Last week was an average one for our trainers and drivers with only Anthony and David Butt tipping out winners, but luckily I pulled through for ring-around followers delivering with three winners from three selections. The best of them was my each-way bet of the week in The Peace Train who romped in at odds of $12.20 and $2.70 Let’s see if we can replicate that performance again this week. Andrew Armour: Likes the chances of debutant Love Filly Dale. She goes around in the sixth race at Invercargill on Friday. Blair Orange: Has been very brave this week and has tipped out superstar mare Adore Me to win at odds of $1.10. Gavin Smith: Has opted for Back Pay as his bet of the week. He will compete in the tenth race at Oamaru on Saturday. John Dunn: Thinks Elios is a good each-way bet in race twelve at Alexandra Park on Friday. Josh Dickie: Was impressed with how Millie Sampson went at the workouts last week and thinks she can remain unbeaten in the Ladyship Stakes at Alexandra Park on Friday. Jonny Cox: Likes the chances of Provocative Prince who looks a bold chance from his ace draw in race four at Oamaru on Saturday. Ken Barron: Thinks Still Laughin can pick up some money in race four at Methven on Sunday. Mark Jones: Has opted for Ready For Takeoff as his bet of the week. He looks a good chance in race eight at Oamaru. Matthew Williamson: Has picked up the drive on The Bog and thinks she will prove very hard to beat in race three at Oamaru. Nathan Williamson: Thinks the consistent Nickelson can resume on a winning note in race seven at Invercargill on Friday. Ricky May: Is very bullish about the chances of Helena Jet in race four at Methven on Sunday. Steve Richardson (T.A.B): Likes the chances of Jarcullembra in the Franklin Cup on Friday. Simon Lawson: Rates the chances of Valencay in race seven at Cambridge tonight. Todd Mitchell: Thinks his very smart trotter Prime Power can go back-to-back in race eight at Alexandra Park on Friday. Mitchell Robertson (Harnesslink) Best bet: Trouble Rieu – Methven, race one. Each-way: Shak’n Cullen – Invercargill, race ten. Value: Garibaldi – Oamaru, race two
Last week was an average one for the ring-around with only John Dunn, Jonny Cox, and Matthew Williamson tipping out winners. Let’s see if the boys can step up a notch this week. Andrew Armour: Has opted for Shez Wicked as his bet of the week. She goes around in the last race at Invercargill on Sunday. Anthony Butt: Thinks Vulcan can get back to winning form at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday. Blair Orange: Expects a bold showing from Rocknroll Arden in race seven at Addington on Friday. Craig Thornley: Has opted for Lavros Cash, who was seen finding the line strongly at Motukarara. He competes in the fifth race at Geraldine on Saturday. David Butt: Thinks Habibti will kick off her Australian campaign with a win at Tabcorp Melton on Saturday. Jim Curtin: Thinks Maximan is overdue a win and could very get one in the eleventh race at Geraldine on Saturday. John Dunn: Thinks Graduate Under Fire will offer some good each-way value in race eleven at Geraldine on Saturday. Jonny Cox: Thinks Jaccka Justy, who was super when winning his last start of the grass, will prove very hard to beat in race ten at Geraldine on Saturday. Matthew Williamson: Likes the chances of Lewy Risk in race five at Addington on Friday. Nathan Williamson: Has opted for Aidan’s Rocket, who competes in race three at Invercargill on Sunday. Ricky May: Thinks you should have a wager on Woodlea Wager in race eight at Addington on Friday. Simon Lawson: Likes Bettor Romance as an each-way prospect in race nine at Alexandra Park on Friday. Steve Richardson (T.A.B): Expects Handlebar Hank to take out the last race at Addington on Friday. Todd Mitchell: Thinks that, with the aid of the one draw, Pricillas Girl will prove very hard to beat in race six at Alexandra Park on Friday. Mitchell Robertson (Harnesslink): Best bet: Invercargill, race seven – The Wraith Of Robyn Each-way: Geraldine, race three – The Peace Train Value: Addington, race three – Moondyne Joe By Mitchell Robertson
Last week the ring-around produced just the four winners, so there were some slim pickings for ring-around followers. However, the ring-around rarely has two bad weeks in a row – so expect this one to be a good one. For the record, those who tipped out winners last week were: Blair Orange, Nathan Williamson, Steve Richardson (T.A.B), and Todd Mitchell. Blair Orange: Thinks smart trotter Notaboutthemoney will get the money in race three at Addington on Friday night. David Butt: Has also gone for a trotter in race three at Addington in Lothario. All things being equal, the pair should make up the quinella. Gavin Smith: Thinks The Burning Question is a place chance at what should be lucrative odds in race eight at Addington on Friday. John Dunn: Has opted for Kotare Mahal as his best bet of the week. The smart pacer goes around in race six at Kaikoura on Monday. Jonny Cox: Thinks Smoke N Grin, on the back of a bold debut second, is a strong chance in race five at Ascot Park on Sunday. Ken Barron: Rates the chances of capable pacer Still Laughin. He resumes in race six at Kaikoura on Monday. Mark Jones: Thinks Major Sam is a strong each-way chance in race five at Addington. Matthew Williamson: Was impressed with Windermere Lad last start, and thinks he will take some stopping in the Riverton Cup on Sunday. Nathan Williamson: Has a strong book of drives at Ascot Park on Sunday, but rates Royal Squeeze as the best of them. She goes around in the first race on the card Ricky May: Has a lot of time for Helena Jet and thinks she will take all sorts of beating in race eight at Addington. Scott Phelan: Rates the chances of speedy mare Pepper Pots. She competes in the seventh race at Cambridge tonight. Simon Lawson: Is bullish about the chances of Valencay in race three at Cambridge tonight. Steve Richardson T.A.B: Who has been in good tipping form of late, has this week opted for Mary Anastasia. She resumes in the sixth race at Cambridge tonight. Todd Mitchell: Has opted for Continental Auto as his bet of the week. She looks well placed in race two at Cambridge tonight. By Mitchell Robertson
Last week was just an average one for the ring-around with only John Dunn, and Sean McCaffrey tipping out winners, but this week I am sure it will bounce back to its brilliant best. Anthony Butt: Has opted for the capable three-year-old Major Sam. He competes in the sixth race at Addington on Friday. Blair Orange: Is extremely bullish about the chances of Someardensomewhere, who baring bad luck, will be winning the ninth race at Forbury Park on Sunday. Craig Thornley: Thinks that if U Dream is on her best behaviour, she can win race five at Ashburton on Monday. David Butt: Likes the chances of Stig, who will attempt to win his third Ashburton Trotters’ Flying Mile on Monday. His run last start had plenty of merit and from all reports, he has worked on good since. Gavin Smith: Thinks All Shook Up is atleast an each-way chance in the first race at Ashburton on Monday. John Dunn: Has opted for smart filly Venus Serena, who resumes in the seventh race at Forbury on Sunday. Jonny Cox: Is torn between Washington Flier and Homeforabubbly. Both runners compete at Forbury on Sunday. Joshua Dickie: Thinks Showtime Lady could offer some value in the second race at Alexandra Park. Ken Barron: Rates the chances of Red Hot Toddy, who has been super in winning her last two starts. She looks the one in race sixth at Forbury Park. Matthew Williamson: Is big on the chances of Yankee One, who made a super return to racing at Addington on October 11. Look out for him in the third race at Ashburton on Monday. Nathan Williamson: Has opted for Livvy Franco, who looks a good each-way prospect from the ace draw in race six at Forbury Park on Sunday. Ricky May: Found it hard to pick one in what is such a good week of racing, but in the end opted for Lady Godiva. She looks a great chance in race nine at Addington on Friday. Sean McCaffrey: Who tipped a winner in his first attempt last week, has opted for Sodeska. The capable trotter will compete in race seven at Alexandra Park. Simon Lawson: Has selected the consistent Hot Mach, who is set to do battle in the first race at Alexandra Park on Friday. Steve Richardson (T.A.B): Likes the chances of Hi Jinx in the first race at Addington on Friday. Todd Mitchell: Thinks Te Kawau should be winning the second race at Manawatu tonight. Tim Williams: Is bullish about the chances of Brindy, who should have benefited greatly off his fresh-up third. He looks the one they all have to beat in the last race at Forbury on Sunday. *More horses may be added to the ring-around later in the day. By Mitchell Robertson
Easy On The Eye’s effortless Spring Cup victory at Alexandra Park last Friday night (September 20) even surprised his Franklin trainers Steven Reid and Simon McMullan. “He’s been working okay but this was his first run back since he won the Winter Cup three months ago. We gave him a month off after that and because he’s such a big horse we thought he might need the run,” McMullan said. Even driver Peter Ferguson, who was having his first drive back since the Jewels in Ashburton due to a serious thumb injury suffered two years ago, was a bit stunned by the easy of Easy On The Eye’s 14th win. “He won with plenty in hand. I didn’t even have to ask him to go. He didn’t feel like a horse who was having his first run back after a spell,” said Ferguson. ‘Fergy’ had Easy On Then Eye in front after 200 metres and the 6-year-old son of Christian Cullen never looked like giving away the lead at away any stage of the 2200m stand. At the finishing line Easy On The Eye had two lengths to spare over stablemate Charge Forward (Simon Lawson), who was having his second run back after a five month spell. Favourite Besotted (Maurice McKendry) was a neck back in third after bobbling away at the start. Winner’s time: 2:43.6. Mile rate: 1:59.6. Last 800m: 55.4. Last 400m: 27.1. Easy On The Eye will now head to Christchurch this week to tackle the big guns in the Avon City Ford Cup. “After that we might tackle the Ashburton Flying Stakes and then possibly the (New Zealand) Cup trial if needed. We would like to start him in the Kaikoura Cup because the distance is ideal for him, but won’t because he’s such a big framed horse who wouldn’t handle the bends too well,” McMullan said. It was Easy On The Eye’s 14th win in 37 starts. He’s also placed 13 times for just over a quarter of a million dollars in prize money. Easy On The Eye is owned by Ken and Karen Breckon, G.K. Breckon, T.C. Screen, and M. Ng. He was bred by Doctors M.J. Evans and T.B. Taylor. Meanwhile, Reid, McMullan, and Ferguson were also victorious on Friday with their six-win pacer Tiago Bromac, who was resuming from a four-month spell. The 4-year-old McArdle gelding had a length to spare over Bettor Romance and Zac Butcher in the ninth event – the Auckland Reactor@Alabar mobile for 3-5 win pacers. “He’s like Easy On The Eye a bit. We thought he might need the run too, but he keeps stepping up. We will just keep ticking away with him up here and then concentrate on the big 4-year-old races with him later in the season,” 24-year-old McMullan said. Tiago Bromac paced the 2200m mobile in 2:46 flat with a 2:01.4 mile rate. His last 800m and 400m sectionals were 57.7 and 27.3. The Reid-McMullan team had a good night on Friday. As well as Charge Forward's second in the Spring Cup they also placed Jogo Bonito in race one. By Duane Ranger (Courtesy of Harness Racing New Zealand)
Easy On The Eye wasn’t the only one who resumed on a winning note in last night’s $25,000 Spring Cup at Alexandra Park, his driver Peter Ferguson also did after being sidelined since June due to a reoccurring hand injury. Hence the whip flourish as he crossed the finishing line. After speeding to the lead early, Ferguson and the Steven Reid & Simon McMullen trained son of Christian Cullen dictated terms in front before packing too much punch for stablemate Charge Forward (Simon Lawson) in the home stretch. Besotted, who copped a minor check at the start, paced roughly around the final bend before powering home for a close-up third. Easy On The Eye paced the 2200m journey in a tidy 2-43.6. His final sectionals were recorded in a slick 55.4 and 27.1. Ferguson, Reid and McMullen then doubled the dose when Tiago Bromac was successful in the ninth race. He was also resuming on the back of a lay-off. Out of Ferguson’s other three drives, he managed to rack up a further two placings. Giving him an impressive UDR of .5778 Easy On The Eye is owned by K G Breckon, Mrs K D Breckon, G K Breckon, M Ng and Mrs T C Screen, he is currently paying $21 for a win and $5.50 for a place in the New Zealand Cup ‘Futures’ market. By Mitchell Robertson
The boys in blue may not have been able to stop the drought in the State of Origin, but the North Island ‘boys in blue’ were the clear victors in tonight’s Island of Origin at Alexandra Park. Captained by David Butcher, the North Islanders were victorious in four of the six races, with a further six seconds providing them with an easy victory. Heading the individual tally was Simon Lawson, who has established quite a record when it comes to drivers competions – He has also won the Junior Drivers Championship three times. The North and South Island are now two wins a piece in the Island of Origin Series which was first conducted in 2010. The results for the 2013 Island of Origin Race 2 LAURA FERGUSSON MOBILE PACE (IOO HEAT 1) , $9851, 4YO & OLDER 1 TO 2 WINS INVITED DRIVERS, 2700m Randalstown – M J Williamson Silence Is Golden – A G Herlihy MNZM Real Tidy – D J Dunn Megatron – Z E Butcher Race 3 MAGNESS BENROW /PANASONIC HANDICAP TROT (IOO HEAT 2) , $9401, 4YO & OLDER UP TO 1 WIN SPECHCP INV.DRV, 2200m Le Lua Invasion – S D T Phelan Empire Earl – S J Lawson Sundon’s Mountain - A G Herlihy MNZM Celeries – R T May Race 5 GREEN STAR ENERGY SOLUTIONS HANDICAP TROT (IOO HEAT 3) , $11,851, 4YO & OLDER 1 TO 6 WINS DISCRHCP INV.DRV, 2700m Heezadoo Early – J I Dickie Ace Moment – S J Lawson Regal Petite – A M Butt Amy’s Invasion - A G Herlihy MNZM Race 6 DILMAH MOBILE PACE (IOO HEAT 4) , $9551, 4YO & OLDER NON WINNERS INVITED DRIVERS, 2200m Franco Nikau – J R Dunn Clarius - A G Herlihy MNZM Sandpark Senator – D J Dunn Classy Ambition – R T May Race 7 EQUIBREED NZ MOBILE PACE (IOO HEAT 5) , $11,401, 4YO & OLDER 2 TO 4 WINS INVITED DRIVERS, 2200m Cyamach – S J Lawson Mac Tiger – D J Butcher Westburn Courage – M J Williamson Bettor Romance – J I Dickie Race 8 2013 ISLAND OF ORIGIN HANDICAP TROT (IOO HEAT 6) , $9401, 4YO & OLDER UP TO 1 WIN SPECHCP INV.DRV, 2200m Duchess Diedre - A G Herlihy MNZM Te Kouka Breeze – D J Butcher Awayonvaction – M J Williamson Brookby Prince – A M Butt For extensive results of tonight’s Island of Origin Series click here. by Mitchell Robertson
When harness racing trainer Steve Telfer went looking for the perfect comeback races for two of his stable stars tonight’s Alexandra Park meeting stood out. After all, the $12,000 feature pace in which Cyamach will start a dominant favourite is penalty-free because it is part of the Island Of Origin driver’s series, meaning Cyamach should resume his career with a win without going up in grade. But as astute a judge as Telfer is, even he couldn’t have foreseen what his other stable rep Cilantro would face in what should have been a normal maiden race tonight. Good enough to beat Sales Series winner Isaiah on debut last season, Cilantro looked a serious two-year-old before he decided all he wanted to do was run flat out, forcing Telfer and training partner Chris Garlick to put him aside. With blistering speed he would have been expected to come back as a standout maiden and cruise through his return to racing. Which he would, if he was in any other race but race four at Alexandra Park tonight. The event is a taste of things to come this spring, a maiden race that sees a clash of high-class juveniles from last season, star trialists and three-year-old winners, all horse who would win any standard maiden race at very short odds. Cilantro will meet three “maidens” who have won races in their last two starts, a brave last start runner-up in Raffaello and one of the north’s most impressive recent un-raced trials performers in Jetcraft, recently sold for good money. "It is a hell of a field,” laughs Telfer. “I suppose you are going to get that at this time of the year. Put him in a normal maiden race and he would probably bolt in but he is up against horses here who would do the same. “It will be a good test for him but he is a horse we like and could have run with the best juveniles last season but he just got too hot.” Cilantro has the gate speed to use barrier two and with the Telfer-Garlick team having a fine first-up strike rate he deserves favouritism even against quality opposition. There is no doubt Cyamach should start favourite from the ace in his comeback race. He tackled the Victoria and NSW Derby series last season and has won over $100,000 but has always looked like he would be a better horse with time to strengthen. He trialled well at Alexandra Park last Saturday and even against an in-form rival like Mac Tiger should be too good. “He is forward enough and even though it is hard to win fresh-up in this grade at Alexandra Park the ace draw helps so we are confident with them both,” says Telfer. The TAB will open betting on the team and individual results of tonight’s Island Of Origin series, which pits six of the best drivers from each island against each other over six races, most of which surprisingly don’t have full fields. The South Island has won the title the last two years but the North looks a better bet tonight as Simon Lawson, David Butcher and Tony Herlihy all have good books in the invitation races. By Michael Guerin Courtesy of Harness Racing New Zealand)
In Melbourne.--- Brian Hughes is adamant the new star of Australian pacing hasn’t been lost to New Zealand for good. Hughes trained Ideal Scott to win last season’s Northern Derby but sent the long-striding speedster to leading Sydney trainers Luke and Belinda McCarthy a few months ago because of a lack of winter racing opportunities in New Zealand. The results have been dazzling, with Ideal Scott having already won the A$100,000 Blacks A Fake in Brisbane and now a hot favourite to win the A$100,000 ABC four-year-old final at Melton on Sunday. Luke McCarthy, who has taken over as top dog in Australian harness racing, already rates Ideal Scott potentially the best horse in his stable, an opinion backed up by his 53.8 second last 800m at Melton last Sunday. But while races like the Miracle Mile now look within Ideal Scott’s reach, Hughes says he will return to his South Auckland stable at some stage. “I am glad we sent him over there and thrilled to see the way he is racing,” said Hughes. “And we will keep talking to Luke to work out what races he sees over there for him. “But I am sure he will come back at some stage. He might even divide his time between the two countries, which is what a lot of good horses have to do anyway.” Ideal Scott is one of three high-class pacers Hughes and his partners have sent to Australia over the winter, with Courage To Rule and Delightful Christian also racing at the Breeders Crown. Courage To Rule has been on a winning run in Sydney after arriving there beautifully assessed but faces an awkward task from the ace draw on a fast front line in the A$60,000 ABC Free-For-All at Melton tonight. “He has a horse outside him who should cross him and that could make it tricky for us if we got locked away,” admits McCarthy. And Delightful Christian, who pulled too hard in her semi-final last Saturday, meets a genuine superstar in Frith in her final on Sunday. Meanwhile Hughes, just back from an European vacation, takes two winning chances to Alexandra Park tonight. Machtu makes his three-year-old debut in race six and shouldn’t be a maiden for long. “He has shown enough but his recent workouts haven’t been that taxing so I wouldn’t be surprised if he needed the run tonight,” said Hughes. May Fly comes into race five well for in-form junior driver Simon McMullen and gets her chance to return to form as the northern junior drivers try to work out some sort of pecking order after the three best of recent years --- Zac Butcher, Simon Lawson and Josh Dickie --- all graduated to the senior ranks. The main pace of the night should prove easy picking for Freespin (R8, No.7), who drops a long way in grade from taking on Besotted last start. By Michael Guerin (Courtesy of Harness Racing New Zealand)
On the 30th of August 2013 the Island Of Origin driver’s series will once again be held at Alexandra Park. The series, based on the State of Origin is now into its fourth year and sees New Zealand’s best Harness Racing Drivers competing on the track representing their island of birth. The coveted Island Of Origin trophy has belonged to the South Island for the past two years although a very strong line-up of North Island Drivers will be looking to turn the tables on August 30th The selected teams for 2013 are; North Island David Butcher (c) Zac Butcher Tony Herlihy Mark Purdon (TBC) Scott Phelan Simon Lawson Josh Dickie (reserve) South Island Anthony Butt (c) Dexter Dunn John Dunn Mathew Williamson Blair Orange Ricky May The series will be run over five races all of which will be penalty free and have a minimum stake of $10,000. The competing Drivers will wear racing caps in the colour of their respective teams (North-Blue, South- Red). As has been the case in previous years, Team Captains will select their ‘team’ of horses on an alternating basis. The Drivers from each team will then be randomly allocated to their respective horses. Any trainers with horses entered in the series will be required to drive their own stable runners. This year Alexandra Park is giving you the chance to show your support by dining in our Top of the Park restaurant which will be specially decked out in red and blue for the evening. Call the team at Alexandra Park on 09 630 5660 for more information and bookings. Team Captains (David Butcher and Anthony Butt) will wear specially designed Island Of Origin racing colours for their drives at Addington and Cambridge the week prior during the build-up to the event.The colours will also be used during the series and worn by the Driver of the horse most favoured by the team.
Imagine having 80 winners from 35 horses with Geoff Small since 2005 - and at the age of 82 remembering almost every one of them. Laurie Henwood isn’t only a successful standardbred owner, but the Wattle Downs retirement village resident has a memory that would make people half of his age envious.
After winning the Junior Drivers’ Championship at Addington in his first season as a Junior Driver some four seasons ago, North Island reinsman Simon Lawson repeated the dose tonight (Thursday July 4th) at Addington Raceway.
After a 16-month injury-enforced spell Gomeo Romeo has started his slow and gradual build up to the 2013 New Zealand Cup with a win at the Alexandra Park harness racing workouts on Saturday (June 22).
The six drivers from each island to compete in the NZ Junior Driver Champs at Addington on July 4 have been found. The below 12 qualifying drivers will compete in three, possibly four championship heats (as a Reserve Race has been programmed) at Addington on Thursday July 4.
With everyone else getting amongst the latest dance phenomenon, the team at Alexandra Park Raceway decided to make their very own harness racing version of the Harlem Shake.
Clash of Gold Ace, Sir Lincoln highlights return to harness racing at Alexandra Park tonight. Gold Ace will be looking to make a slight correction to the great anomaly of his career at Alexandra Park tonight.