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The $125,000 Northern Oaks at the harness racing meeting at Alexandra Park tonight looked a two horse race on paper between the All Stars duo of Golden Goddess and Piccadilly Princess and that is exactly how it worked out. Golden Goddess had been flying in her races and was unbeaten in her races this season until a last start defeat by Piccadilly Princess on the grass at Methven. Most pundits were prepared to forgive her that defeat as she didn't look 100% comfortable on the grass and Piccadilly Princess is a high class filly in her own right. The draw for the Oaks looked to have evened up the race again with Piccadilly Princess drawing beautifully at barrier two while Golden Goddess had drawn awkwardly at one on the second line. When the gates folded, Tim Williams sent Piccadilly Princess forward from her handy draw and grabbed the early lead but was immediately put under pressure by Bettor Think Quick and Josh Dickie and they battled for the front for over 250 metres before Josh eased Bettor Think Quick and sat in the death seat. Golden Goddess with Natalie Rasmussen in the bike had been sitting back beyond midfield watching the early battle and as soon as the pace eased, Natalie sent Golden Goddess around the field in search of the lead. Josh Dickie and Bettor Think Quick kicked up for 100 metres to make Golden Goddess work that bit harder as she went forward and Golden Goddess eventually made the front over Piccadilly Princess  with 1400 metres to go. Passing the 500 metres Golden Goddess opened the throttle up and the only filly who could go with her was Piccadilly Princess and these two cleared out from the rest of the field as they turned for home. Slowly but surely Piccadilly Princess leveled up and eased past by half a length late in the race to claim her first Group 1 victory. Golden Goddess was game in defeat in second while the next filly home in Arden's Choice was nine and three quarters lengths away in third. The daughter of Bettor's Delight from the Holmes Hanover mare Hyde Park Royal paced the 2700 metres in a very quick 3:17.9, a mile rate of 1:57.9 with closing sectionals of 57 and 27.9. Piccadilly Princess takes her record to 11 starts for 5 wins and 4 seconds with $129,143 in the bank. It was a new New Zealand record for a three year old filly over 2700 metres, taking nine tenths of a second off the previous record set by by The Orange Agent in last years Northern Oaks. Tim Williams was his usual modest self on returning to the winners circle. " The feeling in the stable was she had closed the gap on Golden Goddess and I am glad she picked tonight to prove it." " We had a good draw and took advantage of it." "I didn't think I would be put under so much pressure for the early lead by Josh and Bettor Think Quick but once Golden Goddess came around and found the front , my filly relaxed beautifully in the trail." " I really want to thank the connections for putting me on tonight" " When I was suspended in December they kept the drive open for me and when I drove the stablemate at Methven instead of Piccadilly Princess they still kept the drive for me tonight." " I can't thank them enough," Tim said. Tim Williams has had a great last 18 months since joining the All Stars team but he has repaid the faith that Natalie and Mark showed in him with some outstanding drives, especially in the Group 1 events. Harnesslink Media   

The first of the tote races for the 2015-2106 season for the two year old trotters was held at Addington Raceway this evening and provided a great spectacle as the first four home all showed enough on the night to suggest that we are in for some great contests as the harness racing season progresses. Custodian from barrier eight left the gate with the mobile for driver David Butt and was in front after 200 metres and proceeded to set a hectic pace in front. The well supported Habibi Inta with Blair Orange in the cart was slow off the gate and settled sixth in the running early while Regal Love and Tim Williams ended up in the open in the running line when things settled down after the start. David Butt kept Custodian rolling in front, putting half a dozen lengths between himself and the field as they went past the 800 metres mark. Tim Williams and Regal Love were the first to make a move to close the gap on the tearaway leader and Habibi Inta quickly got onto Regal Love's back as they passed the 400 metres. These three were joined on the point of the turn by Miracle Rising with trainer / driver Gavin Smith in the bike who had been four back on the inner and these four drew away from the rest. Custodian was still in front 100 metres out but his earlier exertions started to catch up with him and he was claimed by both Habibi Inta and Miracle Rising with 50 metres to go with Habibi Inta holding a neck advantage over Miracle Rising at  the finishing line with a game Custodian a close up third just in front of an equally game Regal Love who had dragged the field up to the leader. The winners time for the 1950 metres from the mobile was a smart 2:26.6, a mile rate of 2:00.9 with closing sectionals of 60.2 and 30.7 Trainer Paul Nairn was happy that his charge did everything right at his first race start. " I told Blair he had never been behind the mobile before and to not rush him early which is why he was so far behind them early on." " I knew he was good enough to win the race but I was more concerned that he did everything right at his first start to help build up his confidence." " I think I will give him his next start in the two year old trot at Methven on the grass as a lead into the 2 year old Trotting Stakes at the end of March at Addington as he handles the grass really well," Paul told Harnesslink this evening. Gavin Smith had a huge smile on his face after the run of Miracle Rising to grab second on debut. " I couldn't have been happier with my horse's run." " He is not switched on as yet to what racings all about but he has got an awful lot of natural ability. " I thought he was too big to make a two year old but he is proving me wrong." " He is beautifully gaited and has great manners and going forward there is so much improvement in him that it is scary," Gavin said. Throw in Custodian and Regal Love who lost no admirers with their game runs tonight and the two year old trotting ranks look to be especially strong this year. Harnesslink Media  

As expected by most pundits, the $25,000 Kindergarten Stakes for juvenile pacers at the harness racing meeting at Wyndham today turned into an All Stars stable benefit with the all conquering barn providing the first three runners home. Not only that but their finishing order was more or less determined by where they drew. Duane Marfisi, the foreman at All Stars Racing Stables thought the draws meant the result from the Sapling Stakes would be the same in the Kindergarten Stakes. "I think the result of the Kindergarten might be the same as the Sapling with Pacing Major our best." "I think he will win again from that draw." "If the draws were different my thoughts would be different but that is the way I see it." "More the Better is going to be hard to beat and You Gotta Have Faith will go a good race but he is not yet up with the other two more seasoned horses," Duane said. Mongolian Storm flew the gate for Blair Orange to lead early from Pacing Major who settled in the death seat and More The Bettor in the one out,three back position. Soon after Tim Williams looped the field to sit parked with More The Better,giving Dexter Dunn and Pacing Major a beautiful run in the one by one. Dexter peeled out of the one by one on the point of the corner and went up quickly to More The Better but it took him the length of the straight to get the better of his stablemate by a head at the finish. You Gotta Have Faith showed real improvement from the Sapling Stakes, running on well for third just two lengths behind the first two while Jimmie ran into fourth, a further 2 1/2 lengths away. Pacing Major cut out the mile in a swift 1:54.7 with the closing sectionals in 56.7 and 26.9 Dexter Dunn was happy with the run of the Art Major colt "He seemed a lot  more focused today than he was in the Sapling Stakes. "It took a while to get the upper hand in the straight but I always felt he would get up in the end," Dexter said. Tim Williams was very impressed with the effort of More The Better. " He has had to do the most work in the race but has stuck on really well in the straight. " Reverse the draw and I think you would reverse the result," Tim said. Matt Anderson was also pleased with the effort of You Gotta Have Faith. " He has stepped forward since the Sapling and is closing the gap on the first two," Matt said. Both Pacing Major and More The Better are now making the long trek back to Alexandra Park in Auckland for the last heat and final of the Young Guns Series in early March. We think the gap between the two star youngsters is virtually nil and it would seem the draw may determine which of the two is the bigger winning chance in upcoming races at Alexandra Park. Harnesslink Media  

The harness racing trials at Rangiora Raceway today were full of quality bloodstock, especially in the qualifying and juvenile heats that were run. It is hard to comprehend how the juvenile fields have been so small this season and races unable to be held when you witness the depth of talent on show today. Star Qualifiers Heaven Rocks - 3 year old gelding by Rock N Roll Heaven from Mendecilo Purchased out of the APG Melbourne sale in 2014 by Kennard Bloodstock, Heaven Rocks produced a qualifying run right out of the top draw. Settling fourth for Tim Williams, Heaven Rocks was still there at the 800 metres but then unleashed a final 800 metres of 55.2 and a 400 metres of 26.8 (privately timed) to flash past them late for an easy win. His overall time of 2:29.5 for the 2000 metres from the mobile equates to a mile rate of 2:00.2 and was nearly seven seconds under qualifying time. The run of Heaven Rocks overshadowed the smart performances returned by both One Big Fella (Mister Big - Killarney) and Donegal Rundlescreek (Bettors Delight- Boyd's Creek) who finished second and third and who both look capable of winning a race at short notice. Don Pierre - 4 year old by Diedre Don from Paris Belle Don Pierre was successful twice back in October as a pacer but lined up today in the qualifying heat for trotters and put up a performance that suggests he has a big future in the trotting ranks. He trotted away safely for trainer driver Sam Smolenski who immediately set a tempo not often seen in a qualifying heat for trotters. The further they went, the further Don Pierre went clear and he eventually stopped the timer for the 2600 metres at 3:25.8, a mile rate of 2:07.3 which is nearly 14 seconds under the required time. The official winning margin was 20 lengths and Sam let him ease down the last bit which explains the 31.6 last quarter. Don Pierre looked to have a bit in reserve in our view at the finish Sam Smolenski enjoyed some success earlier in the season with Don Pierre's full sister Paris Princess who won four races in a short space of time before being sold to North America and Don Pierre looks to have the ability to follow in her footsteps. Vincent  -  2 year old colt by Art Major from Kept For Pleasure A $130,000 purchase out of the 2015 APG Sydney sale by longtime All Star client, Jean Feiss, Vincent showed today that he has the talent to go with the price tag. Allowed to settle back in the field by Tim Williams, Vincent was still near last last on the final bend. Eased to the outside, he just went straight past them for an outstanding win over a couple of more than handy two year olds. Vincent cut out the 2000 metres in 2:32.5, a mile rate of 2:02.6 with his closing sectionals a very quick 55.3 and 27 and he ran through the line really strongly. Ready To Fire  -  2 year old filly by Somebeachsomewhere from Fight Fire With Fire A $37,000 purchase by Graham Rogerson at last years Australasian Classic Yearling Sale, Ready To Fire looks the part and has the motor to go with it. Allowed to settle in midfield by Tim Williams, she quickly ranged up to them on the last corner and then proved too strong in the run to the line. Ready To Fire paced the 2000 metres in 2:30.3, a smart mile rate of 2:00.9 while her closing sections were 57.2 and 27.9. Delightful Memphis  -  2 year old filly by Bettor's Delight from Memphis Melody A $46,000 purchase at the 2015 New Zealand Premier Yearling Sale by Wayne Higgs, Delightful Memphis lined up in a nine horse maiden heat today. Mark Jones was content to sit last with her the whole way before unleashing her as they turned for home. She just swept on by for an emphatic win that stamped her as a filly of real ability. She paced the 2000 metres in 2:30.4, a mile rate of 2:00.9 and we timed her over her last 800 metres in 57.4 and 27.6 and she seemed to do it with plenty in reserve. Already the subject of a six figure offer, Delightful Memphis is targeting the next Young Guns heat at Alexandra Park on March 4th. Mr Kalypso  -  2 year old colt by Art Major from Kalypso A $90,000 purchase at the Sydney Apg Sale in 2015 by Mark Purdon, Mr Kalypso only ran fifth in his heat today but it was a top effort and stamped him as a colt to watch. Caught behind a tiring runner at the 600 metres,Mr Kalypso lost contact with the leading group but at the finish he was right up with them again,making up a lot of ground late. We timed him to run his last 800 in 56.9 and 400 metres in 27 even and Tim Williams was letting him do it under his own steam. One to watch where ever he goes. Harnesslink Media  

Early on in the last harness racing season, the Art Major colt Major Ben looked a two year old of real class. Several trial runs pointed to him being one of the standout juveniles of his year and being from the All Star barn only added to the expectation Major Ben ended up only having one career start at two where he was sent out favourite in the Group 3 Sapling Stakes at Ashburton Raceway. Even though he ran a very creditable fourth for Natalie Rasmussen in a smart 1:55.3, he didn't look that tractable during the running. A decision was quickly made by the All Star camp that the big gangly two year old would be best served by a decent break to let him fill out and mature into his big frame When he was brought back into work, he had a small setback which meant more time on the sidelines before this latest campaign. Unfortunately he had another small hiccup this time in but he is back now and raring to go. The camp is in no hurry to rush him back at this stage and are taking a patient approach to this campaign. Today at the Rangiora trials, Major Ben had his first run off the All Stars establishment for over twelve months. Tim Williams let him find his feet early, settling last in the nine horse field and was in no hurry to improve his position until they straightened for home. Major Ben weaved a path through the middle, closing on the leaders very quickly before running out of room in the last 50 metres. We privately timed Major Ben to run his last 800 metres in 56.4 and the 400 metres in a sharp 26.9 and he was under double wraps the whole time. Major Ben looks ready to resume where he left off twelve months ago and his racetrack return is now eagerly awaited. Harnesslink Media

Todays running of the Amberley Cup at the harness racing meeting at Rangiora Raceway looked to be a Hug The Wind benefit race. The Bettor's Delight gelding from the all conquering All Stars barn has $300,000 on his card and looked a class above his rivals on exposed form. The only question mark surrounding Hug The Wind was how would he handle the grass track which he was racing on for the first time. Tim Williams had Hug The Wind away well from the 20 metre mark but the speed up front from the start was electric and it took Hug The Wind nearly 600 metres to join the running line , four back on the outer. When Jerry Garcia took off around the field, Tim followed him around with Hug The Wind and sat outside the tear away pacemaker Thefriendlyassassin from the 1200 metres. Mastering Thefriendlyassassin on the corner, Hug The Wind looked the winner for a second before Seel The Deal and Ricky May started to make ground quickly from three back in the running line. Half way up the straight Seel The Deal went up to Hug The Wind and went straight on past to record a very impressive victory. Hug The Wind lost no admirers in finishing a close second while a very game Thefriendlyassassin held on for third after doing all the work in front in a fast run race. The 2600 metres from a stand on grass was cut out in a smart 3:20.2 with closing sectionals of 59.6 and 28.2. It was the son of American Ideal's sixth victory at just his tenth start and took his stake earnings over the $44,000 mark. Ricky May was impressed once again by his charge. " I really have a bit of time for this horse." " I had to slot in four back on the inner early on because Gerard (Thefriendlyassassin) was flying in front." "Soon as the pace eased slightly I came out and sat parked and got a good run on Jerry Garcia's back after he looped the field." "I was spotting Hug The Wind a few lengths on the corner but he has picked him up really easily in the end." "It is not very often that you run past the blue colours with the grey stars so that made the victory even better," Ricky said. When it was suggested to Ricky that Seel The Deal had become a grass track specialist in his short career to date and that he may not be as sharp on grit, Ricky was quick to disagree. " I think he will be just as good on the all weather track to be honest." " He is a very green horse at this stage of his career and has plenty to learn still." " He has shown me enough on the all weather to suggest he will be just as effective on it as he is on grass." " I think this horse has got a big future," Ricky said. Ricky May is never one to build up a horse unless he is genuinely impressed by him so don't dismiss the chances of Seel The Deal when he next steps onto an all weather track. Harnesslink Media  

When most of the age group harness racing classics come around each season, leading reinsman Dexter Dunn is use to having to face the numerous runners that the all powerful All Star barn usually line up in such races. In todays Sapling Stakes at Ashburton Raceway, Dexter was in the unusual position of handling the All Star runner Pacing Major and he grabbed the opportunity with both hands with a lovely display of front running driving to take out the Group 3 feature race for juveniles. Pacing Major drew widest at barrier six over the mile but Dexter sent the Art Major colt forward out of the gate and grabbed the lead after 300 meters from the stablemate More The Better in the hands of Tim Williams who settled in the trail. Dexter kept the tempo even down the back straight but as they turned for home Dexter pushed the go button and sprinted away with a sharp turn of foot. More The Better tried to rally up the passing lane but Pacing Major was comfortably holding him at the finish,1 1/2 lengths to the good. The debutante Mongolian Storm ran on well late for a good third just in front of the other All Star runner You Gotta Have Faith. Dexter was full of praise for Pacing Major post race. "He is such a lovely horse to drive that he didn't need much help from me." "He did that really easily to be honest and felt great the whole trip," Dexter said. Dexter was struggling to remember the last time he drove for the All Stars barn. "I don't think i would have driven ten times all up in my career for the All Star barn so it was nice to put the colours on for a smart colt like him." "With Mark and Natalie in Australia I may get the chance to drive him again with a bit of luck," Dexter said. Tim Williams was more than happy with the run of More The Better in the circumstances. "You are hard pressed to make ground when they are running home off the front in 26.7 so my fella has gone great to finish so close," Tim said. Paul Court was rapt with the run of Mongolian Storm on debut. "He has run home really well and will derive so much benefit from the run." "That run will bring him on in leaps and bounds and I'm already looking forward to his next start," Paul said. Matt Anderson was also happy with the effort of You Gotta Have Faith on debut. "That was a big effort on debut. "I took all the shortcuts on the way home but he found the line really well," Matt said. The All Star barn is a formidable outfit to race against at the best of times but when you add in a driver of Dexter's class with an All Star juvenile, the combination becomes nigh on unbeatable. Harnesslink Media

This Saturday's Sapling Stakes at Ashburton Raceway may have only drawn a field of six runners but there is plenty of harness racing talent on show and labelling a winner is not that straight forward. The All Star barn have three runners engaged including the horse many consider the one to beat in More The Better. More The Better was super impressive last week in working during the running and still having too much in the tank in the straight. Driver Tim Williams was thrilled with the effort as he thought the son of Bettor's Delight was a run short going into last weeks race and would be a better horse this week. " He needed that run last week and should strip a much fitter horse this week." " His work this week has been excellent and I think he will be very hard to beat," Tim told Harnesslink today. The stablemate Pacing Major who has only been beaten by a head in both his first two starts has drawn out at six which makes things difficult but Dexter Dunn takes the drive so he has to be a major player here. The third of the All Stars runners is the $200,000 yearling sales purchase in You Gotta Have Faith who has drawn barrier one and will have the services of stable reinsman, Matt Anderson. On his trial efforts to date he has shown enough to be a serious place chance but both the other stablemates look more forward at this stage. So the All Stars barn looks very capable of winning another Sapling Stakes but we think that the Paul Court trained Mongolian Storm can upset the All Stars trio on debut. A $16,000 purchase at last years New Zealand Premier Yearling Sale at Christchurch, Mongolian Storm has had a thorough grounding leading into the Sapling Stakes, winning his last four trials and workouts in some style. The son of Courage Under Fire was super impressive in his latest trial win at Addington last Monday, swooping past the competition in a few strides when driver Blair Orange asked him for an effort at the top of the straight. Mongolian Storm has drawn beautifully at barrier two and with that speed he displayed on Monday, he becomes the horse to beat in our opinion. Trainer Paul Court is really looking forward to Saturday and seeing how his charge measures up. " He is a lovely horse and I think he will go a big race on Saturday." " I am just not sure he is ready to run 1:55 at this stage which they may go on Saturday but he is capable of winning the Sapling Stakes with a run to suit." " I haven't really asked him to run time as yet but I think this race will really bring him on in that respect with a view to the future," Paul said. Paul has been having a dream debut season training on his own account with his barn having two high class two year olds to represent him. Mongolian Hero put in a huge effort for a close third behind More The Better and Pacing Major at Addington last Friday and looms as a major player in all the major two year old races later in the season. He will head back to Auckland for the Young Gun Series early next week while after Saturday, Mongolian Storm will remain in the South Island to target the Kindergarten Stakes and Sires Stakes heats. " I want to keep them apart at this stage for their own benefit," " I am really excited by having two juveniles as good as these two in the barn in my first year training on my own account." " I know how hard it is to get one two year old of this quality so to have  two in the barn is a big thrill," Paul told Harnesslink this afternoon. Whatever the outcome of the Sapling Stakes this weekend, one thing you can be sure of going forward is that Mongolian Storm and Mongolian Hero are are going to be serious players when the juvenile classics are decided over the next four months. Harnesslink Media

The legendary New Zealand Hall of Fame harness racing trainer Roy Purdon was all smiles last night as his promising two year old More The Better cemented favoritism for next Saturday's Sapling Stakes at Ashburton with a narrow but impressive victory in the  two year old race at Addington Raceway. The beautifully bred son of Bettor's Delight from a full sister to the former champion Christian Cullen was thought to be slightly underdone by his connections going into last nights race and was considered vulnerable to both his stablemate Pacing Major and the the Paul Court trained Mongolian Hero. Wide early for driver Tim Williams in the 1950 metres event, More The Better assumed control from Pacing Major and Ricky May at the 1300 metres and applied plenty of pressure, running the next two quarters under 30 seconds. Blair Orange brought Mongolian Hero out to challenge at the 600 metres and sat on More The Better's wheel and these three smart two year olds drew away to fight out the finish. Most of the way up the straight it appeared that first Mongolian Hero and then Pacing Major would get the better of More The Better but it was not to be with the colt proving too strong in a tight finish. Pacing Major was a head away second with a further head back to a very game Mongolian Hero. More The Better paced the 1950 metres in a very sharp 2:22.5, a mile rate of 1:57.5 with closing sectionals of 56.6 and 27.1. More The Better was purchased out of last years New Zealand Premier Yearling Sale at Christchurch by Mark Purdon for $62,500 and he subsequently gifted his father a half share. Roy has since taken long time friend and racing partner David Levine into his share as well and it appears they are in for a big season with the colt. Last night Roy was struggling to remember the last time he had won a race as an owner at Addington. "Well its too long to be honest." "Probably back when Mark Roy was winning the Derby." " I won the Oaks down here with Pacific Flight about the same time." "David is very excited and I have to say it is great to win a race down there again," Roy said. The gap between drinks is significant with Mark Roy and Pacific Flight which were both co-owned by Roy winning the Derby-Oaks double in 1993 in the hands of Mark Purdon. Driver Tim Williams was suitably impressed with the winning effort. "It looked tight in the end but he was cruising half way down the straight and might have eased up a bit." "I expect he will go to the Sapling Stakes now," Tim said. With the Sapling Stakes only a week away,last nights three placegetters all gave their supporters plenty of encouragement heading forward to next weeks classic. Harnesslink Media    

With just a week to go before the time honoured Sapling Stakes is run at Ashburton Raceway a two year old race has at last got off the ground in Canterbury. Seven runners will go round in the 1950 metres mobile event at Addington Raceway tonight but on exposed form at trials and workouts there are really only four live chances. As per normal, the All Star barn has the two leading chances involved in More The Better and Pacing Major. More The Better put in a huge performance on debut at Alexandra Park to only just go under by half a head to the dual race winner Alta Intrigue but that was back in mid December so his race fitness is a slight query. Pacing Major was just as impressive on debut at Alexandra Park, also going under by only half a head after they dashed home off the front in a blistering 26.2. With a run at the races under their belt, these two have a distinct advantage experience wise over most here. Tim Williams found it hard to separate the two colts leading into tonights race. "More The Better has had longer away from the races than Pacing Major and I guess there will be interest in which is the better prospect." "I guess More the Better was my choice in some ways but there is not much between them and it was just I had worked with him a bit more while Natalie has handled Pacing Major." "I would have to say More The Better would probably be better judged next week (Sapling Stakes)." "That is the race that will tell us exactly where he is at." "But I don't think there is anything in it just that Pacing Major has had a race more recently," Tim said. Cran Dalgety has a debutante in the son of Somebeachsomewhere in Shineonyoucrazydiamond who has looked very promising at trials recently. An $80,000 purchase at the Australian Pacing Gold Sale, he has looked a quick improver and with a handy draw and Dexter in the bike he appeals as the logical horse to make up the trifecta. The other interesting runner is the Paul Court trained son of Mach Three in Mongolian Hero who raced very greenly on debut at Alexandra Park but really impressed at workouts at Motukarara on his return south, brushing home in a sharp 27.7 when winning last Saturday. So an All Star quinella again looks on the cards with the Dalgety and Court runners the obvious dangers to the favoured duo. Harnesslink Media

Harness racing driver Tim Williams will be still shaking his head in disbelief tomorrow morning. A week ago he was going to be sitting on the sidelines today at Alexandra Park as his favourite horse Have Faith In Me did battle in the Auckland Cup. However Tim was successful in having the penalty reduced to a fine on appeal and he has certainly made the most of the opportunity he was given. A great drive on Piccadilly Princess got her home second in the $150,000 3 Year Old Fillies Sires Stakes Final and he then capped the day with an inch perfect drive to claim the $250,000 Group 1 Trillium Trust Auckland Cup with Have Faith In Me. The big question on everybodys mind pre race was would Have Faith In Me step from the standing start after missing away in his three previous attempts. You wouldn't say he made a quick beginning but he did go away,settling second last. There he stayed until 2000 metres from home when he looped the field to sit parked at the 1400 metres mark. Not long after he received cover from Tiger Tara and nothing much changed until nearing the home turn. Tim half came out for a short distance before going back in. On the bend he eased the four-year-old gelding by Bettor's Delight out three wide again and started to hunt down Hughie Green in front. Slowly but surely he got the upper hand but the margin was only half a neck at the line which was a testament to the fight Hughie Green put up. Just about in line with them was the old campaigner Smolda who was half a head away in third. The race was a tactical affair with the last half off the front taking 55.7 and the 400 metres a smart 26.6 which gave those back in the field little chance. The win was Have Faith In Me's fifth Group One success and his tenth victory at just his eighteenth start and took his earnings over the $710,000 mark. Tim Williams was quite emotional on returning to the winning circle. "Thats just unbelievable." "A week ago I was going to be on the sidelines but with help from Rob Lawson my appeal was successful." "I can't thank Rob enough." "Like everyone else i didn't know if he would step or not and I would have been lying if I said otherwise." "However if you do catch him on the right foot, he will step away as he did tonight." "I wasn't confident of pulling in Hughie Green in the straight as he is a terribly hard horse to get past but he really knuckled down to it the last bit." "This is a dream come true and I can't thank Mark and Natalie for having the faith in me to put me back on after I won the appeal," said Tim. It now appears that Have Faith In Me will be headed to Sydney to show the Australians what all the fuss is about. Harnesslink Media

The uproar caused by the decision in the Tim Williams case seems to have even penetrated the concrete bunker that acts as the JCA's headquarters. Today an appeal committee of the JCA varied the penalty imposed on Tim at the original hearing. Tim's appeal was based around the severity of the original penalty he was given which would have seen him miss out on several lucrative drives throughout the Auckland Cup meeting including the plum drive on Have Faith In Me in the Auckland Cup. To say the JCA have recognized that they made a mistake would be going a bit too far but they have changed the penalty to a one meeting suspension plus a fine of $750:00. As a result Tim is now available to drive at the Auckland Trotting Club's big Premier meeting of the year on December 31st where he he will have an opportunity to win back the fine he now has to pay. Tim was happy with the outcome when we spoke with him this afternoon. " I still think it is harsh when you take everything into consideration but it is over now and I can move on." " I am looking forward to getting back to driving on the 31st and hopefully earning enough to pay the fine they gave me this afternoon." " I would like to thank everyone who have given me so much support over the last two weeks," Tim said. Even though the situation with Tim has now been dealt with, there is still the matter of how we got here in the first place. The JCA has dropped the ball badly in two prominent cases in the last two months. If they were to do so again during the upcoming holiday period then maybe the people needing a spell on the sidelines here are those in charge of the judicial process. Harnesslink Media

Since last Friday night and the Summer Cup at Alexandra Park, there has been a cacophony of abuse and vitriol directed at young reinsman Tim Williams for his drive on Have Faith In Me in that race. Plenty of journalists, bloggers and media people have got stuck in and demanded blood. Just about all of the people leading the charge are noted serious punters and in our view it calls into question their objectivity when they are gambling on the races they are commenting and writing on. Gambling losses are known to distort one's viewpoint and in our view that has driven a lot of the vitriol in this case. We like to think of them as "Turf Digest" drivers and treat their views accordingly. The stewards laid a charge under rule 868(2) and the JCA agreed with the stewards. The following extract from the stewards report explains the situation. An information was lodged alleging that driver T. Williams was in breach of Rule 868(2) in that he failed to take all reasonable and permissible measures between 1400 metres and 1100 metres to ensure that HAVE FAITH IN ME was given full opportunity to win the race or to obtain the best possible position and/or finishing place by failing to shift out from the marker line before being covered by BETTOR DREAM. After hearing the relative evidence and viewing the replays the J.C.A. upheld the charge and imposed a suspension of Mr William's driver's licence up to and including 31st December 2015. So when you take all of this into account, the JCA and the stewards are saying a driver must move off the inner if able to do so, if he is to give his horse every chance to win the race Tim had an opportunity for 300 metres to come out and sit parked but he decided he had  more chance of winning the race by staying where he was. The stable had stated several times pre race in both the print media and on Trackside that Have Faith In Me was liable to end up three back on the inner and if that happened, he would be driven for luck as it was his first run for a month Tim was driving a horse who had run a half in 52.5 at Ashburton off a soft trip so chose the short way home because he believed that still gave Have Faith In Me a winning chance. Would he have won the race sitting parked? Highly debatable when you have a talent such as Hughie Green having a charmed run in front.  Hughie Green brushed home in 55.8 and 26.9 without being seriously asked for an effort so Have Faith In Me would have had to produce a career best performance to get close from the parked out position. As it was, Have Faith In Me got a half gap on the inner which would have made the race very interesting but the gap shut just as quickly as it opened. Would Tim have still been charged if that gap had stayed open and Have Faith In Me had roared home late? In our opinion there is no way that Tim would have been charged if he had got that gap What that decision from Friday night should do is create a huge rod for the stewards back. Following the logic of the decision by the JCA, every well supported horse is now obliged to come off the marker line as soon as possible and a failure to do so should result in the driver getting a holiday. Will that happen - NO So the stewards have chosen to target Tim Williams for not coming off the marker line but have turned a blind eye to the numerous other times it happens at every meeting in New Zealand. And then don't start us on the inconsistencies of the penalties handed out in New Zealand. Zac Butcher gets fined $800 for deliberately breaking the rules and ruining Mossdale Conner's winning chance in the Group 1 $250,000 New Zealand Free For All and Tim Williams gets stood down for 12 racing days for not coming off the marker line. The monetary loss to Tim Williams here is huge and seems completely over the top in our opinion. The only disappointing thing for us is Tim after consultation with Mark and Natalie has decided not to appeal For the RIU- JCA system to work, the people working in the industry must have faith that the two bodies overseeing them are competent and independent. When members of the JCA state in decisions that draging a flat tyre for 250 metres doesn't affect a horse's performance as they did in the NZFFA case, their competence is immediately called into question. Now we have them trying to second guess the best way to drive a horse.   The whole judicial system looks fragmented and disjointed from the outside but the good ship JCA Titanic sails on regardless. Harnesslink Media

One of the givens about racing at the elite level in harness racing is you need ring-craft to go with your ability. On Cup day at Addington today, Have Faith In Me blew that right out the window with a display more in keeping with a horse having his first start.   Away well for driver Tim Williams, Have Faith In Me went to the front with 1600 metres to go but then started at various stages to race most ungenerously.   Appearing to all but break at the 400 metres mark, Tim got the Bettor's Delight brother to champion mare Adore Me balanced again and he went clear for a comfortable 1 3/4 length win.   Tim Williams was a bit non plussed by the performance.   " He tried to jump a shadow in his preliminary and did it again with 400 metres to go."   "It was a difficult drive at times and I don't really know why."   "Maybe it was because he was in front because he hasn't raced there much in his career."   "He was really full of himself today but he really shouldn't do that," Tim said.   After taking all that in, you then find that Have Faith In Me has run the 2600 metres in a super quick 3:07.6 with closing sectionals of 55.5 and 28.   The run just epitomises the huge potential of Have Faith In Me and he looks a potential champion in the making.     Harnesslink Media

The all conquering All Stars barn brought its first batch of juveniles to the trials this season when half a dozen made their debut at Addington Raceway last Wednesday. Several looked very promising but the one that stood out for us was the colt More The Better. A son of Bettor's Delight, More The Better debuted in an open qualifying heat over 2000 metres against older horses and was allowed to settle second last early in the eight horse field by driver Mark Purdon. Mark improved the colt on the inner passing the 800 and switched him wider on track from the 400 metres where he finished strongly late to run third, beaten a nose and three quarters of a length. At no stage of the run home did Mark ask More The Better for a really serious effort. More The Better was timed to run the 2000 metres in 2:31.6, a mile rate of 2:01.9. We privately timed him to run his last mile in 2:00.2, with closing sectionals of 57.7 and 27.8 and he did it comfortably. And remember it was his first run off the place last Wednesday. More The Better was purchased by Mark at this years New Zealand Premier Yearling Sale for $62,500 and is raced by Mark with his father Roy and longtime family friend David Levine. Bred on the very successful Bettor's Delight - In The Pocket cross, More The Better's dam Lucky Pocket is a full sister to the champion racehorse and sire in Christian Cullen and a half sister to the brilliant racemare Kates First. More The Better looked a natural two year old and with the All Star polish being applied we feel we are going to hear a lot more about him as the two year olds look towards the Young Guns series. The other two year old from the All Star barn to impress us on Wednesday was Ultimate Machete who was in the same heat as More The Better. With Tim Williams in the bike, he followed More The Better everywhere but was very green in the run and looks to have a lot of improvement in him, especially when he gets a bit of ringcraft to go with his ability. We privately timed Ultimate Machete to run his last mile in 2:00.5 with closing sectionals of 58 and 28.1 so the motor is definitely there. Ultimate Machete was purchased out of this years New Zealand Premier Sale at Christchurch by the long time All Stars clients Phil + Glenys Kennard and cost the princely sum of $84,000. Another son of Bettors Delight, Ultimate Machete's dam is the former high class two and three year old filly in Reality Check ($137,737) who is already the dam of the very smart two and three year old filly in Perth, Major Reality 1:54.7 ($176,137) who has won seven from fourteen to date. The grand dam of Ultimate Machete is the broodmare excellence award winner Maureens Dream whose daughters and grand daughters have done a huge job so Ultimate Machete has a very strong maternal family. Every year the All Star barn produce some outstanding juveniles and this years crop looks just as promising as the ones that have gone before them. Harnesslink Media 

Last season the harness racing gods smiled on Tim Williams with both Have Faith In Me and Dream About Me having unbelivable seasons and the golden run may not be over yet. Tims regular drive in the two year old classics last season was Motu Premier who always found either Lazarus or Chase The Dream standing between him and first place. Motu Premier still had a great two year old campaign, never finishing further back than third in his eight starts on his way to earning over $92,000 However Motu Premier always looked the type that would really improve between two and three and if the son of Bettors Delight resuming run last night at Addington Raceway is any guide, he looks much more the complete racehorse this time in. Sent forward from barrier seven by Tim to claim the lead, Motu Premier never got out of second gear as he cruised the last 800 metres in 56.7 and 26.7 for an emphatic win. Tim was all smiles as he help ungear Motu Premier post race. " He's done that so easy, I didn't even pull the plugs." " He has come back a lot stronger this time in and I couldn't be happier with his run." " The Sires Stakes heat at Addington next week is his next assignment,"  Tim said. Owned by leviathon Australian owners Merv and Meg Butterworth who were oncourse to see the win, Motu Premier has a great all round game which makes him a major threat in any race he runs in. Tim however is convinced that the best of Motu Premier wont be seen until he gets over a bit more ground. " I have always thought that he would really come into his own when he gets out over a bit of ground." " The derbies later in the season should be right up his alley," Tim said. It is hard to follow up a season like Tim had last year but in Motu Premier, Tim looks to have landed the drive on a major player for the all the three year old classics this season. Add in Have Faith In Me and Dream About Me and Tim could be for one hell of a season Harnesslink Media  

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