ricky May was lamenting the lack of clear air early in the run home. " I got held up as we turned for home and its definitely cost her second. " Once she got clear she has really found the line and I think she has gone super," Ricky said. A minor highlight of the race was the run of Supersonic Miss to finish fourth. She was privately timed to run her last 800 metres in 56 out three and four wide and still finished on well. The Nevele R Fillies final is shaping up to be one of the races of the season with the All Star four to be joined by The Orange Agent and Democrat Party from the north which should make for an exciting final. Harnesslink Media  

The first of the group races on tonights big night of harness racing at Alexandra Park was the $55,000 Lone Star Riccarton Sires Stakes Championship and it  looked to be a two horse battle once the draw came out with Speeding Spur drawing beautifully at three with arch rival Prince Fearless at four. However all that changed 100 metres after the start when Prince Fearless went into a wild gallop losing all chance. Josh Dickie worked the Pegasus Spur colt  to the front after 300 metres from Habibti Ivy and Blair Orange who settled into the trail on the favourites back The rest of the field were in Indian file apart from Monbet and Ricky May who slowly worked their way forward to sit on the wheel of Speeding Spur with 800 metres to go.  Josh upped the tempo with Speeding Spur down the back the last time but Monbet stuck with him and was still on his wheel as they turned for home. All the way up the straight Monbet slowly took ground off Speeding Spur but come the finishing line was still a nose back with Habibti Ivy making ground up the passing lane to be only a 1/2 neck away in third. Josh was happy to have won the $55,000 feature but thought Speeding Spur wasn't 100% on his game tonight. " He didn't really switch on tonight like he can and was gawking about down the back straight." " With so many big races coming up we haven't done that much with him and didn't take him to the trials last Saturday so he will improve on tonight's run next week." " They were getting really close late but his way of racing with his neck stuck out helped in the end," Josh said. Monbet went huge in second and is a live chance next week to reverse the result if he can just for once draw inside Speeding Spur and Prince Fearless. Harnesslink Media  

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