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Just a quick note to let you all know that today's harness racing meeting hosted by the Wyndham Harness Racing Club at Young Quinn Raceway in Wyndham has been postponed due to a power outage at the course which cannot be repaired until the current high winds abate. The meeting has been rescheduled for tomorrow (Friday 20 January) with the first race scheduled for 11.35am. The new race times have been updated on the fields page. The Pick6 will not be going ahead as scheduled, however they are working on coming up with other betting opportunities for the meeting. If you have any further questions please feel free to contact the Racing Department on (03) 964 1200. Stacey Markham

A large number of local trainers will have their eyes fixed on the finishing line when the Marlborough Harness Racing Club stages its two-day summer meeting at Waterlea Racecourse. The Marlborough leg of the 2016-17 Interislander Summer Festival, which involves 36 events at holiday venues from Ruakaka to Waikouaiti, takes place on Friday and Sunday. The Summer Festival meeting has been held in Marlborough for the past 11 years, proving the biggest drawcard on the province's racing calendar. It also offers a chance for local trainers to put their trotters and pacers to the test without leaving home, an opportunity nine Marlborough-based trainers have accepted. At the forefront of the charge will be Dean Hunter. The experienced horseman has three trotters in training - Destiny Jones, Arditi and and Lady Beatrix Bourbon - and has enjoyed plenty of success with all three, claiming four wins, two seconds and a third on the West Coast circuit before Christmas. His most recent victory came with Destiny Jones, who won in Nelson on Sunday. Unfortunately, all three of Hunter's horses will go in the same race, the C1 trot, race five on Friday. Other local trainers involved on Friday include Anne Marie Best, with two runners, Kaikoura's David Broadhurst, Mark Gill, who will harness up five including Gotta Ticket who placed in Nelson, Mark Heaton with two, Sandra Mounce, also with two runners including Clifden Clowers who picked up a couple of placings in Nelson, Pat and Mike O'Brien with four starters, Allan Shutkowski with the well-performed Molly Sims, and Brent Weaver who has five runners. The number of Marlborough horses involved offers a good chance of a local winner, but they have to get past the in-form team on the top of the south circuit first. Woodend Beach trainer Robert Dunn and his family enjoyed what Marlborough Harness Racing Club secretary Barry Forbes described as a "Dunn-fest" over the two days in Nelson. Dunn trained six winners from the 22 races while his son John Dunn drove eight winners. Another son, Dexter Dunn, the country's leading driver, piloted four winners home. Robert Dunn will race 10 horses in Marlborough, including Alta Orlando, a class performer and winner of the Nelson Cup. Forbes said he would "expect the Dunns to be dominant again". Alta Orlando will race on the second day only, in the Peter Yealands Wines Marlborough Cup handicap pace, the main race on Sunday. It is scheduled to start at 4.49pm. The first race on Friday begins at 3.17pm while the opener on Sunday goes at 1.25pm. The feature race on Friday is the Peter Yealands Wines Mobile Pace  at 6.18pm. Forbes said everything was set for two good days of racing, with the track in excellent condition and a vast programme of entertainment for young and old. Kids will be well catered for with the More FM Kids Go Racing area providing free activities for under-12s, including a bouncy castle and lolly scrambles. Children will also have the chance to design racing silks for world driving champion Dexter Dunn to wear when he defends his title at the 2017 Championships in Canada. The colouring competition winner will win a set of racing silks for themselves, presented by Dunn. The popular Canterbury Kidz Karts display, featuring miniature horses, will be another attraction. Admission is free for children under 18 years, with tickets costing $10 per adult. Selections (by Barry Forbes): Race 1: Tehoro Dazzle, Reign On Me, IW McNik Race 2: Born Again Delight, Forget To Remember, Gotta Ticket Race 3: Hayden's Meddle, Millwood Charity, Idealagain Race 4: Crackabella, Man Of Steel, Tennyson  Inlet Race 5: Arditi, Muscles Galore, Destiny Jones Race 6: Kitura, Sauchiehall, Dream To Reality Race 7: Billy Badger, Molly Sims, Miss Daisy Race 8: Flashing Diamond, She's A Flyin, Scottlynn Jack By Peter Jones Reprinted with permission of The Marlborough Express

The decision by harness racing trainer Robert Dunn not to start Alta Orlando in the Nelson Pine Industries Prelude the first day of the Nelson Harness Racing Club meeting certainly paid dividends when he took out the Nelson Pine Industries Nelson Cup on day two. Alto Orlando won Sunday's feature race in a time of 3min 46.8sec for the 3000m event. Driver John Dunn took the race to his rivals slipping away on the final bend to win by six lengths from Hopeful Harriet and the fast finishing Mighty Flying Major. The gelding by Courage Under Fire is owned by Dunn's wife Jenna and father Robert, as well as Mitzi Taylor and Dr Marg Evans. Dr Evans also co-owns the second-place getter, Hopeful Harriet, with her husband Dr Bruce Taylor. John Dunn certainly had a great meeting, winning eight of the 22 races programmed. Robert Dunn trained six winners over the two days, while Greg and Nina Hope trained five winners over the weekend.   In the battle for the driving premiership, Blair Orange was leading by one win coming in to Sunday's racing but rival and good mate Dexter Dunn reined home three wins with Orange not securing a win to leave Dunn two wins ahead. Locally trained mare, Tattinger Rose, flew the flag for the Top of the South when she won the Dick Saunders Memorial Pace for Ian, Sue and daughter Nicole Thomas along with Kath and Darryl Eginton.   The club was delighted with the two days' racing which attracted a sizeable. By Kristie Hill Reprinted with permission of The Nelson Mail

Never before did the international amateur harness racing driving competition mantra mean more than it did on the first day of the Friendship Competition between the visiting North American Amateur Drivers Association and the local New Zealand amateurs. According to the international amateur driver's mantra, 'it's not of the utmost importance who wins or loses; it's just that amateur racing is a great vehicle for human relations' certainly rang true after the first of three races in the competition has been completed. The NAADA team of Joe Lee, Peter Kleinhans, Gerry Fielding and Dave Offenberg were drubbed by the local amateurs in the first event of the three race competition. That being said, here is Joe Lee's first-hand account of Thursday's competition race at Addington, NZ. "Last night was our first race. There were 13 horses in the contest and I was on the 10-horse which was starting at the beginning of the second tier. I got away a little further back than I would have liked and didn't find room to shake loose until the passing lane in the mile and a quarter event and although my horse passed quite a few others we still end-up sixth. "Gerry Fielding sat on the outside the entire race which is common here and even was up toward the lead a good portion of the race after leaving from the eight- hole. But the distance took its toll and Gerry finished 10th. "Peter Kleinhans was in a favorable spot sitting with cover behind the favorite who eventually won the race but Peter's horse, Stylish Babe, didn't last behind the cover and faded and finished 11th. "Dave Offenberg got caught three-wide at the start of the race from an outside post and wasn't able to settle in for a bit and eventually tired and finished ninth. "We didn't do much good but it was a great experience and definitely a different style of racing here. Here is the race; Lee also offered the following; "This morning (New Zealand is 19 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time) we are working horses on the beach. Our next race is Saturday night and then Sunday's race is on the grass. Saturday's race, again at Addington, will be 2600 meters of about 1.6 miles with 14 going to post. Sunday is 2000 meters just over 1.25 miles at Motukarara. "Still, we're having wonderful time with some great people in a very picturesque country," Lee added. And here is the result; Plc Bk Horse Barrier Hcap Stakes Fav Time Margin Driver Trainer 1 14 Nui Toc Tien 14 fr 4,240.00 1/1 2-22.7   S P Murtha S A Dolan 2 7 Living Legend 7 fr 1,120.00 6/6 2-23.2 3.10 R A Reekie R J Dunn 3 6 Handlebar Hank 6 fr 560.00 9/9 2-23.3 3.50 D S Reardon Mrs L M Jones 4 1 Onedin's Delight 1 fr 360.00 2/3 2-23.9 6.90 A N Edge M J House 5 13 As Kiwi As 13 fr 330.00 5/5 2-24.3 8.90 R J Sissons R D Holmes 6 10 Redmaro 10 fr 210.00 7/7 2-24.8 11.70 J D Lee G A Cook 7 3 Bettor Backim 3 fr 210.00 4/2 2-24.8 12.20 P T Cook Ms S Blake 8 11 Tufflittlerooster 11 fr 210.00 8/8 2-25.3 14.90 M Hallett Mrs M Hallett 9 8 Franco Caliph 8 fr 210.00 10/10 2-25.6 16.70 D H Offenberg D A Taylor 10 9 Earthbound 9 fr 210.00 12/12 2-26.0 18.80 G R Fielding J B McDermott 11 4 Stylish Babe 4 fr 210.00 13/13 2-26.6 22.00 P Kleinhans J B McDermott 12 2 Regal Suzy 2 fr 210.00 11/11 2-27.2 25.70 B G White M J Stratford 13 12 Eja Patron 12 fr 210.00 3/4 2-31.2 48.50 M F Maynard B K Mowbray by John Manzi with Joe Lee for NAADA

When there’s hope, there’s a way. And then there’s Monbet. The champion trotter capped a memorable week when landing the Gr.1 $260,000 Haras Des Trotteurs Dominion Handicap at Addington today (Friday) defeating stablemate Quite A Moment and the Australian trained Kyvalley Blur in the 3200m stand-start harness racing feature. Backing up from Tuesday when successful in the Gr.1 NZ Trotting FFA, the reigning New Zealand Horse of the Year completely obliterated the race record in the process. Prepared by Greg and Nina Hope and partnered by Ricky May, the giant five-year-old rated 4:00.7 – smashing the previous mark of Stylish Monarch at 4:02.9 when successful back in 2010. Sent out at unbackable odds, Monbet stepped safely and was allowed plenty of time early to balance himself while the in-form Bordeaux and Alley Way battled for the early lead. Bordeaux soon took the lead from Alley Way. The lead time was covered in 2:03.7. With a solid tempo being set from Bordeaux, May sat patiently in the second-half of the field with the punter’s choice before edging to the outside nearing the 1400m marker. But the moves came in front of him with Harriet Of Mot the first to angle wider before Amaretto Sun went in front of both trotters. As the big field bunched as they entered the back straight, Monbet was positioned perfectly on the back of Harriet Of Mot gaining great cover. The first half of the last mile was covered in 29.5 and 29.4 seconds. With Bordeaux still rolling along in front, May soon allowed Monbet to stride and the Love You gelding quickly raced to the lead approaching the home turn. Soon after straightening, Monbet put the race beyond reach of his rivals and raced clear while Quite A Moment and Kyvalley Blur chased valiantly. With May kind to Monbet, he scored officially by 3/4L with a further 5L back to Kyvalley Blur. The winning mile rate was 2:01.0 while the final half covered in 29.6 and 28.4 seconds. The final mile was trotted in 1:56.9. Monbet has now won his last eight races on end with six of those coming at Gr.1 level, he has clearly established himself as the best trotter in the southern hemisphere. Last season, he won a total of 7 Gr.1 features; he already has two this season following his double this week. Monbet has now claimed all major trotting features in his homeland while he becomes the first trotter since I Can Doosit in 2012 to win both Gr.1 features during Cup week. “It’s a remarkable effort and it’s been a dream week, we’re so excited and a little relieved at the same time.” Greg Hope said. Monbet is raced by Greg and Nina Hope along with Morrie Molloy. With 23 victories from just 34 starts to date, Monbet has banked more than $770,000 in prizemoney. Beaten narrowly in the Australian Pacing Gold Trotting Masters by North Island star Speeding Spur last season, Monbet sits firmly in the driver’s seat for the current term. The next leg of the APG Trotting Masters is the Gr.1 $100,000 Seelite Windows & Doors Australian Trotters Grand Prix at Melton on January 28. Chris Barsby

One of the best moments of John Dunn’s harness racing career has been followed by one of the most gutting. But he says he isn’t going to die wondering with Franco Nelson in tomorrow’s $750,000 New Zealand Trotting Cup at Addington. Dunn is not only the driver and unofficial trainer of Franco Nelson but his wife Jenna shares in the ownership, so the speed freak’s return to stunning form this spring has bee satisfying on so many levels. Especially in last Monday’s Kaikoura Cup, a race Dunn was originally going to miss because Franco Nelson likes his races spaced, but he gambled on starting and they lead all the way to down Smolda and win like a serious New Zealand Cup contender. But that buzz didn’t last long after Franco Nelson drew the second line for the epic 3200m race, with the flashy stallion the horse worst handicapped by that draw. “It takes away one of his biggest weapons, his standing start speed, so it was really gutting,” admits Dunn. “He is at his best when he can lead and then hand up to the right horse but unless we have a miracle now that isn’t going to happen. “After Kaikoura I was confident we would be hard to beat with the right run but maybe we are’t going to get that now. “To be honest, it would be a big call to say he could win now.” But Dunn says while Franco Nelson is known for his speed, he can’t afford to sit back and gift the race to the seemingly unstoppable All Stars trio of Lazarus, Smolda and Have Faith In Me. “They could be up front dominating and there is no point just sitting back," he said. “I think he is tougher than he used to be so if we have to make a move we will. “But the race really changed for us after the draw, too.” With Franco Nelson unlikely to be able to settle in front of the likes of Lazarus and Smolda they firm even more because the horses stalking them on the markers are likely to be outsiders rather than genuine threats. So expect Franco Nelson to drift in the market as all the money comes for Lazarus and maybe closer to race start time Have Faith In Me, who, as a Miracle Mile winner, will attract plenty of Australian interest in the co-mingled pools. Dunn did have the smallest piece of good news over the weekend with Seel The Deal scratched from the Cup, meaning Franco Nelson now starts directly behind Smolda. That means Lewy Risk gets a run and Lazarus will now start from barrier four, almost perfect for the horse whose whole Cup campaign could hardly have gone better. That also brings Christen Me in to the outside of the front line, with Titan Banner now to start off one on the inside. While the Cup market has been relatively calm, one of the biggest group one movers at the meeting has been northern three-year-old Star Galleria. After two big win in the Sires’ Stakes heats, a dazzling trial at Addington last Wednesday and drawing the best of the favoured contenders he is in to $3.60 second favoritism, just outside Harness Jewels winner More The Better. While TAB bookies cop plenty of criticism few could argue with the service they have provided for tomorrow’s meeting, with all races having been open since Friday night. TAB FIXED ODDS NZ TROTTING CUP MARKET by Michael Guerin

Delightful Memphis will have the luxury of seven-10 days off to freshen after winning the opening $22,000 Alabar Sires Stakes 3YO Fillies Heat in a harness racing jog at Addington on Friday, October 21. The smart daughter of champion sire Bettor’s Delight and Memphis Melody will be back for the third heat at Addington on November 25, then head to Auckland to fine tune for the final on December 31. There is also another heat of the series at Alexandra Park on December 9. Last season’s experience of racing well right-handed at Auckland will stand to her for the Sires Stakes Final. She was the runnerup in three stakes races in four Auckland starts behind Spanish Armada last autumn, and wound up her two-year-old season with a second to Partyon in the $150,000 Harness Jewels 2YO Diamond at Cambridge on June 4. Trainer Mark Jones had Delightful Memphis on song for the opening Alabar Sires Heat despite a week ago blowing out near the end of her Rangiora workout. She was untroubled to lead throughout from the ace draw for regular driver Blair Orange, who didn’t have to release the deafeners in the run to the line. Delightful Memphis came clear of Major Rocket (parked) by 2 1/2 lengths in a solid 2:22.8 for the 1950m (1:57.8 mile rate), with Blair letting her quicken over the last 800m in 56s and final 400m in a slick 26.6s. Major Rocket held out the Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen-trained stablemates, Smiley Sophie and Tachyon, for the minors. Delightful Memphis was recording her second win, after earlier winning her 2YO debut in the Group Three $25,000 Sweet Lou Leonard Memorial at the Cheviot meeting on February 28. She edged past the $100,000 mark with Friday’s win in her eighth career start for owners, Wayne Higgs, Simon Doull, Sir Loins Limted, Debra and Pete Smith, Kaysan Farming Ltd and BM & JH Holdings Ltd. By Jeff Scott Reprinted with permission of the Mark Jones site

Not many would have predicted that Greg and Nina Hope’s first major trotting win for the season would come from Harrysul. So when the ungainly, but effective, trotter burst along the running rail in yesterday’s DG Jones Banks Peninsula Trotting Cup at Motukarara there were plenty scrambling for the form guides to try and figure out where a performance like that had come from. Not the Hopes’ though, they were pleasantly surprised of course, but they’ve always had a bit of time for the horse. “It’s always been there, we’ve just had to juggle a few things along the way,” Greg said. “He’s not the most fluent of trotters are you can see, but he’s actually very powerful and you can’t really feel the we hitch he has when you’re driving him. “His form recently has been a lot better than what it probably looks, he finished last when we last took him to the races but he raced three wide and still trotted a bit of time so I wasn’t ready to give up on him.” Now a four time winner on the grass, Harrysul has always shown a liking to the greener surfaces and he’s also been able to transition the high speed he possesses from the grit track to the grass. Trapped away four back on the fence yesterday while Bordeaux tried to run them off their feet from the front Harrysul and Ricky May looked to be in a bit  of trouble coming off the back straight. May’s never one to panic though. He bided his time and waited for the gap, then when Harrysul got through, he did the rest. “It was a pretty big performance I thought,” Hope said. “To come from where he did, especially with those other ones in front of us, was a great run.” Harrysul Hope will now look toward Addington in a couple of weeks for Harrysul as his headaches begin around placing four open class trotters and then finding drivers if they all end up together. Monbet will be the pick of the bunch as he continues to work toward a resumption at Ashburton later this month. There’s also Harrysul, Quite A Moment, who returns in this week’s Canterbury Park Trotting Cup at Addington, and Phil’s Gift who is proving to be a headache created of his own in his current form. “We’ve got a bit of working out to do, and so does Ricky. He’ll obviously drive Monbet but we are going to have clash some horses somewhere down the track.” The Woodend Beach stable went to a six win lead on the premiership with a winning double yesterday. They now sit on 16 thanks for the victories of Harrysul and maiden trotter, Ella Abbe. Robert Dunn is next on the list with 10 winners. Yesterday’s Motukarara meeting was another great day at the track for Jessica Young. The talented horsewoman, who has enjoyed big days in the sulky at Motukarara before, picked up a winning double. She produced a well-timed finish on Maybe Flyin to get home during the middle stages of the day before Clasina Maria, who is trained by her father Paul, smashed them in the last race, winning by more than five lengths.   By Matt Markham

Addington Raceway and the New Zealand Racing Board (NZRB) have further enhanced the growing international reputation of the quality of New Zealand’s harness racing product with a close up finish, in esteemed company, for the Simulcast Award presented at the 24th annual International Simulcast Conference recently held in New Orleans. The Simulcast Award honours excellence in the presentation of a racetrack’s live race product. In announcing Santa Anita Park as this year’s winner, organisers have made special mention of the quality of the combined Addington Raceway/NZRB entry. “The winner had noteworthy competition in this very close race from Keeneland and Addington Raceway in New Zealand, with Del Mar, Saratoga and Woodbine also receiving votes. Each received first, second or third-place votes on several ballots,” commented Jane Murray, Director of Services for the Thoroughbred Racing Associations of North America, joint host of the Conference with Harness Tracks of America. Addington Raceway Chief Executive Dean McKenzie commented, “With our entry to be mentioned in the same company as Santa Anita Park and Keeneland, two iconic world class tracks is extremely humbling for us here at Addington. Our entry featured the outstanding coverage the team at the NZRB put together for Christchurch Casino New Zealand Cup Day in 2015 and this international recognition for everyone who helps put New Zealand’s biggest day of racing together is a wonderful achievement for the industry as a whole. To effectively make the podium for such a prestigious award is clear evidence that we have a wonderful product in New Zealand which is the equal of anywhere in the world.” KERYN MCELROY

Last week’s Alabar Super Series events, which have become a real feature on Addington Raceway’s harness racing calendar, was the 12th occasion these races have been conducted over the last four years. Designed to reward those horses and connections that support Addington Raceway on a regular basis, the success of these $23,500 events can be seen in the quality of the fields that contest them and a look at past results makes for interesting reading. Average tote win dividend is approximately $7.50 Largest win dividend was $36.30 when now course mile record holder Vice Chairman was victorious in 2013 Shortest win dividend was last week when Stars Align saluted at $1.20 22 individual trainer(s) have won the 36 Alabar Super Series events held Purdon/Rasmussen with 9 and Terry/Glenys Chimiel with 4 head the multiple wins category Horses trained (or co-trained) by Craig Edmonds, Nigel McGrath and Cran Dalgety have all scored on more than one occasion Southland domiciled horses have an impressive strike rate when taking home 3 victories from very few starters (Tas Man Bromac, Wick and Costa Del Magnifico) Every starter presently earns at least $500 just for starting The next Alabar Super Series night has been scheduled for October 7. KERYN MCELROY  

Gotta Go Ya Hu a 2yo Big Jim gelding set the Motukarara harness racing workout tongues wagging on Saturday 23rd May when clearing out to win his heat by a wide margin. Trained by Robert Dunn and driven by Ross Houghton he settled in midfield for most of the race but started a quick move with half a lap remaining and whipped over his last 800m in a very quick 55.4 seconds (hand timed). His Motukarara workout suggests he is nearing peak fitness and he could quickly provide another win for successful owners Clive and Rhona Mckay who were on track to see his winning workout on Saturday. Gotta Go Ya Hu's next official race will be in race 10 at Addington on Friday night where he will do battle with another good two year old from the Purdon/Rasmussen stable in Stars Align.  Harnesslink Media

After another satisfying financial performance in the 2015-2016 harness racing season, Addington is pleased to announce that total stakes and bonuses are set to rise over $400,000 for the upcoming 2016-2017 season to $8.1 million. New Zealand Metropolitan Trotting Club Chair Barry Dent comments, “A cornerstone of our current business model is to ensure regular and sustainable increases in returns to stakeholders are made whenever possible and with the last financial year being another good one for the Club we are pleased to be able to again reaffirm this approach for the upcoming 2016-2017 racing season”. He added, “This latest increase will see total stakes and bonuses rise to $8.1 million, with this amount up by 29% since 2012. With flat industry funding throughout this period, the funds for these increases have been predominantly sourced from strong performing non-racing activities conducted by the Club”. The focus of these increases sees the minimum stake set to rise to $8,000 in combination with opportunities to race for $13,000 available to all classes at most non-Premier Addington Raceway meetings. Eight Premier meetings will again be held with minimum stakes of $20,000 per race. Feature event increases include New Zealand’s richest race for trotters, the Haras Des Trotteurs Dominion Trot rising to $260,000 and the Woodlands NZ Pacing FFA also pushed up $10,000 to $260,000. Both events are scheduled to be held on Show Day, which clearly remains New Zealand’s second largest day of harness racing, behind Christchurch Casino New Zealand Trotting Cup Day. The now famous Met Multiplier Bonus of $7500 and Breeders Bonus of $500 per win have also again been confirmed for the 2016-2017 season subject to the normal terms and conditions. The 2015-2016 season saw nearly $310,000 paid collectively in bonuses to qualified connections. Dean McKenzie

A trying season for Harness Racing Driver Stevie Golding will finish with a deserving championship crown. The 25-year-old, in his final days in the junior ranks has come from behind to win the New Zealand junior drivers' championships at Addington on Friday night. Twelve months ago Golding was locked in a battle with Robbie Close for the national juniors' premiership - a contest that ended in a tie. But with just 19 wins this season, Golding's final year as a junior, has not reached those dizzy heights with Brad Williamson a runaway premiership leader on 70 wins. "It's a good achievement to get in the series, I was happy to just be in it," Golding said. Golding, who described the championship win as "a massive thrill" felt the series looked even on paper but admits he was happy with his three drives when the fields came out. "Obviously I didn't think I could just go out there and win it but I did like the look of what I had." One of the biggest thrills for Golding was knowing that his name would be up with the illustrious list of drivers who have gone to prominent careers in the industry after winning the championship. The win was fitting for Golding who lost his final chance to win the Darren DeFilippi Memorial when Donsmedad was a late scratching when she injured herself in the float on the way to the track. Golding is currently studying real estate papers for another career option but will continue to drive as much as possible next season. Just like in 2014, the third heat ended in heartbreak for Dylan Ferguson. Ferguson won heat two with with $65 shot Eja Patron for Russley trainer Brad Mowbray and a second in the opening heat with The Silver Fox put him in the box seat. Going into the final heat he lead with 29 points, as he did in 2014, but could only manage 11th place with Sauchiehall​ to finish on 31 points. At the other end of the field, Golding and the Benny Hill-trained Pay Me Way was able to win the final heat to move Golding from 17 to 34 points. Ferguson's 31 points was enough to hold onto second and Darren DeFilippi Memorial winner Katie Cox took out third with 27 points. Mat Kermeen

We are getting through the winter well so far with the top spring horses jogging up and a small racing team. We are concentrating on next season's two year olds of course and I have a high opinion of them. Even better than last year's crop and I rated them right up there. Such good pacers most of them are. They are running easy 800m in about 20 at this stage but so many of them are so well gaited I am sure they will have the speed to match. Janet and I are "house sitting"  for Mark and Natalie at the moment and its a beautiful place to live. Moving out again will be the hard part ! My highlight for the season -and there were a lot of highlights for the stable-is Have Faith In Me's Auckland Cup win. It was a great performance but added to that and Tim's drive was the work that had gone into getting him right for the standing start. For quite a while he was very tricky in that department but the extra work paid off that time. I don't know whether he will win Horse of the Year because I think sometimes the horses who do well early in the season probably have a lower profile at the end of the season but whoever of the two win both of them will be deserving winners. Another special highlight was the number of quinellas and even trifectas Mark and Natalie ran in the big Group One races. It is very hard to do that any time and this season again it happened quite a lot of the time. They really are great trainers anddrivers. I have never worked for better and I've worked for some top men back home. My biggest disappointment ? Probably Vincent going amiss when he looked so promising as a two year old. But the good newsis he will be back. I have to say my job has been made a lot easier by the staff we have here. They work together well and they work hard and we have those sort of people from bottom to top. We have particularly good travelling staff too which makes you sleep better at night when horses are a long way from home-they are usually the really valuable ones. I think this is the best staff I have worked with here and it just makes your job so much easier especially at times like this when you are in charge. I am just hoping things will carry on the way they are until Mark and Natalie return and things get really serious for the new season. It has certainly been a great one this season. Duane Marfisi www.allstarsracingstables.com

A projected total of $70,000 in stakes is available at the NZMTC harness racing meeting held at Addington on Friday, 5 August for the 12th Alabar Super Series for lower grade pacers & trotters. The three races on the 5 August provide the following opportunities for; C0 pacers prior to racing on 15 May 2016 – Stake $23,500 C1 to C2 pacers prior to racing on 15 May 2016 – Stake $23,500 C0 to C2 trotters prior to racing on 15 May 2016 – Stake $23,500 ALL STARTERS in these races are to RECEIVE A MINIMUM STAKE of $500.  Conditions; To qualify to start in these races, owners horse(s) must have started at least twice at a NZMTC Race Meeting between 21st May 2016 and 31st July 2016. Opportunities to race at NZMTC to ensure your horse(s) qualify for the Super Series; Friday, 8 July Friday, 15 July Friday, 22 July Friday, 29 July Sunday, 31 July General Information; There is no enrolment fee payable. Field selection will be based on a points system. Full details and conditions of the up and coming Alabar Super Series can be found under the Racing - Promotions and Incentives section at addington.co.nz or contact Brian Rabbitt, Richard Bromley or Colin Steele at the Addington Racing Department on (03) 338 9094. The next round of the Alabar Super Series is to be confirmed, but tentatively it will be held on Friday, 7 October 2016. Keryn McElroy  

Harness Racing trainer/driver Bob Butt may have won the feature at Phar Lap on Sunday but his second win of the day was the most satisfying. Butt topped off a big weekend by winning the Timaru Winter Cup when driving Easy Rider to victory for his parents David and Catherine Butt who train the winner of four races at their Woodend Beach base. However, Hall Of Fame's win in the last race, a c1 pace, gave Butt a race-to-race driving double but more importantly a training win of his own. An eight length winner on debut at Addington in October, Half Of Fame went to Alexandra Park for the Christmas carnival but was never able to show his best.  "I took him up north and he got really crook so I had to give him a long spell," Butt said. The Rocknroll Hanover three-year-old was a one and three quarter length winner in a c1 pace on Sunday - his first start since December 18. Sunday's win was a major relief for Butt as the talented pacer returned to form. Butt said Hall Of Fame is likely to have one or two more starts before being sent for a spell in preparation for a cup week campaign. Easy Rider was quick away from the front tape in the Timaru Winter Cup and Butt drove him hard to beat Well Armed to the lead but with just over a lap to run he give it away when Blair Orange sent Highview Freddy, who started off 20m, forward. "Highview Freddy's always better in front so I knew if I could hold the lead he would be coming around at some point." Easy Rider was then able to sit in the trail until he was let loose up the passing lane. "He's just that sort of horse, if he gets that perfect run he's always dangerous," Butt said.  Easy Rider, raced by Tony McGrath, beat home Highview Freddy by a head with a further length back to Well Armed. The Art Official four-year-old made it back-to-back victories after winning a c1-c2 junior drivers race at Rangiora in the hands of Matt Anderson on June 19. Hall Of Fame's win was Butt's second training win over the weekend with Matatoki winning a c1-c2 trot at Addington on Thursday night to give him a 100 per cent success rate with just the two runners being lined up. Matatoki was Butt's third driving win at Addington with earlier wins coming in Breeders Crown heats behind the Paul Nairn-trained pair of Conon Bridge and Wilma's Mate. Matatoki is likely to have another start before also being spelled for cup week. Matt Kermeen

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