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Everyone in the harness racing industry has an opinion on the pros and cons of most runners contesting the Harness Jewels races at Cambridge this weekend so we here at Harnesslink thought we would put our two cents worth into the mix. Not only will the best in the country compete for over $1.2 Million in prize money but punters will also get their chance to win big with several big betting pools available on this year's Harness Racing Jewels Day at Cambridge. Click here for up to date betting options from the TAB. Today we will look at the three 4yo divisions, that is the 4yo Emerald, the 4yo Diamond and the 4yo Ruby. THE EMERALD - FOUR YEAR OLD PACING COLTS AND GELDINGS  1) MAJOR STAR – (g, Art Major – Ciccio Star – Soky’s Atom) Has won seven races but this is his first time against the best of his age group. Draw a big help but appears more of a first four chance rather than a winning one. 2) DYNAMIC PARTY – (g, Bettor’s Delight – Dynamic Guest – Smooth Fella) The emergency for the race who has made it back in to the field. Nice horse but hard to see him being competitive here. Not for us. 3) MOSSDALE CONNER – (g, Bettor’s Delight – Mossdale Kara – In The Pocket) Has been thereabouts in a lot of the big age group races over the last two seasons without really threatening to win one. Draw a big help but place chances still appear best chance here. 4) RANDALSTOWN – (h, Badlands Hanover – Jessica Nicole – Ok Bye) Has won seven races but not in good enough form at the moment to be a chance in a field of this quality. Not fancied. 5) MIGHTY FLYING MAC – (g, Mach Three – Fleet’s Pocket – In The Pocket) Great third last start after doing plenty of work and has been placed in a Jewels at Cambridge before. He will go forward and is a first four chance with a run to suit. 6) GIVE THE WINK – (g, Bettor’s Delight Remmars – Smooth Fella) Has been going super all season. Nice second three starts back behind Elios in 1:55mr followed by a tidy fourth behind Besotted in the Taylor Mile in 1:53.5mr. He is a definite first four player. 7) LEWY RISK - SCRATCHED 8) ARISING EASTON – (g, Washington VC – Ararua Alley – Vance Hanover)  Has won five races this season but four of those have been on grass. Draw and strength of field makes it a really tough ask. Not for us. SECOND ROW 9) PACQUIAO – (g, Bettor’s Delight – Medea – Mach Three) Really nice horse who likes to race on the pace. From his draw here he could end up buried back on the inner which is not his go at all. Hard to see him getting into the finish from there. 10) BETTER ROCK ON – (g, Bettor’s Delight – Jingle Belle Rock – Caprock) Strung together a few wins in the spring in impressive fashion but has struggled to get back to that form since. Not the worst but hard to see as a first four contender. 11) MACH'S GLADIATOR – (g, Mach Three – Smooth Maker – Make A Deal) Hit a real purple patch form a couple of months ago with a string of impressive wins but seems to have gone completely off the boil lately. Not for us. 12) FRANCO NELSON – (h, Christian Cullen – Notafella Franco – Falcon Seelster) Has an outstanding overall record and if he had drawn the front line he would have been hard to roll. Instead he has a wide second row draw but he is still a major player here. 13) NORVIC NIGHTOWL - (g, Bettor’s Delight – Tania Bromac – Holmes Hanover) He is in career best form which he capped recently with a smart third in the Messenger. However he never really left the rails that night and he has a lot harder task from this draw. He is still a first four contender. 14) ELIOS – (g, Bettor’s Delight – Its Showtime – Falcon’s Future) The form horse of the race with the worst possible draw. If he had drawn the front line he would have been terribly hard to hold out. He is at the top of his game at the moment and as quick as he is tough. He is a huge chance even from this draw. COMMENT Having looked at all the variables in this race we have come to the conclusion that regardless how badly they have drawn, Elios and Franco Nelson are still the two to beat. Of the two, Elios gets the nod over Franco Nelson but there is very little between them. Their draws bring them back to the field a bit but they do have a class edge on this field. Major Star, Mossdale Conner, Mighty Flying Mac, Give The Wink, and Norvic Nightowl should be in the fight for the first four positions. THE DIAMOND – FOUR YEAR OLD PACING FILLIES AND MARES 1) MALOO – (m, Bettor’s Delight – Monaro – In The Pocket) Nice honest mare. Is likely to trail or be three back on inner at worst. Draw makes her a first four contender. 2) BECKINSALE – (m, Falcon Seelster – Ballroom Babe – Presidential Ball) Well travelled mare who has won eight but six of those wins have been in the Central Districts. It is hard to see her in the first four even from draw. Not for us. 3) CHILLYSJUSTASTRUTTER – (m, Sutter Hanover – Chilly Dawn – Deal Direct) Under-rated mare in good form. Huge rise in class here makes her an outside chance for a place at best. 4) HELENA JET – (m, Jereme’s Jet – Matai Marlene – Holmes Hanover) A twelve win mare who has won her last three but second appears her lot. Should work to the lead from her draw and then trail Adore Me but can't see how she beats her. Is the logical quinella with Adore Me. 5) ADORE ME – (m, Bettor’s Delight – Scuse Me – BG’s Bunny) Just wins. She is in a different league to these. Will work to the front from her handy draw and from there they can't beat her. 6) ONLYFORYOU – (m, Art Major – Destiny – Presidential Ball) Looked super in the spring but out of sorts in her last few runs. More than capable of placing in this at her best but seems a wee bit off that at the moment. 7) RIVER POLKA – (m, American Ideal – Isle Of Inishfree – Roydon Glen) Been going great guns all season and Tony Herlihy drives so that is a big plus. Is a definite first four contender even from this draw. 8) TACTFUL LADY – (m, McArdle – Tact Philly – In The Pocket) Has won five in her career to date but her shocking draw coupled with the class of this field makes this way too hard. Not for us. SECOND ROW 9) THE FASCINATOR – (m, Bettor’s Delight – Impish – Falcon Seelster) Lovely mare in good form. Smart second two starts back to Sky Major, getting home in better than 55 seconds. Could end up four deep on inner from draw but can finish in first four with a little bit of luck in the running. 10) CHRISTY BREANNA – (m, Lis Mara – Holmes Dream – Holmes Hanover) In career best form following her brilliant 1:51.7TT in April at Ashburton. She hasn't faced a field of this class before but the bolter for first four takers. 11) RUSSLEY HASTE – (m, Mach Three – Russley Fiction – Road Machine) Has had a good season but form has tapered off and draw compounds the issue. Not for us. 12) WHISPER JET – (m, Jereme’s Jet – Nitouche Franco – Soky’s Atom) Has looked super at times and ordinary at other times. Hard to know which Whisper Jet will show up. If the right one does, she is more than capable of placing here. 13) LAURAMEGAN – (m, Tinted Cloud – Sensitive Poplar – Holmes Hanover) Last two runs at Auckland have been terrible but didn't look comfortable right handed. Back left handed here. Seven win mare with her share of ability so don't discount completely. 14) STEEL THE LIGHT – (m, Falcon Seelster – Star Empress – Fake Left) Six win mare who is the emergency for the race. Her draw and the class of this field will make this too big a task if she does gain a start. Not for us. COMMENT Adore Me looks unbeatable from the draw. Helena Jet should work to the lead and then trail Adore Me but second seems her lot. There are several other contenders for first four positions but form and the way the draws have fallen would suggest Maloo, River Polka, The Fascinator, Christy Breanna and Whisper Jet to be the main players.  THE RUBY – FOUR YEAR OLD TROTTERS 1) BONECHIP – (g, Monkey Bones – Lyn Chiola – Chiola Cola) He has been mixing it with the best lately. Great second to Sheemon two starts back, beaten just 0.4 of a length. Manners are an issue at times but has been placed seven from nine behind the mobile. Add in Tony Herlihy and he is a real contender. 2) OH NOVA – (m, Diedre Don – Tracy Nova – Chiola Hanover) Smart wee mare with a big sprint but several here look a touch better at this point in her career. Draw helps but outsider for a place at best 3) KINCASLOUGH – (m, Love You – Donegal Flat – Pine Chip) Is in career best form but this is a step up from the class he has been racing. good draw makes him a first four contender. 4) BALLYRONAN – (m, Love You – Lough Neagh – Sundon) Has compiled a tidy record to date but two many here look better at the moment. Not for us. 5) PARAMOUNT QUEEN – (m, Love You – Paramount Star – Sundon) Quality mare who has been in the first three in 16 of her 20 starts to date. Recent form has been excellent. She was placed in last year’s Jewels and is more than capable of doing so this year as well. 6) PRIME POWER – (g, Monarchy – Mega Belle – Sundon) At his best from this draw you would say he would win this race but there is a question mark after a less than impressive performance at his last start. His Trainer is confident he has him right again and hard to roll on his home track if that is the case. 7) ROYAL ASPIRATIONS  - (h, Monarchy – Aspiring Gal – Sundon) The enigma of this year’s race. Ran a brilliant New Zealand record over 2,600 metres against the best trotters in the country four starts back but that seems to have taken the edge off him with his next three runs well short of his normal standard. At his best he would be a huge winning chance but seems short of his best at the moment. 8) QUITE EASY DAMIT - (g, Quite Easy – Geddown Damit – Sundon) Has shown plenty of promise in his career to date but draw and class of field make his task impossible. Not for us. SECOND ROW 9) WINGSONHAI – (g, Pegasus Spur – Merinai – Tuff Choice) Has a tidy record but not going as well as he was earlier in the season. I cannot see him in the first four. Not fancied. 10) DOCTOR BONES – (g, Monkey Bones – Manakau Bay – Camtastic) Finally living up to his reputation, winning his last three with ease. Not far behind the best at three. His draw is no help but still a first four contender. 11) ASTRAL TRAVELLER – (g, Earl – Whiz Angel – Gee Whiz 11) Has won seven races but just a length or two off the best. This coupled with his draw makes it too hard for him. Not fancied. 12) PRINCESS SOPHIA – (m, Monarchy – Farisa – Chiola Hanover) Handy mare but draw and class of field makes her task impossible. Not for us. 13) SHEEMON – (g, Monarchy – Solar Fire – Yankee Reb) This year he has finally stepped out of the shadow of Prime Power and Royal Aspirations. He has copped the worst possible draw but can still roll these with the right run. With Dexter in the cart you can't say he won't get that run. 14) THE BOG – (m, Monarchy – Spin Ya Wheels – Grant Our Wishes) Emergency for the race. Promising trotter but draw and the class of this field makes his task impossible if he did get a start. Not fancied. COMMENT This race is a bit of a nightmare to predict. The two big guns drawn on the front line in Prime Power and Royal Aspirations have both been under a cloud after less than impressive performances at their last starts while the form trotter of the field in Sheemon has drawn the worst possible barrier. Several others such as Bonechip, Kincaslough, Paramount Queen and Doctor Bones have all been in career best form so an upset is more than possible. In the end we settled on Sheemon, even from the draw. Dexter is in unbelievable form at the moment and that should be just enough to give Sheemon the edge. The obvious dangers are Prime Power and Royal Aspirations while Bonechip, Kincaslough, Paramount Queen and Doctor Bones are all serious place chances. Harnesslink media  

Masterful trainer Paul Nairn says two things need to happen for One Over Da Moon to overcome his tricky one on the second-line barrier draw and win the 3YO Ruby at Cambridge on Saturday. “We are probably going to need some breakers so we can clear a pocket,” said Nairn. “And we can’t be one of them,” he quipped. If One Over Da Moon and David Butt can work away from the fence Nairn says that it is ‘game on.’ “He showed how good he is in the Northern Derby and I was very pleased with his run at Addington last week,” he added. But, One Over Da Moon’s two main rivals were both very impressive on Saturday when trialling at two different venues, meaning the son of Majestic Son and champion mare One Over Kenny is going to have to be at his brilliant best if he is to be crowned a Jewels king for the second year running. Mum’s Pride smashed his rivals by 11 and a half lenghts at Cambridge on Saturday, while dual Derby winner King Denny downed a field of maiden pacers at Alexandra Park. But, perhaps the most noted miler in the field is start trotting filly Majestic Time, who finished second in the Jewels last season before winning the Hambletonian over the sprint trip in February. She is somewhat the forgotten runner in Saturday’s 3YO Ruby, but she clearly didn’t handle the Alexandra Park way of going last start, and has tactical speed. Which could prove crucial come Saturday. To view the market for the 3YO Ruby click here. By Mitchell Robertson

Everyone in the harness racing industry has an opinion on the pros and cons of most runners contesting the Harness Jewels races at Cambridge this weekend so we here at Harnesslink thought we would put our two cents worth into the mix. Not only will the best in the country compete for over $1.2 Million in prize money but punters will also get their chance to win big with several big betting pools available on this year's Harness Racing Jewels Day at Cambridge. Click here for up todate betting options from the TAB. Today we will look at the three 3yo divisions, that is the 3yo Emerald, the 3yo Diamond and the 3yo Ruby. THE EMERALD - THREE YEAR OLD PACING COLTS AND GELDINGS 1) PEPE BROMAC - (c, by Mach Three - Pascale Bromac - Holmes Hanover) Has looked promising in his brief career to date but several here look better. It is hard to see in him in the first four. 2) ISAIAH - (c, by Art Major - EJ Becks - In The Pocket) In unbelievable form in his last few, especially his win three back over 1,950 metres in a 1:54.6 mile rate. With his great draw and his high gate speed it is very hard to see him beaten. 3) TIGER TARA - (c, by Bettor's Delight - Tara Gold - Dream Away) Has had a great season but just seems to have tapered off a touch lately. From the draw he is the biggest danger to Isaiah. 4) EARTHBOUND - (g, by Elsu - Move Heaven Andearth - Christian Cullen) Has won five from fifteen but all in the Central Districts and he faces a huge jump in class here. Not for us. 5) NO DOCTOR NEEDED - (c, by Mach Three - Molly Darling - Christian Cullen) The find of the later part of the season in the south. Has blistering speed but drawing outside of the favoured duo makes his task a hard one. First four chance. 6) ALLELUIA - (g, by Art Major - Shy Annie - Village Jasper) Burst onto the scene early in the season but he has not really fulfilled his early promise. He has been thereabouts in all the major races without threatening to win one. He is a first four contender. 7) REGULUS - (g, by Mach Three - Hunter Franco - Sokys Atom) A high speed horse who has won six but wide draw makes it hard in our opinion. A great driver gives him a first four chance. 8) MESSINI - (c, by Art Major - Mesmerizing - Sir Vancelot) Super consistent all season and if he had drawn well would have been a major player. He was a great fourth to Isaiah, beaten less than a length just prior to the Derby in a dazzling 1:54.6 mile rate. First four contender. SECOND ROW 9) IDEAL SUCCESS - (g, by American Ideal - Maheer Glen - Holmes Hanover) Nice colt who has won three this year but thrown in the deep end here. Not for us. 10) JANGO FETT - (c, by Western Ideal - Regina Coeli - Christian Cullen) Looked very promising earlier in the season winning at Addington in a 1:55.7 mile rate for 1,950 metres but not the same horse since nasty fall in Southern Supremacy Final. Not fancied. 11) CYCLONE PRINCE - (c, by Mach Three - Eyre To The Throne - Presidential Ball) Nice last start winner but he has struggled at this level all season. It is hard to see in first four unless he lifts big time. 12) FRANCO SALISBURY - (g, by Lis Mara - Sally Franco - Badlands Hanover) Nice horse but way out of his comfort zone here if he does get a start. Not for us. 13) THOMAS McBRIDE - (g, by Extreme Three - Xinran - Badlands Hanover)  Looked quite promising earlier in the season but form has tapered off badly and that coupled with his draw makes this way too hard. 14) SKY MAJOR - (c, by Art Major - Sky Beauty - In The Pocket) Would have been a "Major" player if he had only drawn well but has his work cut out from here. He has only won two from 14 this season so from draw place chances look best. COMMENT ISAIAH looks the one they all have to beat here. No matter how many different ways you look at this race he still appears the logical winner. So in our view the fight is only for the minor places. Tiger Tara, No Doctor Needed, Alleluia, Messini and Sky Major look the five with the credentials to fill the spots behind Isaiah. THE DIAMOND – THREE YEAR OLD PACING FILLIES 1) ROYAL COUNSEL - (f, by Gotta Go Cullect - Seabreeze Franco - Holmes Hanover)  Very tough filly who won the Southland Oaks in a 1:56.6 mile rate for 2,200 metres. Not super quick off the gate but if she can hold her position early, she becomes a great place prospect. 2) COUGAR BROMAC - (f, by Art Major - Congo Breeze - Holmes Hanover) Nice filly who has won six races but they have all been in the Central Districts and none against a field of this class. Not for us. 3) MILLIE SAMPSON - (f, by Bettor's delight - Cullen's Creation - Christian Cullen) Emergency who is unlucky to have missed the final. Looked special earlier in the season and last start sixth in the New Zealand Oaks was okay. A place chance if she makes it back into the field. 4) SNOOKI - (f, by Bettor's Delight - Offagain - Soky's Atom) Very game and honest filly whose only real failure to date was in the Great Northern Oaks. It is hard to see her winning the race but a definite first four chance. 5) IDEAL BELLE - (f, by American Ideal - Blistering Belle - Butler BG) Has really stepped up lately and from the draw looks the one they have to beat. Still has a trick or two having galloped twice in the fillies’ features this season so no certainty. 6) SHEATHEREALDEAL - (f, by American Ideal - Blazing Spirit - Holmes Hanover) Has won five races this season but again they have all been in the Central Districts and in fields lacking the class of this race. Not for us. 7) ROCKNROLL ARDEN - (f, by Rocknroll Hanover - Winter Rose - In The Pocket) Lovely filly who has been thereabouts in all the big fillies’ features this season. It is hard to see her winning from the draw but a major first four player. 8) CHARLESTON BELLE - (f, by Christian Cullen - Elite Belle - Presidential Ball) Has real gate speed but the wide draw here negates that. Would have been a first four contender from a good draw but hard to have from out there.  SECOND ROW 9) RAKSDEAL - (f, by Western Ideal - Raksplace - Artsplace) This is the worst possible draw for this super tough free going filly. Good enough to win this from a front row draw. Needs to be out and running to maximise her talents and this draw makes that highly unlikely. 10) ROCKN RUBY - (f, by Mach Three - Doug's Choice - Soky's Atom) Good third in the Great Northern Oaks against most of these which she followed up with two smart wins and then spelled. Hasn't been as sharp since her return with her last run the worst she has gone all season. Place chance at huge odds. 11) SAHARAZONA - (f, by Ohoka Arizona - Sahara Starlight - Jeremy's Gambit) Should get an award for most appearances this season, but form has tapered off badly in the later part of the season. Not for us. 12) LANCEWOOD LIZZIE - (f, by Bettor's Delight - Kamwood Elsie - Falcon Seelster) Looked above average earlier in the season before failing badly in the Great Northern Oaks. Since transferred to Barry Purdon, where she has thrived, winning  two from two. I cannot see her winning from the draw but a definite first four player. 13) VENUS SERENA - (f, by Mach Three - Inspiring Dash - Falcon Seelster) Absolute super star who has over raced in her last couple. Her trainer is confident that he has fixed the problem. Has a four to one advantage head to head over Ideal Belle and at her very best would win, even from her bad draw. 14) TE AMO BROMAC - (f, by Mach Three - Tandias Courage - Stoneridge Scooter) Really at the top of her game at the moment but the draw gives her few options. She is still a serious first four player even from this draw. COMMENT Ideal Belle looks the logical choice from her great draw but we still favour Venus Serena, even though she has drawn so wide on the second line. She has over-raced in her last couple but her trainer is confident he has the problem sorted. At her very best she would win this. Ideal Belle is obviously a massive win chance even if the real Venus Serena turns up.  Any two of Royal Counsel, Snooki, Rocknroll Arden, Lancewood Lizzie and Te Amo Bromac should round out the first four. THE RUBY – THREE YEAR OLD TROTTERS 1) PHILL'S FOLLY - (g, by Great Success - Zesty - Gee Whiz 11) Won a couple in the deep South but this looks way to hard even from the ace draw. Not for us. 2) MONSEIGNEUR - (g, by Sundon - Duchess Of Whiz - Gee Whiz 11) Emergency who has only placed once from ten starts. No 3) TROUBLE RIEU - (c, by Great Success - Cong Chua Rieu - Sundon) Has gate speed so should get good run from the draw. Can't see him winning but he could sneak a first four placing. 4) MUM'S PRIDE - (g, by Monarchy - Teachers Pride - Evander's Gold) The find of the latter half of the season. First race left handed is a small question mark. Draw and manners make a serious contender. 5) KING KENNY - (g, by Majestic Son - A Touch Of Sun - Simon Roydon) He has had his issues lately but you wouldn't know it looking at his form. Stable a lot happier with him lately and he trialled super last weekend. The horse they all have to beat. 6) I'MNOTQUITESURE - (g, by Quite Easy - Wheresmemum - Muscles Yankee) One placing from just three starts makes this mission impossible. No 7) MAJESTIC TIME - (f, Majestic Son - Time To Shine - Sundon) Forget her last run as she didn't handle the Auckland way round. Has blinding speed and the mile distance is right up her alley.   8) ALL ROYAL GAL - (f, by Monarchy - Roydon Action - Sundon) Nice filly but appears to have gone right off the boil lately. Not fancied. SECOND LINE 9) ONE OVER DA MOON - (c, by Majestic Son - One Over Kenny - Sundon) The enigma of this field. Can win this race but the draw has seriously dented his chances. He has only recently come off the unruly so one on the second line is not ideal. No doubting the ability, just the ring craft. 10) SIR GEORGE GREY - (g, by Monkey Bones - Georgeina - Sundon) Has won five so deserves respect but a few just look better at this stage. He is an outsider for first four combinations. 11) K D MUSCLES - (f, by Muscle Mass - Kazzle Dazzle - Armbro Invasion) Even allowing for her last start second, she is not going as well as she was three months ago and it's hard to see her featuring from this draw. 12) DAVEY'S BROTHER - (g, by Sundon - Jasmyn's Sister - Holdonmyheart) Nice horse long term but not against these and not over a mile. Not fancied. 13) DJOKOVIC - (g, by Sundon - Lovinski - Earl) Likes to run along in front so draw a major handicap and just a notch below the top ones. Not for us 14) HANOVERDAKASH - (f, by Monarchy - Amanda's Gem - Sundon) Nice filly but not in this field and not from this draw. Not fancied. COMMENT To us this looks like a two horse war. King Kenny has won both Derbies this season. He has had the chiropractor working on him recently and trialled super last weekend. He is definitely the one to beat. The big danger has to be Majestic Time who has blinding speed and is a noted miler. There are only two other horses capable of toppling the favoured duo and they are Mum's Pride and One Over Da Moon. Both are more than capable of upsetting but probably need a touch of luck as well. Harnesslink media

Nick Surick, the leading harness racing trainer at Freehold Raceway, did not have a racing background when he became a horseman. All Nick knew was he wanted to be a part of harness racing industry any way possible. As of the 22nd of May, Nick leads as the top trainer at Freehold Raceway with 26 wins out of 118 starts resulting in $86,000 in total purse winnings for 2014. "I have no horse racing background whatsoever" says Nick. "I actually grew up in Freehold, NJ and I lived about five minutes away from Freehold Raceway which was a ten minute bike ride. I used ride my bike to the track to watch the races as a kid." Nick credits his mom, Debbie, for always supporting him. "Through the bad times she helped me, good or bad she always stood behind me. She always wanted me to be happy" says Nick. His parents divorced right around the time Nick was getting into the harness racing industry and it must have been difficult for him, for anyone in that position. What originally drew Nick to the track was the gambling component. Nick's father, Kevin, helped introduce Nick to this unhealthy lifestyle due to the fact that Nick's father had substance abuse issues and was a known gambler. "I was a gambler; I was actually thrown out of a lot of tracks for underage gambling. My father was an alcoholic and a degenerate gambler." Nick admits. "I was more hooked that way more than anything. Aside from the gambling back then, I think the horse itself intrigued me and I liked the animal so much that it was good for me. " "I really wasn't the best student when it came to school." Nick explains, "I really couldn't care less about school. I dropped out of my second year in college so I could train full time when I got the opportunity from one of my big owners, Howard Schneidler. It all came together at the right time. "Once I learned the backside to horse racing, that's when I lost the itch for gambling. It was about growing up, maturing and getting smarter." Nick says. "Now that I was physically with the horse, gambling was not an issue anymore." The fact Nick was able to break away and cut the cord, so to speak, speaks volumes. Once Nick established himself as a horseman, it came to the point where Nick's father was constantly causing Nick problems at the Raceway and in life as a whole. "He caused me a lot of headaches at the track" Nick says about his father. "With me training horses, it wasn't good for him. He started making things up, telling people to bet horses (based) on what I said which are things I never said. If I talk to him a couple times a year, that's a lot. He was hurting my livelihood. "I had to take a step back, even though he's my dad I had to cut him out." Nick admits. "I had to think about my future and hopefully I have a lot of years ahead of me. "Drug and alcohol abuse made him a person he wasn't." Nick continues, "He was nasty to people... when you're under the influence you become a different person." The best piece of advice Nick ever received was from Richard Annunziata and it was about Nick ensuring he surrounds himself with good people. "He told me this when I was 16 and I am 26 now but I still remember it" says Nick. "Surround yourself with successful people; surround yourself with people that are better than you.... If you surround yourself with bad apples, that's who you're going to be. "That's what I did" says Nick. "I cut out all of the bad people from my life. The people who were bringing me down." Once Nick graduated from high school, he admits he changed lives. Nick did a 180 degree turn to better his life and to develop into a better person. Was it easy? That's tough to say as everyone deals with changes in their own manner but knowing that change is needed and working towards that is a task in itself. What Nick did is commendable, not many people can switch 'tracks' in life and to do so at a young and impressionable age is astounding. When Nick got started, he first worked for fellow trainer Eric Abbatiello. "I never had anyone behind me to push me, I did it all on my own." After working with Eric Abbatiello, Nick and his (now former) partner Anna Glide joined forces. "We worked together for four or five years and the business grew together between us" Nick explains. "We went from two horses to thirty five horses almost overnight. "When it comes to owners, I am happy with who I have," Nick says. Once Nick finds people he is comfortable with and who he believes has a good heart, Nick is content and doesn't go looking for more. It's about quality, not quantity for Nick. "I've learned a lot from Erv Miller... like who to accept in your barn." Nick states. "My girlfriend Hannah is his daughter." Working with Erv, Nick says "I've learned to individualize each horse. Treating each horse as their own... treat each horse as a separate entity." "Anytime I need any advice, I can pick up the phone and call Erv," says Nick. "He has one of the best managed barns I've ever seen. His memory is unbelievable!" Nick is open when he admits he doesn't like change, right now he's very happy residing near Freehold Raceway and all the major tracks are within driving distance. "Right now I take it one day at a time" says Nick when asked about what the future may hold for him. "I'm comfortable with my 30 to 40 horse barn." When it comes to Pacers or Trotters, hands down Nick prefers the Pacers. "I just haven't had any luck with the Trotters" laughs Nick. Nick pulls double duty at Freehold Raceway where he drives as well. Nick only plans on driving at Freehold Raceway and admits it's a lot of fun. Nick considers driving more of a hobby compared to training which is his passion. Nick believes the harness racing industry is headed in the proper direction by pushing to have the major races showcased on National TV. "We need a lot more one on one interaction with the drivers, trainers and the public." Nick says. Nick credits the success of his barn to his employees, the second trainers, the grooms and most importantly his owners. "I'm nothing without them and their financial backing" Nick states. "I've got great people behind me; I've got to give them credit. Nick Surick can't take care of 35- 40 horses, it takes a team. There's no magic, its teamwork." Roderick Balgobin's column will appear weekly on Harnesslink. You can contact him at rod.balgobin @supernovasportsclub.com or Twitter: ScSupernova        

The Cran Dalgety trained Katy Perry is no longer the ‘Dark Horse’ among the two-year-old fillies. She proved that she is right up there with the best of them when out-sprinting her rivals in the $150,000 listed Sales Series Final at Alexandra Park tonight. “She has had a few problems with tying up since she has been up here, but she was right back to her best tonight,” advised driver Dexter Dunn. After getting a nice drag into the race, Katy Perry came with a powerful finish to win by a length over Fight For Glory, who finished on well for second after working hard early only to be carted back at a crucial part of the race. Bettor Be Supreme finished in third, while Joanne’s A Delight, who had missed some work during the week due to a foot abscess, faded to fourth after setting the pace. Katy Perry is a brown daughter of Bettor’s Delight, who sired the winner of half of tonight’s twelve race card. Another daughter of Bettor’s Delight in Linda Lovegrace, was an impressive winner of the other two-year-old race on the card, downing her more favoured stablemate Supersonic Miss in a Purdon-Rasmussen Quinella. However, Supersonic Miss is sure to strip fitter in next Saturday’s 2YO Diamond at Cambridge as it was her first run since finishing a luckless fourth in the APG final in Sydney. Meanwhile, the husband and wife training partnership of Andrew and Lyn Neal enjoyed treble, with Sunshield, Delight Brigade, and Who Dares Wins, all winning their respective events. By Mitchell Robertson

The fields are out for the 2014 Harness Jewels to be run at Cambridge on May 31st and the barrier draws look to have added plenty of spice to the $1.2 million-dollar raceday. Favoured runners that have drawn on the second-line include ,Venus Serena, Sky Major, Elios, Franco Nelson, Sheemon, and $1.25 favourite Follow The Stars, who will have to loop the whole field after drawing the outside of the second-line. However, the other hot favourite for Jewels Day, Adore Me, looks set to lead and win after drawing well in barrier five. To view the fields for the 2014 Harness Jewels click here.

Columbus, OH --- Racing fans looking to cheer on USA representatives Maven and Uncle Peter in Sweden’s Elitlopp on Sunday morning, May 25, can do so from home by accessing this link, Maharajah.se., to a Swedish site that is broadcasting the race live. There is a translate to English button on the site's home page. The Elitlopp can also be viewed and wagered on at The Meadowlands Racetrack, which will open its doors at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday for the simulcast from Sweden. Contested at Stockholm’s Solvalla Racecourse, The Elitlopp, is considered one of the most prestigious harness races in the world. Each year, 16 star equine athletes from around the globe are invited to Stockholm for the event. Two U.S. representatives got the invite for 2014. Top class U.S. trotters Maven, trained by Jonas Czernyson, and Uncle Peter of the Jimmy Takter Stable look to bring Elitlopp victory to the U.S. for the first time since the great Moni Maker’s win in 1998. Arch Madness gave strong performances in the Elitlopp in 2012 and 2013, but never won the race, finishing second both times. The first elimination race, featuring Maven and regular driver Yannick Gingras from post six will be contested at 8:55 a.m. (EDT). The second elimination, in which Uncle Peter will start from post three with David Miller, is slated for 9:22 a.m.  The top four horses from each race will then compete in the Elitlopp final, set to go off at 11:35 a.m. by Allison Conte, for the USTA

Lovers of the squaregaiter will be enthralled by Wednesday’s meeting at Maryborough – home of The Redwood, when six of the nine races on the program are for trotters.  With Redwood Day (July 20) not all that far away, the program will feature four races for the Two Year Olds – two heats for Fillies and Two for the Colts & Geldings of the $10,325 Vicbred Platinum Home Grown Classic over 1690 metres, with some beautifully bred youngsters facing the starter for the first time.  No doubt connections will be eagerly looking forward to participating in the big race should they perform admirably.   Heats of the $7,505 Glenferrie Farm Sweetheart Trotters Mobile for four and five year olds - T0 Only and T1 to T3 class over 2190 metres will also be an attraction on the day.  The T1 to T3 class sees Dizzyinterest, Pride Of Sundon, Frances Annie, Rosemma and I Dreamt It all do battle in an interesting contest which is race eight on the program – last leg of the Quaddie.  Racing commences at 12.22pm.  At Ballarat on Wednesday evening, race seven – the Brett Knight Pace for C6 & C7 class over 2200 metres which is the third leg of the Quaddie and second leg of the Daily Double highlight’s the meeting.  Here we see a clash of the Emma Stewart pair Johnny Quid and Hes Kinky doing battle against former stablemate Fearless Leader and Andy Gath’s Quadentate, plus Narra Operative which returned to form when a huge second at Tabcorp Park Melton last Friday.  By Len Baker (Harness Racing Australia)  

Charlottetown, PE - Van Zant has drawn the rail in the Saturday night feature event at Red Shores Racetrack & Casino at the Charlottetown Driving Park while newcomer Sa Summers Luck is the morning line favorite in the Victoria Day pace for opening day card Monday at Red Shores Summerside to set the stage for a busy weekend of harness racing at Island tracks. First race post time on Saturday is 6pm while the Monday card is slated for a 1pm post time. Ron Matheson will drive Van Zant for his co-owner Tom Clark of Charlottetown and goes into the program with 989 career wins as a driver only 11 away from milestone 1,000. The team, which includes son Jackie as trainer, has been sharp posting two seconds and a victory over his last three starts. The Matheson stable will also send out General Luckypercy from post 6 with Gilles Barrieau in the bike. There will be stiff competition from Tempo Seelster (Vince Poulton) from post 3 while Sterling Seelster, who's riding a two race winning streak, will also make his presence felt for driver Marc Campbell and new owner Marie Cameron of Summerside. The all-star line-up also includes Blue Star Outlaw, Nobestbfor and Machinthesand. In other action, Abundaspin is making headlines in his last year of racing as the trotter hasn't tasted defeat since he returned to the track on April 26. Harold Shepherd will handle the 14 year-old lifetime winner of $471,504 in the open trot class. The other morning line favorites include newcomer Kan Wire, who arrives from London Ontario, and Caliban Hanover will attempt to spoil the party for Abundaspin and owner Mikeala Lustic of Cornwall. The Saturday card will begin with a first race post time at 6pm. For race programs, top picks and live broadcast go to www.redshores.ca Horses are back at Summerside Summerside, PE - The horses are back at Summerside! The new season gets underway Monday afternoon at Red Shores Summerside with an exciting 12 dash program. Post time is 1pm and the card will official launch the countdown to the Governor's Plate. The 11th race Victoria Day pace will headline the program with newcomer Sa Summers Luck being established as the morning line favorite for driver Corey MacPherson and the Bing Easter stable from O'Leary. The pacer was in action at Flamboro Downs in Ontario then made three starts at Truro which included a second place finish in a sparking 1:57.2. The Jason Hughes stable has two starters in the race with Bunny Mach (pp1) and Cambest Kisser (pp7) both capable of hitting the triactor ticket. The field has top guns like Paphos, Bet the House, Carnivore, Windemere Eric and Lucky Encounter. What a great match-up to kick off the 2014 season. Darren and Jennifer Trainor of Vernon River, who walked away with a truckload of trophies at the annual Prince County Horsemen's Club awards night recently, are favored to win the back-up class on the afternoon with Panda Bear in race 10. Marc Campbell gets the driving assignment from the husband and wife team who enjoyed Great Success at Summerside oval in 2013. Race analyst Jared Stretch is back with his top picks for the 2014 season and put Capitalism as his top choice in this class followed by Panda Bear and Onhotvet (4-3-5). For race programs, Jared's top picks and live broadcast go to www.redshores.ca. you can also follow the action on twitter @red_shores. by Lee A. Drake, for Red Shores

The headline act on Sunday afternoon at Cootamundra's Carnival Of Cups meeting will be country star Adam Brand who will perform a number of his hit songs but on the track the excitement will be just as intense with Australia's best four year old mare Frith entered for the feature event. Eglington trainer Nathan Hurst acknowledges the Bruce Harpley mare will be hard to beat but is expecting a strong performance from his runner Major Gambler in the Cootamundra Cup. "Frith is the class runner in the race and even though she has drawn the back row she is going to be very hard to beat but I am really happy with Major Gambler and I think barrier one will help him," Hurst said. "Even though Major Gambler gets out of the gate ok, it looks like he will get crossed. He should get a really good run on the pegs and he is just going to need a little bit of luck when the speed goes on to be in the finish." Major Gambler was a winner at Tabcorp Park Menangle three starts ago and has been racing well since. "He got caught outside them at Menangle last start and just wanted to over race a little bit but I was pretty happy with how he went all things considered." Hurst is looking forward to Sunday's meeting as it gives him a chance to catch up with some members of his family. "I try and get to Cootamundra every year, my uncle lives there and he knows the President of the club so I like to support them." "I've got eight in on Sunday, I can fit seven horses on my truck and we will take the float as well." Talented three year old Saloon Passage should enjoy the drop in class when he competes in race three. "He has been racing against Bling It On in three year old races and I didn't think his run at Newcastle was too bad, it has taken a while to sort him out but he is benefitting from the experience." By Greg Hayes - SKY Racing  | Harness Racing New South Wales |  

Westfield, IN- May 15th is the deadline to apply for the Harness Horse Youth Foundation summer programs. Complete 2014 schedule information, along with applications for the Foundation's Youth Camps, and one- and two-day introductory events, is available at http://www.hhyf.org/schedule-applications. HHYF's popular overnight youth camps, for students 12-14, will be held June 21-25 at Harrington, in Delaware; July 14-18 at Vernon Downs in New York; and July 21-25 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, in Pennsylvania. These camps culminate with a driving exhibition on Hambletonan Day at The meadowlands on August 2. These camps feature hands-on experience, including driving, using the organization's stable of Trottingbred horses. The HHYF Leadership camp at Goshen New York is full and closed. Week-long camp fees are just $150, including lodging, meals and all materials. Fees are not due until registration. Shorter introductory programs for children ages 11 and up are scheduled for Ocean Downs in Maryland on June 27; Cumberland, Maine on June 30, July 1 and 3 (separate programs); Cornish, Maine on July 2; Gaitway Farms in New Jersey on July 30-31; and at Scioto Downs in Ohio on August 5. Registration fees for one day programs are $25 and include lunch and all materials. Fees may be paid at registration. "Our sponsors help us keep our fees quite reasonable compared to other camps," says HHYF project manager Keith Gisser. "I don't think there's a youth equine program anywhere that gives you more bang for your buck. Regardless of cost there is no better way to introduce youngsters to the business and sport of harness racing. Remember applications need to be postmarked by May 15." The Harness Horse Youth Foundation is a charitable 501(c)3 organization dedicated to providing young people and their families educational opportunities with harness horses, in order to foster the next generation of participants and fans. The Foundation has been making a difference in young people's lives since 1976, and its programs include interactive learning experiences with these versatile animals, scholarship programs, and creation and distribution of educational materials. For more information on opportunities through HHYF, or to support its mission, go to www.hhyf.org. For more information on this press release, contact Keith Gisser, hhyfkeith@earthlink.net or 216-374-1392. From HHYF    

The TAB Carnival Of Cups rolls into Forbes on Sunday afternoon and the leading trainer in New South Wales Steve Turnbull will make the trip from Bathurst to Forbes in an attempt to take home some of the harness racing prize money on offer. Turnbull had runners compete at the Forbes meeting on Anzac Day and qualified two runners, Cheyenne Warrior and Master Macca, for Sunday's $12,000 C0 final. "It is just over 170 kilometres to Forbes from Bathurst so I am looking forward to going to the meeting on Sunday, we should have a pretty big team in including the two horses that have made the C0 final," Turnbull said. "Amanda (Turnbull daughter) went down to Victoria after the Monday meeting at Bathurst but she will be back up for the Goulburn meeting on Friday and she will be driving at the Forbes meeting on Sunday as well which takes a bit of pressure off me." Cheyenne Warrior is a former kiwi that has hit form since arriving in Australia. The son of Bettors Delight has only had five runs for Turnbull and has won two with another two placings. "He is fairly tough but lacks that high speed that he will probably need to be competitive at Menangle. He will definitely get his money back and I don't think he will have too many issues getting through to C5 but after that it might get a little bit harder for him, he is owned by Amanda so she will be driving him." "Master Macca is an in and out sort of character, he won his heat on Anzac Day and looked impressive because he sprinted so quickly and won quite easily but he had been a bit disappointing the run before, I will be driving him and he will need some luck." Turnbull confirmed Amanda will be spending more time in Victoria but is hoping she returns as often as she can to help out. "We have been able to cover the work at home but I do miss her a lot at the races, she is a very good driver and the horses really run for her and I hope she continues to look after the nominations for the stable because she is very good on the computer." By Greg Hayes - SKY Racing  

Or the past couple of months, Chairman Ken and the undersigned have attended meetings aimed at resurrecting a Greater Canterbury Awards night, in conjunction with representatives of the local Owners and Breeders Associations. As a result an Awards Dinner will be held on the evening of Saturday 27 September, in the Silks Lounge at Addington Raceway. The plan is for the awards to relate to excellence or exceptional achievements during the past season, and not necessarily for simply season leaders, as these were normally covered in the National Awards. Keep an eye out for more details. Kevin Townley expressed concern at the handicaps being given in discretionary handicaps, particularly the Country Cup finals and the 4&5 year old Trotters Championship. He suggested that handicaps based on money won would see fairer contests. A couple of issues surrounding Addington Raceway were raised, and replies from officials have subsequently been received on them. The initial comment was unanimous praise for the excellent condition of the track, and a note of thanks was sent to John Denton and his crew. The urgent need for a new drivers’ room at the venue was expressed, and it is understood that by Thursday 24 April, work will be completed on converting the old stable barbecue area into a drivers facility. Investigations are also underway as to how to solve the historical problem of the shadows from light poles at the Raceway. The initial idea of installing LED lighting has been shelved as the current technology has been found to be unsatisfactory at some other venues, both here and overseas. Tests were carried out involving turning the lights on to eliminate shadows with limited success, and this may be used as a temporary solution while other avenues are explored. Other matters raised at the meeting included Mark Jones suggesting a reduction in options for trial programmes to eliminate two and three horse fields, a letter was to be sent to the RIU congratulating the Stewards officiating at the recent Westport meeting on their handling of the unfortunate accident, and those present feeling that there were too many false starts, with Kevin Townley suggesting that Starters should be fined for faulty gear (eg. Starting mechanisms and tapes) in a similar way to trainers. Ken Barron questioned why, in the TAB Racing Calendar, the official starting time for night meetings was 5pm, when an earlier start could be preferable for all concerned. This was to be raised at the upcoming meeting with Racing Board CEO Chris Bayliss. By Peter T Cook (Courtesy on the NZ Trainers & Drivers Association)

SARATOGA SPRINGS, New York (April 28, 2014) - The first responders of the March 28th barn fire at Saratoga Casino and Raceway were honored during yesterday's race card. The ceremony recognized the heroism of the casino employees as well as local police and fire departments that arrived first on the scene and saved the lives of 30 horses. On March 28th around 6am, Mark Harrington, Security Manager at Saratoga Casino and Raceway smelled smoke coming from somewhere in the backstretch of the property. He was approached by Earl Bean, a trainer at the harness track, who alerted Harrington to a fire that had started in barn number 15. Harrington, along with groom Mickey Block, began to evacuate the horses that were still inside the burning barn. The Saratoga Police and Fire Departments were alerted as soon as security at the casino detected the fire, and arrived within minutes. They immediately began assisting with rescuing the remaining horses still trapped in the barn. A total of 30 horses were successfully saved and unharmed as a result of their rapid response. The fire was completely extinguished by 6:30AM. Saratoga Springs Fire Department Captain, Tom Knight and his squad were the first to arrive on the scene. "When we entered the barn the smoke was extremely black and very thick," said Knight. "We crawled along the ground and actually crawled into barns to feel around for horses. The horsemen and firemen worked very well together to get halters on the horses and get them out of harm's way. We got really lucky." "This could have been a lot worse had it not been for the heroic efforts of the first responders," said Jamie Hartman, General Manager of Saratoga Casino and Raceway. "We truly cannot thank them enough for their incredible act of bravery." The cause of the fire was determined to be accidental and was believed to be started by an oat cooker that was left on inside the barn. Inspections of the structures located at the facility are conducted regularly by local fire officials, most recently in May 2013. Saratoga Springs Mayor Joanne Yepsen was on hand Sunday afternoon at Saratoga Casino and Raceway to present a plaque honoring the heroic efforts of horsemen and members of the Saratoga Springs Fire Department. Saratoga Casino and Raceway's backstretch includes 34 horse barns with 1,040 stalls. There are currently 600 horses housed at the facility. All horses that were displaced by the fire have been relocated to another stall on the property. From Saratoga Raceway

Harness racing driver John Dunn enjoyed success at both ends of the country during the weekend. Firstly, Dunn reined top four-year-old Elios to an emphatic win in his dress rehearsal to next’s weeks Taylor Mile at Alexandra Park on Friday. He then jetted off to Gore early on Saturday morning to steer No Doctor Needed to an all-of-the-way win the re-run of the Group 3 Alabar Southern Supremacy. Incidentally, Dunn was successful in last year’s Southern Supremacy with Elios, giving him back-to-back victories in the Group Two feature. "In a way we were lucky that race was abandoned at Invercargill because we drew the outside of the second row and once Messini got to the front we virtually had no show of winning. So I was happy they re-ran the race and we got a decent draw on the front line," said Dunn. After working forward three wide to take over from stablemate Return To Sender, Dunn enjoyed a good early run in the van. Then with just over a lap to go, Bettor Buy It, Messini and Jango Fett all improved three wide. As Bettor Buy It was about to take up the parked position at the 800 metres he broke, and disrupted four of the back runners. The race then turned into a two horse war between the Dunn trained No Doctor Needed and the Purdon-Rasmussen trained Messini, however it was the rangy son of Mach Three and star mare Molly Darling who came up trumps. Dunn said that No Doctor Needed, who is now fifth on the Harness Jewels leaderboard, was still learning the racing game and had goofed around a bit in front but really knuckled down to his task when challenged by Messini on the bend. No Doctor Needed was bred by Scott Plant who shares in the ownership with his son Greg, daughter Nicola, Steve Stockman and former race caller Albie Gain.  No Doctor Needed is the second foal from the Group One winning mare Molly Darling. Her first foal is 3-win pacer I Cee U Darling, who was born three weeks premature and went into care. Her second foal was healthy, hence the name ‘No Doctor Needed’. By Mitchell Robertson

Harrington, DE --- Harrington Raceway’s 68th season of live harness racing will get underway Monday night (April 21) with a 15-race program scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m. There will be a hat giveaway (while supplies last) at 5 p.m. on the lower level of the grandstand, as well as $1 hot dogs and $1 live racing programs throughout the evening. Most of the track regulars are back in action including 2013 leading trainer Joe Hundertpfund, Jr. and leading drivers Ross Wolfenden and George Dennis, who finished in a deadlock last season. There is also a new face on the opening day program, as one of the leading drivers on the Yonkers Raceway circuit, Eric Goodell, will be in town competing in nine races. The featured $17,000 Open is carded sixth on the program and will wrap up the Pick-4 wager (races three-six). Cataway Racing Stable’s Lollipop Kid (2-1, Victor Kirby), who was claimed on February 27 at Dover Downs for $25,000, was installed as the morning line favorite on the heels of a lifetime best win in 1:49.1 at Dover. The wagering format will appear similar in years past to the Harrington faithful, as superfecta wagering will be available in all races but race three, the first leg of the Pick-4. Harrington’s signature race, the Bobby Quillen Memorial, will be held on Sept. 8 (eliminations if necessary) and Sept. 15 (final). Last year‘s event featured a stirring stretch duel from Clear Vision and Foiled Again with the former prevailing in a track record 1:49.2. Harrington will race on a Sunday through Wednesday schedule with the exception of closing night for the spring/summer season on July 3. There will be a hiatus until the annual Governor’s Night at the Races program on July 25, before the meet resumes on a Monday through Thursday schedule on August 18. Customers wishing to make clubhouse reservations are encouraged to do so by calling 302.398.5920. by Matt Sparacino, for Harrington Raceway

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