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It is hard to remember any time in harness racing's history in New Zealand where one mare has had such an influence on the industry as Scuse Me. Her progeny and that of her daughters seem to have a strangle hold on the Cup and Classic races in New Zealand at present. Last night at Alexandra Park, Christen Me and Adore Me ran the quinella in the Auckland Cup while an hour prior to that her son Have Faith In Me had won the Derby. The success didn't stop there either with Christen Me's half sister Dream About Me bolting away with the $80,000 Delightful Lady Young Guns Final to round off a stellar night for Scuse Me and her descendants. The daughter of Bettor's Delight was the warm favourite for the Delightful Lady Classic off the back of two very impressive wins leading into tonights final and justified that favoritism with an emphatic win over her rivals. Her main danger was seen as her stablemate Arden's Choice but that all changed 200 metres after the start when Arden's Choice went into a wild gallop, losing all chance. Taken back off the gate by driver Tim Williams from barrier seven, Dream About Me was sent forward by Tim after 400 metres and grabbed the front with just over a lap to go. From there it became a bit of a procession as Dream About Me lifted the tempo down the back straight in 29.2 before brushing the last quarter in 27.9 as she ran away and hid from her rivals. At the finish she was five lengths to the good of a game Gamma Lady who was just as clearly second with the remainder three and a half lengths away headed by Poppy Maguire. Dream About Me was travelling that well in the over the concluding stages that Tim didn't even activate the removable deafeners. Speaking to Harnesslink earlier in the week, Tim was confident that Dream About Me would be very hard to beat and he made her his drive of the week in the drivers ringaround. He was full of praise for the filly post race. " She is really starting to work out what it is all about now." 'She was a lot happier and drove a lot straighter with the pole on this week," Tim said Tim had a few anxious moments at the start when Dream About Me seemed to be fighting her young driver. " She is still pretty green" " She wanted to go forward and I wanted to go back as several on the inside had kicked up" " She is still learning," Tim said. Dream About Me paced the 1700 metres in 2:02.9, a mile rate of 1:56.9 with closing sectionals of 57.1 and 27.9. The way Dream About Me won last night stamps her as the filly they all have beat in the two year old division this season. Harnesslink Media  

All week the harness racing pundits looking at tonights Great Northern Derby at Alexandra Park agreed about one thing and that was that Have Faith In Me would be crossed early and would end up back on the inner and need luck from there. None of them however had asked his driver Tim Williams his opinion on weather Have Faith In Me would hold up from barrier one. When we asked Tim earlier in the week for some comments for a preview we were doing on the Derby, Tim was adament that he would hold the lead from barrier one. Tim said the addition of an undercheck had made Have Faith In Me a lot more tractable and he would only hand up to a horse he knew was a real chance to win the Derby. And that is exactly how it panned out tonight. The son of Bettor's Delight held the lead easily through the first 400 metres before handing up to his stablemate and hot favourite Follow The Stars shortly after. From there the race was down to a two horse affair with Follow The Stars keeping up a smart tempo in front as Kept Under Wraps over raced badly in the death seat and in doing so parked Robbie Burns three wide for most of the last mile which stopped any other moves from back in the field. Down the back straight Mark held Follow The Stars back to the field before letting him loose as they turned for home. But Tim tracked him with Have Faith In Me and then came off his back at the 150 metres mark to lodge his challenge. Slowly but surely he got up to Follow The Stars and nabbed him right on the line for a memorable victory. Hughie Green who followed Have Faith In Me through from three back on the inner was third but five lengths behind the first two and Art Union went his usual honest race in fourth. Have Faith In Me paced the 2700 metres in 3:18.7, a mile rate of 1:58.4 with closing sectionals of 56.6 and 27.4 Tim was not surprised that Have Faith In Me held the lead. " He is getting better all the time and I thought I would be able to hold the lead with him." "He is very competitive and wants to race horses early but is settling a lot better now." "I got a lovely run after that following Follow The Stars and I came out on his outer because he is not a horse you want to fight with." "It's better just to go with him," Tim said. Tim was still having to pinch himself with the run he has had this season since joining the All Star barn last August. " Twelve months ago I was living in Invercargill when Mark gave me a call." "I thought a mate was having me on at first." " It's all happened so quick but the last few months have been great, Tim said. Have Faith In Me has now won the Sires Stakes Final, PGG Sales Race and the Great Northern Derby in the last few months and looms as the horse they all have to beat at Addington in the New Zealand Derby. Harnesslink Media  

The pinnacle for harness racing three year olds to aspire to in New Zealand are the two derbies held each year. This Friday night sees the running of this years $250,000 Great Northern Derby at Alexandra Park and this is our runner by runner preview of the race Great Northern Derby - 2015 1) Have Faith In Me - Starts - 9  -  Wins 4  -  Seconds 2  -  Thirds 0   -   Stakes $202,302 Probably the most talked about horse pre race due to the draw.  Most pundits think he is likely to be crossed early from barrier one which when added in with his history of having a few fancy steps early when rushed out of the gate makes him vulnerable. We are not convinced it is as dire as that and driver Tim Williams is confident gear changes lately have helped him immensely in giving him more confidence. If he does hold up, he immediately becomes the horse that Follow The Stars has to beat A must for all quinella, trifecta and first four players. 2) Express Stride  -  Starts 14  -  Wins 4  -  Seconds 5  -  Thirds 3   -   Stakes $126,945 Ultra consistent horse who from this draw becomes a major player. Can leave the gate so able to take advantage of his good draw. Has been beaten by two or three here in the past when it counts and for that reason we just have that slight doubt over his ability to beat this field. Great trainer/driver in Tony Herlihy is a big plus so a must have for quinellas, trifectas and first fours. 3) Kept Under Wraps  -  Starts 11  -  Wins 5  -  Seconds 4  -  Thirds 0   -   Stakes $149,805 This horse has a great overall record but just a notch down from the top two or three. Great manners and ringcraft means he is always thereabouts Very similar in makeup to Express Stride and has been the runner up to Follow The Stars on several occasions now. Draw means he is a player here but more  a place than a win chance for us. 4) Robbie Burns  -  Starts 6  -  Wins 3  -  Seconds 0  -  Thirds 1   -   $18,503 Has really made his mark in the last couple of months but this race has come a bit too soon for him in our view. Has been thrown in the deep end a bit here but won't disgrace himself. Still at this stage a few here look to have a ringcraft and experience advantage which counts for a lot in races like this. Not for us 5) Art Union  -  Starts 22  -  Wins 12  -  Seconds 5  -  Thirds 1   -   Stakes $141,763 He has been a very busy horse all season but continues to race well at the highest level. Great third in the New South Wales Derby last Sunday after burning the gate and not much doubt that Dexter will go forward this week from barrier five as well. Good enough to get some of it but a question mark over his ability to beat two or three here. Trifecta and first four player for us. 6) Itz Bettor To Win  -  Starts 10  -  Wins 6  -  Seconds 2  -  Thirds 0   -   Stakes $81,475 He is a real tradesman like horse and one that tends to sneak under the radar most of the time. Is three for three on the track and each win has been better than the last.  Blair Orange climbs aboard so he lacks nothing in the driver department and appeals to us as the most likely upsetter of the favoured trio. Must have for quinella, trifecta and first four takers. 7) Delighful Offer ( 1st Emerg) -  Starts 12  -  Wins 2  -  Seconds 2  -  Thirds 4   -   Stakes $34,946 Bit of a surprise to us that he is on the ballot here as we rate him higher than a couple of others that did make the field. Got a bit of bottom to him as he showed when running fourth in the $200,000 sales race on New Years eve at Alexandra Park after sitting parked Not a major player even if he did made it back into the field. 8) Follow The Stars  -  Starts 16  -  Wins 13  -  Seconds 2  -  Thirds 0   -   Stakes $548,415 Champion two year old who put a couple of below par seconds in Victoria behind him when he comprehensively beat most of these last week Drew the outside of the second line last week, looped them early and beat them up without being extended. Had a few things go his way for all that but stable very confident there was plenty of improvement left in him heading forward to this week. On that basis he is the horse to beat but he doesn't need too much bad luck to come back to this field. Include in everything. 9) Hughie Green  -  Starts 12  -  Wins 7  -  Seconds 0  -  Thirds 0   -   Stakes $55,621 The enigma of the field for sure who when he is good, he is very good and when he is bad he is awful. At his best he could win this but very disappointing run in the prelude last week. Not sure he is at the same level he was before he went south for the Sires Stakes final in November when he was just absolutely low flying. If the real Hughie Green comes to play they will know they have been in a race. However needs to improve a lot off last weeks run to be the threat we know he can be. 10) Change Stride  -  Starts 12  -  Wins 4  -  Seconds 1  -  Thirds 3   -   Stakes $ 47,629 Has been in great form since Cup week at Addington except for last weeks prelude where he got shuffled back on the inner and was no hope from there a long way out so we have put a line through that run. Follow The Stars beat him by a neck in the Waikato Guineas and his third in the Northern three year old stakes in December was also full of merit. Not a winning hope but can certainly bump up those trifectas and first four dividends. 11) Bettor Spirits  -  Starts 24  -  Wins 4  -  Seconds 4  -  Thirds 5   -   Stakes $90,958 Needs everything to go his way to be a player in this race and from this draw that is very unlikely to happen. Very disappointing run in the prelude where after getting a great drag into it, he just battled in the straight.  His run three starts back in the sales race on New Years eve was also very disappointing. Not for us. 12) Chachingchaching  -  Starts 18  -  Wins 4  -  Seconds 2  -  Thirds 1   -   Stakes $75,547 Has always looked capable of matching it with the big boys but went through a bad patch there for a couple of months. Change of driver a couple of months seems to have worked the trick with him and his last few runs have all been full of merit against quality fields. Not a winning chance for us but another one who is more than capable of running into the money with the right run. An added bonus is his driver David Butcher is back to his very best lately after being sidelined last year through injury. 13) Brilliant Strike  -  Starts 11  -  Wins 6  -  Seconds 2  -  Thirds 3   -   Stakes $51,460 Yet to finish out of the money in eleven starts and stuck on gamely for third last week after doing plenty of work. Extra distance right up his alley but we are still not completely convinced he is the real deal at this level. Another bad draw and a much stronger field this week means we struggle to see him as a major player here. Outside first four player for us. 14) Hug The Wind  -  Scratched 15) The Faithful  -  Starts 9  -  Wins 3  -  Seconds 2  -  Thirds 0   -   Stakes $28,055 Is starting to build up a good record but in the main it has been away from the better three year olds. He has beaten a few of these but not any of the main players so from the draw we think he is on mission impossible. Not for us Selections We don't think there is that much if anything at all between Follow The Stars and Have Faith In Me except that Follow The Stars is the complete professional racehorse where as Have Faith In Me still has a few rough edges to smooth out. So Follow The Stars just in front of Have Faith In Me and after that it is a bit of a lottery. Outside of our top two selections, there is not a lot between several runners For quinella and trifecta takers we would take Express Stride, Kept Under Wraps, Art Union, Itz Bettor To Win and Hughie Green A couple to add into first fours would be Change Stride and Chachingchaching Harnesslink Media

Last week was an improvement from the week before with our tipsters selecting six winners along with eight placegetters so not far away from a great result. Clark Barron, Todd Mitchell, Zac Butcher, John Curtin, Matthew Williamson and Maurice McKendry all got their selections home first to carry on the good strike rate that most of that group have. This week we are covering the four meetings with declared fields but we would suggest that anyone backing a horse at Westport on Friday follows their selection through to Reefton on Sunday. Forbury - Thursday night Terry Chmiel - Gives Moment Of Love a big chance of turning her form around and winning race 4 Brad Williamson - Very bullish about the chances of Mokosun in race 9   Westport - Friday afternoon Jim Curtin - Likes the chances of Insignificant even off 30 metres in race 2 Robbie Holmes - Thought As Kiwi As was due a change of luck and could win race 4 Gerard O'Reilly - Reckons Breakdance can turn her form around and win race 5 Steve Richardson (Tab) - Thought the durable Ideal Arden would be hard to beat in race 7 John Dunn - Rates Geisha Girl a huge chance to make it three in a row, also in race 7 Bob Butt - Gives Georgie Mach a big winning chance even from the unruly mark in race 8   Auckland - Friday night Maurice McKendry - Reckons Yagunnakissmeornot can carry on her winning way in race 2 Blair Orange - Thinks Barry with a drop back this week would be very hard to beat, also in race 2 John Curtin - Gives Chase The Dream a big chance of upsetting Lazarus in race 3  Scott Phelan - Thought First Home, even from barrier eight could upset them in race 4  Tim Williams - Rates Dream About Me a big chance to make it three from three in race 5 Todd Mitchell - Gives Prime Power a great chance of going back to back in race 7 Ricky May - Thinks Jason Rulz is a great place chance from barrier two in race 8 Tony Herlihy - Rates San Diego Love coming in fresh a big chance of winning race 9   Gore - Sunday afternoon Brendon McLellan - Gives Taranto a good chance on grass to win race 2 Matthew Williamson - Thought Falcon Asset would be hard to roll in race 6 Nathan Williamson - Reckons Statham has kept improving lately and will win race 7 Shane Walkinshaw - Thought with a drag into the race Viscountess could get some of it, also in race 7 Clark Barron - Gives Flight Deck a good chance of making a winning debut in race 10

Most harness racing drivers would smile if their drive in a major classic drew barrier one and Tim Williams did just that when Have Faith In Me drew the ace for this Fridays Great Northern Derby. However ever since it was announced that Have Faith In Me had drawn the ace in the Great Northern Derby the pundits have been openly suggesting that the draw may work against the star three year old. Noted for having a few fancy steps early in some of his races earlier this season, Have Faith In Me could be vunerable to getting crossed early and shuffled back on the inner was the general concensus. Tim was confident that wouldn't be the case when speaking to Harnesslink today. " I am very confident of being able to hold my position at the start." " You don't win Derbies in the first two hundred metres but drawing barrier one does give you options. " I am a lot happier drawing one than barrier fourteen," Tim said. Tim was aware of the talk about Have Faith In Me having issues when rushed out of the gate in the past but is sure they are well and truly behind him now. " He has been much more settled and happier as well since we put the undercheck on him." " I don't have to lead to win the Derby but I would be reluctant to hand up unless I thought the horse I was handing up to would get us to the passing lane," Tim said. Already the winner of the Sires Stakes Final in Cup Week and the Sales Race on New Years Eve this season with Tim in the bike, Have Faith In Me appears the main danger to Follow The Stars in this years Great Northern Derby. Harnesslink Media

The final heat for the two year old fillies in harness racing's Young Gun Series was held tonight at Alexandra Park  and it was no surprise when the two fillies from the All Star barn fought out a close finish with the resulted evenly shared. Dream About Me and Arden's Choice ran the quinella in the $25,000 Sires Stakes heat at Timaru when they were both on debut and they did it again tonight with Dream About Me again grabbing the win although the margin over  Arden's Choice was only a nose this time. The race turned into a bit of a melee early when both the well supported Nek Time and Goodlookingbabe galloped when disputing the lead after 300 metres which resulted in quite a few of the runners being checked. When the dust settled Gamma Lady and Josh Dickie were left in front with Dream About Me with Tim Williams in the bike parked on her wheel. Natalie Rasmussen set Arden's Choice alight at the 900 metres mark and she quickly made it to the death seat giving Dream About Me a lovely sit in the one by one. Those three went clear at the 400 metres and as they turned for home Ardens Choice worked to the front but was immediately challenged by Dream About Me who had cut the corner and snuck up the passing lane to save ground. There was nothing between them all the way up the straight but at the line Dream About Me was a nose to the good of Arden's Choice with a further 2 3/4 lengths back to Gamma Lady in third. The 1700 metres was cut out in 2:05, a mile rate of 1:58.3 with closing sectionals of 57.4 and 27.6 The runs of the first two were both full of merit and which ever one draws better in the $80,000 Final of the Young Guns next week probably deserves favouritism. Dream About Me did get her head around several times during the running and will benefit next week after her first run right handed. Dream About Me is an out and out "blue blood' being a  Bettor's Delight half sister to the champion Christen Me. Her dam of course is a half sister to Adore Me so it just doesn't get any better than that. Driver Tim Williams was happy enough with the run of Dream About Me. " She is still very green and has a lot to learn." " It was her first run right handed and she should benefit immensely from the experience." " Taking the passing lane helped her round the last bend and I was just lucky it worked out," Tim said. The All Stars pair look a class above the fillies to have raced in the series to date and appear the logical quinella in next weeks final. Harnesslink Media  

All the harness racing pundits were positive that Major Ben was the horse to beat in todays running of the two year old feature, the Sapling Stakes. Even though he had drawn poorly at barrier seven, the trials runs of Major Ben had convinced everyone that he could overcome the bad barrier and win. His two stablemates in Chase The Dream and Motu Premier both had their supporters while Alta Las Vegas looked  a threat to the All Stars trio after a super first up win at Ascot Park. Motu Premier left from barrier two and grabbed an early lead and set up a steady clip in front with Chase The Dream in the one by one. Alta Las Vegas was on his back and Major Ben followed him in the running line. Passing the 600 metres John Dunn sent Alta Las Vegas forward three wide with Chase The Dream getting a lovely run up through the middle Turning for home Motu Premier jumped something on the inside of the track but came down pacing but lost all momentum. Alta Las Vegas swept to the lead after Motu Premier's jump but Tim Williams was stalking him on Chase The Dream and swept by him the last 50 metres for an impressive debut win. Alta Las Vegas hung on for a game second half a head in front of Motu Premier who finished on again in determined fashion once he was balanced. Tim Williams added to his list of Group wins today after a couple of victories on Have Faith In Me earlier in the season. "I couldn't have wished for a better run than what we got." " I was going to come out at the 600 metres myself but it worked out great when John went first  with Alta Las Vegas." "He won with a bit in hand at the end," Tim said Motu Premier was another super debut run after his home turn mishap. Driver Matt Anderson was a bit bemused by it all. "He jumped something on the bend but  when he came dowm he came down pacing." "He was taking ground off them again after that so it was a super effort," Matt said. The hot favourite Major Ben battled into fourth but seemed a pace  touch roughly at times. Driver Natalie Rasmussen was philosophical after the race. " He went rough a couple of times down the back and I nearly lost him." " He is going through a wee growing patch at the moment so that didn't help," Natalie said. Bettor's Delight had another day to remember with the first three runners home all by our leading sire. Harnesslink Media  

Another one of those weeks where we were there abouts without getting the rub of the green, with a lot of the horses selected by our tipsters having little luck. Five managed to get home first but another five ran second which about sums up the luck at the moment. Blair Orange, Robbie Holmes, Tony Herlihy, Nathan Williamson and the boss John Curtin all picked winners and special mention for the boss who is going for three in a row this week. Our tipsters have gone near and far this week from Winton in the south to Tabcorp Park Melton in Melbourne. Winton - Thursday afternoon Brad Williamson - Rates Mokosun a big winning chance even off 20 metres in race 4 Clark Barron - Thinks Mass Invasion is overdue a change of luck and can win, also in race 4   Shane Walkinshaw - Thought Princess Arts from the draw could roll the hotpot On The Town in race 8 Brendon McLellan - Gives Repeat After Me a great chance of running in three in race 9     Manawatu - Thursday night Kyle Marshall - Reckons Unmissable is ready to win her second race at Manawatu in race 5 Peter Scaife - Rates Mach Cullen from barrier one a big chance to turn his form around and win race 7   Amberley - Friday afternoon Bob Butt - Rates last weeks impressive debutant Supershakes hard to beat in race 3 Robbie Holmes - Gives Bridget Blue Chip from her handy draw a chance to upset them in race 5 Gerard O"Reilly - Thought Always Yours would take all kinds of stopping in race 6 Jim Curtin - Rates Star Of Dionysis back to the grass a big chance to win race 8   Auckland - Friday night Steven Reid - Thought  Clarius could continue his good form and win race 1 Tony Herlihy - Likes Walkinshaw to improve on his debut run and win race 4 Maurice McKendry -  Thought his two year old Shandale would have a big show, also in race 4 John Curtin (Harnesslink) - Rates Our Dainty Lady very hard to beat in race 6 Scott Phelan - Thinks Better B Amazed will be awlfully hard to beat in race 9   Ashburton - Saturday afternoon Tim Williams - Rates Chase The Dream a big chance to win the Sapling Stakes on debut (Race 5) Blair Orange - Thought Goodness Gracious Me could top off a string of placings with a win in race 9   Tabcorp Park Melton - Saturday night Ricky May - Was rapt with "Terrors" run last week and thinks he can win the Hunter Cup   Wairarapa - Sunday Afternoon Todd Mitchell - Rates Te Kawau very difficult to beat in the Wairarapa Cup.   Waikouaiti - Sunday Afternoon Nathan Williamson - Rates Grey Power a big chance on the grass to win race 5 Matthew Williamson  - Thinks if Bet's Sun trots all the way he can beat his brother in race 5 Craig Thornley - Likes the chances of Dream Big to bounce back and win race 8.   Harnesslink Media

Harness racing can be cruel at times as a lot of our tipsters found out last week when a lot of the selections had little luck on raceday. Both Playaway and Sweet Art had no luck on the first day at Otaki but both won on the second day so it does pay to not drop them in a hurry, Our best performer last week was Steven Reid who nailed Clarius at Otaki at $13:40 and he was unlucky not to make it a double for the weekend on the second day, again at good odds. Other selectors to pick winners were Ricky May, Peter Scaife,Scott Phelan, Blair Orange and Brad Williamson and we picked up three placings as well and a string of fourths. This week we have selections at Motukarara, Blenhiem, Auckland, and Invercargill and Gate Pa. Don't let the selections for Blenheim slip under your guard on Sunday if they miss on Friday. Motukarara - Thursday afternoon Robbie Holmes - Gave us two he couldn't separate. At the Mott it is Willie Shine in race 8 Ricky May - Thought Cullen Keefe could get back on track in race 10 Craig Thornley - Rates Franco Hammond highly and thought he could win again, also in race 10   Blenheim - Friday afternoon Jimmy Curtin - Likes the chances of the Brian O'Meara trained Mach Winger in race 2 Gerard O'Reilly - Thinks Royal Caroline is due a change of luck and can win race 3  Robbie Holmes - The second of his selections this week is the talented Cyclone Kiwi in race 9 Blair Orange - Rates Take After Me a big chance of making it two wins in a row in race 11   Auckland - Friday night Tony Herlihy - Gives Uandmebabe a big show even from the second line in race 2 Maurice McKendry - Rates Hanoverdakash a great each way bet in race 3 Scott Phelan - Thought that Prince Of Pops could bounce back after a brief break and win race 4 John Curtin (Harnesslink)- Thought Gamma Lady on her workout win last weekend would win race 5   Steve Richardson (TAB) - Rates Charleston Belle a big chance to take out race 9 Todd Macfarlane - Knows the draw is dead against him but still likes Simply Stunning, also in race 9    Invercargill - Saturday afternoon Nathan Williamson - Thought if Splash Cola could get around the first bend then she would win race 1 John Dunn - Gives Alta Las Vegas a big rap even from barrier eight in race 3 Clark Barron - Gives I'm Full Of Excuses a big chance of taking out race 4 Matthew Williamson - Thinks Alley Way on last weeks run should win race 5 Brad Williamson - Thought he might be able to upset big brother with Father Christmas, also in race 5 Shane Walkinshaw - Rates Acolyte off the mobile a big chance to turn his form around in race 8 Tim Williams - Thought Meticulous had trained on great this week and would win race 9   Gate Pa - Sunday afternoon Peter Scaife - Confident that a shoeing change will have recent import Winsome Luck winning race 2 Todd Mitchell - Thought Shardon's Pearl would carry on the good work and win, also in race 2 Sean McCaffrey - With no Gold Ace or Adore Me about, he thought Norvic Nightowl could win race 9     

The All Stars harness racing stables have long made a habit of unearthing new stars both equine and human and in young driver Tim Williams the All Stars mentors Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen have done it again, “You might want to pack your driving bag just in case.” Little did Tim Williams realise it at the time but those 11 words from his boss Mark Purdon proved to be the birth of his most successful day in harness racing. In fact it was a record breaking night by the Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen trained Adore Me and Follow The Stars at Cambridge Raceway last Friday. Williams had the privilege, as he put it, of driving both. “Before I came up to the North Island Mark told me to pack my driving gears just in case. I didn’t think much of it really." “But when Mark went home and I stayed up there I couldn’t believe the opportunity I was given. It was a bit unreal. A chance of a lifetime that not many other drivers get. I’m glad I made the most of it,” Williams said. Williams said although he knew he was driving two horses that almost everyone had their money on, he didn’t let the pressure get to him. “I had a job to do and sure I knew they were both hot favourites, but once I was on the track I was focused and knew what I had to do for Mark, Natalie and the owners. Driving champion horses like Adore Me and Follow The Stars is what every driver dreams of,” Williams said. The 25-year-old had never driven Adore Me or Follow The Stars on race-day but you wouldn’t guessed it. He drove them as good as what regular pilot Purdon would have done getting the hot pots home paying $1.40 and $1.10 respectively The Canterbury reinsman said driving Adore Me was like driving a Ferrari, far superior to anything he had ever sat behind. “When I asked her for an effort she just gave me what I wanted. To sit parked and beat a good horse like Gold Ace in track record time is a phenomenal achievement,” Williams said. From gate four Williams sat outside the Todd Mitchell driven Gold Ace (2) in Friday’s Group Two $60,000 Sky City Flying Mile. Then in the lane when he asked the wonder mare for an effort she found another gear to win the mobile mile by a length in a New Zealand Mares record time of 1:51.6. She also slashed Sky Major’s previous track record of 1:52.07 set in May last year. Her winning mile rate was 1:51.6 and she sprinted her final 800m in 55 and 400m in 27.7. It was the New Zealand Cup winner’s 24th win in 31 starts and she’s now amassed $1.43 million in stakes. While Adore Me was always a winning chance a long way from home, Williams at one stage thought Follow The Stars had too much ground to make up in the $20,000 Mitavite Dinny Johnstone Waikato Guineas. Follow The Stars was eased to the rear soon after the start and that’s where he remained until Williams asked him to go at the 300m when he had to get around his four opponents. “I thought we might have been a wee bit too far off them because they were really going for it in front. He had quite a bit of ground to make up at the 400m, but he showed a real will to win – like a real fighter. He’s got an enormous future,” Williams said. With that powerhouse sprint the Art Major colt became the fastest horse to ever pace a 2200m mobile at Cambridge Raceway. Follows The Stars stopped the clock in 2:37.71 slashing Aslan’s January 2010 2200m mobile record by a whopping 2.2 seconds . He also beat Sir Lincoln’s 3-year-old record of 2:40.12. Follow The Star’s winning mile rate was 1:55.3 and he sprinted his final 800m and 400m in 56.7 and 27.4. That was his 11th win in 12 starts and he’s now won $498,779 in purses. Williams said he would never forget Friday’s meeting. “It will go down as the greatest day of my career so far. I’m so pleased I was given an opportunity to drive the team for Mark, Natalie and the owners,” said Williams who has now driven 210 winners (20 this season) since 2008. He said Adore Me and Follows The Stars were both Victorian bound for the derby and Hunter Cup respectively. Meanwhile another champion who didn’t let the favourite punters down on Friday was multiple Group winning trotter Stent. The $1.30 favourite was too powerful along the passing lane for the second elect, Prime Power. The Colin De Filippi trained and driven 6-year-old won the Group Three $30,000 Harcourts Te Awamutu Trotters Flying Stakes by three quarters of a length. He trotted the 1700m mobile in 2:04.9 (mile rate 1:58.2) with a final 800m of 56.8 and 400m of 27.3 seconds. It was Stent’s 21st win in 52 starts and he’s now banked $622,095 for owner Trevor Casey. Courtesy of Duane Ranger - Harness Racing New Zealand      

When Have Faith In Me won the 3 year old Sires Stakes Final on Cup day a lot of harness racing scribes thought he had been a touch lucky and that while a worthy winner, he had things go his way. When he finished fifth of six in the Alabar Classic and had trouble getting around the last bend at Alexandra Park, the same scribes were quick to discount his chances in todays $200,000 Sales Series pace over 2200 metres. But yet again Have Faith In Me showed that he was well named as those that stuck with the ship were well rewarded when he ran out a decisive winner this afternoon. Eased off the gate by driver Tim Williams, Have Faith In Me settled in the one by one early as stablemate Hug The Wind grabbed an early lead before handing up to Mighty Flying Major who immediately handed up to Express Stride after 600 metres. That was the end of the lead changes as Express Stride kept up a steady tempo in front. As they turned for home Tim peeled out the one by one and quickly grabbed the leader Express Stride and kicked away for a comfortable victory by a length while stablemate Hug The Wind flashed home late when he got clear to grab second off a game Express Stride. Hug The Wind paced the 2200 metres in a new New Zealand record of 2:37.6, a mile rate of 1:55.2 with closing sectionals of 56.3 and 27.1. Tim Williams was quick to credit the horse with all the praise straight after the race. " The horse deserves all the credit for todays win" "Its only his first trip away but he has taken it all in his stride. "We put a pole on today and he got round the last bend no trouble at all" "Coming to the corner he was travelling beautifully and I knew he would be hard to beat," Tim said. Tim was also quick to thank the owners, the Dunford brothers for leaving him on the now high profile horse. " After he won the Sires Stakes I thought they may look for a more senior driver so I am very thankful to them for leaving me on, " Tim said. Having won the two big early 3 year old features, Have Faith In Me will now be set for the Derbies in the Autumn. Harnesslink Media    

We must apologize for last weeks absense due to the staff member responsible being off ill and the "boss" not picking up the slack. It might have been an opportune time for a break anyway as our tipsters were digging themselves a bit of a hole in the last week or two. There are five meetings this week and we have selections for them all. Cambridge - Thursday night Zac Butcher - Thought Georgies Smile from the ace would be hard to roll in race 2 Todd Mitchell - Very keen on the chances of Thanks Shane also in race 2 Scott Phelan - Reckons Santana Jewel is way overdue to win one in race 4 Todd Macfarlane - Thinks if the breaks go her way that Simply Stunning can upset them in race 6 Maurice McKendry - Likes the chances of The Moonraker clearing maidens in race 8   Auckland - Friday night Ricky May - Thinks Dalton Bromac should continue the picket fence formline in race 1 Tony Herlihy - Rates The Fascinator a big chance even from barrier 12 in race 2 John Curtin (Harnesslink) - Reckons Classical Art can keep the winning streak intact in race 5 Blair Orange - Likes the chances of Mighty Flying Major to be a "major" player in race 7 Tim Williams - Not surprisingly Tim thinks that Have Faith In Me will win, also in race 7 Steven Richardson - Has gone a touch rougher with Express Stride to upstage the other two in race 7 Sean McCaffrey - Thought Yagunnakissmeornot can make it six from six at Alexandra Park in race 10 Gerard O'Reilly - Is confident that Zin Zan will strip a lot fitter this week and can win race 11   Addington - Friday night Robbie Holmes - Likes Tehoro Ruby from barrier 1 to break out of maidens in race 1 Bob Butt - Thought if Justalittlebettor could reproduce her Methven run she could win race 6 Matthew Williamson - Rates Monty Python a big chance to go back to back in race 7 Jim Curtin - Thinks Breeders Crown finalist Field Marshall will be to good in race 11   Wairio - Saturday afternoon Nathan Williamson - Thought if Grey Power put his best foot forward they wouldn't beat him in race 1 Dexter Dunn - Likes the chances of Leolas Delight making a winning debut in race 2 John Dunn - Very confident that Jay Dub can make it two from two this time in and take out race 6 Brendon McLellan - Thinks that Vera's Delight can get that long overdue win in race 7 Shane Walkinshaw - Rates Canardy Lover a big show to go back to back in race 8 Clark Barron - Reckons that Shezacheapy back on the roomy Winton track can win race 9   Rangiora - Sunday afternoon Craig Thornley - Thinks Inchbonnie Lad can go one better this week and win race 4   Harnesslink Media  

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

Anyone and everyone labeled Hughie Green the winner of this years Sires Stakes Final but everyone in harness racing knows that races are won on the track not off it. Hughie Green was coming off an amazing win at Auckland where he paced his last half in 53.3 in crushing his opposition that night. Forward two weeks and beautifully drawn at four today in the big early season race for 3 year olds, Hughie Green was sent out a $1:90 shot in a field full of talent. Out well early for driver Maurice McKendry, Hughie Green worked to the lead after 600 metres and was immediately attacked by the talented Art Union but Maurice held the lead. Going pass the 800 metres Blair Orange on Mighty Flying Major came out of the one by one and dished it up to Hughie Green down the back in 27.6 between the 800metres and quarter pole. As all this was happening Alta Orlando was progressing out three wide and ranged up three wide at the 400 metres mark with stablemates Have Faith In Me and Hug The Wind following him in the three wide line. Half way up the straight, Hughie Green was under pressure from Have Faith In Me and then suddenly Hughie Green ducked inwards and jumped a track marker when Maurice hit him with the whip and landed in the infield, losing all chance. Have Faith In Me carried on for a meritorous win from his stablemates Hug The Wind and Alta Orlando who made up an All Stars trifecta. Have Faith In Me paced the 1950 metres in 2:17.3, a mile rate of 1:53.3 with closing sectionals of 55.3 and 27.7 which took a full second off the previous New Zealand record held by Stunnin Cullen. A $50,000 purchase at the 2013 Australasian sales, Have Faith In Me is raced by the Dunfords who also race Hands Christian from the All Stars barn. The All Stars Racing Stables are always the benchmark for training establishments in New Zealand and todays results are just further confirmation of how good they are. Harnesslink Media    

We thought it would be interesting to get the viewpoint of all our regular tipsters with regards how they see the New Zealand Cup this week and so the following selections are how they see the race. Maurice McKendry --- Adore Me -- Terror To Love -- Christen Me Tony Herlihy --- Adore Me -- Terror To Love -- Tiger Tara Sean McCaffrey --- Terror To Love -- Hands Christian --Christen Me Scott Phelan --- Terror To Love -- Adore Me --Christen Me Todd Macfarlane --- Terror To Love -- Adore Me -- For A Reason Todd Mitchell --- Terror To Love -- Adore Me -- For A Reason John Curtin --- Christen Me -- For A Reason -- Terror To Love Matthew Williamson --- Terror To Love -- Hands Christian -- Christen Me Nathan Williamson --- Terror To Love -- Christen Me -- Adore Me Brad Williamson --- Terror To Love -- Adore Me -- Christen Me Shane Walkinshaw --- Terror To Love -- Christen Me -- Adore Me Brendon McLellan --- Terror To Love -- Christen Me -- Adore Me Clark Barron --- Christen Me -- Terror To Love -- Hands Christian Tim Williams --- Adore Me --- Terror To Love --- Christen Me   Terry Chmiel --- Terror To Love -- Hands Christian -- For A Reason Steve Richardson --- Terror To Love --For A Reason -- Tiger Tara Robbie Holmes --- Christen Me -- Terror To Love -- Franco Nelson Gerard O'Reilly --- Terror To Love -- Hands Christian -- Tiger Tara  Craig Thornley --- Terror To Love -- Hands Christian --Jimmy Johnstone Jim Curtin --- Terror To Love -- Christen Me -- Hands Christian Ricky May --- Terror To Love -- Christen Me -- Hands Christian Blair Orange --- Terror To Love -- Christen Me -- Adore Me John Dunn --- Terror To Love -- Christen Me -- Franco Nelson                                                                 Cup Day Ringaround   With a lot of our regular tipsters involved in Cup Day we thought we would ask them for their best drive from their book tomorrow. Blair Orange - Quite bullish about the chances of Eyre I Come in race 1 Tony Herlihy -  Rates Tokohoka from the All Stars team as tough to beat in race 2 Gerard O"Reilly - Thought King Of Strathfield had freshened up nicely and could win race 3 Steve Richardson (TAB) - Like Gerard, Steve thinks that King Of Strathfield will win race 3 Ricky May - Very bullish about Dalton Bromac even fron barrier 9 winning race 4 John Curtin (Harnesslink) - Thinks Fly Like An Eagle can confound the pundits and win race 5 Matthew Williamson - Reckons Springbank Sam is a great place chance in race 6 Maurice McKendry - As you would expect, Maurice thinks Hughie Green will win race 7 Robbie Holmes - If Cyclone Kiwi steps Robbie thinks he will win race 8 Craig Thornley - Thought All Delight was a good place chance at odds, also in race 8 Jimmy Curtin - Thinks Te Kawau from barrier three will win  race 9 Tim Williams - Reckons Here We Go Again can overcome the bad draw and win, also in race 9 Nathan Williamson - Confident that Spash Cola is a big chance to win race 11 John Dunn - Rates No Doctor Needed very hard to beat in race 12 Terry Chmiel - Likes Happy Heidi to run the Quinella with No Doctor Needed  in race 12   Harnesslink Media

A treble of wins for the All Stars team was highlighted by memorable results for Mickey Ward and the Patterson family and for Neil Pilcher who posted a win on his 77th birthday - as well as Matt Anderson posting his first win at Addington watched by his sponsor and family friend, Ray Coupland.  Mickey Ward has spent a good part of his life following or racing horses. His biggest moment was winning the Messenger with the Jack Smolenski -trained  OK Royal with Jack and Mickey racing him in partnership. Royal Mach raced out of All Stars for the Wards after Jack retired  but  The Royal Garden has tested his patience after a paddock accident sidelined him for a long time. Mickey wasn't travelling that well either with a serious bout of ill health which has put him in a wheelchair.  In typical humorous style Mickey loved the win but was a bit septic on the $1.50 win dividend ! "Pilch" has sold the smart Holy Grail this week but Alta Orlando who he races with Jim and Ann Gibbs won the 5th heat of the Sires Stakes anyway. Neil's record with the stock of Courage Under Fire  is outstanding and Alta Orlando, a big two year old winner last season, has proven a bargain. Heres a review of how the All Stars runners went: Stopandstare (2nd) Nathan) "Had to do a bit of work caught three wide and she fought on well (last quarter 27.9)  " - Nathan Alta Ronaldo (2nd) Natalie "He just missed away a little, not bad, but in those short races from a stand it never helps. He went good after that, fought on well. He just doesn't have that real sharp speed at this stage" - Natalie. Have Faith in Me (galloped in run up) Tim "The gate was going a bit slow for him and he started looking around and stargazing then bumped one outside him and that was that"  - Tim. (Forbury revisited !) Change Stride (4th) Mark "I wouldn't say he was disappointing. He got a good enough run but he wanted to hang and that made it hard for him. He is green yet. He will probably line up here again next Friday" -  Mark Alta Orlando (1st) Natalie "He didn't leave any excuses for them but he still does a few little things wrong. But he's tough and has the ability " - Natalie. Holy Grail (3rd) Matt "He went really good. He can sprint home and we had a good enough run but it was a good effort",- Matt. (Sold to Australia but likely to stay at Rolleston until after Sires Stakes finals) Hot Pants (1st) Matt "Yes that is my first win at Addington. Quite a thrill. We had to work a bit early but then we got a nice run and she did the rest"  The Royal Garden (1st) Tim "I thought we had got beaten. He kicks strongly though and that made the difference because he had to do a bit of work into the wind" -Tim. Courtesy Of All Stars Racing Stables - Check site here            

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