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Canterbury junior reinsman Matt Anderson has become a regular visitor to Southland and it's proving to be a rewarding exercise as six of his ten winning drives so far this harness racing season have been in Southland. At last weekends Wyndham meeting he scored a back to back double driving The Best Beg and Don Domingo to win.  Anderson took The Best Beg to the front with just over a lap to run after being in the open for a short time and from there the result was never in doubt. "He warmed up nice so we were always in with a bit of a show. When one of Tim Butt's horses travel to Wyndham you have to have a good level of confidence," he said. The Love You five year old went down to the line winning easily by three and a quarter lengths from Pyramid Mustang who ran home late.  Stretching out at the finish for an easy win          - Photo Bruce Stewart "I never asked for an effort so it was very encouraging." The Best Beg is out of the CR Commando mare Lough Beg. Her second dam Kahu Del left Harnett's Creek (13 wins), Swan Creek (8) and Cullen's Creek (9). Butt trained Swan Creek and Cullen's Creek. It's also the same family as champion trotter Lyal Creek. In the next race Anderson got hot favourite Don Domingo home in the Marshalls Garage 2005 Limited Junior Drivers Mobile Pace. The four year old by American Ideal has now won three of his five starts for West Melton trainer Ken and Tony Barron.  "He's a lovely horse coming through the grades. Ken,Tony and Blair (regular driver Blair Orange) have a good opinion of him. He's a horse going places."  The four year sat parked for most of the trip with Roxy Dale setting a solid pace. He was up challenging the leader at the 300 metres and held out a late charge from Don Sebastian to win by three quarters of a length. Don Domingo (2) holding out Don Sebastion (3)       - Photo Bruce Stewart. "He just shut off in the last little bit but when I asked for an effort I got a response. He's very green but he's good enough to sit parked and win on raw ability at this stage." His winning time for the 2400 metre mobile was 2-57.6 Don Domingo is out of the nine win In The Pocket mare Ohoka Moon and was bred by Cavalla Bloodstock. He stems from an old Southland family developed by the late Colin Baynes. His fifth dam is Donna Charles.  Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing

Tim Butt has described Daryl Boko an unlucky little horse whom he termed an opportunist who can go on and win a Group One trotting event either here or in Australia this season. The brown Majestic Son - Insider Trade gelding notched up his first New Zealand Group win at Cambridge Raceway last Friday night. Driven by Dexter Dunn, the 7-year-old had too much class in the Group Three Harcourts Te Awamutu Trotters Flying Stakes. They trotted the 1700m mobile in 2:03.4 (mile rate 1:56.8) and home in 58.1 and 28.7. He had three lengths and a length to spare over Sunny Ruby and favourite Quite A Moment. It was his first New Zealand win since arriving from Sweden, Finland and then Australia in November 2015. “He’s a great little stayer who hasn’t had much luck in the running this season. I think he’s got a Group One win in him, but in saying that he’s not up there with Lyell Creek and Take A Moment,” Butt said. Butt said he was delighted with Daryl Boko’s Group Three win. “He had a nice draw this time (one) and was helped that some of the good ones weren’t there ans some of the others had already had a tough season. “He’s a lot better than what he’s shown so far and he goes well fresh. That was his first race since mid December,” Butt said. He said Daryl Boko would next race Ballarat in a fortnight and then have his races spaced out between that race and the Great Southern Star on March 11. “We will then stay on in Melbourne for a month and take on the Australian Grand Prix. Spacing his races seems to work for him,” Butt said. Most of Butt's loyal owners who had shares in another Swedish trotter he trained – Peak – have come in on Daryl Boko, with a few newcomers as well, Butt said. They are G A Ayers, S J Gormley, R C Johnson, Miss J H Cole, The Fab Fin Syndicate, Clearwater Syndicate, S M Ellis, and J L Scott. All-up Daryl Boko has raced 48 times for 10 wins, 11 placings and $183,444 in stakes. He was Bred by Boko Stables in Holland. Duane Ranger

The lion’s share of the $50,000 stake on offer would be nice, but for a few contenders in Monday’s Ashburton Flying Stakes there’s a little more riding on the race than just stake monies.  With the New Zealand Trotting Cup just around the corner, there’s plenty of ground to be both won and lost in the Ashburton feature and a couple of starters will be looking to shape up, or ship right on out.  Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen’s assault on the race was reduced from three to two on Friday when Methven Cup winner, Smolda was withdrawn due to irregular bloods.  “It’s nothing to serious, they were just out a wee bit and we would rather be safe than sorry,” Purdon said.  “At this stage he will head to Kaikoura which wasn’t our initial plan.” Purdon said his remaining chances, Lazarus and Have Faith In Me had both trained on well from their Canterbury Classic runs.  “They’re both really well and should be pretty strong this week.  “Obviously there is a bit of pressure on Have Faith In Me to step away well after not quite getting it right, but Natalie believes he will eventually get there.  “But you would really want to see him getting away this week against a small field.” Christen Me joins the All Stars duo after the late decision was made to start him after the race was initially off the radar.  There’s also Field Marshal. He’s not a Cup nominee, but is being aimed towards the New Zealand Free-For-All on Show Day so a good showing against a small shadow field of the Cup will be a good pointer toward his chances.  Tim Butt never had this race on the radar, but was keen to find out exactly where he was at and the only way he could do that was by heading to the races.  “We could keep going to the trials and running home in fast last halves, but you never really know until you go to the races,” Butt said.  “So we will have a look and see what transpires. He will obviously need the run, but you have to start somewhere.” Probably the horse with the most pressure on him though is Tiger Tara.  A lacklustre, by his usual high standards, fifth when last produced left Geoff Dunn not completely happy so he backed right off last year’s New Zealand Free-For-All winner with a view to freshening him up for this assignment.  So there’s a bit of pressure on him to get back to somewhere near his best this weekend too.  Half an hour after the Flying Stakes the attention will turn to the Trotters’ Flying Mile and the resumption of Monbet.  The reigning Horse of the Year will kick off his bid to the Dominion Handicap from barrier seven.  Second at the workouts on Tuesday at Ashburton, Greg and Nina Hope and also Ricky May were all pleased with the effort and know that whatever the son of Love You produces this weekend, he will improve on.  His biggest danger, Marcoola has drawn on the second line which has left Clint Ford relying on a little luck.  “We will just have to see how things unfold, hopefully we can get a nice run through,” Ford said.  The race was robbed of Habibti yesterday after she was withdrawn due to a foot infection.   Super Selector  - By Matt Markham  Race 1: Vincent, Pay Me Interest, Boults On Fire, Pirate Bay Race 2: Mr Mojito, Kotare Yael, Usain Colt, Ears Burning Race 3: Kingdom Come, Jean Sebastien, The Fox, Ella Abbe Race 4: You Gotta Have Faith, Sparkling Delight, Cmeerock, Mr Woodlea Race 5: Royal Shine, Lothario, All Star Angus, All Lit Up Race 6: Piccadilly Princess, Dream About Me, Little Rascal, Quick As A Trick Race 7: Lazarus, Have Faith In Me, Field Marshal, Christen Me Race 8: Monbet, Marcoola, Sunny Ruby, Harriet Of Mot Race 9: Crackared, Dalness Xchange, Gupta’s Cullen, Beyond Belief Race 10: Superfecta, Christopher Banner, Chapter One, Well Armed Best Bet: You Gotta Have Faith (Race 4) Value: Crackared (Race 9)

There’s a long term goal so at the moment anything else is a bonus with The Bachelor. And with Tim Butt at the helm you just know the promising pacer is going to get every chance to put his best hoof forward when the opportunity presents itself. Off the back of an eye-catching fourth last time out behind You Gotta Have Faith the three-year-old returns to Addington tonight to contest another heat of the Sires’ Stakes Series with Butt hopeful of maybe doing enough to sneak his way into the final. “He’s going to be a better horse in time, he’s really got the makings of a Derby horse I think,” Butt said. “What he’s doing now, he’s doing on raw potential. He went from having not been off the place a while back to running fourth in a Sires’ Stakes heat and I know he can only get better. “I think we might be a little bit short this week, he will definitely improve with the run but it doesn’t put him out of it. “Hopefully we can settle a little closer to the speed and get our chance.” It’s a very good Sires’ Stakes field with More The Better, King Solomon and On The Rantan leading the contenders list. Butt takes four horses to Addington tonight with four chances. Maiden pacer Rocknroll Magic has let the punters down so far but there is some promise there. “He’s probably been a little over-hyped so far, there is ability there but he might take some time to come to it.” New stable recruit Joey Maguire has impressed his new boss in a short time at West Melton since leaving the Robert Dunn stable. “He’s a great wee horse, I found this race for him a while ago because I thought he got into quite well so we will just see what happens. “He’s going to be a nice horse to have running around over the summer circuit I think, that’s his real go.” Butt’s final chance of the night is Beg Hall – a talented , but sometimes erratic, trotter, who will take on a very good junior drivers’ field with Kim Butt in the bike. “I’ve always had a bit of time for him but you just never know with him. “If he does everything right I think he will be right there, but fresh up and in a junior drivers race anything could happen.” Once tonight is out of the way, the focus will shift to Ashburton for Butt with Field Marshal stepping out of his comfort zone to tackle the Ashburton Flying Stakes. The race jumped onto the radar when it became apparent there would be low numbers and Butt is also keen to get a good mark on where the five-year-old is at in his preparation for the New Zealand Free-For-All. “There’s only one way to find out and that’s to take them on. “I’m really happy with everything he’s done, but it’s just a case of getting some racing into him now.” Blair Orange will handle the driving duties with Dexter Dunn sticking with Christen Me.   Matt Markham

One of the forgotten horses of the open class pacing ranks this season is chipping away quite nicely thank you very much. Because he’s not nominated for the New Zealand Trotting Cup, Field Marshal isn’t probably getting the notice he deserves as he points towards the New Zealand Free-For-All a few days after the big dance at Addington. But the Tim Butt trained pacer, who has come back as a five-year-old in splendid order, may put himself in the spotlight in the next couple of weeks with a surprise twist in his preparation potentially on the horizon. A little frustrated with workouts and trials that equate to nothing more than a sprint home, Butt is toying with the idea of lining the three-time Group One winner up in the Ashburton Flying Stakes - but nothing is confirmed yet. “I’ll have to have a chat with the owners first, but it is a possibility,” Butt said. “We would gain a lot more out of going to a race like that than returning to the workouts and trials. He can just be driven quietly and get a good run under his belt before Cup Week.” The entire looked pretty on song yesterday when he won at the Ashburton workouts beating Piccadilly Princess and Dream About Me in a sprint from the 800 metre mark after Dexter Dunn surged the imposing pacer forward. For a man who has had a lot of top line horses during his illustrious training career, Butt is certainly fizzing about the prospect of having his star performer back at the races. “He’s come back up great, he really looks like a stallion. “He’s still lazy though, he just does what he has to do and no more but I’m lucky that he is a pretty natural athlete.” Should Butt and Field Marshal’s owners, Syd and Shona Brown elect to go to the Ashburton Flying Stakes on Monday week then they could rest easy in the fact they wouldn’t have to find a driver with Christen Me not heading to Ashburton meaning Dunn would be available to take the reins. Mark Purdon gave his two runners good marks for their first up efforts. Piccadilly Princess worked forward into a strong wind down the back straight for Tim Williams while Dream About Me followed her forward and went to the line comfortably. “It was good start, about where I thought they both would be. “At this stage both of them will come to the Ashburton meeting and then we will go from there.” It was a big 24 hours for Dream About Me after her dam, Splendid Dreams foal a full-sister to her overnight Monday. The filly, who automatically has a massive price tag attached to her due to her breeding is also a half-sister to Christen Me.   Matt Markham

The first South Island harness racing juveniles to step out publicly in the new season have been at the workouts in the last few weeks. Yesterday at Ashburton "Art Banker" a 2yo filly by Art Official scooted over a mile by herself in 1;59.8 with closing sectionals of 57.0 for the 800m and 27.0 for the 400m. Trainer Gavin Smith was very happy with the run saying "she does have a lot of speed".  A race later and Gavin had a 2yo colt by Auckland Reactor and also a 2yo gelding by Rock N Roll Heaven racing. They finished second and third behind the Tim Butt trained Tribeca who won the 1609m race in 2:01.2 speeding over the last 800m in 57.1 and 400m in 26.8. Gavin thought both his went good. "The Auckland Reactor colt actually has a bit of a cough this week and went better last week" he said. "He will be turned out and prepared for the "Young Gun" series if not sold prior".   The Rock N Roll Heaven gelding might have one more workout and then he too will be set for the "Young Gun" series. Gavin said all three of his 2yos at the Ashburton workouts were for sale.            Harnesslink Media  

Tim Butt is heading to Addington tonight feeling more hopeful than he is confident. His Swedish trotter, Daryl Boko, will begin his march to the Dominion Handicap when he tackles tonight’s Ordeal Cup - taking on the likes of Sunny Ruby, Amaretto Sun and Sheemon. But there’s no massive expectations on the shoulders of a diminutive trotter, Butt will just be happy to see him there and being competitive. “I don’t know if he can win it fresh up or not,” Butt said. “His trials have been very good, he trotted home in 56.2 at Rangiora behind Jag’s Invasion, so he’s ready to go.” Unsighted in New Zealand since he finished fifth behind Springbank Sam at Addington back in January, Daryl Boko campaign unsuccessfully in Australia. “Here we had problems with manners, but the ability was always there. “But over in Australia he had the manners but wasn’t showing his best ability.” The aim is the Dominion Handicap on Show Day in November, but there’s a slight possibility that Butt might forgo that opportunity to target the New Zealand Trotting Free-For-All on the Tuesday. “We’ve got to make that decision at some point, I’m hearing Monbet won’t be there on the Tuesday so we may be better heading to that and trying to win there. “It’s something we have to weigh up because he doesn’t back up so it’s one or the other.” Tonight’s Ordeal Cup does look at the mercy of Sunny Ruby who was stunning winning fresh up last week for Sam Smolenski. The speedy mare looks capable of sitting last in such a small field and swamping her rivals late and Butt is certainly impressed with her. “She’s up near the Monbet league the way she can sprint, it’s pretty impressive.” Amaretto Sun, who missed away last week, but was making up a lot of ground late looks her biggest danger while Sheemon will also be improved off the back of his fresh up effort last week. Meanwhile, Butt’s stable star, Field Marshall, is about a month away from stepping out at the trials. “He’s come back really well, we’ll head to the trials and see where we are at from there.” The Junior-Free-For-All on Cup Day is the immediate aim and then, all going well, the New Zealand Free-For-All on Show Day - but don’t expect to see the speedy merchant before then. “I’m thinking Cup Day fresh up will be us, then onto the Free-For-All on the Friday from there. “After that we will look at a couple of nice races at Cambridge around Christmas time before heading to Australia.” Matt Markim

Dexter Dunn is fast becoming the biggest fan of Harness Jewels harness racing at Cambridge. The unparalleled horseman notched up his sixth Cambridge Harness Jewels victory, and his second for the day, when he produced a perfect drive on Field Marshal to get the Tim Butt trained pacer home for victory in the 4YO Emerald. “I’m quite liking this place at the moment,” Dunn said. “I’ve had a bit of luck here that’s for sure.” The victory was Dunn at his front running best. He snuck a 29 second quarter in down the back straight the final time which he said was the winning of the race. “Being able to get that wee breather in then really helped, although Ricky (May and Usain Colt) really came at us late and I thought we were in a bit of trouble. “But he kept fighting, he really deserves this when you look at the season he’s had.” Tim Butt said that the speedy pacer would now head to the paddock for a well-deserved spell for six weeks before being slowly brought back up. “We will have no preconceived plans, I’m not sure about the New Zealand Cup, but he will be at Cup Week in some capacity,” Butt said. “He’s still a big immature horse who has a bit to learn, he’s getting there though.” Owned by Syd and Shona Brown of Otago, who also bred the entire from their former great female pacer, Foreal, Butt said winning another big race for them was special. “They are great people and great owners. Syd’s dad was a great galloping trainer and he’s a great stockman too. “They’ve done all the work with this horse from very early on so it’s great to be able to put the final polish on for them and get success.” Usain Colt went close to the upset of the day when he snuck up the markers to run a narrowly beaten second. “I thought I had him at the top of the straight,” Ricky May said. Titan Banner put in a herculean effort to run third after working overtime down the back straight while Australian raider, My Kiwi Mate was a brave third. Winner: Field Marshal - Driver: Dexter Dunn - Trainer: Tim Butt - Owners and Breeders: Shona and Syd Brown. Time: 1:53.15 - Margin: Long Neck - 800m: 55.9 - 400m: 27.1 - 2nd: Usain Colt - 3rd: Titan Banner Matt Markham

Enghien's​ tardy effort at Saturday's Harness Jewels workouts has the warning bells ringing with a deafening tone for favourite punters. The dominant two-year-old Ruby favourite was never comfortable behind the mobile and galloped away from the gate at Cambridge Raceway. His fractious performance was enough for co-trainer Greg Hope to admit he now has some serious concerns around the son of Love You's manners heading in to the $100,000 Group I next Saturday. So much so, Hope made a plea to move Enghien to the unruly because he thought he was a better chance of stepping away and was probably still good enough to win from there. But his request to give away his handy draw of barrier three was declined because punters had already bet into the post-draw market. Hope said he cannot give punters any guarantees and Enghien's post-barrier draw quote of $1.18 seems sure to drift when the Jewels markets re-open on Sunday. "I'm not overly confident with him now, more hopeful. "We've got some work to do with him during the week," Hope said. Hope officially trains in partnership with wife Nina but their son Ben, an integral part of their Woodend Beach operation, will also be working triple overtime in the next seven days. Enghien was still good enough to beat home Mortician, the only other runner in the heat, but he will not be winning the Jewels if he gives away 50m like he did at the workouts. "He trotted lovely afterwards, he finished it off really well but the start is a concern," Hope said. Everything centres around the start for Enghien – if he gets away safely it is most likely game over for his rivals. Enghien only arrived in the north on Thursday and Hope said it is a possibility the trip may have taken something out of the talented trotter and he may settle in this week. It was a morning of rocks and diamonds for the Hope team with four-year-old Ruby favourite Monbet looking every bit the champion he is with a leisurely jog in 2:00.6 for the mile on an easy-rated track. Hope cannot fault Monbet, a winner of six Group I races already this season, and was "really happy" with his hit-out. Meanwhile, any doubts around the health of Field Marshal have been put to bed. An impressive workout win has confirmed to punters what trainer Tim Butt already knew – a minor bout of colic on May 17 has done nothing to decrease his chances in the four-year-old Emerald. Field Marshal did a bit of work off the gate to lead all the way. He cut out the 2200m trip in 2:44.5 with a mile rate of 2:00.3 and closing sectionals of 58.1 and 26.6 to beat home Bettor Spirits by one-and-a-quarter lengths with a further two-and-a-quarter back to Chase The Dream. "It was probably the perfect trial for him," Butt said. A dual Group I winner in his last two starts when winning the Taylor Mile and Messenger, Field Marshal's chances of a third win on the trot at the elite level have only been helped by drawing the ace. Field Marshal can burn the gate and in the hands of Dexter Dunn will be going straight to the front and Butt is not cornered about leading all the way. "People have him as a speed horse, which he is, but he's put in some really tough runs too. "I'll leave it up to Dexter but when you draw there over a mile your hand is forced to try and lead all the way really," Butt said. Field Marshal's favouritism is likely to firm off the workout win, especially with main rival Titan Banner starting from the outside of the front-line. Mat Kermeen

With the big names falling out of contention for 4-year-old Diamond, Harness racing trainer ​Mark Jones believes Rocker Band is now a winning chance at the Harness Jewels - but there is a downside. The withdrawals of last year's three-year-old Diamond winner The Orange Agent (injured), Fight For Glory (retired), Start Dreaming (injured) and then Australian invite Arms Of An Angel (virus), there is no dominant favourite. Now the most open of the nine divisions, Jones knows there is probably eight or nine other trainers sharing his confidence.  Better B Amazed ($3.60), Expressive Victor ($4.20), Democrat Party ($4.60) and On The Town are the main pre-barrier draw hopes with Rocker Band at $9.50. Jones believes the draws with be crucial. "The second line wouldn't be too bad but we wouldn't want to draw wide as you need to be handy at Cambridge. "With her (Arms Of An Angel) coming out it's probably opened it up for eight or nine horses so it could be very even," Jones said. Sunday's Oamaru meeting is the last chance for potential Jewels runners to increase their season's stake money to qualify into the fields. The race has become much more of a priority to Jones and Rocker Band's owner Greg Brodie because of the defections of so many leading chances. Rocker Band, the daughter of Rocknroll Hanover and 2005 New Zealand Cup winner Mainland Banner, has been progressing nicely since her last-start 12th in the Group I Breeders Stakes on April 1, when she raced keenly for a good chunk of the 2600m trip. "Her record over a mile is pretty good and she's a speed horse," Jones said. Rocker Band's recent Rangiora Workout win Meanwhile, Tim Butt is a relieved man following duel Group I winner Field Marshal's recovery from a minor bout of colic on Tuesday. The Taylor Mile and Messenger winner was brilliant in his Auckland campaign and is a $1.55 favourite for the 4-year-old Emerald at the Jewels. Butt said you can never take anything for granted in the racing game and colic was an occupational hazard with horses but he was confident the minor setback was now behind the winner of eight of his last 10 races and 14 from 25 overall. "He'll just take it quietly for a couple of days but we kept the work into him after Auckland so that will help him," Butt said. Missing the Jewels would have been tough for Butt and owners Syd and Shona Brown, who bred the Art Major entire out of their outstanding race mare Foreal, because he missed much of his three-year-old season following a wind operation. Pre-barrier draw, Field Marshal looks the horse to beat but newcomer to the All Stars barn, Titan Banner, has been backed into $3.40.     "On form he looks like the best horse in the race but you still need a bit of luck in those big races." The All Stars stable looks to have both Group I features at Addington on Saturday in the bag with favourites in the New Zealand Oaks and 2-year-old Sires Stakes for colts and geldings. The All Stars barn of Mark Purdon​ and Natalie Rasmussen also looks likely to pick up a win across the Tasman to round out the day when High Gait, who will be driven by Darren Hancock, contests the Group II New South Wales Trotting Oaks. Christen Me should have enough class to win the Winter Cup (3200m) off 30m but front-markers New Years Jay and Titan Banner (off 10m) will make him work. Mat Kermeen

Everything went to plan for the four harness racing big guns tonight at the Auckland Trotting Club's meeting at Alexandra Park. Spanish Armada got things off to a flying start when she was successful in the $138,000.00 Group 1 Magness Benrow Sire Stakes Fillies Championship. Away nicely from barrier 6, co trainer and driver Natalie Rasmussen had the classy 2yo Bettor’s Delight in front and dictating after 300m. No one was keen to take the recent Caduceus Club Final winner on and she was allowed to stride along in front. While some punters who took the $1.30 around the favourite would have been nervous when the Mark Jones trained filly Delightful Memphis popped out of her 1-1 spot to issue a serious challenge, to wear the leader down to just a winner margin of a neck. The winner’s time for the 1700m trip was 2:02.3, Last mile in 1.55.7 – 800m 56.4 – 400m 27.7. The PGG Wrightson Yearling Sales 2yo Fillies Final set down for the 13th May will be the next clash of these two talented fillies. No doubt with a handy draw Delightful Memphis could turn the tables on the top seed Purdon/Rasmussen runner. Spanish Armada _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Tonight’s Breckon Farms Northern Trotting Derby victory for Marcoola once again justified owner/driver Clint Ford’s decision to not sell his star 3yo colt. With an offer reportedly around the $250,000.00 mark, Ford was quick to make it clear that he wouldn’t be for sale. Since that offer Marcoola has won just over $120,000.00 in stakes, while adding the NZ Trotters Derby, Sire Stakes Trotting Championship and now the Northern Trotting Derby to his resume. A 3yo Colt by Champion sire Sundon out of the Ford Family’s handy race mare Arabess – Marcoola is the horse most people dream of breeding and owner themselves. A smart drive from Clint tonight got the chocolates as he once again showcased his class by demolishing a top class field. Allowed to settle early by Ford, Marcoola was then set around to find the top, this move left 2nd favourite High Gait in a world of trouble covered up four back the pegs. In a surprise move, High Gait’s driver Natalie Rasmussen was happy to stay tucked along the rail and was seen storming home for an unlucky 3rd. Marcoola went to the line, with plenty in the tank as Ford only flicked the reins at his charge in the home straight to score by 1 length in an overall time of 3:23.7, Mile rate of 2:01.4 – 800m in 58.2 – 400m in 29.6. The Harness Jewels looks his race to lose on the back of this 7 race winning streak. Marcoola _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Field Marshal was another short favourite to salute the judge, this time doing the sort after Taylor Mile/Messenger double. After a huge performance in last weeks Taylor Mile, Trainer Tim Butt was confident his top class Art Major 4yo would handle every part of the 2700m trip.  Given a lovely trip by leading driver Dexter Dunn, Field Marshal was dominate beating Australia visitor My Kiwi Mate by 1 ¼ Lengths in a sizzling 3:15.8. With tonight’s victory, Field Marshal climbs over the $250,000.00 mark in stakes earnings, with a healthy record of 14 wins from just the 25 starts. While Field Marshal in a clear leader on top of the Harness Jewels leader board, Australian My Kiwi Mate catapulted himself into 22nd spot, just $10,000.00 short of the 12th place Captain Doimio. With connections chasing a jewels spot, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see My Kiwi Mate line up at Alexandra Park over the next few weeks in order to qualify. The 4yo Jewels invite is likely to go to the Amanda Turnbull trained Tact Tate, who will make their decision in the coming days. Field Marshal _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Superstar trotter Monbet was absolutely sensational in the 2016 Rowe Cup, winning from an awkward, inside the back row draw. Trained at Woodend Beach by Greg and Nina Hope, Monbet started one of the hottest favourites in history after arch rival Speeding Spur was stuck down by a suspensory injury that could see him sidelined for 10-12 months. Away nicely from the tapes, Monbet settled in before driver Ricky May sent the $1.11 favourite around to the lead with two laps to run. From there on after the 4yo Love You gelding never looks in danger. Owned by the Hopes and M J Molloy, they also turned down a reported offer of $600,000.00 a few weeks back. Since that offer Monbet has earn't a tidy $184,000.00. Co trainer Greg Hope confirmed last night that providing his charge recovers well they will look to take their place in the Cambridge Harness Jewels, where he will start one of the shortest jewels favourites ever. Waimate trotter Valmagne was the run of the race behind the winner. Co Trainer Josh Kennett was stoked with the performance of his stable star, “He has gone super, last week he broke just as he was getting into it” said Kennett. Monbet Andrew Fitzgerald

If the extra distance of tonight's $100,000 Messenger is the only major question hanging over the head of hot favourite Field Marshal, then trainer Tim Butt is a happy man. Because he says the extra lap of Alexandra Park than what his stable star covered on the way to a brilliant win in the Taylor Mile last Friday shouldn't put punters off. Field Marshal defied the usual Taylor Mile racing pattern by coming from third last at the 1200m mark to loop the field four wide and bolt in, suggesting he has a decent class edge on most he meets tonight. He has been on an impressive improvement curve this season, with a throat operation last year enabling him to show his rare true potential. But his only two defeats this season though have both been at 2600m mobile, when he was outstayed in consecutive starts at Oamakau and Addington in January, at least raising the question of his stamina rating. Butt says he doesn't expect that to undo Field Marshal tonight. "That was a lot earlier in his campaign and while he is a fast horse, he is also a very relaxed horses so I don't think distance will bother him," said Butt. "I know some people might worry because of his past throat problem but it was one of those ones where the operation to fix it either works or it doesn't, and in his case it has." Field Marshal has the gate speed to go forward and try and dominate a race that seems to lack many natural attackers but regardless of where he ends up, he is clearly the horse to beat. My Kiwi Mate should be better over the longer distance and wasn't suited by having to sit parked last Friday so he looks the each way value. Hug The Wind is drawn to be close to the action and warrants respect as does Bettor Spirits in a field where those who don't have to burn too hard early should profit. Earlier in the night it is impossible to go past Spanish Armada in the $150,000 Fillies Sires' Stakes. "She put a line in the sand last week to say she is the best of this crop and I think the draw suits her," says co-trainer Mark Purdon. But Purdon warns there will be little between three-year-old stablemates Dream About Me and Golden Goddess when they resume at Addington tonight. Courtesy of Michael Guerin

This Fridays Taylor Mile is one of the most even fields you will see in a while. Won by Mossdale Connor last year, other stars to win this sort after race include, Christen Me, Terror To Love, Changeover and Elsu. While this year nobody really stands out above the others. After the scratching of Say My Name this morning the Dunn barn have Robbie Burns and Little Rascal engaged. Robbie Burns made an early mistake back on the 31st March, he lost close to 50m and was seen storming home behind Bettor Spirits in a quickly run affair. “Robbie Burns was super last start, he’s a great chance from his draw, and there isn’t much between them both” said John Dunn Little Rascal was another to make an early mistake last week and cost himself plenty of ground in a tidy field. They ran home in 55.2/27.4 off the front and he finished just in behind them after being 5L off them at the 400m. “Little Rascal’s run last week was a lot better then the form line reads, he’s been going nice races and I wouldn’t rule him out of a top 4 placing with a handy trip” said Dunn. Other Canterbury visitors Maverick (Nigel McGrath) and Field Marshal (Tim Butt) look strong chances. Maverick has been a revelation since joining Nigel McGrath’s barn; Owned by A J McGrath and breeders Ken and Anne Marie Spicer, this season Maverick has won 6 from 16, including 5 seconds. "Maverick has travelled up well, his bloods weren't right a while ago and we missed a trial so I’d expect him to improve on this weeks run. The 2700m is more his go" said McGrath. The Tim Butt trained and likely favourite Field Marshal, will look to continue his picket fence line after beating Locharburn last start. Drawn awkwardly on the second line, driver Dexter Dunn will have to at his very best to get the Art Major entire over the line in first place. Hug The Wind (Barry Purdon) and Bettor Spirits (Mike Berger) look the best of the Northerners chances, both have been in super form recently but have tough barriers to work from. While Prince Of Pops (Garlick/Telfer) and Risk (Andrew & Lyn Neal) have drawn perfectly in barriers 1 and 2 respectively. Australian My Kiwi Mate arrives on a flight late this week looking to qualify for the Harness Jewels. With Tact Tate likely to receive the Harness Jewels invite, trainer Craig Demmler will be hoping to qualify his runner through the Taylor Mile and Messenger Andrew Fitzgerald

Back when I was teenager, I played golf with a fella whose short game was about as good as his horse knowledge when I told him who I had backed in the cup. The favourite that year was Flashing Red having just won the Ashburton Flying Stakes and almost every other lead up to the cup going in. One mare in particular that ran a cheeky race at Ashburton was the Open Class mare Foreal (2001 – Washington VC – Krystle). Never the safest from a stand, she missed away in the flying stakes and ran a slasher for fifth. While she missed away in the cup and put pay to her chances at the barrier tapes, I always remember what he said to me regarding the mare. “The difference between her and Flashing Red is that Flashing Red is a real race-horse.” Really? I wish I had infohorse on my old Nokia brick back then as I would have been able to spend the next 10 holes re-educating him on $664,800 in stakes and a career that spanned 5 Group race wins (2 at Group 1) and 12 Group race placings. The horse was quite literally, ‘Foreal’, and is now living up to that same moniker as a mother stamping her mark in the broodmare barn. Syd Brown, the Mosgiel property developer who bred, owned and even trained Foreal for her first two 2 year old starts (both wins) was delighted to see the second foal he has bred from the mare winning his first start of the new campaign. “It was a great win after all the trials and tribulations he’s been through really, and it was great to see a good outcome!” Field Marshal (2011 – Art Major) won the Prime Panels Mobile Pace comfortably in the hands of Dexter Dunn after flying the gate to hold the lead before handing up and securing a trail. He buzzed up the passing lane in a very quick final 400 of 26.9 to win going away. Syd’s wife Shona who shares in the breeding and ownership of the beautifully bred four year old entire said they were excited for what may lie ahead after the classy display fresh up. “That was his first start since he had surgery on his pallet” she said. “While racing in Australia it was discovered that he had a very severe wind issue and the vet, Alistair Mclean of Werribee Clinic couldn’t believe he was winning with the issue that he had!” Having run a super 1:54 mile at Menangle in February in the hands of Anthony Butt, he was then a disappointing 7th a week later in a heat of the NSW Derby. It was then the wind issue was discovered and the couple’s patience looks to have been rewarded since. For that a lot of the credit must go to Tim Butt who Syd say’s has shown his skill in placing the horse well and taking his time in bringing him back. Syd’s first experience with Standardbreds was typical of most when they catch the bug we call harness racing; “Umm really it was something that was way back when I was in my youth where I went up to Chirstchurch for the cup meeting helping out my next door neighbour Hector Anderton. And he took me up to Don Nyhans place because Hector had a horse there called Snow Globe (1958 – Johnny Globe – Snow Jane).” “I was out there and Don gave me a drive on one of his pacers and I was hooked from tha moment on. From that we went to the Interdominion sale at Forbury Park when they were held there and we bought a mare in foal to Johnny Globe called Omylight (1960 Light Brigade – Scotomy) and that was my start in the industry” he said. Syd was very understating in the success he and his wife have shared since when referring to the family he has bred from dating back to 1966. “I’ve been very fortunate to have bred some horses that were a little bit above average and it gives you a great thrill but also when you’re in this game, when you’ve got livestock, you’ve also got dead stock as well so you do have the ups and downs and it’s never plain sailing. And that’s what you’ve got to learn when you’re in this game is you’ve got to be able to take the knocks as well as the good times” he said. Members of the family to have given the Browns some of those good times mentioned include Sydney James (1968g – Johnny Globe – Omylight) which was the subsequent foal from the Dunedin sale. Syd credit’s the horse for getting him started and getting to the verge of cup class but it was a son of Lordship that took his family and friends on “many nice trips away and allowed me to meet many nice people in the game”. That horse was Regal Light (1971 – Lordship – Omylight) which was a high speed horse and won 11 races whilst under the care of Syd himself throughout the mid to late seventies. Foreal’s dam, Krystle (1985 – El Patron – Diedre) raced with distinction and won five races and placed in 21 more but happened to run into another quality mare in Blossom Lady when racing in the mares classics. Krystle was a broodmare gem leaving more winners in Clontarf (1992g – Vance Hanover), Regal Star (1993g – Smooth Fella – 16 wins & 23 placings in Queensland) and Checkmate (1997g – Jaguar Spur). Like Foreal, her deeds as a grand dam have been replicated with the (1997) Holmes Hanover mare in Coming Up Roses who Syd bred in partnership with his wife Shona. While she was only placed four times in 14 starts for Syd as the sole trainer, her progeny have gone on to bigger and better things for the couple. Regal Dash (2000g – Fake Left) was her first foal and was sold to Australia where it won its first nine of 11 starts including the Group 3 Bendigo Cup. Ask Me Now (2009m – Washington VC) ran a smart second in the Southland Cadeuceus Club Fillies race (Group 3) before going on to win 10 races in Australia and $112,344 in stakes. They have also enjoyed recent success with the smart 5 year old mare Delightful Dash (2010 – Lis Mara) who has won 11 races and had a stellar four year old season running in the money 13 times from 20 starts! With all the success that has come from the family it is hard for Syd to go past the deeds of the super mare Foreal. “To be honest she just couldn’t go from a stand, and some days was even a bit suspect from behind the mobile. She ended up costing herself a chance in the Mircale Mile at Harold Park as a four year old where she galloped on the gate and lost about thirty or fourty meters and flew home to be in a photo for the first four.” “To my knowledge she’s still the only filly to have won the Triple Crown in Auckland (G2 Ladyship Stakes, G2 Sires Stakes Filles Championship, G1 Great Northern Oaks).” She went on that year to win the NSW Oaks in a season where she won 9 of her 12 starts as a three year old. Outside of breeding and training Syd also got into the administration side of racing where he spent 10 years on the board at Forbury Park and eventually became the President of the trotting club. “Under Max Bowden’s term I also headed up a handicapping subcommittee to look at a handicapping system for the industry so I guess you can say I’ve had quite an involvement in harness racing right from breeding to training and even administration.” If Field Marshal’s fresh up win off a long layoff is anything to go by, Syd and Shona Brown will have quite a lot more involvement with the quality stock they continue to breed and race. Story from Breeders’ Weekly Subscribe here: View Issue 3 here: Brad Reid Executive Manager New Zealand Standardbred Breeders Assn  

Swedish trotter Daryl Boko could make his first public outing in New Zealand as soon as next week. West Melton harness racing trainer Tim Butt said the six-year-old Majestic Son trotter has continued to thrive in the last few weeks. Daryl Boko is on track for cup week but is still no certainty and Butt said while it would be great to see him racing in the big time so soon, the winner of nine races from 28 starts would not be rushed if he was not ready. "We'll just play if by ear and give him a couple of quiet trials and see how it goes," Butt said. "He'll tell us when he's ready, there's still a bit of fine tuning to go yet but the main things is to go to the trials and work out where we are and what we need to change." If Daryl Boko is ready to go for cup week, Butt said he would be leaning towards racing on only one of the two days. "I'm probably more inclined to go for the Dominion (Handicap) because it's a prestigious race, it's the bigger stake and I think he is a pretty good little stayer. "Generally the French and Swedish trotters are pretty good stayers because they are used to going quick the whole way, the run each half in a minute they don't loiter around, that's just their style of racing," Butt said. In the northern hemisphere Daryl Boko has won over a mile right through to 3100m. Daryl Boko arrived in New Zealand in early August and went straight into work at Butt's Premier Stables after coming out of quarantine. Butt said because the seasons are back to front for Daryl Boko, and it's been a strong relatively cold spring, he has started to develop his winter coat but overall he had acclimatised well. Daryl Boko's last race day start in Sweden was on July 2. Butt has experience with bringing in trotters from the Northern Hemisphere and that was paying dividends with the preparation of Daryl Boko. Scandinavian trotter Peak looked to be the future of Butt's already lengthy trotting legacy when he won his first two starts in the 2013 Group III Ashburton Trotters Flying Mile and the Group I NZ Trotting Free-For-All but picked up a suspensory ligament injury in the Dominion Handicap three days later that ended his racing carer. Peak began a successful stud carer but Butt and many of Peak's syndicate went looking for a replacement and found Daryl Boko. If Butt can bring out Daryl Boko's best form, it would be good enough to challenge the current crop of top liners. Meanwhile, Stent, Master Lavros, Habibti and Kincaslough have all been nominated to return to Addington this week for the Group III Canterbury Park Trotting Cup on Friday. Sheemon, who did not race last week and Alley Way, who has not raced since May, are also in the nominations. Harness jewels winner King Denny will trial at Addington on Tuesday. The Group II Canterbury Classic looks likely to be the strongest pacing field this season, with Smolda resuming to take on Christen Me plus Brilliant Strike, Te Kawau and Ideal Success in the nominations to join the crop that have already contested the Maurice Holmes Vase and Avon City Ford Cup. Mat Kermeen Reproduced with the permission of Stuff NZ   -   Check site here

He did it with Peak in 2013 and now Canterbury harness racing trainer Tim Butt is hoping another Swedish trotter named Daryl Boko can get him back into the big time. The five-year-old flew into New Zealand last weekend and will join Butt's Premier Stables in another week and, hopefully, be ready to contest the feature trotting races at cup time in November. He will be a welcome recruit for Butt who has just ended one of his quietest seasons since he started training, producing only 85 starters for just six wins.  Butt has been on the lookout for a replacement for Peak since he galloped out of the 2103 Dominion Handicap in only his third start here and was later found to have injured a hind suspensory ligament. It was a cruel blow for Butt and the syndicate which imported Peak and two other trotters from Scandinavia as Peak won his only two other starts, the Trotters' Flying Mile at Ashburton and NZ Free-for-all at Addington. "He was an awesome horse to drive and could have been anything," said Butt who attempted to bring Peak back but eventually retired him to stud, where at Alabar he is now attracting a lot of attention. Unable to buy one of the better trotters here, Butt also tried importing one from the United States in the well performed Imperial Count but that project foundered when the horse bled in his first race here, last September's Ordeal Cup. "We didn't know what we needed when we bought the last lot from Scandinavia but Peak proved up to the best and we didn't want to go below his standard this time. "Even though Kvintet Avenger also won a Group I race in Australia (the Trotters Cup at Menangle) you have to pay good money for the really good ones. "I didn't want an old horse, who'd done it already, I wanted a young, up-and-coming one, and they're not easy to get." Butt entrusted his search to Swedish trainer Sofia Arronson who worked for him here in 2006 and she eventually hit the jackpot securing Daryl Boko from Veijo Heiskanen for a sum well into six figures. Most of Butt's loyal owners who had shares in Peak have come in on Daryl Boko, with a few newcomers as well, Butt said. "I didn't initially want a gelding - with a stallion you always have a stud career to fall back on - but Peak was pretty colty and geldings actually settle in better to new surroundings. "Daryl Boko is five by northern hemisphere time but he's had only 28 starts and is untapped." Butt said he had clocked Daryl Boko in several of his races and he had run the equivalent of  2:25 for 2000 metres and 3:57 for 3200 metres, times which would win him any race in New Zealand. With nine wins, four seconds and three thirds and NZ$130,000 in stakes, Daryl Boko had shown he was a top flight contender, winning a heat of the Finnish Trotting Derby (2640m) last September and running third in the $NZ165,000 final. Peak had won the Denmark Derby, a slightly inferior quality race.  By Majestic Son, the leading age group trotting stallion in New Zealand, Daryl Boko was actually bred in the United States out of the Donerail mare Insider Trade. Butt said while Daryl Boko had been stuck in quarantine for four weeks in England and would have a fortnight couped up here before being released, he raced as recently as July 2 so his job of readying him for racing would be easier. "But to be racing by cup time we can't afford anything to go wrong." Butt said he was in a rebuilding phase after many horses had reached their mark and were sold. His team was down to only 14. "It's tough going. We've had to start again and the owners aren't there like they used to be - they don't want to compete against the big stables like Mark Purdon, Robert Dunn and Cran Dalgety. "But we have some nice young ones coming along." Butt served notice that he was on the front foot again, with two wins from his first two starters of the season in Franco Harrington and Prestine, placing him second on the premiership after two weeks. But he knows it will take a while again before he enjoys the highs of 2006 and 2007 when Flashing Red won the New Zealand Trotting Cup twice and, more recently, 2011 when he was seventh on the trainers' ladder with 47 wins racing high achievers like Vulcan, Stunin Cullen, Choise Achiever and Raglan. Barry Lichter Reproduced with permission of Stuff NZ - Check site here

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