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At last weeks harness racing meetings, our selectors went okay with the exception of the Addington meeting where after the heavy rain, a lot of the races became a bit of a lottery. There were several selections that were well supported but really struggled in the slushy conditions so we have decided to put a line under last week and move on. For the record our selectors picked four winners via Tony Herlihy, John Dunn, Brad Williamson and Jim Curtin while another seven were first three finishers. This week we only have four meetings and we are a bit light at Auckland where a lot of our regulars are not engaged. Forbury Park - Thursday night John Curtin (Harnesslink) - Thinks Blade even from barrier 14 can win race 3  Matthew Williamson - Gives Sage from barrier one a real chance of winning race 5 Nathan Williamson - Thought Sheeza Shark was overdue and could win race 10   Auckland - Friday night Todd Mitchell - Rates Lady J a big chance of clearing maidens in race 1 Tony Herlihy - Likes The Almighty Johnson to go back to back in race 4 Steve Richardson (TAB) - Reckons Paramount Dream can bounce back, also in race 4 Scott Phelan - Thought Happy To Go could leave maidens in race 8   Addington - Friday night Ricky May - Thinks Dalton Bromac will lead and be awfully hard to beat in race 3 Gerard O'Reilly - Reckons Tiger Tara can get a piece of the action, also in race 3 Terry Chimel - Expects improvement with driver change on Little Tess in race 7 Blair Orange - Gives Expresso Martini a good chance of winning race 8 Jim Curtin - Rates Lucky Fortune a big chance of winning race 9 Bob Butt - Waterloo Sunset is my best drive of the week in race 9 Tim Williams - Only drive on the night and will be trying hard in race 10 Sam Ottley - Opting for stable runner Secret Lotion in race 10.   Winton - Sunday afternoon Brad Williamson - Thinks River Patrol can go back to back in race 3 Clark Barron - Thought Mass Invasion could go one better this week and win race 4 Brendon McLellan - Forget Leigh Major's last run, she can win race 8 Shane Walkinshaw - Likes Winton and will get the money in race 10 Harnesslink Media

This weeks harness racing meeting at Alexandra Park is one of the best of the season in New Zealand with four Group 1 races on the card. We thought we would do a runner by runner preview of each of the Group 1 races. First up is the $80,000 Breckon Farms Northern Trotting Derby 1) Paramount Dream  -  Starts: 8    Wins: 3     Secs: 0    Thirds: 1    Life: $13,138 Very nice filly who has won three from just eight starts so ability is there. The draw and Tony Herlihy in the bike are a plus but this race while small in number has huge depth. Outside first four chance for us in this field. 2) Habibti Ivy  -  Starts: 8    Wins: 3     Secs: 0    Thirds: 4    Life: $44,484 This filly just continues to get better with every run. Has used plenty of petrol off the gate to lead in her last two starts but this week from barrier two it will be a lot easier for her to grab the early lead before handing up to either Speeding Spur or Monbet. A couple here may be half a metre better but it is a fine line and from the draw she is a big chance. Include in everything. 3) Speeding Spur  -  Starts: 14    Wins: 8    Secs: 2    Thirds: 2    Life: $141,623  Without a doubt the horse to beat in this race. Left a touch fresh last week but still had enough in the tank to hold out a game Monbet. Will be much improved this week and at a distance much more to his liking. Drawn inside his main danger and has gate speed so the one they have to beat. 4) Monbet  -  Starts: 13    Wins: 6     Secs: 2    Thirds: 1    Life: $99,041 Outstanding young trotter who started the season in great fashion but an injury prior to the Southern Derby meant he went into that race underdone so that run full of merit. Great performance last week to sit parked the whole journey and run Speeding Spur to a nose but yet again he has drawn outside that horse. We think the only way Monbet can beat Speeding Spur over 2700 metres is to beat him out of the gate. He does have high gate speed but debatable weather he has enough to cross Speeding Spur. The main danger to the favourite and a definite winning chance. 5) Prince Fearless  -  Starts: 12    Wins: 3     Secs: 4    Thirds: 0    Life: $102,974 The enigma of this years field for sure and hard to know what to expect. More than capable of matching it with Speeding Spur and Monbet but his first start right handed last week was not flash with an early gallop. The funny thing is after the early gallop, Prince Fearless trotted beautifully the Auckland way round and made up a huge amount of ground on a hot pace. From barrier five Natalie can let him settle early over the 2700 metres and then work into the race and for us he is a must have for quinella,trifecta and first four players.  6) Arya   -  Starts: 17    Wins: 10     Secs: 3    Thirds: 1    Life: $161,336 After a handful of starts in Australia this season in which she was unbeaten, Arya disappointed first up back in New Zealand in the Trotting Oaks with an average run for fourth. Much improved last week in the Sires Stakes final where she again ran fourth but in a much stronger field. Did get a lovely run in the one by one the whole way so hard to see her winning this but a trifecta and first four chance for us. 7) Yagunnakissmeornot  -  Starts: 15    Wins: 7  Secs: 2    Thirds: 4    Life: $55,458  Never out of the money in her first thirteen starts but her last two have been a touch disappointing. Should have finished closer than fifth from a soft run on the inner from barrier one last week and hard to see from this weeks draw how she can turn the tables on a few here. Rough first four player for us at best. 8) Rock Tonight  -  14    Wins: 2      Secs: 1    Thirds: 1    Life: $20,666 The ability is not the question here, it is the manners and ringcraft. Broke twice in the score up last week and then once during the race which at this level is terminal. Already handicapped by being on the unruly so hard to see him here as a major player here. Not for us. SELECTIONS Top pick from the draw has to be Speeding Spur who over a distance he loves will be very hard to beat. The clear second pick for us is Monbet who has the all round game to threaten Speeding Spur but needs a touch of luck having drawn outside his main rival. After that Habibti Ivy and Prince Fearless look the main challengers but hard to see either beating both Speeding Spur and Monbet Arya as cover for first four players. Harnesslink Media  

New Zealand Racing Board (NZRB) has today welcomed the appointment of an offshore betting working group announced by the Minister for Racing, Nathan Guy. NZRB Chair Glenda Hughes says "This is a positive step towards what has been a long-standing issue for New Zealand's racing industry and we look forward to seeing progress made on combatting the increasing impact of off-shore betting in New Zealand." New Zealand is unique in that all of the NZRB's profits are returned to the racing and sports industries. However, it is estimated that New Zealanders bet up to $300 million per year with overseas agencies that do not contribute to those industries, or are subject to the same responsibilities as NZRB. "Our industry works hard to provide quality racing and sport that is enjoyed around the world, but there is a problem when it does not get a fair return on its investment as a result of betting taking place offshore," says Hughes. Hughes commented that the rise of digital business has heightened the issue, further increasing the need for Government action. "International corporate bookmakers are increasingly taking bets on our domestic product without any benefit flowing back into the New Zealand racing industry, and without being subject to the same fees and taxes as NZRB. We would like to see a level playing field, where all betting placed on New Zealand racing results in an appropriate contribution back to support the development and growth of this industry. "This is a complex issue experienced the world over, with the likes of United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy, France, Australia and Singapore all recently taking action," added Hughes. In the 2013/14 financial year, the three racing codes - thoroughbred, harness and greyhound - received $134.1 million in distributions. National Sporting Organisations received $5.0 million. Olivia Kinley Manager, Media and Corporate Communications New Zealand Racing Board

  New Zealand Racing Board (NZRB) has today announced TAB Trackside Radio is on the move, with all broadcasting set to take place out of its Auckland-based, purpose-built facility from 14 April. The move, which consolidates NZRB's broadcasting operations, is a continuation of wider broadcasting strategic improvements which began last year and enables NZRB to continue to build and enhance its customer experience. Executive GM TAB, Glenn Patrick says "The changes to TAB Trackside Radio are very much in-line with our vision to become the best entertainment business for New Zealand. "Bringing our radio operation in-house alongside TAB Trackside TV allows us to share resources more easily, which in turn will help us to improve and increase our offering. "Having greater access to producers, talent and content that can be sourced from both national and international feeds, as well as expanding our airtime, means we will be better able to serve the needs of our customers. "After receiving fantastic feedback following last year's improvements, including the relaunch of our two television channels, we hope this exciting development will be just as well received," he says. The station has been housed at MediaWorks since its inception 10 years ago. As a result of the move there will be programming changes relating to the air time currently broadcast on TAB Trackside Radio from 6am-11am, under MediaWorks' brand LiveSPORT. Mr Patrick thanks MediaWorks for its contribution to TAB Trackside Radio. The two companies will continue to have a significant commercial relationship. MediaWorks Radio CEO, Wendy Palmer says "I am proud of what LiveSPORT, and our partnership with TAB has achieved over the past 10 years. This is the end of an era, but one that brings new opportunities for MediaWorks in the way we approach sports broadcasting across our radio, television and digital platforms." New Zealand Racing Board

Boom local Guaranteed is now a clear favourite for Victorian harness racing’s two biggest events. Following a weekend of impressive wins and questions raised, Guaranteed is topping TAB’s Fixed Odds markets for the Victoria and A G Hunter Cup. The Emma Stewart/Clayton Tonkin-trained stallion is $5 for the Victoria Cup, which is scheduled to be conducted at Tabcorp Park Melton on January 31. Guaranteed was $6 when markets opened last month, with Beautide favourite at $4. Beautide is now on the fourth line of betting at $7 after being scratched from last Saturday night’s Bendigo Cup. The James Rattray-trained gelding hasn’t races since his second behind Christen Me in the Miracle Mile last November. Beautide was also nominated for the Ballarat Cup on December 13, but Rattray elected not to accept due to a setback. An ultra-impressive winner of Saturday night’s Bendigo Cup, Christen Me is at $5.50 along with Philadelphia Man – a stablemate of Guranteed – which has come in from $10. Although he hasn’t raced since beating Guaranteed in the Vicbred Final last July, Lennytheshark has been a surprise market mover on the strength of his strong tial. A member of the David Aiken stable, Lennytheshark’s quote has come in from $31 to $21. Beautide was also the early favourite for the Hunter Cup on February 7, but Rattray decided to bypass the event when it became obvious the son of Bettors Delight wouldn’t meet the conditions. To qualify for the time-honoured event, candidates must have completed a satisfactory standing start under race conditions. Beautide hasn’t raced from behind the tapes since April 2013. Originally posted at $6, along with New Zealand mare, Adore Me, Guranteed is a clear favourite at $4.50, with Adore Me next at $5.50 for trainer Mark Purdon. Christen Me and Terror To Love are at $6, with Philadelphia Man on $9. Following his demolition of yesterday’s Hamilton Cup field, proven campaigner, Restrepo, has been the biggest market mover. Also hailing from the Stewart/Tonkin camp, Restrepo had his price slashed from $21 to $12, giving the power couple three of the top six Hunter Cup prospects. There have been several adjustments over the past few days the most notable being Restrepo which firmed from $21 to $12 for the stand-start Hunter Cup following his impressive win in the Hamilton Pacing Cup today. He remains at $21 for the Victoria Cup (unchanged). PAUL COURTS

The TAB has come under an "unprecedented and concentrated cyber attack" that has targeted its website. New Zealand Racing Board acting chief executive Glenn Patrick said the attack began on Boxing Day.  The tab.co.nz website has crashed several times since, preventing people from placing bets. "It started on the afternoon of Boxing Day and we've probably had seven or eight occurrences," he said.  Staff have had holiday leave cut short to work on securing the site. "We've pulled all our people back, both ourselves and [online] partners." Customers' data is secured, he said. "We have firewalls which are doing their job effectively ... but it doesn't help when you want to place a bet." Patrick said he could not talk about the nature of the attack or its origin at the moment as the company was concerned about copy-cat attacks. TAB had probably lost some turnover, given the Christmas-New Year period is busy for racing and sport, he said. However, at this point takings remained strong. Patrick sent an email out to staff stating that the company was doing everything it could to stabilise the website and advising how to break the news to customers. "As you know our customers are important to us, so please assure them we are doing everything we can. If customers cannot place bets we do suggest they try again because the issue is intermittent." He also thanked the staff brought in to fix the attack. "I know many of you have been called back from holidays and family time. Hopefully we can get this matter resolved very soon." Anyone who wants to place a bet and has problems with the website can still do so via their phone, at TAB outlets or through the mobile phone app, he said. Reprinted with the permission of The Dominion Post

Today’s TAB.com.au Summer of Glory launch at Zinc in Melbourne’s CBD will forever change the way Harness Racing Victoria approaches its summer jewels – the Victoria and Hunter Cups. A two-night harness racing spectacular has been revealed, to be hosted at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday January 31 (TAB Victoria Cup night) and Saturday February 7 (Del-Re National Food Group Hunter Cup night), with over $1.4 million in stakemoney to be awarded over 20 races. But just as important as the Summer of Glory carnival itself was the announcement of an early nominations cut-off date of December 19 for the Victorian and Hunter Cups, which allows HRV’s wagering partner, TAB.com.au, to run futures markets on the two cup races. This opens up enormous promotional opportunities for the Summer of Glory carnival, with all races between December 19 and the Victoria and Hunter Cups potentially impacting long-term markets. “This announcement allows the TAB to set fixed odds markets on the Victoria and Hunter Cup well ahead of time, generating discussion on social media and across traditional forms of media for weeks in the lead-up to the events,” HRV Marketing Manager Brett Boyd said. “Every time a race is run from December 19 involving horses that are nominated for the Hunter Cup or the Victoria Cup, those two big races can be mentioned, because the results of all races can have an impact on the fixed odds markets.” HRV Chief Operating Officer Brant Dunshea said adjusting the nomination dates was an important step in embracing the changing wagering landscape. “The changes were made to facilitate wagering on early fixed odds markets,” Dunshea said. “The growth of fixed odds is becoming more and more significant in the wagering landscape. “These changes also allow for the opportunity to promote these races through the media as the markets adjust.” HRV Communications and Media Manager Cody Winnell said fixed odds markets would secure harness racing more media exposure. “This announcement will help generate conversation about harness racing and that can only benefit the industry,” he said. “We need to have our product front and centre in what is a competitive sporting media landscape here in Victoria. The conversation that comes with fixed odds betting will help facilitate this.” There is no fee for owners to nominate horses for the Victoria or Hunter Cup before December 19. Further details to the conditions are available on Harness Racing Australia’s Industry News page. Harness Racing Victoria

If the overnight TAB fixed odds move for last-start Miracle Mile winner Christen Me is any indication the Cran Dalgety trained harness racing superstar might be unbeatable in Saturday night’s Decron Cranbourne Pacing Cup. Christen Me opened odds-on at $1.70 after drawing pole for the race yesterday but was quickly crunched into $1.55 before shortening further overnight to $1.50. Fellow Kiwi Terror To Love is second favourite at $4.50 after drawing gate four, the three-time New Zealand Cup hero coming off a last-start fourth in the Miracle Mile. The leading local chance with the punters early is Andy Gath trained Maximan, who is clear third favourite with fixed odds betting at $7. The fourth pick, Flaming Flutter, is an $18 chance from his inside-back-row draw. Meanwhile, Keystone Del is hot favourite for the Group 1 Bill Collins Mile at $1.40 with fixed odds ahead of Elegant Image ($4.40) and My High Expectations ($5.50). The winner of the Bill Collins Mile automatically qualifies for HRV's Great Southern Star. The Decron Cranbourne Pacing Cup is a leg of Harness Racing Victoria’s TAB.com.au Trots Country Cups Carnival. A $1000 bet with the TAB will be given away on the night via the popular Trot Selfies promotion (www.facebook.com/trotselfies), while the TAB is also offering a $20,000 First 4 pool Jackpot on the Cranbourne Pacing Cup. There will also be children’s rides and live entertainment. The Carlton Draught Beer Garden will be open for business and dining packages are still available. To book or for more details phone 03 5996 1300. Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

New Zealand Racing Board Chair Glenda Hughes has welcomed the off-shore betting announcement made by Minister for Racing Nathan Guy at the organisation's Annual General Meeting in Petone today. Speaking from the AGM Nathan Guy has announced the creation of a working group to develop recommendations to combat the impact of off-shore betting on racing and sport. "Betting through overseas providers deprives our local industry and sports of the funding they deserve," says Mr Guy. It is estimated that New Zealanders bet up to $300 million per year with overseas agencies. Hughes says this is concerning because overseas bookmakers are benefiting from New Zealand's great racing and sports products without contributing to the industries. "Profits generated from the TAB are returned to the racing and sports industries which is the whole point of the model, but offshore betting is eroding this. "Overseas bookmakers do not pay gambling levies, totalisator duty or GST, or have measures in place to manage problem gambling or corruption that meet New Zealand standards," says Hughes. Ministerial officials are currently preparing membership options and the group's terms of reference. The Minister says he currently expects to see recommendations for change from the working group in late 2015. Hughes says the issue of offshore betting has been a longstanding one for the industry that has created an uneven playing field in an increasingly competitive market. "We welcome the Minister's announcement today and look forward to seeing the recommendations from the working group," says Hughes. The NZ Racing Board posted a Net Profit of $137.0 million for the financial year ending 31 July - a marginal increase on the 2012/13 financial year. The three racing codes - NZ Thoroughbred Racing, Harness Racing NZ and Greyhound Racing NZ received $134.1 million in distributions. National Sporting Organisations received $5.0 million and a record $2.3 million was paid or provided to other sporting bodies from gaming activities. New Zealand Racing Board

Addington is thrilled to report some extraordinary results for their turnovers and attendances during  Cup Week. Combined turnover for 2014 Cup Week totalled a staggering $10,351,691 showing a huge increase  on the 2013 figures of $1,782,932 or 20.8%. Cup Day continues to head domestic racing events by some margin with combined turnover figures  coming in at over $6.88 million an increase of over 20% on last year, whilst Show Day combined  figures for 2014 were $3.47 million an increase of nearly 22% on 2013.  An astounding $1.919 million was waged on the Christchurch Casino New Zealand Trotting Cup. Whist the wagering was hot on and off course; attendances were also up across both premier days  racing with nearly 28,000 attending.  Chairman at The Met Barry Dent commented “that the Club could not have wished for a better Cup Week. "Whilst the weather played its part I think we can also attribute some other key factors to the  success." "Champion pacer Terror To Love gunning for his fourth Cup and a place in history certainly  spiced up the lead in and we also received a significant increase in mainstream media coverage with  the announcement of our VIP Shane Warne." "The amount of media mentions and stories triggered by these was far greater than previous years and certainly put the event and the Cup Day brand into the limelight." "Also, the dedicated Trackside TV coverage on Cup Day was a positive.” “Having a complete and continual cell phone coverage right throughout the day also impacted  positively on Cup Day with no hick-ups this year. "The large crowd seemed to arrive early on course and stayed for most of the day which meant more spend through the tote particularly via smartphone.” “On Show Day we hosted the inaugural Kiwi Punters Championship (KPC) and this event contributed  nearly $300,000 on course; a super result. " "The winner took home $50,000 and this is a concept that we’ll look to undertake again next year.” “It is wonderful that the combined turnover for the week is the second highest recorded in the last 20  years and is a great result for the NZ Metropolitan Trotting Club and the NZ harness racing industry.” Ged Mooar Marketing & Commercial Manager Addington

The New Zealand Racing Board has today announced a Net Profit increase of $137.0 million for the financial year ending 31 July 2014. NZRB Chief Executive Officer (Acting) Stewart McRobie says it has been a mixed year for the NZ Racing Board, but the core business is strong, underpinned by solid year on year growth. "The NZ Racing Board achieved record breaking turnover results surpassing the $2 billion mark for the first time in the organisation's history. This was on the back of a highly successful Football World Cup tournament that was the TAB's biggest ever betting event with turnover of $32.3m. "Year on year we achieved growth in Betting and Gaming turnover of 6.8% and 6.5% respectively. Turnover growth from domestic customers is running over three times higher than the compound average of the last four years - a long term negative trend that is beginning to reverse," says Mr McRobie. Mr McRobie says rising Operating Expenses and other factors have meant that while Net Profit was marginally above the prior year result, and a record, it did not meet budget. "Some very positive improvements have been offset by the significant appreciation of the New Zealand dollar against the Australian dollar. Our key initiative projects - broadcasting and the mobile app have also cost more and taken longer to execute, but we expect to see benefits from these projects come through in future results," says Mr McRobie. The three Racing Codes – New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing, Harness Racing New Zealand and Greyhound Racing New Zealand – and the racing industry, received $137.4 million from NZRB’s operations, while $5.0 million was paid or provided for distribution to National Sporting Organisations, and a record $2.3 million to other sporting bodies from gaming activities.   2013/14 2012/131 % change Turnover $2.088b $1.957b +6.7% Net profit $137.0m $136.7m +0.2% Total Group distribution made from current year profit $137.4m $134.9m +1.8% Note: All figures comprise TAB betting and Class 4 gaming The audited financial statements have been completed. The 2013/14 results exclude the gain realised from the sale of the NZ Racing Board Head Office in Petone, as this transaction was completed early in the 2014/15 financial year. The NZ Racing Board's Statement of Intent is available on the NZ Racing Board website. The annual report, including the financial statements, will be available at the Annual General Meeting on November 24, 2014. Kate Gourdie Manager, Media and Corporate Communications New Zealand Racing Board

Addington is pleased to report that in the seven harness race meetings in the 2014-15 season to date, combined turnovers of both on and off course are up on the corresponding time period last year. On course figures are up a significant 15% and combined figures for off course and fixed odds betting are up 4.4% on the seven harness meetings up to and including 10 October.  Total turnover is up 5% even though there have been five fewer races in the season to date.  A considerable contributor to the improved on course figures is the new Kiwi Punters Championship – (KPC) that was introduced on 5 September and has been run at five meetings through September and October to date.  This initiative has obviously attracted punters on course with substantial cash prizes up for grabs throughout the championship. With a total of seven KPC heats at Addington and the winners of each heat receiving $2,000 cash, team numbers taking part have been excellent as they punt to gain a spot in the KPC Final on Show Day, Friday 14 November where’s there’s $80,000 to be won.  Just last Friday there were 34 Teams taking part. Organiser Richard Bromley commented “numbers and turnover for the competition have been pleasing and with just three heats left to gain a spot in the final there’s sure to be good numbers competing.” Two heats remain at Addington and one at Alexandra Park before the final.  It’s just four weeks to go to Christchurch Casino New Zealand Trotting Cup Day and tickets are selling well. The 11th of the 11th could be a very special day as champion pacer Terror To Love shoots for his fourth consecutive Cup win and would write his name in the record books.  For Cup Week tickets and details on the KPC visit www.addington.co.nz GED MOOAR MARKETING AND COMMERCIAL MANAGER  

From today Kiwi racing punters will be able to bet into Hong Kong's multimillion dollar pools following an agreement between the TAB and the Hong Kong Jockey Club. New Zealand Racing Board Wagering Consultant Martin Saunders says the TAB has joined a select group of international agencies approved to commingle into Hong Kong pools. "Our intention has always been to give our customers in New Zealand the opportunity to bet into 'native', or home field, pools and this allows us to do that. "We'll be commingling into win, place and quinella pools initially, then into other pools including trifecta from next year and, in time, the huge dividend-bearing Triple Trio," says Mr Saunders. TAB customers will reap the rewards of the deal, says Saunders. "Most importantly, it will reduce the volatility that can occur in smaller pools, skewing win and place dividends." The arrangement with Hong Kong follows a taxation law change by the region's Legislative Council allowing commingling with overseas operators. "Longer term, the goal is to have Hong Kong customers betting into New Zealand, which will be a real boost to liquidity of our domestic pools," says Saunders. The TAB will be commingling directly into Hong Kong via a hub arrangement with international partner Tabcorp. In addition, the TAB will commingle First4 and Quaddie pools on Hong Kong racing directly with Tabcorp. Kate Gourdie Manager, Media and Corporate Communications New Zealand Racing Board

Adam Bowden was in the Kentucky Futurity winner's circle last year with Creatine and he hopes to return there following Sunday's 122nd edition of the trotting classic, this time with Father Patrick. Bowden and his father, Chris, operate Diamond Creek Farm, which is part of Father Patrick's ownership group. Father Patrick, who has won 20 of 23 career races and $1.92 million, drew post No. 1 for Sunday's $435,000 Kentucky Futurity for 3-year-old trotters at The Red Mile in Lexington. Nine horses entered the Futurity, so eliminations are unnecessary. Yannick Gingras will drive Father Patrick for trainer Jimmy Takter in the one-dash-for-the-cash event. Rounding out the field in post order are Il Sogno Dream, Martiniwithmuscle, Datsyuk, Hillustrious, Nuncio, Mr Lindy, DD's Hitman, and Lightning Force. Sunday's card also includes the $224,000 Kentucky Filly Futurity, $173,000 Allerage Farm Open Trot, $160,500 Allerage Farm Open Pace, $90,000 Allerage Farm Mare Pace, and $89,000 Allerage Farm Mare Trot. Father Patrick brings a four-race win streak to the Futurity, including a 4-1/2 length victory over Lightning Force in 1:50.4 in a division of the Bluegrass Stakes at The Red Mile last Sunday. He also has won the $613,800 Canadian Trotting Classic, $260,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship and $340,000 Zweig Memorial since losing by a half-length to Datsyuk in a division of the Tompkins-Geers Stakes. "Last week he was on cruise control and still trotted in sub-1:51," said Bowden, who owns Father Patrick with John Fielding, Christina Takter, Brittany Farms, Brixton Medical AB, and the group of Marvin Katz, Al Libfeld and Sam Goldband. "Hopefully, we're in the winner's circle on Sunday. Jimmy gives me two thumbs up. I'm hoping that's going to be the case." Last year, the Diamond Creek-bred-and-owned Creatine won the Futurity for hometown trainer Bob Stewart. Bowden had planned to sell Creatine when he was a yearling, but the horse was withdrawn from the auction because of an infected hock and remained with Diamond Creek. Creatine races Sunday in the Allerage Farm Open Trot. "We've been with Bob since the beginning and for him to be a Kentucky guy, no offense, I love Father Patrick, but I don't think anything is going to top last year," Bowden said. "That was the most exciting thing for me. It was the first time. It was a homebred with a good friend of mine. We always believed in the horse and we finally won one of the big ones. That was exciting." The Bowdens started Diamond Creek Farm in 2005 in Paris, Ky., and now have a second location in Pennsylvania. Diamond Creek will stand Father Patrick as a stallion at the conclusion of his racing career. Father Patrick, bred by Brittany Farms, is a son of stallion Cantab Hall out of the mare Gala Dream. He is a full brother to million-dollar-earner Pastor Stephen. "We're very happy and lucky; we want to stand the best horses," Bowden said. "After his 2-year-old year, we took a huge risk that (Father Patrick) was going to come back and be dominant at 3. Right now it looks like our gamble is going to pay off. Cantab Hall is arguably the hottest sire in the sport, along with Muscle Hill, and here's his greatest son so far. It's a great sire line and we're hoping it continues with Father Patrick." The Kentucky Futurity is the second jewel in this year's Trotting Triple Crown. Trixton won the first, the Hambletonian, but has since been retired because of injury. The third jewel, the Yonkers Trot, is Oct. 25. Takter trained and drove Trixton in the Hambletonian. Another of his charges, Nuncio, finished second in the race. Father Patrick went off stride from post 10 and finished off the board for the only time in his career. Nuncio will be driven by John Campbell, his regular pilot, in Sunday's Futurity. Nuncio has won 12 of 22 career races and finished second in the other 10. Eight of those runner-up finishes have come behind Father Patrick. "Nuncio is one tough horse," Bowden said. "He's a great horse and in any other year he's the best horse. "One of these days you think he's going to beat his stablemate. But I hope it's not Sunday." Takter sends out the likely favorite in the Kentucky Filly Futurity, Shake It Cerry. She was the 2013 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old female trotter and has won 10 of 12 races this season. She will start from post three with driver Ron Pierce. Scream And Shout and Heaven's Door will start inside of Shake It Cerry while to her outside are Highest Peak, Chivaree Hanover, Vanity Matters, and Yoga. Scream And Shout and Yoga also are from the Takter Stable. The Allerage Farm Open Trot features Sebastian K, the fastest horse in harness racing history thanks to his 1:49 win earlier this year, two-time Dan Patch Award-winner Market Share, 2010 Kentucky Futurity winner Wishing Stone and recent Centaur Trotting Classic winner Master Of Law. Bee A Magician, the 2013 Horse of the Year, and multiple-stakes-winner Classic Martine lead the way in the Allerage Farm Mare Trot, where they will encounter Dan Patch Award-winner and defending race winner Maven. Sweet Lou, who has won 10 of 15 races and nearly $1 million this year, and Foiled Again, North American harness racing's all-time money-winner, are among the 10 horses in the Allerage Farm Open Pace. Eleven horses were entered in the Allerage Farm Mare Pace, including three-time Dan Patch Award-winner Anndrovette, stakes-winners Rocklamation and Somwherovrarainbow, world champion Shebestingin, last year's race winner Shelliscape, and 2012 winner Drop The Ball. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications  

The premier harness racing show, The Box Seat, is returning to our screens after its annual winter hiatus. The popular show returns right in the crux of the lead up to the New Zealand Trotting Cup and is again set to bring all the required information to the table on a weekly basis. But aside from the usual form analysis, opinion and discussion this season will see a new segment hit the screens involving two undeniable stars of the industry. Champion drivers, Dexter Dunn and Zac Butcher will lock horns in a season long battle, competing in a vast array of different competition throughout the course of the year. The Box Seat producer, Maryanne Twentyman said the idea was spawned while watching the pair handle their respective media requirements during the lead up to and during the Harness Jewels earlier this year. “They are clearly two very media savvy guys,’’ she said. “We feel they are great ambassadors for the industry and we were really keen to utilise them as much as we could. “I think it’s going to be great, hopefully everyone else does too.’’ Greg O’Connor, who holds the anchor role on the show alongside Mick Guerin and Craig ‘The Whale’ Thompson, was on hand to see the initial filming of the segment dubbed DD/ZB and was impressed with what he witnessed. “To be honest I probably went there wondering how it would all transpire,’’ he said. “But these two guys are incredibly competitive and it shows on the track and in this segment. “I think viewers are going to be really surprised by what they see.’’ Both Dunn and Butcher will feature weekly on the show, firstly in their competition but then also to look ahead to their weekend’s assignments. “The real bonus is that while you are getting to see a bit of what these guys are like off the track we are also getting an exclusive run down from them about the four or five days driving ahead of them each week.’’ It is the intention of the show to have all three presenters in the same studio each week as opposed to one in Christchurch and two in Auckland as has been the case in the past – bringing more stability to the shows normal functions each week. With over 60 years of industry experience between them, from administration to media to form analysis, the current panel is the best served to bring up to date happenings and make discussion of current events in the harness racing industry. O’Connor said it was about building on from the hard work over the past few years. “The show has made huge strides in recent years and it would be great to see that continue this season. “We are taking a real holistic approach to it and trying to bring in all facets of the industry as opposed to being purely a preview and review based show. “While those things are just as important it is nice to be able to get some variety in there at times and I think we managed to do that quite well last season with some of the more in depth profile pieces we did with various people.’’ The Box Seat begins on Wednesday night at 8:30pm on Trackside 1. Courtesy Of Matt Markham - Harness Racing New Zealand

WASHINGTON, PA, Sept. 23, 2014 -- Pecking for late racing room outside and inside, Cover Model finally found a seam and poured through to score in Tuesday's $88,600 Keystone Classic at The Meadows. Alexa Said took the other harness racing division of the stake for 2-year-old filly pacers. Cover Model was sixth near the three-quarters when Dan Rawlings slipped her off the cones into the outside flow. When cover took him nowhere, Rawlings guided Cover Model back inside and hunted room, finding it between horses. The daughter of Dragon Again-Fashion Sureal rolled home to triumph in 1:53.4, 2-1/4 lengths better than Special Package. Momas Got A Gun, a full sister to Little Brown Jug winner Limelight Beach, was third. "I came out because I thought the outside flow was good, but it wasn't going anywhere," Rawlings said. "I basically took a shot (inside), and a seam opened up. I wasn't planning on being buried like I was, but everything worked out." Douglas Lewis trains Cover Model for Frederick W. Hertrich III and CTC stable. Alexa Said roared three wide through the lane to prevail for Eric Ledford in a career-best 1:55.3. Pennsylvania Stallion Series champion Half Past Seven was second by a length while early leader Mistup Magic earned show. It was the first stakes victory for Alexa Said although Tye Loy, who conditions the daughter of Well Said-Niki Blue Chip and owns with Michael Lowe, said she easily could have several more. "She's had bad luck and bad trips," said Loy of his $18,000 yearling acquisition. "When you warm her up, you wouldn't think she could go in 2:30 the way she's lollygagging around. When she hits the gate, it's all business; she puts her game face on." In the $18,000 Filly & Mare Winners Over $10,000 Life/Preferred Handicap Trot, Cowgirl Hall thwarted the challenge of Better Caviar and downed him by a length in 1:53.2. Major Athens saved show. Dave Palone drove for trainer Ron Burke and owners Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Jack Piatt III and Michael Rosenthal. The 5-year-old daughter of Cash Hall-Centerfold hall extended her career bankroll to $598,903. On Wednesday the Meadows Racetrack & Casino will offer a $5,000-guaranteed pool for its Pick 5 wager as part of the United States Trotting Association's Strategic Wagering Initiative. The Meadows added the “instant” guarantee after Tuesday’s Pick 5 was uncovered, resulting in a carryover of $1,239.74. Minimum wager for the Pick 5 (Races 12-16) is 50 cents. Since Pennsylvania law requires a minimum per-race wager of $2, a player wagering at the 50-cent level must bet at least four tickets. First post for Wednesday’s program, which features a $117,200 Keystone Classic for 2-year-old colt and gelding trotters, is 12:55 PM. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows

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