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The best chance for a southern hemisphere bred son of the champion sire Bettors Delight to make it at stud down under would appear to Harnesslink to be Gold Ace. A great looking entire who was able to mix it with the best in the age group classics in New Zealand, Gold Ace went on to win the Golden Nugget in Perth at four before winning the $150,000 New Zealand Free For All as an older horse He then went back to Australia where he won the Cranbourne and Shepparton Cups and was placed behind Christen Me in a Hunter Cup before finishing a great second to Adore Me back in New Zealand in 1:51.8 as he wound down a wonderful career. Purchased out of the 2009 Australasian Classic Yearling Sale for $27,000 by the Graeme Rogerson - Steven Reid training partnership, Gold Ace is bred on the hugely successful Bettors Delight - In The Pocket cross which has had so much success in Australasia. Gold Ace's dam was Hill Of Gold  and she has certainly been that for her owner A handy race mare for Geoff Small, Hill of Gold has excelled in the broodmare paddock. Apart from Gold Ace she has also produced the very smart race mare Gold Elite 1:57.3 ($70,037) and Strike The Gold 1:55.8 ($63,721) who raced in the classics last year against Have Faith In Me and Follow The Stars. Her last yearling to go through the sales ring in 2014 was Dark Energy, a full brother to Gold Ace who made $75,000. Hill Of Gold is closely related to the brilliant juvenile Smiling Shard 1:53.7 ($1,178,793), Sly Flyin 1:53.6 ($911,689) and Kiwi Ingenuity 1:52.1 ($523,200) so the family has been having a great run in the last twenty years. Gold Ace made his race track debut at Forbury Park in March 2010 as a two year old and while not dominant at that age, he did produce several smart performances. We think his best run was when he won the  $30,000 Sires Stakes Consolation at Addington. All up at two, Gold Ace won $23,740 but when he reappeared at three he was a different horse. Now trained solely by Steven Reid,  Gold Ace was at his best at three,winning 10 races including the $253,000 PGG Sales Race, $200,000 NZ Derby, $165,000 NZ Sires Stakes Final and the $150,000 Harness Jewels. All up he won over $500,000 at three in a season which was notable for his clashes with another rising star,Terror To Love. The pair met six times at three with Gold Ace winning four and dead-heating in another so even though there was not much in it on the track, Gold Ace was too strong in most of their meetings and was named three year old of the year. Never one to miss a challenge, Steven Reid set Gold Ace for the A$175,000 Golden Nugget final at Perth early in his four year old season in which he duly obliged. Staying with the Halls in Perth, Gold Ace so impressed Gary Hall sen that he made a A$1,000,000 offer for the entire but the owners said no. For the rest of his four year old season, Gold Ace had the appearance of a horse that just hadn't got over that big trip to Perth. He won the $40,000 Superstars final at Addington over Terror To Love and was placed in both the Noel Taylor Mile and the NZ Messenger but just seemed half a length down on what he had been previously. At five the highlight of the season was the win in the $150,000 NZ FFA at Addington over Terror To Love and a great second to Christen Me in the $100,00 Noel Taylor Mile. From there Steven and the owners moved Gold Ace to the McCarthy barn in Sydney where over the next 14 months he won over $250,000 with his best wins coming in the $100,000 Cranbourne Cup and $50,000 Shepparton Cup while he was also a great third to Christen Me in the $400,000 AG Hunter Cup. Brought back to New Zealand as a seven year old as he wound down before heading to the stallion barn, Gold Ace produced one of career best runs at the 1000 metres Cambridge Raceway. Sent forward from the gate by driver Todd Mitchell, Gold Ace tried to run them off their feet over the mile and it took the champion mare Adore Me to grab him late in a new track record to defeat him. Gold Ace was timed in 1:51.8 which is his best recorded time and he did it at start 67. So when you look at Gold Ace you see a horse who is by a champion sire in Bettors Delight from a top maternal family, who raced for six seasons, earned just under one and a quarter million dollars and was still trucking as good at the end of his career as he was at the start. The bonus is when you look at the individual in the flesh as Gold Ace is letting down into one magnificent looking entire. Standing at the outstanding Nevele R Stud in Christchurch, Gold Ace will be given every opportunity to prove that he can make it as a sire and it would surprise us if he didn't make his mark.  Harnesslink Media

Its that time of the harness racing season that we see the emergence of the spring three year olds as they try to make the cut for the Sires Stakes final on Cup Day. The first heat is in the North next week and several of the prominent North Island three year olds who are targeting that heat are lining up in race 5 at Alexandra Park tonight. Horses of the caliber of Motown, Shandale, Kimani and Art Form give the race a real sires stakes heat look. Art Form is the one of the quartet that has most of the pundits unsure where to place him in the pecking order. The son of Art Major was a brilliant first up winner at two but his form tapered off when sent south for the big two year old races. First up at three, Art Form dealt to his opposition by seven lengths after burning early and in doing so sent out a reminder to everyone that he will be a player in the big three year old races this season. Trainer Steven Reid was pleasantly surprised by the first up run. " I didn't think he was ready for a run like that so it did surprise me a bit." " Art Form has come back a lot stronger this time in and I think he is in for a big season," Steven said. Looking at tonights race Steven was unsure how it would pan out. "Those small fields with a handful of talented horses are notoriously difficult to predict." " He has improved a lot from his first up run and David Butcher is in the bike this week so we are in there with a big chance." " However with the Sires Stakes Heat next week his main early season aim, we don't want to be giving him a gutbuster tonight either," Steven said. Art Form has always looked a horse who was capable of mixing it with the best and he looks a live chance in this years Sire Stakes series. Harnesslink Media

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

The old saying in harness racing that the cream always rises to the top all things being equal is never more appropriate than in the case of young North Canterbury trainer Gavin Smith. After  a promising start to his training career, Gavin had struck one problem after another from blood issues to soundness problems and it seemed to be never ending and as a result, Gavin was on the verge of giving the training game away as recently as earlier this year. The harder he tried the worse it seemed to get and not surprisingly Gavin was having thoughts of getting a Monday to Friday job to pay the bills. This from a horseman who looked just a few years earlier to have a huge future in the harness racing industry after a stellar junior driver career. Gavin started out in the industry helping out Murray Hamilton during the school holidays. " Murray was a friend of mum and dads and I would help out there during the school holidays." " The first time I sat in a cart I was hooked and from that time on this is all that I have wanted to do," Gavin told Harnesslink this week. While his parents raced the odd horse, there is no family history of involvement in the industry. " I am pretty sure I am the only one from either side of the family who is involved in the racing industry as a career," Gavin said. Hooked by harness racing, Gavin got his first job in the industry at age 16 when he went to work for Doug Gale. " Doug was really good to work for and I was there for over two years before doing a three year stint with Mark Purdon." " You never stopped learning off Mark and he was always good to watch and learn from." " From there I did over four years with David and Catherine Butt and I can never thank them enough for all the opportuniities they gave me." "It was while there that I got established as a driver and I don't think I would still be in the industry if it hadn't been for their help." " After that I did 18 months working for Graham Rogerson when he was in partnership with firstly Peter Simpson and latterly with Steven Reid and like everyone you work for, you pick up little things from them that helps give their horses that edge," Gavin said. Deciding it was time to go out training on his own, Gavin returned to Canterbury and purchased a 20 acre block at Leithfield beach and it wasn't long before he brought another adjacent 20 acre block. While his driving for outside trainers such as Phil Burrows and Robert Dunn was going great, his own team was forever having issues. " I got a bad virus that went right through the stable and the horses struggled to get over it." " I could never get their blood right and I tested everything to try to get to the source of the problem with no luck." " I just had one of those runs where nothing went right." " It got to the point where I was thinking seriously about giving the training away." " Then I got the opportunity to lease the complex at Dancingonmoonlight and I thought a change of scenery might change my luck so I moved here on April 2nd this year." " The horses were coming right before I moved here and since the move they have continued to improve." "I have put a lot of time into understanding the results of blood tests and I now like to think I can nip a lot of things in the bud before they become a major problem,"Gavin said. Gavin is thankful to his owners who stuck by him even when things weren't going that well. "Trish Dunell has been with me since I started out on my own and she has been great to train for." "She has been so loyal to the stable and its good she is getting a bit of payback now," Gavin said. Over the last few years Gavin has brought a handful of cheaper yearlings at the sales with the aim to turn them over quickly at a profit and been reasonably successful in doing so but now the plan has changed. " I am not buying as many as I use to but the quality is a lot better and they are by better sires." "I really like three that I bought at this years sales." * Filly by The Pres from Howz Lucky for $16,000 * Colt by Muscle Mass from Whosinthenest for $19,000 * Colt by Artsplace from Sirius Flight for $38,000. " They have all shown plenty to date so I am really looking forward to racing them next season," Gavin said. Gavin is also breeding from three mares in Hanover Glory, Bute Falcon and All Settled Down and has covered them with high profile stallions with Hanover Glory going to Sportswriter, Bute Falcon to Mach Three and All Settled Down to Majestic Son. As with all stables Gavin has one horse that he has really high hopes for next season. " I think Scarlett Banner could be very competitive in the big fillies races next season." " I gave her one start this season when she ran fifth to Dream About Me and Arden's Choice and then had to put her aside." " She has just blossomed in the last couple of months and I am really looking forward to next season with her," Gavin said. Since the move to his new stables Gavin has really got his mojo back, racking up 15 wins as a driver and more importantly 10 winners from his own barn. The highlight though was undoubtedly his drive on the Fred Fletcher trained Sunny Ruby to win the 3 year old Ruby on Jewels day. " Fred and Sam did such a great job just to get her there." " She never started to come right until ten days before the race so to have her ready to run 1:54 was a great training achievement." " She use to over race quite badly but they have got her to settle now so they deserve a lot of credit for the turnaround in her attitude." "She has an all round game and I think she will measure up in the best company in time," Gavin said. With the massive turnaround in stable fortunes since the move to his new stables, Gavin is looking to the future with a lot of confidence. " The move has been positive on so many fronts." Not only with the horses but I get to see a lot more of the family not having to travel so much up to Leithfield. "Sara is running the breeding side with her father Robert and so we work in together a lot with the two operations." It is working out really well, Gavin said. Gavin knows how lucky he is to be in the position he now finds himself in. "I know how hard it is for people who don't have family in the industry to get established." "When I have a look now at all the drivers who were about in my junior driving days, only Nathan Williamson and Jay Abernathy have made it in the training ranks which shows you how hard it is for a young trainer to get established in harness racing," Gavin said. With the way his team is performing at the moment and the confidence he is gaining from driving so well at present, Gavin looks poised to reach the high levels that many astute judges in the industry always thought he was destined for. Harnesslink Media

Any NZ$60,000 race is a big one but for Gold Ace the Flying Mile at Cambridge tonight could be a life changer. Win and the harness racing speedster could head back to Australia for one last shot at making an impression for his future stallion career there. And not to mention the small matter of the A$1.6million worth of races he can contest in the space of just six weeks at Melton and Menangle. But lose tomorrow, most likely to Adore Me, and trainer and part owner Steven Reid has to think seriously about staying home and concentrating on the Auckland Cup and Gold Ace ending his racing days here in New Zealand. “I’d love to take him over there for another crack at the big races cause I feel he has some unfinished business. “He was great in both the Victoria and Hunter Cups last year and I’d also like to have a go at a really fast mile time at Menangle. “So if he can win, especially beating Adore Me this week, that is all on.” With that in mind the barrier draw was crucial, Gold Ace securing barrier two and Adore Me to start from four. “All I wanted was to draw inside the mare and have a chance,” said Reid. “We have got that now and I think everybody knows we will be trying for an all the way win. “If Adore Me can sit outside us and beat us then so be it.” Reid says Gold Ace is starting to feel more like the horse who won both the NZ Free-For-All and this race two seasons ago. “I actually think he is back to something like his best,” says Reid. “He has really seemed to come on in the last few weeks and you know that when he starts bucking. “When he was at his best as a three-year-old he used to buck in the prelims and sometimes even in a race. “And he has been doing in this week. I worked him on Wednesday and he bucked like seven or eight times in the warm up. “So he is feeling good. Whether that is good enough to beat the mare we will see.” The NZ TAB opened Adore Me a $1.40 to win tomorrow night, with Gold Ace at $3.40 to upset her, as he did when he downed Adore Me’s stablemate Smolda when he was hot favourite for this race two seasons ago. by Michael Guerin Courtesy of Harness Racing Victoria

Gold Ace’s comeback to credibility has received another boost heading into tomorrow night’s stunning premier meeting at Alexandra Park. The scratching of key rival Pembrook Benny from the $30,000 Founders 1700m has removed the major obstacle from Gold Ace making it back to back wins in the small sprint field. Gold Ace opened the $2.30 favourite with the TAB yesterday morning but shortened into $1.60 after Pembrook Benny, drawn directly inside him, was withdrawn. “He banged a knee somewhere and we had to treat it, which meant he couldn’t race,” said trainer Barry Purdon. “It is nothing serious though so he should be fine for Alexandra Park on New Year’s Eve and the Flying Mile at Cambridge (Jan 9).” That means Gold Ace faces just four rivals in the group three race and greatly increases his chances of blasting to the lead as he looks to continue on from his all the way last start win. That was his first Alexandra Park success in over three years and his first win since re-joining Steven Reid and Simon McMullen from the McCarthy stable in Sydney. With his blazing gate speed and the Flying Mile just weeks away he could be in for a far more profitable summer than looked likely, especially as big guns like Christen Me and Terror To Love are having Christmas breaks. His early involvement and the Alexandra Park debut of Dalton Bromac in tomorrow night’s opening race sets up one of the stronger December premier meetings seen at Alexandra Park in years. Adore Me is the $1.22 favourite for the group one Queen Of Hearts even drawn the inside of the second line, with trainer-driver Mark Purdon indicating on The Box Seat TV show last night he would be looking to punch through early behind potential leader Helena Jet. “I think Helena Jet is the second best mare in the race and likely to lead so I’d rather do that than go back and try and come around them all,” said Purdon. Purdon and training partner Natalie Rasmussen also have enormous roles to play in the $75,000 Peter Breckon Memorial and the $50,000 Alabar Classic. Linda Lovegrace, with the inside draw, was the first horse backed seriously when the feature race markets opened yesterday, and at $3.20 was nudging excitement machine The Orange Agent’s $3 quote last night. Purdon opts for Sires’ Stakes winner Have Faith In Me as narrowly the stable’s next chance of three standouts in the Alabar Classic but the bookies see it the other way, having Hug The Wind the $2.40 top pick over Have Faith In Me at $2.70. The other group race of the night sees Stent return to Alexandra Park and his beloved mobile short course racing in the $40,000 Rosslands Lyell Creek Stakes. That combination and a good draw have seen him open a $2.50 favourite over Prime Power at $3.60 in a line-up that also includes Sheemon and Irish Whisper. Courtesy of Michael Guerin + Harness Racing New Zealand

Steven Reid has been in the harness racing industry long enough to know that horses have a shelf life and that is why he he looking at the immediate future of his stable star Gold Ace in such a measured fashion. Trained by Steven all the way through, Gold Ace has provided the South Auckland trainer with some of his most memorable career highlights. A winner as a 2 year old, Gold Ace really came of age as a 3 year old winning ten races from fifteen starts including the $166,000 Sires Stakes Final, the $200,000 New Zealand Derby and the $150,000 Harness Jewels. Gold Ace kicked on as an early 4 year old when he trekked to Perth and took out the $50,000 4 year old championship followed closely afterwards by the $175,000 Golden Nugget.  Stabled at Gary Hall's during their time in Perth, the connections of Gold Ace knocked back an offer of $1,000,000 during their stay there from their host. From there Gold Ace has moved between New Zealand and Australia with some of his more memorable performances included winning the $100,000 Cranbourne Cup,  the $147,500 New Zealand Free For All and an outstanding 3rd in the $400,000 Hunter Cup. Numerous placings behind such greats as Christen Me, Terror To Love and Sir Lincoln are present throughout his racelines. Based in New South Wales with Luke McCarthy earlier this season and not quite performing up to his usual high standards, the decision was made to return Gold Ace to New Zealand to Steven Reid and to set him for the New Zealand Free For All in Cup Week. While he ran a creditable fifth in a super strong field, Steven is aware the end of his racing career may not be far away. "I was happy enough with his run at Addington as he didn't get much go his way but he was still a wee way off the speed." " He has done everything right heading into the Summer Cup on Friday night but I just don't know if we can beat Franco Nelson," Steven told Harnesslink this week.  "We will head to the FFA at Auckland before Xmas and then on to the Flying Mile at Waikato early in January and if he continues to improve and race well we will head to the Auckland Cup. "If he is not competitive in those races then maybe its time to retire Gold Ace to stud, " Steven said  A 7 year old son of champion sire Bettors Delight, Gold Ace has a pedigree to match his racetrack performances. He is bred on the "golden cross" of Bettors Delight over an In The Pocket mare and his pedigree is littered with high class performers. The full sister Gold Elite 1:57.3 $70,037 and full brother Strike The Gold 1:55.8 $45,759 are both smart types. The last two full brothers to Gold Ace to go through the ring at the Australasian Classic Yearling sale have both made $75,000. The grand - dam Touch Of Gold has produced Seeking The Gold 1:50.4 ($250,785)  Golden Son 1:54.4 ($86,585) and Golden Charm 1:59 - the dam of Coppertone 1:50.4 ($119,076) Gold Ace is closely related to the brilliant juvenile Smiling Shard 1:53.7 ($1,178,793) who is now at stud in Australia. Steven knows how hard it is in todays competitive stud scene but is determined to give Gold Ace his chance. " He has everything you look for in a sire - Breeding - Conformation - Performance - Longevity" " Priced right, I am sure he will get his chance to prove himself " " I will certainly be supporting him and so will a few close to the barn so he will get his chance," Steven said. So why one door on Gold Ace's career is starting to close, another one is starting to open. Harnesslink Media

Bit of the post Cup blues from last weeks tipsters with just Blair Orange, John Curtin, Tony Herlihy, Todd Macfarlane and Nathan Williamson nailing winners while the tipsters racked up seven placings as well. Jimmy Curtin went close with Juliette Bromac at Addington running second when paying $31 to win. This week there is plenty of racing in the south with four meetings and just one in the north and our tipsters have covered all the meetings. Due to the invited drivers series at Invercargill taking over the last six races there, we have no selections from our southern tipsters this week bar Nathan Williamson who is driving at Forbury Park.  Forbury Park - Thursday Night Matt Williamson - Thought Tachma was right in the zone and could win race 1 Nathan Williamson - Gives Strathmores Charm a real chance to go back to back in race 5 Tim Williams - Reckons with the big drop back in class Here We Go Again should win race 6   Alexandra Park - Friday Night John Curtin  (Harnesslink) - Reckons Hot Mach will be too good in race 1 Steven Reid - Likes Blinding Light  with a better barrier draw this week to win race 3 Todd Macfarlane - Rates Bourbon Street a big chance of clearing maidens in race 6 Scott Phelan - With Spanish Lustre scratched, his best drive is now Le Lua Invasion in race 9   Timaru - Saturday Afternoon  John Dunn - Likes Eilish Aimee to start her career on a winning note in race 1 Bob Butt - Rates Easy Rider a good chance to atone for Ashburton last week and win race 2 Steve Richardson (TAB) - Gives Major Patron a big show of turning his form around in race 3 Brad Williamson - Thought the standing start would make Goshawk an each way chance in race 7  Ricky May - Reckons Pay Me Art from the front line will be hard to beat in race 9 Terry Chmiel - Gives Stradowan a winning chance even off 10 metres , also in race 9 Gerard O'Reilly - Likes Jayceekay from the mobile to be too good and win race 10  Craig Thornley - Rates Real Life Hero a big chance to take out race 11   Banks Peninsula - Sunday Afternoon Robbie Holmes - Thinks Willie Shine is slowly turning the corner and can win race 1 Jim Curtin - Thought Franco Tyrone was a good chance to win race 12   Invercargill - Sunday Afternoon Maurice McKendry - Thought from barrier 3 Sheeza Shark would be tough to roll in race 8  Blair Orange - Rates Pepe Bromac,even from barrier 12 a chance to beat Sheeza Shark in race 8    Harnesslink Media

 Steven Reid’s New Zealand Free-For-All assault has taken two unusual turns which leave him with half the firepower he expected to have. Reid and training partner Simon McMullen will still have former winner Gold Ace in our biggest sprint two weeks tomorrow, but last season’s runner-up Easy On The Eye won’t be back. He has been sold to Australia where he has joined the Newcastle team of Shane Tritton. “We got fair price for him and in this business you have to sell them sometimes,” said Reid. “I am sure if he had stayed here he could have won what we got paid for him over a year or two but then expenses come out of that. “But I think he can do a good job for Shane.” Tritton is thrilled with his purchase and says the seven-year-old son of Christian Cullen has settled into his galloping work programme well. “We have liked him for a long time and we think enough of him that we are aiming him at the Miracle Mile. “We know that won’t be easy to get into but at this stage he will clash with Stuey (Suave Stuey Lombo) in the Newcastle Mile and we can see where he is at after that.” But Reid has been playing snakes and ladders with NSW’s leading trainers, sending Easy On The Eye over but getting Gold Ace back from the McCarthy stable. And he says he will only have one more trial before Cup week. “He is well and has come back looking good,” says Reid. “But he won’t have a lead-up race. We will go to the Cup trials, not for the main Cup trial but for something shorter that day. “Then we have two options. Obviously he is going to the NZ Free-For-All and that is his main aim and he will almost certainly go in fresh. “But he does have the option of the junior free-for-all on Cup Day if we think he needs a race, but that is unlikely.” Easy On The Eye’s departure to NSW and the recent loss of Lets Elope to Victoria, where he will have his first start for Brent Lilley next week, leaves the North Island open class stocks at their lowest ebb in years. Pembrook Benny leads that pack with some handy graduates from intermediate grade like Norvic Nightowl and Beyond The Silence coming through but even with five or six quality southerners coming north after Cup week, there could be some big races with class four type fronts around over the summer. Courtesy Of Harness Racing New Zealand

Last week we got a good old fashioned kick up the butt with just three of our tipsters selecting a winner and only six overall were in the money. Blair Orange, Terry Chmiel and Nathan Williamson furthered their good record as selectors whilst there were plenty of hard luck stories from others all over the country. They start with a clean slate this week and have come up with plenty of value for readers with plenty of runners whose form is not the best but who our selectors give a real chance to. Manawatu - Thursday night Scott Phelan - Even though he has drawn the second row thinks Art Magic should win race 3   Auckland - Friday night Todd Mitchell - Thought Elliesjet even from barrier 12 would be hard to beat in race1 Steven Reid - Very bullish about Unforgiving from barrier one in race 4 Steve Richardson (TAB) - Likes The Orange Agent to upset Unforgiving in race 4 John Curtin (Harnesslink) - Thinks Boizel even off 40 metres can win race 5 Tony Herlihy - Rates Downunder Stride from barrier one as hard to beat in race 6 Sean McCaffrey - Rates Le Lua Invasion a good chance against the fillies and mares in race 7 Maurice McKendry - Confident that Hughie Green will atone for last week and win race 8 Zac Butcher - Likes Saffron Castleton to turn her form around in race 9   Addington - Friday night Blair Orange - Rates Quaint Glen a big chance even from barrier 12 in race 2 Tim Williams - Confident that Adore Me's little brother Have Faith In Me can win race 6 John Dunn - Feedback from stable suggests Light Up Boss will win race 7 if driver at his best Brad Williamson - Thinks The Silver Fox just needs a change of luck to win race 8 Sam Ottley - Quite keen on Bird Of Paradise to turn her form around in race 10     Manawatu - Sunday afternoon Todd Macfarlane - Rates Hudy Haxwell a royal show on the second day at Manawatu Peter Scaife - Gives Johnny Vegas a big chance on the second day at Manawatu   Tuapeka - Sunday afternoon Dexter Dunn - Reckons Margarita can make it four wins from her last five in race 6 Matthew Williamson - Thinks Alley Way can go one better than last week and win race 7 Nathan Williamson - Likes stablerunner Onedin Mach to make it four in a row in race 8 Craig Thornley - Thought Drover's Eyre would be tough to roll in race 11   Ashburton - Monday afternoon Gerard O'Reilly - Confident that Never Fear can turn her form around in race 1 Jim Curtin - Thinks Star Of Dionysis is overdue and can win race 2 Ricky May - Keen on Brilliant Strike who has a decent draw for once to win race 4 Terry Chmiel -Thought That Guy Finn even in that super hot field can win race 6   Harnesslink Media

An old saying in harness racing is you never know where your next smart horse may come from. Last nights outstanding winner at Alexandra Park in Blinding Light fits that description to a tee. A son of the Christian Cullen sire Charles Brosnan, Blinding Light is owned by well known northern horseman and now transport operator, Les Purdon. Les was down at Graham Courts property in Canterbury when he was taken by the cut of several of the progeny of Charles Brosnan. "Graham had quite a few there and I was really taken by their type and appearance. "I thought they were as nice a bunch of yearlings as I had seen," Les told Harnesslink this morning. Fast forward a few months and Graham had sent one of the yearlings north to Les in appreciation for his help over a few transport matters. Already broken in when he arrived, Les liked him from the start. "He is a great looking horse, a real Christian Cullen type "Just  a nice horse to do anything with" he said. Placed with Steven Reid, Blinding Light just kept getting better the more they worked him. Qualifying in February, the then 2 year old Blinding Light lined up against the older horses in his debut in March at Cambridge and absolutely brained them. A smart third at his second start, Blinding Light went poorly at his next start due in the main to a bout of colic and was spelled straight after. Brought back up slowly, Blinding Light was working the house down at Reids but as he was getting ready for his season debut this week they were blindsided a touch when he was placed in the C1/C2 pace even though he was still a maiden. In the end it mattered little as Blinding Light give them all a start and a beating. Allowed to settle last from barrier five by driver Simon Lawson, Blinding Light was still last as they went past the 400 metres mark. Angled wider on the track as they turned for home, Blinding Light breezed on bye in the blink of an eye for an emphatic victory. He paced the 2200 metres in 2:44.4, a mile rate of 2:00.2 with closing sectionals off the front of 56.9 and 28.6 Blinding Light was privately timed to run his last 800 metres in 55.6 and 400 metres in 27.5 and seemed to do it with a bit in reserve. Les has taking a fair bit of ribbing from friends and associates about racing a Charles Brosnan but as he knows Blinding Light doesn't know what he is by. "Blinding Light doesn't  know who his sire is and he is from a half sister to Dream Out Loud 1:48.4 ($316,246) and the grand dam is a half to Defoe 1:53 ($262,895) so the family is strong. "The way Blinding Light goes I wouldn't mind another couple of Charles Bronsan's" he said. Blinding Light is yet another example of judging a horse on his performance and not what he is by. Harnesslink Media    

One of the notable withdrawals from the Holy Grail of harness racing, the  New Zealand Cup is the Steven Reid trained pacer, Easy On The Eye. Ranked ninth on the list for entry into the Addington feature in November, the connections of Easy On The Eye weren't that keen on a Cup start according to trainer Steven Reid. " He is not really a two miler and we weren't that serious about starting to be honest. We nominated him in case there was a high attrition rate amongst the top handful but that didn't happen so we took him out when the sustaining payment was due," he said. Easy On The Eye had his first start for the season in last weeks Holmes D G Pace at Alexandra Park and performed up to his trainers expectations. "He really needed the run so to finish third at this stage of his preparation after sitting parked is about right for where he is at this point of his campaign" Steven told Harnesslink this week. Even though Easy On The Eye is not heading south for the New Zealand Cup, he will still be at Addington for Cup Day. Steven plans on taking a two pronged attack to Addington for supporting races during Cup week and is confident they will be very competitive. "Easy On The Eye will race on Cup Day in the Junior Free For All and then then go into the New Zealand Free For All on Show Day. "The two mobile sprints are right up his alley and as he proved last year he can be very competitive over the sprint trips. We have had an offer for the horse so these plans may change," he said The other horse that is making the trip south is the stable star Gold Ace and Steven gives him a real chance of winning the New Zealand Free For All. "I won't start Gold Ace on Cup Day and will kick off his season in the Free For All on Show Day. "He goes super fresh and a lot of the Cup horses struggle to go as good on Friday after a hard run in Tuesday's Cup so I think we are a real chance" he said. Gold Ace has come back from Australia in great order and Reid is looking to trial him before his resumption. "The Cup trials before Cup Week is where we are aiming to start him prior to the Free For All if everything goes to plan" he said. Both of the Reid team excel over shorter distances and will attract solid support during their Cup Week engagements. Harnesslink Media

The harness racing gypsy Gold Ace has arrived back home where it all began as he prepares to remind New Zealand racegoers what they have been missing. The seven year old entire by Bettors Delight arrived at Steven Reid's stable yesterday after spending the last 12 months racing out of the Luke McCarthy stable. The "Reidman" was happy with the last 12 months. " Gold Ace won the $100,000 Cranbourne Cup, $50,000 Shepparton Cup and ran third in the $400,000 Hunter Cup earning over $200,000 in the process so its been a good 12 months" he said "His couple of runs at the start of this campaign were below par and had Luke scratching his head so we thought we would bring him back to New Zealand and race him here," Reid told Harnesslink today. Gold Ace has done an outstanding job right from day one and goes into his seven year old season as the winner of 20 races and $1,128,709 in stakes and Steven is confident more wins are in store. "Luke has sent him back in terrific order and we have already mapped out a tentative program for him starting with the Free For All during Cup week". "We will give him a run from behind the mobile at the Cup trials and that will tell us weather we start in the Junior Free For All on Cup Day or weather we resume in the Group 1 Free For All on Show Day" he said "We wouldn't have looked at the race if it was still over a mile but with it reverting back to 1950 metres that makes the draw no where near as important"he said.  Gold Ace might be back at his home base at Pukekohe but he is certainly a different horse to the one they are used to according to Reid. "He is has been very colty since he stepped off the float and you have to watch yourself around him now. We will race him this season and then with his record he deserves a chance to prove himself as a sire next year" he said. Arguably the quickest horse off the gate in New Zealand before his spell in Australia, Gold Ace will add further interest to the open class races in New Zealand this season. Harnesslink Media 

Young harness racing trainer Abbey Holdaway notched her second career win at Alexandra Park last night and but for a stroke of luck she may have been lost to the industry. After stints with Geoff Small and Dale Cameron, Holdaway was actually looking for employment in the administration sector when Todd Mitchell offered her part-time work. “I used to manage the Royal Oak Tab for a couple of years but always loved working with horses. "I didn’t think I could earn an income in the harness racing industry again until Todd offered me work." And then when Gene Robb left Mitchell’s early last year, Holdaway was offered full-time employment working alongside the four-time New Zealand Cup winning reinsman. She helps Mitchell work his team of about 13 in Tauwhare Holdaway was born in Auckland and educated at Pukekohe High School. “I wasn’t born into a harness racing family but soon learnt all about it when I was working for Geoff and then Dale. “Todd has also taught me heaps and I'm grateful to him for giving me the opportunity to train. "I am really enjoying it, I have no desire to drive – I’ll leave that to the professionals. Last night Abbey lined up the 5 year old Monarchy gelding Jogo Bonito for the first time in the CO trot over 2200 meters at Alexandra Park. Previously in the barn of part owner Steven Reid, Jogo Bonito had shown any amount of promise at his previous 12 starts, racking up four placings but never really delivering on his potential. Away safely for Abbey's boss and partner Todd Mitchell, Jogo Bonito settled fifth early before Todd slotted him into the one out one back position with 1400 meters to go. There was no changes from there until approaching the home turn where Todd peeled Jogo Bonito three wide and dashed away for a very impressive 5 3/4 length victory. Jogo Bonito trotted the 2200 meters from a stand in 2:54.1 with closing sectionals of 61.3 and 30. The way Jogo Bonito won tonight would suggest that Abbey Holdaway might not have to wait long for career win number three as a trainer. Harnesslink Media   

Last weeks harness racing selections were a case of so near yet so far. Maurice McKendry, Terry Chmiel, Ricky May, Gerald O'Reilly and Nathan Williamson all nabbed winners while six others were placed, some at good odds. This week we have four meetings around the country and our selections are spread over those meetings and Maurice McKendry is shooting for three in a row at Auckland. Addington - Thursday Night Ricky May - Thinks Idolise is ready to win in race 4 Gerald O'Reilly - Likes King Of Strathfield to upset Stent in race 6 Sam Ottley - Rates Lovemetwotimes a big chance from barrier one in race 7 Terry Chmiel - Gives Betabcool a big tick in race 8    Invercargill - Friday Afternoon Clark Barron - Reckons Run Fatboy Run is overdue a winning turn in race 5 Brendon McLellan - Thinks Vera's Delight is due a change of luck in race 6 Nathan Williamson - Thinks Costa Del Magnifico will make a winning debut in race 8 Shane Walkinshaw - Very keen on first starter Jetsdream to win race 8 as well   Alexandra Park - Friday Night  Tony Herlihy - Likes Red Sky Night even from the second row in race 2 Steven Reid - Really rates Sirius Star to win race 3 Todd Macfarlane - Thinks Concorde can go one better than his debut second, also in race 3 Maurice McKendry - Rates The Royal Charger a big chance with the aid of the mobile in race 4 Josh Dickie - Very very bullish about the chances of Voluntad in race 5 John Curtin (Harnesslink) - Rates Irish Whisper a big chance to win fresh up in race 6 Scott Phelan - Thinks Le Lua Invasion is overdue a win in race 9   Methven - Sunday Afternoon John Dunn - Thinks Highview Freddy can use barrier one to win race 1 Blair Orange - Rates McArdle Star from the on fire Ken Barron barn as also hard to beat in race 1 Matt Williamson - Reckons Davey's Gift is well overdue and should win race 2 Steve Richardson (TAB) - Rates the locally owned and trained Golden Desire a big chance in race 4 Brad Williamson - Thinks his fathers trained horse Kylie Castleton can win race 5   Harnesslink Media  

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

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