Harness racing can be tough business at times as luck plays a part of any horses career. One horse who has never had a lot of luck during his 22 starts to date is the Live Or Die gelding, Elliot Daniel. Bred by well known Auckland breeder and owner Bernie Lim and raced by him from the stable of Richard Brosnan, Elliot Daniel has always looked the kind of racehorse that had two or three wins in him but just never got the rub of the green when he needed it on raceday. Rising seven and with just three placings from 22 starts, Elliot Daniel was put on the market recently as the patience of his camp had run out. Enter Steven Reid who was looking for a horse at the time and like a lot of people thought that Elliot Daniel had a couple of wins in him. With a horse now seven, Steven Reid thought the change of enviroment may work the trick with Elliot Daniel and judging by last Saturday's win at the Auckland workouts he may be right. Elliot Daniel ran out a narrow but impressive winner of his six horse heat with the last 800 meters in 58.4 and 400 meters in 27.6. By Live or Die, Elliot Daniel is from the handy Sands A Flyin mare Sequita who won twice and was placed nine times in a brief twenty start career on the track. Sequita is a half sister to Kaiapoi Lil 1:52.6 and is closely related to the former star juvenile in Australia My Handsome Fella 1:59 ($79,573) Tomorrow night at Alexandra Park, Elliot Daniel starts from barrier six in the 4 year old and older 2200 meters mobile with Simon Lawson in the bike and looks a realistic winning chance. All Elliot Daniel really needs is the rub of the green to finally make it to the winners circle. Harnesslink Media
Last week was possibly the worst ever for the ring-around with just the one winner. However, that one winner, Equulei, tipped by Jay Abernethy, did pay odds of $10.70 and $2.50. Let’s see what the boys have come up with for us this week: Addington – Thursday Jonny Cox: Thinks 2-win mare Pay Me Quick, who has been in sublime form of late, will be hard to beat against non-win rivals in the first race on the card. Ricky May: Has opted for the very smart Dalton Bromac, who looks half of the quinella with Wesley Silcox – race four. Matthew Williamson: Expects Very Persuasive to prove very hard to beat in the Golden Girls Final – race eight. Ken Barron: Has a massive opinion of Bracken Ridge and expects him to be simply too classy for his rivals in the last race on the card. Mitchell Robertson (Harnesslink): Bracken Ridge – race nine. Alexandra Park - Thursday Josh Dickie: Thinks Sunny Vacation, with manners, is the one they all have to beat in race six. Scott Phelan: Thinks the inform Cyamach, who is likely to head to Australia for the Breeders Crown, can continue on his winning ways – race seven. Todd Mitchell: Is bullish about the chances of Tangos Delight, who looks a strong chance in the eighth race on the card. Simon Lawson: Thinks Shedontloveme is a very good each-way chance in the last race on the card. Kurow – Sunday Blair Orange: Thinks Quaint Glen, who had trialled up stylishly prior to her debut third, can win the first race on the card. Tim Williams: Has opted for Lovetodream, who also looks a good chance in the first race on card. Gavin Smith: Thinks Billies A Star, who has been ultra impressive at the trials, should prove too strong for what looks an average maiden line-up – race five. Mark Jones: Thinks Sunoflindenny, who has been backed and beaten in his first two runs back, can make amends in the sixth race on the card.
Last week the ring-around produced six winners with Matthew Williamson, Nathan Williamson, Scott Phelan, Ricky May, John Dunn, and I all delivering the goods. The best result was my tip Spell which romped in at odds $5.50. Let’s see what winners we have in store for you this week: Cambridge – Thursday Jay Abernethy: Thinks Equulei can kick the ring-around off in style in the first race at Cambridge. Simon Lawson: Rates Betty Boop Brogden as a good each-way chance in the fourth race on the card. Alexandra Park – Friday Todd Mitchell: Has opted for Miss Lotty, who was seen doing her best work late when second last start. She looks a good chance in the first race. Brent Mangos: expects impressive trialist Vibhuti to prove very tough to roll – race four. Steve Richardson (T.A.B): Has opted for Djokovic, who looks a bold chance in race five. Scott Phelan: Rates the chances of inform pacer Cyamach, who looks a strong chance despite meeting a very good field in the sixth race at Alexandra Park. Addington – Friday Ken Barron: Expects both Bracken Ridge (race two) and Quaint Glen (Rangiora race 3) to prove very hard to beat. Mitchell Robertson (Harnesslink): Bracken Ridge – race two Mark Jones: Thinks the consistent Jaccka Len can break through for another win – race five. Gavin Smith: Rates She’s Extreme as a good place chance in the sixth event on the card. John Dunn: Is expecting a big run from two-year-old filly Cullens First Meddle – race six. Tim Williams: Has opted for smart mare Here We Go Again, who downed likely favourite Fifth Edition in her last start – race eight. Matthew Williamson: Expects Ohoka Benson to be hard to beat in what looks an average C1 field – race ten. Rangiora – Sunday Terry Chmiel: Has opted for the inform That Guy Finn, who looks a good chance despite meeting a strong C1 and 2 line-up – race six. Jonny Cox: Thinks Explosive Art can continue to explode through the grades – race nine.
Last week was a quiet one for the ring-around with just the two winners. However, T.A.B Bookmaker Steve Richardson did find us some value in the form of $8 and $2.50. Let’s see what good oil the boys have found for us this week. Forbury – Thursday Matthew Williamson: Has opted for Monnay, who is the class horse of the field but and looks a chance despite his huge seventy metre handicap – race six. Nathan Williamson: Rates the chances of Onedin Mach, who should have benefited off his fresh-up fourth. He looks the one to beat in race seven on the card. Jonny Cox: Rates the chances of Homeforabubbly, who looks well placed in the ninth race on the card. Alexandra Park – Friday Simon Lawson: Has selected Westwind Flyer as his best bet of the week – race one. Scott Phelan: Believes Pieces Of My Heart can go one better in the third race on the card. Josh Dickie: Has opted for Katieellen Castleton, who would only need to do things right to win the fourth race. Addington – Friday Stephen Richardson (T.A.B): Has selected Hikoi, who got too far back last start before finishing strongly for fourth. Steps up to 2600m this week which should suit – race two. David Butt: Rates the chances of Stingray, who returned to form last week with a nice win. He meets the same sort of field this week and looks a good each-way chance again - race five. Ricky May: Has opted for the impressive Dalton Bromac. He looks the one they all have to beat in the same event – race five. Craig Thornley: Has opted for Playaway, who was a fast finishing second last start. She looks a good each-way chance in the sixth race. Mitchell Robertson (Harnesslink): Spell – race eight. Ashburton – Sunday Mark Jones: Expects smart filly Goodness Gracious Me to prove very hard to beat in the sixth race. Ken Barron: Has opted for Change Time, who returns to mobile racing and has landed the plumb draw. She has produced big runs in her last two outings after missing the kick from standing starts and looks a good chance on Sunday – race eight. John Dunn: Thinks stable newcomer Wesley Silcox, who trialled up nicely on Monday, can keep his unbeaten record intact – race eight.
Last week was a great one for the Harnesslink ring-around with Matthew Williamson, Ken Barron, Scott Phelan, Josh Dickie, Jonny Cox, Craig Thornley, Ricky May, Anthony Butt, and Blair Orange all tipping out winners. Here are this week’s selections: Cambridge - Thursday Simon Lawson: Expects Ton Tine to win again – race five. Alexandra Park – Friday Steve Richardson (Harnesslink): Thinks Russley Haste will prove very hard to beat in the fourth race on the card. Scott Phelan: Has opted for the in form Cyamach in the Winter Cup - race seven. Forbury – Friday Mark Jones: Has declared Lady Mackendon as the biggest cert he has ever taken to the races. “It’s like Master Lavros in a maiden trot. Only a bad drive will get it beat.” Mitchell Robertson (Harnesslink): Rip Roaring - race two. John Dunn: Expects smart juvenile Robbie Burns to make it two wins from as many starts – race four. Josh Dickie: Has just an average book of drives this week, but rates Russet Norkotah, who will be at any old odds, as the best of them - race five. Matthew Williamson: Thinks Al Razza will prove very hard to beat again – race ten. Nathan Williamson: Will go head-to-head with brother Matthew, with the talented Sheeza Shark in the same event. Rangiora – Sunday Blair Orange: Rates Zakspatrol as his best chance of the week – race seven. Terry Chmiel: Has opted for That Guy Finn, who will shoot for three wins in a row in the same event – race seven. Ricky May: Has opted for smart three-year-old Explosive Art, who has been coming along in leaps and bounds in recent starts – race eight. Ken Barron: Thinks Livura will prove hard to beat in the ninth race on the card. Jonny Cox: Has a decent book of drives, but rates Galleon’s Triumph as the best of them – race eleven. Anthony Butt: Is bullish about the chances of smart 2yo Field Marshal in the last event on the card.
Last week the ring-around produced four winners, all at relatively good value. This week we have a smaller ring-around than usual due to some technical problems, however I am sure it is still chock-a-block with winners. Forbury – Thursday Nathan Williamson: Thinks Nickelson can give Father Christmas a run for his money in the fifth event tonight. John Dunn: Expects Alta Jerome to be hard to bowl from his handy barrier draw in race number six on the card. Tim Williams: Rates the chances of Queen Of The Crop in race eight. Matthew Williamson: Is very bullish about the chances of Lionel’s Meddle in the claimers’ event – race eleven. Alexandra Park – Friday Mitchell Robertson (Harnesslink): Te Amo Bromac – race one. Josh Dickie: Rates the chances of Stellar Kamwood in the fourth event. Todd Mitchell: Rates the chances of Cyclone Prince, who finished sixth in the 3YO Emerald. He looks the one to beat in race number six. Steve Richardson (T.A.B): Has opted for Norvic Nightowl, who finished a creditable fourth in the 4YO Emerald. – race eight. Ashburton@Addington – Friday Ken Barron: Expects Mighty Major to prove very hard to beat in race one on the card. Blair Orange: Thinks he can bring up his 100th winner for the season aboard Someardensomewhere – race four. Cambridge – Sunday Scott Phelan: Thinks Megs First is a strong each-way chance in race eight. Simon Lawson: Rates the chances of Ton Tine in the same event. Ashburton – Sunday Ricky May: Has opted for The Emperor Robyn, who looks well placed in the first event on Sunday. Mark Jones: who found some good place value in Eastburn Mara, has opted for Kowhai Whiz in the fourth event.
A belief in the direction that the Auckland Trotting Club is taking; and the future of the Franklin Training track; were two major reasons why John Street is relocating Lincoln Farm’s harness racing business from Kumeu to Pukekohe. Street recently bought the National Bloodstock property on Golding Road right adjacent to the Franklin track. He is currently spending another $500,000 upgrading the property into a racing stable. “It’s going to take a couple of months before we can move in because hardly anything has been done on the place for 20 years,'' Street said. “But I’ve got six contractors working on site now. The place has up to 60 horse boxes, so we are able to relocate all 30 of our harness horses. "This also includes 21 rising 2-year-olds. "It took a bit of time planning and negotiating but we are pleased with the purchase.'' Street said the Lincoln Farms in Kumeu would continue to house broodmares and stallions. “The property hasn’t sold yet but we are in no hurry, it is serving a very good purpose now." Street said his team could now just walk through to the Franklin track rather than the current situation where they had to be transported into Kumeu or Alexandra Park to work. “The Franklin track is in a much better state and is regularly maintained, the boys do a good job out there and I believe it will be improved even more to make it the Auckland Trotting Club’s major training centre. “The Auckland Club is doing a good job and I want to support them as much as possible. "We both see Pukekohe as the training centre of the future and personally for us the best place to further our success. “Ray (Green - trainer) and all the staff will relocate, it will be the same team with Simon Lawson, Maurice McKendry, and Zac Butcher being used as our drivers." The 69-year-old Auckland businessman who sold his Pak Save Supermarket last year, said he was now spending his retirement developing his thoroughbred and standardbred enterprises. “We are looking to have 10 per cent of our gallopers race with our trainer Lisa Latta in Singapore, and we will continue to promote our popular harness racing syndicates as well. “We have virtually sold Beaudiene Boaz to Gary Hall in Perth and the boys in that syndicate invested about $10,000 and made $40,000 each on him.” “Ian Middleton is overseeing 10 syndicates for us now, and we have got lots of people, especially South Islanders keen to get in. "I think people are realising now that we don’t keep the horse unless we make money." Street said he enjoyed syndicating standardbreds – simply because they were not difficult to sell on. “They are also easy to sell to Australia for a good price if they have or have not met their grade here,” he added. Meanwhile, Street said it was unlikely he would be relocating to Pukekohe. “I am very happy here in Half Moon Bay. Lincoln Farms was the brainchild of Street and his late great mate Graham Blackburn. The company has been in operation for more than three decades having commenced modestly with two horses in 1985 and has now won well in excess of than 300 races and millions in stakes money. Their greatest victory came via Sir Lincoln in the 2012 Auckland Cup. Their most tightly assessed horse is 14-win recent Taylor Mile winner, Besotted. Lincoln Farms has won numerous age races, the most recent of them being Group $150,000 Emerald 2yo Colts and geldings Jewels winner, Beaudiene Boaz. By Duane Ranger (Harness Racing New Zealand)
Congratulations to Matthew Williamson, Ricky May, Todd Mitchell, Joshua Dickie, Jonny Cox, and Nathan Williamson who all produced ‘the goods’ last week. The best result was Katieellen Castleton, who was backed into a closing price of $6.50. Let’s see what good oil the boys have come up with on this massive week of harness racing. Addington - Thursday Colin DeFilippi: Has opted for Strathfield Sun, who recovered well to finish fourth after an early gallop last start - race one. Gavin Smith: Was impressed with Karanga Red Fantasy’s fresh-up second behind Anton Oliver, and think she can go one better in race six tonight. Mark Jones: Has opted for Rock Till You Drop on the back of a couple of impressive workout performances. - race six. Ricky May: Is bullish about the chances of Nevertheless, who has been very good in his last two starts - race seven. Franklin - Friday Jay Abernethy: Likes the chances of Pacific Rapture, who produced a big performance after breaking behind the mobile last start- race six. Simon Lawson: Has opted for the consistent Gold Elite - race eight. Josh Dickie: Rates Kippenberger as a good each-way chance- race nine Forbury Park - Friday Nathan Williamson: Thinks Mr Majestic can break his maiden status in the first race on Friday. Tim Williams: Believes it won’t be long before Mordecai cracks maidens. Probably Friday night- race three. Cambridge Harness Jewels - Saturday Greg Hope: Thinks he has Monbet right back on top of his game and expects him to prove very hard to beat in the 2YO Ruby - race two. Steve Richardson (T.A.B): Has also opted for Monbet on the back of an impressive workout at Cambridge. - race two. John Dunn: Thinks Venus Serena has a cracking winning chance despite her tricky second-line - race three. David Butt: Thinks One Over Da Moon only needs a touch of luck to be a major player in the 3YO Ruby - race four. Ken Barron: Thinks that if Majestic Time is at her best come Saturday she will be a force to be reckoned with - race four. Anthony Butt: Has opted for smart filly Joannes A Delight, who should strip a better horse this week after missing work last week due to a foot abscess - race five. Mitchell Robertson (Harnesslink): Supersonic Miss - race five Todd Mitchell: Is very happy with Prime Power, who will attempt to defend his Jewels title on Saturday - race seven. Matt Markham (HRNZ): Rates Prime Power as the bet of the day on Harness Jewels Day - race seven. Ashburton - Sunday Dexter Dunn: Has a good book of drives on Jewels Day, but has instead opted for Artismee in race two on Sunday Stephen McNally: Thinks Hikoi is closing in rapidly on his maiden win- race five. Terry Chmiel: Thinks last start winner That Guy Finn, can repeat the dose on Sunday - race seven. Sam Ottley: Rates the chances of Mattjestic Rebeck - race nine. Invercargill - Monday Jonny Cox: Is bullish about the chances of King Louie - race five. Clark Barron: Rates Royal Taz as his best chance of the weekend - race eleven.
Last week was an adequate one for the ring-around with just, Blair Orange, Nathan Williamson, and yours truly selecting winners. Let’s see if we can add to that tally this week. Forbury Park - Thursday Matthew Williamson: Thinks Cullen's Finest looks well placed in the second race on the card. Blair Orange: Has opted for Doves Veecee, who is now with Jamie Gameson. He was an impressive trialist earlier in the month and looks hard to beat - race five. Ricky May: Rates the fresh-up Even Flo as a very good each-way bet - race seven. Mark Jones: Has opted for capable two-year-old Pomme Roy, who was unlucky in last week’s Sires Stakes Final. Expect him to lead and win race nine. Alexandra Park - Friday Scott Phelan: Rates Berlusconi as his best bet of the week - race four. Simon Lawson: Thinks that The Wonkey Donkey, with manners, can win race six on the card. Todd Mitchell: Has opted for smart three-year-old Cyclone Prince, who looks well placed on Friday night - race eight. Anthony Butt: Thinks smart filly Joanne’s A Delight can lead and win the Sales Series Final - race nine. Jay Abernethy: Has opted for The Early Wicket, who finished a nice second on debut - race twelve. Josh Dickie: Thinks Katieellen Castleton can provide some value in race twelve. Addington - Friday David Butt: Expects One Over Da Moon, who was sensational in the Northern Derby after making an early break, to prove too good in race five on the card. Colin DeFilippi: Has opted for smart mare Elusive Chick, who is now back with Derek and Adele Jones. She has trialled up super in preparation for her resumption and looks the one they all have to beat- race six. Mitchell Robertson (Harnesslink): Elusive Chick - race six. Samantha Ottley: Thinks the consistent Spell, who has finished second in her last three starts, can breakthrough for her second win - race eight. Steve Richardson (T.A.B): Rates the chances of Lucky VC, who downed a smart type in Mach Winger at a recent trial - race ten. Winton - Sunday Jonny Cox: Has opted for stable newcomer Pay Me Quick, who looks a good each-way chance in the maiden Claimers Final - race two. Nathan Williamson: Thinks Spash Cola, who produced a herculean performance to win her debut, can repeat the dose - race four. Clark Barron: Has selected Strategic Miss, who looks a strong chance in an average C0-1 line-up - race five. Andrew Armour: Thinks Trial By Jury, who finished second on debut, can go one better on Sunday - race six. Addington - Sunday Dexter Dunn: Expects Delightful Dash, who downed a nice field last start, to win again on Sunday - race two.
Last week the Harnesslink ring-around produced four winners as well as a string of minor placegetters. Let’s see if we can add to that tally this week: Cambridge - Thursday Simon Lawson: Thinks handy two-year-old Blinding Light will prove hard to in the first race on the card. Todd Mitchell: Rates the chances of Jovani, who was a good fresh up second - race one. Manawatu - Friday Stephen Richardson (T.A.B): Has opted for Kilkeel Lady as his bet of the week - race three. Addington - Friday Terry Chmiel: Thinks that That Guy Finn will give him his best chance of greeting the judge this weekend - race three. Blair Orange: Has opted for Jayceekay, who backed up his dazzling debut win with a cracking third last start. He looks the one to beat in race five. Ken Barron: Likes the chances of smart two-year-old trotter B D Love in the same event - race five. Colin DeFilippi: Thinks the consistent Rise And Shine can break through for a maiden win - race nine. John Dunn: Is bullish about the chances of smart two-year-old Say My Name in the Sires Stakes Final - race ten. Jonny Cox: Thinks Jaccka Justy will prove hard to beat despite his 40 metre handicap - race eleven. Mitchell Robertson (Harnesslink): Messini - race twelve. Invercargill - Saturday Tim Williams: Will be Popular if he can rein the filly with that exact name home in the first race on the card. Nathan Williamson: Thinks handy trialist Splash Cola can kick her career of with a win - race four. Andrew Armour: Is bullish about the chances of the very capable B D Windermere - race nine. Matthew Williamson: Rates capable trotter Zhenya as his bet of the week - race twelve. Oamaru - Sunday Ricky May: Has opted for Mach Winger on the back of a dazzling performance at the Ashburton trials - race five. Mark Jones: Thinks Juneamy Castleton looks well placed in race six on the card. Anthony Butt: Thinks smart two-year-old Field Marshal can make it back-to-back wins despite his wide barrier draw - race nine.
Anthony Butt still maintains Joanne’s A Delight is one of the best 2-year-old fillies he has ever driven. “She put the pressure on all the way tonight and proved to me again just how good she is," Butt said. "She never really got an easy quarter. It was a gutsy run." The champion reinsman made those comments shortly after Joanne’s A Delight won the Group One $150,000 Magness Benrow Sires Stakes Championship for 2yo fillies at Alexandra Park tonight. The Nigel McGrath trained daughter of Bettor’s Delight burned to the lead early from gate two and never relented holding out the fast finishing Fight For Glory and Natalie Rasmussen by a nose. There was a length and 2-3/4 lengths back to Bettor Be Supreme (Tony Herlihy) and Unforgiving (Simon Lawson). The brown filly stopped the clock in 2:01.97 with a very slick mile rate of 1:55.4. Her final sectionals for the 1700m mobile were 59 flat and 29.5. “She just kept giving tonight." "I’m pleased for Nigel because he’s got her in brilliant condition and she hasn’t been far away in recent starts." It was Joanne’s A Delight’s second win in five starts. She placed in her first look at Alexandra Park last week. “She’s just got a great feel to her and there wouldn’t be many 2-year-old fillies I’ve driven that would be better than her,” Butt said. “I think this will be the first of a few more big wins,” he added. The gifted filly took her stake earnings to $107,458. She is owned by American’s Mark Hanover and Gordon Banks and was bred by Jack Smolenski. By Duane Ranger (Harness Racing New Zealand)
Last week the ring-around produced six winners including, Waitoto Express ($6.40), Doubleodeano ($6.10), and Lancewood Lizzie, who was backed in from an opening quote of $9 and ended up starting a warm favourite. Let’s see what good oil we can dig up this week! Cambridge - Thursday Todd Mitchell: Expects Jovani, who was a luckless fresh-up sixth, to prove hard to beat from her ace alley - race three Simon Lawson: Is bullish about the chances of two-year-old Blinding Light, who will shoot for two from two in the sixth race on the card. Jay Abernethy: Is expecting the inform Beta B Quick to go another good race - race nine Josh Dickie: Expects Giuliana Rancic to make a winning debut on the back of some handy trial form - race ten Alexandra Park - Friday Blair Orange: Expects in form trotting mare Paramount Queen to carry on her winning way- race one. Scott Phelan: Rates Pretty Awesome as his best drive this week - race three. Anthony Butt: Has opted for Joanne's A Delight, who was a brilliant third after dragging a flat tyre last week - race four. David Butt: Thinks a few gear changes and the extra distance can see One Over Da Moon claim Group One glory in the Northern Trotting Derby - race six. Steve Richardson (T.A.B): Thinks Franco Nelson, who has recorded some very good sectionals in his last two starts, is a very good chance in the NZ Messenger - race seven. Forbury - Friday Matthew Williamson: Has opted for Imperial Ace as his best bet of the week - race two Nathan Williamson: Thinks Nothingforthemedia is a very good chance at odds in the same race - race two Jonny Cox: Is bullish about the chances of Play Action, who was a very good second behind a smart type last start. Take a boxed quinella and trifecta with the three of them? - race two Mark Jones: Thinks Jaccka Len can cap off some consistent form with a win in race five on the card. Tim Williams: Has opted for Never Sighted, who looks very hard to beat on debut off the back of some super trials performances - race seven Addington – Saturday Dexter Dunn: Thinks Speights Girl will take all sorts of beating in the first race on the card. Ricky May: Has opted for the talent Monbet as his bet of the week - race five Craig Thornley: Rates Playaway as a good each-way chance - race six John Dunn: Thinks Say My Name can give Alta Orlando a run for his money in the Sales Series Final – race ten. Timaru - Sunday Mitchell Robertson (Harnesslink): Field Marshall - race three Samantha Ottley: Rates Spell, who has been very good in her last two outings, as her best chance of the week - race six Gavin Smith: Thinks Waihemo Art can get some money in what looks an average maiden line-up - race nine. By Mitchell Robertson
23-year-old harness racing reinsman Simon Lawson nailed his first Group One driving success when steering Besotted to a New Zealand record victory in tonight’s $100,000 Group One Taylor Mile at Alexandra Park. After making the most of his inside alley and holding the lead early, Lawson took a trail behind second favourite Elios. Besotted then powered up the sprint lane in the homestretch to win by ¾ of a length over Elios, while champion mare Adore Me endured a torrid trip and was close-up in third. Besotted upset the apple cart winning at staggering odds of $42. “He had actually been going very good races from bad barriers. I was absolutely thrilled with him last start,” advised an excited Lawson. “I decided I may as well make the most of the draw and was only ever going to hand up to Elios or Adore Me. In the end it worked out perfectly,” he enthused. Lawson was full of praise for Besotted’s trainer Ray Green as well as his owner, John Street of Lincoln Farms. “Ray always has his horses perfectly prepared. I don’t think I have ever driven a horse for him that has gone no good,” said Lawson “And it is overwhelming for a man of John Street’s stature to put his faith in a young fella like me in a big race like this one,” he added. Besotted, who is a five-year-old son of American Ideal, paced the 1700 metres in a New Zealand record time of 2.00.0 (1-53.5), which ironically shaved 0.5 seconds off the previous record held by his former stablemate Sir Lincoln. Besotted has now won 14 races and stakes close to $250,000. By Mitchell Robertson
Last week the ring-around produced seven winners, with Mark Jones, Stephen Richardson, Blair Orange, David Butt, Simon Lawson, Terry Chmiel, Jonny Cox, and Ricky May all producing the goods. Let’s hope for a repeat performance this week! Forbury Park - Thursday Andrew Armour: Has opted for Al Raza, who will look to go one better after a nice debut second - race two. Jonny Cox: Is bullish about the chances of Tagataese, who smashed his rivals in a penalty free maiden claimers race last start. He competes in the third race on the card. Tim Williams: Has opted for the consistent Waitoto Express, who should add to his bank balance on Thursday - race five. Matthew Williamson: Had the choice of three drives in the last race at Forbury but opted for Lionels Meddle, who looks well placed in the tenth race on the card. Alexandra Park - Friday Blair Orange: Is bullish about the chance of Full Speed Ahead, who was an emphatic winner at Addington last start - race one. Todd Mitchell: Has opted for the smart Doubleodeano, who looks the main threat to Full Speed Ahead. - race one. Steve Richardson (T.A.B): Rates the chances of smart filly Lancewood Lizzie, who is now trained by Barry Purdon - race four. Mitchell Robertson (Harnesslink): Linda Lovegrace - race five David Butt: Thinks One Over Da Moon can make the most of his ace alley in the Northern Trotting Derby - race eight. Ken Barron: Expects star trotting filly Majestic Time to prove very hard to beat in the Northern Trotting Derby - race eight. Anthony Butt: Will take the reins behind Aussie raider Zedalite, who was a very good second in the Anzac Cup last week - race ten. Nathan Williamson: Has taken The Wonkey Donkey north and expects him to be very competitive in the last race on the card. Addington - Friday Mark Jones: Thinks two-year-old Smoke N Santanna will be very hard to beat in what looks an average maiden line-up - race one. Gavin Smith: Thinks the consistent Naughty Maravu can be competitive despite his tricky barrier draw - race eight. Thames@ Alexandra Park - Sunday Josh Dickie: Has opted for Live At Speed, who drops back from a handy fifth in a much stronger field last start - race one. Jay Abernethy: Rates Riverboat Sue as his best chance of the week- race five. Ashburton – Sunday Ricky May: Believes Franco Salisbury, who was a fast-finishing fourth last start, will prove hard to beat from his ace alley – race seven. Terry Chmiel: Thinks Little Tess looks very well placed in the ninth race on Sunday.
Last week was a disappointing one for the ring-around with just Blair Orange and Mark Jones producing the goods, however a form reversal is expected this weekend. Here is what some of New Zealand's leading harness racing participants came up with for us this week. Addington - Thursday Josh Dickie: Was pleased with Speeding Spur in his South Island debut and expects him to be hard to roll in the feature two-year-old trot - race two. Mark Jones: Has opted for impressive trialist Fleeting Grin, who should take all sorts of stopping in race five on the card Craig Thornely: Expects Gotta Grunter, who is now on the beach with Mark Jones, to break maidens at short notice - race five Stephen Richardson (T.A.B): Was impressed with the way Fifth Edition found the line last start. He looks well placed in race six on the card after dropping back from C2. Matthew Williamson: Thinks Mokosun can make it three wins on end in race eight on the card. Nigel McGrath: Believes that Heza Mighty Monarch will take a power of beating if he is to do things right in race ten. Mitchell Robertson (Harnesslink): Has opted for Iceobar on the back of an eyecatching fresh-up third - race eleven Gavin Smith: Thinks Waihemo Art is a strong chance in what looks an average maiden line-up - race twelve Alexandra Park - Friday Blair Orange: Expects a bold preformance from Paramount Queen in the first race of the card. Stephen McNally: Thinks K D Muscles, who has been racing well in age group company, looks the one in race three. Scott Phelan: Rates Sweet Art as a good each-way chance- race seven Todd Mitchell: Was impresed with how Prime Power worked during the week and expects him to be very hard to beat in the Anzac Cup - race nine David Butt: Expects One Over Da Moon to prove too good if he can jump to the lead early - race eleven Simon Lawson: Has opted for classy two-year-old Beaudiene Boaz - race twelve Gore - Saturday Tim Williams: Thinks Bettor Buy It will prove hard to beat in the Southern Supremacy- race ten Rangiora - Sunday Terry Chmiel: Thinks Dynamic Party looks well placed in race two despite his tricky barrier draw. Ken Barron: Believes Pacquiao can top off a string of good runs with a win in race five. Jonny Cox: Is bullish about the chances of Jaccka Justy, who was a game second behind Master Lavros last start - race seven Ricky May: Expects Terror To Love to finish his season in style in the Rangiora Classic - race eight
Dylan Ferguson achieved the biggest win of his career when he won the $25,000 North Island Country Cups Final at Hawera on Easter Monday. The 17-year-old won the C3-Oc pace behind the Pat and Mike O’Brien trained outsider, Beckinsale. It was the 4-year-old mare’s eighth win from 50 career starts, and fourth this season. For Ferguson it was his 11th win since starting his driving career at the start of the season. He’s also placed 34 times in 191 drives. “This is my biggest win by far. I’m really happy for Pat and Mike because they have supported me a lot. I’m also pleased that Dad drove Lifesofine (seventh) which freed me up for the drive behind Beckinsale,” Ferguson said. Beckinsale stepped well from her 10m handicap and Ferguson settled the daughter of Falcon Seelster three and then four deep on the inner. When the moves were made Ferguson managed to get off the markers and flew down the outside to get up and win the 3000m standing start event by three quarters of a length and a neck. Kippenberger (Simon Lawson) and favourite River Polka (Tony Herlihy MNZM) were second and third. Beckinsale, who was the $46.50 eleventh favourite, sprinted her last 800m in 60.8. Her winning mile rate was 2:17.6. “She hasn’t had things go his way recently but this time everything worked out well. We got an economical run early on which allowed her to sprint when it mattered. “It was a brave run. She is much better than what her price suggested. She was always travelling well and brought out her A-game this time,” Ferguson said. “I thought she’d go well because he seemed really happy in her warm-up,” he added. The Waikato horseman, who is employed by Graeme Rogerson and Peter Blanchard at Tauherenikau, said he was enjoying his first season of driving. “I’m getting a lot of opportunities to drive thanks to Graeme, Peter, Mike, Pat, and of course Dad. There have also been so many other owners and trainers I’m grateful to for giving me the chance to drive their horses,” he said. It’s been five months since Ferguson drove his first winner. That was on his favourite horse – Carlos at Cambridge Raceway on November 17. Ferguson left Cambridge High School at the end of Year 11 (sixth form), but if he had it his way he would have left the day he started. He said school got in the way of the horses because he had his mind set on following in the footsteps of his father Peter - and becoming one of New Zealand’s finest reinsmen. He said 2013-3014 was all about learning and taking advice from the horsemen and women around him. “I’ll just keep trying to win races and see what happens from there. I’d like to give the New Zealand Junior Champs a crack,” he said. Meanwhile, Beckinsale is owned by Pat O’Brien and was bred by the Astaire Standardbred Breeding Company. She is the second foal of five out of the seven-win Presidential Ball mare, Ballroom Babe. By Duane Ranger (Courtesy of Harness Racing New Zealand)