Day At The Track
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Pukekohe harness racing trainer Ray Green has trained the quinella in the first heat of the NRM Sires Stakes Series at Cambridge Raceway last night. Breeders Crown winner King Of Swing led all the way in the hands of Philip Butcher to narrowly beat the Green trained stablemate Recco Lover by a short margin. The winner paced the 1700m journey in a 1-56.0 mile rate with a closing 800m in 56.0 and the final 400m in 27.1 seconds.  King Of Swing (Rocknroll Hanover - Twist And Twirl) and Recco Lover (Bettor's Delight - Castellina Lover) have both qualified for the $170,000 Group One Final at Addington on November 14. The Robert Dunn trained Alta Maestro, who was the TAB favourite in last nights race sat parked and faded to finish last. Tim Vince trained a double at last nights meeting when both Drover's Eyre and Romanite won their respective races.  Romanite won the amateur drivers race and paced a quick 1-57.4 mile rate when winning over 1700m in the hands of Sheree Wigg. The Art Official gelding zipped over his last 800m in 55.7 seconds to beat the Vince trained stablemate Curlimore. Drover's Eyre led all the way when winning the highest rated race of the night for junior driver Jack McKinnon. The Falcon Seelster eight year old was having his 87th start, but showed there was still some pep left in his legs with a 56.4 closing 800m off the back of a 2-01.3 mile rate for the standing start 2200m. King Of Swing winning last night Harnesslink Media

Jack MacKinnon will be looking to put the icing on another premiership-winning season at Alexandra Park on Friday. The 22-year-old Pukekohe horseman has all but wrapped up the 2016-2017 Junior Driving premiership at northern headquarters and should seal the title when he reins hot favourite Yagunnakissmeornot in the seventh event. MacKinnon’s title comes a year after he won last season's Junior Driving premiership by a 0.159 of a point on the UDR strike rate. Both he, Andre Poutama and Kyle Marshall all recorded seven wins apiece. This year MacKinnon has won nine races at Alexandra Park – three more than Robert Argue. Sean Grayling is actually second, with eight wins, but he now resides in New South Wales. Unless Argue can win all three of his Friday drives and MacKinnon can't pick up a winner in four attempts on then MacKinnon will pick up his second consecutive Alexandra Park Junior Driving title. “It’s been an a very good season and I’m delighted to have won the Alexandra Park premiership again, because it is the main track in the North island and you never get sick of winning there. “I have been able to drive better horses this year and that’s why I’m getting more winners. I’m grateful to everyone who has helped me especially Robert Dunn, Tim Vince and Steve Telfer & Chris Garlick. They have been very supportive. “I think my season highlight was training and driving Kissmeimloaded in the Jewels Final (3yo Ruby Trot) this year. That was my goal at the start of the season and I achieved it,” MacKinnon said. “My next goal would be to represent New Zealand at the Australasian Junior Driving Champs,” he added. MacKinnon has recorded a personal best 16 wins this season ($155,745) – nine at ‘The Park’ and seven at Cambridge Raceway. His previous best in five seasons of driving was the 12 wins ($145,123) he recorded last year. All-up the former Mount Albert Grammar student has won 40 of his 523 lifetimes starts, placed 95 times, and netted $426,406 in career stakes. His lifetime UDR is 0.1606 compared to his 0.1942 this season. The Robert Dunn employee should win at least one race on Friday. He said Yagunnakissmeornot had come of age lately and MacKinnon thought he would be very hard to beat. “Robert has worked her out and since then she’s really come of age. She seems to be getting better with each race. She is my best drive on Friday,” MacKinnon said. Here’s what he had to say about his quartet of drives: Race 4: The Ivan Court trained Arden Lustre (8) - “He’s up here from the South Island staying with Steve and Chris, and he won his workout pretty well on Saturday. It’s not going to be easy from the draw, but Steve is happy with him and we expect him to go a bold race first-up.” Race 5: The Stephen Argue trained Speedy Lavros (10) - “He didn’t go too bad last time but he can be a funny horse at the start. He’s a hit or miss type but feels like he will win one next season. Things would have to go his way from his unruly (five) draw.” Race 6: The Robert Dunn trained Lambros (9) - “Three-year-old who should go better this week. He’s still learning but follows out his stablemate (last start winner, Johnny White) which should assist him. First four.” Race 7: The Robert Dunn trained Yagunnakissmeornot (11) - “Lovely mare who shouldn’t be too bothered with the 40m handicap, because she does things right at the start and loves this distance (2700m). She has won three of her last four starts and finished second and it's good to be back driving her again. She’s the best horse in Robert’s Pukekohe barn. It took a while for Robert to work her out but now that he’s achieved that she’s a very serious trotter. She’s been unstoppable of late and I think that trend should continue on Friday. The other good horses in the race are also handicapped. It would be a great way to end the season for me. I would love to win my 10th race on the track and I’ve got a very sensible horse to do it.” Duane Ranger

Matt Anderson wants to become the New Zealand Junior Driving champion, but his loyalty to the powerful ‘All Stars Stable’ on Jewels Day 2017 means more to him. The 25-year-old Rolleston horseman could have had three drives at Alexandra Park tonight (Friday), but instead opted for one, so he could get an early flight back to Christchurch and be there for Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen's full-on day on Saturday. “Tim (Vince) was very kind to me and offered me three drives in Auckland – Romanite (race six) and KD Hall (race seven). I’ve decided to fly up for the early race and just drive Drover’s Eyre in the fourth event. “I will catch the 9pm flight back to Christchurch so I can be there for my employers on our big day. I only have one drive at Ashburton (All You Need Is Faith – race six), but there will be a lot of gearing up and post-race work to be done. It will be huge again,” Anderson said. The former New Zealand representative soccer player is second on the New Zealand Junior Driver Championships. He has had 19 winners from 161 drivers. Pace-maker Rory McIlwrick has saluted 32 times from 321 drives. “I would so much love to be the New Zealand or Australasian Driving champion. That is my goal because I only have another year left in the juniors. “But I wouldn’t be winning anywhere if it wasn’t for ‘All Star Stable’ and I want them to know that I am loyal and they will always come first,” said Anderson. The former St Thomas of Canterbury College student currently said he was looking forward to his first drive behind the Vince trained Drover’s Eyre. “I don’t know too much about him but I do know that Tim has got him going along well at the moment with two wins from his last four starts. “The draw doesn’t make it easy but I’m not going up there to see my old mates. I’m going up there to win. I want points and wins to get near the top,” he said. Drover’s Eyre, who only cost Vince $2,000, has drawn 11 (of 11) but is still the first pick on HRNZ’s Trot Tech. The 7-year-old Falcon Seelster gelding has won seven of his 78 starts, including four over the 2200m mobile distance. He has had one unsuccessful start at Alexandra Park. “Tim said he goes better the other way around but winning form is hard to topple and I will be giving the horse every chance of winning. I really want to pay back Tim for his kindness towards me,” Anderson said. Anderson worked for Tony Herlihy (MNZM) at Ardmore before joining forces with the All Stars Stable a couple of seasons ago. He has now reined home 62 winners and 102 place-getters from 445 drives since 2013. He has also banked just over $600,000 in stakes. Anderson's 19 wins this season are six fewer than what he achieved in his personal best year last season. He finished sixth on the natiopnal junior driving premiership in 2015-2016. Drover's Eyre is also a South Islander. He started his career with a seventh for East Eyreton trainer Mike Brown at Geraldine in December 2012. He came north in August last year and so far Vince has won five races with him. Toughest for Drover's Eyre to beat in the junior driving event will be the Colin Butler trained and Tony Cameron driven Kilkeel Lady; and the Vince trained stablemate, Moondyne Joe (Jacob Wallace).   Duane Ranger

Tim Vince was once a high flying punter, now reinvented as one of the best harness racing  trainers in New Zealand. Watch this video on national news TV yesterday

Tim Vince can walk on water… and not just in the shower either. The Kumeu trainer has been on fire notching up six wins from as many starters at three meetings – all in just seven days. Vince made it six-from-six at Cambridge Raceway last night (Friday) when his flagship horse, KD Hall and Tony Herlihy (MNZM) won the $7,000 Fairview Motors Cambridge Handicap for the R50 and faster trotters.  He was the $1.40 favourite, and it was a gutsy performance from his 40m handicap. But the biggest shock of all came from the appropriately named Chal Shocked, who left people gobsmacked, when winning the $10,000 Kiwi Bus Builders Handicap for the R66 and faster pacers. The Jereme’s Jet gelding was the eighth favourite of eight and paid a whopping $34.60 to win. Bought from the South Island for a mere $5,000 in September last year, the 5-year-old got up in the last stride to beat second favourite M o casino (Zac Butcher) by a nose. Typically humble, Vince diverted all the praise to Ardmore driver, Scott Phelan. “I’m rapt for Scotty. We have been friends for over 20 years and this year has been a tough one for him. He’s a such a good driver and I want to support him as much as possible. “You don’t win more than 400 races and earn more than $4.3 million in your career by just sitting there. He’s a very talented driver and I’d never hesitate putting him on. The industry needs experience and quality like him,” 61-year-old Vince said. Vince has now doubled his season tally from six to 12 wins in just seven days. The latest half dozen victories now means he has recorded a season best. Last season he won nine races and to date has nailed 41 career victories ($311,123) since taking out his licence in 2012. "It's all luck. We have had the good draws, the good runs, and not one of our drivers has put a foot wrong. Any other day we might have drawn wide, got back and be running on for perhaps a place. "This harness sport is like a game of poker. You never know which hand you will be dealt. We have had a lot of luck. It's not a trainer thing," the ultra modest Vince said. His golden run of form started last Friday night at Cambridge when Chal Shocked and Vince’s partner, Sheryl Wigg in the $8,000 McMillan Equine Feeds Amateur Mobile for the Up to R63 pacers. Then later on that card, KD Hall and Herlihy nailed the $10,000 Breckon Farms R60 and faster trot. Then a day later Drover's Eyre and Wigg won the $6,000 Classic Cuisine Amateur Drivers R63-plus pace at Rotorua. Four races later Monnay and Brent Mangos were too good in the $8,000 Ruck N Maul Rotorua Handicap for the R50 and faster trotters. “I’m just an amateur trainer who tried to get the best out of people’s unwanted horses. I do my best to place them where I can. “KD Hall ($10,000) is the most expensive horse in our barn. Drover’s Eyre only cost us $2,000, and we paid just $6,000 for Monnay,”Vince said. “I recently bought another amateur horse from the South Island named Franco Hamilton for Sheryl to drive. He’s won twice and placed twice from his last four starts in Otago and Southland,” he added. On the way home from Cambridge last night, Vince and Wigg were at odds about KD hall’s career. “I want to retire him because I think he’s met his mark.The ratings will tell you that. He’s been so good to us and deserves a nice early retirement. He’s only seven but that is my gut feeling. “But Sheryl wants to start him in a 3000m race at Tauranga next start. He might start in that. We will just wait and see, but because of his rating my heart is telling me to call it quits with him. He deserves that,” Vince said. The son of Quite Easy had to work hard to notch up his 10th win in 62 starts last night. He started beautifully from his back-mark and after 400m found himself in fourth position. Herlihy then had him in the one-one at the bell. Then the master driver swept to the lead at the end of the back straight before holding on to win by half a length from Primus Inter Pares (Scott Phelan. KD Hall trotted the 2700mstand from 40m behind in 3:29.1 (mile rate 2:04.6) with final 800m and 400m sprints of 60.4 and 29.7.  Meanwhile Vince said he would continue to race Chal Shocked. “He’s also met his mark, but I don’t mind so much with him because I’m thinking one day he will be back in the amateur races again and Sheryl will be able to drive him. “He’s turned out way better than what I thought he would. That was a gutsy win last night, but it was all Scotty. That was one hell of a drive. “I don’t think we would have won that race last night had it not been for his prowess in the bike,” said Vince. Vince also paid a tribute to Wigg and Tabatha Fensom. “They do all the work at the stable. I’m nothing more than a stablehand. Without them we would not be winning,” he said. Duane Ranger

They might be training partners and they don’t always agree on everything – and that was certainly the case after the first race at Cambridge Raceway last Friday night (January 13). Sheryl Wigg was a tad upset with her winning drive behind Chal Shocked in the $8,000 McMillan Equine Feeds Amateur Mobile for the Up to R63 pacers. Her partner and trainer Tim Vince was rapt with the drive. “Sheryl wasn’t happy because she thought she went too hard down the back straight. I said I thought it was a lovely confident, positive drive. She’s too hard on herself. She works like a Trojan and has high standards. “She was first past the post and that was good enough for me. It’s funny how we had two perspectives on the race. That’s why she’s the stable’s number one amateur,” Vince said. Chal Shocked was the $3 favourite and it was definitely a daring drive from Wigg. She loomed up three wide in the straight and then ran a 28.4 second quarter as they surged away to a four length lead down the back straight. In the lane Chal Socked hung to beat eighth favourite, Shardon’s Pearl by a length. They paced the 2200m stand in 2:42.1 (mile rate 1:58.5) with final 800m and 400m sprints of 60.9 and 30.6. It was the 5-year-old Jereme's Jet gelding's fifth win from 30 starts. He's also ran second five times and won $27,213. That was Vince's third win with the 5-year-old since Vince paid $8,000 for him purely for amateur driving reasons last September. “He now has to leave the amateur ranks so I think he might be getting close to his mark. Perhaps Sheryl will drive him again if he is demoted back to amateur driving events. “I’ve just bought another amateur horse from the South Island named Franco Hamilton for Sheryl to drive. He’s won twice and placed twice from his last four starts in Otago and Southland. Vince said he would love to line him up in the Parawai Cup at Thames Cup on Sunday week (January 22), simply for sentimental reasons “One of our old favourites Celtic Warrior won the race for us last year. He was great old boy and sadly died last in June. He won seven races and more than $50,000 for us. “I’ll never forget him and for that reason I’d love to line Chal Shocked up in the Thames Cup just because of him. It’s a special race now because of that win last year. That was also his last win,” 61-year-old Vince said. As at Saturday, Vince is just one win behind his personal best of nine wins achieved last season. His eighth victory came via another ‘Old favourite’ - KD Hall in race five. While Chal Shocked was half-expected to win his race, KD Hall was the sixth favourite of nine and paid $11.80 when winning the $10,000 Breckon Farms Handicap for the R60 and faster trotters. Tony Herlihy (MNZM) got KD Hall home by three quarters of length. It was the 7-year-old Quite Easy gelding's ninth win in 61 starts. He's also placed 15 times and banked just shy of $90,000. "I think only just recently getting access to our neighbour's swimming pool in Kumeu in recent times has worked wonders for this fella. He is another horse who has done a wonderful job for us. “He’s the most expensive horse we have raced and he only cost us $10,000 when we got him off Murray Edmonds in November 2014. But that's his ninth win now and I think he's reached his mark. "I'm in two minds whether to retire him or not because the old boy (seven) has been so good to us, and four of his wins have been at Cambridge so what does that say about him. “I don’t think his rating will see him competitive any more and that’s not a ratings error, it’s just he’s met his mark and I can’t see him winning too many more, unless he drops back through the ratings quickly,” Vince said. “I’ll give it some serious thought. It won’t be easy either way,” he added. Footnote: Vince won another two races from two attempts at the Rotorua meeting yesterday (Sunday). He and Wigg won the first event behind Drover’s Eyre, while Brent Mangos got Monnay home for him in the fifth event. Four from four from Vince and two from two for Wigg! Season record. Duane Ranger

Kumeu trainer Tim Vince has made a flying start to the 2015-2016 season and his four runners at Cambridge Raceway tonight are all capable of getting the chocolates. Vince works four horses with his partner Sheryl Wigg at their new property just a few hundred metres from the Kumeu track. He said Chal Shocked (R1), KD Hall (R3), Drover's Eyre (R6), and Shards Phoenix (R9) were all capable of winning if things went their way tonight. Vince has elaborated on their prospects individually below. He said the majority of his work is done on his own 600m track that comes with his property and he only went to Kumeu perhaps once a week, if that. “We don’t give out horses a lot of fast-work. You have to remember we are dealing with older horses who have reached their mark and we try and we are attempting to rejuvenate them. “Actually Kevin Smith (Auckland Trotting Club Racing manager) inspired and taught me quite a bit about about training the older horses. “He told me that older horses who had reached their mark would never improve but they could still win races if you could re-freshen or rejuvenate them. He said you had to do something different to get the best out of them and that’s why I do a lot of heat-work with them,” Vince said. “My horses mainly race at Cambridge and Manawatu and usually animals that have been passed on. I like to buy amateur-type horses. I paid $2,000 for Drover's Eyre and my most expensive horse is KD Hall which cost $10,000. “He goes okay at Auckland at time, but really my team is better suited to $8,000 races and below. That’s about their limit,” said Vince who lines up two 7yos, a 6yo, and a 5yo tonight. Since Vince took up training in 2011 he has improved his season tally every year. His annual winning stats read three wins, then five, five, seven, and nine last season. So far in 2015-2016 Vince has had 11 starters to the races for three wins, one second and one third. His UDR strike-rate is a ‘ridiculous’ 0.3838. “It’s not about winning money for me. It’s about winning races and having fun. I’d say with the four-strong team I’ve got at the moment I’d be happy if we could get to nine wins again this season. “We usually come right late but I think two or three of them have almost reached their mark. I’m always looking for other horses to buy and train, so who knows what the season will bring, but I’d be happy with nine,” a modest Vince said. Once an avid amateur Vince openly admits his partner is now the driver of their team in amateur races. “To put it quite wimple - Sheryl is a better driver than me. She has always been a horse woman, having been a former jockey. She knows how to win races and can win the first race on Friday. I love the training these days and that suits me. “I’m happy with the occasional amateur drive but not as keen as what I used to be. I haven’t driven yet this season,” he said. “And the great thing about it all is that I wake up every day and no-one makes me do what I do. I do it because I love harness racing and enjoy working and racing my own team,” he added. Here’s what Vince, the current North Island Owner-Trainer-Of-the-Year, had to say about his quartet lining up at the Harness Racing Waikato meeting at Cambridge Raceway tonight: Race 1: Chal Shocked (3) Sheryl Wigg: "We bought this fella from the South Island in August and he’s as tough as old boots but doesn’t have huge speed. He’s going pretty well at the moment and he’s as good as I can get him. He always gives 150% and it’s hard to see him going a bad race here.” Race 3: KD Hall (5) Jack MacKinnon (j): "He is our best winning chance on the night. Barry (Purdon) usually drives him but he’s in Australia this week. We weren’t going to line him up down there but the Club has been so good to us and the numbers were thin so we decided to return their support. He went well last start despite the gallop and I can only put that down to the rough weather and bad track. He should go close in this.” Race 6: Drover's Eyre (1) Jack MacKinnon (j): "We lined him up in this know full-well he would get the one draw with his R47 rating. He’s a cheap horse who seems to be responding tom our heat treatment. We’ve changed his shoes and if he can get a nice sit in the trail or three-deep he can get some of it.” Race 9: Shards Phoenix (7) Jack MacKinnon (j): "She placed here two starts back but she is too highly rated for the ability she has, and if she does win again I may be forced to retire her because there would be no-where I could place her where she would be competitive. It’s hard to see her winning from the draw but with luck in the running she could place.” Driver comment: “Jack’s a good driver and should have a good night. If he doesn’t I want his driving fees back for the support I’ve given him,” Vince joked. Footnote: There were also be 500 teachers on-course on Friday for the annual ‘Schools Night Challenge’.   Duane Ranger

When David Branch leaves New Zealand bound for London on Sunday June 1 he will know he has played a huge part in developing possibly a world first at the Auckland Trotting Club. The former assistant racing manager, and now sales and marketing coordinator at the ATC, has been the leading force behind the club’s new-look website which will be launched on May 23. The website will stream all of its weekly race-card, as well as non-totes, Kidz Kartz Races and in fact all Alexandra Park happenings on race-night via APTV. “We have been working on this launch for several months now. It will be sad to walk away from it all just as it’s taking off – but I will walk away satisfied knowing a new revolution in racing has been forged,” Branch said. “The website will also have individual driver pages with their latest tips and information, as well as video interviews. But it is APTV that excites me the most. I don’t know of any other club that does this,” the 24-year-old added. Branch said the time was right for him to do his OE and see the world. “It took a lot of thought because I work with a wonderful team at the ATC and that’s going to be the hardest part – saying goodbye to them. I think Dominique (Dowding) is an exceptional CEO with revolutionary ideas. APTV and the new website is just one of them,” he said. “The club is heading both with the times and in the right direction because of her,” he added. Branch, who is the son of Hautapu trainers Murray and Susan Branch, started driving in the 2007-2008 season. He was appointed ATC assistant racing manager in May 2010. That was almost two years (August 2008) after he drove his first winner behind the John Green and Brian Hughes trained Roddick at Cambridge Raceway. That was the same year Branch was named 2008 Northern Harness Racing Cadet-of-the-Year. His racetrack highlight however came in May 2011 when he trained his first winner on his hometown course of Cambridge. The horse was his favourite all-time pacer - Ripped Pocket. “He was just the coolest horse to do anything with and definitely my favourite. I started working with him when I worked for Michelle Wallis (2010) and was later given the chance to train him thanks to Michelle and his owner, Tim Vince,” he said. He said he would sorely miss being around horses.  “I love harness racing and sadly where I’m heading it’s not strong but I’m looking forward to a complete break from the industry,” he said. Branch said there were many highs during his four years with the ATC. A couple of those were hosting the 2011 Inter Dominions with the NZMTC and then this year’s Auckland Cup. “I enjoyed working with the team from Christchurch and then again this year the Auckland Cup was so satisfying because we all worked so hard - and pulled off an amazing event,” Branch said. Branch said he would be coming home for Christmas before deciding his next move. “It was always going to be hard leaving and it’s even harder knowing the Club is experiencing a lot of changes and I can’t be there to see them develop. “But if I don’t do it now I may never get the chance. At 24 I feel the time is right.” For the record Branch has driven 18 winners since 2008 and trained five more. Branch also paid tribute to his parents. “Both Mum and Dad have been amazing and thoroughly supportive with my decision. That made it a lot easier knowing I have their blessing,” he said. By Duane Ranger (Harness Racing New Zealand)

Jack MacKinnon trained his first winner when Ruby Castleton won at Tauranga yesterday (Sunday). His one length triumph behind the race favourite in the C0-C1 Wilson trot came 13 months after his first driving win behind All About Speed at Alexandra Park. But the promising 18-year-old said those two victories meant nothing compared to what he experienced at Alexandra Park on Friday (January 24). “Nothing beats driving Dr Hook to win the feature trot at Alexandra Park. He’s been my favourite horse since I was doing Kidz Kartz. “I was just so pleased I could win the race for Paul (Nairn). He has put a lot of faith in me. I’m so happy for him. It was my way of repaying his trust in me,” MacKinnon said. When Nairn departed Auckland in the New Year bound for his Leeston home with Stig, Lotalov and Any Old Way, he left Dr Hook in the care of the former Mt Albert Grammar student. It’s not the first time he’s let MacKinnon take over his training duties. “I’ve know Jack since he was a young kid and he has always shown me his youthful enthusiasm. You can’t beat that. In the early days he would paddock, water and box them for me. “I knew how keen he was, and I’m just so happy for him. I had no fears whatsoever. I’m just glad I never gave him any driving instructions because I probably would have told him to take Dr Hook around to the front. “Instead he stayed back and bided his time. It goes to show how much I know,” joked the master Canterbury trainer. MacKinnon took out his training licence this season and worked his team out of Alexandra Park. Then when the track was being used for the annual ‘Fun Fest’ a couple of weeks ago he transferred his horses to Bernie Hackett and Michelle Wallis’s stable at Waiuku. “The horses really thrived on the (Karioitahi) beach and I’ve helped out Bernie and Michelle in the holidays and weekends for about six years now. “I’m now based there fulltime and I’m loving it. The horses really like it two,” said MacKinnon who has Dr Hook, Ruby Castleton, and Trot Up A Storm in work. “I prefer working trotters. I’ve learnt so much from Paul, Bernie, and Michelle. There’s also not so much gear to clean either. I like that,” he said. Mackinnon bought Ruby Castleton off Phil Williamson while he spent three months in the South Island working for Waikouaiti horseman Andrew Faulks. He has a half share in Trotupastorm with his ‘mentor’ – prominent Auckland owner and amateur driver Tim Vince. “Apart from my parents Tim has been my greatest supporter. If it wasn’t for him I don’t think I’d be where I am today. He gives me horses and he’s a straight talker who has inspired me to reach my potential. He’s one of my best friends and the person I turn to for advice,” MacKinnon said. Vince was doing handstands when MacKinnon and Dr Hook crossed the finishing line a whopping 6-1/2 lengths in front of Duchess Diedre in Friday’s C4-Oc $12,250 Hydroflow Trot. In fact Vince described it as his greatest moment in trotting. That’s a huge statement considering he has owned numerous Group One winning champions like Light And Sound and Cool Hand Luke. “It was even better than my first driving win. I think the world of Jack. He’s started 20 lengths behind the field simply because he’s got into the game without a famous racing surname to fall back on. “He’s such a hard worker. I’m just so pleased for him. He deserves every little bit of success that comes his way,” said Vince. MacKinnon could have one more start with Dr Hook before Nairn brings him home to prepare for the Rowe Cup. “It will be sad to say goodbye to him because it’s been a huge thrill to be able to train a horse I have admired since I was a young kid. “To drive an open class trotter with all that speed is a dream come true,” MacKinnon said. Speaking of dreams he said he wouldn’t have been able to fulfil his lifetime ambition had it not been for his parents. “Mum (Gayleen) has always been there for me since day one while Dad (Jamie), who owns ‘Olympic Swiss Watches’ has also been a great supporter and my race sponsor,” he said. Duane Ranger (Harness Racing New Zealand)

Any horseman that can knock more than seven seconds off a pacer's best mile time within 45 days of getting him surely has to be a magician or a harness racing genius.

Donegal Delight hasn't had much luck in her two seasons of harness racing but tonight (Friday May 25) at Alexandra Park the perennial underdog nailed her first Listed event. The Cran Dalgety trained mare won the $20,000 Powell Transport 38th North Island Fillies & Mares Breeders Stakes. It was justice really.

If there was ever one harness racing trainer that Tim Vince would especially love to win a race for it is Waiuku professional horsewoman Michelle Wallis and her husband Bernie Hackett.

Three years after being named Northern Harness Racing's top cadet - David Branch has trained his first winner. The 21-year-old assistant racing manager at Alexandra Park broke through for his debut win at Cambridge Raceway last week when he drove his pacer Ripped Pocket to victory in the night's feature pace - a 2-5-win event.

Geoff Barnes' love affair with the late Happy Cat mare Fellamore was enhanced even further after today's (Sunday January 23) Kapiti Coast Harness Racing Club's meeting held on the Otaki grass track. The broodmare died in July 2009 but two of her progeny did Barnes proud on today's nine-race programme.

The promising Statesman won his third consecutive harness race at Alexandra Park tonight (Thursday September 16) but trainer-driver Tony Herlihy and co-owner Tim Vince aren't getting carried away with the Sires Stakes-bound 3-year-old.

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