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Slate justified the decision of his Winton breeder owner and trainer Des Baynes to be patient, when the four-year-old won in 1:56.7 at just his second start. “He was big, all legs and a bit weak, I didn't do much with him at two or three,” Baynes explained. In November last year, Slate went to his first workout. Later in the month he had his one and only trial, qualified impressively and continues to improve. “He's shown high speed but is green and inclined to over- race so has led. He's had two front row draws, needs a few trips in behind, they go harder in the next grade so he should get them now.” By Changeover, Slate is the third foal of Dress to Impress. “She had a drop of speed but bad feet,” Baynes said. “Her first foal Granite was a nice horse but got injured. Her latest is an American Ideal filly and she shows a bit.” Sheree Tomlinson didn't know she was driving Fire Bug on Saturday until she saw the fields but didn't waste the opportunity, winning in 1:55.3. Drawn just one spot in from the outside of the second line, they went back at the start but then found a passage up the poles to soon be three back on the inner. Off the poles near the turn, the three-year-old on debut took time to work clear before finishing hard late. “I didn't want to push her forward in her first start so went back, I was lucky to get up the inside,” Tomlinson said of the Mach Three filly, “everything was stopping on the turn so I got her out, she did it really easily.” Fire Bug, from the stable of Mark Jones, was the first of three Canterbury visitors on the day. Second of the Cantabrians was Classy Kid whose 2:00.3 was the fastest of the winning stand-start times. The striking grey six-year-old, driven by Amber Lethaby - who in partnership with husband Jason also trains the son of Klondike Kid – led out but soon trailed Kiwi Bloke who held the advantage until late in the race. “He's never been far away and I would have led but the right horse to follow came round,”Amber Lethaby said. “I could have taken the lane but he hasn't sprinted so well in there in previous races so I chose to come off.” Lethaby named the good stake and shortage of stand-start races in Canterbury as reasons for making the trip south. Arden Lustre made it three wins for the visitors when winning the final event in 2:01.9. In the hands of Blair Orange, the winner of seven flew out when the stand-start tapes were released and was never headed from then.   Mac Henry for Southland Harness Racing

Harness Racing New Zealand is thrilled to announce that two of our industry participants have made the finals for this year’s Norwood Rural Games Awards. For the first time Harness Racing was included in the awards, which are held to celebrate sports with animal and rural backgrounds. Held in conjunction with the Hilux New Zealand Rural Games in Palmerston North on March 9 and 10, the Norwood Awards are to be held on Friday 8 March at Awapuni Racecourse. Sheree Tomlinson has made the final three for the Fonterra New Zealand Rural Youth of the Year, with last year’s Australasian Young Drivers Championship victory and her history making Dominion Handicap win propelling her into the final. Whilst Ricky May made the final cut for the prestigious Toyota Lifetime Legacy category. The award is for sportspeople who have consistently delivered at the elite level in their sport – fitting for a seven time New Zealand Cup winning driver, with strong rural roots through his ‘other’ career in agriculture. Harness Racing New Zealand congratulates Sheree and Ricky on this huge achievement to just make the finals, given that this has been the most competitive year for the judges to decide on just three finalists. We wish them all the very best for the Awards on March 8. Full information on the Rural Games can be found at www.ruralgames.co.nz 2019 Norwood Rural Games Awards Finalists Norwood NZ Rural Sportsman Of The Year: • Tony Bouskill – Fencing – Napier • Kieran Fowler – Gumboot Throwing – Dunedin • James Kilpatrick – Tree Climbing - Tauranga Skellerup NZ Rural Sportswoman Of The Year: • Nicky Ward-Allen – Tree Climbing – Eltham • Pagan Karauria - Wool Handling – Alexandra • Bex Baynes – Sheep Dog Trials - Wairoa Fonterra NZ Rural Youth Of the Year: • Briar Burnett-Grant – Equestrian - Taupo • Bradley McDowell – Cowboy Action Shooting - Wanganui • Sheree Tomlinson – Harness Racing - Canterbury Levno Contribution To Rural Sport: • David James – NZ Arb – Blenheim • Neil Sidwell – Shearing – Waiwera • Nick Liefting – Fencing – Pukekohe Toyota Lifetime Legacy: • Ricky May – Harness Racing – Ashburton • Hugh McCarrol – Shearing – Whangamata • Maurice Beatson – Equestrian – Dannevirke   HRNZ Marketing

The race trotting fans have craved is on, with Kiwi superstar Marcoola to take on Inter Dominion hero Tornado Valley.  The pair have dominated the trotting gait on either side of the Tasman this season, with Marcoola stunning in races like the Dominion, Lyell Creek and Flying Mile here before his surprise defeat after an early gallop in the National Trot at Alexandra Park on New Years Eve.  But that hasn’t deterred driver and unofficial co-trainer Clint Ford from heading to Australia to take on a rampant Tornado Valley in the A$300,000 Great Southern Star at Melton on January 26.  Ford will take Marcoola and Amaretto Sun, both trained by his father Ken, to Victoria for the GSS and possibly the $50,000 Dullard Cup the following Saturday.  Waiting for them both there will be Tornado Valley who was unbeaten during the Inter Dominion and brilliant trotting a 1:54.1 mile at Bendigo last Saturday.  Joining the pair in the Great Southern Star will be northern trotter Speeding Spur so the week of racing in Victoria could decide who the best trotter in Australasia is.  “I’m looking forward to getting over there and it will be fun to take on Tornado Valley,” said Ford, who will drive Marcoola himself.  Stable junior driver Sheree Tomlinson is likely to partner Amaretto Sun.  While the best version of Marcoola may be stronger than Tornado Valley the latter has stunning speed and most importantly gate speed, which could give him an advantage on his home ground. Marcoola and Amaretto Sun will fly to Sydney next Saturday and then road trip to Victoria.   Michael Guerin

Skyvalley gelding War Admiral scored a deserving win in testing conditions in the main trot today(Sunday) at the Wyndham Harness Club’s meeting on the grass at Cromwell. Driver Sheree Tomlinson settled the gelding at the rear of the field and with 800 metres to run War Admiral was still six lengths off the lead. From that point Tomlinson elected to stick to the inside running line and on straightening she was right behind the leader Gorilla Playboy giving her rights to the passing lane. From that point Tomlinson held War Admiral together and he trotted up the inside to beat Playboy’s Brother by two and a quarter lengths. “The plan was to not let him go. To be honest I thought that at some part he’d make a mistake. She’s a good wee driver. She said he trotted really well and she hung on and made sure he kept trotting,” said Gore trainer Tony Stratford. The heavy track was a major concern for a lot of trainers and at his last start War Admiral had broken when looking likely. “I was pretty confident he would have won at Roxburgh if he hadn’t made a mistake so it was nice to see him get a win today.” The win - War Admirals second this season, elevates him to third on the Four Year Old Ruby for the end of season Harness Jewels at Addington. “We’ll plan round that. I’ll be surprised if you don’t see him at the Jewels in June.” As a three year old War Admiral showed immense ability, winning three of his seven starts and Stratford says he’s more consistent this season.    “He’s a bit of a rattle head and a hard horse to work with but when you get him in the cart and get him out on the track he’s certainly a lot more mature than last season. Clearly he’s trotting a lot better.” And he says he may start at the Wyndham meeting in a fortnight. “We’re better off just ticking away. I’ve learnt that when a trotter’s in form you’re better off keeping them going. He won’t be turned out but he’ll have a few easy days.” When asked if he’d consider travelling, Stratford pointed out that he may not have to. “We’re racing for such good money down here. Today’s raceswas worth $14,999 which was the same as the main pacing race. Most races he lines up for in Southland he’ll be racing for $10,000 or more. Providing we are not too far back in the handicaps there’s nothing wrong with racing down here.”    And on the conditions at Cromwell today? “The horses were coming back caked in mud. That’s as bad as I’ve ever seen (track conditions).” Meanwhile Canterbury visitor Zadaka proved his toughness when he won the Havtime Breeding/M&S Little Cromwell Cup. Due to the heavy track conditions his time of 3-42.6 was the slowest recorded in the twelve year history of the race. Devil May Care’s 3-37.4 in 2014 was the previous slowest (recorded on a Dead track). The race and track record of 3-20.8 is held by Glencoe VC. This was the third time Robert Dunn has won the race. He also won it in 2009 with Luckisaladytonight and in 2010 with Niraadi. The day was full of twists and turns and the Stewards had their busiest day of the season: --Because of a programmed TAB Website change and the introduction of their new App at 12 midnight tonight the Cromwell meeting started early at 10:38am. --Persistent rain starting falling from 8.00am in Cromwell and the track conditions were down-graded during the day to Dead after Race Three then to Heavy after Race Six. --There were ten late scratchings due to track conditions. --The mobile vehicle lost traction after the dispatch of Race Four and the later mobile starts programmed for Races Seven and Nine became moving starts. --The Clerk Of Course’s horse bolted leading to some scary moments. Both horse and rider were replaced with Otago trainer Amber Hoffman taking over the role. --During the day a variety of winning running lines were chosen by the drivers. Sheree Tomlinson chose the inside path in Race Eleven to win easily while in Race Twelve Mark Hurrell came  hard against the outside fence to gets Raksbets home by a half a length. --Winners were often hard to find with only four favourites winning during the twelve race programme. Many horses failed to handle the conditions.   Bruce Stewart

New Zealand’s Sheree Tomlinson proved a dominant winner of the harness racing 2018 Garrard’s Australasian Young Drivers Championship held across three days at Redcliffe and Albion Park. The 2018 AYDC brought together some of the world’s best drivers aged 25-and-under for the three-day series across nine heats, with Tomlinson proving a cut above the rest. Tomlinson (97 points) put runs on the board in every heat of the series to finish 21 clear of nearest rival, Queensland’s leading driver Nathan Dawson. Racing Queensland Harness Strategy and Development Manager David Brick said Tomlinson was a deserved winner.  "Congratulations to Sheree and to New Zealand for taking home the trophy and to all of the young drivers who competed throughout the week," Mr Brick said.  "I would also like to thank Gary Chequer for his support transporting our drivers to and from events during the week and to Ashlea Brennan for her oustanding social coverage and photography."  New South Wales’ Chris Geary finished third on 71 points, while defending champion Narissa McMullen finished in fifth. Tomlinson put her success down to having previous experience driving in Queensland during last year’s AYDC. She also thanked the trainers and owners for putting horses in the competition. Tomlinson was presented with a brand new Rio Mark 2 Sulky thanks to major sponsors Garrard’s for her efforts and the AYDC trophy.  Mr Brick said the Young Drivers, through the donation of their driving fees, were able to raise $4000 for series charity partner, Youngcare.   

New Zealand's Sheree Tomlinson has enjoyed a near-perfect opening day in the Australasian Young Drivers Championship.  The South Island representative snared the opening two heats of the series and a further placing to put herself atop the leaderboard.  Tomlinson guided the Grant Dixon-trained favourite One Off ($1.75) to a 2.1m win in the opener, before backing up to score behind Goalkicker ($4.80) for Graham Dwyer.  She later placed with Beef City Blaze ($11) for Peter Greig.  Fellow New Zealander Alicia Harrison won the third leg for Bianca Hooper with The Gun Rockstar ($12), with Chis Geary getting a win on the board for NSW in the fourth heat behind Peter Greig's Werelivingthedream.  Experience and drawing the right horse counts for plenty in the AYDC and Tomlinson had her fair serve of both heading into today's opener.  "It did help driving here last year and getting to know Redcliffe and Albion Park," she said.  "Redcliffe's an interesting track. The dummy straight before turning for home can catch you out and forces you to be positive in the run." Tomlinson said while the wins certainly help put runs on the board, it was the placings in the face of perceived adversity which will count most at the pointy end of competition.  "It was a great start to get two winners and then the placing later on. You don't need to win every race but you do need to try and earn points," she said.  "I'll go home now, do the form and see if we can do the same over the next few days. "I'd really like to thank the trainers and owners for putting horses in this competition. If it wasn't for them it wouldn't be happening. None of us drivers missed out on drives right throughout the day."  The Young Drivers will be back at Redcliffe tomorrow afternoon following a visit to a Youngcare facility, as part of the series' partnership with the charity that supports young people with high care needs.  "It was an eye opener listening to (Belinda Mackintosh, Youngcare) speak at the launch this morning. I'm fortunate to have nobody in my family going throguh what some others have to deal with," Tomlinson said.  "I think it's a fitting charity for this series to get behind."    Alex Nolan

The Dominion is all about the Ford factory. However, it’s horsepower of a different variety – equine! For the second straight year, West Melton trainer Ken Ford has walked away with the biggest trotting cheque in the southern hemisphere after his brilliant performer Marcoola delivered a stunning performance to win the Gr.1 $300,000 Used To Me @ Haras de Trotteurs Dominion at Addington today (Friday). Twelve months ago, the Ford family was left shell-shocked after Amaretto Sun and young Sheree Tomlinson (Ford's grand-daughter) pulled off a longshot shocker to win the south island feature and again today, they were left a little gob smacked by the sheer arrogance and blinding acceleration of their star trotter as he raced away with the 3200m standing start feature. Handled by Ford's son Clint, it was utter domination from Marcoola. Unlike last year, the performance today didn’t completely shock anyone because most are acutely aware of the rich talent the Sundon six-year-old entire possesses. In lead-up to the event, his form has been true and consistent but the barrier allowed punters to gain a juicy price about the speedy performer. Race favourite Speeding Spur was backing-up following his Gr.1 FFA victory on Tuesday and was attempting to claim the Rowe Cup/Dominion double in the same year while join the other 17 trotters to claim the Cup week double. With Alderbeck, Temporale and Hey Yo all beginning quickly and vying for the early supremacy, Speeding Spur stepped safely and landed in a handy spot just behind the leaders. Classy mare Harriet Of Mot galloped away badly and lost considerable ground. Within the first lap, changes swept over the field with the highly fancied Great Things Happen finding the lead while Lemond was left parked without cover and Speeding Spur sitting right on his back. The tempo was dawdling with Great Things Happen and driver Gavin Smith walking the big field through the opening lap. The lead time was covered in 2:08.1. Speeding Spur made a move around the 1200m point and parked outside Great Things Happen while Ronald J soon followed and raced outside the leader. The first half was covered in 29.2 and 31.7 seconds. Entering the back straight, Great Things Happen led Ronald J while Speeding Spur sat poised ready to strike. Passing the 1000m point, driver Clint Ford made his move with Marcoola and allowed him to stride forward three wide and his run was unimpeded. And he came with a rush as he built massive momentum. The third quarter was covered in 29.7 seconds. With his blinding acceleration, Marcoola surged to the lead and soon opened up the field and raced away to lead by a clear margin entering the home straight. Ford kept his charge focused as Australian trotter Kyvalley Blur started to charge down the outside but the margin was too great. Marcoola scored convincingly and registered a margin of 4 lengths from Kyvalley Blur with a further 2.75 lengths back to Lemond in third while Speeding Spur finished fourth. The winning time was 4:08 – a mile rate of 2:04.6 with a final split of 28.7 seconds. Yet again, it was time for celebration for the Ford family. “He felt really good and there was some cat and mouse tactics from Anthony (Butt – Kyvalley Blur) and Tony (Herlihy – Temporale) and I just went for it. He trotted great and showed great speed but I kept thinking they were coming and I kept checking but he did it well.” Driver Clint Ford said. Marcoola is raced in partnership by Clint and his father Ken. The last time a trainer prepared back to back winners in the Dominion was Tim Butt back in 2003/04 after Take A Moment and Lyell Creek proved triumphant. Interestingly, Marcoola is closely related to Lyell Creek and takes his record to 14 wins from 31 starts while his earnings now exceed $410,000. The next leg of the 2018/19 Australian Pacing Gold Trotting Masters is the $150,000 Inter Dominion in Melbourne on December 15. Chris Barsby

At Winton on Saturday Bettor’s Delight mare Melina Lowe proved age is no barrier when it comes to breaking records. In winning, the seven year old aided by a perfect run behind pacemaker Shezacullengirl, covered the 2400 metres from behind the mobile in 2-53.6. The time bettered Hannah Jaye’s 2-54.3 which was a track, Southland and New Zealand posted in 2012. Driver Sheree Tomlinson was so confident inside the last 300 metres that she didn’t wait for the passing lane, pulling Melina Lowe off the back of Shezacullengirl before the two straightened up for the run home. At the finish Melina Lowe stuck her head out gamely to beat Magnetic Watch which ran home late up the inside. “Sheree said she was travelling good all the way and felt she was going to win easily. She said the horse pulled up in the last 50 metres and when I told her what time they went, that explained why,” said trainer Craig Ferguson. The all-comers record for the distance at the Central Southland Raceway is held by three year old filly Nek Time which recorded 2-53.0 in 2016. Owned by Paul and Brendan Duffy of Edendale Melina Lowe has spent most of her career with Kirk Larsen but was transferred to Ferguson’s stable at the end of last season. She was having her eighth start for the barn. “She had a few niggly issues and I think the change of scenery and the pool at Wyndham helps older horses,” said Ferguson. Melina Lowe is out of Washington VC mare Biddy Mulligan whose second dam was quality Transport Chip pacer Chipaluck. Chipaluck, trained for most of her career by Ronnie MacDonald, won nine races. Her best season was as a three year old, when she won five races including the Group One 1985 New Zealand Oaks and the Group Two Ladyship Stakes in Auckland. “I used to milk Ronnie MacDonald’s cows when he went to the races. I was only sixteen when I started doing that and we became quite good friends. We were both breeding Aryshires. Owen Crooks had Chipalong (Apollo’s Way – Chipaluck) at that stage and she didn’t have a home so Ronnie offered her to us. My son Brendan and I went off and bought the mare home. When we got home he said ‘Dad do you think we should open a bank account?’ I said what for? He thought there was going to be money coming in I think. There was a bit of learning to taking place there,” said Paul Duffy laughing. Chipalong’s first foal was Biddy Mulligan. “She had speed everywhere but up the straight so we put her aside (to breed from).” Biddy Mulligan is also the dam of Arthur Lowe which won four races in New Zealand and another six in Australia. He won at Gloucester Park on Friday night so it was a great weekend for the Duffys. Paul says the Lowe name comes from the family farm which is on Lowe Road at Seaward Downs. “I bought the farm back in 1972. The original owner was Levi Lowe. We called one horse Levi Lowe and have gone with the Lowes ever since.” Meanwhile Ferguson says Melina Lowe may well be suited to the rise in class. “She follows speed really well and I think racing against the better faster horses will suit her.”   Bruce Stewart

The annual Timaru Mother’s Day race meeting on Sunday 13 May will see the fifth edition of the club’s lady drivers races held at Phar Lap Raceway. Two penalty free lady driver races are programmed to be held at the race meeting, which will be sponsored once again by FLAIR and Brosnan’s Transport. Club President Elizabeth Shand is thrilled with the interest Canterbury female drivers have shown in the event. She says it’s important to the club to celebrate the achievements and support of all females in the harness racing community. “The aim of the day is to highlight women in our industry. We want to recognize and promote not just the female drivers but also the trainers, owners, stablehands and partners that are dedicated to harness racing and are great role models for the next generation,” said Shand. This year’s driving lineup features Kirstin Barclay, Kim Butt, Katie Cox, Ineka Lee, Amber Lethaby, Laura McKay, Lauren Lester, Mikyala Lewis, Sarah O'Reilly, Sam Ottley, Charlotte Purvis, Olivia Thornley, Amanda Tomlinson, Sheree Tomlinson, Jess Young and Glenys Chmiel. The mother and daughter combination of Amanda and Sheree Tomlinson will once again add to the spectacle on Mother’s Day, as has been seen in the past between Denise and Sam Ottley. “We would also like to particularly thank trainers Bruce Negus and Robbie Holmes who have been huge supporters of these races of the years in providing horses for these races on a regular basis,” noted Shand. The club will be providing a 'Ladies Meet and Greet' tent on the day where all female race goers can register on the day for competitions and find out about how they can become a part of the industry. “We will also have a number of female harness racing ambassadors there to help celebrate and respect the diversity and culture of our industry. We will offer information on education, careers and ownership and let people know what is available to them,” said Shand. Activities on the day include the annual Mother’s Day Quiz, a novelty race and prize draws will run throughout the day including the opportunity to win in the Ron Brown Jewellers Gold Watch Sweep. Children will be kept happy on the day too with activities including colouring competitions and the kids’ lucky number competition. HRNZ Marketing

Winton trained harness racing mare Tact Maggie is finally starting to live up to the reputation she had early in her short career. The Lis Mara four year old showed sparkling form at some of her workouts and trials early this season but hasn't been particularly consistent on race days Trainer Trevor Proctor said after today’s (Saturday) win - the second in a row for Tact Maggie - that it wasn’t until regular driver Brent Barclay told him to increase her workload that she improved. “After two or three races Brent made the comment to me that she was short (of work) so I poked a bit more work into her and bang. I also took the Murphy blind off her that was just to keep her straight. She hasn’t missed that. I was surprised she sprinted up the lane as good as she did today. She’s a big beautiful pacing mare. When you bring her out it’s nothing fantastic. She doesn’t have real speed like her mother had,” said Proctor. Her early season workout and trials form has also caught the eye of Australian buyers and normally Proctor is a seller. “I had her for sale. Amanda Turnbull trialed her. She was getting a team together to buy her but I haven’t heard back. At this stage we’re happy enough to race her and breed from her next season.” Returning to the winners enclosure - Photo Bruce Stewart. Out of the ten win mare Tact Lizzie, Tact Maggie was having only her sixth race day start today. “Because she was a big horse it never entered my head to even race her because no-one pays me to do this. I wasn’t in a hurry to race her.” From barrier two driver Sheree Tomlinson took the mare forward early before handing up to Varenna and settling nicely in the trail. “Today Sheree said she relaxed all the way. During the week Chelsea Faithful drove her (in work) and said she was a different horse from the week before.” In some of her previous starts she was tried in front. “The day we tried to pull her back at the workouts she was taking it on. She broke and lost thirty to fifty metres but finished right in behind them running her last mile in two minutes with the last half in fifty six. When Brent said I wasn’t giving her enough, I thought you’ve got to be joking but he was right.” Proctor says Tact Maggie is likely to start on her home track at Winton before running her season out on Diamonds Day at Ascot Park.  Meanwhile evergreen pacer Groomsman won his ninth race in his one hundred and twenty one start career when he held on to beat Vera's Delight in the Regent Car and Commercial 125 North Road Pace.   Bruce Stewart Southland Harness racing Tact Maggie winning at Ascot park

New Zealand raises $19,000 for Team Teal   Harness Racing New Zealand are thrilled to annouce that we have raised $19,000 for the Teal Pants Campaign.   The campaign which started on February 1 and finished on March 12 was run for the first time in New Zealand this year and we are extremelyhappy with the results.   We had a total of 39 reinswoman win races throughout the period with each win receiving $400 in donations.   Harness Racing New Zealand donated $200, Woodlands Stud $100 and the Club $100.   The total money raised will be sent to the Womens Cancer Foundation to help with research around Ovarian Cancer.   We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our reinswoman for getting behind this fantastic cause and wearing the teal pants, and a special thank you to our Ambassadors- Sheree Tomlinson, Sam Ottley, and Nicky Chilcott.   We would also like to thank the following for their contribution to this cause: - All NZ Harness Racing Clubs - $100 per win - John Bougen - Reefton INC - Prize for “Wear teal and win” - Hororata Trotting Club - Teal Day - Auckland Trotting Club - Hosting the Women’s Day Shoot - Reefton Trotting Club - Teal Day - Cambridge Raceway - Hosting Ladies Night - Michelle Wallis - Losing driving fees - Woodlands Stud - $100 per win - Kirstin Barclay - Winning driving stakes - Jay Abernethy - $200 donation - Nicky Chilcott - $100 donation - Methven Florist - Flowers for the Fashion Contest - Gore Harness Racing Club - Donation - The Butchers Pie - Vouchers for Fashion Contest - Haircare Market Bush Inn - Prizes for Fashion Contest - Amanda Tomlinson and David Broadhurst - Hurunui Raceday Donations - Kidz Kartz - Wearing teal ribbons - Flair - Donation - Addington Raceway - Charity of the Month - Trackside - Wearing teal and promoting the campaign   Once again we thank everyone for taking part in this fantastic cause. We are already looking forward to supporting this campaign next year. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me on the details below.   Courtney Clarke Harness Racing New Zealand

Waikato Bay Of Plenty Harness Racing is set to support Team Teal in a big way next Thursday 22 February.   The club is thrilled to announce that they will host the three ambassadors for Team Teal in Nicky Chilcott, Sam Ottley and Sheree Tomlinson.   Nicky of course is a local identity, and Sheree and Sam will available for driving engagements at the meeting.   The track holds fond memories for Sam, after she won the Group 1 Four-Year-Old Diamond with Rocker Band in 2016.   “It’s just so great to be able to raise awareness for such a worthy cause, and to be able to drive at Cambridge again is going to be a buzz.    "I’m just excited to be a part of the ladies night,” Sam said. Whilst driving at the Cambridge course will be a whole new experience for Sheree who will drive there for the first time.   She’s no stranger to breaking new ground of course after becoming the first female driver to win the Dominion Handicap with Amaretto Sun last year.   “I haven’t driven in an official race at Cambridge, but I have been there twice before driving with Kidz Kartz. So I’m really looking forward to heading there and supporting the cause, but this time the sectionals might be a bit different!” said Sheree.   The meeting will be known as ‘Ladies Night Supporting Team Teal 18’ and is set to include a ladies night event oncourse, with a proportion of ticket sales going to support the Woman’s Cancer Foundation and further awareness for Ovarian Cancer.   Tickets are only $30 and include and antipasto platter, reserved seating, drink on arrival and a $10 donation to the Wom- an’s Cancer Foundation.   Club President Rob Lawson said the club was only too eager to help support awareness around Ovarian Cancer and the Team Teal Campaign, which started on February 1 and will end on March 11. “I am delighted that our Club can participate in this wonderful cause – it should be exciting having Sam and Sheree here to add a real highlight to our Ladies Night meeting.” The campaign is running nationwide where all female drivers wear Teal Pants to raise awareness for Ovarian Cancer. For each win the pants gain Harness Racing New Zealand will donate $200, Woodlands Stud $100 and each club donates $100 for a win at their track. So in short, $400 goes to the Woman’s Cancer Foundation for each win during the six weeks.   To book tickets for the Ladies Night at Cambridge, or to book Sheree or Sam for drives please contact the Cambridge Raceway Office on 07 827 5506 or email dave@cambridgeraceway.co.nz     Jess Smith

Harness Racing New Zealand are thrilled to announce that following the huge amount of support for the Teal Pants Campaign, all female drivers have agreed to be a part of the appeal. Starting February 1st 2018, all female race day drivers around the country will wear teal pants to help raise awareness around Ovarian Cancer in New Zealand. The campaign will run until 11 March 2018 and three ambassadors have been selected to also wear teal silks. They are Samantha Ottley (Canterbury), Sheree Tomlinson (Southland) and Nicky Chilcott (North Island). Ottley is thrilled to be a part of the first New Zealand campaign. “I’m so pleased to be able to be a part of such a great cause. It’s such a big thing in Australia, so it’s pretty cool to see us Kiwis getting behind it too. Here’s hoping I can drive a few winners in the pants and raise a bit of money!” The first female driver to win the Dominion Handicap, junior driver Sheree Tomlinson is excited to be able to help the cause. “It’s a great way to be able to support women with ovarian cancer, but to also help raise awareness about it and band together as an industry,” Tomlinson said. “I’m really looking forward to being an ambassador for this important cause.” For Nicky Chilcott the chance to be an ambassador hit her on a personal level. “When I was asked to be an ambassador I jumped at the chance to help. My mother was diagnosed with cervical cancer 25 years ago and I’m thrilled to say she is a survivor of it, but I know how hard it was on her and the extended family going through that. She’s very lucky to be here,” said Chilcott. “If we can help anyone going through that terrible experience then I think that’s a huge part of giving back.” The Teal Pants movement initially started in Victoria in 2014 following the loss of Duncan McPherson’s wife Lyn in 2010 to ovarian cancer. It then was held throughout Australia last season. Determined to ensure her passing was not in vain, McPherson came up with the concept to raise awareness, as the symptoms of ovarian cancer often are not obvious. It is a silent killer. He found that often partners of the women taken by ovarian cancer were left lost and without support also, which meant he was often on the other end of a cold call from men who just needed to talk to someone who could understand and help them cope. McPherson has focused a lot of the awareness campaign around targeting men to get them to support their female partners in getting tested early if something doesn’t seem right. But the main message around the Teal Pants Campaign in both Australia and New Zealand is the dire need for better awareness, services and early detection. HRNZ Marketing

Southland based driver Sheree Tomlinson became the first female driver to win the time honoured Dominion Handicap at Addington yesterday (Friday). The nineteen year old is the youngest driver to the win the race and just the second junior driver to win the Group One feature; the first being Anthony Butt who won it in 1987, driving Simon Katz. "It was so special and very emotional. As soon as they crossed the line I was pretty much in tears," she said yesterday after Amaretto Sun which is trained by her Grandfather Ken Ford won at odds of 91 to 1. Things looked promising at the start when she timed her walk up to the tape perfectly and began well to lead early, before The Foot Tapper then Great Things Happen took over leaving Amaretto Sun three back on the running line. "He just stepped so good. That's probably the best he's ever stepped in his whole career. I couldn't hand up to The Foot Tapper straight away because you have to let my horse run for that first 400 metres because he can buck. You just have to loose rein him for the first bit. I knew when The Foot Tapper got to the front he'd only hand to the best horse in the race. I saw Gavin (Gavin Smith on favourite Great Things Happen)coming and I knew he'd stay there." That's the way it remained until the field straightened for the run home at the end of the 3200 metre feature. "I had to tell myself heading up the home straight not to pull out and hope that I'd get a run inside the passing lane. It opened up, he got the run then he showed some high speed. Turning for home Dexter had Bordeaux on the bit with the plug out and he was travelling but he was tapping him up a bit. I thought that's alright. Then I thought Gavin would have put a few lengths on us but he was only half travelling. I thought if I get a run I should go close but I definitely wasn't expecting to win it."   I was in the last 50 metres that the inside run presented itself and the Sundon six year old let down nicely to beat The Foot Tapper by a length and a quarter. The win was celebrated by Tomlinson with a flourish of the whip. "There were so many things going through my head. I couldn't believe it. He's been so up and down in the last twelve months. He went super in the Ordeal Cup, he then had a couple of issues and we had to get the chiropractor to him." Although not overly confident about her chances in the Dominion there were signs that the horse was well pre-race.  "I couldn't even walk him around before the race he was that keen and full of himself. He tried to boot me out of the cart five or six times in the warm up. I think it's a habit he's got into. Once he's going and focussed on the job he's a beautiful horse to drive."  The last Southland based driver to win the Dominion was Nathan Williamson when he drove Springbank Richard to win in 2009. Before that you have to go back to Henry Skinner who drove Tobago to win in 1989.  "To us as a family the Dominion is like winning the New Zealand Trotting Cup. Grandad only really trains trotters."   Amaretto Sun has only ever been driven in his thirty six starts be either Sheree or her mother Amanda. Amanda drove him to win at his first start at Banks Peninsula in September 2015. The mother and daughter have each driven the gelding five times to win. Tomlinson, who works for Invercargill trainer Murray Brown, currently sits second behind Matt Anderson in the Junior Drivers Premiership and has been racking up the travel miles this season, venturing to Canterbury most weekends.   "Murray has been very good to me. I come up most weeks to Addington to drive on Friday night. If it wasn't for my Mum and Dad and Nana and Grandad helping me I wouldn't be able to do it. I really do appreciate it."  Tomlinson says the Green Mile at Methven on December 3rd is the horse's next target before he heads to Auckland with the main target The Rowe Cup. "I'm heading over for the Australiasian Drivers Championship in December and I think one of his races is when I'm over in Aussie. I'll have to sweet talk Grandad and miss that one. Mum may have to put on the colours and drive him." Sheree Tomlinson has driven forty six winners in the three seasons she's been driving. Her first winner was Little Mo at Oamaru in January 2016.   Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing  

In Christchurch.--- It has all the ingredients of a racing fairytale --- a young girl and the horse she loves triumphing against all odds on the biggest stage. And the joy 19-year-old Sheree Tomlinson felt as she won her family’s version of the New Zealand Cup, the $300,000 Dominion at Addington, yesterday was impossible to not to love. Tomlinson never went around a horse on 90-1 chance Amaretto Son, trained by her grandfather Ken Ford, sneaking up the passing lane to become the first female to win our greatest trot race. And all this on a horse who first brought Tomlinson to the attention of the punting public but a horse who needed an operation this time last year to keep racing. But there is only one problem with this girl loves life-changing horse storyline. “He is actually a bugger,” laughs Tomlinson. “He tries to kick me out of the cart every time I drive him. Not just race day, every time. “That is just him. So we have had our moments along the way. He is not easy.” So while he may not be the textbook equine hero, Amaretto Son gave the Tomlinson and Ford family their proudest moment in racing. They are trotting people through and through, breeding horse of that that gait as opposed to pacers and therefore they don’t dream of New Zealand Cups, they dream of the Dominion. “That is why I am so emotional, I can’t believe we, not me but the whole family, have won the race we want the most,” says Sheree. “Especially with this fella because he had those bone chip issues last season and he hasn’t been an easy horse for us.”Tomlinson may be a teenager with an infectious smile but she is no newcomer to the sulky, having been brought up through harness racing’s hugely successful Kidz Kartz programme. “That was a great way to get into racing and get out there on the track before I was allowed to drive properly but I can’t believe something like this has come so early in my career. “I am absolutely buzzing. It is all a bit of a blur.” Amaretto Son will now travel north for the plethora of major trots over the summer at a time when the open class ranks, shorn of Monbet, have a very open feel to them. That wasn’t supposed to be how yesterday’s Dominion turned out as Great Things Happen was a $1.50 favourite and when he jogged to the front in the early stages he should have been too good. But he was beaten at the 300m, leaving trainer-driver Gavin Smith wondering whether his stable star had suffered from a tying up problem as he took an age to recover after the race. While Amaretto Son was a crushing blow for punters in yesterday’s great trot, Ultimate Machete was simply crushing in the A$260,000 Woodlands Pacing Free-For-All. The four-year-old showed the benefit of coming in fresh after missing Cup day to sit parked outside Tiger Tara and Jack’s Legend, smashing the national all comers 1950m mobile record in the process. He will head off to Perth this week to join stablemate Lazarus at the Perth Inter Dominion series but Ultimate Machete will be aimed at the four-year-old support races worth a total of A$375,000 over the next three Fridays. By Michael Guerin

It was an upset of gigantic proportions. But it was also history in the making. Talented trotter Amaretto Sun and harness racing teenage driver Sheree Tomlinson proved victorious in today’s (Friday) Gr.1 $300,000 Haras des Trotteurs Dominion Handicap at Addington in Christchurch. Prepared by respected horseman Ken Ford, Amaretto Sun was friendless in the betting and saluted at odds of $91.20 while defeating The Foot Tapper and Monty Python in the 3200m stand-start classic, the biggest trotting event staged in New Zealand and first staged in 1911. Tomlinson, 19, becomes the first female driver to win the time-honoured trotting feature and showed patience beyond her youthful years when guiding the Sundon gelding to victory. The pre-race hype focused on Tuesday’s Trotting Free-For-All winner Great Things Happen with many expecting the giant trotter to repeat his crushing victory while the flashy Bordeaux was tipped to be his biggest challenger. When the strands released, Amaretto Sun pounced on the early lead before releasing The Foot Tapper while Great Things Happen quickly moved forward and tackled for the lead role. With Great Things Happen controlling the speed, there were little or no moves within the first mile of the event which had punters on good terms with themselves. The lead time was covered in 2:06.8. The first move in the race came via Bordeaux who moved three-wide with 1300m to run while Daryl Boko and Dark Horse joined the developing cover. But Great Things Happen continued to cruise in the leading role and posted sectionals of 29.1 and 29.5 seconds for the first half of the final mile. Approaching the home turn, Great Things Happen found little when challenged quickly by Bordeaux while The Foot Tapper and Amaretto Sun went to the passing lane with Monty Python and Harriet Of Mot both starting to charge deeper off the track. At the 100m mark, it was Amaretto Sun who struck the lead while The Foot Tapper, Bordeaux and Monty Python battled hard. Harriet Of Mot, who almost fell soon after the start, made a break in the final stages and cost itself a certain placing. At the finish, it was Amaretto Sun who sprinted best to score by over a length from The Foot Tapper with another half-length back to Monty Python in third while Bordeaux finished a close-up fourth. The final half was covered in splits of 29.4 and 29.7 seconds. The gross time was 4:04.7 – the mile rate was 2:03.0. It was well outside of the race record set twelve months earlier when Monbet trotted 4:00.7. Race favourite Great Things Happen weakened to finish 11th. "He felt good in the running and has so much speed. It felt amazing," Tomlinson said. “It’s very special for the family.” She added. Tomlinson is the granddaughter of Ford and the family has enjoyed tremendous success in recent times with outstanding trotter Marcoola. The shock result provided Tomlinson with her maiden Group One triumph and it’s a victory she will never forget. Amaretto Sun's sire Sundon won the Dominion in 1990. The next leg of the 2017/18 Australian Pacing Gold Trotting Masters takes place at TABCORP Park, Melton on January 27 with the running of the $300,000 Pryde’s Easifeed Great Southern Star. Chris Barsby

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